39 Responses to Progress of the Revolution

  1. Belinsky June 15, 2008 at 1:55 pm #

    But…Hall for Bush and John McCain for President are surely libertarian websites!

  2. Administrator June 15, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    I think you have those confused with Hell for Bush and John McCain for Prison-resident.

  3. Aster June 15, 2008 at 10:49 pm #

    Personally, I don’t find it cheering at all that Lew Rockwell and Antiwar.com are popular websites. Lew Rockwell supports a right-wing type of libertarianism as a means to the full restoration of an anti-individualistic culture and proudly hosts human fiends such as Thomas diLorenzo and H.H. Hoppe. Antiwar.com is an associate of the first, and Justin Raimondo is a player who embodies the stereotypical faux-insider journalist’s pose; he vigourously identifies with the same game he ostensibly critiques. His enthusiastic support of the racist, antisemitic, homophobic Pat Buchanan would strike one as primarily repulsive were it not simply bizarre.

    This kind of libertarianism is as dangerous to the human spirit as many a variety of statism. Real individualism is again becoming simply superfluous in public discourse.

  4. Tracy Saboe June 16, 2008 at 2:00 am #

    Well, then start your own libertarian website with YOUR flavor of libertarianism.
    And give them some competition.

    At least Anti-War and Lew Rockwell are attacking the state.


  5. Tracy Saboe June 16, 2008 at 2:02 am #

    BTW. Townhall isn’t ALL bad. they have Walter William and Larry Elders (Who identifies himself as a Liberpublican these days — but as long as he doesn’t talk about War, he’s libertarian — which he doesn’t too often.


  6. Anon73 June 16, 2008 at 4:04 am #

    This kind of libertarianism is as dangerous to the human spirit as many a variety of statism.

    Aster’s been posting quite a few rants lately against Rockwell’s brand of right-libertarianism. I’d agree with Tracy: just start your own website or become a contributor to infoshop. org if you’re so fed up with it.

  7. Soviet Onion June 16, 2008 at 7:12 am #

    I think her point is that Rockwell’s views are symptomatic of attitudes and dysfunctions within the libertarian moment proper, and/or the way libertarianism is widely perceived, and is only commenting on this particular piece of news because it provides an easy example.

    If she’s lied about either of these examples, or is wrong in either the nature or magnitude of her larger conclusions, then those are the points to respond to. “Love it or leave it” is not productive; it’s not even the issue.

  8. Bob Kaercher June 16, 2008 at 10:22 am #

    Speaking of which, I wonder what a dialectical analysis of right-libertarianism and left-libertarianism might yield. Any thoughts?

  9. Rad Geek June 16, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    Characterizing something as a “rant” may seem like a handy rhetorical way of waving it off without actually engaging with its argumentative structure. But that’s really uncharitable and not especially productive of reasoned discussion.

    I think that LRC is more of a mixed bag than Aster does (not because I disagree with her particularly about the criticisms she lodges against some of the content and authors that appear there, but rather because I think that it’s important to keep in mind how many different authors post there, and that they are not all marching in lockstep, either in general or on the issues Aster has in mind). But be that as it may, the kind of responses she’s gotten from Tracy Saboe and Anon73 are just silly.

    If the high readership ranking of LRC is being specifically mentioned as a sign of progress, and one believes that the high readership ranking of LRC is not a sign of progress, then it makes sense to reply with criticism specific to LRC, in order to show that its being widely read is not as good a development as was originally suggested. Replying to that criticism with “If you don’t like it, go start your own” is just a non sequitur. Aster was giving counter-evidence in reply to a particular claim that had already been made; this is just a change of subject.

    Replying to her argument with “at least they’re attacking the State,” on the other hand, is like a cartoon of thoughtless “shoulder-to-shoulder” Popular Front rhetoric. At least Stalin was fighting Hitler. (And vice versa.) But, really, so what?

    If you think that Aster’s comments are unfair to LRC or Antiwar.com, you can try replying to that, but these kind of remarks, passed off as replies, don’t really even rise to the level of successfully replying.

  10. JOR June 16, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    I think Aster was unfair to LRC. It’s really more of a big tent anti-war website with a libertarian bent than a dedicated right-libertarian website (I’m not sure what ‘right-libertarian’ means here; LRCers in general would probably be more sympathetic to the likes of Kevin Carson than, say, the Catoites would be).

    As for Antiwar.com, I don’t really read that site much so I can’t comment on it. Raimondo’s love of more or less randomly directed bombast and hyperbole is one factor that keeps me away.

