Category Archives: MARKET CIVILISATION

Anarchism and Crime


‘Anarchism and Crime’ by Wilson and Shea

(This article ran in Green Egg. I could not find a date, so all I can say is it was in the 1970s. It reads like one of the missing appendices for Illuminatus!, but I can’t think of anyone I could ask to test my theory. My thanks to Mike Gathers for making it available to everyone. — Tom.)

Anarchism and Crime
By Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea

Because anarchists aim at the abolition of government, the first question they are usually asked is, “What about murderers, thieves, rapists? The government protects us from them. Would you just let them run wild?” Continue reading

David Hume: A Brief Appreciation


David Hume: A Brief Appreciation
by Sean Gabb
(Published in The Salisbury Review, Summer 2004)

In writing about David Hume (1711-76), it is hard to know where to begin. He was a first rate philosopher, historian, economist, political philosopher and literary critic. He was also one of the greatest prose writers of his age. How does one appreciate that achievement – especially as briefly as the space here requires?

One answer is to see his work, in all its diversity, as part of one consistent project. Hume was interested above all in what we can know about ourselves. His philosophy can be seen as a purely negative achievement – as a retreat into scepticism. It is that. But it is also a great clearing away of misconceptions. Most previous thinkers had regarded knowledge as most surely gained by a chain of deduction from undeniable first principles. Hume denied that reason in itself gave any knowledge about the world. For him, there could be no jump – as there was for Descartes – from simple to complex certainties. He rejected the old Platonic distinction between an intelligible world of essences and the world of appearances. Instead, he completed the work of Locke and Berkeley, focussing attention on the world of appearances. Even this, however, could not yield certain knowledge. The evidence of our senses was no more than a stream of sense impressions that might or might not be related to an external reality. These impressions we processed according to conceptions of cause and effect that could not themselves be rationally demonstrated. To say that A caused B for Hume meant only that we had always experienced certain effects one after the other, and that we had a customary expectation that they always would be. Continue reading

Me, Two Nudey Men, and a Theatre Full of Lefties


http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2014-06-19-sig-libertarianism-hackney.mp3

Me, Two Nudey Men, and a Theatre Full of Lefties
By Sean Gabb
19th June 2014

The London International Festival of Theatre is an enterprise funded by the Arts Council  of England and by the Culture Programme of the European Union. If I ever come to power as the front man for a military coup, it will be on my list of things to shut down before breakfast. This being said, I was happy to take part, on Wednesday the 18th June 2014, in its “Change for a Tenner” evening at the Yard Theatre in Hackney. My main outreach of late, has been to explain libertarianism to schoolchildren and traditionalists. Here was my first chance in several years to address an audience of committed pro-state leftists. The fee offered, plus expenses, was nice, though not essential to my acceptance. Continue reading

The Bigotry of Anti-Bigotry


by Dan Sanchez
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/06/dan-sanchez/the-bigotry-of-anti-bigotry/

The Bigotry of Anti-Bigotry

Left-libertarians who espouse “thick libertarianism” especially like to lump anti-“bigotry” (I’ll explain the scare quotes later) into libertarianism: e.g., anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, etc. The more principled ones are careful to insert the proviso that “libertarian” efforts to combat bigotry must never violate the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP); e.g., laws against “hate speech,” business discrimination, etc, are out of the question. Instead, they favor non-state, non-coercive social harassment, including especially what they call “BOP,” which stands for “Boycott, Ostracize, Protest.” Continue reading

What is Left-Libertarianism?


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/content/28216
What is Left-Libertarianism?

Left-libertarianism has been getting a lot of buzz recently in the broader American libertarian community. The term “left-libertarian” has been used many ways in American politics, and there seems to be some confusion within the libertarian community itself as to who left-libertarians actually are.

The basic ideas of left-libertarianism, as we at the Alliance of the Libertarian Left (ALL) and Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) identify with that label, are broader than our organizations alone. The 1990s were a sort of Steam Engine Time for the general idea of libertarianism with a left-wing orientation, and the use of free market ideas as a weapon against the evils of corporate capitalism; a number of thinkers have developed parallel lines of analysis independently of one another, and it has grown into a large and loose-knit ideological tendency. But considering the disproportionate role ALL and C4SS have played in the growing prominence of this tendency, it’s only appropriate to explain where we’re coming from and what we mean by left-libertarianism. Continue reading

Every Man a King Juan Carlos


by Joel Schlosberg
http://c4ss.org/content/27966
Every Man a King Juan Carlos

Note: Karl Hess was wrong. There is a fundamental difference between an hereditary monarch and an elected president or prime minister. Unless drawn from a class of hereditary landlords, the latter will always be a political bureaucrat. He will be part of a faction that may at any time be driven from office. Any regard he feels for the long term benefit of his country will be more than balanced by his own need to make five lifetimes of income for himself in five or ten years, and to keep his client base attached with jobs and sinecures. A monarch, on the other hand, has no need to lie his way to the top, or to stay there by handing out bribes. Taking the trouble to be born is no qualification for a shoemaker or brain surgeon. Heads of state are different. They have an actual incentive to look out for the long term benefit of the society over which they and their descendants will rule. Just because our own dear Queen has been shockingly useless does not invalidate the general case for a divine right but constitutional monarchy. Despite his corruption and philandering, Juan Carlos appears to have kept Spain more stable and more liberal than would otherwise have been the case. SIG

Continue reading

What’s Stossel Supposed to be Defending, Again?


