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Category Archives: Libertarianism

The Libertarianism-to-Fascism Pipeline – National Review

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:34 am

In 2002, I got it into my head that I wanted to attend what was then described as the Old Latin Mass. I had been reading in the dingy corners of the Internet, which is always dangerous, and these Latin Mass people seemed able to explain some of the gap between the grand ideas I was studying in a medieval-theology class at my college and the worship at most Catholic parishes, which, to me, seemed little different from the Lutheran services Id seen as a teenager. One Sunday morning I got in my car, and life has never been the same.

For most of the people I met there, the Old Mass was the one quixotic cause to which they were attached. They knew that the local bishop didnt like this movement, and that it placed them outside the mainstream not only of their culture but of their own Church. But they believed.

The price for their conviction was that they had to put up with the others the people for whom the Latin Mass was just the first or the latest in a long line of disreputable fascinations and commitments. One of these folks told me that every bishop and cardinal and even the pope himself was homosexual. Another let on that she frequently wrote encouraging letters to certain Bourbon descendants. And honestly, it was the freaks and conspiracy theorists who seemed more kind and generous with their time, and who generally were less discriminating in everyday ways. They might be worried that Freemasons in the government were spying on them, but they really didnt notice bourgeois morality or care about what you did for a living.

Eventually, Pope Benedict made clear that the Latin Mass was a good thing and said the bishops shouldnt give us such a hard time. Since then, the ratio of normal people to kooks has changed dramatically in favor of normal people.

Which brings us to the strange liberty-to-fascism pipeline.

According to a theory Matt Lewis recently floated, libertarianism is some unique gateway drug to neo-Nazism. Lewis runs through a few white supremacists who have become notorious since Charlottesville and finds that some of them once self-identified as libertarians or have tried recruiting at libertarian events.

But its not just libertarianism. Jason Kessler, the lead organizer of the Charlottesville torch march, was formerly in Occupy Wall Street. And hes not the only Occupy veteran who found himself on the alt-ish side of the street. Online activist Justine Tunney went from Occupy to Gamergate to creating a petition for a CEO of America, fitting her new net-reactionary views.

Lewis comes across the most powerful explanation for the pipeline when professor Kevin Vallier tells him, Libertarianism is an unpopular view. And it takes particular personality types to be open to taking unpopular views. Indeed, marginal ideas attract marginal people. The experience of conversion itself can be intoxicating, and so often the first conversion is not the final one.

It also takes a particular sort of character to handle marginal ideas safely. People dont just think themselves into their ideas; they feel their way to them emotionally, and they are socialized into them. Adopting a big new idea can be like adopting a new wardrobe; it can signify and propel a change in persona.

Before the Latin Mass, I spent some time in Evangelical churches, and I count many Evangelicals as friends and spiritual peers. But after 15 years of socializing myself into my religious views, I think one of the chief barriers to my ever concluding that Martin Luther correctly interpreted St. Pauls letters is that I dont want to become a person who wears khakis and a broad smile when prefacing a difficult conversation with the words, The Lord put something on my heart.

Im sure theres someone who looks at my religious views and thinks, I dont want be the kind of person who talks about G. K. Chesterton to strangers and tells their kids to offer it up when they fall and scrape their knee. Theres no logical connection at work. You can have Luthers view of justification without being a typical American Evangelical. Martin Luther himself managed that trick. But the human machine isnt strictly logical. To believe something isnt just to accept the conclusion itself; its to accept yourself as the type of person who believes it.

Cranks therefore come to accept or even embrace their own crankishness. One marginal idea leads to the next even more marginal idea. And the mainstream they rejected isnt just wrong; its proponents become contemptible and corrupt. And contempt spreads easily: Normal people dont care about ideas, the cranks thinking goes, and endure the corruption around them in nearly silent docility. Its the normies that kooks really cant stand.

Like religion, politics attracts kooks and grifters because it is a field where results have a mysterious and hard-to-trace relationship with the time, effort, and cash invested in them. Grifters use this to create lucrative and low-effort consulting jobs. For kooks, the comfort is more psychological. If a kook can convince himself or better yet, others that Freemasons, Jews, or Cultural Marxists run the whole world, hes suddenly relieved of the burden of explaining to himself and others the shipwreck of his own talents and ambitions.

