Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Libertarian Forum



The Libertarian Forum, edited by Murray N. Rothbard from 1969 to 1984, had a small — even tiny — circulation but it forged the intellectual edifice known as libertarianism.

Month after month, the newsletter thrilled, enlightened, shocked, and awed its subscribers. Everything was on the table.

The Mises Institute has compiled and published every issue of this obscure journal, in a two-volume book of 1200 pages in total.  It offers a glimpse into the world as Rothbard saw it – real time, during some of the most dramatic events in US history. 

Think about the Vietnam War and the protests (Kent State as one example) and the last helicopter out of Saigon; Nixon closing the gold window; Nixon resigning; raging inflation and high unemployment at the same time – something that all mainstream economists thought an impossibility; the Iran hostage crisis.  I suspect each of these is covered with gusto, and I look forward to the treatment.

The volumes also offer a glimpse into the libertarian world in what must be described as its infancy.  Who were the early pioneers?  What gave any of them any hope?

At 1200 pages, this will be a long-term commitment on my part.  Unlike most of my book projects, I will not run through this one uninterrupted; my intent is to touch on it from time to time while continuing with the various other books and topics as I have in the past.

Unless an author is specifically noted, my assumption is that Rothbard wrote the referenced item.  I might be wrong, but my guess is not very often.  And with this, I will begin with the introductory issue, dated March 1, 1969:

Why The Libertarian?

The libertarian movement is growing at a remarkable pace throughout the country.  Yet the organizational forms, the means of communication, among libertarians are not only miniscule, but actually suffered a considerable blow during 1968.

It remains remarkable to me that those few libertarians that could fit in a phone booth could even find each other before the internet.  Heck, it is remarkable to me that I found anything “libertarian” before the internet.

Talk about Isaiah’s Job and preaching to the remnant!  Making the commitment to write a twice-monthly newsletter during a time when Rothbard probably knew every “libertarian” personally, and could count them on one hand – I cannot describe this in any way other than a huge leap of faith.

Rothbard goes on to list some of the early institutions that “suffered a considerable blow”:

Freedom School-Ramparts College: was a libertarian educational institution established by Robert LeFevre in Colorado, United States in 1956. The college was an unaccredited four-year school for classical liberals and individualist anarchists. Teachers at the college included Butler Shaffer and Sy Leon, who ran the college after it moved to Southern California in 1966.

Forgive the length of this next one; the list of names is worth review:

New Individualist Review: Ralph Raico, editor.  Initially sponsored by the University of Chicago Chapter of the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists, the New Individualist Review was more than the usual “campus magazine.” It declared itself “founded in a commitment to human liberty.” Between 1961 and 1968, seventeen issues were published which attracted a national audience of readers. Its contributors spanned the libertarian-conservative spectrum, from F. A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises to Richard M. Weaver and William F. Buckley, Jr. The associate editors were John P. McCarthy, Robert Schuettinger, and John Weicher. The book review editor was Ronald Hamowy. Other authors included Milton Friedman, Murray N. Rothbard, F.A. Hayek, Russell Kirk, Eugene Miller, Wilhelm Roepke, Harry Elmer Barnes, Sam Peltzman, George Stigler, Benjamin Rogge, Ludwig von Mises, Bruno Leoni, Israel Kirzner, Richard Weaver, Yale Brozen, Gordon Tullock, Warren Nutter, W.H. Hutt, E.G. West, Henry Hazlitt, Arthur A. Ekirch, Ljubo Sirc, and Armen Alcjian.

He also lists Pine Tree Press, but I find nothing on line on this entity.

Regarding the then-new Nixon administration, Rothbard notes that only perhaps 90 of the top jobs have been filled out of the thousands available:

How much clearer can it be that the much vaunted free elections in the United States are a sham and a fraud, designed to lull the public into believing that their voices really count?

It certainly was clear to clear thinkers such as Rothbard.  I suspect that the recent election of Trump is making it clear to the tens of millions of those who voted for him; what Rothbard saw almost 50 years ago may be finally entering a broader consciousness.