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/content/27972
What’s Stossel Supposed to be Defending, Again?

I coined the term “vulgar libertarianism” several years back to describe reflexive mainstream libertarian defenses of the existing corporate capitalist system as if it were the free market, and using “free market” principles to justify the evils of the corporate economy. I recently saw one of the worst examples of this phenomenon ever, courtesy of John Stossel (“Debunking Popular Nonsense About Income Mobility in America,” Reason, June 4).

Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term “free market” in an equivocal sense: They seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because “that’s not how the free market works” — implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit the present system isn’t a free market, and includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations in terms of “free market principles.” Continue reading

Class, “Identity Politics” and Stigmergy: Why We Don’t Need “One Big Movement”


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/content/27365

Note: I do wish Kevin Carson and Keith Preston would kiss and make up. I admire them both and have learned much from both of them. I have reviewed their books with equal enthusiasm. I would like one day to have dinner with both of them. Indeed, the stated principles of each leave room for the other. Libertarianism is a cluster of diverse movements. Some of these overlap with anti-state traditionalism, others with anti-state leftism. These outlying movements often overlap with each other. There is no reason why we should try to agree with each other on every issue. There is good reason for exploring and for arguing over our differences. But we should at least try to stay on speaking terms with each other. So far as we know of their existence, the Libertarian Alliance will continue to make room for all points of view within the libertarian movement. SIG Continue reading

Rothbard’s For a New Liberty


by Sheldon Richman
http://c4ss.org/content/27336

Rothbard’s For a New Liberty

In 1973, nine years before he published his magnum opus in political philosophy, The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard issued a comprehensive popular presentation of the libertarian philosophy in For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, first published by the mainstream publisher Macmillan.

The book is an excellent discussion of libertarian principles and applications, and it is still worth reading today. In rereading the book for the first time in decades, I found the foundational material especially interesting. Indeed, the material in For a New Liberty foreshadows what we find in greater detail in the later Ethics of Liberty. Continue reading

Retrospective: 40 Years of Remnant Review


Gary North – May 15, 2014

http://www.garynorth.com/public/12451.cfm

Remnant Review

Today is a big day for me. It probably isn’t a big day for you, but it is a big day for me.

On this day, 40 years ago, the first issue of Remnant Review was mailed to subscribers. It was a technologically primitive newsletter. Most newsletters were, back in 1974. You can download it here.

I still publish it once a month, as you can see. Back then, I published it every other week. When it started, it had four pages. It grew to six pages. It grew to eight pages. Then, beginning early in this century, I ceased publishing it in paper form. From then on, it varied in length in terms of digits. There is no particular length for the issues.

I had left the Foundation for Economic Education in March 1973. I joined Ron Paul’s staff in June 1976. So these two years constituted my breakthrough. I began to escape the golden manacles of a salary. My escape came in the fall of 1979. After this, I was self-supported. I was a full-time entrepreneur. That began in the months leading up to May 1974. Continue reading

What UKIP Must Learn from the American Liberty Movement


By Robin Koerner (via dailypaul.com)

Of all of their political parties that most Brits have heard of, only UKIP – the United Kingdom Independence Party – calls itself “libertarian”.

Being only two decades old, UKIP – now polling 38% for the European elections this year and about 15% for the general election next year – has achieved a success on paper that the American Libertarian Party can only dream of.

Indeed, in my work of helping the US liberty movement achieve more success in changing the minds of the people and the politicians and policies that they support, I often point out that American activists can learn much from what UKIP has been doing right. Continue reading

A Brief Note on Lew Rockwell’s “The Future of Libertarianism”


by Thomas Knapp
http://networkedblogs.com/WA6tl

I was looking back over an email discussion today, and decided that something I wrote really merited a blog post. Your mileage on that judgment call may vary, of course.

The topic is Lew Rockwell’s latest piece on the “thin” versus “thick” argument that’s been taking up so much movement discussion space lately. Specifically, these two parts of that piece: Continue reading

Libertarianism Rightly Conceived


by Sheldon Richman
http://c4ss.org/content/26914

Libertarianism Rightly Conceived

The debate on thick and thin libertarianism continues, and that’s a good thing. Libertarians can only gain by the discussion. Often one comes to appreciate one’s own philosophy more fully in the crucible of intellectual argument.

So I, for one, welcome the debate — so long as it is a real debate and not merely a series of unsupported denials of the proposition on the table. As Michael Palin of Monty Python pointed out in the “An argument is not the same as contradiction. An argument is a collected series of statements to establish a definite proposition. It isn’t just contradiction. It isn’t just saying ‘No it isn’t.’” (To which John Cleese responded, “Yes it is.”) “Argument is an intellectual process,” Palin continued. “Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.” (To which Cleese responded, “No it isn’t.”) Continue reading

The Future of Libertarianism


by Lew Rockwell http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/05/lew-rockwell/the-future-of-libertarianism/ Note: Sound words here from Lew. The only liberty that has any meaning – or any chance of being achieved – is defined by the non-aggression principle. I suspect that a libertarian society would be somewhat more equal in terms of wealth and income. I also think there would be a lower ceiling to the growth of firms. But I may be wrong. What really matters is getting to a society in which coercion is less omnipresent than it now is.