And speaking of grifters, if kooks start digging into the crack in their minds and sometimes end up with a cracked will, grifters start with a cracked will and usually end up with an empty mind. Anything like a conviction could get in the way of the money-making.

If libertarians have a pipeline for kooks, it is probably because they have some non-mainstream views. But if you have perfectly acceptable views, you probably have a pipeline for grifters. Conservatives have a mix of mainstream views and non-mainstream views. Consequently we are always fending off kooks on one side while being preyed upon by grifters on the other.

If libertarians have to account for Christopher Cantwell, Richard Spencer, and a hundred other kooks, perhaps the respectable types need to explain the long parade of money-grubbing nullities marching through political media and political power. All the way from Dick Morris and Morris Dees to Tom Daschle, Trent Lott, and the functionaries at the Clinton Foundation. What pipeline produces these, and who is willing to clean it up?

READ MORE: Campus Conservatives Gave the Alt-Right a Platform The Kids Are Alt Right: The Internets Most Infamous Subculture The Alt-Right Is Bad And So Is Antifa

Michael Brendan Dougherty is a senior writer at National Review.

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The Libertarianism-to-Fascism Pipeline – National Review

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Does libertarianism have an alt-right problem? – Washington Post

Posted: at 3:34 am

Writing in the Daily Beast, Matt Lewis suggestsa disproportionate number of alt-right leaders claim to be former libertarians. Exploring why this might be, he identifies several possibilities, and in the process gives libertarians some things to think about.

Among other things, Lewis notes that the Ron Paul campaign and movement was heavily influenced by paleo-libertarian types, such as Lew Rockwell, who have long been critical of immigration and multi-culturalism. Its worth remembering that Rockwells circle eagerly embraced Pat Buchanans first presidential run in 1992 and stayed the course even after Buchanan turned away from antiwar and anti-government themes and began stressing cultural issues. For some self-described libertarians, Buchanans embrace of the culture war was a feature, not a bug, for (in their view) one problem with big government is that it tends to help the wrong people.

Lewis also considers whether some folks who are predisposed to find libertarianism attractive are also predisposed to be seduced by the alt-right. For such folks libertarianism may lose its appeal when they discover the alt-right offers an angrier or more outrageousideology to embrace.

One factor Id add (and that weve discussed on Volokh before) is the misplaced affinity for the Confederacy among some libertarians. War tends to increase the growth of government, and some libertarians note that the federal government grew during the Civil War. This leads some to the (terribly mistaken) conclusion that the Confederacy was somehow the more libertarian side in that conflict. This idea is reinforced by revisionist historical accounts that try to claim the war was really over tariffs (a claim which used to be taught in some high schooltextbooks, especially in the South), or that President Abraham Lincoln had a particularly monstrous record on civil liberties. Neither claim is true. The South explicitly seceded over slavery, and however bad Lincolns civil liberties records was, the Souths was far worse (and was worse even when one tries to discount slavery). [For more on the problem of misplaced Confederate sympathies among libertarians, I recommend this 2013 BHL post by Jacob Levy.]

Lewis closes by suggesting that libertarians (and conservatives) become more vigilant about associations with white supremacists. Hes right. I would also suggest that conservatives and libertarians rethink their embrace of controversialists, particularly on college campuses, as this feeds the alt-right beast. Libertarianism may not be responsible for the alt-right, but its fair to ask whether enough libertarians have done enough to fight it within their own ranks.

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Does libertarianism have an alt-right problem? – Washington Post

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Now the Libertarians have known sin: Reckoning with the rise of the alt-right – Salon

Posted: at 3:34 am

Last December as the smoke was clearing from the electoral explosion and many of us were still shell-shocked and wandering around blindly searching for emotional shelter, Salons Matthew Sheffieldwrote a series of articlesabout the rise of the alt-right. The movement had been discussed during the campaign, of course. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton even gave a big speech about it. Trumps campaign strategist and chiefconsigliere, Steve Bannon the once and future executive editor of Breitbart News had even bragged that his operation was the platform of the alt-right just a few months earlier. But after the election there was more interest than ever in this emerging political movement.

Its an interesting story about a group of non-interventionist right-wingers, who came together in the middle of the last decade in search of solidarity in their antipathy toward the Bush administrations wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a motley group of conservatives, white nationalists and Libertarians that broke apart almost as soon as they came together. The more clever among them saw the potential for this new brand and began to market themselves as the alt-right, and it eventually morphed into what it is today. The series is a good read and explains that the alt-right really was a discrete new movement within the far right wing and not simply a clever renaming of racist and Nazi groups.