Next comes an idea of a “People’s Court,” proposed by Gerald Gottlieb in the January 1969 issue of The Center Magazine.  Given the failings of institutions such as the World Court, the idea is for private citizens to create a court “independent of nations and able to render judgement upon those who misuse sovereign power.”

Rothbard asks: How would such a body enforce its jurisdiction and decisions?  He points to successes of the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal in arousing European sentiment against the Vietnam War and other similar private efforts.

The last report in this edition regards the city of San Francisco and a new law that prohibits sitting on the sidewalk.  Rothbard’s complaint sounds almost quaint given how far and how quickly the totalitarian American state has grown:

…we must note one more step on the road to a totalitarian America.

Conclusion

Murray, one can only wonder what you have been writing regarding this totalitarian America since September 11, 2001.

Monday, September 25, 2017

War is a Racket



The subject is North Korea.  An interesting conversation at the John Batchelor Show: Gordon Chang, in discussing a piece he wrote at the Daily Beast regarding North Korea and the seeming inevitability of war; I paraphrase the concluding remarks:

Thaddaeus McCotter: let me be sure I understand you: there are means at our disposal to pressure communist China to stop their client state from developing nuclear weapons and generally being a rogue state, but there seems to be a lack of political will [within the US] to do that so instead they are willing to risk American soldiers’ lives to stop him?

I will interject – the number of “American soldiers’ lives” at risk will be a rounding error in this one.  More numerous will be the lives of millions, if not tens of millions of Koreans, potentially Japanese, and depending on how far things go, all of us.

Gordon Chang: that is 100% accurate description of my feelings right now.  The threshold for war is lower than the threshold for taking effective non-kinetic actions in stopping North Korea.

He speaks of taking on the Bank of China, etc.  But American business interests are not supportive of such steps.

McCotter sums it up: from the Leninist / communist China point of view, they believe that greedy capitalists care more about money than the lives of their soldiers, and “God forbid we prove them right!”

The last part, a direct quote, with disdain in his voice.

But he is right. It has always been true. Ask General Smedley Butler.

The New York Times is Awake



The New York Times op-ed page gets one right.  Let’s just say a stopped clock….

The story cannot be told without first referring to Angelo Codevilla.  Codevilla, writing before Trump’s election victory, suggests that there is no more republic; there are only stakeholders and subjects.  From this, nothing good can come:

We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.

In an op-ed completely mis-titled “The Coming War on Business,” David Brooks identifies the reasons for the fracturing of the American body politic.  I suspect it is mis-titled, because the Times doesn’t really want this op-ed to be found.

Brooks is describing work done by Sam Francis at The Washington Times in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  He cites three key insights hammered home by Francis and used as the foundation of Pat Buchanan’s run in 1992:

The first was that globalization was screwing Middle America. 

A sentiment captured perfectly by Trump during his campaign.

His second insight was that the Republican and conservative establishment did not understand what was happening. 

Twenty-four years later, nothing had changed.  But it is his third insight that is also to be found in Codevilla:

His third insight was that politics was no longer about left versus right. Instead, a series of smaller conflicts — religious versus secular, nationalist versus globalist, white versus nonwhite — were all merging into a larger polarity, ruling class versus Middle America.

As Codevilla noted: there are only stakeholders and subjects.  Citing Francis: 

“Middle American groups are more and more coming to perceive their exploitation at the hands of the dominant elites.”

The mood disappeared for a time – perhaps booming stock markets of the 1990s and booming housing markets of the early 2000s.  Codevilla sees the financial crisis of 2008 as the fuel that lit (or, in reality, re-lit) the fire:

The ruling class’s united front in response to the 2008 financial crisis had ignited the Tea Party’s call for adherence to the Constitution…

And this is why I saw Trump’s success as a continuation of Ron Paul’s campaign – albeit without the policy integrity, personal class, or intellectual foundation.

Francis wrote in 1996 of Buchanan’s reference to the culture wars of the time; I recall Codevilla suggesting that when we were told that a man had the right to use a women’s restroom that this was a bridge too far.