  11. Michael J. Palmer June 16, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    I saw two blog posts on LRC (by Lew Rockwell himself, no less!) that give me hope that Lew is coming around to the anti-voting side.

    Meh. It’s a start.

  12. Matt June 16, 2008 at 8:01 pm #

    I don’t understand the hatred. LRC is, as the sub-header reads, anti-state, anti-war, and pro-market — what is there to take serious umbrage with? I think some of you (though also some of the LRCers) need to embrace one of Harry Browne’s most poignant maxims: to wit, “I’m not going to try and trip someone who’s running in the same direction as me” — that is, in the direction of freedom. I cannot conceive of a manner by which you can critique LRC and have it not seem like picking nits. You guys have philosophical differences; I understand. But are not your differences with, say, the GOP (and its outposts — TownHall, Hannity, etc.) greater by orders of magnitude?

    What is so horrible about what LRC and Antiwar.com have done?

  13. Soviet Onion June 16, 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    Lew Rockwell would have to abandon a lot more than voting than to earn anything more from me than just a qualified nod for his other views. Voting is one of his less problematic beliefs.

    Incidentally, I agree with Charles that there’s more to LRC, and particularly Antiwar.com than Aster is willing to admit, and think she focuses on just the characters she hates; why else does she keep bringing up Hoppe and DiLorenzo, like those are the only people that write there? This is even more true of Antiwar.com, which has an even more diverse body of contributors who, in any case, are writing about the war and foreign policy, not social issues. Whatever else there is to object to in paleoconservatives (and there is much), on foreign policy there is little for a libertarian to disagree with.

    She seems to think that associating with these people at all and not completely cutting off contact automatically puts the venue on their side, and makes it tainted and lost beyond recovery. Never mind that there are other writers coming from different perspectives, and that issues discussed might not even pertain to the paleos’ racism, sexism and xenophobia.

    I’m willing to accept that those are the dominant perspectives at LRC, but not Antiwar.com.

  14. scineram June 17, 2008 at 6:55 am #

    Mkay, what are those more problematic views?

  15. Jorad June 17, 2008 at 8:03 am #

    Well, it often seems to suggest, that in a libertarian society, everybody would be a conservative.
    They are a little too fond of conspiracy theories and a little too eager to defend politically incorrect things (Hell, I’m sick of PC-speech everywhere too, but it’s there for a reason and it just too often seems like *Discrimination shouldn’t be a crime, because I want to discriminate!* – I know thats not what Hoppe, etc. think, but it’s too easy to interpret for my taste. 😛 (As seen with the RP newsletters.))

    Nevertheless, I don’t think you should be too fanatical about your own special brand of libertarianism.
    I never even found a website yet where I could agree with every single article. You just have to trust people to come to their own conclusions and not angst about the possibility, that they could be contaminated or repulsed, because they read one anti-immigration article somewhere on LRC.
    You don’t want those people anyway.

  16. Tracy Saboe June 17, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    I point about “starting your own website.”

    Is just this. Lew Rockwell is reaching people, making them think.Teaching people about libertarianism even if it’s not the particular cosmopoliton brand that some people here subscribe too.

    What are you doing to advance the cause of liberty? Put up or shut up.

    As far as the “At lease Hitler was attacking Stallan” nonsense. It’s not parrellel at all. Rockwell is attacking ALL states. The State and an institution. The whole point of libertarianism is attacking the state, and getting institutionalized cooersion (i.e. government) parred down and abolished. So if somebody’s “at least attacking the state”, they’re doing the very point of Libertarianism.

    Which means Lew Rockwell is libertarian. With the State gone, it’ll be much easier to choose how you want to live your life — if that means not associating with or attacking certain “feelings” amoung the paleo-libertarian crowd then fine.

    For the Record Anthony Gregory isn’t really “right-libertarian” although he is an anarchist, and he posts a lot.


  17. Bob Kaercher June 17, 2008 at 12:17 pm #


    If “cosmopolitan” is intended as a snide shorthand for anyone who doesn’t agree with some or much of the conservative brand of libertarianism that LRC/Mises Institute often promotes–which is how the term is consistently used at LRC itself–it may make for a neat little epithet, but as far as facilitating any kind kind of thoughtful discussion it’s a dead-end, a polemical term used to frame the grounds of debate a certain way so that the parameters of that debate are nice and narrow. It doesn’t help anyone understand anything.

    As far as various disagreements on fundamental philosophy and issues, it is true that even different individuals in the same movement will have such disagreements, and that they can always go their seperate ways if they so choose–well that’s a given; so what? The point is that there is no reason why anyone is obligated to shrug them off for the sake of somebody else’s particular conception of movement unity.

