27 Responses to Waterworld, Part 2

  1. Neil January 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    Give ’em hell, hooah!

  2. Michael Wiebe January 26, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Are you nervous talking about anarchy at a conference like this?

  3. Neil January 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    ROFL you almost gave me a heart attack!

    Regardless, ’tis a masterpiece!

  4. Neil January 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    I can never get it right! I was trying to quote:

    “and thus avoid aggressing against innocent people”

  5. Gary Chartier January 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    Predictably clear and correct—and wonderfully educational for a crowd that’s unlikely to have thought much about anarchism.

    • Anon73 January 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

      Academic conferences are cool and all but somehow I doubt a group of people who draw their salaries from the state are going to be eager to publish pro-anarchist papers in droves.

      • Gary Chartier January 26, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

        That’s pretty plausible a priori, but it is at any rate heartening that Auburn and GMU are both state institutions, as was UNLV where Rothbard ended his career and Hoppe still holds forth. I fear that what this means is that the state just doesn’t take intellectuals very seriously.

        • Gary Chartier January 26, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

          Which kinda pulls the rug out from under “heartening,” doesn’t it . . . .

        • Neil January 26, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

          I’m with Hoppe on the notion that the state employs the intellectuals as a means to maintaining power. So I think they have a particularly serious interest in intellectuals themselves. However they just like to marginalize the ones that are counterproductive to their aims.

          Besides the military has within it more open-minded folks than they’re usually given credit for. Sure it’s mired with those inefficiencies that mark any central planning agency. Of course a large majority of those in the institution are responsible for major crimes against humanity. Yet there are plenty of members who join for otherwise honorable reasons and have claim to virtues which are largely lacking in many libertarian circles.

        • Aster January 26, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

          Yes, like the virtues of taking orders, giving orders, merging with the collective, and killing people.

          Militaries are the soul and beating heart of authoritarianism.

        • Neil January 27, 2010 at 12:08 am #

          You fail to take into account the virtues of the naive who think they’re serving a noble cause. It’s unfair to pass a blanket judgment upon them all.

        • Neil January 27, 2010 at 12:11 am #

          And what of those who are working within the system in order to undermine it? Shall we turn our noses up that them too?

        • Brandon January 27, 2010 at 12:20 am #

          …UNLV where Rothbard ended his career and Hoppe still holds forth.

          Triple-H retired from UNLV after the legal bruhaha with that commie student.

        • Aster January 27, 2010 at 12:29 am #

          I don’t think we should demonise all individual soldiers as such, most of whom are just poor people looking for a chance in life, with little knowledge of the reality of the American Empire. What I oppose is the notion that militaries as such are repositories of virtue, worthy of honour and respect because they are militaries. One can show fairness to individual troops without supporting “the troops” or troops qua troops. Creation and production are noble; war is not only murderous and destructive but inherently illiberal.

          Of course, there also exists a viciously right-wing and heavily theocratic subculture which circulates between the military, police, mercenary subcontractors, prison unions, etc. These people really are American brownshirts and represent an increasingly immediate danger to what remains of America’s open society. Lynddie England is as much a tortured product of a mad system as a torturer, but for these guys torture is merely the clearest expression of a psychotic need to dominate.

        • Aster January 27, 2010 at 12:37 am #

          “commie student”?

          I know that Hoppe was involved in an incident where a gay student protested against some bigoted remarks in class (and my position on that issue is that Hoppe should be allowed to teach whatever he wants under the principle of academic freedom, at which point individuals should mercilessly protest and boycott his classes). Is this the same event? If so, I haven’t read that the student was a communist, and even if he was I don’t see what that has to do with the principles involved.

          Personally I don’t care if he was a Stalinist; anyone who stands up to Hoppe deserves a free drink in my book.

        • Neil January 27, 2010 at 12:52 am #


          I agree with you there. It just seems that your previous remarks imply the notion that I suggested that “militaries as such are repositories of virtue.”