I do, however, make one concession to the thick libertarians. It is theoretically possible for a society of the bigoted to adhere to the non-aggression principle. In practice, I think arguments would be developed to set the principle aside in much the same way as arguments about market failure have been used to set aside an abstract belief in laissez-faire. As in ancient Athens, or 18th century England, or the American West, libertarianism flourishes best in a spirit of easy-going toleration. But I agree otherwise with Lew. We just don’t need all this recent talk about patriarchy and transgenderism. SIG Continue reading

In Praise of “Thick” Libertarianism


by Sheldon Richman
http://c4ss.org/content/26094
In Praise of “Thick” Libertarianism

I continue to have trouble believing that the libertarian philosophy is concerned only with the proper and improper uses of force. According to this view, the philosophy sets out a prohibition on the initiation of force and otherwise has nothing to say about anything else. (Fraud is conceived as an indirect form of force because, say, a deceptive seller obtains money from a buyer on terms other than those to which the buyer agreed.)

How can libertarianism be concerned with nothing but force? This view has been dubbed “thin libertarianism” by Charles W. Johnson, and it strikes me as very thin indeed. (Jeffrey Tucker calls it “libertarian brutalism”; his article explains this perhaps startling term.) Continue reading

Reflections on the Left/Right Libertarian Culture Wars


Reflections on the Left/Right Libertarian Culture Wars 2

by Keith Preston

Recently, Jeffrey Tucker, formerly of the Mises Institute, published a piece in The Freeman, a publication of the Foundation for Economic Education, that has generated some controversy in libertarian circles. Here’s the original piece. Tucker is basically arguing there are two kinds of libertarians: the nice, friendly, touchy-feely, lovey-dovey, humanitarian “good” kind, and the hateful, reactionary, crypto-authoritarian, bigoted “bad” kind.

Having some experience with this question, I figured I might as well offer some thought of my own. Continue reading

Response To Comments On We’re Not Conservatives: Part Two


by Natasha Petrova
http://c4ss.org/content/24947

Response To Comments On We’re Not Conservatives: Part Two

The Libertarian Alliance blog posted my piece on why libertarians are not conservatives. It wasn’t received very well. The poster of the article argued thusly:

Note: In my view, this is a silly article. The author does to conservatism just what the more brain dead conservatives do to libertarianism – that is, to pick out one strand from a cluster of movements, and to take that as representative of the whole. There are conservative objections to war and to moral regulation. Indeed, the moral regulation of the Victorian Age was mostly brought in by “liberals” against Tory opposition. And the most prominent calls for a negotiated end to the Great War came from within the Tory aristocracy. As for point 3), there are conservative defenses of tradition that are not at all incompatible with libertarianism. I give this one out of five on the grounds that the author got her spelling right. SIG Continue reading

Murray Rothbard: Libertarian Socialist


Murray Rothbard: Libertarian Socialist

by Keith PrestonEconomics/Class Relations

By Murray Rothbard

Karl Hess’s brilliant and challenging article in this issue raises a problem of specifics that ranges further than the libertarian movement. For example, there must be hundreds of thousands of “professional” anti-Communists in this country. Yet not one of these gentry, in the course of their fulminations, has come up with a specific plan for de-Communization. Suppose, for example, that Messers. Brezhnev and Co. become converted to the principles of a free society; they than [sic] ask our anti-Communists, all right, how do we go about de-socializing? What could our anti-Communists offer them? Continue reading

Hoppe, Carson, Preston


http://attackthesystem.com/2014/02/25/hoppe-carson-and-me/

Hoppe, Carson, and Me

by Keith Preston

I have found that the two other thinkers within the current anti-state milieu to whom I am most often compared are Hans Hermann Hoppe and Kevin Carson. These associations are made by both sympathizers and critics regarding my own work. So perhaps if might be of interest to point out both similarities and differences between these two men and myself.

I very much respect and am influenced by the work of both gentlemen. I have written praises to the high heavens on behalf of both of them in the past.

Hoppe is an anarcho-capitalist in the vein of Murray Rothbard, and it would probably be appropriate to characterize Hoppe as a full-fledged Rothbardian. The system developed by Rothbard was an amalgam of Thomistic natural law theory, Lockean natural rights, Austrian economics, foreign policy isolationism, and individualist-anarchism. Rothbard’s outlook in many ways resembles that of the Marxists: rationalist and atheist in philosophy, extreme political and economic radicalism, and staunch social conservatism. Rothbard also considered his brand of libertarianism to be a branch of the far Left, with socialism being a middle of the road ideology between libertarianism and traditional conservatism. Continue reading

Watch your arses (number-142a)


David Davis

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/10605328/EU-has-secret-plan-for-police-to-remote-stop-cars.html

A number of years ago, Richard Littlejohn wrote about the EU using this dreadful device in his novel “To Hell In A Handcart”. In his story, the people win. I’m not so sure about how reality will pan out.

Now, people, do you still want to remain in the EU after reading this? Expect the cars of all libertarian, classical-liberal and other anti-EU bloggers to be “remotely stopped” frequently.

Many years before this, in fact in about 1985, Bernard Adamczewski gave a talk at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, saying that the coming technological revolution (this was before the internet, remember) would free people from government tyranny. He seems to have become wrong about this.

