Libertarian Self-Marginalization

by Kevin Carson

Go to the average mainstream libertarian venue on any given day, and you’re likely to see elaborate apologetics for corporate globalization, Wal-Mart, offshoring, Nike’s sweatshops, rising CO2 levels, income inequality and wealth concentration, CEO salaries, Big Pharma’s profits, and Microsoft’s market share, all based on the principles of “the free market”–coupled with strenuous denials of all of the perceived evils of corporate power because (as Henry Hazlitt explained at some place or other in PDF – Economics in One Lesson) the principles of the “free market” won’t allow it.

The last item is what I call “vulgar libertarianism.” It refers to the inability of some libertarian commentators to remember, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending free market principles as such, or simply making a cynical apology for the interests of big business and the plutocracy cloaked in phony “free market” rhetoric. The vulgar libertarian comentator will often tip his hat, in principle, to the existence of corporate-state collusion, and admit that the present economy deviates from a free market in many ways that work to the benefit of big business. But shortly after, he will switch gears and proceed to defend the existing size and wealth of big business on the basis of “how our free market system works.” The vulgar libertarian argument depends on taking an equivocal position as to whether or not the existing corporate economy is a free market, and then shifting ground back and forth in a such a way as to make the argument come out in big business’s favor.

A good example of this appeared recently on Mises Blog: “A Marketplace to Loathe.”

I should mention, up front, that the author himself (Christopher Westley) has acknowledged corporate rent-seeking in other posts. He acknowledged in the comment thread that corporations in league with the state could be a menace, and apologized for having possibly not made that clear in his post. He also explained to me, in a very civil email, that the target of his attack was the unquestioned liberal assumption that corporate power is the normal product of a free market, rather than of government intervention in the market. And he reassured me that, unlike many commenters in the discussion thread under the post, he did not regard my objections as nit-picking. So let me be clear that I don’t regard his argument as either malicious or deliberately dishonest (although I have considerable reservations about some of the commenters).

Nevertheless, his original article itself does not include any of the nuances that he stipulated to after the fact. It does not even raise the question of whether or not this is a free market, or treat it as the point at issue between libertarians and liberals. On its face, therefore, his original argument is a vulgar libertarian one.

The subject of his post was a commentary on NPR’s Marketplace program. Here is the bit he quoted:

I have one plea. Could you please do what is necessary to restore our faith in the corporations of business, a faith that has been so damaged in recent years? The tall towers that house our corporations are the new palaces of our day, the places where real power resides, but those towers are full of paradoxes. Made of glass, you can’t see inside. They’re pillars of our democracy, but they are run as totalitarian states. Their names are reduced to a set of initials. Their leaders are unknown to those outside. They are accountable, for the most part, to other institutions that sit in similarly anonymous towers. To the average person, they are foreign entities shrouded in mystery. It is no wonder that we look at them with suspicion, touched with envy.

Westley’s response:

…[E]ven the largest corporation has no power over the individual unless the individual grants it, so… the consumer can thumb his nose at General Motors and GM can do nothing but try harder to please him in the future if it wants his business.

Even though it’s tangential, by the way, I can’t refrain from commenting on Westley’s characterization of Marketplace as a “Marxist business show” and his reference to the commentator–Charles Handy–as “commie-of-the-day.” According to the “Marketplace” homepage, Handy is a “London Business School founder and Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Business Professor…” This leads me to believe that however much Handy may support the interventionist state, he’s not doing so from a Marxist perspective. (Just as the British propertied classes who argued for Enclosure, on the grounds that the laboring classes could only be forced to work harder if they were kicked off their land, probably weren’t Marxists either.) Roy Childs’ observation

that liberal intellectuals have been, historically, the running dogs of Big Business, is probably closer to the mark. I think it’s safe to say that Handy views as normal a society in which large corporations are “the pillars of our democracy,” and simply wants to stabilize that corporate rule. And for all his no doubt sincere belief in his own progressive motivation, most of the “reform” measures he advocates amount in practice to what New Leftist Gabriel Kolko, in The Triumph of Conservatism, called “political capitalism”:

Political capitalism is the utilization of political outlets to attain conditions of stability, predictability, and security–to attain rationalization–in the economy… [By rationalization] I mean… the organization of the economy and the larger political and social spheres in a manner that will allow corporations to function in a predictable and secure environment permitting reasonable profits over the long run.

I’m sure Handy does see the bad aspects of corporate power as resulting from the unregulated marketplace (as opposed to seeing all corporate power, and the state intervention that causes it, as bad in themselves). But the issue didn’t even show up in Westley’s post. He simply quoted a reference to totalitarian corporate power, and then argued that it can’t exist because that’s not how the “free market” works (that’s works, present indicative, not would work). His later clarifications notwithstanding, his original post simply quoted a reference to corporate power and responded with a counter-assertion that corporate power cannot exist–because the “free market” won’t allow it.

At any rate, that was the gist of my comment under the post:

GM and other corporations can (and DO!) also act in collusion with the state, to erect market barriers and limit the range of competition.

So in fact what you should be saying is not that the largest corporation “has no power,” but that the largest corporation “WOULD have no power in a free market.”

And since this isn’t a free market, but rather (as Rothbard said) a corporate state that subsidizes the accumulation of capital and the operating expenses of big business, the radio commentator was entirely correct about the power exercised in those corporate towers.

You should figure out what your actual purpose is: defending free market principles as such, or just defending the profits and power of big business under the guise of “free market” principles.

Several regular Mises Blog commenters immediately reacted to my criticism, in the same way they’d react to a turd in the punchbowl. One of them came up with this gem:

When are you going to get past this same, tired argument? Must the authors qualify every statement? Is this a scholarly journal or a blog article?

Yes, Kevin, we don’t live in a free market.

Yes, Kevin, many (if not all) corporations do lobby for and accept handouts.

Oh wait, whats that? Its a Wal-Mart article you haven’t chastised for its lack of “this isn’t a free-market” qualifications. Go chase it Fido! Bye.

While I think it’s justifiable to credit Westley for his honesty and good intentions, the commenters are a different matter entirely.

I’m utterly amazed that 1) a commentator can make a reference to corporate power; 2) a critic can dismiss him as a “Marxist” on the grounds that corporate power can’t exist in a “free market”; and 3) the critic’s defenders can dismiss the question of whether a free market in fact exists as a quibble and distraction, and accuse the person raising it of marring the symmetry of the critic’s pretty argument with a bunch of nasty old facts. When Party A refers to the existence of corporate power, and Party B makes the counter-assertion that corporations can’t have (not “couldn’t have”) any power in a free market, the question of whether in fact a free market even exists is not a mere quibble. It is the central point at issue in determining whether Party A’s contention is right or wrong, and whether Party B owes him an apology.

But let’s look at all this in broader terms. Although Handy did not–in the passage quoted by Westley–explictly treat corporate power as the natural outcome of the market, or argue for state intervention as the only way to prevent it, he did strongly imply it in the full commentary from which it was excerpted. But Westley did not make the extent of government’s role in corporate power the subject of his post; he simply denied, flat-out, that corporate power existed, based on the way the market operates.

But what if Handy does, as I think likely, implicitly assume (what I regard as the typically vulgar liberal assumption) that the free market results in corporate power unless the state intervenes to prevent it: what, then is the most effective response, if our goal is to promote libertarian ideas in society at large? Not, as Westley did, to reflexively defend the honor of big business and deny that corporate power exists.

The most effective response would be something like this:

I agree with you that corporate power exists, and share your concern with its evil effects, but I believe you’re mistaken about its causes and remedy. The evil effects of corporate power result, not from government’s failure to restrain big business, but from government propping it up in the first place: this government support includes subsidies to the operating costs of big business, and protection of big business from market competition through market entry barriers, regulatory cartels, and special privileges like so-called “intellectual property.”

A libertarian movement that dismisses the public’s concerns about very real problems, apparent to anyone with eyes in their head, with doctrinaire denials that they exist or can exist, is a libertarian movement doomed to irrelevance.

Here’s what Mises wrote, in Epistemological Problems of Economics, about apparent conflicts of theory with experience:

If a contradiction appears between a theory and experience, we must always assume that a condition pre-supposed by the theory was not present, or else there is some error in our observation. Thedisagreement between the theory and the facts of experience frequently forces us to think through the problems of the theory again. But so long as a rethinking of the theory uncovers no errors in our thinking, we are not entitled to doubt its truth.

The vulgar libertarians, however, question neither their application of Mises’ theory nor their understanding of the facts. Instead they challenge us: “Who’re ya gonna believe: Mises or your lying eyes?”

We all know that corporate power exists. Any libertarian movement that hopes for anything more than self-marginalization must directly address the common sense perception that corporate power exists, and the public concerns that stem from the fact, and explain why the market is the good guy and the state the bad guy on the issue.

The approach I see in all too many mainstream libertarian venues is the moral equivalent of saying to someone whose house is burning down, “Your house can’t be burning down because houses can’t burn down without oxygen, you dirty commie!”–and then dismissing as “quibbling” the question of whether there is in fact oxygen in the air.

We live in a society where the evils of the state-corporate nexus, resulting directly from the corporate size and power it promotes, are the central issues of concern to the average person. Far too large a portion of the current libertarian movement dismisses these concerns as motivated by “economic illiteracy” (although their own pro-corporate apologetics are, if anything, more open to that charge), and then passes on to what it regards as the real problems of injustice crying out for solution: uppity union workers, welfare moms wallowing in luxury on their food stamps, and “trial lawyers.”

For too many mainstream libertarians, the evils of corporate-state collusion are something to tip one’s hat to, and corporate welfare is kinda sorta bad, in principle, I guess, and maybe we oughta do something about it someday…. But welfare that helps the poor, instead of the rich, is Flaming Red Ruin on Wheels!

