Tag Archives | Molinari/C4SS

Libertopia Plus a Mountain Excursion

The view from Cannonball

The view from Cannonball (click to enlarge)

As I only now belatedly report, I attended the revived Libertopia conference in San Diego, 3-6 May. As always it was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed getting to hang out with Gary Chartier and Jeff Tucker. It was also fun visiting some of my favourite San Diego eateries, such as Berta’s and Cannonball.

The talk I gave on Hoppe and the Alt-Right will be posted as soon as I have time to finish tweaking it.

Past glory (from 2012)

Past glory (from 2012)

I’m sad to report that all is not completely well with our beloved Libertopia. The turnout was much lower than usual, and I suspect part of the blame lies with inadequate publicity. Several people one would expect to have been clued in told me they weren’t even aware the event was happening. (The hiccough with the conference originally being announced for a different date and venue surely didn’t help either.) Another cause perhaps lies in the much higher price for an exhibitor’s booth ($1000, up from $400 in previous years); this price hike meant that this is the first Libertopia at which Molinari/C4SS didn’t have a booth, and I’m sure the price kept many other exhibitors away as well. There was also a fair bit of disorganisation; apparently some speakers were comped and some weren’t and it’s not clear what the intended policy was supposed to be. Also, times and venues of speakers were switched without warning at the last minute, so that I missed several talks I’d intended to see. Something really needs to happen to rescue this conference, or we may not see another one for a while.

One of the many attractive features of San Diego is that if you for some reason get sick of being in a cosmopolitan city on the coast, an hour’s drive or so will take you to the mountains or the desert. After the conference I took a free day to head out to the old (but touristed-up) mining town of Julian (check out the town’s webcam), where I haven’t been since childhood. While Julian is a pleasant enough destination (with a nice bookstore), the real point of the trip is the scenery on the way. I recommend doubling the scenery by taking the southern loop there and the northern loop back. For best results, go on a sunny day.

Julian Scenic Drive Instructions:

Southern loop: San Diego to Julian:

1. From San Diego, take I-8 East (a.k.a. the Kumeyaay Highway) for about 40 miles.

2. Take Exit 40 (the sign reads “79 / Descansa / Japatal Valley Rd.”), and after exiting, turn left onto 79 N.

3. Take 79 N for about 20 miles, enjoying the views; you’re in the Cuyamaca Mountains now.

4. Brief recommended scenic detour: On the right you’ll see a sign announcing a “Vista Point.” Take a right onto this short road to Desert View Park, from which (as you might guess) you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the Anza Borrego Desert far below.

5. Get back on the main road and take 79 N for another three miles or so. Welcome to Julian! Have some lunch. Check out that bookstore (closed Mondays, sorry).

Northern loop: Julian to San Diego :

1. You are probably on either Main Street or Washington Street; their intersection is the center of town. From that intersection, take Washington St. in a southwesterly or downhill direction; the signs should assure you that you’re on 78 W and 79 N.

2. Brief recommended scenic detour: After about a mile on 78 W / 79 N, you’ll see Pine Hills Road on your left. Take it.
After a couple of miles (passing and ignoring Deer Park Road), turn left on Frisius Road.
After a mile and a half, turn left onto (the other end of) Deer Park Road.
Another couple of miles will take you back to Pine Hills Road; turn right and you’ll soon be back at 78 W / 79 N (turn left onto it).

3. Continue on 78 W / 79 N. In about six miles, at Santa Ysabel, 78 W and 79 N will part company; stick with 78 W.

4. In another sixteen miles, in Ramona, you have a choice between continuing on 78 W or taking 67 S – both scenic! One will take you to I-15 S and the other to I-8 W, either of which will get you back to San Diego (about 50 miles from Ramona).

Left-Libertarians at Libertopia

[cross-posted at C4SS and BHL]

Next month (3-6 May) in San Diego I’ll be speaking at the Libertopia conference, which is back after several years’ hiatus. Here’s my topic and abstract:

Hoppean Libertarianism as Right-Wing Tribalism: A Critique
Roderick T. Long

One of the main conduits by which many libertarians in recent years have been drawn into the orbit of the Alt-Right is the work of Hans-Hermann Hoppe. I argue that Hoppe’s views on such matters as racial difference, immigration, monarchism, and the desirability of culturally homogeneous communities are systematically mistaken, as well as incompatible with a libertarian understanding of human action.

My Molinari Institute / Center for a Stateless Society / Alliance of the Libertarian Left / Bleeding Heart Libertarians colleague Gary Chartier will also be speaking; here’s his topic and abstract:

How to Think About the Constitution
Gary Chartier

Libertarians often defend particular theories of constitutional interpretation. But, at least for those who are skeptical about standard defenses of state authority, there’s a prior question: are we obligated to follow the Constitution? If we’re not, I suggest, then there’s no right answer to questions about the right way to read the Constitution. Instead, we should make constitutional arguments likely to advance liberty.

Other speakers include David Friedman, Scott Horton, Jeff Tucker, Spencer MacCallum, and many more. Check it out!