(I know when it was, for I have a b/w photo of him and me talking there, on the wall of my Library. And I know which suits and tie I wore that year.)

Initial Thoughts On Libertarianism Today


by Natasha Petrova
http://c4ss.org/content/23792

Initial Thoughts On Libertarianism Today

Jacob Huebert has penned a very informative introductory text to libertarian philosophy called Libertarianism Today. It was a pleasure to read, but this left-libertarian market anarchist has some qualms to raise. A detailed review is in the works, so this will be a brief exploration. Quotations from the book will be provided for the reader’s edification. The reader is encouraged to read the whole book.

On pg.39; Jacob states:

Some libertarians argue that libertarianism is not just about property rights and the non-aggression principle, but requires promotion of certain liberal social values. Continue reading

The Libertarian Alliance Christmas (sermon): I did want to say something positive, but I can’t. Sorry.


David Davis

Well, this is Christmas, I guess, and time goes around and comes around, and it seems like five minutes ago that I wrote the LA’s first Christmas Message on this blog, six or seven years ago. I’m not sure that there’s much else new to say from that time, but the Chimpanzee Type-Writors in the Blog’s freezing, damp Nissen-Hut must at least pretend to keep up appearances.

On every day and in every way, our rulers (do we need such people, really?) conspire to push us further and further down the outfall-pipe. It’s actually very depressing to be alive in Britain in 2013, knowing that one was being born some number of decades before, in a country which, while less blessed with the planet’s offerings, was at least less unfree in most ways.

All I’d really like to say to Libertarians this Christmas is that I think we are running out of time. It’s slipping by us all fast and I don’t know when there might be another time. I’m certain I said it before, possibly last year and the year before that and the year before that: it’s quite fortunate that statistNazis are rather inefficient and take longer than they might, to do what they need to do. Even Enoch Powell said once: “be of good cheer: for the rot has set in, but it will take quite some time”. There are some choices now open to us, as follows:-

(1) We can continue to try to “influence debate”, by publishing, by some of us (not enough to make a difference) going about having eggs and turned-off-mikes thrown at us in universities and on radio stations and in “Conservative” gatherings and meetings and stuff like that. We can continue to do that thing. But I don’t think anyone that matters, or is on our side, is listening. The ones not on our side will simply delete the file they got sent for airing, or turn off the mike when we get too near the truth.

(2) We can espouse “activism”, but all this will do is get us imprisoned, possibly for ever for we are right, and out families broken up, our computers “taken into local authority-care”, and our children “seized for hard-drive analysis”. As a strategy, this will therefore avail other people nought. The trouble is that we have been shown time and time again that “activism” pays, since people like Nelson Mandela, Gerry Adams, the dead pigs Castro and Stalin, the other dead leftist pig Hitler (he got lucky while young) and Ho Chi Mhinh “got into government”. But I don’t think any living Libertarian conservatives are willing to pay the price or are even young enough to see it redeemed.

(3) Each of us can build an “armoured library”. How you all do this is entirely up to you. It needn’t even be armoured, so long as you didn’t tell policemen, who’d of course tip off scumbag mobsters to come and accidentally burn it as soon as it was convenient for (them).

Sorry to be so depressing this year. It’s no use getting excited that “over 145 people” got to see the lecture at (somewhere or other) by “Dr Human Hope”, the really really articulate and perspicacious founder of the “freedom free thingy”, at some place or other, and which several hundred Libertarians from at least “20″ countries attended. Nor, even, that his lecture got “published on the internet.

Merry Christmas: the time has come to face reality. Nobody’s really interested enough in liberty – either for themselves or for others, and certainly not for others – for us to make a difference any more.

I’m not saying we should give up and die. Just that we must not expect victory, for we shall not get it.

Armoured Libraries and survival of culture and law


David Davis

Various prominent British libertarians seem now agreed that The Endarkenment approaches. The signs have been increasingly clear for some time. The fact that liberty is the mother of order and not its daughter is inconvenient for those that mean to boot the vast majority of Mankind – except themselves – backwards, cruelly, painfully and hard into pre-enlightenment misery, starvation, disease and servitude.

Being a scientist myself by training and thought-modes, and therefore by definition not an intellectual -  I have never figured out why humans get to want to bring about – and worse, specifically for others than themselves – what I described above.

It always seems after careful analysis of their plans, that they would like to visit upon the whole of humanity what Churchill described as “the torments that Dante reserved for the damned”.

[Incidentally, I think that "intellectual" (the noun) is is a mere imaginary literary concept, applied by primitive pre-scientific mystics to themselves and their friends who still work according to neolithic non-tribe-male-skull-crashing theories of how to behave towards others, and are driven by emotion and wishful thinking. This may become the subject of another discussion, but perhaps I may accidentally have defined "conservatives" as definitely not these people. We shall have to see, when I have time to try to write something again.]

Various commenters on recent postings here have said things like this, and this, and this. In the darkness however, someone said this, and Continue reading

One Moral Standard For All


by Sheldon Richman
http://c4ss.org/content/22741
One Moral Standard For All

Libertarians make a self-defeating mistake in assuming that their fundamental principles differ radically from most other people’s principles. Think how much easier it would be to bring others to the libertarian position if we realized that they already agree with us in substantial ways.

