-20 votes

Open letter to online libertarians

Hello again Paulites it's me again

Time for you to give my thoughts record downvotes yet again...

Or, you know, you could try to engage with the material rather than dismiss it out of hand. I used to be in something like the same sort of mindset as you guys, yet I evolved my thinking. No reason in the world you can't do the same.



Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Well....That was a waste of time.

Sorry to be rude off the bat - but your post introducing your writing was rude and a turn-off to begin with. But, I followed your links anyway, hoping your gimme-generation bleating was just temporary.

But alas....So you basically, in a poorly written piece of philosophical drivel, are telling people who have not studied "continental (European) philosophy" that they are morons and wasting their time doing anything else. Then, you fail to tell us the central core of that philosophy or how it differs from say, John Locke or Thomas Paine, the fathers of the American Enlightenment and probably philosophies that people on the DailyPaul agree with, even if they've never read them.

I've been through a lot since 2006, philosophically and otherwise. Many people here have. After all the sign-waving and trying to wake people up in '07 (and fun!), the countless hours recruiting caucus goers and taking over local events, to '12 with it's more top-down fiasco, to Rand Paul stomping on my heart, and much more...I can only keep trying. I am more about agorism and bartering now - but still have a little hope there can be more people awakened.

For you to tell us you are the only "right" one -- well, perhaps it will take some actual writing, perhaps gramar and semantics that do not make you sound like a juco freshman rejected by a fraternity, and for YOU to expose your thoughts and actions for review by others.

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."--Mark Twain

OMG. Too long. And two parts.

OMG. Too long. And two parts. You lost me.

I skimmed your stuff, and it

I skimmed your stuff, and it appears you argue against a very watered down version of the NAP... you seem to first claim that libertarians claim it's some platonically existing concept, then argue against this strawman.

Are you familar with Hans Hoppe's "argumentation ethics" defense of the NAP, not as a Platonically existing entity, but as a norm that it is impossible to refute (without a performative contradiction).

I specifically recommend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6V0XzJfm8U

or: http://mises.org/esandtam.asp

as a starting point.


Thanks Evan. My partner and I

Thanks Evan.

My partner and I have seen the negative and confused reactions to our ideas as we have presented them so far, and are going to finally get around to preparing pamphlets that lay out all our ideas in one place, targeted at specific 'archetypes of belief', if you will - e.g. anarcho-capitalism.

When these are finished, we will post them everywhere, and hopefully a much healthier dialogue will follow.

To answer your question, yes I think that argumentation ethics, logically, is spot on. Practically though, it's of lesser use, and morally its all a bit too wertfrei for my liking.

"yes I think that

"yes I think that argumentation ethics, logically, is spot on. Practically though, it's of lesser use"

to be fair I think this is what Hoppe was intending to do... make a logical case. A lot of the counter arguments to AE (see Murphy and Callahan) seem to falsly imply that AE is something that it isn't, then argue against this strawman. For example; it is not a proof that it is IMPOSSIBLE to act against self ownership. As slavery has happened. There are still rapes, etc. Also, it's not some magic phrase that you simply utter to an aggressor and they immediatly see the error of their ways and become non violent.

I happen to think Stephan Kinsella clears a lot of this up in his rebuttal to Murphy and Callahan's critique of AE. (Kinsella gets a bad rap, IMO. he's known as an anti-IP guy but in reality he's SOOOO much more than this and has a very thorough understanding of ethics, praxeology, etc)

I think you need to come to the US....

....and spend some time in the mountains and in the desert and on the border, shoot some guns, do some hunting and fishing, drive a gas guzzling pickup, chew some tobacco, then meditate on that and see what comes up.

I lived in Europe several years and, frankly, love it. It's second only to what the US is supposed to be. Come here, do the above, meditate and see if you don't agree.

My partner and I plan to tour

My partner and I plan to tour the Pacific Northwest and Texas in April 2014, so if you (or anyone else) would like to meet with us and discuss ideas, please drop me a line by email. benett AT zenith DOT io


Instead of the meditating Buddhas on your Website banner I came up with an idea, as per your request.

I think you could keep the same banner theme (ancient Asian) but get a furious Ghengis Kahn bust in place of the Buddhas and arrows could be spattered around randomly with no rhyme or reason to their placement. You could also have a misty obscured Wallpaper of a dusty scene depicting Mongol Hordes savagely stampeding a small village with lots of blood and gore visible. The severed heads of the villagers could be looking all bewildered and bemused from the unexpected slaughter.


jrd3820's picture

Pure Brilliance dducks


Pretty self aggrandizing. Not

Pretty self aggrandizing. Not exactly post worthy for the DP.

Southern Agrarian

Who decides that? You? What

Who decides that? You?

What are your criteria for post-worthiness?

About the same criteria you

About the same criteria you went by to make your post...your own!
I asked no one and did it anyways, muwahahaha.

