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Reply to Schulman on the State, IP, and Carson

In reply to J. Neil Schulman’s post The Great Ideas are Simple, my comment:

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Neil:

So what if I am or am not an “anarchist”? What the [f*ck] difference does it make? Is there some Board of Anarchists who’s going to censure me if I don’t stick to the Anarchist Party Line and recite the Anarchist Catechism?

I want individual freedom … as much as is offered on the menu. Everything else is debating strategy and tactics.

What difference does it make?? Why… because the libertarian–who believes in “individual freedom”, expressed usually in terms of individual rights against aggression–opposes all forms of aggression as being unjust… he opposes both private aggression (crime) and public aggression, and he recognizes that states of necessity commit aggression–or, as you might say, infringe on “individual freedom.”

As we are conceptual, language-using beings, it helps to use words for various concepts.

I had formed the impression, given Alongside Night and other writings of yours, that you would have agreed with all this, so I can’t understand your disagreement here.

Over on Carson’s thread, BTW, you wrote, inter alia, “I have no use for a libertarian movement that thinks the United States government is more evil than those of Venezuela or Iran.”

I am not sure how you measure these things, and it could be that individuals in charge in those little states may be “more evil” than our own politicians, but all 3 of these states are criminal organizations, and there is no doubt that in meaningful terms the US gov’t is a bigger threat to, say, me, than the others–I have an obscene sum stolen from me every year by the US. I’m willing to entertain arguments for why … Venezuela is an even bigger threat to me than the bully in my back yard who robs me every f*cking day. What *I* have no use for is a libertarian movement that tolerates the legitimacy of this criminal gang, that whitewashes its nature and history and motivations.

BTW, I actually agree with many of your criticisms of the substance of mutualism, environmentalism, though I don’t share your disdain for or hostility against Carson. He seems honest and sincere to me and certainly a fellow traveler, in his opposition to the state. (And he has a respectable argument, though I disagree with it, that mutualism is at the end of a spectrum of libertarian property views.) The state–and yes, the US state–is our biggest enemy nowadays, and opposition to it has to be the central focus for the libertarian.

I thought Saddam Hussein was a bad guy and I was happy to see him hanged. I wish the armed forces of the United States had narrowly stuck to the mission of putting him and his rape-room sons out of power, doing the search for WMD’s that was the casus belli of the invasion, then pulling out and leaving the people of that region to decide for themselves what came next.

Of course Hussein was a bad guy and we should no more mourn for him than for a mafia boss killed by agents of a competing mafia. BUt to say the US military “should” have done X, Y, or Z is to ignore the nature of the state–it’s not gonna do what you think it “should” do. As Mises wrote, “No socialist author ever gave a thought to the possibility that the abstract entity which he wants to vest with unlimited power—whether it is called humanity, society, nation, state, or government—could act in a way of which he himself disapproves.” The same applies to any state at all, IMO.

Moreover, even if the army had done only what you suggest, it would still be unjust and unlibertarian: it would still have resulted in many civilian deaths–what we libertarians call “murder”; and it would be done at the expense of me, the American taxpayer. We libertarians condemn this as theft.

If George Bush had done that I would have praised him to the skies; instead he blew every victory he’d won by bogging down the U.S. military into another goddam bug hunt

This is not a surprise, though. And praising Bush for violating international law, for murdering civilians, for robbing the US taxpayer–it is mind boggling how this could be praiseworthy. This “if Bush had just…” seems to be of the idea that if we just get the right people in power, the state can be run right, in a libertarian way. This is a pipe dream.

I answered anything you have to ask me about my defense of informational property rights two decades ago, Stephan. I reprinted it on this very site three days ago. It is impossible that you don’t understand that I make a natural-rights defense of property rights … but you either fail to understand what I’ve written or refuse to.

Neil, I understand your argument. I disagree completely with it. I think it completely fallacious. There is a reason so many libertarians have woken up to the fraud that is IP (and yes, logorights is just another type of IP). I have no doubt you are sincere but your argument for IP is wrong.

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Incidentally, for further discussion of fallacies of Schulman’s “logorights” IP idea, see my post On J. Neil Schulman’s Logorights.

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Incidentally, Neil, just curious, but if you are so hostile to left-libertarian ideas why in the world were you moderator of a left-libertarian list? I joined the C4SS Advisory Panel because they are anti-state, not because I see much of value in any “leftist” paradigm to libertarianism. I believe the left-libertarians and mutualists are certain correct that libertarianism is not right; but it is certainly not left, either (see Walter Block’s forthcoming JLS article Libertarianism is unique; it belongs neither to the right nor the left: a critique of the views of Long, Holcombe, and Baden on the left, Hoppe, Feser and Paul on the right). A pox on both their houses. They are both collectivist, statist, warmongering, murderous. I’m tired of people saying we have something to learn from the left (or the right): screw that, they have something to learn from us.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Michael Barnett December 26, 2009, 11:14 am

    The Great Idea Are Simply Mine

    What exactly are we trying to flesh out here?

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