44 Responses to Carson Defends Carson

  1. Kevin Carson December 23, 2009 at 2:27 am #

    Thanks, Roderick. I probably should have counted to ten before I posted that one comment.

  2. J. Neil Schulman December 23, 2009 at 4:32 am #

    If there’s any surviving Original Agorist, it’s me. I haven’t resigned … and I don’t grant anyone the status to excommunicate me.

    • Roderick December 23, 2009 at 11:49 am #

      Well then, let’s say that you’ve invented a pro-militarist, pro-censorship version of Agorism.

      • J. Neil Schulman December 23, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

        I’m sick of this lie. Samuel Edward Konkin III set up the MLL list as moderated — that means, edited. When he died I stepped up as editor and cut out personal attacks and off-topic posts the same way SEK3 had. A bunch of whiny fake-libertarian leftists didn’t like not not being able to throw their tantrums and started a flame-war against me and I tossed their Marxist-loving asses off the list. That ain’t censorship — that’s OWNERSHIP — a concept which collectivists are too lamebrained to understand.

        As far as being military-loving, I’ll cop to it. The guys and gals who volunteer to serve in uniform actually are willing to put their asses on the line for what they love.

        Unlike me, who’s a professional coward.


        • Roderick December 23, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

          I’ll pass by your misdescription of what happened on the LL1 list, since my reference to censorship was to your views on IP and “logorights” (and your attempt to enforce the on behalf of someone who rejected them), not to your moderation of the list. I’ve never questioned your right to moderate the list as you did. (Though I do have to note that when virtually the entire membership of a mailing list leaves at once to set up another list and get away from the moderator, it’s surely a sign that the moderator has made some questionable choices.)

          As for the military, I’ll give them kudos for putting their own asses on the line when they stop putting other people’s asses on the line. Blowing up children is not my idea of heroism.

        • Brandon December 23, 2009 at 11:40 pm #

          Yes, but Roderick, you don’t understand. You see, they’re not American children.

  3. J. Neil Schulman December 23, 2009 at 4:33 am #

    Oh, and speaking as an authority on Agorism, Kevin Carson isn’t one.

    • Roderick December 23, 2009 at 11:50 am #

      I don’t think he has claimed to be.

  4. JOR December 23, 2009 at 6:13 am #

    Is that really Schulman, or is that someone using his name in an attempt to parody him?

    • Roderick December 23, 2009 at 11:50 am #

      I’m afraid the worst is true in this case.

    • Brandon December 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

      Comparing IP addresses would be the only sure way. I can tell you what address the above two comments came from, not that it would do much good without something to compare it with.

      • Roderick December 23, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

        Well, for a long time I was on an email list “moderated” by the real Schulman, and these comments are certainly consistent with the Bizarro-Agorist Schulman we came to know and love.

  5. Brad Spangler December 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    On recent controversy

  6. Brandon December 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

    I like how comments on the C4SS website that use gravatars, like Kinsella, inevitably end up with a number stamped into their foreheads (because of a mistake in the site’s theme).

    It looks like there’s a C4SS concentration camp, and the commenters are inmates.

  7. Natailya Petrova December 23, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    Gus diZerega had some interesting material on Rachel Carson…you might try Googling it.


    I wouldn’t be so hard on J for his lapses. I know some decent intelligent people with pro-IP and un- anti war Libertarian views on war. You’re friendly with William Thomas of the Atlas Society…no? He seemed like a really great guy! And David Kelley has displayed very good character to me so far.

    • Roderick December 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

      I have pro-IP/pro-war friends too. But my asperity toward JNS has a longer and more complicated history behind it, coming out of the founding of ALL and LL2. It goes beyond his views to ways he has acted.

      • Natailya Petrova December 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

        Oh yeah; I forgot about that confrontation.

        You’ve always been a very diplomatic scholar, so I am not surprised you’re friendly with some people possessing those views. What I love about your style is that you sound confident but not dogmatic.

