Posted by: L | July 22, 2007

Ron Paul Road Show (cont): Do we need the government to make us moral (revised)…

This post takes up a previous post by a communitarian blogger, who wrote in to distance himself from the Ron Paul campaign. The blogger, Scimitar, objected to some Ron Paul critics who had made a wrong-headed connection between racialist or racist ways of thinking and Paul’s libertarian’s position.

Scimitar correctly noted that libertarianism is a philosophy that undermines collectivist policies or group-based policies – of any kind. He argued that it would also tend to undermine more benign racialism – feelings of group identity and solidarity with people of the same language, race, or culture. I tend to disagree with him on that, although I think, over the long haul, libertarianism (since it leaves people free to be individuals), does encourage people to be open to others — but that’s very different from forcing them to.

Scimitar then identified libertarianism with license and moral relativism, and a blogger at Cynical Nerd seconded that, calling libertarianism a kind of a “nothing” when it comes to political ideology and the “goals” of life.

Well – surprise – I agree.

Libertarianism has “nothing” to tell you about what ends or goals you should choose for yourself or what gods you should worship or refuse to worship. So, if you are looking for an explanation of the universe that fits the whole world, a religion that works for everyone, a “truth” you can bite into like an apple — libertarianism won’t give it to you — at least not in an obvious way.

But that is just why I am a libertarian. Libertarianism is ONLY a theory of how people or groups should best associate; and it is the ONLY approach to politics with enough sophistication to understand that different groups and peoples might have different beliefs about how to conduct their lives. Politics, note, are not the end-all of life and libertarianism starts from that assumption. That is its beauty.

Libertarianism is not moral relativism – it is pluralism. It is perpectivalism. It involves understanding that our moral language is itself ambiguous and depends on context — Libertarianism simply leaves room for the greatest number of contexts. It does not assume there is NO objective truth or truths; it just involves an agreement that a government is not the best place to find them and that were there any sort of truths and “final ends” found embodied in a government, they would only be corrupt forms of them.

Scimitar: by checking the growth of the state, libertarianism is the only theory about human association, that lets those civic associations you like flourish – churches, cultural groups….

The bigger the state gets, the more energy is taken away from those associations…

Does libertarianism lead to anarchy?

Yes – and that’s a good thing. Anarchy is not chaos. Even chaos is not chaos, as scientists have long ago conceded.

Chaos and what we called randomness have patterns of far greater complexity than we have suspected so far. Those patterns are actually disrupted and destroyed by government interference. Left to themselves, humans are hardwired to associate in very complex ways that self-regulate and avoid the excesses of crime we now have everywhere, which we falsely blame on human nature alone.

Of course, human nature is not solely good. But libertarianism is realistic enough about that too. That’s why it allows for self-interest and natural limits to regulate human beings , rather than the government. If you have an Augustinian view of life, if you think human beings are inherently flawed, why would you give a few human beings so much concentrated power?

Who will guard the guardians — doesn’t that thought occur to you?

Contrary to your criticism, libertarianism sees through that kind of “guardianship” and is humble and wise enough to see that nature herself possesses self-regulatory mechanisms that would work if we did not get in the way. Bargaining for goods in a market (and a market, however free, always has laws – the question is only what kind of laws) is one way; family and kinship groups are another; even death and disease are hard facts which set limits to how far our license can go.

Do too many serious drugs and you will die… or go nuts. That’s a pretty sharp boundary just there. Does the state really need to waltz every petty marijuana possessor off to jail?

Or take last night, when the ever vigilant MSM (mainstream media)- NBC in this case – ran an investigative piece on what it called sexual predation by adults on teens. It takes some doing to get me to start defending sexual predators, but what I saw last night sounded like straight entrapment. I don’t know what the resumes of those men were, but to me, at least, it seems that if you chat up a police decoy posing as a teen who explicitly sets up an occasion for a crime and leads you into it — that’s not just an undercover operation. That’s entrapment. That’s creating a crime that would not have occured without you.

(More on this expose another time…and no, this is not a defense of pedophiles).

Libertarianism does recognize the faults in human beings but it also recognizes that the state incentivizes, exacerbates and multiplies those faults — because it relies on collectivist thinking; because it manipulates and lives off the lowest common elements in the nature of mass man. It appeals to the mass and not to the individual, and masses of men – mobs – are very different from aggregates of individuals. The mass can be manipulated by propaganda, as I write in this piece.

A mob is not a group. Individuals in groups do not need a political messiah to rescue them from their own uniqueness. An individual might have a relationship with Jesus Christ or a guru or the Unknown God. But only a mass wants a superman in front of it to lead it to the third reich, manifest destiny, the worker’s paradise…or most likely, hell on earth…

Only the mass wants to exchange the freedom to shape your own life and to think for yourself for the questionable intoxication of merging with the crowd.

Individuals, lightly restrained, develop self-government.

Masses, overregulated and terrorized by power, develop nothing but hero worship and a love of slavery.

Does that mean we should not have laws?

No, of course not. Anarchy does not mean the absence of law or morality or order. It is simply a refutation of state (admittedly corporate-state) imposed law, morality or order.

In my reading of anarchism anyway (I know there are some anarchists who think all law is coercive and all inequality or hierarchy illegitimate – I tend to think their position misguided) would not, for example, do away with customary laws, common law, and more organic, community based standards. It would simply prevent an estranged, alienated state and a distant judiciary imposing laws and regulations, however well-meaning, for the “good” of a non-existent or ambiguous collective that is so large that meaningful identification of its “interests” is difficult if not impossible in many areas.

Those are my random thoughts this Sunday morning. I am listening to Garrison Keillor and thinking – to a lot of people (including me) — that’s America. Not the U.S. government – its past or its future…

Now, I need to get to two other points Scimitar made:

First – that he is more an American because his ancestors were here long before those of more recent immigrants and because they lost their lives in the wars that shaped the geographical boundaries of this state:

(In his comments below, Scimitar says I do not correctly state his position, which, he says, was simply a belief most “whites” held until the 198os. As I understand his clarification, he does not claim to be “more” American than other immigrants, he only says that being American before the 1980s meant giving centrality to the traditional cultural heritage of the country — constitutionalism, classical republican thought, Christianity, etc etc).