    There’s no reason why topics like immigration, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., cannot be discussed amongst libertarians like grown adults, and there’s certainly no reason to reflexively dismiss those topics as trivial and unimportant, or to assume that those issues are the exclusive domains of PC cops. If there are some who would just rather not participate in those discussions, fine, but nobody has any right to expect others to keep their mouths shut when they see or hear certain knowledge claims expressed about various ethnic, racial, “alternative lifestyle” or other groups, just for the sake of some kind of party line.

    In other words, no one should be expected to mute their individual conscience for the sake of keeping things neat, tidy and comfortable. If you do have such expectations, then I gather you’re in a much different freedom movement than I am.

  18. Matt June 17, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    Bob, what I disagree with are not the well-argued points you make, but rather with the notion — expressed earlier — that we should not rejoice at seeing these websites gain in popularity. I’m not saying you need to stifle your opinions on things like ‘racism’ or ‘sexism’ to appease the party line; I’m simply arguing that the importance of such things pales in comparison to being on the right side of the philosophy debate (are you pro- or anti-state?), and on the right side of the truly major issues (are you pro- or anti-empire? pro- or anti-preemptive war?).

    BTW, I’d be genuinely interested to hear why some of you disagree so vociferously with what is espoused at LRC. I’m a young libertarian, still in his formative stage of ideological development. Try me!

  19. Bob Kaercher June 17, 2008 at 6:40 pm #


    I am certainly anti-state, anti-war and anti-empire. I’m an anarchist and therefore completely anti-authoritarian. I do not submit myself to anyone’s authority of any type, though I do grant deference and respect to those who have legitimately earned it.

    Adhering to libertarian principles, in my view–there may be other libertarians who don’t agree–involves a lot more than being opposed to the nuts and bolts of government machinery, though to explicitly denounce the physical mechanisms of statism is certainly important and not to be underestimated.

    But I’m not so naive as to think that if I could push that magic button and make the state entirely disappear right this second that many of the problems currently plaguing social relations would suddenly disappear, too. Government isn’t the only type of human organization that is coercive, and coercion can certainly exist in the absence of government. If your libertarian principles are based on the ethical foundation of non-aggression, then I would think libertarians should be just as concerned with non-governmental as well as governmental coercion.

    In other words, what constitutes “being on the right side of the philosophy debate” is a lot broader than merely being opposed to the state. A principled libertarian should be just as opposed to all the cultural beliefs that often help to reinforce, and are often reinforced by, statism. This would make being anti-racist, anti-sexist, etc., inclusive of “the right side of the philosophy debate” rather than being altogether separate and disconnected issues.

    I don’t happen to think that LRC is the plague or something. It’s not necessary for me to point out what a world of good that site has done for libertarianism. There is a far greater diversity of libertarian writers contributing to that site than many of its most vocal detractors will acknowledge. (I wouldn’t use the term “human fiends” to describe anyone writing for that site.)

    The fact that it is such a well known beacon of libertarianism on the web is exactly why so many libertarians will not be shy about criticizing what they see as its inconsistencies, shortcomings, and contradictions, as well they should.

    I’m not going to draw up a laundry list of examples, but those inconsistencies, shortcomings and contradictions can best be described, I think, as a pervasive conservativism that is not necessarily compatible with the kind of libertarianism I expressed in the first four paragraphs of this reply.

  20. Micha Ghertner June 17, 2008 at 9:00 pm #

    The whole point of libertarianism is attacking the state,

    This is not the whole point of libertarianism. The whole point of libertarianism is attacking coercion, whether committed by state or non-state actors. Or, as our Kindly Administrator once put it, other people are not your property. Even if those people happen to be women, immigrants, black, Jewish, gay, poor, or otherwise considered undesirables by the bigoted cesspool that is LRC.

  21. Aster June 17, 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    For the record, I no longer identify as any kind of libertarian, including a ‘left-libertarian’. I don’t accept that I have to treat tearing down the state as *the* defining political issue when other standing systems of repression are at least as dangerous to me as is statism. Given that libertarian society insists that I shelve issues of much more immediate importance to me (and in many cases acts to *worsen* existing oppression) far more than the left insists that I love the state, I utterly refuse to have any allegiance to libertarianism or to identify with the term. ‘Love it or leave it’ is a little late in coming. I didn’t love it; I left.