        • Roderick December 23, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

          You are anti-mind and anti-life!

  8. Natailya Petrova December 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    I Facebook friended David post-reading his Truth and Toleration. I was shocked to discover the break was over something so trivial, but I am getting off track here…

    Back to the Carsons!

    : )

  9. Kevin Carson December 23, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    Anyone who’s confident and non-dogmatic might as well spit in his own face. Any idea worth having is worth smashing up someone’s fireplace and slapping the shit out of them over.

  10. Joel Schlosberg January 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Murray Bookchin’s fans have long pointed out that many of Rachel Carson’s ideas were anticipated in Bookchin’s early writings.

  11. Aster January 8, 2010 at 2:27 am #


    I’m corresponding with a Kiwi ph.D. candidate studying marine ecology, and asked him with little framing what his opinion was on the health of our planet’s environment. From his reply:

    The current climate change is a scientific fact – even though the critics point out rightly that there hasn’t been measured a “warming” of global temperatures within the last decade. “Climate”, however, is defined by periods of at least 30 years and the correlations between the CO2 and Methane in the atmosphere on one hand and global warming on the other are undeniable. The glaciers worldwide melt visibly and with a frightening pace. The Arctic ice shield will probably disappear entirely within the next 20 years, causing a further increase of warmth absorption (due to the darker surface). The Antarctic ice shield started to “flow” more quickly and huge lakes of liquid water have been discovered 1, 2km down. So it is just a matter of time that small island nations (such as Tuvalu) will disappear, as well as large parts of Bangladesh and Florida. It is very likely that we will be witnesses of these events (as well as the associated uprisings and monetary costs) within our lifetime. This in mind the farce of Copenhagen seems almost funny (or rather depressing – but it is healthier just to laugh).

    This is what I have heard from every scientifically literate person in New Zealand (usually with the implicit undertone of ‘lets explain the basic facts of life to the clueless American). I’ve repeatedly heard not just this confident scientific certainty but precisely the same ‘what can you do but hope and laugh’ fatalism that suggests processed grief.

    You’ve said on more than one occasion that your climate agnosticism results from having met competent scientists on both sides of the question. I utterly agree with you that there are political biases on both sides of the question and that we should never forget how often before the popular ‘settled’ answer to a question has been wrong. But every fair-minded account of the issue I’ve read has specifically stressed that climate skepticism is a minority position among scientific specialists, and not a large minority. And while I don’t exactly agree with the philosophical paradigms hegemonic within scientific culture, I do think they’re reasonably operationally rational- enough so to produce a sluggish but intellectually functional natural science. In other words, in this case the system still works, if perhaps less quickly than it should.

    Do you think that your relatively frequest encounters with intelligent climate skeptics has been a result of their numbers, or a result of the strong association between libertarianism (and neoliberalism) and climate skepticism?

    I really think that the evidence is starting to look overwhelming on this issue. Ronald Bailey, Gus diZerega (=), and Kevin Carson have done a very good thing for libertarians and human beings by opening the climate question within libertarianism. The future viability of the libertarian paradigm could well depend upon its ability to recover gracefully from its historical alignment with anti-environmentalist politics which have politicised science and could contribute to horrific democides of unprecedented scale.

    The environmental cataclysm descending upon us is likely to cause so much damage that whichever philosophical paradigm takes the blame will get branded with a mark of Cain for millennia. People in the 22nd century may come to discuss market liberalism or even Enlightenment rationality with the same horror with which we regard the wars of religion, the slave trade, fascism, Communism, etc. If individualism does not bend on this issue it will break. That may not be enough to stop the practical destruction of lives and infrastructure, but it would at least give the mentality and institutions of mass open society some kind of fighting chance.