And as historically illiterate and illogical as some of the commenters at Daily Kos can be, when they make their facile “pot-smoking Republicans” dismissals of libertarianism, when you get right down to it mainstream libertarians have only themselves to blame. Rather than addressing the historical illiteracy and illogic with reasoned arguments along the lines I described above–the role the state has played in the creation and preservation of corporate power, and how the market threatens it–mainstream libertarianism simply denies that corporate power exists at all, and backs up that position with equal historical illiteracy and illogic of its own. If I thought “free markets” and “free trade” really meant what neoliberal talking heads mean by them, I’d hate them too.

Indeed, there is a great deal of mirror-imaging between the vulgar libertarian and vulgar liberal interpretation of history. Both the typical denizen of Mises Blog, and the typical Daily Kos commenter, would agree that the giant corporations of the twentieth century emerged from the “laissez-faire” market of the nineteenth, and that the twentieth century mixed economy emerged as an attempt to restrain big business. Their only area of disagreeement is over whether big business or big government is the “good guy.”

96 responses to “Libertarian Self-Marginalization

  1. “Running dogs”!

    Oh my, Kevin. The people who your routinely denounce dare to treat you like a “turd in a punchbowl”. You denounce them, every day of the week, as economically illiterate while clinging to an antiquated labour theory of value. You denounce them for not promoting your definition of “free markets” when your definition of free markets is “no markets”. You trot out the tired obsessions of the American Left- Wal*Mart and Microsoft. You display your regular utter ignorance of the Enclosure Period, and failure to understand why economic development requires, by some means or other, most of the population ceasing to farm.

    You sit up there on a high horse declaring that a “free market” is some type of stateless communism and wonder why people who want a market based on trade don’t like you very much.

    If I wanted to write a parody of Carsonism, I couldn’t do better than this post.

  2. “vulgar libertarianism” is libertarianism (period).

    Kevin Carsonism not only is NOT libertarianism – it is the sworn enemy of libertarianism.

    The basis of libertarianism is the non aggression principle – private property rights.

    A quick test for a person you encounter…..

    Ask them what they think of Jon Huntsman (senior), or Charles and David Koch.

    It the person replies in a positive way they may not be a libertarian (they may be more moderate than a full libertaran – but still admire successful businessmen).

    However, if the response is negative (if their is open hositlity to the life in business of someone like Jon Huntsman) then one is dealing with an ENEMY of libertarianism.

    Even quicker test….

    If someone goes around waving a Red Flag or a Black Flag (in a political context – say the lazy work-shy bums who make up the [George Soros financed and Russian Television supported] “Occupy” movment) or is friends of people who do…

    Well then such a person is no friend of libertarianism – quite the contrary.

  3. It’s embarrassing to watch “libertarians” defend corporations, which being creations of the State, are anti-free market. They have no idea that War of Independence was caused by Americans rebelling against the first Cosmodemonic Transnational Megacorporation – the East India Company. Wal-Mart, which many libertarians worship, is an exploitative, rapacious, anti-free market monstrosity. And supporting open borders – they’re playing right into the hands of the State and corporations (Mussolini defined fascism as “corporatism”). Most of them can quote Murray Rothbard (a second-rate historian) but have barely read a word of Thomas Jefferson. And as for Ayn Rand – a nutcase. They’ll go nowhere until they learn to become patriots.

    • The idea of the corporate form is a lot older than 19th century statutes – for example churches are an example of the corporate form.

      However, the debate over “corporations” is a diversion – Kevin Carson hates large scale single owner operations just as much as he hates corporations.

  4. Unfortunately, the idea that “corporations” are a creation of the State is very popular. They are certainly registered by the State. So are births, marriages and deaths. Logically therefore one should be against birth, since it is a creation of the State. Except it isn’t, of course, only the registration is.

    Look, lefties. Currently, *everything* of any relevance is closely entwined with the State. Marriage is awarded by the State, charities are defined by the State, railways are run by the State, hospitals are owned by the State, food is regulated by the State, land is awarded by the State. If you’re against everything that is involved wtih the State, you’re against literally everything, except possibly porn and tobacco, which are the only two industries not given privilege by the State.

    Oh, except that Carson has argued that tobacco control is really a corporatist conspiracy, since- I kid you not- banning tobacco advertising is a privilege to the tobacco companies since it saves them the cost. Seriously. He has actually argued that.

    The current corporate form is specific to our current States. So is the current form of marriage or the other things listed above. Carson just hates corporations for the same reason millions of other Leftists do. It’s not for libertarian reasons at all.

    • Ian does Kevin C. really say that?

      So the tobacco companies in Australia love what the government is doing to them – and the government is really controlled by the corporations (and the rest of “the rich”).

      Of course Kevin (and co) would hate individually owned large scale factories and mines and…. just as much as they hate such enterprises being owned by companies.

  5. Paul,

    Yes. I can’t remember which of Kevin’s massive quantity of works I read it in, but I did read it during a wade through that stuff during a previous debate here. I should have taken notes. The argument went that banning tobacco advertising was a gift from the State to the tobacco corporations by freeing them of its costs.

    Still, from a man who argues that roads are a Statist conspiracy, I suppose such things should be expected.

  6. Of course Kevin (and co) would hate individually owned large scale factories and mines and…. just as much as they hate such enterprises being owned by companies.

    I think it’s quite clear from Carson’s writing that the only legitimate forms of enterprrise- if you can call it that- that he foresees in his version of a stateless society is competition-free collectivisation. That’s where the hatred of roads comes from. They would allow the Kettering Bread Collective to compete with the Northampton Bread Collective, thus driving down wages.

    Progressivism hates both monopoly and competition. The only alternative they can find is localist collectivisation, since that isn’t technically a “monopoly” since nobody “owns” it, or rather everybody does, and there is no market to monopolise. As I’ve said repeatedly, Carson and his friends use the term “free market” as a euphemism for “no market at all”.

  7. I really don’t get it! How does libertarianism become support for the merging of corporations with the state, the concentration of all economic,social and political power in the hands of a few and the elimination through regulation of any emerging competition? Like I mean that used to be called fascism.WTF?

  8. Ah I suppose Corporate Libertarianism is like Gorbachov’s Market Socialism i.e. BS.

    • Do you offer cheaper or better goods than Wal-Mart LIam?

      Do you offer workers HIGHER wages than Nike does? You do know that people go to work for Nike because it offers HIGHER incomes than they could otherwise get – at least I hope you do.

      Or do you not offer cheaper goods than Wal-Mart and higher wages and better conditions of work than Nike.

      Perhaps you just sneer at business enterprises without doing anything yourself. And you would attack business enterprises even if they were NOT corporately owned.

      And, of course, you would attack a business owned by an individual just as much as you would attack a business by vast numbers of people (shareholders).

      After all Kevin Carson has attacked 19th century business enterprises – which mostly were owned by single individuals or families.

      The “anti corporatism” is a POSE – really you people just hate large scale business enterprises.

      You pretend that large scale business enterprises mean lower wages (and worse conditions of work) for the poor – in fact than mean higher wages (and better conditions of work). Not good by your standards – but better than they had before.

      And a lot better than someone like you, Liam, would offer – because you would offer NOTHING.

  9. By the way Liam – the statement that libertarians (what Kevin would call “vulgar” people) are in favour of government regulations restricting competition is not true.

    As for “Fascism” I doubt you know anything about the subject – read the works of Ludwig Von Mises and F.A. Hayek on the subject (such as Omnipotent Government and the Road to Serfdom and the Consitutiton of Liberty) the FULL works – not the quotes out of contrext that Kevin Carson (and other agitprop people) will give you.

    Ian – agreed on all points.

    And, of course, Kevin would oppose private roads (and most roads were once private – turnpike trusts) and private railroads, not just government roads.

    His pretense is that there is no such thing as economies of scale (there are indeed also diseconomies of scale, if an an enterprise gets too big it becomes very hard to manage, but economies of scale do exist).

    That the de facto banning of large scale private farming, manufacturing and retailing (which is what he really wants to do) would produce a happy wonderland for the poor.

    In reality KevinCarsonism (indeed collectiism in general) would produce MASS STARVATION.

  10. The corporate libertarians don’t advocate, nor even suggest any alternatives to centralized hierarchical control No “Temporary Autonomous Zones”, no situationist spectacle, no skill sharing/ barter systems no independant money supply,no voluntary association or tax paying, nothing like that. They want to abandon the Federal Reserve but then leave the monopoly on money supply with the state.They want to abolish independant labour unions and last but not least they want to cut incomes of the low paid and welfare claimants.

  11. Secondly if I were offering cheaper goods than WalMart and the corporate nazis found out their agents would be around swiftly to shut me down and probably imprison me..Those who believe in all power to the corporations should just stop calling it libertarianism and call it what it is… fascism.

  12. Liam, you’re talking a load of old pants. Libertarians want you to be free to try any economic model, even barking mad ones like going back to barter.

  13. Ian yes Libertarians want economic freedom which is precisely the point. Corporate Nazis want to control the money supply, reign in and eliminate independant manufacturing or trade, streamline state,education,public healthsports,media,communication,reproduction,eugenics,disgenics, survailence,all within a framework of “soft rule”. That is until someone challanges that rule. Any independant trader/manufacturer will offer better pay and conditions than Walmart, et al. They generally do so if only they could get into the “free market” and past all the corporation friendly rules,regulations and competition stiffling subsidies to the corporate giants. What would be so wrong with a level playing field? If the government removed the protections and subsidies to big business, meanwhile allowed independant activity to go on unmolested then that would be libertarian. What is so hard to understand?

  14. What is so hard to understand is why you think that a company paying higher wages will outcompete a company like WalMart. What’s their secret that Walmart don’t know?

    • Of course they would offer LOWER wages Ian – and still fail to outcompete Walmart.

      Liam I doubt you know anything about the Nazis (“corporate Nazis” well how nice of you).

      I know quite a bit about them – with my family background (some of the Marks family were caught in Hoiland and sent to gas chambers).

      My father (Harry Marks) faught the British Union of Fascists at Cable Street – and he late faught Communists also (when they ordered him to beat up a female shop owner – because her husband owned a “sweatshop” i.e. the sort of place, although on a much smaller scale, you think can be improved by waving a magic wand).

