January 2008

I’ve defended them against my fellow paleos here, here and other places but I don’t feel inclined to do so anymore. I didn’t hate Reason, but I recognized they were more into “libertinism”/cosmopolitanism whether or not it had anything to do with the State, which Cato seemed rightly indifferent about. Reason also seemed more evenly split on the Iraq war and allowed proponents a lot of room to loudly voice their case, whereas Cato officially opposed it and didn’t air the views of their pro-war minority. Cato always seemed sensible and their flaws minor. That was before I came across this, which is hard to imagine from a libertarian. He actually analogizes the Congress restraining the Executive within the limits of the law (even conservatives are supposed to like “The Rule of Law”) to the government trying to regulate the market. That’s not just worthy of excommunication from libertarian circles, that puts a high bounty on your head, dead or alive. I first read about it in this item at the Mises blog from Stephan Kinsella. Following up there, Karen de Coster noted that Cato has also advised the government to spend $11 billion initially and $2.1 billion in annual costs to “outfit all 6,800 U.S. commercial [emphasis mine] aircraft with advanced laser-jamming infrared countermeasures against MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems]”. You’d think Cato would realize the threat was overblown and let the airlines (and the passengers that pay for it) decide whether the costs met the benefits. Tom DiLorenzo compared Cato’s Pilon to judge and Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano on this issue. Reason was apparently unaware of Pilon’s piece when they wrote this ironically recommending that paleos and cosmos forget the irrelevant past and join together on FISA. They went after Pilon later here, as did Cato’s Tim Lee here. Thoreau of Unqualified Offerings discusses it here, but refuses to turn his back on the Beltway Crowd (which I find understandable except in light of his attitude toward Ron Paul and the paleolibertarians). IOZ mocks Pilon (and Cato more generally) here, as would be expected. The Man has not yet mentioned it, but he did highlight this on the false dichotomy between our liberties and security, pointing out how useless most of what the feds do is. UPDATE: Julian Sanchez tears Pilon up here and points some other sins from Cato. Balko tries to defend Cato, but finds this unforgivable. I agree with him on what kind of dissent is proper for Cato to tolerate within its walls. (more…)

As an adherent of a fringe ideology (libertarians are a minority, paleolibertarians a sect among them and none others I know if is a Stirnerite to boot) I can be out of place in mainstream company. I often hang out on the fringes, both because we can share our disgust for the “Establishment” for our own pet reasons and I find them more interesting. Among those places recently was the Inverted World where I was sympatico with regard to Darwinism but not racialism or the Iraq war. There were some commenters who agreed with me on the last issue and Lawrence Auster dissented on the first, but I think I was the only one in the threads I commented in (except this one, I assume) who disagreed on the second. Being one of the Paultards or MoRons as we may be called, I took interest in the posts on Ron Paul (and why the site-owner cannot support him). Among the things objected to is granting Muslims (and non-Westerners more generally) the same moral status as Westerners so that civilian casualties on their part are not to be dismissed. A lot of other commenters attacked Islam and Muslims more generally. The last commenter (posting as “AK”) stood out more than I ever have at any blogs I recall in that he was a South Asian Muslim. Enthusiastic Paul supporters and people born abroad are not known for their elegant use of the English language on the internet and this person was not an exception although there wasn’t anything difficult to understand. He took racism and religious bigotry against him others like him in stride as a natural tendency of humanity whose expression should not be repressed and even accepted “blood guilt” for violence perpetrated by his ancestors in India (which is more than an individualist like myself would ever do). He expressed hope that all the different citizens of America can recognize common interests they have in better policies than politicians are giving us now (if only there was a political ideology based on that). I often interact with people who are difficult to converse with and while I do try (and had a number of links demonstrating as such in the comments to a GNXP post) to be polite enough to alleviate hostility and continue the conversation I am not always succesful, as was unknowingly the case recently (though whether I share that story with you remains to be seen). My hat is off to Mr. Abdul Kalam for his exemplary conduct in a hostile environment. (more…)

Razib pointed out this bloggingheads diavlog with Reza Aslan and Rod Dreher. As it went on, the former got more and more annoying (though I found him somewhat likable in previous diavlogs). (more…)

I still haven’t gotten around to actually reading Franz Oppenheimer’s “The State” in full, but I got annoyed with the online version here being broken up into multiple pages, so I turned it into one massive file. I’ve also discovered that the online version of Max Stirner’s “The Ego and Its Own”, which was once one page, has also been broken up. Fortunately, I had already saved it to my computer earlier. I am now hosting the former here, and the latter here.

As I’ve mentioned before, there was something I was supposed to write but couldn’t bring myself to get started working on. I tried to remove other distractions by prohibiting myself from writing any blog posts here until I began, but the only result was that I wasted time at other sites. Thanks to a malfunctioning server preventing me from fulfilling an entirely different obligation, a few hours ago I finally got around to it. I churned out more than I expected and by completely abandoning quality for quantity I might get it to the five-page limit by Wednesday, of which one or two may satisfy the original purpose of writing it. After that I should update much more regularly than I have this month.

In other good news, No Treason is back. As I said there:

Even though I’m a paleo that doesn’t believe in objective rights/morality, I’m still glad to see you back. Folks like Kinsella and DiLorenzo can really be dicks sometimes and I’m pleased you’re around to give ‘em hell.

