Pat Robertson on, Like, Haiti

Before Ken MacLeod pointed to this video, about the Haitian response to Robertson’s garbage, I’d never actually heard the exact words of Robertson’s remark:

Notice, then, that one of Robertson’s claims is that the Haitians (who revolted in the 1790s) had been under the rule of Napoleon III (who came to power in 1851).

Well, Robertson does say “Napoleon III or whatever,” so I guess his statement is saved by its second disjunct.

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24 Responses to Pat Robertson on, Like, Haiti

  1. Neil Parille January 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    I’m not a fan of Pat Robertson, but I imagine that when the earthquake hit many Hatians said to themselves “boy we are cursed.”

    Does the media ever mention Pat Robertson other than in the context of his remarks on natural disasters? I doubt the media would report if John Spong said the earthquake was the judgment of the pantheistic god for global warming.

    -Neil Parille

    • Roderick January 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

      Ah, but Spong didn’t beat Bush père in the Iowa caucus.

    • Aster January 19, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

      There are certainly very dangerous people who frame climate change in terms of a theistic morality play. Some of them are pantheists. Most are Christians.

      But complaining about the mainstream media because they´re not nice enough to a fanatical authoritarian con-man who had made the encouragement of irrationalism and bigotry his life´s work, who exploits the fear and ignorance of the poor, befriends dictators, and profits off statist murder?

      Oh, wait, I was thinking of libertarianism as a rational individualist movement, rather than a pity party for aggrieved Christian white guys. My bad.

      Climate science is science, and cause and effect are likely to operate regardless of our preferred religions and political ideologies. The best thing we can do to forestall philosophical exploitation of the climate crisis by religious and secular altruists is to deal with the matter rationally while a rational response is still possible. When the empirical evidence on climate change finally becomes too obvious for anyone to deny, libertarians are going to be remembered as a kooky right-wing ideology which apologised for privilege at the expense of science, reason, and a very large number of human lives. Libertarianism will be infamous for centuries as the intellectual movement which delayed and excused while a disaster worse than the XX century´s holocausts overtook the planet. Any libertarian who wishes to prevent this would be wise to confront the parochial conservatism of their own movement and to thoughtfully revise the libertarian project in a form capable of responsibly confronting the emergence of massively lethal environmental externalities.

      From the the Fountainhead, Left and Right, ¨the Party of Principle¨ and ¨we must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure¨ to the hidebound, incurious resentment of the American volk. What a long, strange trip it´s been.

  2. Anon73 January 19, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Roderick, what do you think of the argument that Haiti is poor partly due to a lack of liberty and free markets? If you compare D.R. with Haiti, or Calcutta with Hong Kong, as this column does?

  3. Neil January 20, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    Is anyone here good with voodoo?

  4. Neil January 20, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    voodoo. Yeah I can’t tag.

  5. Kevin Carson January 20, 2010 at 12:57 am #

    Yeah, those Haitians have really been cursed ever since they made that pact with the devil. Because things were just so swell before, when they were slaves and all. Robertson’s mom ought to be arrested for dumping dangerous substances.

    Aster, it’s interesting you mentioned the things you did under a post that starts out with Ken MacLeod. In some of his near-future work, he describes the hinterlands of the Second Former Union (FU2) being taken over by flat-earthers and snake handlers in terms very much like Heinlein’s Scudder regime.

  6. Aster January 20, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    While on the subject of Christian antiliberalism and Haiti, here is another example of illiberal filth utterly hostile to every essential value of the Enlightenment. And it’s being published by the single most prominent libertarian website.

    There will come a time when a serious mind takes a comprehensive look at what libertarianism has become and blasts to Hell this patriarchal brimstone monstrosity posturing as a politics of freedom. If this voice comes from the rational Left the damage to the libertarian ideal will be intense and, given our times, possibly permanently fatal. If this voice comes from within libertarianism, then libertarianism as a politics of reason and freedom is likely to survive, albiet not unchanged. And we should not fear change which results from confrontation with reality.

    I’m not going to shut up about this. It isn’t just about what libertarianism has done to me. Libertarianism has for some time been moving in directions which will discredit it in the eyes of any philosophically serious person who accepts the Enlightenment and the liberal revolutions. We must presume that liberal civilisation will persist, for if it does not the future for all of us who dare to see with opened eyes is too bleak to make further thought meaningful. If it does, a movement which chanted ‘freedom’ while trying to kill the open society will be branded by history with a mark of Cain. And those elements of liberalism so carefully honed by libertarian thinkers will be lost.