Of course, the immediate question that comes to me is — which Christianity? Whose idea of federalism (it was controversial from the start, right?…but that aside, here is his original comment:

“Well, I reserve the right to celebrate, defend, and honor the customs of my people. We used to have a word for this. It was called “American.” Some of us have deeper roots in this country than others. My ancestors were here in the seventeenth century – before there was even a “United States.” The men who fought and died at Charleston, Cowpens, Camden, Horseshoe Bend, and the Alamo, who marched with Scott at Veracruz, Monterrey, and Mexico City, with Lee at Fredericksburg, Antietam, and Gettysburg shared this understanding of America. “We are a nation of immigrants” is not something they would have understood. ”

(Reading this over, I am not sure he is right to say I misunderstood him. What I said sounds like a pretty good inference from what he says…

Still, I accept the correction and take it from there)

S’s second point was that Jews, as a group, have pursued their own self-interest as a minority by advocating government policies that change the racial mix in the country against white, Christian culture (these are Scimitar’s categories, not mine), while at the same time, making their position impregnable. That is, he thinks critiques of imperialism and racism against whites are political moves to decrease white power and increase the power of minorities ...ostensibly, although, he says, the ones who really benefit are the opinion makers, who – he claims – are largely Jewish.

I am going to refrain from dismissing this out of hand as anti-Semitic, which I know a lot of people would do, perhaps with justification. But since this is a blog about propaganda and mass thinking, I don’t shy away from the topic and want to address it seriously. But carefully. Because, it’s something that isn’t really clear in my mind, though I have talked about it before in relation to hate speech laws – which I oppose. Coincidentally, there was a fascinating discussion of a John Derbyshire post, “Be Nice or We’ll Crush You” (- this is not an endorsement of D’s positions on this or any other matter) at Jewcy.com, which has a penchant for taking on controversial topics – at the invitation of its very bright, entertaining, and open minded editor, Joey Kurtzman, who writes:

“Even interested non-scientists like you and me, John, have learned that human populations have different distributions of various alleles (variants of a certain gene); that some of these variations between groups result in different distributions of biological traits such as Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, and so on; and that we need prepare ourselves for the very real possibility that the list also includes psychological and behavioral traits.

I’m not asking for crudeness or intentionally insulting behavior, of course. But if puncturing some of our American and Jewish anxieties about race-related language will make it easier to have the honest discussion I’m looking for, then, hey, I say let’s go for it. Jewess is innocuous enough—let’s you and I agree to use it. If anyone calls you an antisemite or asks you to take one of the ADL’s sensitivity courses, you just tell them that a Jew gave you permission—nay, urged you!—to use the word. Pass the buck to me.”

I say carefully, because again, I find the tools of analysis – the terms (American, whites, Jews) elusive when you look at them closely and because ascription of intent or motivation to a whole group is usually a bit of an exercise in futility.

Given that, however, let’s look at what he is saying closely…

When I said that the topic of the alleged mongrelization of the state by Jewish opinion makers is one to be negotiated carefully, I wasn’t merely referring to the possibility of being seen as anti-Semitic, I was also wondering about the actual validity of the argument, its elusiveness as an analytical tool.

After all, Jews are well represented across the whole spectrum of political beliefs (from socialism to neo-liberalism, WSJ style, to Austrian economics to anarchism). If they hold these views out of self-interest only, their self-interest must then be a remarkably protean creature.

What’s more, it isn’t clear to me that the policies that opinion makers pursue are the ones that represent the interests of ordinary Jews either here or in Israel. Even if they do represent Jewish elite interests, it’s usually also true that they represent other non-Jewish elite interests. In which case, to what degree can any policy they pursue be seen as specifically or solely Jewish?

It’ s not that I don’t see from where S is coming…or even some one like Kevin McDonald. I do. But I tend to think that there isn’t all that much to be gained analytically by going down that track — although censoring discussion of it also doesn’t do much good.

You have to differentiate between the opinions of Jews and the opinions of Jewish lobbying groups and action committees. Then too, Jews are highly represented in espousing views that are called anti-Semitic — from Shahak, in Israel, decribed here by Christopher Hitchins to Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomksy and Jeff Blankfort here in the US. What does S say to that?

Or to the fact that two of the leading theorists of libertarianism (which he sees as undermining communitarian ethics) were Ayn Rand (with whom I go along only partly and warily) and Murray Rothbard, both Jewish, and both interested in the flourishing of civic society. That’s what S wants to see flourishing and which he thinks libertarians undermine.

Here is Rothbard on family, education and government in

“The Progressive Era and the Family,” (Joseph R. Peden and Fred R. Glahe (eds.), The American Family and the State (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute, 1986).

“The expansion of compulsory public schooling stemmed from the growth of collectivist and anti-individualist ideology among intellectuals and educationists. The individual, these “progressives” believed, must be molded by the educational process to conform to the group, which in practice meant the dictates of the power elite speaking in the group’s name.”
And here is a quote from Rand on individualism and the flourishing of moral law:

“Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.”

Or take the case of immigrants. Is an immigrant like me always more suspect than say an Anglo-American, for instance, in such matters as espionage against the country? I think it is not self-evidently the case. For myself, if the US were to go to war with India and the US were at fault, I would find it extremely difficult to remain here and would probably leave or even give up my citizenship. On the other hand, say the issue was Indian immigration here. I would not side with my own racial group if it was in violation of the law or of ethics, certainly, but also, I think, in other less clear cut situations. I would tend to bend over backwards to the community in which I lived, as a matter of generosity to the racial “other” (NOT because I was kow-towing to the dominant thinking of the state on the issue). That is a subtle but important moral distinction.

In other words, I would more than likely injure my own racial self interest out of an obligation to the immediate community in which I lived and to which I also feel a group affiliation.

And I think that obtains with Jews, as well. Some Jewish opinion leader probably hold views that might seem mistaken or even prejudiced to an outsider, simply from their own perceptions of obligation and from multiple affiliations that have nothing to do with intent to propagandize. In other words, they may genuinely see things that way. On the other hand, I do not think the same of some Jewish-American politicians, like Douglas Feith or Richard Perle, whose actions seem to be more like the “pursuit of group self-interest” model you reference.

Besides, group affiliation itself, as I noted, is complex.