What am I talking about? It’s quite simple. Libertarians believe that the initiation of force is wrong. So do the overwhelming majority of nonlibertarians. They, too, think it is wrong to commit offenses against person and property. I don’t believe they abstain merely because they fear the consequences (retaliation, prosecution, fines, jail, lack of economic growth). They abstain because they sense deep down that it is wrong, unjust, improper. In other words, even if they never articulate it, they believe that other individuals are ends in themselves and not merely means to other people’s the ends. They believe in the dignity of individuals. As a result, they perceive and respect the moral space around others. (This doesn’t mean they are consistent, but when they are not, at least they feel compelled to rationalize.)

Continue reading

Four Questions for Amia Srinivasan


by Jason Lee Byas
http://c4ss.org/content/22553

Four Questions for Amia Srinivasan

Amia Srinivasan has four questions for free-market moralists, specifically those who accept something like a Nozickian account of individual rights. My own take is more Rothbardian than Nozickian, but that still seems close enough to give her four answers, and to ask four questions in return about the assumptions that underlie her essay.

Amia begins by asking:

Continue reading

The Internet as Result of a Negative Feedback Loop Against Centralisation


By Mustela nivalis

In a comment under my post about how it was ‘the internet wot won it’, meaning that it stopped some insane thugs from insanely intervening violently in that nest of vipers which is called Syria, Sean Gabb wrote:
I keep asking myself what would have happened in July 1914 if we’d had the Internet. One thing for sure is that the idiots in charge wouldn’t have had such an easy ride to Armageddon.
The interesting point I think is this: Without WWI and everything that followed there would not have been an internet. There needed to be a longish historical phase of intense worldwide centralization before a decentralizing force appeared.

Libertines and Liberal Bigots


Libertines and Liberal Bigots
by Keir Martland

Libertarians are being torn apart from within. Two groups are responsible for this: the libertines and the liberal bigots. ‘Liberal bigots’ is a phrase that I have stolen from Peter Hitchens and I am using it to describe a group within the libertarian movement who are more concerned about being politically correct than defending anybody’s right to discriminate. By libertines, I mean simply those who view libertarianism as a rebellion against tradition, hierarchy, morality and authority and who believe that the best way to achieve libertarianism and the libertarian ends of life, prosperity, cooperation and so on, is to live in communes, engage in ‘free love’, and at every opportunity attack conventional wisdom and morality.

The former, the liberal bigots, in my view are often ‘thin libertarians’ of the worst kind: libertarians who believe in the nonaggression axiom and nothing else. These people can only think in terms of libertarian legal theory and, as cultural Marxists, will defend anybody’s way of life, except, oddly enough, a traditionalist and antiegalitarian way of life. The latter, however, are usually ‘thick libertarians’ and in this sense are an improvement upon the liberal bigots. Thick libertarians are libertarians who, in addition to being well-versed in libertarian law, think about how a libertarian society would, could and should function. Thick libertarians judge not only whether or not something is legal, but whether it is conducive to libertarian ends. However, sadly, the modal thick libertarian is a libertine: someone who believes that prosperity, happiness and other good ends, for which we all strive, are achieved not through a ‘sensible’ lifestyle but through a relatively reckless one. Continue reading

Sean Gabb on the Thatcher Police State (May 1989)


The Full Coercive Apparatus of a Police State:
Thoughts on the Dark Side of the Thatcher Decade

Sean Gabb

3rd May 1989, Published as Legal Notes No. 6, by the Libertarian Alliance,
London, 1989, ISBN 1 870614 39 9

Ten years ago (1979) I gave way to one of my rare bursts of enthusiasm. I was at the time, I’ll grant, still a schoolboy; and these things are always more permissible in them than in others. But, even for a schoolboy, it was a very great burst of enthusiasm. I seriously thought that, along with Mrs Thatcher, the second dawn of classical liberalism had arrived. This was it, I thought. No more socialism. No more national decline. No more Road to Serfdom. Oh, even as lads of my age went, I was naïve. Continue reading

Any (Good) Thing the State Can Do, We Can Do Better


http://c4ss.org/content/17899

Any (Good) Thing the State Can Do, We Can Do Better

The following article was written by Gary Chartier and published on his blog, Liberalaw, June 7th, 2010.

The question whether people in a stateless society could respond satisfactorily to a disaster like the BP oil spill is really just a special case of the general question whether people without the state can do the things people attempt to do through the state. It seems to me that the answer is “yes.” Continue reading

The State, Means of Production, and Means of Immigration


byKeith Preston
http://attackthesystem.com/2013/02/26/the-state-means-of-production-and-means-of-immigration/

Perhaps the principal source of division between anarcho-capitalists and socialist-anarchists in the classical tradition relates to the question of who should control what the Marxists call the “means of production.” Anarcho-capitalists envision a system of absolute private property rights rooted in the homesteading principle and defined along Lockean lines. Anarcho-capitalists also accept wage labor, profit, interest, landlordism, and absentee ownership. Continue reading

A Political Programme for Anarchists


by Keith Preston
ttp://www.mutualist.org/id5.html

INTRODUCTION

In On Community, a recent pamphlet on Gustav Landauer, Larry Gambone suggested the need for an “antipolitical movement” to dismantle the state, in order to eliminate obstacles to non-statist alternatives. It was no longer possible, he argued, merely to act outside the state framework while treating it as irrelevant. To do so entailed the risk that “you might end up like the folks at Waco.” In an earlier work, Sane Anarchy, he suggested a few items for the agenda of such a movement. I now submit a list of my own (after a few pages of preferatory comment), as a basis for discussion. Continue reading

Thinking Our Anger


by Roderick Long
http://c4ss.org/content/17334

Thinking Our Anger

Thinking Our Anger“ was originally published in the Summer 2001 issue of Formulations formerly the Free Nation Foundation now published by the Libertarian Nation Foundation, written by Roderick T. Long. This talk was delivered at the Auburn Philosophical Society’s Roundtable on Hate, 5 October 2001, convened in response to the September 11 attacks a month earlier.