    When I was at university, I converted most of my Amnesty club to libertarianism by appeals to their desire for freedom- bourgeois libertarians might be surprised how much love for the idea there is among the people they go out of their way to snub and despise. You can be damn sure that after ten years of finding out what libertarian society was really life I’m never going to do the same again- quite the opposite; I never miss a chance among leftists to tell them that it is my confirmed experience that libertarianism proved to be more or less exactly what they always told me it was. And I’ve done this not *primarily* because of anger, but because having found a society which *does* take seriously very real forms of oppression which have done immense harm to myself and my friends, the *last* thing I desire to do is spread around an ideology which preaches that race, sex, class, homophobia, etc. don’t matter. I know better, and if a movement overwhelmingly composed of well-off white men *still* can’t figure out why they can’t successfully appeal to almost anyone outside of their social set, nothing on Earth is going to give them a clue.

    As far as I can see, the only practical effect which 80 years of libertarian theory and 40 years of libertarian activism have had on public discourse has been to provide an easily appropriated ideology for neoliberal class warfare. Meanwhile the real victories which have loosened up the culture enough to allow women, minorites, and dissidents some genuinely liberated space have been won by others, with libertarians ocassionally joining in but more often helping the reactionaries or just carping from the sidelines. Remember how the Libertarian Party *opposed* the Equal Rights Amendment?

    My roommate right now, a disabled lesbian on the dole, decided her opinion of libertarianism after hearing Lindsay Perigo say on the radio that welfare recipients shouldn’t be permitted to vote. I once would have told her that this was a travesty of libertarianism,.given that liberty actually offers liberation for the poor and oppressed. Now I couldn’t tell her that even if I wanted to, because I just don’t believe it. I told her that I supported a *real* free market (a la Kevin Carson), and that libertarianism should never have come to mean this kind of bigoted callousness, but told her that what libertarianism *is* is worse than the existing social democracy and that I deeply regretted my years in the same camp as the individual she would only call ‘that man’. And I sure as Hell meant it. What I’ve found out is that libertarians oppose the violence of the state and don’t give a damn about all the rest of the oppression which happens further down and less visibily in society. I once thought this was just a matter of ignorance and education, but there are only so many times I can take blanket condescension and gender harassment before getting the point that this is never going to change.

    Tearing down the state may be your main issue. It’s not mine. I wish I could have both, but I can’t. Opposing patriarchy is for me a day-to-day matter of self-respect; libertarian politics are a luxury. And libertarians force everyone who isn’t in the more privileged positions to make these kinds of choices with utterly predictable results.

    * * *

    I do, incidentally, acknowledge that there are some intelligent and well-intended writers at Lewrockwell.com. Roderick Long has written there for one (and for that matter, the conservative Paul Craig Roberts is a brilliant writer). I knew Anthony Gregory and San Francisco and was honoured to know him. But I think such people are exceptions, and are very misguided to associate with a website whose entire purpose is to promote a paleolibertarian ideology which *favours* every kind of repression of the individual and the disposessed, excepting only statism.

  22. Micha Ghertner June 17, 2008 at 11:28 pm #


    Like the mafia, we libertarians will not let you leave that easily. You may consider the “culture” of libertarianism tainted, and to a certain extent I agree with you, though I think it is reformable. But just as Objectivists cannot escape the libertarian label we libertarians thrust upon them, coercively, against their will, neither can you. We libertarians are tricky like that.

  23. scineram June 18, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    “or otherwise considered undesirables by the bigoted cesspool that is LRC.”

    “which *favours* every kind of repression of the individual and the disposessed, excepting only statism.”

    Ok, do you care to back that shit up?

  24. Bob Kaercher June 18, 2008 at 10:59 am #


    I would say that scineram has a point. If you’re going to issue such blanket condemnations, you might want to support them with something.

    As I said for myself, there is a pervasive conservatism at that site with which I don’t quite agree, but to make such sweeping statements like the ones you’ve made is quite a stretch.

    I get equally annoyed when I see some LRC writers make blanket characterizations of left-libertarians as being dope-smoking, sexually promiscuous hedonists.

  25. Forgotten Man June 18, 2008 at 12:58 pm #

    I am puzzled by the claims of racism and bigotry aimed at LRC. Anyone care to post a link to these articles?

    What is this other oppression in society that you speak of? LRCers are pretty vocal in their opposition to crime and the state’s failure to contain it.

    Based on your statements, I assume you consider a white man choosing to not hire a black man or woman as oppression. In your mind, it is less offensive to put a gun to that white man’s head to force him to hire minorities.

    Yes, libertarians OPPOSED not only the Equal Rights Act, but the Civil Rights Act as well!

    Liberty is not a la carte. Either it applies to everyone or it doesn’t exist at all.

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