I am an Indian, but also a Christian. Isn’t my Christianity (which is as old as European Christianity) less tainted by the antiSemitism of European Christianity? Or does that have to be weighed against my third-world affiliation, which with its assumed Arabism, is seen by some as necessarily anti-Semitic?

Or is seen also as having its own racism. As a Jewish reader at this blog said – “Gandhi didn’t like blacks” ?

Is that the slur which Indians now have to juggle to survive the ideological smell test?

Can you see how convoluted these questions get?

And isn’t it possible also that state policies can be enacted because of structural reasons that coincide with the group preferences of opinion- makers, but are not caused by them in some simple one to one manner? Does there need to be intent? If so, whose specifically and how?

Mind you, I see the same problems in discussions of imperialism which too simply conflate it with “white” and “Christian” — there is certainly a bit of both in Western imperialism, but how it operated is not as clear cut as people make out.

Aren’t Jews also white…and American…and even Anglo? And doesn’t the racial mongrelization that S says their opinion makers pursue apply also to them?

Isn’t it also true that while this and related topics are taboo in leading opinion journals and universities, they are still discussed everywhere in less prestigious outlets, and that if there is censorship, quite a bit of it is self-censorship? And the self-censorship arises out of our own servility to power and prestige?

And if you don’t speak up forthrightly about what you find important or truthful, whose fault is that?

And if you are afraid you might lose a job or a promotion or a review, then how deeply held and morally important are your convictions?

Isn’t it also true that some part of the reason why this debate can never take place openly is not really because of the arguments themselves but because we do not trust each other enough?

That we do not really feel that we are above board in doing justice to each others’ claims?

And that, in fact, we are not above aboard?

Only look at the way people debate each other – the level of vituperation. Neither left nor right is able to see each other with any degree of respect and consideration. And isn’t that really the reason we resort to political correctness and other speech codes?

Who really is persuaded solely by arguments? The reason Marxism had such a hold over the third world was because its adherents often showed more concern for the welfare of ordinary people than adherents of other ideologies. People were persuaded not by the ideas alone but – at least initially – by the kind of people who held the ideas. Lack of trust does not persuade.
And isn’t every debate about race and gender in this country poisoned by that lack of trust? And isn’t that why we try so desperately to show our ideological purity? To prove our guiltlessness by distancing ourselves from anyone who might contaminate us, as though they were untouchables?

Isn’t that really why we are afraid of ideas that are free of fashionable dogmas? They are not”pure”?

Isn’t that really how propaganda works here — by our own self-censorship and weakness in articulating our own thoughts?

Would we really be afraid to be called anti-Semites, or whatever else, if we were completely free in our consciences about it?

And when we are free of such feelings — or at least — are struggling at all times to be free of them, then, wouldn’t what we said carry a weight and a force which would be infectious and free us of our fear?

Isn’t it the case that reason backed by moral qualities and emotional truth has a power that we fail to possess not because we lack the ability to argue but because we lack that kind of moral clarity and consideration for other human beings…. and it shows?

And that, S., is what I meant when I talked about rationality.

I don’t mean appealing to logic – as if rationality were a matter of syllogism. Rationality as a tool to coerce or manipulate is only the rationality of the state – a bureaucratic rationality that reduces everything to mass man and mass ideas.

But individuals are not mass men. They are developed not only in logic, but in their emotions, in their intuitions, in the full range of their humanity. They are able to love – to have caritas – for the other, to see the other as human in the same ways as they are.

That “right reason,” rooted in emotions and intuition, is precisely what allows us as individuals to self-organize outside the coercion of the state. That kind of reason is what libertarianism values and sets free in individuals.

A reason that is not seperate from conscience and belongs only to the individual — not to the group.

Which is why I am a libertarian.


(Note: I should add that since Lib. posits reciprocal behavior that respects individuals’ life, liberty and property it assumes a certain set of ethics…

To that extent it certainly does impose norms – only not in an obvious way. How then would a Lib. community defend itself from another imperialist community? Well – it would do so by banding with other libertarian groups. Would that always work? It might not. But a state, too, has no guarantee of surviving the depredations of another state. My idea, however, is that it’s only propaganda (by interested elites) that gives the state its legitimacy. That is, you have to have a priesthood preaching the divine right of the king, or, now, you have to have opinion-makers touting the sanctity of the corporate-state for the rulers to acquire power. For, contrary to popular assumption, governments ultimately only get their power from the submission of the governed. In a so-called democracy, the masses submit because they are hit over the head, not with a baton – although that, too — but with propaganda.

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Responses

  1. […] Clark Link to Article ron paul Ron Paul Road Show (cont): Do we need the government to make us moral… […]

  2. First – that he is more an American because his ancestors were here long before those of more recent immigrants and because they lost their lives in the wars that shaped the geographical boundaries of this state.

    You don’t seem to have grasped the point I was making by bringing that up. I was not saying that I was more American than recent immigrants. You had brought up the fact that I am more than a racialist and I agreed with that. Instead of the term “racist,” I prefer to be referred to as an “American” or “Southerner” – my views re: race were utterly typical of Anglo-Americans for some three centuries. That’s an ethnic characteristic not unlike being “Italian” or “Russian.” In fact, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the majority of white Americans approved of black/white miscegenation.

    Second – that Jews, as a group, have pursued their own self-interest as a minority by advocating government policies that change the racial mix in the country against white, Christian culture (these are Scimitar’s categories, not mine) while at the same time, making their position impregable. That is, he thinks critiques of imperialism and racism against whites are politicial moves to decrease white power and increase the power of minorities ostensibly, although, he says, the ones who really benefit are the opinion makers, whom he claims are largely Jewish.

    That’s not anti-semitic in the least. It’s merely an observation. Some people will react to that negatively (those being demographically marginalized in their own country like me). Some will have no opinion (most libertarians) or the matter or see it in a positive light as the Jews themselves do. To borrow Lawrence Auster’s definition of “anti-semitism,” an “anti-semite” is a person who hates Jews as Jews. Here is Lawrence Auster’s take on the matter, who is of Jewish ancestry himself, and no one can legitimately call an anti-semite. His take on the matter is identical to mine:

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=13894

    “Jews’ risible obsession with non-existent evangelical Protestant anti-Semites, combined with their obliviousness to actual mass murdering Islamist anti-Semites (whom, moreover, the Jews’ favored immigration policies have allowed into this country) is an amazing phenomenon that we should not dismiss as simply a bizarre ethnic idiosyncrasy. It expresses, rather, a central preoccupation of a significant number of Jews, namely their corrosive apprehension of what they think the goyim might one day do to them—a fear they entertain despite the fact that, apart from some social exclusions and other ethnic prejudices that existed up to the end of World War II, Jews have never faced serious anti-Semitism from the white Christian majority in this country. . . .