      If you want to know the truth about the rleationships between big business and the Nazis then read Turner’s Big Business and the Nazis – actually most big businessmen were HOSTILE to the rist of the Nazis (but you do not want to be told that).

      On the “corporations”.

      How many times do you have to be told?

      If you banned the corporate form wages would be LOWER (not higher) and conditions of work would be WORSE (not better).


      Because he would STILL HATE large scale business enterprises – even if they were owned by single individuals or families (rather than large numbers of shareholders).

      As for the claim that I believe in government fiat money (and so on) I have argued against fiat money (and in favour of commodity money and all lending to be from real savings) for DECADES.

      If you want a fan of credit bubble finance (“low interest rates” or no interest rate) then look no further than your hero Kevin Carson – who is no more a libertarian than he is Vulcan.

  15. Any independant producer or trader knows if you want to keep reliable staff you have to pay them.You guys who love corporations so much why don’t you call yourselves Fordians? (From Huxley’s Brave New World.)
    More to the point why are you hiding behind the Libertarian banner?

  16. What Kevin Carson is actually trying to do is copy what American socialists did with the word “liberal” in the 1920s.

    Before the First World War the word “liberal” still meant free market and hard money in the United States. Thrift (real savings – rather than credit bubbles “cheap money”) and reducing government spending, taxes and government regulations were the mark of the American liberal.

    In the 1920s the word “liberal” came to mean socialist – or something close to socialist, It came to mean somone who was anti private enterprise – not pro private enterprise.

    For example the leading socialist magazine in the United States “The Nation”, was not always socialist.

    A century or so ago “The Nation” was AGAINST the sort of “Progressive” intellectual it is now for.

    There was passionate HATRED between the sort of person who wrote for (or bought) The Nation – and someone like Richard Ely (the socialistic mentor of both “Teddy” Roosevelt and Wooodrow Wilson).

    But (perhaps observing how liberalism had been turned into “New Liberalism” in Britain – although, in truth, British liberalism had been in terrible intellectual trouble from the time of Walter Bagehot and J.S. Mill) American socialists decided to stop fighting liberalism openly but instead to SUBVERT IT FROM WITHIN.

    Instead of saying how they hated competition – the socialists (oh sorry the new “liberals”) would say how much they LOVED competition, and how much the LOVED freedom (and on and on).

    The letters of the socialists who founded the ACLU still survive – they would pretend to love the principles of the Constitution of the United States (which, in private, they despised) and would “wrap themselves in the flag” in order to CON PEOPLE.

    Kevin Carson seeks to do the same thing with word “libertarian” that Ameican collectivists did with the word “liberal” in the 1920s – REVERSE its meaning.

    He knows it can be done – because the ANTI collectivist word becaome the PRO collectivist word.

    Does anyone believe that Kevin Carson JUST hates companies?

    Does anyone believe that Kevin Carson does not ALSO hate any large scale enterprise owned by an INDIVIDUAL?

    A large farming estate, a series of factories, a chain of shops – whatever.

    If anyone does believe that Kevin only hates “corporations” and would leave large scale property owned by INDIVDUALS alone…..

    Well then I have a nice bridge to sell you.

  17. Question for Liam Griffin – and a genuine question (because I do not know the answer).

    Say the state banned corporate ownership of property.

    No more Wal-Mart – and no more independent colleges (such as Hillsdale or Grove City College) and no more ownership of property by churches, or clubs, or societies or……

    O.K. – all property (by state edict) owned only by INDIVIDUALS.

    Well wages and conditions would be worse (not better) – but large scale enterprises would still exist, they would just be owned by sigle individuals (not lots of shareowners).

    My question is as follows……

    What would you do about that?

    What would you do about (say) Mr X owning a large pottery – developing his business over time, and passing it on to his son or daughter (who also develops it)?

    I know what Kevin Carson would do.

    But what I want to know is what YOU Liam Griffin.

    Does another indivdual being VASTLY better off than you, upset you?

    Or does it not upset you?

    Would you (perhaps) be pleased with the sucess of this family of pottery owners over the generations – as they increased the size and scale of their buisiness and employed more and more people.

    As I said – a genuine question.

  18. If you favour the corporate state monopoly that is hardly economic libertarianism. While Nazis and Fascists merged corporate and state interests they did so with a regime of terror so I regret making the association. The soft rule of the corporate state in this era is more akin to what Aldous Huxley called Fordianism. I’m interested to know how the corporate libertarians stand on social and lifestyle freedoms? In Huxley’s Brave New World everything economic or social (including human reproduction) is strictly regulated. But in private lifestyle choices people enjoy almost total freedom.

  19. To answer your question Paul I would oppose a state ban on people forming corporations. The point of Libertarianism is the state/corporate monopoly favours an elite few and streamlines all activity economic,social or lifestyle to the corporate agenda. The point is not to privilage a certain minority of corporate “persons” through welfare,tax-breaks,regulation and enforcement which drives down and out any alternatives.

  20. By the way – the same man owned “The Nation” in its free market period (attacking Richard Ely and the other Progressives) and in its transformation (when it was taken over by the very Progressives it had once attacked).

    This man was the Sean Gabb figure of his time – he never (as far as I know) became a socialist himself, but he not only stopped fighting the Progressives (the socialists and neo socialists) he allowed them to take over his magazine (once the proud journal of Classical Liberalism in the United States).

    You see Sean Gabb OWNS the “Liberartarian Alliance” – he was given it by its Founder (who, like a tragic figure in a Victorian novel, was striken by a terrible illness – and did not clearly see the person who got closest to him for what he really was).

    So when Sean Gabb switched sides and started ENABLING people like Kevin Carson rather than FIGHTING them, there was nothing the Board of Libertarian Alliance could do.

    A single man owned the majority of the LA – so that was that Most of the board ended up resigning.

    It was much the same with “The Nation” magazine in the United States – what had been the ENEMY of people like Richard Ely, became the main SUPPORTER of such people.

    But as the owner of the magazine would not fight the Progressives (indeed he handed it over to the Progressives) Classical Liberals found themselves in a bind.

    They should have OPENLY DENOUNCED “The Nation” publication – but that was very hard to do.

    After all there were all those fond years of memories…..

    And it still used the same sort of LANGUAGE -in favour of “freedom” of “liberty” (and so on).


    After all Kevin Carson will even quote Hayek and Mises – he will quote them WILDLY OUT OF CONTEXT (for example making it seem as if Ludwig Von Mises was in favour of looser money, not tighter money), but he does quote them…..

    One can pretend that X,Y, Z is just against Corporate Welfare (which is indeed a terrible thing) -“of coruse not against honest business” (accept that they ARE against honest buiness – in fact EVEN MORE than they against corrupt enterprises such as General Electric).

    Everything SEEMS the same – and it is hard to DENOUCE what one spent so many years loving….

  21. Liam you have NOT answered my question – so I will ask it again.

    After the corporate form was banned (or vanished some other way) – what would be your view of INDIVDUAL rich people who owned and develped large scale enterprises.

    INDIVIDUALLY owned large scale enterprises.

    INDIVIDUALLY owned large scale enterprises.

    INDIVIUDALLY owned large scale enterprisses.

    Surely I do not have to keep asking the same thing again and again to get a clear reply?

    Most large scale enterprises were indivdually owned as recently as 1914 – so it is hardly a theoretical question.

  22. Obviously Paul there is and should be a distinction between individual owners of corporations and the corporate entity they own in terms of law,rights, obligations. Corporate identity and individual identity are distinct. Now can we move on Paul maybe you’ll address my questions?

  23. “The Nazis and Fascists merged corporate and state interests” – a statement that shows basic historical (and economic) error.

    Start with Ludwig Von Mises “Nation, State and Economy” – for example the contrast between German “War Socialism” and French economic policy in the same war (the First World War).

    German War Socialism reduced big businessmen to “”shop managers” it was hardly “in the interests” of big business (that is Marxist propaganda).

    Nor was it actually in the interests of GERMANY.

    German “War Socialism” was a FAILURE (in every branch of industry in the First World War “chaotic” France outperformed “scietifically planned” Germany) – but that did not stop the National Socialists trying to bring it back.

    As for the idea that Mussolini was a puppet of big business or that his polcies were in their interests……

    One can always find crony businessmen with any regime (even Lenin had his Dr Hammer).

    But for MOST businessmen (including most big busisnessmen) trying to deal with regime was a nightmare – not a bad as a Marxist Revolution certainly, but much WORSE than the Italy of before the First World War OR the Italy of the 1950s.

    That is also true of Germany – the Germany of the 1950s was much closer to free enterprise than the Germany of the 1930s, and the more limited government of the 1950s was much better for MOST business people (including most big business people).

    By the way even “pet” businessmen who HAD paid the Nazis did not do well.

    For example, the author of “I Paid Hitler” – one of the few big businessmen who had supported the Nazi rise to power, had to FLEE Germany.

    It did not help him – as the Nazis caught him in France and sent him to a concentration camp.

    Making deals with statists is a bad idea – as Jamie Dimon (and co) may well find out.

  24. Liam have AGAIN failed to answer my question.

    So I I will ask it again.

    What is your view of large scale INDIVIDUALLY owed large scale enterprises.

    INDIVIDUALLY owned large scale enterprises.

    INDIVUDALLY owned large scale enterprises.

    INVIDUALLY owned large scale enterprises.

    How many times do I have to ask the same question?

    Are you opposed to an INDIVIDUAL being vastly richer than you – owning a large scale enterprise employing thousands of people, and passing this enterprise on to a son or daughter to be developed further.


  25. Paul you just keep reframing the question until I give you the answer you seek.In your first version you asked my position on the ownership of large scale corporations in a hypothetical future where such ownership was banned or had vanished. There is no answer to that question.Subsequently I made my position clear that I do not oppose private ownership of assets, no matter how vast, nor do I oppose incorporation of assets by the individual or groups of individuals.The status of corporate assets are distinct from personal private property. The question that divides different political tendencies is the distiction between the private interest and the public interest, corporate interest and personal interest.The regulations governing corporate interest,state and company law should not overly infringe private personal interests nor should they overly infringe the functions of civil society particularily in ways that inhibit growth and activity at the micro-level.