To and Fro Upon the Earth

Last week I gave a talk on Lockean vs. Kantian takes on property rights in a state of nature at the PPE Society meeting in New Orleans. The conference had loads of libertarian academics; check out the participant list. Ann Cudd gave a keynote address criticising libertarians for being social atomists who don’t believe in any positive moral obligations; she seemed genuinely surprised that the assembled libertarians took exception to this characterisation. As a culminating irony she even offered, as a supposed critique of libertarianism, an analysis of Robinson Crusoe virtually identical to Bastiat’s.

(Incidentally, for anyone visiting New Orleans I highly recommend the shrimp and grits at Café Fleur de Lis and, as always, anything at Sukho Thai.)

Upon my return, I gave a talk on the relation between philosophical thought-experiments and fantastic fiction at the Auburn Philosophy Club’s panel on Fantasy, Fiction, and Philosophy here in Auburn.

Tomorrow I leave for gigs at the Pacific APA in San Diego and the APEE in Las Vegas; see the next post for details.

Then I’ll be coming back just in time for the Auburn Philosophy department’s conference on Practical Reasoning.

Class Act

[cross-posted at BHL]

Karl Marx once wrote:

I do not claim to have discovered either the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle between them. Long before me, bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this struggle between the classes, as had bourgeois economists their economic anatomy. My own contribution was

1. to show that the existence of classes is merely bound up with certain historical phases in the development of production;

2. that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat;

3. that this dictatorship itself constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.

Marx is certainly right that class analysis was a central feature of classical liberalism long before he picked it up. He’s fibbing a bit, though, about (1) and (3); many of his bourgeois predecessors (for example, the Censeur triumvirate of Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer, and Augustin Thierry) most emphatically thought that class society as they understood it was a temporary phenomenon destined to be displaced. Thierry, for example, announces:

Federations will replace states; the loose but indissoluble chains of interest will replace the despotism of men and of laws; the tendency towards government, the first passion of the human race, will cede to the free community. The era of empire is over, the era of association begins.

The main difference between Marx and the liberals was that Marx took the differentiation between ruling and ruled classes to be grounded in differential access to the means of production, whereas the liberals took the differentiation between ruling and ruled classes to be grounded in differential access to predatory power, and in particular to the power of the state. (To be sure, Marx acknowledged and indeed insisted on the important role of the state in maintaining class division when examining the details of history or current events; but the state quickly receded in importance when he turned to abstract theory.)

All this is by way of noting that I just received in the mail my author’s copy of Social Class and State Power: Exploring an Alternative Radical Tradition, an anthology of libertarian and classical liberal writings on class analysis that I co-edited with David Hart, Gary Chartier, and Ross Kenyon.

The volume includes material by a rather heterogeneous collection of authors:

  • from the 17th century, Richard Overton;
  • from the 18th century, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, Vicesimus Knox, and William Godwin;
  • from the 19th century, Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, Thomas Hodgskin, John Wade, William Leggett, Richard Cobden, John C. Calhoun, Adolphe Blanqui, Frédéric Bastiat, Charles Renouard, Augustin Thierry, Gustave de Molinari, Herbert Spencer, William Graham Sumner, Lysander Spooner, and Benjamin Tucker;
  • and from the 20th century, Franz Oppenheimer, Albert J. Nock, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Roy Childs, Walter Grinder, John Hagel, Hans Hoppe, and your humble correspondent.

I would urge you to go out and buy a copy; but in light of the book’s $100 pricetag, I’ll just urge you to go out and suggest to your local research library that they buy a copy.

Two New Publications

[cross-posted at C4SS and BHL]

My chapter on “Anarchism and Libertarianism” is forthcoming in Nathan Jun, ed., Brill’s Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy (Leiden: Brill, 2017), at the usual insane Brill price. In the chapter I explore the relationship between libertarianism (in the free-market sense) and the anarchist movement, including the question whether anarcho-capitalism counts as a genuine form of anarchism. (My C4SS colleague Kevin Carson has a chapter in the book as well.)

According to the publisher, I’m only allowed to make 25 hard copies of the chapter – but I’m also allowed to post a copy online, so long as it’s on my personal website. That seems to me a bit like saying “No smoking allowed in this room, but it’s okay to set the bed on fire.” But okay, here’s a link to the chapter.

(My reference to capitalist labour markets as “oligopolistic” was supposed to be “oligopsonistic.” The editors changed it to “oligopolistic,” which of course has the opposite meaning; I changed it back in galleys, but it ended up “oligopolistic” in the final published text nonetheless. Sigh.)

I also have a chapter on “Minarchism on Seasteads” in Victor Tiberius, ed., Seasteads: Opportunities and Challenges for Small New Societies (Zurich: VDF, 2017). I explore options for constraining a seastead minarchy (essentially by incorporating as many anarchist features as possible; those who remember my articles from the FNF/LNF days will find my proposals familiar). Here’s the link.

(The version I’ve posted is the galley proofs with my corrections. No, of course the corrections did not make it into the final published text. Sigh again.)

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