The events of September 11th have occasioned a wide variety of responses, ranging from calls to turn the other cheek, to calls to nuke half the Middle East—and every imaginable shade of opinion in between. At a time when emotions run high, how should we go about deciding on a morally appropriate response? Should we allow ourselves to be guided by our anger, or should we put our anger aside and make an unemotional decision? Continue reading

Is Libertarianism “Unfair”?


by D.J Webb

I have umm’d and aah’d for a long time over how to approach this issue, because it often seems that libertarianism is an ideological reflex of personal interests. For example, Allister Heath at City AM, generally fairly free-market in his approach, called recently for tax reform, but a “reform” that would retain taxes on income and profits and avoid imposing any levies on the occupation of land. On this very LA blog, many people otherwise libertarian in their general views have seemed vituperatively to oppose shifting taxation from income and profits onto property. Such people are often vocal in decrying any attempt to talk about the “fairness” of the free market, while happy to accept state intervention to skew economic opportunities in the interests of those who already have wealth and property. It is likely that most people who are “free-market” in their view of economics are simply expressing their own interests in the economy. Continue reading

Jesus, der Kapitalist


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jesus-Kapitalist-christliche-Herz-Marktwirtschaft/dp/3898797112/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350681231&sr=8-1

Robert Groezinger is a good friend and a committed libertarian. I strongly recommend this new book, which sets out a Gospel-based argument, in the tradition of Gary North, for a necessary connection between the Christian Faith and a free market society.

“Der Kapitalismus ist aus dem Christentum hervorgegangen – und braucht ihn, um zu überleben. Auch das Christentum braucht den Kapitalismus – und fordert ihn sogar. Nicht jedoch einen staatlich regulierten Kapitalismus, der nur für jene wirklich vorteilhaft ist, die gute Beziehungen zur Regierung unterhalten und somit zu Korruption und Betrug einlädt, sondern einen Kapitalismus, der so frei ist, dass selbst Geld unter Wettbewerbsbedingungen hergestellt wird. Zentralbanken aber stellen unser Geld unter staatlich garantierten Monopollizenzen her. Damit genießen sie ungerechtfertigte Privilegien. Anhand zahlreicher Beispiele aus der Bibel zeigt Robert Grözinger, dass die Gleichnisse, Aussagen und Mahnungen Jesu von den Prinzipien einer wirklich freien Marktwirtschaft untermauert sind. Grundsätze wie Individualismus und Privateigentum sind Fundamente, die schon im Alten Testament gelegt wurden. Daneben skizziert Grözinger die Wechselwirkung in der historischen Entwicklung von Christentum und Kapitalismus sowie die Unvereinbarkeit von Christentum und Sozialismus. Damit meint er nicht nur den Kommunismus, sondern auch seine weichere Form: den überbordenden Wohlfahrtsstaat, den uns die staatlich erzwungene Barmherzigkeit beschert hat. Und seine neueste, krasseste Version: den Ökologismus. Wie eine freie Gesellschaft auf christlichen Werten und freier Marktwirtschaft basieren kann, zeigt Robert Grözinger in Jesus, der Kapitalist.”

Libertarianism: What’s Going Right


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/content/12511

In “Libertarianism and Liberalism: What Went Wrong,” I gave my opinion of what was wrong with both mainstream libertarianism and mainstream liberalism (”wrong” in the sense to presenting an obstacle to an anti-authoritarian coalition of liberals and libertarians). In my last post, “Liberalism: What’s Going Right,” I discussed some reasons for hope within movement liberalism: some individuals who show signs of thinking outside the box when it comes to abandoning the worst features of the liberal establishment and finding common ground with free market libertarians. Now I’d like to do the same thing on the libertarian side. Continue reading

Old Essay on Scepticism


On Being Uncertain:
A Case for Scepticism
by Sean Gabb
(May 2003)

One reason I have written almost nothing this month for Free Life Commentary is that my busiest time of year is upon me. I have examinations to set and mark and to prepare students for. I am also hard at work on other projects that I hope will bear fruit in the months to come. And I am bored with the essay that I was trying to write. This was to be about the European Union and what makes it really so bad. However, I found myself unable to write my usual thousand words an hour. Indeed, I was picking over it for days and even weeks. I found it lacking the connection between ideas and the general clarity and smoothness of construction that I have always tried to achieve. In truth, I was bored with it. Pay me to do so, I grant, and I will show an almost convincing interest in what I find the dullest subject. But these are essays that I write above all else for my own entertainment. If something bores me—and the European Union does for the moment—I see no reason to switch on my notebook computer.