  26. On the question of where individual ownership of corporations was banned like in Soviet Russia. Some people had cunning ways of getting around that, wasn’t Aristotle Onnasis a Soviet citizen (or were his assets in the Soviet Union while he had some other passport I forget which and your good at the history lessons?).When ownersip is banned you get a rise in what is called the Second Economy. In the Soviet Union it became eventually larger than the official one.I’d have to think that through some more. Do you mean like in collectivised anarchist communes and what my position is on them?

  27. Any independant producer or trader knows if you want to keep reliable staff you have to pay them.

    Yes, that’s true, if trivially obvious. What I was asking was why you think smaller businesses will be able to pay more but offer better value to consumers than Wal*Mart. What’s their secret, and why don’t Wal*Mart do it, whatever it is?

    You guys who love corporations so much why don’t you call yourselves Fordians? (From Huxley’s Brave New World.)

    Possibly because I (and so far as I’m aware Paul) don’t “love” corporations. You know what a straw man is, right?

    We just happen to think that in a free market, some businesses will become large and there’s nothing wrong with that. And we don’t trot out this leftist litany of hate targets cliche. Oh, Wal*Mart. Why exactly do you hate them so much?

    More to the point why are you hiding behind the Libertarian banner?

    We’re not hiding behind any banner. We’re metaphorically standing under the Libertarian banner, because we’re Libertarians. That is, we believe in individual freedom, free markets, and have a generally individualist view of life.

    Why do you think Libertarians are required to have a foaming-mouth hatred of big businesses? By what definition of Libertarianism, exactly?

  28. actually I really don’t understand your question Paul. If the corporate form was banned but individual ownership of large enterprises remained….. what does that mean?

    • Liam I have not “reframed the question” I have used the same words – again and again.

      You claim you “do not understand”.

      Very well – I will use different words.

      What is your attitude to INDIVDUALLY owned large scale enterprises – i.e. to rich INDIVDUALS who build up enterprises and pass them on to their sons or daughters.

      The above words are close to the ones I have already used (many times) – but I have left out all mention of “corporations” as this may be the cause of your misunderstanding.

      What I am interested in finding out is do you oppose INDIVDUALS owning large scale enterprises and employing many thousands of people.

      And please do not dodge the question by the (false) claim that without state intervention this situation would not occur.

      As for your own question about “lifestyle freedoms” – I regard such talk is “meaningless” unless there is PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND EXCHANGE.

      Real ownership – not phony “German Form of Socialism” “ownership” with businessmen reduced to “shop managers” (by the way – that is no more in long term “interests of the corporations”,, whatever that means, than it is in the interests of business people).

      In the end the “German Form of Socialism” is just the radical form of interventionism that Ludwign Von Mises (in the last section of his work “Socialism”) calls “Destructionism” – if clung to it ends in economic and social BREAKDOWN.

      By the way – presently both Britain (and, astonishingly enough, the United States) are even further down the interventionist road than Germany is – Germany having had a major reaction against collectivism after World War II (although that reaction was itself partly reversed from the 1960s onwards).

      As M. N. Rothbard was fond of saying “human rights are PROPERTY rights”.

      For example, if the collcective controls all the meeting halls, then talk of “freedom of assembly” is meaningless. Meeting halls (like everything else) must be under the ownership of various people (churches, for profit companies, clubs…..) for freedom of organising meetings to have any practical meaning.

      This might be denounced, for example by the German Romantics, as a “Jewish view of freedom”, but it is also the truth.

      Talk of “higher” or “spiritual” freedom (whilst the collective, “the people”, controls the economy) is falseness.

      It is like “Star Trek: New Generation” – where there is endless talk of “freedom”, whilst everything of real importance (such as the production of food and power) is under collective control.

      To answer your question even more directly.

      (Casual) sex, drugs and rock-and-roll do not float my boat – but if they float your boat I am not going to use force to stop you.

      As for the state using force to stop you…..

      As Gladstone was fond of pointing out – of one thing I am certain, it is folly to look to the state for moral improvement.

      That (looking to the state for moral improvement) was a fallacy in the time of Cato the Elder and it is still a fallacy (the laws of reason do not change with time and place – contrary to …..).

      But it is all MEANINGLESS unless there is private ownership (REAL ownership – not just formal ownership controlled by endless government regulations, taxes and spending) of large scale production, distribution and exchange.

  29. I repeat ….

    What is your attitude towards large scale enterprises that are INDIVIDUALLY owned (as most were before the First World War).

    I.E. to a person who is very rich (vastly richer than yourself) and develops a business that employs many thousands of people, and hands on this business (for futher development) to a son or daughter.

    And please do not dodge the question with the (false) claim that without government interventionism no such situation would occur.

    Economies of scale DO exist – and if the corporate form (by some means or other) did not exist, then large scale enterprises would be owned by indivudals (as well as families and partnerships).

  30. Okay going back to one of your earlier comments Ian about stateless communism. I can imagine that happening,they tried to implement it in the Shanghai Commune. The important factor is that private ownership had already been abolished. So a direct interaction without mediating via the state or corporations is possible. That the Shanghai Commune was supressed and China went down the poad of state controlled capitalism, an economic and political model that is fast becomming the world paradigm is beside the point. The hypothesis of stateless communism is valid and may b put again. It couldn’t be called libertarian in my view because the individual would, I think, have to be totally subsumed into the community.I hope in answer to Pauls question again if I may attempt it it would be impossible to abolish by state edict the corporate form while retaining the principle of private ownership. An unresolvable problem with compound interest and underproduction would arise.

  31. Paul emotionally I don’t have an issue with individuals owning large even global corporations. I rarely give it a second thought.

  32. My concern is that with the merger of corporate and state interests, on a global scale and often refered to as the New World Order, who’s technique of government is largely “soft rule” by an alliance of liberal,leftist and former communist intellectuals on the one hand and a military/intelligence/technical/scietific elite on the other is producing a world of flattened out values devoid of individuality or diversity. Up until the 1990’s I thought Libertarianism was able to challenge that process.I begin to doubt it and I am veering towards a possible alliance of conservatives,nationalists,artists,disgruntled non-academic communists,anarchists and leftists (who aren’t on the state payroll and have no inclination to take one) to thwart the New World Order.

  33. ( I probably should have read the Quikies on Corporations link on the homepage before entering this debate)

    • Liam I am glad you are not against indivduals owning large enterprises and employing thousands of people.

      However, some of the people you suggest alliances with are against this – indeed they would kill such business people (and their families). And would kill any non property owner who tried to defend property owners (under the “henchman of the Kulacks” doctrine).

      For example the Marxists (“Communists” – Red Flaggers) the COMMUNAL anarchists (Black Flaggers – who work hand-in-hand with their supposed enemies the Marxists, in such things as the Occupy Movement, for example the sickenly violent “Occupy Oakland” movement).

      And the Nationalists (as opposed to patriots) are not nice either – in both Britain and the United States, they tend to be white racists (or nationalist socialists (as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

      The United Kingdom is political union under the Crown (not a nationalist volk).

      And the United States is a political idea – a set of ideas given expression in such things as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States (which is why anyone from anywhere can become a American.

      I see no good reason to ally with the Red Flaggers or the Black Flaggers (either form of Black Flaggers).

      And I see many good reasons to oppose them.

      “But the New World Order”.

      Actually the NWO loves all these people – why do you think that George Soros (and others) spend so much money subsidising them (via such things as the Tides Foundation).

      “Bottom up” (chaos on the streets).

      “Top down” (a desperate ordinary population demands that the chaos be stopped – by any means).


      “Inside out”

      The “Fundemental Transformation” of society.

  34. By the way – the debate is not about “corporations”.

    As I have said many times…..

    Kevin Carson would hate a large scale enterprise that was owned (without limited liabilty) by an individual or family, just as much as he hates corporations.

    It is large scale private property in the means of production, distribution and exchange that he hates – talk of “corporations” is just a diversion.

  35. I always thought Libertarianism was simply about upholding diversity and voluntary association. Secondly I thought corporations were any economic entity formed to establish a limited liability to its owners, essentially to allow them to raise capital.Now I have some serious thinking to do.

  36. Basically then Ian and Paul you would prefer to define Libertarianism as the political intervention of the Austrian School and regard old mutualist/collectivist use of the term as archaic? You welcome mutualism,cooperativeism and other economic alternatives within the “free market” though they shouldn’t define it. Corporations are a good thing, leveraging capital for large scale projects and providing employment on huge levels.While limited liability and other state privilages are a necessity the state should avoid acting to restrict corporate interests.

  37. Basically then Ian and Paul you would prefer to define Libertarianism as the political intervention of the Austrian School

    I don’t know what you mean by this. I see economics as a descriptive science, and the Austrian School in my view has the best theory; that is, the theory which best describes the world as it is.

    I use the term Libertarian as it is most currently widely used. If it meant something different 200 years ago, well, many words change their definition over time- a “villain” once simply meant an agricultural peasant for instance, but it would be no use arguing with people who use its modern meaning (as a nasty person or criminal) that they should use the mediaeval definition.

    Personally, I am an individualist, so collectivisms don’t appeal to me in general, even if they are “private sector”. But I think the whole point of a Libertarian society is that you can try whatever organisational models you like. Some will work better than others, but in the end whether bread is made by shareholder corporations, single owner corporations or mutualist collectives will be a decision by consumers buying the bread.

    The problem I (and I think Paul) has with the likes of Carson is his constant insistence that any organisational form other than his preferred collective form is illegitimate. I personally see nothing wrong in a situation in which a man has more customers than he can service alone choosing to hire others to work for him and paying them a wage in order to achieve sufficient output to satisfy market demand. I think that in many cases that will turn out to be the most efficient model. As such, I support free market capitalism.

