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Category Archives: Libertarianism

Self-Indulgent Libertarian Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds – AlterNet

Posted: February 26, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

I once had a conversation with a libertarian friend who insisted that freedom was the answer to everything, ironic since he was getting married the following week.

Freedom to have sex with others while married? I asked.

Of course not, he said.

Freedom for your children to do whatever they want?

No, thats different, he said.

Freedom for everyone to have a nuclear bomb?

No, that wouldnt be good.

Freedom for people to steal?

No, that has to be controlled.

You dont really think that freedom is the answer to everything, I said. The real question is what to constrain and what to let go free. The question in social engineering is the question in all engineering. Its a question of tolerances: What to constrain with tight tolerances and what to let run free with loose tolerances. That question is built right into the paradoxical declarations that we should all, be intolerant of all intolerance, or tolerate all intolerance.

Sorry, thats not my question, he said.

But why? I asked.

Because its hard and I dont want to bother with it.

I applauded his honesty. If you want to know why its not obvious to everyone by now that the question is what to tolerate and not tolerate, its simply this. The question is difficult.

Its so much easier to be a hypocrite, to claim that total freedom or total constraint are the only possibilities and that you favor one and oppose the other. Its easier to pretend that youre crusading for absolute freedom against absolute control or vice versa than it is to deal with the messy complexity of trying to sort out what to free and what to constrain.

Hypocrisy is the alternative to praying for the wisdom to know the difference between what to constrain and what to let run free. Just pretend that you already have theperfect wisdom to know the obvious difference. Pretend that theres no question, control is always bad, freedom is always good. Or vice versa.

And with hypocrisy, you can even have it both ways depending on your momentary needs and whims. You can claim that you always favor one as you can switch back and forth.

I dont like that this constrains me. We should all be free always.

Always?!

Yes, judgment is always bad. People should never be judgmental.

But isnt should a judgment?

No. And why do you always have to disagree with me?

I dont always and anyway, didnt you just say that people should be free always? Doesnt that apply to me too? Shouldnt I be free to disagree with you?

No. People should always do the right thing. People should always be controlled by the moral principles I know and espouse.

Butbutyou just said

Theres a difference between being and feeling consistent. To be consistent you have to tame the tendency to extrapolate to universal principles from whatever youre feeling in the moment. You have to be able to notice your inconsistencies.

Since thats difficult and self-compromising, its easier to just feel consistent. For that you need only hold one idea constant. Just always chant, Im consistent. I have integrity. Im not like all of the other people around me. Other people are inconsistent hypocrisy. Im not.

If you hold that one thought with all your heart then you dont have to pay attention to your flip-flopping. You can have all your cakes and eat them too.

You wont live by your inconsistent standards, but if youre insistent enough, youll be able to convince yourself that you do, and maybe youll be able to convince others too. There are lots of hypocrisy cults you can join, mutual admiration societies that claim some absolute truth, thereby liberating themselves to follow their whims, confident that theyre consistent.

These days, libertarianism is one such cult, growing in popularity, in large part through sponsorship by the Koch brothers network of donors, spending billions through private charities to achieve a cabal of about 400 billionaires ultimate aim, to be unconstrained in everything they do. The cabal was inspired by a self-serving misreading of the Soviet Union. Fred Koch, the Koch brothers father was a key provider to Stalin as he built the Soviet Unions oil industry. When Fred saw the devastation wrought by his client Stalin he wrote that, What I saw in Russia convinced me of the utterly evil nature of communism. What I saw there convinced me that communism was the most evil force the world has ever seen and I must do everything in my power to fight it, whichI have done since that time.

Rather than bite Stalins hand that fed him he conveniently focused on the rationalization that Stalin employed to justify his dictatorship. Fred went on to say in 1938 that “Although nobody agrees with me, I am of the opinion that the only sound countries in the world are Germany, Italy, and Japan, simply because they are all working and working hard.” He loved fascism; he hated communism.