This week, conservative writer Matt Lewis of The Daily Beast, a Trump critic,wrote a pieceabout the Libertarian influence on the alt-right and suggested that Libertarians work harder to distance themselves from this now-infamous movement. He points out that former Rep. Ron Pauls presidential campaigns were a nexus of what became alt-right activism. Sheffield had written about that too:

Pretty much all of the top personalities at the Right Stuff, a neo-Nazi troll mecca, started off as conventional libertarians and Paul supporters, according to the sites creator, an anonymous man who goes by the name Mike Enoch.

We were all libertarians back in the day. I mean, everybody knows this,he said on an alt-right podcast last month. [Note: This podcast seems to have been deleted.]

It wasnt just obscure neo-Nazi trolls. Virtually all the prominent figures in or around the alt-right movement, excepting sympathizers and fellow travelers like Bannon and Donald Trump himself, were Paul supporters:Richard Spencer,Paul Gottfried, Jared Taylor,Milo Yiannopoulosand Alex Jones. (The latter two deny being part of the alt-right, but have unquestionably contributed to its rise in prominence.) Pauls online support formed the basis for what would become the online alt-right, the beating heart of the new movement.

In fact, Ron Paul then a Texas congressman and the father of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the original alt-right candidate, long before Donald Trump came along. Paul was also, by far, the most popular Libertarian in America.

Those of us observing the Paul phenomenon and Libertarianism from the left always found it curious in this regard. Pauls racism was simply undeniable.It was documented for decades. He hid behind the states rights argument, as pro-Confederate racists have always done, but it was never very convincing. If you are a principled Libertarian who believes in small government and inalienable individual rights, what difference does it make whether a federal or state government is the instrument of oppression?

Most of us thought a lot of Pauls appeal, especially to young white males, came down to a loathing for the uptight religious conservatism of the GOP, along with Pauls endorsement of drug legalization. That made some sense. Why would all these young dudes care about the capital gains tax?

And lets face facts, it wasnt just Libertarians who could be dazzled by Pauls iconoclasm.There were plenty of progressives drawn to his isolationist stance as well.But as it turns out, among that group of Atlas Shrugged fans and stoners were a whole lot of white supremacists, all of whom abandoned Ron Pauls son Rand in 2016 when Donald Trump came along and spoke directly to their hearts and minds.

Is there something about Libertarianism that attracts white supremacists? It seems unlikely, except to the extent that it was a handy way to argue against federal civil rights laws, something that both Paulpreandfilsendorsed during their careers, legitimizing that point of view as a Libertarian principle. (In fairness, Rand Paul has tried to pursue more progressive racial policies in recent years which may also have helped drive away his dads supporters.) Other than that, though, it seems to me that Libertarianism has simply been a way station for young and angry white males as they awaited theirGod Emperor, as they call Trump on the wildly popular alt-right site, r/The_Donald.

Still, Libertarians do have something to answer for. While principled Libertarianslike Cathy Youngcertainly condemned the racism in their ranks at the time, but others who supported Ron Paul failed to properly condemn the rank bigotry undergirding the Paul philosophy.

Lewiss Daily Beast piece certainly provoked some reaction among Libertarians. Nick Gillespie at Reasonobjectedto the characterization of Libertarianism as a pipeline to the alt-right, writing that the alt-right and Trumpism, too, to the extent that it has any coherence is an explicit rejection of foundational libertarian beliefs in free trade and free migration along with experiments in living that make a mess of rigid categories that appeal to racists, sexists, protectionists, and other reactionaries. So he rejects calls to purge Libertarianism of alt-righters, since he believes they were never really Libertarians in the first place.

Gillespie does, however, agree that Libertarian true believers should call out such people wherever we find them espousing their anti-modern, tribalistic, anti-individualistic, and anti-freedom agenda. (It would have been easy to include racist in that list but, being generous, perhaps he meant it to fall under the term tribalistic.)

Meanwhile, over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler addresses some Libertariansmisplaced affinity for the Confederacy,a phenomenon I must admit I didnt know existed. Evidently,there really are Libertarianswho take the side of the secessionists, supposedly on the basis of tariffs and Abraham Lincolns allegedly monstrous record on civil liberties. Adler patiently explains why this is all nonsense and wrote, Libertarianism may not be responsible for the alt-right, but its fair to ask whether enough libertarians have done enough to fight it within their own ranks.