    We desperately need an equivalent to Kevin Carson in the realm not of class and economics but of culture and first principles. Someone must answer Hoppe, someone capable of facing him as a social equal. We must end paleolibertarianism’s Babylonian captivity of individualism. More than anything, we need a serious, passionate, and above all critical successor to Ayn Rand. It’s of course impossible to create such a person. But it is possible to maintain a society which will inspire and nurture him, and to write what we can.

    • JOR January 20, 2010 at 11:54 am #

      Really, when I clicked the link I was expecting some campy Hoppean rant about how drug-addicted homosexual environment-worshiping communists recruiting illegal immigrant kids to squat on the front lawns of little old blond Aryan patriarchs are causing all of Haiti’s problems. LRC has run such articles before, so I figured that’s what you must have in mind in pointing out a notable display of antiliberal filth.

      Needless to say, I was disappointed. There’s very little in that article that can be interpreted as antiliberal. The stuff about good ol’ Christian values (which ones? Eastern Orthodox? Rationalist Catholic? Antirationalist Catholic? High Church Protestant? American conservative? American fundamentalist? Liberation theology?) is really the only thing that comes close, and it’s stupid anyway; people in those societies reverted to chaos and violence when desperate enough, same as anyone would.

      He’s essentially warning about all that disaster stuff you rant about all the time, and giving practical advice on how to deal with it as individuals instead of non sequiturs about how libertarianism has to embrace humanitarian war and a command economy to be Taken Seriously by center-left fascists, or whatever.

      • Aster January 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

        I do not recommend embrace of a “command economy” and humanitarian war.

        1) I personally support a mild welfare state of the model of Popper and Hayek. This is not out of any abiding love for the welfare state, but because the welfare state as currently promoted carries secular liberal values while the libertarian alternative as currently promoted carries patriarchal values. I think all war inevitably has horrible unintended consequences and that most allegedly humanitarian wars are cover for imperialism, but I also firmly believe that military intervention can sometimes be the lesser evil if the alternative is allowing mass murder or brutal dictatorship to just happen. Reconstruction comes to mind.

        2) The above has little to do with the reasons for my ‘strategic theorising’. The reason that libertarianism needs to change is because it has ceased to be a movement animated by the essential values of Enlightenment liberalism. I do not advocate concessions to even a limited welfare statism or limited military interventionism. Actually I think the Rose Wilder Lane rugged individualist ethic is something worth preserving- I recommend a return to Ayn Rand, for goddess’ sake, who was not precisly famous for her love of economic interventionism. I recommend ‘concessions’ to reason and Enlightenment, and not for the sake of placating modern liberals as such (you do know that ‘liberalism’ doesn’t mean the American Democratic Party, right?) but for the sake of earning the regard of anyone in the future who reads, respects reason and science, and has some curiosity about the world beyond their parents’ native mud puddle.

        The reason I bang the delenda est drum on climate change is very simple. Asking libertarians to return to secular sensibilities on cultural issues is futile because they think it only effects other people and they could care less. But with climate change and environmentalism, I’ve some confidence that I can make libertarians return to secular sensibilities because here I have that powerful ally on my side known as reality. Libertarianism can either has to concede on an issue which for some irrational reason has become equated with quintessential Leftism or it can get wiped out in the eyes of thinking minds with Lysenko and William Jennings Bryan. The first will likely break the decisive social power of libertarianism’s patriarchs. The second will grant me vengeance. I like those numbers.

        Well, that, and because about the only rational thing one can do when the world is burning is to enjoy the spectacle and warm oneself in the flames. And since we are all dying, my friends, the world was always burning.

        3) Returning to speaking personally, I personally do immensely enjoy making concessions to liberal statists, if only for the pure joy of imagining the bigoted right-wing farmer who had to slave a few extra hours to indirectly pay for my wine and cheese. I’ve learned the hard way that such people won’t treat me with basic human respect no matter how carefully I observe libertarian technicalities (and I used to miss of lots of meals for the sake of this idiotic kind of idealism). Screw that. I could sit down for a few hours and tell you about the 12 years I spent trying to find a place with the libertarian movement, and how the libertarian movement treated me, and how many offers of friendship from the Left I turned down because I felt it was wrong to deal with the state. But I don’t have a few hours, because it’s Mom Day again, and I have to go do up my hair and put on something nice, and pick up my shoes from the repair shop. TTYL. For now please enjoy the pleasure of your own company.