Therefore, I will write nothing yet again about the great issues of the day. I will instead respond to several of my readers who objected to my confession of scepticism in my last piece about ghosts. I am asked how I can be a sceptic when our knowledge of the world is based on such sure foundations. How can I deny the obvious, and so join myself to the nihilists whose own course of doubt ends in the various kinds of political correctness, and whose denial of reality in earlier generations cleared the way for the gulag and the holocaust? Continue reading

Libertarianism Through Thick and Thin


The following article was written by Charles Johnson and published in The Freeman, July 2008.

To what extent should libertarians concern themselves with social commitments, practices, projects, or movements that seek social outcomes beyond, or other than, the standard libertarian commitment to expanding the scope of freedom from government coercion? Continue reading

Mike Gogulski and the Citizens of Nowhere


by James Tuttle

Note: I met Mike in Slovakia in 2008, and look forward to seeing him again every year. His principled stand isn’t one I feel inclined to imitate. However, it is very much to be admired. SIG Continue reading

Mill on Liberty – Old Review


I wrote this in 1994. I still more or less agree with it. SIG

On Liberty
John Stuart Mill
Prepared by dell from the Harvard Classics edition,
published by P.F. Collier & Son, Massachusetts, 1909
Available from gopher://gopher.panix.com/misc/referencelibrary/classicsofliterature/
First published 1859, published on-line September 1993, 281.53kb, public domain Continue reading

Keith Preston on The New Totalitarianism


by Keith Preston

Note: I’m very impressed by the work of Keith Preston. I came up with the phrase “Enemy Class” to describe the enemies of bourgeois civilisation. Our Blogmaster uses a long circumlocution. Ian B has his preferred terminology. I suggest we should adopt the Prestonism of “totalitarian humanists.” We are all talking about more or less the same group of people.

Totalitarian humanists are people whose legitimising ideology is cultural leftism, and who are imposing this via a police state at home and military force abroad. They have merged with a much older corporate elite. They have massively enlarged the military and police arms of the State. Until about 30 years ago, they were denouncing these three forces. But they have now spread their ideology to their former enemies, and thereby cleansed them of evil. They seek absolute and unaccountable power, and the consequent destruction of ancient liberties and intermediary institutions, by insisting on the absolute goodness of their legitimising ideology and the absolute evil of the various “hates” they are combating. They control business and education and the media, and politics and law and administration, and every medical bureaucracy. They are embedded in every main religion except Islam. They are absolutely supreme in every transnational bureaucracy.

As an aside, I suggest that the European Union is evil not because it is run by Frenchmen and Germans, or whatever. Let’s be reasonable – rule from Paris or Berlin would not in itself be catastrophic. It isn’t evil because our own liberal institutions are being destroyed – these have already been destroyed. It is evil because it is another place from which the totalitarian humanists can exercise absolute and unaccountable power to reshape us as they desire.

A good British example of totalitarian humanism is the Stephen Lawrence circus. Two men faced 20 years of administrative and legal harassment and media vilification. They were finally brought to trial and convicted on the basis of what looks like fabricated evidence. One of them could only be tried after the very ancient protection against double jeopardy had been stripped out of the Common Law. Had this been done to Sinn Fein/IRA terrorists, there would – rightly – have been howls of outrage. In this case, the entire ruling class set up a squeal of delight. Nothing – certainly not due process or even common decency – can be allowed to stand in the way of crushing racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, or any other excuse for not joining in the Potemkin love feast of the totalitarian humanists.

Other examples are the persecution of Emma West, the persecution of Christian hoteliers who won’t rent out rooms to homosexuals, refusal to let devout Christians foster children, denial of NHS treatment to people who live other than as directed, the attempted use of sporting associations to
brainwash the white working classes. These really are all examples of the same war against bourgeois civilisation.

I could say more. But here is the essay. Read and consider its implications for our own strategy. [SIG] Continue reading

Down with anti-market “anarchists”


by Stephan Kinsella
http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/22743.html

Down with anti-market “anarchists”

Posted by Stephan Kinsella on September 9, 2008 01:46 AM

There’s a lot of noise being made by the left- and mutualist-libertarian crowd about the arrest of some so-called “anarchists” (scare quotes because anti-market “anarchists” are not real anarchists, i.e. anarcho-libertarians) and seizure by the police of “anarchist” and anarchist literature, including some by mutualist-libertarian Kevin Carson. From what I can gather from various incoherent media and blog descriptions, an “anarchist” group called the RNC Welcoming Committee was going to protest the Republican convention in Minnesota; some market anarchists tried to join up to make some inroads with the commie “anarchists”, and some Ron Paul supporters. For some reason the cops made arrests and seized literature, which included some of Carson’s writings. Continue reading

Evaluate and Critically Discuss


“England was a much better place when ruled by a committee of aristocratic landlords. All experience of the past 127 years has shown that ordinary people are not to be trusted with public affairs. They have consistently failed to see through the rogues and charlatans who have progressively monopolised English politics since the Third Reform Act, and have been too numerous to feel or be exposed to any sense of personal shame at this failure. The only way that England can now be saved is by a Caesaristic dictatorship, after which a restored Constitution will restrict the vote and access to elected office to persons of good character.”