  38. While corporations are the driving engine of economic development, deriving legitimacy from the states, the fact that corporations have subordinated the states to themselves and I’m not talking about corporations being the creature of the state, but that their privileges and immunities from liability derive from states/legistlation is hardly going to be denied, how does this eventuality affect the game of play from a libertarian point of view, i.e. that states are now subordinate to corporations?

  39. Liam, the problem I see there is that you’re making a leap from noticing that corporations gain various privileges from the State to assuming that the States are subordinated to said corporations. THe problem is that virtually every interest in today’s society is getting a mixture of privileges and handicaps from the State, not just business corporations; think for instance of the close involvement of the “Third Sector” charities and pressure groups. Or sporting bodies.

    So what we’re arguing against is this “left libetarian” monomania that not only are “corporations” the only problem, but further that the State is merely a tool of these corporations. The reality is far more complex than that. As I pointed out above, this monomania leads to absurd assertions of the kind by Carson that Big Tobacco is privileged by the State, when in fact the State, driven by the Temperance Movement (“Third Sector”) do nothing but try to harm and destroy said Tobacco corporations. Tasmania for isntance have just announced an intention to ban tobacco sales to anyone born after the year 2000!

    The reality is much more complex than such a simple narrative.

    • So you are saying that influence is very much weighted in favour of the “grantocracy” i.e. charities who gain the bulk of their finance from the state who in turn lobby the state to impliment policies ( usually prohibitive ones requiring more and more survailence,prosecutions and imprisonment) that the political/bureaucratic elite were promogulating anyway?

  40. I’m saying that the State is a game everyone can play and, currently, everyone does, but that certain insider cartels limit which league of the game you are in.

    But in particular, I don’t put the origin of evil as the State, unlike most Libertarians. I see the State as a reflection or manifestation of the special interests (including, yes, corporations) not as their driver. The charities aren’t captured by the State and do the State’s bidding. The charities capture the State, and it does their bidding, just as you and Carson assert regarding corporations.

    The thing is, I agree that corporations behave this way, whether they be business corporations, charity corporations, etc. It’s just that corporations also act to some degree as free market entities. And that in a true free market, there would still be large business corporations, simply because they have won consumer preference, without all the involvement with the State.

    The problem is, broadly, that we have now reached a stage where everyone is required to interact with the State and we are all in it together. A supermarket chain, even if it wants to, can’t ignore the State, because it has to e.g. ask State permission to build a new store, many utilities it requires are managed by the State (e.g. transport, energy, and so on).

    So one difference, I would argue, is that business corporations are drivers of statism to some greater or lesser degree whereas charity pressure groups interact with the State as their sole purpose.

    Does that make my position clear?

    • Do I regard libertarianism as just another word for the Austrian School of Economics?

      No I do not – after all some Austrian School economists were socialists (Weiser springs to mind – as does the vile Hans Meyer, who made deals with both the Nazis and thre Soviets).

      And even anti collectivist Austrian School economists had wildly different opinions – for example Mises supported laissez faire, but Hayek did not.

      Libertarianism is the nonaggression principle – which holds that it is wrong to aggress the body or goods of another indivdual or volunary group or organisation.

      That can stretch to a minimal statist like Mises (as well as to a anarchocapitalst like David Friedman or M. N. Rothbard),but it can NOT really streatch to someone like Hayek (he simply allows for too big a state to be correctly called a libertarian).

      And it must be clear that I am not just talking about “practical politics” here – Mises was as practical as anyone (in interwar Austria he had to be).

      What I mean is that even IN THEORY (in his ideal) Hayek allowed for too big a state – it was not just a question of “we have to start from where we are”.

      As for the rest of the debate – Ian has already said the things that need saying.

  41. Mistakenly I thought Libertarianism was concerned with challenging knowledge/power structures within the state,culture,economy and proffessions. Removing glass ceilings and closed shops was I thought a central plank of the Libertarian political programme. I must have picked up the wrong end of the stick somewhere along the way.So Libertarianism regards some aspects of the state as positive i.e. infrastructure,roads,utilities, power grids,etc. while other aspects are negative in particular Equality Commissions,State Assets Management Agencies,Employment Regulations,basically anything which supports enterprise is positive, anything which trys to interfere or contain enterprise is negative. Libertarianism is to be as laissez faire as is practical. Post-modern critiques of power relations;within the state,corporations,medical services etc. belong somewhere else and are suspect trojan horses for the Left?

  42. Liam, I didn’t say I approve of State roads. Merely that they exist, and thus everyone (including businesses) have to deal with the State if they want a road. Even if they say they’ll build a private road, they have to get State permission to do it. Even on their own land. I was just stating how things are. Likewise, if the State runs the electricity grid, either you live without electricity or you grudgingly deal with the State. The point was that you can’t automatically blame people who interact with the State, because none of us have any choice in the matter.

    The point about Carson that Paul and I are trying to make is that Carson isn’t simply criticising power relations. He is fundamentally opposed to business corporations, wage labour and so on even in a hypothetical pure free market. He portrays them as purely creations of the State, and without the State we’d all get everying from collectivised craft workshops. He is fundamentally hostile to the market economy.

    Every (true) libertarian opposes State involvement with business. Rothbard wrote reams about it, for instance. Von Mises condemned it. But that is not the same as this fundamental Marxist-derived hatred of business altogether.

    Any time humans interact, there is a power relation. Carson’s problem is that he thinks that only occurs when a bourgeois capitalist owns the means of production, etc. It never occurs to him that collectives are hotbeds of power relations, politicking and power struggles. His stuff is just non-stop condemnation of business, period. It’s not libertarian, it’s not useful, it’s not theoretically sound and the bottom line is it’s just plain old socialism, not libertarianism.

  43. Indeed Leftists are nearly always willfully blindsighted about power relations within the “working class” and within communes and collectives such as have existed. What do you think of say Robert Anton Wilson who regarded himself as libertarian in politics,economic and lifestyle, but he alos critiqued corporate power as well as state,military,medical,scientific knowledge/power monopolies?

  44. You seem to be backtracking on the corporate-state relationship Corporations did precede the state and could exist without it though back then their immunities and priviliges came from town councils and mayors. Their liberties only lasted as long as their ammunition if the local fuedal baron decided to pillage the town. With the power of the Crown/State behind them capitalism and urban living became a “whole new ballgame”.

  45. Liam the idea that without state roads (and whatnot) large scale enterprises (whether or corporations or owned by single individuals) would not emerge is FALSE. In reality there would be private roads (and private railways and…) instead.

    Indeed if it were true (which it is not) this would be an argument FOR statism – as without such large scale enterprises living standards would be much LOWER than they are.

    As for “types of libertarian”.

    In philosophy a “libertarian” is someone who believes that humans are beings – agents, i.e. that people can make CHOICES (real ones). Free will.

    In politics a libertarian is someone who accepts the “non aggression principle”.

    I.E. that the body and other property of other people and voluntary associations (clubs, societies, business enterprises…) should not be violated.

    Now there are indeed different interpretations of that.

    The late .M.N. Rothbard argued that only full anarchocapitalism (no state) really fitted the nonaggression principle.

    Rothbard’s own teacher, Ludwig Von Mises, argued that this anarchocapitalism would not work.

    Rothbard was a anarchist, Mises a mininal state man (a lassez-faire minarchist rather than a laissez-faire anarchist).

    There can also be differences in TACTICS.

    For example even an anarchist (of the anarchocapitalist pro private property sort) can beleve in cooperating with the status que – on “we have to start from where we are” grounds (especially if the alternative is even worse).

    For example, the late owner of the Libertarian Alliance Chris Tame (back in the times before serious illness hit him) was very much on the Western side in the Cold War.

    This did NOT mean that Chris Tame thougt that American “Social Security” or “Medicare” (or on and on) were good ideas – of course he did not, he did not want any state at all (let alone a vast modern state).

    Chris Tame just had the logical position that the United States was less statist (less hostile to private property rights in the means of production, distribution and exchange) than the Soviet Union.

    Of coursethe minimal statist (minarcfhist) Ludwig Von Mises was very close to the Catholic State in in the 1920s and 1930s – not because he shared the ideological assumptions of its ruling politcians (he did NOT) – but because the alternatives (the Marxists and Nazis) were even worse.

    Even the ultimate purity man – M. N. Rothbard, strongly supported the Rebublican Party in the Congressional elections of 1946 and supported the efforts of the so called “Do Nothing Congress” to roll back government in the years 1947 and 1948.

    However, unlike Chris Tame and Brian M. (and a certain Sean Gabb – although he does not like to be reminded of it) Rothbard did not support the struggle against the Marxist totalitarians around the world, known as the Cold War.

  46. The central lie (and it is a LIE not an honest mistake) of “Libertarian Self-Maginalization” is that it is not libertarians who are marginalized.

    The largest scale mass movement in the United States in recent years has been the TEA PARTY MOVEMENT.

    Hundreds of thosuands (indeed MILLIONS) of ordinary people in vast numbers of local groups (forming general alliances – of which the largest is Tea Party Patriots).

    Libertarians are not alienated from this movement (the largest mass movement in the Western World), on the contrary – libertarians are actively involved in the Tea Party movement and have been from the start.

    Indeed it is very important for libertarians to be involved in this movement – to keep its focus on REDUCING GOVERNMENT SPENDING (not running off into theology and social issues).

    Does Kevin Carson support the Tea Party movement?

    I have seen no sign of him doing so.

    But I have seen plenty of signs that he supports the OCCUPY movement the AMERICAN Occupy movement (I say nothing about the BRITISH one – as it is too small to be of great importance)..

    The American Occupy movement (regularly supported on Russian Television – oddly I do not think of Putin as a friend of freedom) was the left’s answer to the Tea Party Movement.

    The Occupy movement has been supported by the left (via such organsations as the Tides Foundation and the Centre for American Progress – as well as the unions that have been taken over by hard core collectivists such as the SEIU) from the start.