There was a racist streak to Francis, apparently.  Of course, Trump is painted with the same brush.  I read once something like: not every Trump supporter is a racist, but every racist is a Trump supporter.  The first part isn’t held to be true by non-Trump supporters; the last part ignores, apparently, non-white racists.  But anyway, you get the idea.

Conclusion

Brooks, like Codevilla, also sees that Trump isn’t the end, but the continuation of a movement that will not die with Trump’s time in office:

Trump is nominally pro-business. The next populism will probably take his ethnic nationalism and add an anti-corporate, anti-tech layer. Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple stand for everything Francis hated — economically, culturally, demographically and nationalistically.

As the tech behemoths intrude more deeply into daily life and our very minds, they will become a defining issue in American politics. It wouldn’t surprise me if a new demagogue emerged, one that is even more pure Francis.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Let’s Try a Little “Direct”…



To: Matt@Occidentalism.org September 23, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Matt,

I am not concerned with my friend’s opinion about a white America.  I am concerned that he was confused about my opinion.  Allow me to clarify:

To set the stage, what does one mean by “white America”?  No more non-European migration?  Deporting all those from a non-European ancestry, no matter the small percentage in the blood?  Disallowing mixed marriages?  All these must occur to achieve a “white America.”

The first could be achieved relatively easily – it would require modifying the current government enforced immigration policies with a different set of government enforced immigration policies.  As there is no libertarian solution to immigration in a world of state borders, I am, at worst, ambivalent about this but could easily go for it. 

Of course, if the USG (run mostly by white people) would just stop all of the wars in countries populated by brown-skinned people – both traditional wars and drug wars – this entire problem would shrink dramatically of its own accord.

The second and third?  By force, and force of the most violent nature imaginable. 

So I am perfectly clear about how I feel about this (let’s call it bionic being direct):

In no, way, shape or form do I support such an idea.  I think those that do support such an idea out of concern for their descendants four or forty generations from now are either insane or have no idea what hell they are going to unleash on their family living today, right now, right here. 

Your choice: look your children in the eyes while holding the knife to their neck to do them in, or educate your children properly in how to become a productive and contributing member of society, a member that values and improves on the best of Western Civilization.  I know my choice.  To be clear about my choice: I am not insane.  (Put this together with the previous paragraph if my meaning isn’t clear enough for you).

Further, by far – and it isn’t even close – the most significant violators of my life and property are white males – not Jews, not Arabs, not Mexicans, not blacks (or whatever I am supposed to call them these days).  It is none of these other bogeymen that taxes 50% of my wealth and sends my sons to kill by the millions and be killed by the tens of thousands.  It is white males that have handed us the government enforced immigration that we live under today.

Like it matters to Jews that the US government bomb North Korea to hell or kill a few million Vietnamese; only a die-hard autistic Jew-hater can convolute a reason for this (and I am sure someone has, and I am sure a regular commenter to this site will point me to a book or a web site that explains the connection).

White men have done this long before anyone could find a Zionist worthy of the name – and would be doing it today even if there weren’t a Zionist anywhere to be found.  And, no, I am not saying Zionists, or the state of Israel, or many prominent Jews are blameless.  As I have asked: which Jews, by name.

But you will find more whiteys under the rocks than you will find Jews or anyone else.

Returning to a white America and the idea of racial purity: I cannot even dignify it with the label insanity; it is a ridiculous impossibility to achieve in any way other than the most diabolical violations of life ever imagined.

I have said it and I repeat: I am not for open borders; I am not for closed borders.  I am for private property owners to decide who and what is allowed on their property and who or what has access to their property.  Until property owners are free to decide this, all we are left with is government managed borders.

When I speak of the value of culture, I speak of the value of commonly accepted traditions and norms.  I speak of the civilized part of what is commonly referred to as Western Civilization. 