    Everything Rand feared is upon us today, and liberalism is in as great a danger as at any time since the 30s and 40s. The difference is that last time the problem was simply that totalitarian bad guys were winning. This time the disaster that threatens to snuff out the candle called ‘1789’ was caused by people who are, in some if not every essential, us. The crimes of the Nazis seared the notion that racism is bad into the literate West’s public’s psyche, as the atrocities of Stalin and Pol Pot had a similar effect upon an overlapping political sudience. Many religious conservatives, spiritual ecologists, and ‘New Right’ fascists are trying to go there today, and the current state of market liberal discourse still enables their efforts. Who else in Greater Libertaria wishes to stand and speak?

    (=) Kudos. Even if he is a condescendingly conservative reverse-Southern non-priest priest and witch-hunting witch, who wants to prove that Paganism can be as respectably preachy as any other religious tradition and grab its place in the sun of the organised religion game.

    • JOR January 8, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

      Really the only people “standing in the way” of anything in a politically relevant manner are 1. certain corporate statist interests and 2. people who don’t want to be reduced to a stone age standard of living (or killed) in order to avoid… being reduced to a stone age standard of living (or killed). Libertarians often associate politically with both those kinds of folks; that they associate with 1 in anything more than vigorous debate is regrettable, but I sure won’t get all self-righteous about their associations with 2, come what may.

      If the worst happens, environmentally, libertarianism, to the extent that it even matters (and it doesn’t, really), will get the blame, no matter whether libertarians “bend” on this issue or whatever. Libertarians would have to “bend” on every single issue on which they differ from the center-left fascist consensus, which is most of them, to avoid being filed in the Official Narrative as a subset of Fundamentalist Christian White Supremecist Right-Wing ExtremismTM; and whatever that exaggerated, partially imaginary consortium of evil ends up getting blamed for will also fall across libertarianism. Libertarians will get whatever blame they get, not because libertarianism had anything to do with the disaster, but because the people who write the Official Center-Left Narrative are invariably some mixture of intellectually lazy, dishonest, and stupid. And libertarians kissing Official Good Guy ass on just this one issue will not make the people who write that narrative any less intellectually lazy, dishonest, or stupid. Hell, libertarians get blame for slavery, even though our intellectual ancestors were utterly against it, and far more egalitarian on race in general than the more statist opponents of slavery (you know, the folks that evolved into the center-left and ended up supporting shit like eugenics, which libertarians also get blamed for, somehow).

      Look, if the scariest of the environmental alarmist ideas are right, I’m all for getting libertarians (and everyone else) to own up to the truth. But all this political strategic theorizing is just silly, and I just have no idea where you get the notion that libertarianism matters quite enough, politically, that it’ll get any blame for whatever comes that it can do anything to deflect.

    • Brandon January 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

      Aster: Please stop using your gmail address in the ‘URL’ field. Email addresses are not URLs so it screws up my markup validation. You can add multiple email addresses to the ’email’ field like so:

      example@hotmail.com; example@gmail.com

      Just use a semicolon.

  12. Aster January 8, 2010 at 9:10 pm #


    Thank you; I’ll certainly edit my style if it causes verifiable formatting problems. I merely assumed that AAE worked as smoothly as most websites in the blogosphere.

    FYI, this appeared at the top of the page when I just loaded it:

    Warning: call_user_func_array() [function.call-user-func-array]: First argument is expected to be a valid callback, ‘LibertarianLeft_style’ was given in /home/aaeblog/public_html/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 339

    • Brandon January 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

      You just did it again.

      • Aster January 8, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

        Is this better? I truly need to simply set up a referenced website, but I’ve not found either a useful social networking site or an online community friendly enough to make setting up a virtual house worthwhile.

        Incidentally, I consider professor Long to be the host here, and in the future will wait for to him to correct me.

        • Brandon January 8, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

          Look , I wasn’t accusing you of anything. We’re switching to HTML 5 as a doctype soon, and it is less tolerant of mistakes.

          If you wanted to show both email addresses, I showed you how. Trying to http an email address doesn’t work, so what you’d done wasn’t achieving what you clearly wanted. Perhaps I should have explained that better.