    It is (contrary to the New Statesman magazine – odd that the leading socialist magzine in Britain should be supportive of a SUPPOSEDLY “pro freedom” movement) a violent and destructive movement.

    One does not need a detailed ideological examination of the various groups that make up the American “Occupy” movement.

    The Nationalists who blame everything on “The Jews” (sorry “The Zionists”).

    The Black Flag COMMUNAL Anarchists who wish to get rid of the WORDS “state” and “government” but actually believe in total collectivsm (by FORCE) – they just RENAME the state “the people”.

    And, of course, the Red Flag Marxists.

    One only has to look at how the two opposing movements behave.

    When there is a Tea Party event the protestors clean up after themselves

    Indeed after a Tea Party event. things are often cleaner than they were before the protestors turned up.

    And with an Occupy event (in Oakland or so many other American cities….)

    Smashed widows.

    Burnt out cars.

    People physically (and sexually) attacked.

    Mess (including human excrement) spread about and thrown everywhere…..

    The contrast between GOOD (Tea Party events) and EVIL (Occupy events) could not be clearer. Certainly there are are a few evil people at Tea Party events and there are good people at Occupy events – but the MAIN THRUST of the two movements (how they are wildly different) is obvious.

    And the Tea Party movement is BIGGER than the Occupy movement.

    Yet which one does Kevin Carson side with?

    He sides with the Occupy movement – with the ENEMIES of the nonaggression principle (of private property based civil society).

    I think that makes it clear who has “self marginalized” themselves.

    It is NOT libertarians who have marginalized ourselves (we are prepared to work with all supporters of pricate property, and civil interaction, in the means of production, distribution and exchange – even if they do not want to reduce the size and scope of government as much as we do).

    It is the Kevin Carsonites who have marginalized themselves.

    They were given a choice between movements.

    One good – the other evil.

    And they choose EVIL.

    • Free market capital is very rarely invested in infrastructure, mainly because of the very slow return. where it does so in Public-Private partnerships the state puts up the vast bulk of the capital, takes virtually all the risk, private capital rarely goes beyond supplying the with toll-roads where the state paid 90% or more of the construction costs but the private partner reaps all the benefits after completion.
      Secondly a broader church of libertarianism which is interested in maximizing human autonomy in all areas seems to me historically valid. The narrow Tea Party vision which assumes that autonomy is a given and humans have “free will” especially to work for corporations, buy their goods, use their services or not as they decide to do “voluntarily”, and not “running off after theological and social issues” i.e. a libertarianism which does not critique power relations in the corporations, or church-state relations,or sexual politics and which regards access to healthcare as a privliige is in my opinion engaged in self-marginalization.
      The key difference is that Tea Party libertarians believe autonomy, the free will of the individual is a given and not something to work towards, to be developed along with conditions that favour it’s development.

  47. libertarianism which does not critique power relations in the corporations, or church-state relations,or sexual politics and which regards access to healthcare as a privliige is in my opinion engaged in self-marginalization.

    Well LIam, you’re right there. Libertarians don’t apply that sort of reasoning about “power relations” as I think you want us to, because it’s a broken theory derived by the New Left from a Marxist theoretical foundation and is, in scientific terms Just Plain Wrong. So what this boils down to is that you’re effectively demanng that we give up on our libertarian worldview (which we believe to be correct) and adopt another worldview (which we believe to be incorrect) in order to appeal to those people who already believe in it- and who already have political organisation of their own.

    It’s like saying the Church needs to drop the God thing to appeal to atheists. Kind of self-defeating.

  48. ”Free market capital is very rarely invested in infrastructure, mainly because of the very slow return. where it does so in Public-Private partnerships the state puts up the vast bulk of the capital,”

    And yet it was Free market capital that built the entire rail network.

    The free market has no problems with long term investments, the evidence proves that repeatedly. the argument that the free market won’t invest for the long run is a deliberate lie that is used to justify the State getting involved and squeezing out the free market, which is then used as evidence that the free market is not involved.

    Dishonest circular logic.

    • It is a very long time since the free market built railroads, and they nearly always had to be finished by the state even then.It is true that in the Victorian Era huge amounts of private money went into building sewers,water-treatment plants, bridges. Imagine suggesting to todays corporate giants that they should be so public spirited?

  49. It isn’t about corporations being ‘public spirited’ it is about leaving them to invest and trade freely.

    And it isn’t true that the railways had to be ‘finished by the state’.

  50. Valid scientific theories must have descriptive, explanatory and predictive power. Only if they have predictive power can they be falsified. Austrian Economics is an axiomatized deductive theory, which is unfalsifiable. It thus cannot be a _scientific_ theory.


    • Then mathematics and logic are not sciences either Tony. “A is A” can not be “falsigfied” either.

      I think you are confusing physical sciences with the older use of the word “science” which orignially meant any “body of knowledge” – hence things like logic and political economy was also classified as sciences.

      See, for example, Professor RIchard Whately’s “Introductory Lectures on Political Economy” (1832) where Political Economy is classified as the science of Catallactics (the science of exchanges). Understanding econoimics in this way was quite normal (indeed “mainstream”) till the modern era when economics started to ape physics.

      Economics is NOT like physics – but that does NOT mean that economics is not a science (in the old definition of the word as a body of knowlege).

      However, if you insist on “empirical” examples…..

      During the pre 1920 credit bubble Austrian School economists claimed that the “cheap money” policy would lead to a bust – what would be now called “mainstreamers” (such as Irving Fisher) insisted that all was well.

      And in 1921 there was a bust.

      In the late 1920s Austrian School economists claimed that the policy of “cheap money” (low interest rates – credit money expansion) of Benjamin Strong and his friends would lead to a bust – “mainstreamers” (again Irving Fisher and co) insisted that all was well

      And in 1929 there was a bust.

      In the early years of this century Austrian School economistsd claimed that the policy of “cheap money” (credit expansion) of Alan Greenspan and his allies would lead to a bust.

      “Mainstreamers” insisted that all was well – I myself watched as “mainstreamers” actually LAUGHED at Austrian School people during television discussions.

      And in 2008 there was a bust.

      Are three examples enough for you?

      Part of “economics” is indeed “unscientific” – but it is not the Austrian (logic based) School. It is the “mainstream” (supposedly “empirical”) School that is unscientific.

  51. I think Tony is using a Popperian definition. Whatever one thinks of Popper (I am not a great fan), his analysis of science is not the final word, and just cannot say “X is not a science because it does not satisfy the Popperian criteria”, since the word is not Popper’s to define.

    Evolution is the most obvious example of a scientific theory which is neither predictive nor falsifiable on Popperian criteria.

    Alternatively, we may observe that the axioms of Austrian economics are testable and falsifiable, even if the predictions derived from deductive reasoning on their basis are not directly testable and falsifiable. In a sense it resembles Quantum theory, which deduces the limits to knowledge in subatomic physics. Austrian theory deduces similar limits to knowledge in economics.

    Popper’s quest to find objective criteria by which science can be distinquised from not-science ultimately was a failure. He produced some interesting ideas, but had to introduce a false idealised picture of science in order to get his result. Real science is not Popperian. Kuhn got closer to the truth.

  52. Quite correct Ian B. and CH Ingoldby.

    And notice how Liam is back talking about “corporations”.

    Would it make any difference to you Liam if the railway (or toll road) was owned by a charitiable trust (of course that is a form of corporatrion itself) or a single INDIVIDUAL? Or a family? Or a partnership?

    I doubt it.

    I know it would not matter to Kevin Carson. He hates all large scale private property – “corporate” or not, In short he (and his allies) represent THE ENEMY.

    Also note the sneering at the Tea Party movement – i.e. the largest pro freedom movement in the Western World in my life time.

    A libertarian would be overjoyed by the Tea Party movement – and would be hard at work argueing that people within in it should keep focused on the basis FISCAL ISSUE (the fact that government spending has increased, is increasing, and needs to be dimished – form of statement, of course, taken from Edmund Burke).

    And resisting the siren song to change the Tea Party movement – to get people more interested in “social issues”.

    As John Wayne says in the film “The Alamo” by a pro freedom interpretation of the word “Republic” (CONSTITITUTIONAL Republic in the American sense) – it is about people “living as they please” (as long as they do not aggress against others) whether they are “drunk or sober” (and so on).

    In this Wayne is not just echoing the historical character of Congressman David Crockett (the man who attacked even Andrew Jackson as too statist – and voted AGAINST Congress using TAXPAYERS money for earthquake relief as the government had no Constitutional power to do this) but also Edmund Burke – who defended the right of people (as long as they were prepared to accept the CONSEQUNCES of their actions) to drink and to use drugs (as he himself did – to combat the pain of his cancer).

    The vital issue is the FISCAL one – the growth of GOVERNMENT SPENDING.

    Unless this is reversed then tallking about anything else is a waste of time

    The United States (like the rest of the rest of the Western world) is approaching the position where about half the entire population depend onthe government.

    They either work for the government or they depend on benefits from it.

    This is UNSUSTAINABLE – it will destroy civil society.

    The growth of modern megagovernment must be reversed – before it destroys everything.

    That is the libertarian project of our time..

    • It is a good idea to try and contain government spending, especially mission creep where bureaucracies just keep expanding with no returns. The other aspect of right-libertarianism where private ownership trumps all other considerations includes a refusal to deal with bureaucratic mission creep within corporations, which operates much the same way as in the public sector, each manager promoting themselves by constantly increasing the levels of administration..

      • Oh no “corporations” again – Liam you are starting to sound like the Alac Baldwin character in “Team America: World Police”.

        If a business enterprise (corporation or not) allows internal diseconomies of scale (such as the growth of administrators) to get out of control that enterprise goes into decline and eventual bankrutpcy.

        The MARKET deals with the problem Liam – all those evil consumers (i.e. customers). There is no need to “Occupy” anything or to kill anyone.