Thus was born the hypocritical Koch campaign, control for freedom; constrain for liberty, dictate anarchy. It was easy to get other wealthy donors enthusiastic about the movement, donors like our new education secretary Betsy Devos, a self-declared libertarian who donated over $200 million to hypocritical campaigns for state-imposed religious education in the name of libertarianism. And its been easy to find politicians who will mouth and defend the hypocrisy for the money.

Thats what happened to what once was the Republican party. The Republicans who embraced American traditions bent to the Kochs will or were chased out by Koch-funded candidates from the Tea Party. If youre wondering whatever happened to our country, what explains the weird jack-knifing lurch toward libertarianism, the Koch brothers are a good place to find answers. The Tea Party wouldnt have lasted any longer than the Occupy movement if it werent orchestrated and funded by the Kochs.

Do I sound like a conspiracy theorist? If the alternative to conspiracy theory is the assumption that there are never any conspiracies, were in real trouble. There are conspiracies. The difference between conspiracy theorists and people who reveal real conspiracies is in whether the eagerness to find oneor the evidence leads one to the conclusion that there is one. If you read the facts on the Koch brothers, I think youll find that the evidence stacks up pretty conclusively.

But no matter how much money you pour into selling something, it wont sell if theres no latent appetite. With libertarianism as a rationalization, theres plenty of appetite, the appetite for some alternative to having to think about whats worth and not worth constraining.

Libertarians have bought themselves the ultimate freedom, paid in full with a commitment to hypocrisy, the freedom to never have to wonder about or learn from anything ever again, the freedom to feel consistent without having to trouble themselves with the hard question that shows up everywhere since sometimes freedom turns out well and sometimes it turns out badly:

In engineering:There are bolts and there are ball bearings. We bolt some things down and we let other things run free.

Computer engineering:Algorithms are constraints that enable you to input a free range of variables and get reliably constrained results.

Social engineering:We want people to have freedom to do what they want so long as it doesnt cause more damage than their freedom is worth. Laws, at their best, are constraints that maximize freedom.

Liberty and justice for all:Justice constrains us, liberty frees us. Justice is security. Government at its best seeks the best mix.

Freedom and responsibility:Youre free on the dance floor, but unless youre special (P.S., youre not) your freedom comes with responsibility for not constraining other peoples freedom. You dont get to crowd everyone into the corner by dancing wildly with your eyes shut shouting I believe in freedom!

Social movements:The best and worst movements in human history have all had the same rallying cry, a proud “We demand more!” That’s the cry of those crowded out but also those who already have more than their fair share. It’s the cry of the women’s and civil rights movement but alsoof the Nazi’s. So what’s the difference between the good and bad versions of that rallying cry? Hypocrisy, demand for more dancefloor when you’re already taking up plenty of it.

Player vs. married:A player is free to date whomever but the freedom comes with a loss of security, no reliable partner to come home to. A married person is more constrained but in the bargain gains some security.

Freelance vs. salaried:Salaried workers are more constrained than freelancers, but in exchange, they get a bit more security.

Evolution:Life is a trial and error process and we are the trials. This makes us ambivalent, rooting for ourselves as trials and rooting for the trial and error process. In our hearts, we cry let the best man win and it damned well better be me!

Sore losers:Sore losers smash the game board if they lose. Libertarians are like that. They think that if they dont win, the game is rigged against them and must be destroyed so that they always win.

Free willvs. determinism:We claim that free will as better than determinism but actually were ambivalent. What wed really like is the freedom to advance and the determinism that locks in the advances weve already made. What we really want is a ratchet, freedom to climb, constraint against falling.

We can have that ratchet if we shut our eyes, dance impulsively and shout freedom is the only answer! while crowding everyone else into the corners by meaning only our personal freedom, the hell with theirs.

Jeremy Sherman is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making. Read his work at Psychology Today.

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Jerome Tuccille, Libertarian Author and Trump Biographer, Dies at 79 – New York Times

Posted: February 25, 2017 at 2:47 pm


New York Times
Jerome Tuccille, Libertarian Author and Trump Biographer, Dies at 79
New York Times
Jerome Tuccille, who wrote one of the first manifestoes of the American libertarian movement and the first biography of Donald J. Trump, died on Feb. 16 at his home in Severna Park, Md. He was 79. The cause was complications of multiple myeloma, his

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Libertarianism, Helicopters, and Leftists – Being Libertarian

Posted: February 24, 2017 at 5:50 pm

All it takes is a Hoppe, skip and a jump for those, who are joking online about throwing communists from helicopters, to justify their actions.