    In the eyes of this normally phlegmatic and easy-going man, America is just a shout away from the mass persecution, detention, and even physical expulsion of Jews. Given the wildly overwrought suspicions that some Jews harbor about the American Christian majority who are in fact the Jews’ best friends in the world, it is not surprising that these Jews look at mass Third-World and Moslem immigration, not as a danger to themselves, but as the ultimate guarantor of their own safety, hoping that in a racially diversified, de-Christianized America, the waning majority culture will lack the power, even if it still has the desire, to persecute Jews.

    The self-protective instinct to divide and weaken a potentially oppressive majority population may have served Jews well at certain times and places in the past when they truly were threatened. Under current circumstances—in America, the most philo-Semitic nation in the history of the world—it both morally wrong and suicidal. Not only are the open-borders Jews urging policies harmful to America’s majority population, but, by doing so, they are surely triggering previously non-existent anti-Jewish feelings among them. The tragedy is that once a collective thought pattern gets deeply ingrained, as is the Jews’ historically understandable fear of gentiles, it takes on a life of its own and becomes immune to evidence and reason.”

  3. Let me go back and post that comment again, so you will how I read it like that…

    Re- antisemitism – Jews are always being accused of antisemitism by other Jews just as blacks who disagree with the Civil Rights establishment can count on being called Uncle Toms….

    Is it really anti-Semitic? Maybe not, but I do think that while the argument itself is not anti-Semitic, it is inflammatory

  4. Why, because again, I find the tools of analysis – the terms (American, whites, Jews) elusive when you look at them closely and because ascription of intent or motivation to a group is usually a bit of an exercise in futility.

    Yes, I know libertarians like to imagine that we are purely autonomous, rational individuals with no tribal/group affiliations or sympathies, only personal ones, but this wishful thinking of theirs is flatly contradicted by reality (people are loyal to groups), not to mention by the social and natural sciences. Even libertarians engage in the primate us vs. them dynamic viz “collectivists” and “the state.” Infants sort people into groups as easily as they absorb language.

    Humans are social primates who naturally exist within communities. The “state of nature” imagined by Locke and Hobbes (or, for that matter, Rawls’ “original position”) is an ahistorical fiction that never existed. Chimpanzees (our closest relatives in the animal kingdom) rank high amongst the most violent, tribalistic, and quarrelsome mammals. Only humans are more violent; homo sapiens exterminated all other human species in our conquest of the planet and wipe out thousands of non-human species every year. Altruism is genetically grounded in kin selection – we selfishly favor those who carry copies of our genes. This ascriptive characteristic can be suppressed, but never eliminated from human nature.

    The blogger, Scimitar, objected to some Ron Paul critics who had made a wrong-headed connection between racialist or racist ways of thinking and Paul’s libertarian’s position.

    It is worth noting that this is my own position on the matter. Unfortunately, many of my fellow racialists disagree, and are busily supporting Ron Paul’s presidential ambitions. James Bowery who posted in the initial thread is one such inidividual.

    Scimitar correctly noted that, libertarianism is a philosophy that undermines collectivist policies or group based policies – of any kind.

    This is very true. It’s not just race that libertarians atomize and dissolve in their toxic brew of nominalism and nihilism. It’s also the family, marriages, ethnic groups, communities, friendships, the state, culture — all forms of collective association whatsoever are eroded and/or torn down. Libertarians want to privatize morality, uproot people, treat them as vacuous abstractions, and replace what’s left of civil society in America with the market. Personally, I find that scenario utterly abhorrent, and militate against it. You don’t have to be a racialist to agree with me on that point.

    I tend to disagree with him on that, although I think, over the long haul, libertarianism (since it leave people most free to be individuals), does encourage people to be open to others (that’s different from forcing them).

    Why would the anti-collectivism of libertarians not equally apply to the family? Race is nothing more than an extended family of more distantly related individuals. From a libertarian perspective, isn’t it just as ridiculous to assume that the family exists and that a group of closely related individuals have common interests as a family?

    The only thing libertarians have to say about the family is that any member of it is “free” to dissolve the family at will.

  5. Eck,

    Can you fix my blockquote tags above? 🙂

  6. Not sure how I fix those tags…the post seems clear enough to me..I will try later..

    Just off the top of my head, here are my initial responses:

    1. You are confusing market liberalism (of the Cato Insitute type) with libertarianism. They are different things. I am much closer to some left libertarians than to Cato on some things. Why I call myself a right libertarian is because my criticism of the market does not take equality as a good in and of itself. I am not opposed to inequalities or hierarchies though I believe that great inequalities do indeed become a curtailment of the rights of others – especially in the matter of what are called the commons. I am interested in how these can be preserved without subscribing to a redistributionist, ends oriented agenda….my thinking is a work in progress in this area, I admit.

    I also think market libertarians confuse labels with reality. Calling a financialized mercantilist economy a free market doesn’t make it one.

    So – lilbertarianism is not market liberalism even if some misguided neo-liberals think so, as no doubt some neo-cons think they are conservatives.

    2. Secondly, while libertarians use the terms statist for those who believe in increased state power, I am not one of those who demonize ALL shades of statism – certainly constitionalists like Paul and limited government conservatives are still to be preferred to big state conservatives.

    3. Thirdly, a general noun applied to set of people or of ideas as in ‘statism’ or ‘collectivism’ is not collectivism in action!

    Collectivism is not simply thinking in terms of groups – that would make it a linguistic idiocy.
    We are always generalizing about things.

    Collectivism is state based coercion in terms of groups.

    A family is not a collective in those terms at all. Neither is a race, nor a kinship group. The fact that some libertarians call them so is not my fault.