        You know, I honestly prefer a polite, if passionate, exchange of ideas. Or we could just trade barbs forever, whichever you wish.

        • Aster January 20, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

          That’s the second time that italicised formatting has failed to show up. Is everyone else having this problem?

        • Roderick January 20, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

          are you using i in brackets or em in brackets?

        • Anon73 January 20, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

          I’ve given up trying to format my text on any website, since you never know whether they’ll accept html, [i], , or some unholy custom tags.

        • DavidM January 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

          “I personally do immensely enjoy making concessions to liberal statists, if only for the pure joy of imagining the bigoted right-wing farmer who had to slave a few extra hours to indirectly pay for my wine and cheese.”

          As an individual who grew up on a farm, and who loves all aspects of farming– particularly if it is managed in a Polyface Farm/Acres USA type of manner– I resent being identified as bigoted or right-wing. Yes, some farmers are bigoted and right-wing but not all. In fact, some of the most freedom loving and rational individuals are farmers, especially those that follow the organic, work-with-nature-and-the-soil Acres USA type of approach.

          For the sake of argument, lets assume that the stereotype you just uttered is correct. Let us assume that all farmers are indeed bigoted right-wing nuts who, given the chance, treat all who do not share their narrow view of humanity as immoral and something less than human. I fail to see how this would thus imply that it is proper to use, indiscriminately**, the apparatus of the state to slap their wrists and call them “naughty boys.” You have expressed admiration and appreciation for Ayn Rand, hence I do not deem it necessary to argue the premise and conclusion at this point. If you have a different view, i.e. you want to- or can- argue about why people should be punished for their mere beliefs, I am more than willing to engage in such an exchange of ideas.

          **By “indiscriminately” I mean using force against farmers who simply believe a certain way, but who have not violently infringed upon the life and property of others.

          P.S. I admire Rand, but I think she was significantly wrong about many things.

        • Bill Compton January 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

          Actually I think the Rose Wilder Lane rugged individualist ethic is something worth preserving

          Given that she spent most of her childhood moving across the country from one farm to another, with poor access to formal education, I imagine that Rose Wilder Lane would be classified as one of those “right-wing farmers” by the aforementioned liberal statists. Certainly their aforementioned laws would make no distinction.

          Perhaps you could argue that she was an exceptionally intelligent farmer who eventually turned her back on that lifestyle. Then there’s the case of Isabel Patterson, who experienced much the same situation on a cattle ranch in Alberta, of which she wrote favorably.

          Your’s truly,
          An angry, right-wing male that had his guns taken away by liberal statists who hate immigrants, and who has, on occasion, farmed.

        • Bill Compton January 21, 2010 at 1:06 am #

          Come to think of it, Thoreau is an ideal candidate for that group, too.

        • Aster January 21, 2010 at 5:32 am #


          And everything you say here is truly, deeply, right, and just. Of course there’s nothing wrong with farming per se. Of course not all farmer’s are bigots. I have some serious concerns regarding the conservative tendencies of environmentalism, but that’s another issue which may be put aside. We should be free individuals respecting another’s rights. I would like to see such a world.

          Left and right, and their urban and rural constituencies, are fortresses. Each of us holes up in one fortress or another out of fear from being hurt by the other side. Each side pushes for laws and social conditions which harm the other, and each side takes each new blow as further evidence of the necessity of inflicting harm in return. And fortresses are prisons, and to the degree each side fears the other they are willing to put up with tyranny and enforced conformity from their internal elites. It’s precisely how the terror war functions, or the international state system generally, or the position marriages offer to women in patriarchy. Swear fealty to one tyrant or be tortured by the next.

          Libertarianism should have been an answer to that. It should have been, in Ayn Rand’s words, about trading de-control for de-control,and learning to relate to each other as individuals rather than examples of power blocs. But it didn’t happen. Objectivism and libertarianism just became a cover for one of the fortresses. The one that literally wishes that I did not exist.