A growing wave of libertarians and anarcho-capitalists are finding themselves drawn to the world of anti-communist rhetoric, which extends to the nth degree. So, is commie killing a justified response to the violation of the NAP, or is this simply lunacy concocted to ideologically discriminate? Where does the line between threat and belief system exist?

To discover this, we must first look at the emerging resurgence of Hans-Hermann Hoppe and his beliefs, through the Facebook page Hoppean Snake Memes. Its a page which has amassed nearly seventeen thousand likes for its ideological tint, which takes heavy opposition to Marxism and Leninism; ideologies which are acting in opposition to anarcho-capitalism.

Just as one must fight to maintain their freedom, one must also work to secure their own free society. The difference between an anarcho-capitalist society and an anarcho-individualist society is based on the premise of the left and right dichotomy, with anarcho-capitalists representing the right-wing and property rights, and the anarcho-individualists representing the left-wing and communism.

Anarcho-individualism, as indicated through the works of Max Stirner, completely disregards pragmatism, societal progress and morality to favour the Ubermensch perspective of Friedrich Nietzsche, which essentially involves giving complete reign of ones life and actions over to the people to allow them to decide their life based on their own moral compass.

Essentially, given the rise of groups such as Antifa which run contrary to the libertarian principles of personal and property rights Hoppean Snake Memes takes a hyperbolic approach to Hoppes original views by mixing them with Augusto Pinochets historically notorious habit of dropping communists from helicopters.

The death of communists is seen very much in the same way that one would see the killing of ISIS regardless of whether or not individual ISIS members have committed atrocities, their group is reason enough for suspicion and consequential action to be taken to stop it. Given that groups such as Antifa and ISIS threaten the peace and prosperity of societal participants (since communism and Islam represent the two biggest terror threats in the world at the moment), it is clear that action must be taken.

I interviewed the administrator of the Facebook page who simply went by the monicker Snek for the purposes of conversation; he elaborated on his disdain for communism, which he saw as antithetical to a society which follows along a pathway of objective self-servience and capital-based individualism.

When I say communist, I am referring to one who advocates gulags. Not simply worker control of the means of production. I have nothing against worker control of the MOP, provided its all voluntary, et cetera et cetera.

Upon being pressed as to how this runs contrary to freedom of association and freedom of speech, the terminology of threat was used to justify the way in which communist advocacy works; their ideals stomping over the civil liberties of person and property.

This, paired with the forced radicalism of groups such as Antifa, is now acting as the basis for an emerging ideology that pairs anarchism with practicality, in order to minimise big government to small government and gradually make the transition to a stateless society. This is why the forces in question have fallen in love with the bombastic reductions taken by Donald Trump; reductions which run counter to the prior Democratic tendency to slip down a slippery slope and fall into a pit of authoritarian tripe (think Franklin D. Roosevelt). This heavy focus on pragmatism for libertarianism has led followers to co-opt the alternative right and expand its audience in the retaliation against leftism.

Snek detailed the following:

It should be noted that the helicopter memes are, for the most part, an exaggeration; the purpose, though, is to provoke thought on what is to be considered legitimate self-defence. The argument that Pinochet did nothing wrong stems from the argument that Allende would have been worse. Allende had very close ties to MIR and Castro, judging by Castros actions we know that if Allende was even remotely like him, Allende would have been objectively worse than Pinochet, in terms of human rights violations.

Given the low polling numbers of the Libertarian Party and the fact that the ideology has as much momentum behind it as a Snorlax on a bridge, can one really blame a frustrated branch of Austrian economics for a kneejerk reaction to the left and their omnipresent threat of attack on our fundamental rights?

Out of the philosophical and epistemological questions that lie behind the nebulous terminology of the NAP, it should be determined (at least to some extent) by the public consensus what is considered justifiable retaliation.