    4. Does libertarianism in the long run tend to make people rise above (note, I said above) their group affiliation – yes, because it emphasizes rationality.

    I think that is a good thing not a bad one – so long as we first work through and do not unnaturally repress that affiliation.

    Note – Jesus, presumably central to American Christian culture, showed marked signs of having gone outside family and tribal and gender affiliation – with the (expected) revenge of the mob as the result.

    Note – I think Jesus was a more highly evolved individual than the masses who wanted him crucified.

    Note again – it was the masses and propagandizing theorists who turned him into the centerpiece of an organized state based religion with all the nasty (expected)l consequences…

  7. Is it really anti-Semitic? I don’t think so, but I do think that while the argument itself is not anti-Semitic, couched in certain ways it can inflame some who might be prone to it..

    Reality tends to have that effect on people. When the truth begins to sink in that colorblindness is a scam that only whites have bought into, and that other groups cynically use that rhetoric to mask their ruthless pursuit of group interests at the expense of whites, who have no intention of ever eschewing their group affiliations, it can be profoundly disillusioning. This is especially true of those of us who are intensely conscious of our own history and aware that the current state of affairs was not always so.

    Does that necessarily imply anti-semitism? I don’t think it does. An anti-semite is someone who hates Jews as Jews. I resent certain specific actions of Jews. If Jews were to cease engaging in those actions, I would have no problem with them. I wouldn’t complain about them. I have nothing to say about Mongolians because I have no reason to resent them. Is there something about the Jews that warrants giving them a special dispensation where they are immune from criticism? I don’t think so.

    Anyway, it is an inflammatory and much tabooed topic for non-Jews to take up, so I am trying to be careful.

    It is the most taboo topic, period. I’m not aware of anything that is more difficult to discuss openly and honestly in the mainstream, not even race, and for quite obvious reasons. But don’t take my humble word for it. John Derbyshire is, well, more “mainstream” than myself and he is perfectly aware of the matter:

    http://www.jewcy.com/dialogue/02-26/kevin_macdonald_derbs2

    “To your next point (I am working from the bottom up again) that my professed fear of ticking off Jews is some kind of affectation or pose, I can only assure you that this is not so. Almost the first thing you hear from old hands when you go into opinion journalism in the U.S. is, to put it in the precise form I first heard it: “Don’t f*ck with the Jews.” (Though I had better add here that I was mixing mainly with British expats at that point, and the comment came from one of them. More on this in a moment.)

    Joe Sobran expressed it with his usual hyperbole: “You must only ever write of us as a passive, powerless, historically oppressed minority, struggling to maintain our ancient identity in a world where all the odds are against us, poor helpless us, poor persecuted and beleaguered us! Otherwise we will smash you to pieces.”

  8. I am opposed to Israeli murder in Palestine.
    Millions of good Jews are opposed to Israeli murder in Palestine.
    I was opposed to American murder in Vietnam.
    Millions of good Americans were opposed to American murder in Vietnam.
    I am opposed to American murder in Iraq.
    Millions of good Americans are opposed to American murder in Iraq.
    I am anti-murder; both Israeli and American.

  9. Re: Jesus. I agree. He did rise above his ethnic background. Then again, I happen to be an atheist and materialist who rejects the entire Biblical narrative, so I don’t exactly consider Jesus a role model. Whatever Jesus may have said, it doesn’t negate the fact that human beings are still animals, primates to be specific, and that we have a definite nature which is grounded in our genes which have been molded by millions of years of natural selection. Ignoring that doesn’t mean it is any less so.

    Jesus advises us to hate our families, sell our wordly goods, and devote our lives to uplifting the sick and the poor in exchange for salvation in a supernatural world. In reality, the overwhelming majority of Christians can’t live up to that ideal, even if they give lip service to it. They are hopelessly biased in favor of their children, mates, friends, siblings, parents, and extended family — utterly caught up in “the world” that the prophets despised. The death of a close loved one is profoundly more troubling to them than the deaths of thousands, millions of complete strangers or the extinction of entire species on a daily basis. As it should be. This is humanity as we really are.

    It is worth reflecting on why this is the case. You claim that libertarianism is corrosive of group identity – because it is encourages “rationality.” I disagree. Actually, the “rational” thing to do is to practice in-group altruism and out-group xenophobia. This group evolutionary strategy out competes sterile, atomized individualism every time; such groups go on to have more descendents and the genes increase in frequency relative to others, which is the only thing evolution cares about. Hence, the stability of xenophobia and us vs. them thinking across all known human populations. From the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, whites exploded across North America. Now, they are going the way of the dodo — thanks to their own blinkered liberalism — as more aggressive populations replace them.

    It is not because of “rationality” that libertarianism eats away at groups. Rather, it is because libertarianism doesn’t have anything remotely resembling a moral vocabulary, and this sad state of affairs stems from their underlying confused epistemology. I have yet to see a libertarian explain to me on libertarian grounds why generosity is preferable to ruthless avarice, or why anyone should be polite as opposed to mean. The only thing libertarians seem to be able to say is that we should be “free.” Okay, why?

    For you, this is wonderful. It is a great thing that libertarianism doesn’t have anything to say about the ends we are to pursue in life (at least, in theory). For me, I fail to see what it so desirable about such an atomized, rootless, selfish existence where the logic of the market has extended its embrace across all of society. Rationality is by definition goal directed behavior. Libertarianism doesn’t set any goals for us, so we fall back on our whims.

    You protest that this is market liberalism, not libertarianism. But is that really the case? What I am describing is 1.) voluntarism and 2.) the non-aggression principle which, to my knowledge, libertarians actually do extent to all human relationships, period.

    Your definition of collectivism (i.e., state based coercion in terms of groups) is the first time I have ever seen the word used in this way by libertarians. Aren’t all groups whatsoever mere conglomerations of freely associating individuals? If you believe that, then you embrace ontological individualism and reject social realism. It is my understanding that the “rights” libertarians and other liberals treasure are “natural” and derived ultimately from a presocial state of existence, which are exchanged for primordial freedoms. Hence, the “right of revolution.”