          I wish this were a better world. I often feel as if we’ve passed and lost the chance to be kind enough to make that better world real. I am so tired. I’ve been hurt one too many times because I did try to live on the principle of refusing all protection of all fortresses because it’s all a horrible self-justifying game. But the third alternatives have either betrayed themselves or are too weak to offer protection, and I can’t live according to the demands of moral purists and rugged individualists who demand that I live without security. The anger I expressed was very, very real. I grew up in a Southern family and later spent several years of my life trapped in a small town in southwestern Virginia, and that portion of my mind is like a black scar. I’m also very sad that I feel I did have to choose a side with its own bloodied hands in a senselessly bloody conflict.

          But I have. And I know very well that the presence of cultural islands of centre-left hegemony is the only thing protecting me from a nightmare of harassment, discrimination and exclusion literally every time I step outside my door. I know people may think that I’m making this up, but this is what life was like for me in ‘red state’ America. It’s been two years since I left the States, and I still occasionally wake up with nightmares. It’s very hard to simply get used to the fact that most people here really treat me as just another person and judge me as an individual.

          I shouldn’t have said what I did, and I’m very happy if you have found work that you love- too few people ever do. I can’t imagine loving it, but most people feel the same way towards my life. In the future the existence of left-wing farmers could very well prove crucial to the survival of liberal civilisation. What I expect is more likely that the ‘Long Emergency’ will lock us back into dominance by feudal landlords. But if liberal culture can somehow survive a disurbanising transition without losing its essence my picture of the world would lose much darkness.

          But for now, the war rolls on. And I remain foundationally grateful to the cities and people who have made me feel like I am allowed to survive. And I am willing to do absolutely anything necessary to preserve these circumstances. I can see that the urban centre-left has a chance of preserving them, while libertarianism has failed.

          P.S. I also admire Ayn Rand critically, tho’ I’ve no idea whether our disagreements with her philosophy converge or differ.


          I’m more inclined than not towards a RKBA position on weapons rights issues. But with that attitude towards immigrants- especially as I’m an immigrant myself (not to America, thank goddess)- I’m perfectly thrilled to see someone rip off every last rifle and gun in your possession. Every time I feel sick about something done by the Left I remind myself that the alternative is falling under the power of someone like you. I didn’t like the state taking away my stiletto and pepper spray either, but the thought of an armed you frightens me enough to put up with far worse.

        • Roderick January 21, 2010 at 9:23 am #


          Unless he accidentally left off an ‘s,’ Bill didn’t say that he hates immigrants.

        • Bill Compton January 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

          Roderick is correct. I was trying to convey that they hate immigrants such as myself.

        • Aster January 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm #


          Perhaps, but then perhaps Bill Compton is also neither “right-wing” nor an Undead-American. Perhaps he’s even secretly some pervy queer resident of a northern city so liberal that it might as well be Canada. One never knows what dangerous creatures one can find lurking below the shallows of the internets.

          In any case, I’ll certainly credo that we should all be armed and trained as citizens– which today primarily implies competence with a laptop and a cellphone, not primitive American killing tools– and therefore I have reserved the right to unleash unbearable levels of rhetorical violence against anyone who dares to break the sacred libertarian principle of “no shoot gun in house”. As I alluded to in my earlier note, what other weapons have I here?

          Touché. Barbarian.

          I’m sure it would be more peaceful is we accepted that we are one people and just sung the national anthem together. Oops, I meant a civilised one.

          Otherwise, the Mom’s garden in growing beautifully; it’s stunning how quickly everything we planted some months ago has flourished. She’s growing me a trimming from her camelia bush. Life is beautiful.

  7. Kevin Carson January 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Well, the article started out on the parallels between America and Haiti, with some pretty heavy-handed stuff about how benighted those degenerates down there were (degeneracy apparently being indicated by a willingness to expropriate property).

    IMO the folks in Haiti have been more than entitled to expropriate property; whether expropriation is good or bad depends on whether the property title is just or unjust.

    Just how illiberal it was beyond that I can’t say, since I didn’t click to read the full article.

    But that bit about 2% of the population feeding 98% really got my goat, because it only counts the share of food grown on commercial farms. It might be fair to say that almost all our cereal grains are grown by 2% of the population on commercial farms, but neglecting the share of fruits and vegetables grown in the informal/household sector is comparable to ignoring the private plots in the old USSR just because they weren’t “official” enterprises.

  8. Brandon January 20, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    I’ve given up trying to format my text on any website, since you never know whether they’ll accept html, [i], , or some unholy custom tags.

    I created a plugin that displays the list of allowed tags just below the comment textbox to take the guesswork out of it.

    • Anon73 January 20, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

      Yes, well…. if only more websites imitated your example.

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