Do you approve of the commie killin freedom fighters, or do you simply see them as being full of Pinoshit?

We here at Being Libertarian are not at liberty (ironically) to disclose our personal position on ideological discrimination, however, we must advocate peace towards your fellow man, to set a good example for the thieves more extreme members of the left.

And stay up to date with all my articles on my personal Facebook page.

This post was written by David McManus.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

David McManus has an extensive background in youth politics and of advocacy with regards to the libertarian and anarcho-capitalist movements. David draws his values from the works of Stirner, Hoppe and Rothbard. He is currently a student in Australia with a passion for writing, which carries into a healthy zest for liberty-based activism. Despite an aspiring career in politics, he considers himself a writer at heart with a steady niche for freelance work.

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Local Libertarians eyeing city, state government seats – Mid-City Messenger

Posted: February 23, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Local Libertarians eyeing city, state government seats
Mid-City Messenger
The Libertarian Party of Orleans Parish is looking to gain notoriety with a few local government seats, but they're still searching for locals who want to get involved. We're not going to start winning offices right off the bat, Kirk Coco, party

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Can libertarians mediate the divide? – Newsday

Posted: at 12:44 pm

Cathy Young

Cathy Young is a regular contributor to Reason magazine and Real Clear Politics.

The people who gathered for the 10th annual conference of the International Society of Students for Liberty in Washington last weekend were a motley crowd that included anti-war activists with neon-colored hair and law students in three-piece suits. In the exhibit hall, a display honoring Ronald Reagan was only a few feet away from a LGBT group with a rainbow version of the Dont Tread on Me Gadsen flag and from the table of a group called Muslims for Liberty.

Despite the festive atmosphere, this years speakers at the libertarian event were mostly in a dark mood worse than last year, when many warned about a rising authoritarian tide. While libertarians tend to be at the Republican end of the two-party spectrum, Donald Trump Republicanism is about as un-libertarian as you get. There was raucous applause when Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor of Reason magazine (where I am a contributing editor), declared at the opening-night session, Free movement of people and goods across the border is good. Another Reason editor, Nick Gillespie, contrasted the libertarian spirit of cosmopolitanism and tolerance with Trumps demonization of undesirables and with the lefts anti-pluralist drive to silence politically incorrect speech.

Tom Palmer, vice president for international programs at the nonprofit Atlas Network, also spoke of illiberal trends on both the left and the right in his talk on global anti-libertarianism. But while Palmer named left-wing identity politics and thought-policing as part of the problem, his focus was the threat from the right: in America, Trumpism, with its cult of the leader who embodies the peoples will and its paranoia about the foreign; in Europe, populist, nationalist, and sometimes outright fascist movements, many financed by Russias authoritarian regime.

Social psychologist and New York University professor Jonathan Haidt, whose talk on the rise of the safety culture in colleges was probably the biggest hit of the conference, warned that the end of liberal democracy was a real threat. Haidt, whose 2012 book, The Righteous Mind, examined the moral foundations of political beliefs, painted a dire picture of polarization in America and of the drift toward a leftist echo chamber on college campuses. Social justice, Haidt said, is replacing pursuit of knowledge as the central mission of universities, and there is less and less tolerance for dissent. The result is a generation sympathetic to censorship of offensive speech.

Haidt argued that diversity of thought is desperately needed on campus, and that libertarians may be the key. Conservatives are seen as poison in the academy, while libertarians are merely viewed with wariness and confusion, and are thus in a far better position to get unorthodox opinions heard. Do something about the mess that were descending into, he implored the audience, mostly of libertarian students.

In the age of Trumpian populism versus political correctness run amok, libertarianism offers promise beyond the campus, too if it doesnt descend into laissez-faire utopianism at home and isolationism abroad. Gillespie noted that if libertarianism is defined as a preference for less government involvement in both economic and moral matters, at least one poll finds that libertarian leaners are now the single largest group of voters, at 27 percent (while 26 percent are conservative, 23 percent liberal, and 15 percent populist).