  10. […] Here we go again. I must say that I am rather proud of myself. In less than 24 hours, I have juggled the nuances of libertarian and communitarian political theory, the Jewish Question, Christianity, the historical origins of American racialism, and made several sweeping statements about race relations in North America over a period of almost four hundred years. I’m discovering that this new format is incredibly stimulating, and addictive. […]

  11. For the record – I am an agnostic…and I also don’t subscribe to the mindbody duality of the kind of materialism you seem to hold – for starters. So bio-genetic and spiritual are not polar opposites to me…

    One can accept evolutionary theory (or theories) and understand it in a way entirely different from yours..

    Re Jesus:

    “Jesus advises us to hate our families, sell our wordly goods, and devote our lives to uplifting the sick and the poor in exchange for salvation in a supernatural world.”

    Hate our families is not to be taken out of context. It is to be taken in the context and as a superogatory demand of perfection beyond “honor thy father and mother” – I think…

    Giving up all your worldly goods was a specific demand made to the apostles…not to every one else..I don’t believe there was any such exchange of salvation for works….Jesus taught something quite different..

    He really wasn’t converting anyone to anything. He was trying to show people how the natural world worked….his natural world – he dealt with what for want of a better term he called the inner world – the kingdom of heaven…I don’t think he saw it as supernatural in the way you think. If you read yoga texts, they are quite pragmatic and down to earth about the extra- physical envelopes of the body – the koshas…(not relevant here though)…

    The CIA (nothing if not hard nosed) seems to see eye to eye with Jesus on a number of those supernatural things…you might be surprised to know..

    Again – Scimitar – Libertarianism is a style of thinking appropriate for what Oakeshott called civic associations…

    On the other hand, you are looking at the state as an enterprise accociation which has to have a goal…. which it has to reach…. for which it has to set laws…

    Libertarianism leaves that task to human groups and civil society NOT
    to the state…

    There are many forms of organization that have worked tolerably well for different societies…there is no reason to believe that only one model works..that is the pluralism that Lib. allows.

    All groups are not collectives in the sense I use…otherwise libs would have to object to collective nouns and to language itself, as it is based on generalizations..

    I certainly do not find libertarian thinkers like Rothbard in any way an enemy of the family or other cultural groups. By the way, Rothbard is Jewish and so is Ayn Rand..

  12. I will have to get back to you later this evening or tommorrow. I have been posting to much today – here and elsewhere – at it is.

  13. S – I edited your response as well as my comment…I meant Ayn Rand…not Ron Paul!
    I was thinking of the idea that libertarians are supposed to want to end all group ties and that is supposedly also the agenda of Jewish opinion makers and I wanted to point out that Rand and Rothbard were both Jewish and their writing does not support that position…but I was going back and forth between this and a Ron Paul site and ended up saying Ron Paul instead of Ayn Rand….and I deleted it because there is enough junk and nonsense being circulated about Paul without my mistakes adding to it.

  14. What is racist about not wanting to create more government on behalf of special groups? It is only racist to the groups who are being left out.

    It is this group think that CREATES racism.

  15. Ayn Rand was the founder of the “objectivist” movement. She wasn’t a libertarian. Actually, the objectivists are highly critical of libertarianism. See Peter Schwartz’s essay Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty in The Voice of Reason. Here is an excerpt:

    The Libertarian movement has acquired an unwarranted reputation. It has come under attack in various quarters for holding the value of liberty as absolute. It has been condemned by conservatives for elevating liberty above tradition and authority, and by liberals for elevating liberty above equality and humanitarianism.

    Both camps are mistaken. Libertarianism deserves only one fundamental criticism: it does not value liberty. If it were ever successful, it would destroy the remnants of freedom that still exist in this country far faster than any of the more explicit enemies of liberty.

    Libertarianism has no philosophy. To put this more accurately: it renounces the need for any intellectual basis for its beliefs. The volumes of scholarly material defending Libertarianism are self-admittedly pointless, since the true Libertarian position is that no defense is necessary. Murray Rothbard, widely viewed as the father of the movement, expresses this clearly in presenting his central argument for liberty.

    “Should virtuous action (however we define it) be compelled, or should it be left up to the free and voluntary choice of the individual?” he asks. And he answers: “To be virtuous in any meaningful sense, a man’s actions must be free . . . The point is more forceful: no action can be virtuous unless it is freely chosen.” Freedom, therefore, is a prerequisite of any virtue, and thus can be validated with no knowledge of virtue at all. Morality, in other words, is irrelevant to the issue of liberty. “Freedom is necessary to, and integral with, the achievement of any man’s ends,” Rothbard insists.

    It may interest you to know that I was once an admirer of Ayn Rand and pursued “objectivism” avidly several years ago. In hindsight, I owe much of my aesthetic appreciation for clear thinking (not to mention my distaste for libertarianism) to her influence.

    If you want a cold shower in how “good for thee, not for me” thinking works, I suggest you browse Cap Mag and the Objectivist Center for articles relating to Israel (a state founded by socialists which won its independence with arms supplied by the Eastern Bloc). You will find Daniel Pipes articles in abundance. Good luck reconciling the objectivist critique of “statism” and their celebration of “capitalism” with their apologetics for the exteme forms of Zionism.

  16. I know Rand’s objectivism…but she is considered a libertarian none theless.

    I am not really interested in reconciling versions of libertarianism. Nor do I see a need to.

    I am interested in developing libertarian thought in ways that plausibly sustain communities and reject statism..I am more interested in models of self organization like swarm theory…

  17. And I don’t think much of objectivism on a number of issues…I just mentioned her to show that there is plenty of emphasis on community in some libertarian Jewish writing, so the argument that all Jewish opinion makers are uniformly devoted to policies that undermine community isn’t viable…

    I wasn’t addressing the consistency of their arguments, I was referring to the fact that two libertarian Jewish writers had made them…

    Besides that, on your point, libertarains can hold mistaken positions or unexamined or poorly developed positions that lead then finally into antilibertarian projects…Cato Institute is also “libertarian” – but their libertarianism doesn’t get in the way of their corporatism…

    That libertarians so-called of various stripes misuse or appropriate libertarian thinking to wrong headed aims of their own is no fault of libertarianism….

    Just my thoughts…

  18. I know Rand’s objectivism…but she is considered a libertarian none theless.

    Certainly not by Rand and her followers. I forgot to mention this above, but didn’t Rand have a long feud with Murray Rothbard? I seem to recall bad blood existing between the two.