Evaluate and critically discuss this anonymous, though wholly sound, comment. Candidates are encouraged to make some reference to the failed reforms that Sulla made to the Roman Constitution, and to the more thoroughgoing reconstuction by Julius Caesar, and to the final settlement by Augustus. Additional marks will be given to those candidates who recognise Gladstone as the proto-Blairite wrecker that he was. Candidates who use American spellings, or make any reference to the politics or history of the United States, will be failed without right of appeal.

Unvereinigtes Königreich: Abspaltung Schottlands wäre gut für England – Sean Gabb – eigentümlich frei


 

Unvereinigtes Königreich: Abspaltung Schottlands wäre gut für England

von Sean Gabb

Vorteilhaft auch für die angeschlagene bürgerliche Zivilisation

Die übliche englische Antwort auf den schottischen Nationalismus ist, ihn zu ignorieren, ihn als Irritation zu betrachten oder ihn unter Erinnerung an die gemeinsame Geschichte herunterzureden oder den Wert englischer Subventionen hervorzuheben und darauf zu warten, dass sich in der Debatte der gesunde Menschenverstand durchsetzt. Ich behaupte, dass keine dieser Reaktionen angemessen ist. Keine davon berücksichtigt, dass England und Schottland verschiedene Nationen sind und dass der lauteste und aktivste Teil der schottischen Nation entschieden hat, dass die derzeitige Union der Nationen nicht im schottischen Interesse ist. Das bedeutet nicht notwendig, dass die Auflösung der Union unausweichlich ist. Es macht sie jedoch erstrebenswert. Schottland mag unter der Union gelitten haben, oder auch nicht. Aber die Union hat viel dazu beigetragen, England an den Punkt des Zusammenbruchs zu bringen und es scheint mir vernünftig zu sagen, dass die Sicherheit Englands niemals gewährleistet werden kann, solange sich schottische Mitglieder im Westminster-Parlament befinden.

Continue reading

Rothbard and Rockwell on Conservatives and the State


by Stephan Kinsella
http://www.libertarianstandard.com/?p=10447

Rothbard, in For A New Liberty:

The idea of a strictly limited constitutional State was a noble experiment that failed, even under the most favorable and propitious circumstances. If it failed then, why should a similar experiment fare any better now? No, it is the conservative laissez-fairist, the man who puts all the guns and all the decision-making power into the hands of the central government and then says, “Limit yourself”; it is he who is truly the impractical utopian. Continue reading

A Year of Wonders — And Another to Come?


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/?p=9459

Looking back on the events of 2011, I have to keep reminding myself it wasn’t a dream. Continue reading

Populism


The basic right-wing populist insight is that we live in a statist country and a statist world dominated by a ruling elite, consisting of a coalition of Big Government, Big Business, and various influential special interest groups. More specifically, the old America of individual liberty, private property, and minimal government has been replaced by a coalition of politicians and bureaucrats allied with, and even dominated by, powerful corporate and Old Money financial elites (e.g., the Rockefellers, the Trilateralists); and the New Class of technocrats and intellectuals, including Ivy League academics and media elites, who constitute the opinion-moulding class in society. In short, we are ruled by an updated, twentieth-century coalition of Throne and Altar, except that this Throne is various big business groups, and the Altar is secular, statist intellectuals, although mixed in with the secularists is a judicious infusion of Social Gospel, mainstream Christians. The ruling class in the State has always needed intellectuals to apologize for their rule and to sucker the masses into subservience, i.e., into paying the taxes and going along with State rule. In the old days, in most societies, a form of priestcraft or State Church constituted the opinion-moulders who apologized for that rule. Now, in a more secular age, we have technocrats, “social scientists,” and media intellectuals, who apologize for the State system and staff in the ranks of its bureaucracy.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ir/Ch5.html

Mic Check: I See What You Did There


by Thomas Knapp
http://c4ss.org/?p=9379

As right-wing talk radio host Rush Limbaugh loves to note, words mean things. What they mean isn’t always obvious, of course. Meanings change over time. Gaps between usage and reality are open to exploitation and abuse. One key task of any movement for change is to close those gaps — to help people accurately identify words with the phenomena they actually describe. Continue reading

Libertarianism: Thick and Thin


Article by Matt Zwolinksi.
http://attackthesystem.com/?p=12750

A fairly balanced discussion of “thick vs thin” libertarianism from a generally “thin” perspective. Continue reading

Guardian Readers Snarling through Bars of Their Intellectual Cage


The Guardian home

Taking liberties with the concept of freedom guardian.co.uk, Friday 23 December 2011

It was amusing to read Sean Gabb of the so-called Libertarian Alliance proclaim the need for “exposing your readers to genuine libertarian positions” (Letters, 21 December). If that were done, they would discover that libertarian was originally coined by a French communist-anarchist in 1857, over one hundred years before the propertarian right in America appropriated it for their hierarchical ideology. To quote leading propertarian Murray Rothbard: “we … had captured a crucial word from the enemy … ‘Libertarians’ … had long been simply a polite word for … anti-private property anarchists … But now we had taken it over.” Continue reading

Some Distinctions and Clarifications


by Roderkick Long
http://aaeblog.com/?p=8442

I want to talk a bit a bit some of the ways in which left-libertarian claims are susceptible of misinterpretation. (Note: when I use the term “right-libertarian” below, I mean “libertarians who deviate rightward from the C4SS/ALL plumbline”!) Continue reading