While parts of the conference had a decidedly pessimistic tone, there was optimism as well and discussion of libertarian victories from deregulation to gay civil rights. Libertarianism may not have all the answers; but right now, it may be our best hope for rebuilding a culture of freedom and tolerance.

Cathy Young is a regular contributor to Reason magazine and Real Clear Politics.

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The libertarians versus the conservatives – Washington Times

Posted: at 12:44 pm

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

SELFISH LIBERTARIANS AND SOCIALIST CONSERVATIVES?: THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE LIBERTARIAN-CONSERVATIVE DEBATE

By Nathan W. Schlueter and Nikolai G. Wenzel

Stanford University Press, $24.95, 232 pages

While libertarians and conservatives have some similar outlooks on politics, economics and culture, many profound differences have kept them apart. Attempts to bridge this gap, including Frank S. Meyers theory of fusionism (combining elements of libertarianism and traditional conservatism), have largely been unsuccessful.

Nevertheless, these two right-leaning ideological groups have more than enough in common to discuss ideas in an intelligent, thoughtful manner. Nathan Schlueter and Nikolai Wenzels Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives? serves as an important backdrop in ensuring the libertarian-conservative debate never turns into a libertarian-conservative divide.

Mr. Wenzel, the libertarian, is a research fellow at the University of Paris Law Schools Center for Law & Economics. Mr. Schlueter, the conservative, is a professor of philosophy and religion at Hillsdale College. In their view, a civil, informed, and energetic argument between these two political opposites offers a more interesting, illuminating, and engaging format for readers than an impartial survey of the issues.

Are they right? For those who identify as conservatives, libertarians or one of the worlds few remaining fusionists (like me), their information and analysis is nothing new. But the authors ability to create succinct philosophical arguments for intellectuals and the masses is both admirable and educational.

Each author contributes four chapters. They provide explanations of what their political ideologies entail, whats wrong with each others ideological position, relevant case studies, and final conclusions.

Mr. Schlueter posits that conservatism is not a specific philosophy of government but a generic term that can have a wide range of specific meanings, depending on context. Hence, to create a unified conservatism from its three primary strains (libertarianism, traditional conservatism and neoconservatism), these principles are necessary for human flourishing and that, although they are in some tension with one another, the three principles are interdependent.

Moreover, the author argues, the principles of the American founding that conservatives defend are a form of classical liberalism. This, in turn, has led modern conservatives to defend traditional concepts like natural law and the common good, along with newer concepts like limited government and property rights.

Mr. Wenzel sees libertarianism as a political philosophy about the protection of individual rights. Adherents to this ideology consider liberty to be the highest political good, and believe that government should be viewed as a protector of rights, to provide an umbrella within which individuals can peacefully go about their business, interact, and thrive. Libertarianism also relies heavily on markets and civil society to supplement that which individuals cannot complete on their own and that which government cannot deliver without violating individual rights.

Naturally, the two authors respectfully feel that each others political philosophy is, as they put it, wrong.

Mr. Wenzel believes Mr. Schlueter makes one of the clearest expositions of conservatism I have seen, but that much in conservatism is problematic. For instance, he perceives natural law liberalism, which his co-author defends as a component of unified conservatism, rests on the claim that there exists an objective moral order but that it has also been used to justify ugly things like slavery, absolute monarchy, or Sharia. At the same time, he wonders if this contradictory hodgepodge of different conservatisms is arbitrary in its claims because it seeks justification for the public imposition of private preferences.

Mr. Schlueter admires Mr. Wenzels able defense of libertarianism, but believes [i]n the most fundamental sense, the difference between conservatism and libertarianism turns on the degree to which politics can be understood in terms of economics. By and large, conservatives dont believe that economics defines political life and human beings can only fully flourish through their own self-constituting choices. Also of note, when it comes to public choice theory a popular topic in libertarian circles he feels the major flaw is that its either descriptive, or is it prescriptive. The former is undermined by empirical evidence, and the latter is undermined by political life altogether.