In a world without the government (run mostly by white males) forcing immigration (in other words, the opposite of our world today), the requirement for immigrants to fit in to such a culture – to assimilate – would force immigration to a natural level, a level that has occurred since man first walked on earth; immigration for those who know they must fit in or be excluded.

I value the civil part of Western Civilization; this is worth defending, but it can only be defended intellectually.  There is nothing civil about defending it violently – this only further destroys it. 

What’s so great about racial purity?  Many white people don’t value Western Civilization – I would rather rid my polity of these while welcoming Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams.

In any case, this train of racial purity left the station on the day that the first man left his parents, saying “I wonder if I can find a wife over there,” and the guy over there said “welcome,” as he considered the possibility of this stranger as a son-in-law.

And I am happy for this.

The solution for America?  Secession.  Take the election map from last year, by county.  Let’s start with that.  There is no other peaceful solution.

In the meantime, if the kooks on the far left and the kooks on the far right want to fight it out, I have a solution that will satisfy the kooks and me: organize the next protest in an area within two miles of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  There are so relatively few of you that I think you will all fit in this space.  Bring death and destruction to everything within your path – re-enact Sherman’s march.

If you happen to catch a few liberal arts professors at every college and university while you are on your way between your hometown and DC for this showdown, I won’t complain.

Conclusion

How is this for a direct bionic?  Or should I bring the other guy back?

Feedback on Your Feedback



I thank those of you who took the time to respond to my request regarding how I handle the comments section.  There were many comments of “fine as is,” and I appreciate these.  Overall this is my view as well, but obviously not entirely.

I offer my thoughts to some of your other responses:

JaimeInTexas September 21, 2017 at 10:21 AM

I think that it is your circus; you chose the monkeys and acts.

I do appreciate this, yet I also appreciate that there is a community here – a community that I enjoy.  I have mentioned before: the best comment section to which I have been a party was in the early days of The Daily Bell.  The dialogue was intelligent and robust.  This began to change as Anthony Wile began to flop around on the purpose / focus of the site – even stopping all comments for a time, etc.

But perhaps the worst, for me, was how the same repetitive – and often abusive – feedbacker was allowed to continue in his manner while others were edited, or had comments blocked, etc.  (I think there was a personal relationship between Anthony and this individual.) 

So I am cautious about all of this, because I enjoy the community.  Therefore, I asked for feedback from the community on this issue.

Matt@Occidentalism.org September 21, 2017 at 6:48 AM

Prohibit "anonymous", let those with a name through without moderation unless a specific individual abuses that privilege.

I have thought about this in the past.  I have so far decided against it.  On the occasion where an anonymous feedbacker is repetitively obnoxious, I tend to just ignore the comment (once I skim it for abusive / vulgar language).

Nick Badalamenti September 21, 2017 at 12:03 PM

You have to credit discussions for being honest and civil even if some were repelled by said honesty/ideas.

I agree.  What bothered me the most was that it was assumed by (or concerning to) someone that knew me pretty well that I held those same ideas.  It still bothers me – what did or didn’t I write or say to make this so?  In a subsequent email to me, he wanted to know if I favored a white America, or words to this effect.  What do others who don’t know me as well think?

You as a person, do have a tendency to think the best of people's intentions/positions when it's not clear if that's the case…

In the earliest days of BM, I was much more aggressive; I would believe the worst interpretation of a written statement and run with it.  I learned quickly that this was a dumb idea.  It is so difficult to truly convey meaning on complex subjects via the written word; it is so easy to assume we all interpret what we read in the same way.

So today I really try to take the best from the feedback, at least until the clarifying dialogue has gone back and forth enough to give me comfort – but I don’t always do this well…so when I am told that I messed up, I will often apologize.

This person you respect highly, obviously had a tremendous impact on you….

Yes, for the reason cited in my response to your first point, above.  If someone who knows me this well believes (or isn’t sure about) such a thing, what will others believe?

…the question is this: Is the owner of the blog happy with the outcome? (Not anyone else, including me)

I was, until the aforementioned belief / concern.  I was unhappy with this more than I was happy with the outcome of the dialogue.