  53. On the one hand reviewing my original question of whether corporate libertarianism is like Gorbachov’s “market socialism” I think I am now satisfied that it is left-libertarianism that most resembles market-socialism.
    Secondly I don’t wish to nit-pick over every historical incidence but I think seperating corporations entirely from the state is an entirely theoretical exercise.

  54. Of course I should have said the market (i.e. customers – as “market forces” are actually customer choices) will deal with the problem IF IT IS ALLOWED TO.- if a policy of bailoutism (such as TARP and the auto bailout) is not followed;

    As for internal managers (and nonmanagers) in a big enterprise becomming obssessed with internal matters and not keeping their eye on the market (i.e. on customers) that was explored by Mises and Hayek (and many others) a long time ago. And these people (contrary to the taking words out of context and twisting their meaning by 180 degrees – the policy that Kevin Carson specializes in) were not know for being men of the left.

    On “market socialism” – this (the work of Oskar Lange and others) was refuted by Ludwig Von Mises back in the 1920s. The whole concept of “market socialism” is ilogical (indeed absurd) – for a more recent examination see Anthony De Jasay’s “This Square Circle…”

    However, I am greatful for whart you say Liam. For if “left libertartians” are SOCIALISTS (as “market socialists” like Lange and the others were and are) then they are clearly NOT libertarians at all.

    I am glad that this has been clearned up.

    There is no such thing as “right libertarians” and “left libertarians”.

    There are only the defenders of the nonaggression principle (of civil society) and its foes.

    And Kevin Carson (and co) are FOES.

    • I’m not really sure of the difference between a company,a corporation and a trust.

      • That is O.K. Liam – the difference (between a company and a trust) is of no political importance. Indeed the difference between corporate ownership and invidual ownership is (or rather should be) of no political importance.

        For example, to a libertarian the government (say the government of Henry VIII) had no right to take the property of those corporations called monasteries. No more than it has a right to take the property of Mr Smith or Mr Jones.

        And this is not an ancient matter – for example the wildly misnamed “separation of church and state” in France occured in 1905 (with the state TAKE OVER of church property – some “separation”).

        Even today churches in France are the property of THE STATE (specfically local government) which can destroy them at wll.

        This is the sort of thing that libertarians (including libertarians who happen to be athiests) are AGAINST.

  55. A corporation is incorporated (created by the State as a separate legal entity in its own right) by the State.

    Kuhn’s philosophy of science makes the adoption of scientific theories a matter of mass psychology, instead of progressive problem-shifts.


    • Tony the corporate form need have nothing to do with the state – the state makes it so (but as Ian B. has pointed out) it seeks to do that with everthing.

      As for science.

      You seem to have moved from denying that the logic based subjects (such as economics) deserve the name “science” (seeking to reserve this word for empirical sciences alone) to DENYING EVEN PHYSICAL SCIENCE.

      For that is what the idea that science (physical science) is just a matter of “mass psychology” is saying.

      I will leave the physical sciences to Karl Popper (rather than Kuhn), but they are about (if they about anything) the search for objective truth about the physical universe – not “mass psyochology”.

      The logical foundations of the Austrian School of economics (really what was the mainstream approach to economics before first the German “Historical School” and then the pretend-to-be-physics School tried to take over) are sound.

      One does not refute logical principles by talking about “mass psychology”.

      Although I supose I should be greatful that the Frankfurt School of Marxism has not made a return visit. With any argument against collectivism being dismissed as evidence of an “Authoritarian Personality” and/or “The Paranoid Style of American Politics”.

      It should be pointed out that the Say family and Frederick Bastiat (and on and on) used the same philosophical method as the Austrian School.

      I.E. Bastiat and the others based economics upon LOGICAL REASONING.

  56. “Kuhn’s philosophy of science makes the adoption of scientific theories a matter of mass psychology, instead of progressive problem-shifts.”

    I’m asserting this AGAINST Kuhn’s philosophy of science. I’m with Popper and Lakatos.

    I agree that companies need not be incorporated. It remains the case that corporations in their modern meaning are creations of the State as far as their structure is concerned.

    I happen to think that there is a good case for recasting Austrian Economics in the form of Imre Lakatos’ Methodological Scientific Research Programme, with the Austrian axioms treated as core hypotheses which are irrefutable by convention. See the Wiki on Lakatos for an explanation of how his system works. I discussed this with Pat Gunning a few years back.

    BTW: Why do you think that so many libertarians spell “atheist” as “athiest”? Smiles


  57. Charles Koch is financing the Tea Party as a political adjunct to the Republican Party. He just tried (and failed) to do the same with the Cato Institute. The Republican Party is not libertarian (to flirt with understatement).

    Evolution as Darwin first stated it was tautological. Things improved with the advent of modern neo-Darwinism. Still more interesting is the discovery that creatures can modify their own DNA to incorporate favourable changes. It looks like Lamarck was not so far off the mark after all.


  58. The triumph of Keynesianism is a classic example of a psychological paradigm shift. The big problem with Popperism is that it presents an image of science linearly closing in on objectivity. Popperians thus have no mechanism to guard against paradigmatic shifts that diverge from that linear quest, and indeed tend to believe that it cannot happen. One result is the current hubristic over-confidence that plagues the scientific institutions.

    There is an objective universe out there, but thinking beings unavoidably have a subjective interpretation of it. This is not a bug in the way that brains work. It is an essential character of the way that brains work. It is how the brain focusses on “what is important to me“. A biologist will interpret the world through an ordering based on classification into species by genetic descent. A tribesman might order the animal world by “creatures I can eat, creatures that will eat me, creatures that are of no interest” and so on. Different paradigms; different conceptualisations of the world.

    “The debate is over” is classic Popperian hubris. A Popperian thinks that he’s always right, and all future science has to do is refine the details. You have to accept something akin to a Kuhnian paradigmatic view to consider the possibility that an entire theory or field might have gone wrong due to an erroneous subjective interpretation of reality, and the ability to do just that is essential to science. Both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics were paradigm shifts of the Kuhnian type. Physicists had to discard their previous conceptualisations of space and time, and particles, and adopt new ones. Quite possibly the continuing failure to harmonise those two theories is due to Physicists currently being too Popperian, presuming that both of those theories must stand as they are and simply be joined together somehow, rather than accepting the possibility that another new conceptualisation/paradigm is required in order to make further progress.

    There’s nothing wrong with recognising that humans are psychological beings. Austrian school libertarianism is based upon the awareness of human subjectivity in economic matters. The quest for objectivity gives us attempts at social arithmetic like Keynesianism. Only accepting a subjectivist view escapes that trap.

  59. Ian: You mischaracterize Popper’s ideas.

    Popper describes theoretical advance as often resembling breaking out of one box into another larger box. Popper delineates three worlds: World One, the physical universe: World Two, the world of subjective experience and thought: and World Three, the world of external objective knowledge, the arts and sciences.


  60. That’s Popper’s problem, and it’s paradigmatic. It’s the ordering of things- a “larger” box. His philosophy effectively disregards the idea that it might be simply another box. Popper’s problem is inherent in his fundamental programme; he wanted a way to sort the right boxes from the wrong boxes, and label the wrong boxes “not science” and thus cast them away.

    But it’s a hopeless dream. We simply cannot be that sure. The best we can really hope is that the wrong boxes will eventually reveal themselves through inadequacy and failure. Even so, every Libertarian I would think recognises that bad paradigms can cling on tenaciously- Keynesianism. Marxism. Perhaps (probably) the environmentalist/climate change paradigm. And so on.

    So Popper ultimately failed in his quest to find an objective method. Nice try, but no dice.

  61. Have you read Popper’s “Objective Knowledge”? “Conjectures and Refutations”? “Unended Quest”? Bryan Magee’s excellent little book “Popper”? You don’t sound as if you have…


    PS: Read the Wiki on Imre Lakatos

  62. I’m familiar with Popperian philosophy. You’re making the mistake of thinking that someone who disagrees with a thing “doesn’t understand it”.

    • Tony – “the Tea Party” is actually thousands of local (ground up – not top down) groups. Charles Koch would not be able to finance “the Tea Party” because it is not structured like that. Although he could give money to one of the big alliances (such as Tea Party Patriots) and I am sure that would be greatfully recieved. I would certainly advice that any money offered by accepted – as both Charles and David Koch are good people who have achieved a lot (what have YOU ever achieved Tony? I make no bones about the fact that I am a failure in life – but that does not lead me to sneer at people who are successful).

      Republican party establishment people certainly do NOT think of Tea Party activists as friends – especially considering the number of establishment candidates who have lost their jobs because of Tea Party activists.

      As for Karl Popper.

      I am going to disagree with you (a bit) Ian.

      Karl Popper always denounced the Logical Positivist “Vienna Circle” (with whom many associate him) for dividing everything into “science”and “nonsense” – and casting away the “nonsense”.

      Karl Popper did indeed have a narrow definition of “science” – but he insisted that many things that were “non science” were NOT “nonsense”.

      Indeed Karl Popper used to come out with a string of his own metaphysical beliefs when he heard the standard Logical Positivist sneering at moral principles.

      And Popper insisted that these moral principles were NOT just personal preferences of his – but were objectively true.

      They were just not part of “science” as Karl Popper defined that term.

  63. The problem there that I see is that morals and ethics can’t be objectively true. It goes back to Hume’s Is/Ought problem, which nobody has successfully refuted. Our morals and ethics come from a mixture of Hume’s “sentiments” and pragmatism. For instance, if the State, law and police disappeared tomorrow, I would not murder anyone; partly due to an sentiment that I abhor killing, partly from pragmatism (I will not kill you if you do not kill me).

    Recognising that the values we hold dear does not negate them. Every society needs agreed rules of conduct and naturally creates such rules of conduct. But they can’t be proved or disproved, and they are not objective, which is for instance one reason that different communities come into conflict, because they find each others’ moral values objectionable. Indeed, I’ve long been arguing that the whole driving force of Islamism is caused by that; the Islamists find Western morals repugnant, and are attempting to resist their importation into their culture. The Taliban just beheaded 17 people for dancing at a party, according to the news. That’s not an army intent on world domination, that’s cultural terrorism.