Good for these prominent Libertarians for being willing to confront the currents of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia that at the very least have contaminated their movement. We await the same honest self-appraisal from the conservative movement and Republican leaders as a whole.

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Now the Libertarians have known sin: Reckoning with the rise of the alt-right – Salon

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How The Libertarian Party’s Partisan Politics Hurts Libertarianism – The Liberty Conservative

Posted: at 3:34 am

If you speak to any political activist operating outside of the two-party mainstream, a common point mentioned is how party politics compromises principles. Republicans often sacrifice conservative principles to advance the party elite. Although individuals such as House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are considered leaders in the Republican Party, conservative activists generally do not consider them standard bearers of their cause. Case in point is the failure to legitimately repeal Obamacare.

The same is said for many liberals and progressives in terms of the Democratic Party. Instead of nominating someone more devout to their cause such as Senator Bernie Sanders, the party elite opted for Hillary Clinton, a mistake possibly responsible for Trumps unexpected presidency. The Democratic Party seems more concerned with the party elite than advancing their principles.

So why would the Libertarian Party be any different?

Libertarian National Committee chairman Nicholas Sarwark has an active presence online, targeting individuals who stand at odds with his party. This is not unusual, as across the country, Republicans figuratively snipe at Democrats and vice versa. Even on that rare occasion there is common ground among both sides, partisanship always reigns supreme. It is a fact of life in todays political climate.

But with the last election, the Libertarian Party sought to brand itself as the sane alternate to the madness of the two-party duopoly. The problem is that the partys own chairman contradicts this own line of logic.

Sarwark has criticized libertarian icon, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul as well as his libertarian-leaning son Senator Rand Paul. More recently, he has taken aim at historian Tom Woods. The recurring theme is Sarwarks love for hurling insults at non-Libertarians, even the ones that are simply unenrolled libertarians.

Is this healthy for the cause of liberty?

The liberty movement had a very brief moment of unity in 2012 when Ron Paul ran for President, but after that, the movement splintered almost immediately. Libertarians want success for the Libertarian Party, but many Paul-aligned activists remain within the Republican Party. In a number of ways, libertarianism has fallen victim to a tug-o-war between political parties.

So where does this leave Sarwark?

The question ultimately lies where his loyalties are and to a degree, what the aim of the Libertarian Party is.

Is the Libertarian Party in existence to advance its own brand, or does it exist to advance libertarian principles? More importantly, do these goals align?

If the answer to the latter question is yes, then the Libertarian Party would support causes that advance libertarian principles. Nobody is arguing that the Ron, Rand, or Woods are perfect. With that being said, it is undeniable that these individuals have made a significant contribution to liberty. Given Sarwarks attacks, its then easy to assume that advancing the Libertarian Party and the cause of liberty are not parallel causes.

So where does that leave the Libertarian Party?

Ultimately, the Libertarian Party is a lot like the Republican Party. Candidates, activists and scattered leaders may genuinely identify with the principled cause, but the party structure works contrary to it. Political parties work contrary to principles, whether it be Republicans with conservatism or Libertarians with libertarianism.

When Sarwark attacks prominent libertarian figures simply because they dont identify with individuals such as Gary Johnson or Bill Weld, he is setting back the cause of liberty in favor of pushing his brand. This may be his job as a party chairman, but lets not operate under the assumption that he is working towards the goal of advancing liberty.

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How The Libertarian Party’s Partisan Politics Hurts Libertarianism – The Liberty Conservative

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Libertarians wrestle with the alt-right | News | – McDowell News

Posted: at 3:34 am

Libertarians wrestle with the alt-right

Christopher Cantwell, the self-described anti-Semite and alt-right activist who starred in a viral Vice News documentary about the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, is now facing three charges based on his conduct.

Unlike some of the other marchers, Cantwell was no stranger to confrontations with authority. In New Hampshire, his sudden fame startled libertarians who had known Cantwell as a busy, talkative but increasingly extreme anti-government activist. In 2012, he arrived in the state as a vocal support of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, and as a critic of the police – a hot issue in Keene, a college town in western New Hampshire with a robust libertarian population. At some point in the Obama years, he had changed.