          Ultimately the code, not the content, that appears here is my responsibility. Roderick is not an HTML expert. I have a zero-tolerance policy for bad code on this site, both from myself and everyone else. I’d appreciate it if you’d defer to me regarding code. I’m here to help and facilitate users in that regard — as I’ve tried to do in this case.

          BTW, I have sent Roderick many emails complaining about his use of code and instructing him on the proper code to be using within posts. To his credit, and my enormous gratitude, he has changed for the better.

        • Aster January 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm #


          This is ridiculous. You are not the boss of me, and I’m not going to defer to you on anything. I have no intention of respecting any ‘zero tolerance’ policies which you wish to dictate, certainly not in a social atmosphere which expects me to routinely tolerate speech far more offensive than broken hypertext. I’m not an IT specialist and it’s unfair to expect virtual perfection from myself, MBH, or any others here. And when people in my other life try to talk me this way I ask them to leave. Please enjoy the pleasure of your own company. Aster out.

        • Brandon January 9, 2010 at 12:16 am #

          Thank you for cooperating. I really appreciate your efforts.

  13. Aster January 9, 2010 at 9:29 am #


    Libertarians used to talk excitedly about the ‘war of ideas’ and the ‘battle for the mind’. They uses to believe that ideas and philosophy matter, that thinking people excercise an extraordinarily disproportionate influence upon a culture, because those who choose to make the ideas of the next generation will shape it more than those who simply wield conventional power.

    Do libertarians still believe this? Today, the internet is the primary international medium for the development and communication of all ideas not requiring specialist knowledge. Intelligent people who are unlikely to find equals among their physical neighbours find each other here. Young people trying to make sense of life and what they believe come here.

    And libertarianism is the internet’s ideology; no one who is part of this nerdy universe of ours is untouched by its intellectual influence. And specifically with regard to the right, libertarians have been the knowledge entrepeneurs and trendsetters for the rhetoric of mainstream American conservatism since the time of Barry Goldwater. The 90s culture wars over PC would have looked VASTLY different were it not for libertarianism’s influence. I hear echoed libertarian memes from the late 70s and 80s in everyday street discussion here in New Zealand. The worldwide neoliberal economic ‘reforms’ would not have been possible without the cooperation of economists closely derivative of libertarianism.

    Rand, Hayek, and Milton Friedman, wherever I may disagree with them, recognised that ideas matter and had respect for the mind. All focused their efforts on converting the best and brightest humane intellectuals by means of reason and appeals to intelligence and idealism. They also all understood that history is guided by those who create and distribute ideas, found institutions, and maintain the social atmosphere. I would pick the Institute for Humane Studies as the single most effective libertarian institution, precisely because it knows precisely how to nourish intelligence. The Libertarian Party was useful while it understood social power in terms of education; it destroyed itself when it came to believe that immediate political respectability was what mattered.

    Sadly, this has changed, due to the Rothbard-Rockwell alliance or what ought to be known as “libertarianism’s Southern strategy”; i.e., a deliberate attempt to market libertarianism by encouraging populist cultural ressentiment against an urban elite and an associated liberal intelligentsia (Rothbard did it, so don’t blame me). The result is a libertarianism crawling with racism, patriarchy, religious and American provincialism, neo-confederacy, conspiracy theories, and (case in point) scientific obscurantism. A movement which attaches itself to such elements and maintains a social environment suited to them has no right to complain if others associate libertarianism with the reactionary right. The primary libertarian website, lewrockwell.com, regularly features Gary “the Lottery” North, H.H. “exclude Pagans, gays, and democrats from society” Hoppe, and neoconfederates Joseph Sobran and Tom diLorenzo (both published by the Institute for Historical Review). Few within libertarianism called for serious questioning after the Ron Paul letters revealed that both libertarianism’s flagship candidate and most prominent editor seem afflicted by serious racism. If libertarians don’t like to get associated with slavery then they can stop romanticising the Confederacy and lionising John Calhoun and other apologists for caste systems. If they don’t wish to be associated with sexual, racial, and religious structures of domination then they can create an inviting social environment for women, LGBT people, people of colour, etc., etc. Libertarianism is lagging behind not only the avant garde but (as Soviet Onion put it) Joe Sixpack on all of these issues. Libertarianism has become the movement of choice for angry suburban straight white guys who think that they have the worst lot in life in this world.