Their case studies and conclusions dont lead to any surprising revelations: Mr. Schlueter supports conservatism, and Mr. Wenzel supports libertarianism. But their discussions about economics, immigration, education and marriage are intriguing. The differences between the two ideologies are subtle in some ways, and more stark in others.

Neither Mr. Schlueter nor Mr. Wenzel believe his political ideology is the model of perfection. There are flaws in libertarianism and conservatism, as there are in all philosophical models. At the same time, they obviously both feel that their respective ideology is better for our society, warts and all.

In this civil debate of ideas, thats the best closing argument we could ever hope for.

Michael Taube is a contributor to The Washington Times.

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Reason and Libertarianism in the Trump Era [Reason Podcast] – Reason (blog)

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 3:44 am

“Free movement of people and goods across borders are incredibly important things. And Trump is not into either of those things”Katherine Mangu-Ward.

At the 10th annual International Students for Liberty Conference, Reason magazine Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward, former editor and longtime head of the Institute for Humane Studies Marty Zupan, and I discussed the history and future of Reason and libertarianism in President Donald Trump’s America.

We each talked about the signature issues of the decades we were at the magazine’s helm (the 1980s for Zupan, the ’00s for me, and currently for Mangu-Ward) and whether libertarianism is waxing or waning.

This podcast was recorded live on Friday, February 17. Now finishing up its first decade, SFL reported that about 1,700 guests from all over the world attended this year’s conference.

Produced by Mark McDaniel.

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CPAC Organizer Tries To Pawn Off Milo Yiannopoulos as "Libertarian" – Reason (blog)

Posted: at 3:44 am

Breitbart.comWhat do you do when you’re Matt Schlapp, the guy heading up the American Conservative Union, which runs the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (emphasis added), and it turns our your biggest draw to this year’s event defends pedophilia? Well, first you disinvite him and then you bluster your way through an excrutiatingly painful few minutes on Morning Joe before trying to pawn Milo Yiannopoulos off as a libertarian:

“He doesn’t call himself conservative. He calls himself more of a libertarian…. Some libertarians would deny that he’s a libertarian.”

On that much, we agree. Most libertarians I know wouldn’t claim Milo as one of our own. You know who else says Milo isn’t a libertarian? Well, Milo himself, it turns out:

“Libertarians are children. Libertarians are people who have given up looking for an answer. This whole ‘everybody do what they want’ is code for ‘leave me to do what I want.’ It’s selfish and childish. It’s an admission that you have given up trying to work out what a good society would look like, how the world should be ordered and instead just retreated back into selfishness. That’s why they’re so obsessed with weed, Bitcoin, and hacking.”

Read more about that here and here.

Milo’s critique of libertarianism is not so strong, is it? As it happens, the policy work being done by folks at Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes this website) is revolutionizing K-12 education, public-sector pensions, transportation infrastructure, and more. Same goes for ideological compadres at the Cato Institute and elsewhere. To the extent that there’s a principled opposition to really dumb military interventions, runaway spending, and conservative-approved idiocies such as a border wall and trade protectionism, well, it’s not conservatives pushing it. And none of that is to deny one bit that drug policy, criminal justice reform, crypto-currencies, and forced transparency of government overreach are in any way about “selfishness.”

What does it say about the modern conservative movement that CPAC was so desperate to get Milo on its stage in the first place? Nothing good. He’s outrageous (not really “dangerous” in any meaningful sense of the word) and he is fully capable of bringing out the worst elements of the idiot-progressive left. But does he have anything to say when he’s actually allowed to speak? Derp, not really. Schlapp can say that ACU wants to teach the controversy and all that, but the fact of the matter is that as an intellectual force and a serious place for discussion about policy, CPAC has been more watered-down than the beer at Delta House for a very long time. It’s a good sign that someone with the last name Paul won five of the last seven presidential straw polls, but conservatives and Republicans have almost completely squandered their power and influence throughout the 21st century. When George W. Bush and the GOP ran the federal government, they busted the budget in a way that would embarrass drunken sailors the world over. When Obama was in power, they did virtually nothing to demand actual budgets or restrain executive power, and they’re still pretending that they are really…just…about…ready…to…reveal an alternative health-insurance plan. They nominated and elected Donald Trump for president and it’s surprising that CPAC invited/disinvited a flyweight trash talker to their big shindig? It’s almost as if they didn’t kick out the gays a couple of years ago or that Newt Gingrich doesn’t show up every year and talk about the need for flag-burning amendments and English-only laws.