“Until the last year or two of his life, he’d been a libertarian activist with no known racist streak,” wrote Ian Freeman, a radio host and commentator in the “Free Keene” movement, in a post last week. “A couple of years ago, he began down this road to his current skinhead-racist form and once that happened, we had to dump him as a co-host of my radio show, Free Talk Live. As libertarians, we believe in the individual and don’t see people as groups based on color, gender, or religion. Chris now only sees the group rather than the individual. He’s one of the few people who has turned away from the libertarian message after having embraced it.”

But in Cantwell’s own words, he had come to racism and anti-Semitism through libertarianism – not by abandoning it. Cantwell’s story is one of several that have made libertarians ask fresh questions about the turns that their movement took in the Obama years, as Paul’s two Republican bids for president consolidated everyone from anti-government “voluntaryists” to racist conspiracy theorists into one roiling campaign.

“I’ve been concerned about some libertarians trending alt-right, because these hard alt-right proto-fascists and neo-Nazis have been trolling libertarians for years,” said the libertarian writer Jeffrey Tucker, who has written extensively about the racist threat to the movement. “They’re doing to libertarianism what they did to Pepe the frog, or Taylor Swift – to co-opt it. They know that no normal American is going to rally around the Nazi flag, so they’re taking ours.”

But as Cantwell himself pointed out, a debate about racism – and racism’s political utility – had been taking place among libertarians for decades. Ron Paul first ran for president in 1988, drawing media attention but bringing his Libertarian Party less than 1 percent of the vote. In the wake of that defeat, the libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard argued that the movement needed to take a page from the campaigns of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Libertarians, stuck in a losing effort to win “yuppies,” needed to realize the potency of an appeal to white working-class voters, one that explained how shrinking the state would mean fewer benefits devolved to people not like them.

“The proper strategy of libertarians and paleos is a strategy of ‘right-wing populism,’ that is: to expose and denounce this unholy alliance, and to call for getting this preppie underclass-liberal media alliance off the backs of the rest of us: the middle and working classes,” Rothbard wrote.

In an essay published at his personal website last week, Cantwell cited Rothbard as one of the thinkers who had moved him from generic anti-state activism, toward racism.

“What I realized in the course of my inquiries, is that the people everyone called racists weren’t claiming that race was a reliable way of judging individuals. They were only observing demographic trends, and hate was not the focus of their efforts. They were trying to reduce the amount of conflict and violence in their society, and they figured out that discrimination based on ethnic categories was an efficient method of accomplishing this goal.

“That seemed to coincide well with my libertarianism. Libertarians also want to reduce conflict over scarce resources. In libertarian philosophy, nobody ought to be compelled to associate with anyone else. People should be free to exercise complete control over their own person and property. If blacks are committing crimes, or Jews are spreading communism, discriminating against them is the right of any property owner.”

Mainstream libertarians were worried about the spread of ideas like that. Paul’s campaigns, which some cosmopolitan libertarians viewed skeptically, took their philosophy to new heights of political support. It also, indisputably, won the support of some white supremacists. In 2007, as Paul was rising in polls for what had been a quixotic presidential bid, he appeared as a guest speaker for the Robert Taft Club, led by Richard Spencer – the same Richard Spencer who, after the 2008 election, coined the term “alt-right.”

This year, when Spencer was invited to talk to some attendees of the International Students for Liberty conference, Jeffrey Tucker confronted him in an exchange filmed from several angles and shared by alt-right activists who thought that Spencer got the better of it. “I used to read your articles,” Spencer said, mockingly, while Tucker accused him of trying to troll the conference.

The confrontation had been a long time coming. In 2014, Tucker had written an essay against what he called “libertarian brutalism,” defining it as an anti-liberal tendency that grew out of a perversion of libertarian principles.

“The brutalists are technically correct that liberty also protects the right to be a complete jerk and the right to hate, but such impulses do not flow from the long history of the liberal idea,” he wrote. “As regards race and sex, for example, the liberation of women and minority populations from arbitrary rule has been a great achievement of this tradition. To continue to assert the right to turn back the clock in your private and commercial life gives an impression of the ideology that is uprooted from this history, as if these victories for human dignity have nothing whatever to do with the ideological needs of today.”