    The truly relevant problem with all of these views isn’t that they are false or harmful (tho’ they are both), but that they are contrary to the basic Enlightenment liberal principles which libertarians once claimed to be the genuine heirs to. The climate change issue illustrates the same sickness in a very different way- libertarian intellectual culture has become disfunctional enough that it is willing to dictate science by political convenience, even at the price of devastating harm to the entire planet. These kind of problems should tell libertarians who operate from rational premises that something is really serious wrong. Indifference to science, like racial/sexual/religious provincialism, is a sign of a basic lack of intellectual curiosity and a disfunctional social infrastrucuture. Anyone who feels attracted to these kind of vibrations is not someone you want as an ally when trying to gain and/or keep a civilisation.

    These are the signs of an ideology which has lost its grounding in a genuine desire for rational understanding of reality or improvement of the human condition. You cannot build a better world on that and you simply can’t run a free society with this operating mentality. Any audience that libertarians might have among the social groups able and willing to keep our civilisation running will know this. Or to the degree that these groups themselves aren’t maintaining the social intellectual infrastructure we are all in for a frightening future.

    Has libertarianism really come to the point where it is willing to decapitate science and liberalism if such is necesse est in its war against the Westphalian state? I get the feeling that many libertarians think that their project is to push over a modern corporate-state-imperial order so as to return to some rugged traditionalist virtue which would organically emerge from the ruins. I certainly think that the current political orders are unjust and would support radical (even violent) positive change of the kind represented by the American, French, Industrial, civil rights, sexual, and feminist revolutions. What especially disturbs me is that many libertarians seem to see intellectuals, artists, entertainers, social scientists, helping professionals, and others associated with the urban ‘new class’ as their primary enemy, with the implication that PC liberals with their nasty feminist and gay agendas are running the world. Which is just not how it works- there is certainly an establishment centre-left, but it is decidedly the junior partner in power to the centre-right and is ‘leftist’ only if you think that Clinton, New Labour, and Obama are paragons of progressivism. Attacking military, political, and corporate power a good thing, but not if it goes along with a contempt for the cosmopolitanism and scientific literacy which, yes, are usually disproportionately restricted to the unjustly privileged. Educated people ought to respond to provincial social attitudes with dismissal and they will respond to scientific obscurantism with dismissal. Constructions like ‘center-left-fascist consensus’ suggests the need for genuine individualists to differentiate themselves from a ‘libertarianism of fools’ which targets the state largely for its counterweight effect against local and traditional elites who would like to keep women, people of colour, queers, and unruly youth in their place.

    As for why I write this ‘strategic theorising’, the reason is very simply because I want to live in a society characterised by individualist values, values which have been historically carried by the libertarian strain in American culture. Our current political-economic-ecological emergency is going to put colossal stress upon every loadbearing pillar holding up the always fragile structure called liberal civilisation. The American version of liberalism contains some uniquely good things in severe danger of becoming permanently historically discredited. I agree with you that there are plenty of establishment intellectual forces (hardly all left of centre) with a vested interest in seeing libertarianism go down, and who will indeed blame libertarianism for climate change. But until very recently libertarianism has gone out of its way to earn this blame. Yes, the textbooks of tomorrow will be determined by politics. But the verdict of history in the next century will be determined by- among many other things- the experimental record of the human mind as determined by our present words and actions. And if we have truly given all hope of truth becoming known through reason and experience then there’s no point to any of this, and we had best surrender, to the momentary glee of postmodernists and the lasting gloating victory of reactionary despots everywhere.