    And I don’t think much of objectivism on a number of issues…I just mentioned her to show that there is plenty of emphasis on community in some libertarian Jewish writing, so the argument that all Jewish opinion makers are uniformly devoted to policies that undermine community isn’t viable…

    Where does Rand place an emphasis upon community? Here is Rand on “the common good”:

    “The tribal notion of “the common good” has served as the moral justification of most social systems – and of all tyrannies – in history. The degree of society’s enslavement or freedom corresponded to the degree to which that tribal slogan was invoked or ignored.

    “The common good” (or “the public interest”) is an undefined and undefinable concept: there is no such entity as “the tribe” or “the public”; the tribe (or the public or society) is only a number of individual men. Nothing can be good for the tribe as such; “good” and “value” pertain only to a living organism – to an individual living organism – not to be a disembodied aggregate of relationships.

    “The common good” is a meaningless concept, unless taken literally, in which case its only possible meaning is: the sum of the good of all the individual men involved. But in that case, the concept is meaningless as a moral criterion: it leaves open the question of what is the good of all individual men and how does one determine it?”

    ^^ That’s from “What is Capitalism.” I could continue, but hope you can discern Rand’s view on the subject: communities are just figments of our imagination, conglomerations of sovereign atomized individuals. In any case, I don’t consider Rand a libertarian, so I won’t hold her views against libertarians.

    I wasn’t addressing the consistency of their arguments, I was referring to the fact that two libertarian Jewish writers had made them…

    I didn’t get a chance to reply in full yesterday. It was not my intention to argue that all Jews are part of some master plot against the white race and use various ideologies only as wrecking balls against white racial consciousness. No, I believe that many Jewish intellectuals are entirely sincere in their beliefs. I will say that about: Murray Rothbard, Noam Chomsky, and Lawrence Auster. There are others that come to mind as well. As Lee Harris might point out, it is precisely this sincerity – this ability to delude even themselves of their own righteousness – that makes them so persuasive and yet utterly blind to what they are actually doing.

    At the same time, I can’t say that about the organized Jewish community at large, in particular the ADL, which really does have a transparently anti-white Jewish agenda. The ADL advocates mass third world immigration for America and condemns American immigration restrictionists as inhumane bigots. At the same time, the ADL is entirely in favor of Israel’s border fence, opposes the “right of return” of Palestinians, and worries about the “demographic problem” in Israel. How convenient: good for thee, not for me.

    Much the same is true of the objectivists. It is hilarious to watch how easily they shift gears; how skilled they are at double consciousness. One minute, they are going on about the evils of statism, how communities don’t exist and we are all individuals, how there is no such thing as group interests, etc. The next minute, you can see how they positively swoon for Israel, a militaristic, quasi-socialist garrison state, and counsel us to treat the Palestinians, not as individuals, but as a group – the enemy of freedom.

    Allow me to say that I am impressed – taken back – by your sincerity and willingness to explore this subject with an open mind. Do not take my criticism of libertarianism personally. I’m not saying all libertarians are of the same view. I have many friends who are libertarians. We shouldn’t take words all that seriously. Like any other ideology, “libertarianism” is a family or cluster of related opinions, and must be discussed in that sense.

    BTW, if I haven’t told you already, I was an undergraduate at Auburn. I lived a stone’s throw across the street from the Mises Institute there.

  19. Ok…I have read Rand’s novels and some critical essays – on Romanticism and on intellectual property versus patents — and she is very clear thinking..and she sounds to me like Nietzsche on altruism…

    Did she get it from him? I don’t know. So I won’t debate her positions.

    Let me say something aphoristic about here off the top of my head –I find her arguments strong but shallow..That is they are very coherent within their own universe but it’s not a large universe..that’s just an off hand reaction..

    She is a very powerful writer in many ways..

    And thank you. I am sincere. I am doing most of this on my own dime and with full knowledge that I’ve queered myself with mainstream critics, university faculties, and reviewers with all the attendant career headaches.

    A thought that doesn’t sit well with me since since I am a bourgeois who would love nothing better than private life and literature not public life and polemics..

    I have no idea where it will all lead.

    But that is the point. If it was predictable – it would not mean anything..

  20. By the way — tribalism is not community – I am with Rand on that. And this is from an Objectivist site — which supports me on this:

    “For both Aristotle and Rand, the issue of how a person should live his life precedes the problem of how a community should be organized. Whereas Aristotle sees a social life as a necessary condition for one’s thoroughgoing eudaimonia, Rand emphasizes the benefits accruing to the individual from living in society as being knowledge and trade. Although Rand does not expressly discuss the human need for community in her non-fiction writings, her portrait of Galt’s Gulch in Atlas Shrugged closely approximates Aristotle’s community of accord between good men. Of course, the organization of Galt’s Gulch is along the lines of anarcho-capitalism rather than the minimal state political system of capitalism advocated by Rand or the somewhat paternalistic ideal of Aristotle’s polity.”

    http://rebirthofreason.com/About/index.shtml

    I think you are misunderstanding Rand a bit..

  21. List of questions:

    1.) I’m a physicalist. I believe the mind is an emergent property of the brain. I seem to have a knack for being attracted to unpopular causes: atheism, materialism, racialism, anti-liberalism, evolution, etc. In my mind, all of these things are related.

    2.) Re: Darwinism. I would argue that libertarianism – indeed, all forms of liberalism – have been fatally undermined by the natural and social sciences. It is simply not true that human beings are autonomous, sovereign, completely rational individuals with no group allegiances. There was never a pre-social state of nature in which “primordial freedoms” were “exchanged” for social rights.

    To the trash pile of history must go: the blank slate, the state of nature, the social contract, human dignity, and sorts of other hallucinations of the liberal imagination. That’s just the start. Likewise, I completely reject moral relativism. Our sense of morality may indeed be “subjective,” but it is not entirely arbitrary either. Like our sense of taste, morality is not handed down out of the sky. It is not to be found externally in nature. It is within ourselves and is accessible through introspection. There is a right way to live for the human animal after all.