One of Tucker’s critics, at the time, was Christopher Cantwell. “What we ‘brutalists’ are saying is, egalitarianism is not the means or end of libertarianism, and saying otherwise in hopes of attracting Democrats into our ranks is illusory,” he wrote. “When you repeat statist race propaganda, do you grow our ranks? No. You simply distract from the point that race is irrelevant.”

Three years later, having substantially changed his views on race, Cantwell would turn himself in to police after bragging about his actions at a rally organized by racists.

One person was killed and 19 were injured amid protests of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. Here’s how the city became the scene of violence. (Video: Elyse Samuels, Zoeann Murphy/Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post)

Washington Post News Service (DC)

8/24/2017 6:35:21 PM Central Daylight Time

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Libertarians wrestle with the alt-right | News | – McDowell News

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The Insidious Libertarian-to-Alt-Right Pipeline – Daily Beast

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Libertarianism has an alt-right problem. Many prominent leaders of the alt-right have, at some point, identified as libertarian. I am curious as to why?

Milo Yiannopoulos has billed himself (and has been billed by others) as libertarian. About a year ago, he came clean about that. According to Business Insider, the alt-right troll Tim Gionet (aka Baked Alaska) formerly identified as a carefree, easygoing libertarian who supported Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s bid for the White House, firmly opposed the war on drugs, and championed the cause of Black Lives Matter

Gavin McInnes bills himself as a libertarian, but he founded the Proud Boysa mens rights group that is considered part of the alt-right. Augustus Invictus, a Florida attorney who literally drank goats blood as part of an animal sacrifice, ran for senate in the 2016 Libertarian Party primary and spoke at Liberty Fest. Recently popular among college libertarians, Stefan Molyneux evolved into a pro-Trump alt-righter. And Richard Spencer was thrown out of the International Students for Liberty conference this year after crashing the event.

It is also true that many of todays alt-righters are disaffected conservatives. However, there are many more conservatives in this country than there are libertarians, which suggests a disproportionate number of todays prominent alt-righters began as libertarians.

Its ironic that some of these people start off calling themselves libertarian, but they are the antithesis of everything that the libertarian project stands forwhich is cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, individualism vs. group identity, and libertarianism or autonomy versus authoritarianism, Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of tells me.

Granted, there are a few similarities between the two groups. For example, paleoconservatives (think populist nationalists like Pat Buchanan) and libertarians both tend to be anti-interventionist in foreign policy. But there are also multiple contradictions Jeffrey A. Tucker, content director for the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), lists five differences between the alt-right and libertarians). And yet, it seems observably true that libertarianism is disproportionately a gateway drug to the alt-right. Again, the question is why?

Some would explain this away as normal. People change ideologies all the time, David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute, told me in an interview. Some libertarians become conservatives, some become welfarist liberals, a few drift into creepy extremes. Jason Kessler apparently was in Occupy Wall Street before he became an alt-right leader. The original neocons were leftists first. Hillary was a Goldwater Girl.

Speaking of Barry Goldwater, its also true that a principled libertarian like him might end up on the wrong side of civil rights issues simply because he fears the expansion of central government and prioritizes the freedom of business owners over the right of individuals to be served at a lunch counter. This conundrum has proven to be a vexing enough problem for libertarians to overcome. However, it does not fully explain the link between libertarianism and todays alt-right.

Like any emerging ideology, the alt-right didnt just materialize out of nowhere. There were forerunners crying in the wilderness who were generally viewed as harmless kooks. The paleo-libertarian seed that Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, and Lew Rockwell planted in the 1990s has come to bear some really ugly fruit in the last couple of years as elements of the alt-right have made appearances in various libertarian organizations and venues, writes Steve Horwitz, an economist who writes at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

The Ron Paul Revolution might not have amounted to much electorally, but it would be wrong to underestimate the impact he has had on libertarianism and the alt-right. In a way, Ron Paul is the guy who lit the fuse, Nick Gillespie says. And he embodies some of those contradictions [between libertarianism and the alt-right]. Gillespie tells me that Richard Spencer came up to him at the Republican National Convention in 2016 and said that he was activated into politics because of Paul. Gillespie sees Pauls legacy as very mixed, as someone who was simultaneously positing this very libertarian worldview, but then hes also speaking to peoples fears and anxieties. If one were looking for the missing link to explain this phenomenon, Ron Paul (and his paleo-libertarian allies) would be a good place to start.