    We could at least have some chance of averting this if the right people spoke up. Our host is one of those right people. Where are the young minds stepping forward to fill the shoes of Ayn Rand and Karl Popper?

    Not that it’s all that rational for me to care. I can do well enough with the European version of liberalism. Socialists never convinced me of anything, but libertarians have very firmly convinced me of the necessity of institutional enforcement of nondiscriminatory access to socioeconomic life, by the state until better options are presently available. And, given that most human beings consider me evil by nature, and that I have no future unless the Enlightenment also survives, I don’t precisely see why I should shed any tears if your planet crashes into the sun. I can’t tell you how much I wish that I could pry my last few fingers away from caring about anyone else except others who have learned not to care. I don’t stand a chance of keeping a life worth surviving for even the first few decades of the Long Emergency unless I can learn to devote my attention effectively and exclusively to developing socioeconomic armor against an impoverished and miserable world which will be desperate for scapegoats. I dearly wish I could stop writing, or simply lie.

    • MBH January 9, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

      No. Please keep on. It’s like a symphony.

      Maybe some here reject neuroscience but I think there should be a litmus test for sane libertarianism. If you cannot hear the words ‘government’, ‘control’, ‘force’, ‘coerce’, or ‘compel’ without twitching then you’re allowed in. Seriously, the degree to which the libertarian movement has become represented by the aforementioned “postmodernists” and “reactionary despots” is astounding.

      I speak from the awkward position of starting-in-libertarianism-through-reactionary-postmodernism. If it weren’t for Roderick’s more broadly focused lens, I would have never dropped the pitch fork — irrespective of what direction I was headed with it. Through his work, I found out that libertarianism is much more than “being-against-the-state.” It’s a frame of mind. It’s a way of being. And it stays that way whether the “state” dances or shoots itself.

      Whether you want to accept what Aster has to say or not, it is the truth. Libertarianism is a movement being hijacked by anti-intellectuals. If that’s part of a big tent strategy, it’s also part of an eat your own ass strategy.

      I know I don’t have any clout here. I’m just a guy who listened to three years worth of Roderick’s lectures. I did so because he’s of fucking genius. Now, most kids would never get that opportunity because they’d hear he’s a libertarian and think “redneck idiot.”

      For the sake of anything Holy, it’s not about being-against-the-government. It’s about being-for-a-different-way-of-institutional-behavior. Call me a statist-prick-ass-hole-fuck-shit-stick, but there is a government. Call the government a statist-prick-ass-hole-fuck-shit-stick, but it still stands. Take its legs out from underneath it, then you have a statist-prick-ass-hole-fuck-shit-stick splintered all over the place.

      In the “war of ideas”, bringing-down-the-state is about as viable as holding-your-breath — and it looks just as intelligent. I say that we (a) go back to talking about praxeology, (b) listen to more of Aster, or (c) listen to Roderick dissociate himself from anti-intellectual Libertarianism. Did I say “or”; I’d really like “and” to replace that.

    • MBH January 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

      Oops. Obviously that should be “if you can hear [those words] without twitching then you’re allowed in.

    • Roderick January 12, 2010 at 2:24 am #


      Have you had any experience with ISIL? I just got back tonight from their Phoenix conference (I’ll blog about it soon), but it was a libertarian atmosphere I think you’d mostly like.

      • Aster January 12, 2010 at 5:08 am #


        The last time I dealt with ISIL was when I was 19 years old. I ordered US$180 of their wonderful pamphlets. I passed out a few of them at college tables and eventually gave the rest to the local Libertarian Party affiliate(=). They’re most certainly one of the few libertarian organisations I’ve a retained high respect for. Didn’t Mary Ruwart work with them?(==)

        Thank you so much! I’m always grateful to learn of such things, and I am grateful for the kind gesture. Is there anyone in particular you think I’d gel with?