    3.) Re: Jesus and the Bible. Good luck trying to make sense out of theology. Jesus specifically says you can’t be his follower unless you reject your loved ones. For centuries, Christians monks who took holy orders did just that, and the pious were encouraged to do so. This isn’t specific to Christianity. All cults operate more or less in the same fashion. Objectivism would be another example. Of course the Old Testament says otherwise, but there you go: as Dawkins points out, Christians are always picking and choosing between which parts of the Bible they like and which they don’t.

    More importantly, and this cuts to the heart of the matter, is the sort of society envisioned by Christianity admirable? Think of Simeon Stylites rotting legs, emanciated St. Anthony out there in the desert, Luther, Jerome, and Gregory’s fights with demons, the sordid history of the Papacy, the bigotry and anti-intellectualism of Bernard . . . I could go on, and on. In the name of the Kingdom of Heaven, look at the sheer number of men who have been mentally tortured.

    4.) Re: the state. I believe it does have a goal: to provide public goods – justice, defense, health, transportation, to name a few – that the private sector only does rather poorly. The state should promote the general welfare and can only be said to be properly functioning insofar as it does so. In this sense, my views trend towards classical republicanism. Classical republicans don’t see the state as being the enemy of liberty.

    5.) Re: pluralism. This is different from moral relativism, how?

    I see that this thread is not as I remembered it. Oh, the initial post has been changed. Let me get to that.

  22. Re- anarchy. I accept hierarachy and anarchy ( I am a right anarchist – my ideas are consonant mostly with the Independent Institute). I am not opposed to hierarchies at all.

    Re- pluralism. Pluralism is not relativism per se. I can in my own world be perfectly confident that the morality I espouse is better and is objective truth. I just don’t force that truth on you by physical or legal coercion (with a minimum accorded to life, liberty and property). I.e. my version of the trinity can’t trump yours. I can believe my morality but not find it inscribed in the universe, because my language and my conventions aren’t coterminous with the universe.

    Even killing can be variously written as murder, manslaughter, third/ first degree murder, revenge, justice, execution, war, just war, self defense, suicide, psychosis, god’s will..etc etc…you get my drift.

    I think when science “proves” the reality of certain religious practices, they will be accepted universally like two and two..until then, let’s hold off declaring our values universal …again beyond the minimum needed to live at peace with each other.

    I certainly do believe in self defense…but not in preventive war.

    I accept parts of Christianity and some teachings of Jesus, as part of esoteric lore….in a way that is not compatible with most orthodox Christianity. I don’t accept it as dogma – or find myself unable to follow it as such. I consider it practical advice and find it incredibly useful in that way. But I apply my own reasoning power to it – so it’s not a matter of belief for me at all.

    I consider myself an agnostic really.

  23. The term ‘collectivism’ is a general noun. Or should be used that way.
    I certainly don’t abuse general nouns or blame them for anything.
    As a matter of fact, I think I have a nuanced approach to statists.
    I use the word collectivist only for state-engendered collectivities.
    The issue is the state…not the group.

    Re- I might have been linked at Reason for a couple of pieces against the police state. I don’t write for them.

  24. The initial post has been expanded at some length. Many issues have been raised. It will take some time for me to mull this over and respond. For now, this is as good a place to start as any:

    Or take the case of immigrants. Is an immigrant like me always more suspect than say an Anglo-American, for instance, in such matters as espionage against the country? I think it is not self-evidently the case.

    No, actually I don’t believe that. If the last fifty years have taught us anything, it is that my race seems to be capable of producing a seemingly inexhaustible number of traitors. If it is any consolation to you, I would much prefer to have you in charge of the White House than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton.

    For myself, if the US were to go to war with India and the US were at fault, I would find it extremely difficult to remain here and would probably leave or even give up my citizenship.

    I wouldn’t blame you for this. It is only natural to feel the welfare of your own people tug at your heart. That you still have such feelings in spite of your commitment to libertarianism might be worth reflecting upon. Maybe we are not purely autonomous, completely sovereign individuals after all.

    Unfortunately, whites in this country also quietly entertain such ideas, but are afraid to express them openly less they fall afoul of current taboos which, I might add, are vigorously enforced by the usual suspects. See Imus. This is grossly unhealthy for all parties involved. It seems more and more unlikely that the great unraveling – and I am convinced that it will come – will be very ugly.

    In other words, I would more than likely injure my own racial self interest out of an obligation to the immediate community in which I lived and to which I also feel a group affiliation.

    And I would be willing to grant that you are sincere. The fact that we humans have ethnic genetic interests and have a sentimental penchant for caring about those most closely related to us does not imply that this need become all-consuming or pathological. It’s simply one aspect of human nature amongst many others. It can be offset by any number of things.

    And I think that obtains with Jews, as well.

    In my experience, with few exceptions, this is generally not the case. I think you are too quick to discount how your own background colors your perspective.

    Some Jewish opinion leader probably hold views that might seem mistaken or even prejudiced to an outsider simply from their own perceptions of obligation and from multiple affiliations that have nothing to do with intent to propagandize. In other words, they may genuinely see things that way. On the other hand, I do not think the same of some Jewish-American politicians, like Douglas Feith or Richard Perle, whose actions seem to be more like the “pursuit of group self-interest” model you reference.

    I agree. As I noted above, I have no doubt that many Jewish intellectuals truly believe in what they prescribe for others. Rothbard would be an example of this. Chomsky another. Their ability to delude even themselves is why they are so convincing to gentiles. There is another segment of the Jewish community where I don’t think this is the case. You cite Feith and Perle. Wolfowitz would be another. Foxman, too.

    Besides, group affiliation itself, as I noted, is complex.

    Of course.

  25. I am going to let you have the last word (censored) on this. Sorry. But I want as many people to read this blog as possible and not run screaming for the exits that I fraternize with racists…

    Just a point – libertarianism doesn’t mean you don’t have group affiliations or respect them..you keep reiterating that.

    Libertarianism is a theory of how we associate politically…

    To be an individual is just that your conscience and YOU are the final arbiter…it doesn’t mean that you don’t take a number of other things into consideration. It would certainly be consonant with libertarianism
    to devote your life to your family if you wanted.

    It wouldn’t be as much if you really profoundly didin’t want to but your family insisted…but even that would be possible in a libertarian society…Only the state coming along and incentivizing or manipulating that choice would be problematic..

    Thus endeth this reading from the new testament of libertarianism..


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