It’s never easy for a movement founded on the cry of standing athwart history, yelling Stop to move forward, but this is simply ridiculous.

Here’s Matt Schlapp on Morning Joe:

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Identity Politics and Libertarianism – Being Libertarian

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 6:44 pm


Being Libertarian
Identity Politics and Libertarianism
Being Libertarian
Libertarianism has no place for identity politics; each person, despite his race, class, gender, or sexual orientation is seen to be an individual and is judged as such. This is why it can be difficult to find two libertarians who agree with one

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Alt-Right Leader Richard Spencer Crashed a Student Libertarian Conference and Was Shunned – Reason (blog)

Posted: at 6:44 pm

Jeff Malet Photography/NewscomOn Saturday, alt-right leader Richard Spencer crashed the 10th annual International Students for Liberty Conference at a hotel in Washington, D.C. After quarreling with conference attendees, he left the premises.

Spencer, a self-declared white nationalist who believes the U.S. is losing its white identity, had no business attending a gathering of libertarian students, and conference organizers had every right to eject him. Indeed, their decision to do so was a valid exercise of libertarian principles in action.

I attended the conference, along with several other Reason staffers. The Reason Foundation is a co-sponsor of ISFLC, and hosted several events during the conference. One of those events, a panel discussion about sex trafficking featuring Reason Associate Editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown and Director of Criminal Justice Reform Lauren Krisai, unfolded at roughly the same time as Spencer’s unsolicited visit. I was in the audience at that event, and did not cross paths with Spencer.

But it’s clear from video footage that Spencer set himself up in the bar of the hotelthe Marriott Wardman in Woodley Parkand attempted to host an unscheduled and unwanted conversation about his despicable views. To be absolutely clear: Spencer was not welcome at the hotel and had not been invited to participate in ISFLC.

“We did not invite Mr. Spencer,” said SFL CEO Wolf von Laer in a statement. “We reject his hateful message and we wholeheartedly oppose his obsolete ideology.”

Eventually, Jeffrey Tuckeran influential libertarian thinkerconfronted Spencer and made clear to the alt-right provocateur that he “did not belong” at ISFLC. Some shouting ensued, and hotel staff intervened. Shortly thereafter, Spencer left.

It’s not completely clear whether Spencer departed of his own accord: he seems to think he was forced to leave, while others say he asked security to see him out safely, even though he was in no danger. But it hardly matters: the Marriott Wardman hotel is private property, and should enjoy the absolute right to evict irksome and unwelcome guests from its premises.

Spencer has attempted to wring as much publicity from the incident as possiblehe tweeted about it no fewer than 40 times, by my count. In his mind, libertarians are “lolbertarians” who need to “accept the reality of race” and get serious about “white replacement.” To the extent that his only goal in life is to garner more attention for his fringe worldview, I suppose the stunt was a successhere I am writing about it. Congrats to you, guy who thinks “the United States is a European country.”

In any case, the incident should make abundantly clear that the alt-right’s racism is incompatible with the principles of a free society. Libertarianism is an individualist philosophy that considers all people deserving of equal rights. In contrast, Spencer is a tribalist and collectivist whose personal commitment to identity politics vastly exceeds the left’s.

Spencer is entitled to broadcast his vile opinions, and to make equal use of public resources. He should not be attacked on the street, or anywhere else. But no private actor is required to give him a platformotherwise, property rights would cease to matter.

ISFLC, an organization that works tirelessly to support the cause of liberty all over the worldnot just for white American college studentshandled the matter correctly, in my view.

Disclaimer: I am a friend of Students for Liberty, and won the organization’s 2016 Alumni of the Year Award.

See the article here:
Alt-Right Leader Richard Spencer Crashed a Student Libertarian Conference and Was Shunned – Reason (blog)

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