        Incidentally, do you know Kerry Howley? I love her writing.


        (=)That would have been 1998, I think; I’d just read Ayn Rand, the Russian Radical and written to Chris Sciabarra. Goddess, how much has changed. I feel like I’m living in some alternative timeline prefacing the setting of a post-apocalyptic dystopian cyberpunk novel.

        Do you remember when the American empire didn’t openly torture? When so many of us didn’t know friends who had been abused by police? When most of us felt political surveillance of dissidents to be a distant and impersonal issue? When we weren’t waiting for the other shoe of a second great depression to drop? When we thought that our bank accounts, our homes, our liberty couldn’t be unanswerably stolen from us at the system’s whim? The U.S. is at war in, what, four countries now?- with half the soldiers brutal mercenaries culled from our client states’ death squads, and half the supply lines contracted out to cynical looters too singlemindedly predatory to be described as merely ‘corrupt’. Where is our universe as it might be and ought to be?

        I have friends who dissent from the scientific consensus on climate change, and I hope they’re right, but even without AGW we are in serious enough ecological trouble that we will soon be facing plausable calls from both right and left for state mobilisation of society in the face of collectivist disaster. And if AGW is right…. as this review sharply conceives it, Copenhagen may have been our Munich in its failure to prevent our species’ unintentionally declared war on nature. We may be very fortunate if the cultural collateral damage from the ecological war to come is less brutal than that of WWII. Every achievement in liberty, equality, feminism, anti-racism, cultural freedom, aesthetic refinement, social mobility, public secularism, material progress, distributive justice, civil benevolence, humane pedagogy, and basic nutrition and life expectancy will be under fire from both natural stress and scarcity and collectivist pressure from a terrified populace urged on by legions of demagogues. And that will be in the rich countries.

        How can we prevent these things? What can the philosophical minority do to somehow keep alive the Promethean spirit through a century in which we are all forced to fight the future? Every contemporary and resurrected collectivist morality will demand every kind of individual sacrifice from both malice and genuine evidential conviction fortified by brutal necessity.

        (==) Was I the only one to have felt metaphysically, heartbrokenly disgusted in 2008 when libertarians or any society of human beings could choose that bigoted authoritarian opportunist mediocrity over the kindest libertarian who ever dedicated her life to teaching people to be nice to themselves and to others- someone who managed to fulfill both egoistic and altruistic virtues?

        • Aster January 12, 2010 at 5:21 am #

          correction, notes¶3lines4-5: “collectivist disaster” should be “collective disaster”.

        • Anon73 January 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

          Well as for the poor countries it’s difficult to imagine their situations worsening… so I suppose that’s somewhat of a lesser dark side.

          Bob Barr as a “freedom-lover” was a colossal joke, I just don’t understand why nobody seemed to get it.

        • Aster January 12, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

          Well as for the poor countries it’s difficult to imagine their situations worsening… so I suppose that’s somewhat of a lesser dark side.

          If only things could not get worse for the world´s majority. And yet 60% of the human population draws its water from rivers fed by the Himalayan glaciers, glaciers which are already melting now. Bangladesh´s massive population lives like a metre above sea level. My recollection from a Radio Ecoshock program concerning the predicted effect of climate change upon Africa is that it will make large portions of the continent uninhabitable.

          I know of any way to interpret these facts which does not imply a democide of hundreds of millions, or worse, possibly much worse. And, yes, this is as undeniably a democide as the Holodomor or the 1770 British-induced Bengal famine. Perhaps it is an unintended democide, but carbon pollution remains a man-made fact open to change. If it is not open to change under our present conditions, then aspects of the current economic system, whatever we wish to cause it, are as structurally antihuman as are feudalism, slavery, gulags, concentration camps, prison-industrial complexes, or export-processing zones.