Still, my guess is that this has as much to do with attitude as it has to do with ideology. One explanation for why young libertarians metastasize into alt-righters is self-selection bias. Some of the people drawn to libertarianism are predisposed to be seduced into the alt-right. In this regard, they are merely passing through a libertarian phase. Libertarianism is an unpopular view. And it takes particular personality typesto be open to taking unpopular views, explains Kevin Vallier, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, who writes for the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians. Someof these personality types are people who are open to new experience, love the world of ideas and have a disposition for independent thought. However, some of these personality types simplyenjoy holding outrageous and provocative views, who like to argue and fight with others, who like insult and shock. Vallier continued, The worst flaw in the contrarian trap is that it makes libertarians open to views thatdeserveto be unpopular and despised, including the thinly-veiled racism of the sort Hans Hermann Hoppe trades in from time to time. (Note: Some see Hoppes support of what he calls a pro-European immigration bias as an example of thinly-veiled racism.)

As a political philosophy, libertarianism is somewhat unique in its unflinching support of free speech. In some cases, this free speech is unsavory. If youre anti-political correctness, libertarianism might seem like a good place to landeven if you dont buy into the whole libertarian philosophy. This affinity for libertarianism wears off when they realize that were principled, that no, were not just trolling, says Gillespie.

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David Boaz provided yet another explanation. Some people may become libertarians because theyre angry, Boaz says. For awhile, its enough to be angry at the government. But ultimately libertarianism is about peaceful cooperationmarkets, civil society, global trade, peaceso it just isnt angry enough for some people. Racial intolerance is a way to be angry at the whole world. And I think you hear that in some of the alt-right types.

The most recent example of this transformation is Christopher Cantwell, who has garnered 15 minutes of infamy by virtue of appearing in that viral Vice documentary about Charlottesville.

On a post-Charlottesville blog post, Cantwell discussed his conversion from libertarianism to the alt-right. As immigration became a leading news story in America and Europe, he writes, Lew Rockwell gave a talk titled Open Borders Are an Assault on Private Property. From here, I decided to readHans Hermann Hoppes Democracy: The God That Failed. From these, I realized that the libertine vision of a free society was quite distorted. The society we sought actually would provide far more order and control than [would] modern democratic governments. It would encourage more socially conservative behavior and less compulsory association. Just when I thought I had everything figured out, I was once again reminded of my naivety.

Cantwell continues, People should be free to exercise complete control over their own person and property. If blacks are committing crimes, or Jews are spreading communism, discriminating against them is the right of any property owner. The fact that he may or may not miss out on good blacks or Jews is a risk he takes, and the merit of his decisions will be proven out by the market. Since a libertarian society would permit this, it seemed foolish that I should be compelled to support a democratic government policy which did not. It was only after all this that Donald Trump seemed worth taking seriously.

A friend of mine who is libertarian suggests that other libertarians never liked Cantwell, and that he was simply using libertarianism as a shield for expressing a lot of disturbing viewpoints. Despite the negative stereotypes, casting yourself as libertarian still has some cache. Celebrities like Bill Maher and Vince Vaughn have identified with the labelwhich seems to be a way of expressing some conservative viewpoints while still supporting the decriminalization of marijuana and distancing yourself from social conservatism. Libertarians wont continue to enjoy this status if the alt-right is allowed to tarnish their philosophy, too.

Over at HotAir, Taylor Millard says that conservatives and libertarians need to purge white supremacists. If they are smart, they will follow his advice.

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The Insidious Libertarian-to-Alt-Right Pipeline – Daily Beast

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The conservative and libertarian movements need to purge white supremacists leaders, ideology – Hot Air

Posted: at 11:27 pm

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about the Republican Party foolishly purging supporters they should be willing to embrace. The focus was mostly on small-c conservatives and small-l libertarians who were a thorn in the side of either congressional leadership, gay, or grassroots activists. These are people who probably have long hair, dyed hair, tattoos, piercings and probably listen to punk rock, metal, rap, or Top 40 more than whats considered your typical Republican fare of country or patriotic tunes. They also make up a larger part of the movement, and could help the party win more elections down the road, fight back against the leviathan of government (federal, state, and local), and educate a new generation of voters on why safe spaces, political correctness, and increased government spending are rotten ideas. They wont always agree with the typical GOP platform, but if theyre fans of freedom and liberty, it beats being fans of authoritarianism, right?