        • Anon73 January 27, 2010 at 12:57 am #

          I remember reading that Rothbard himself was not very welcome at UNLV after awhile, but since had tenure they couldn’t get rid of him. I don’t think a Mises-type could get a Ph.D. or appointment there now.

      • Neil January 26, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

        Is the paper being presented particularly pro-anarchist? It seems that he took great care in setting that issue aside.

        • Aster January 27, 2010 at 1:01 am #

          I was referring to this clause: “…and have claim to virtues which are largely lacking in many libertarian circles”.

        • Neil January 27, 2010 at 1:07 am #

          Just as I defend the individuals of militaries who have claim to virtue do I also defend the individuals of libertarian circles that have similar claims.

          While libertarian circles meet a minimum threshold of having some virtue (mainly stemming from the commitment to non-aggression), I find that largely these circles aren’t the repositories of virtue that libertarians prefer to think of them as.

        • Aster January 27, 2010 at 1:32 am #

          The real question is what one considers virtues. I’m down with virtue ethics, but MacIntyre and the sort of people society pays to teach ethics always seem to assume that the virtues involves must be altruistic, communitarian, respectable, responsible. But Machiavelli, Nietzsche, and Rand also taught virtue. I like some people conventionally dubbed vicious better than some people conventionally dubbed virtuous. And of course most people following any code of values fall short of their ideals.

          I certainly think that some sets of virtues are better than others, but even where I disagree with (say) Christians or soldiers I can’t exclude their ideals from my definition of ‘virtue’. Personally I favour cosmopolitan and life-affirming virtues, but this can encompass many specific mutually incompatible lives and ideals; a good economist and a good poet are unlikely to think or act alike, nor should they.

        • Neil January 27, 2010 at 2:07 am #

          “I certainly think that some sets of virtues are better than others, but even where I disagree with (say) Christians or soldiers I can’t exclude their ideals from my definition of ‘virtue’.”

          I can exclude their ideals from what I understand virtue to be depending upon what their ideals are.

        • Aster January 27, 2010 at 2:14 am #

          I can’t see any reason to think there is a such thing that virtue ‘is’, except in relation to human purposes.

        • Neil January 27, 2010 at 2:59 am #

          If by “human purposes” you may refer to the purposes of rational agents, then I agree. After all I would like to avoid the charge of speciesism. (There may be some libertarians out there willing to crucify me for it, after all.) Yet why should one assume that virtue refers to something beyond the context of the affairs of rational agents and their constitution?

  6. Aster January 27, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    I don’t, per se. My point was merely to say that I merely consider virtues which I consider irrational to still deserve recognition as virtues. I can recognise in a warrior’s or a Christian’s striving after an ideal type of life the same process as a more rational agent’s crafting of a kind of life. It would be difficult to enjoy most literature or most people without this awareness.

    I agree with you about speciesism; some cetaceans and nonhuman primates seem likely to have reached the critical intellectual mass to be capable of acheiving mindedness, while some humans (e.g., fetuses, human vegetables, and Troy Southgate) lack this capacity.

    I thought it likely that you has something conservative in mind when speaking of ‘virtue’ as you suggested that American soldiers are more likely to possess it than libertarians, and the virtues of American soldiers are way off the scale towards the rightward side of the ethical spectrum.

    Anyway, this has been an interesting discussion, but I have soooooooooo much werk to do this week. 🙁

    • Neil January 28, 2010 at 2:07 am #

      I appreciate that you find our discussion interesting. I won’t keep attempt to keep it going so much as I think that I ought to clear the air just a bit.

      It’s not as though I think that on the whole military members are more virtuous than libertarians. I just find that there are virtues that generally military members possess that generally libertarians lack. However the majority of libertarians I’ve come in contact with are keyboard jockey/tough-guy forum-elitist prima donna anarchist types, which likely skews my point of view.


  1. Waterworld, Part 3 | Austro-Athenian Empire - February 3, 2010

    […] to be about half military people and half civilian academics. Some people in the talkback of my earlier post were wondering whether my paper would freak them out, but it’s actually a fairly diverse and […]

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