          And yes, I think that our elites will let it happen. Not because they are particularly evil (some of them are), but because they are trapped within endlessly self-referential economic and psychological incentive structures which keep radical facts and alternative courses of action off the table.

        • Soviet Onion January 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

          I think that our elites will let it happen. Not because they are particularly evil (some of them are), but because they are trapped within endlessly self-referential economic and psychological incentive structures which keep radical facts and alternative courses of action off the table.

          A year ago you could have said the same thing about American insurance companies. Concern for the bottom line prevents them from breaking established patterns of business that exclude millions of people from access to healthcare.

          Until they figured out how to turn the crisis into a government candy grab, that is. Then the problem was solved/mitigating through precisely same oligarchical maneuvering and wheel-greasing, the same economic and psychological incentives that were already at play.

          Cynical realism leads me to believe that they can do the same with any other crisis. Once it truly reveals itself as a crisis (meaning it has an impact somewhere that kills a lot of people, preferably in one or several of the countries with the largest carbon footprints), the Senior Partners will cobble together some Marshall Plan that puts energy companies on the dole and overpays them to shift to alternative sources, like Germany currently does with solar.

          And of course, when they’re not contributing to politicians’ campaigns, the aforementioned energy companies will be sure to have some prominent environments in their pockets for additional moral support. Human nature being what it is, those environmentalists will certainly take the bait and rationalize about all the good they can do with those resources.

          You don’t need to have an extraordinary amount of faith in the system to believe this is possible. In fact, the less faith you have, the more likely you are to believe that an unholy union with energy giants is likely to happen, because it happens already.

        • Aster January 13, 2010 at 12:05 am #

          I’m not saying that there won’t be any kind of New Deal to address climate change and other environmental emergencies, and I’m actually more “optimistic” than Charles Johnson regarding the ability of the corporate state system to respond to the crises. But any plan is likely to (1) strip the freedom and prosperity of even bourgeois citizens of rich countries by an order of magnitude equivalent to a war mobilisation, and (2) let hundreds of millions of poor and brown people slip through the cracks of the system because both we and the powers-that-be don’t care enough to prevent it. And I fear that the cultural damage inflicted by the process could break an Enlightenment which has in philosophical essentials now been seriously ill for nearly a century. It will be a century of psychological opportunity for every fundamentalism, every fascism, every communism. Especially if a liberal individualism takes the blame for it.

          BTW, if I become an environmentalist will the Devil invite me to play racquetball? I can take out a second mortgage on a soul, right?

          (Please tell me that there isn’t a secret circle of Hell where you spend all eternity eating anarchist vegan cooking.)

    • dennis January 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

      I’ll admit I was too lazy to read your whole post (I like your writing even when I disagree, so I’ll go back to it later) but while I often roll my eyes at the right wing populisty, anti – “darwinism” pieces on LRC, I still read the site with interest and find a good deal that I like. I couldn’t agree more about what you call the “libertarian southern strategy.” Leaving aside issues of morality and compatability with the core principles of libertarianism (which are more important issues) the strategy is doomed to long term failure. I live in about as bourgeois a place as there is in America. I don’t know a single person younger than 60 who would care if his daughter dated an African American. When a lesbian friend of mine came out to her parents she was actually disappointed at how accepting they were. A local story about a transgendered 8 year old brought a great deal more support for the child and her family than it did hectoring from Bible Brigade cranks. The point is that in an open society public norms will, all things being equal, move toward respect for different groups. Strategically, libertarians would do well to be awaiting society ahead of the curve than catching up.

      As for me, I have said before and repeat now, that I’m not interested in libertarianism as a movement. I find that my ideas fit with a radical conception of libertarianism, so that makes me a libertarian.

  14. Aster January 9, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    e g.:


    Railing against Darwin and humanism, while castigating the public schools for producing illiterates (!), in rhetoric with more than a whiff of racism? Is this the libertarian movement you guys want? If not, when is someone going to make a public stand over this? Libertarianism is nothing if it considers reason and science to be optional.

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