Southern Agrarian

That doesn't make any sense.

That doesn't make any sense.

I went to Mr. B. Freeman white paper

arguments. Well written. But it is too generic for a reader unfamiliar with details. The author borrows heavily from N.P. Barry's critique of Rothbardian version and Ayn Rand' one alike.

"In summary, Libertarianism is too subjective and too fractured (though seemingly unified superficially) and Objectivism is too single-minded (it really ought to be renamed Randism) and remote, to develop a proper conception of freedom according to the standards of this paper.

In order to evolve along what this paper considers to be better lines, libertarianism as a body of work would certainly have to jettison any association with minarchism, religious doctrines and utilitarian justifications."

It is an interesting reading for those who are well familiar with both ideologies. I myself have found false reasoning of N.P. Barry regarding his evaluation of Objectivism as quoted in the paper. But rational development in this field is always welcome. Our common ground (regardless of Libertarian schools) is clear: free-market capitalism, separation of government from economy. Except for our parrots: their common goal is to fight Zionists and bankers.

So what you are saying is

So what you are saying is that his white paper decrees that for an ideology of freedom to work it has to be of limited freedom:

would certainly have to jettison any association with minarchism, religious doctrines and utilitarian justifications.

That is certainly what it sounds like when one is told what they can and cannot bleieve or use or associate with. It doesn't sound very free to me.

Minarchism, utilitarianism

Minarchism, utilitarianism and theism are contradictory to freedom, that's what I'm saying.

Minarchism is a form of statism. Governments violate freedoms.

Utilitarianism is concerned with consequences, and leads to thinking that unavoidably violates freedom.

Theism not only undermines autonomy (mental freedom and the foundation of all moral choice) but supposes a celestial dictator, who, if he existed, would be the very antithesis of freedom.

I truly believe that the only kind of social movement for freedom that has a chance of success, is one that recognises these contradictions and confronts them.

Theism contradictory to freedom?

Did not the commandment of "thou shalt not murder" and "thou shalt not steal", basic non-agression premises come from religion 4000 years ago?

Did not the commandment of "treat others as you yourself would like to be treated", i.e. the foundation of the non-agression pricinple not come from religion 2000 years ago?

Did not the concept of natural rights NOT subject to worldly authority arising as a result of having been endowed by a divine Creator not come from religious prevalent thought?

Did not the opposition to the divine right of kings arise out of religious thought from the enlightenment?

No, they didn't.

No, they didn't.

They obviously and clearly did.

Please cite other sources which originated these concepts.

Not your FEELINGS or opinions, quotes and sources. Thanks.

You don't...

...seem to understand that without theism, there really is no such thing as personal autonomy and individuality.

If Person, Love, Reason, etc. exist as fundamental reality, more fundamental than the physical universe, then the entire cosmos is infused with eternal meaning, and you are actually a real individual person. It's very Platonic: the idea of the idealized 'you' existed first in the Forms (Mind of God), and the Word spoke to actually bring you into existence from that idea. Now you are on a journey of growth to become not less individual, but more so. If you shake your fist at the Light and Love that is your source and insist on leaving it, you will find darkness and hate and have your growth stalled by your own action, in that you are distorting and denying yourself being in sync with the fundamental reality. This is not a cosmic dictator's action, it is just reality -- I AM that I AM. As you embrace the Love and Light, as you become more His, you will find that you also become more your own, more free as you grow into the idealized 'you'. Rejecting that process (reality) will stunt your growth, and you will find the outer darkness, lies, etc. to which you will be enslaved.

If you do not accept theism but accept the idea of 'no God', then this means that the physical universe (or some quantum mechanical system from which it arises) is fundamental reality, and person, love, reason, individuality are all illusions, just passing vapors, like a cloud that would appear to be a sailing ship but isn't. There is only rearrangement of dead stuff: no meaning, no purpose, an absurdity. There is no real 'you'. Line up Shakespeare's brain next to Hitler's brain next to Jefferson's brain next to Mao's: where is the true sense of right or wrong in that picture? There is none. It's all just rearrangement of grey matter that deterministically rearranged other matter and energy. Ultimately, the Mona Lisa is no better than the Holocaust; the Declaration is no better than the killing fields. All just rearrangements of meaningless stuff, which is here today, gone tomorrow -- with no individual, autonomous 'you' ever being more than an illusion.

Of the two axiomatic philosophies before you, theism is the one which gives reality and meaning to the individual.

The only other option, really, boils down to nihilism, where a real 'you' as true person with true Love, is a fiction.

Utilitarianism is concerned

Utilitarianism is concerned with consequences and thus properly applied doesn't violate freedom.

The problem with collectivist utilitarian justifications is they do not include in the calculus the consequences of their own interventions in the name of changing consequences.

If the analytical and empirical understandings are valid they must converge if they result from reality.