The paleo vs cosmo/beltway/lifestyle/DC libertarian divide has gotten more attention than anyone would suspect thanks to the recent Ron Paul newsletter flapdoodle. I’ve been engaged in further doodle-flapping on the subject at Across Difficult Country, Distributed Republic, Will Wilkinson’s fly-bottle, EconLog, Mencius Moldbug’s Unqualified Reservations, FormerBeltwayWonk, IOZ, Brink Lindsey’s Age of Abundance, David Friedman’s Ideas, Kip Esquire’s Stich in Haste, and likely other sites. I happened to like Julian Sanchez and David Weigel’s piece on the paleolibertarian strategy, which apparently even Lew Rockwell no longer considers himself part of though I will still cling to the name. When Razib brought up Austrian Economics at Gene Expression I went off rambling about my journey through libertarianism. I was unable to post my comment about Justin Raimondo’s piece at TakiMag, so I do it here:

Wow. I didn’t expect anyone to actually defend the content of the newsletters, but Raimondo did. Give that antiwar.com has usually pushed the envelope more than lewrockwell.com which is turn does it more than mises.org I guess it shouldn’t have been too surprising. In context it is more defensible and there are some good hits scored against Kirchick.

I don’t think the Kochtopus is going after Paul. Many of them still seem to like him, they generally agree he probably didn’t actually write the newsletters and they are just reporting on a story that is highly relevant to their readers. People who decline to comment on something because it might be damaging to their favorite candidate cannot be taken seriously. I thought that the Weigel-Sanchez piece in Reason was quite fair, though that may make my opinion different from that of Sanchez himself.

I think most of this inter-libertarian rivalry is quite pointless. I’m a paleolibertarian and I identify more with the LvMI/LRC faction, but you guys need to grow up and try and act civilly with the Beltway crowd. Sanchez seems correct when he says it was mostly a fight going on at one side, with only Tom Palmer continually feuding in return. I’m glad you guys are around to point out when they slip up, but after that move on. There are too few libertarians to try and excommunicate folks who haven’t even violated any doctrines (I know there are some who supported the war, but even most Beltway libertarians opposed it).

Just to prove I’m not biased, I defended Barack Obama against similar guilt-by-racist-association charges at Steve Sailer’s blog and Volokh Conspiracy. You should, of course, disregard what I say and demand that Obama be raked over the coals.

I’ve been involved in a big dispute over Darwinism at Lawrence Auster’s site. The relevant posts are this one and this one. It spilled over to the anti-anti-semitism (yes, that’s two “anti”s) white nationalist blog The Inverted World in the post Auster’s Folly. At the same blog I argued against their support for the Iraq war here.

Hopefully Anonymous has still not updated, but the Hoover Hog has.

The title of this post was inspired by this, from Richard Dawkins. As long as I’m talking about atheism and libertarianism, Vox Day’s “The Irrational Atheist” is available for order and to hear the author himself hype it the sales are quite well. I might even buy it eventually, since it’s got John Derbyshire’s recommendation. I hope it outsells Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”, which is a book that deserved to be written but not by Jonah Goldberg. Will Wilkinson interviews Goldberg here and Vox Day does so here.

P.S Completely off topic, but apparently George Orwell died 58 years ago yesterday.

I’ve updated the previous post several times, so if you only read it when I first posted it, you might want to check it again.

Happy New Years to everybody. Around this time many people like creating lists of significant things that happened in the year we wave goodbye too, but the only one of them I find interesting enough to link to is Radley Balko’s Worst Prosecutor of the Year. Though not quite a list, a yearly tradition I enjoy very much is the Edge World Question. The question is “What have you changed your mind about? Why?“. I haven’t gotten very far into it, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t well worth my time and yours (UPDATE: Couldn’t resist linking to Thomas Metzinger’s: There are no moral facts).

Eliezer Yudkowsky, after irritating people in his previous posts with his fondness for Singularity/cryonics and antipathy for religion, decides to take on politics in the Two-Party Swindle, which is great for anybody but especially libertarians and anti-war types. One area I disagree with it is mentioned the topics; basically Caplan’s theory that the voters are getting what they asked for good and hard. Through my nefarious influence I got Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings to discuss it, and he quibbles with Eliezer over whether the analogy should be to professional athletes or college ones. I have written earlier about my views on the subject in the post Against Politics, which is why I decided to create a mirror of the site by that name (which I might put off fixing up for a while). In a somewhat relevant old post, Hopefully Anonymous (who still hasn’t updated his blog like he said) rails “against the concept of “both sides” as opposed to n-th possible sides“. mtraven is dismissive of that kind of talk, but wanders near that direction in Which side are you on?

In an unexpected event, IOZ sent me an e-mail saying he would add me to his blogroll. Aside from the unusualness of sending a message rather than just gettin’ ‘er done, I was surprised by the move as I am in some respects, and especially from his perspective, a Bad Person and might taint the blog, as I have on occasion his comments section.

I started reading the thing I was being somewhat vague about in the last post but got distracted, though I intend to finish it tonight and then begin writing. Will you readers get to see the results? I don’t know, you’ll just have to stay tuned!