Archive | June, 2012

I’m a Mack, and I’m PC

I partly agree with this and partly disagree with it, being more sympathetic to PC than Jeremy is; and I don’t think putting pressure on bigots is automatically “oppressive” in the negative sense, let alone “totalitarian.” (By analogy, defensive violence is not on the same moral level as aggressive violence.) But this is still one of the more thoughtful discussions of the issue I’ve seen.

My sincere apologies for the title of this post.

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Of Fists, Noses, Islands, Hooks, and Eyes

The following letter appeared in today’s Opelika-Auburn News:

To the Editor:

In his letter on June 19, Edzard van Santen quotes the saying that one person’s right to swing his fist ends where another person’s nose begins.

Well and good; but what puzzles me is that he cites this saying as though it’s meant to be a critique of libertarianism. On the contrary, that saying encapsulates the essence of libertarianism.

Murray N. Rothbard - Enemy of the State

In the 19th century, Herbert Spencer stated the same principle less metaphorically: Each has freedom to do all that he wills provided that he infringes not the equal freedom of any other. And in the 20th century, Murray Rothbard explained it more fully: “No one may threaten or commit violence (‘aggress’) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a nonaggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.”

Van Santen also quotes the saying that no one is an island, again as though this conflicted with libertarianism. But libertarianism is the only political philosophy that actually takes seriously the idea that no one is an island.

Other ideologies assume, explicitly or implicitly, that human beings are inherently atomistic, with naturally conflictual interests, and so that society needs to have order imposed on it by top-down authority. Libertarians, by contrast, have traditionally rejected this atomistic vision of society, emphasizing that a human being is, in Emerson’s words, “all made of hooks and eyes, and links himself naturally to his brothers.”

It’s precisely because we recognize that no one is an island – that social order arises spontaneously and organically through voluntary, nonhierarchical relations among equals – that we are libertarians in the first place.

Roderick T. Long

I’m not sure why they a) waited nearly two weeks to publish it, after van Santen had already gone a round with Leland Yeager; b) removed my quotation marks on the Spencer quote, while keeping them on the Rothbard and Emerson quotes; or c) published my letter under the title “We were libertarians in the first place,” thus tearing my closing phrase out of the context that gave it sense. But hey, it’s the OA News.

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Obama, Betray America!

A state-liberal friend tells me that if you google “Obama betray* America,” you’ll get no fewer than 46,300,000 hits. I tried it just now and actually got 61,600,000 hits.

Regrettably, however, most of these hits seem to be accusing Obama of betraying America. None of them seem to be imperatives calling for Obama to betray America.

So let this be the first. After all, at his inauguration Obama vowed to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,” which is an unjust job, and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” which is an unjust document. Like his predecessors, he is morally obligated to repudiate these vows (thus betraying “America,”considered as a state entity), make restitution for his crimes, and work to establish a stateless society.

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