    I must admit I find the resistance to subjectivism among libertarians a trifle baffling. Austrian theory is economically subjectivist. Economic values are just a subset of human values in general; moral values, aesthetic values, family values, etc. I thus take the view that moral (like all values) should be left to a “free market”. DIfferent people will live different ways and those which others recognise as more appealing will win out. And that’s what the Taliban are fighting; because many people in the Muslim world see our values and are attracted to them.

    • Moral philosophy is a difficult subject – I doubt this thread is the right place to deal with it (or even if I am the best person to deal with it).

      As for David Hume – he goes a lot further than saying that morality can not be proved.

      He also says that reason is the slave of the passions (that is not the same thing as saying that right and wrong can not be objectively proved – it is much more radical than that).

      Indeed he goes further than this – as the actual quote is as follows…..

      “reason is and OUGHT TO BE [my emphasis] the slave of the passions”.

      Now David Hume often said things just to get a rise out of people – to shock them, to get them thinking.

      O.K. – no harm done (and perhaps some good done – by getting people to question fundemental matters).

      But if David Hume actually MEANT what I quote above – then I want nothing to do with the man. As he is “justifying” any crime – no matter how bad.

      Basically he is on all fours like a beast, He is denying the very existance of human beings.

  64. Paul, I haven’t got the time to look up the context of that.

    But if he’s saying that we should apply our reason to attain our emotional goals, I see no problem. All our goals in life are utlimately emotional “passions”; that includes the desire to make a happy family, or to be well fed, or to help others. Once you recognise that our life goals come from emotions (“sentiment” in the language of Hume’s day) it makes perfect sense to say that our reason should be devoted to that.

    Passions can be good or bad. The passion to paint a beautiful ceiling on the Sistine chapel achieved no “rational” goal. Indeed, there are no rational goals. Just our emotional desires. I can’t rationally justify my desire to be alive. Maybe from other people’s perspective I’d be better off dead. But I’m emotionally attached to my life nonetheless, and so I apply my reasoning faculties to sustaining it.

  65. I haven’t actually watched Team:America/World Police but I assume the reference is some class of an insult.

    • Liam – you have not watched Team America: World Police?


      Ian is correct – there really are different cultural universes.

  66. Paul:

    Well, I’ve “achieved” a few things…

    I supported Rhodesia’s bid for independence (until Thatcher sold it out to Mugabe)

    I consistently supported the American effort in Vietnam

    I chased sub-atomic particles at Bristol University

    I drove and rode some pretty classy vehicles, including a Facel Vega HK500 and a Norton Dominator with Dunstall mods

    I built a small business manufacturing products I designed

    I lived in Western Canada in 1976

    I stdied liberalism and libertarianism with guidance from Jeremy Shearmur, John Gray and others

    I worked as Office Services Manager at the HQ of the Freedom Association, described at the time as “… probably the most effective organization fighting for our freedoms in Britain today” by Margaret Thatcher

    I was invited by Chris Tame to join the first Executive Committee of the LA

    I lived and worked at the Alternative Bookshop

    I responded to Chris Tame’s plea for assistance during the LA dispute

    I drafted the Letter to Members which resulted in Members giving control of the LA to Chris, Judy, Dave Davis, David Farrer and myself

    I researched and wrote up a Research Programme for an extended Classical Mechanics which replaces Special and General Relativity, and subsumes Quantum Mechanics as an approximation method

    … and much else besides

    I hope this answers your question… Smiles


  67. Tony – I supported much the same causes.

    But even if the Communists had been defeated in Vietnam it would not have been due to a ten year old Paul Marks (or to you).

    Ditto if Rhodesia has turned out for good – and not for bad. I opposed Comrade Bob as well – but had he been defeated it would NOT have been because of me.

    I think you are confusing political activism with achievement.

    On university work – you did physics work, but did you discover a new theory?

    In business – were you a great success?

    My point stands – Charles and David Koch have achieved a lot.

    Neither me or you have.

    Of course having a wealthy father helped them – but at least they honoured their father.

    Unlike Warren Buffett – who goes on (and on and….) about how much he “loved” his father – then urinates on everything his father stood for.

  68. Ian the “passions” of men tend to be much the same.

    Rape, kill – and so on.

    But some men do these things – and some do not.

    Some men manage to control their passions with their reason (their moral sense).

    And some men do not bother. They become the beast (the beast that exists in all of us) – and fall from the status of human BEINGS.

    There is a even a (old) Star Trek episode on it – the split Kirk episode.

    David Hume himself was (in his personal) conduct a mild manered moral man.

    Pity he wrote stuff that undermined that in other people.

    But then he also BOTH attacked the existance of the objective exterior world (the thing Tony studied) arguing that it might be just a fantasy of the mind.

    AND attacked the EXISTANCE of the mind – arguing that a thought does not mean a thinker.

    Of course a thought means a thinker – otherwise David Hume (as a reasoning human being) would not (could not) exist.

    David Hume (I suspect) did not mean a lot of this stuff.

    What he was saying was something like this…….

    “Look how I can use argument to, seemingly, prove things that you know not to be true”

    This was not just showing off (although there was some of that).

    David Hume was also showing how argument could (seemingly) be used to “prove” ANYTHING (no matter how absurd), and thus warning people against argument.

    He was also trying to wake people up (give them a good shake) – to get them thinking.

    After all he was writing in the mid 18th century.

    Hardly anyone in the period thought ideas might be dangerious – the era of Revolutions was yet to come.

  69. One thing I wrote in reply to Tony was wrong – he has come up with new physics theories (indeed he has mentioned them to me before).

    I do not know whether they are true or false – but they might be true (I am just too ignorant to judge).

    On the passions…..

    One thing that got my passons up recently was the mistake of buying a copy of the “Spectator” magazine.

    There was an article on how we should “Talk to the Taliban” (as if they were reasonable people whose word one could trust).

    By all means get out of Afganistan – but do it HONESTLY.

    Do not “make a deal” with the Taliban – a deal that everyone (bar a modern “intellectual” who are as thick pigshit) knows that the Taliban will break.

    Ian could put this writer right on the true nature of the Taliban – as could anyone (outside a university or the media).

    And then was a book review.

    The book reviewer was a standard “evil Jews” (sorry “evil zionists”) type – and I did say the book reviewer, not just the author.

    For example, all Arabs were “driven out of Jaffa” I have been to Jaffa – there are plenty of Arabs there, including MUSLIM Arabs.

    The book review was a denial of objective reality.

    And it was a denial of objective reality, motivated by hatred of Jews.

    “The lady did not know Paul” – fact checking would have taken a few seconds. The lady believed this crap (and all the other crap in “Occupation Diaries) because she WANTED to believe it.

    But should I give in to my passions and hunt down Ahmed Rashid (the author the “let us talk to the Taliban” crap) and show him how the Taliban treat people?

    Or shoud I hunt down Caroline Moorehead (the author of the fawning review of the vile “Occupation Diaries”) and alter her face with a bowie knife?

    Should I use reason to find a good way of tracking down these people and to avoid gettting caught after I have done X, Y, Z to them?

    Of course NOT.

    Reason (morality) must TRUMP the passons – it must control them, chain the beast.

  70. Paul:

    How do you explain Charles Koch’s recent attempt to seize control of the Cato Institute?

    There is ample documentation of the Koch influence on the Tea Party (which is down from around a thousand groups to six hundred or so).


    PS: I received a nice “Thank You” from the Rhodesian Prime Minister.

    Support counts for a great deal in politics

    • Tony I praise your efforts in relation to Z-R – but you did fail (that is NOT an insult – WE ALL FAILED, I FAILED).

      Of all your activities – only the physics still remains.

      You may or may not have made a contribution – I do not know, because I am TOO IGNORANT (I freely admit that) to know.

      But the “may have made a contribution” is certainly better than me – as I certainly have NOT made a contribution;

      Your statement on the Tea Party MOVEMENT is incorrect (inspite of a massive media disinformation and propaganda campaign).

      As for Charles Koch and the Cato Institute.

      The Cato Insitute is NOT the Tea Party movement.

      Charles and David Koch have financed the Cato Institute for many years.

      Indeed my problem with the Koch brothers is that they did not move sooner.

      Back in 2008 some people at the Cato Insitute (and Reason magazine) turned out to be OBAMA SUPPORTERS.

      How the f…. did that happen?

      Were Charles and David ASLEEP?

      Remember how I attack (and have always attacked) people who “write cheques and then do not check how the money is spent”.

      As for the “long term, short term” debate – with the Koch brothers being accused of thinking about the short term


      The election is November 6th (just over two months) if the lifelong Marxist Barack H. Obama is relected that is it for the United States (and, perhaps, for the Western world as a whole).

      There is no point thinking about “years and decades” in a country that may well be destroyed by an something that is just over TWO MONTHS away. The Centre for American Progress (and others) already have their second term plans fully formed – plans for a dictatorship that would make Congress nonrelevant, and would introduce collectivism.

      “But Paul if the United States is destroyed that does not mean that liberty is destroyed – there is still all to play for”.

      Quite true (if you reply it this way).

      But the “new game” would be WAR.

      Savage, pityless war – with (perhaps) millions of dead. In the “Post United States context” that (yes, I admit) both sides are working up plans for.

      Are the Koch brothers (and others) really monsters for seeking to avoid this war, by political means?

      If so then, in my small way, I must be a monster also – as that is what I am also doing.

      I also believe that (for example) IF the Cato Institute is “not part of the solution it is part of the problem”,

      The “solution” being to defeat the Comrades WITHOUT war.

      It would, of course, be emotionally satisfying to cut Kevin Carson’s Black Flagger (Black Flaggers like Carson will side with the Red Flagger Marxists – indeed they already are and have for years) throat, or blow his head off with a bullet (although he would be more likely to do those things to me) – but it is the job of politics to AVOID THAT SITUATION.

      That is the point of politics (if it has one) – to AVOID WAR.

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