I can either understand the law of gravity, or I can watch a rock fall. If my observations are not clouded or if my understanding of physics is not flawed I will conclude the same thing.

Keynesianism and collectivism have in common that they ignore the consequences of their own activities. When you impose an immoral order in the pursuance of what you consider to be a moral goal, you may achieve the immediate end, but you have imposed immorality on the system as well. The genuine consequentialist is not surprised by this.

The faux utilitarian actually rejects utility when it contradicts his religious belief in the state as creator of order. It is in fact a belief that entropy can be conquered. It cannot. Social order can only be imposed in spatial and temporal vicinities at the expense of greater disorder in others and in the overall net increase in disorder.

The suspicion of the ancap is that only in the absence of attempts to impose order, will order will be optimized. And this is not to say there would be no disorder, just that only in this environment can the most order possible be achieved.

The reason that more free societies prosper and have less disorder than less free societies is because they attempt to impose less order and thus profit from more order.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Thank you for your thoughts. The paper of which you speak is really only looking at a narrow aspect of freedom. It's also two years old now, and I've had many new thoughts since then. If you have any specific critiques in response to any of my writings, I'd love to hear them.


I agree with several of your main points: 1) Rothbardian ideas are flawed; 2) Any product of thought should be evaluated and improved if possible.

I see mistake of Rothbard, his followers and Barry(!) as Ayn Rand saw it - detachment from reality into pure abstraction. Rothbard assumed natural individual rights as an axiom. Then non-agression principle became a self-serving cognitive tool that led to anarchism. Bary's critique of Ayn Rand has a similar mistake. Life and not life are not symmetrical options - death is what non-living already is. Freedom should be always tied to REASON. And that explains dependency of the definition of freedom itself. It is not a "limitation", it is "objective" reality.

I'm sorry but I don't

I'm sorry but I don't understand what point you are making. Could you clarify please?

What do you think of my critique of libertarianism as laid out in the article, especially part 2 ?

Part 2 - Rothbardian Libertarianism?

I do not take any valuation on this part because Ayn Rand had already settled that for me. If Ron Paul leans towards the founding fathers ("natural rights come from god or nature"), Rothbard takes them as an axiom (the central peice of Libertarian ideology.) That axiom is not rooted in reality, thus Rothbardians end up with unworkable fantasies (anarchism.) The fun part, btw, is that Herman Hoppe tried to prove that natural rights are results of reason. Rothbard himself agreed with Hopper after reading his arguments. Even more fun - both Rothbard and Hoppe did not mention Ayn Rand, at all.

Am I right in thinking that

Am I right in thinking that you are a minarchist that believes in the Objectivist theory of rights? i.e. that they come out of nowhere, dictated by nature, interpreted by Objectivists, who are sadly wrong on so many other things?

You are over verbose and insulting

Bad combo. And I saw the word 'spectacle'. Anarcho-statism ftl.

I don't know who you are and after reading this letter have been given no reason to find out. See it doesn't matter if you have anything interesting to say. The fact is I can get that information from a source who can write and not be insulting.

You make blanket assumptions about people you know nothing about. In so doing you make the best case for your meta-point about wasting time and energy in counterproductive pursuits. In this and only this, because your letter didn't say what else you believe, you have convinced me. People waste too much time destroying any chance their ideas will be heard. You have demonstrated this, and I won't know what else you think because of it.

Well done.

Up Vote

I have no idea why this is down voted. Open intellectual discussion (pro or con of liberty) is always a good thing.

I too do not engage in the name calling or enjoy "discussions" with others who are simply "foaming-at-the-mouth" in tantrum-like replies.

I am not sure, but I take it that you are now an anarcho-capitalist?

If so, you might get something out of my thread (also down voted for unknown reasons) that discusses Dr. Steven Pinker's latest book, which is a challenge for anarcho-capitalists and which is something, we may wish to rationally discuss and address.



Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

Ah, now I see that the book

Ah, now I see that the book you are referring to is an expanded form of some essays he wrote a few years back, which I read.

I made notes on those essays at the time, and might try to dig them up in my archives at some point.

From memory, I remember that the two biggest holes in his logic were that he is ignoring state-driven violence and especially implicit violence. Some of his historical data is dubious too.

I've downloaded a copy and will look through it when I have time.

Even if it were true that violence HAD lessened under democracies, do you realise that still doesn't make it morally right?

Actually, no, the biggest thing he ignores is the possibility of future consentient community paradigms where violence almost doesn't exist.

Even if we are to grant him that his historical readings are fully accurate (they're not) and that the current situation is the least violent ever (it's not), then it still wouldn't alter the fact that what happens now is MORALL indefensible and can yet be improved on.

Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your tantrum-free response.

I'm not an anarcho-capitalist, and don't generally deal in labels, but if you want to ask me where I stand on anything, I'm happy to go through it with you.

I'll also look at your link and then get back to you.