Whats interesting is that the people who railed against reaching out to this version of conservatives and libertarians the most are the ones who are now in the news the most: the alt-Right and white supremacists. This group of angry white boys, to steal a line from Kevin D. Williamson, yowled that they were the ones who needed to be brought in because they were being forgotten. Donald Trump certainly acquiesced to them, bringing in Stephen Bannon while also embarking on populist rhetoric not heard since Andrew Jackson. Trump is now in the White House and white nationalists feel their voices have been heard and its time to take the power back, as Rage Against the Machines Zack de la Rocha might howl. It doesnt matter if Trumps victory may have been chiefly due to how awful a candidate Hillary Clinton was, with her campaign ignoring states like Michigan, which swung towards Trump. The white mob is ready to use their newfound anger to drive out freedom lovers and cuckservatives with their tiki torches, polo shirts, and Adolf Hitler quoting tees.

Its time to flip the script and purge these racist, fascist Neanderthals from the conservative and libertarian movement, once and for all.

There are going to be people who read this and rightly say, But this is a small group, who arent really conservative/libertarian, so I shouldnt care at all about them. The problem is these Richard Spencers and Peter Brimelows got their start in the movement, under the guise of paleoconservatism, while others are part of the Hans-Hermann Hoppe bloc of libertarianism. They are the wolves in sheep clothing looking to draw more and more people into their pack while ripping away at the foundation of freedom and liberty at the same time.

These backwards-thinking white nationalists and the commentators who cater to them need to be rejected, not just because of their policies but the fact that they give certain politicians and media outlets the chance to paint a broad brush across actual conservatives and libertarians. For every Justin Amash or Mike Lee, there is a neoconfederate-backed Corey Stewart. For every Ludwig von Mises or Thomas Sowell or Matt Kibbe, who preach the importance of liberty and limited government open to all, there is a Paul Gottfried or Pat Buchanan or Chris Cantwell, who charge after the windmill of multiculturalism while moralizing about the strong state like a preacher spitting out epithets on hellfire and brimstone. These grifters of American values are indeed the minority, but ones who will not stop trying to sneak in with the crowd inside the big tent.

Why do white nationalists, fascists, and their fellow travelers try to get into the conservative and libertarian circles? Because they believe the left is already filled up! The nationalists believe the same as the socialists in the power of the all encompassing state but are uninterested in a war until it suits their purposes, or at least goes after a target they hold sacred.

They have long sought to infiltrate those groups who believe in smaller, weaker government with racial and quite loony beliefs. William F. Buckley recounted his fight against John Birch Society founder Robert Welch in Commentary, describing a 1964 clandestine meeting between he, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, Russell Kirk, and American Enterprise Institute founder William Baroody. The quartet decided to attack Welch in various different ways, to keep him from gaining further strength within the movement. Libertarians were quick to expunge Merwin Hart for anti-Semitism, thanks to the work of Foundation for Economic Education creator Leonard Read. The guardians of the gate were quick to make sure no white supremacists sneaked in, regardless of whatever Trojan horse they tried to hide inside.

Yet the conservative and libertarian movement of the last decade has passively accepted these insufferables, as long as they give lip service to limited government or key social conservative viewpoints like abortion and gay marriage. The white supremacists saw their chance during the heyday of the Tea Party and strolled back into the movement like Professor Harold Hill did in River City, Iowa in The Music Man. But unlike Hill, who found redemption through Marian the Librarian, these mountebanks are more in line with The Wizard of Oz, using tricks and sly words to get into power, and rule with an iron fist.

For whatever reason, the thinkers and organizers saw no reason to drive these individuals out as their ancestral leaders saw fit to do. One Latina libertarian friend of mine recounted being told, No apologies! by a Republican state office candidate after someone at a conference told her to return to Mexico. Her horrific crime which deserved a scarlet letter, much like Hester Prynne? Explaining why its important to be compassionate, yet not compromise principles! Tea Party organizers also decided to expand their vision from a critique on government spending, and freedom for all, into other topics, to increase their own numbers and draw more in. The intellectuals also failed in their mission. Richard Spencer was accepted by Duke Conservative Union and The American Conservative, while libertarians let Augustus Sol Invictus speak at New York Libertyfest last year. Cantwell was on Tom Woods show in 2014, while Cathy Reisenwitz wrote too many libertarians decided to just ignore Cantwell, instead of denouncing him. It is certainly honorable to be open to all, but whenever totalitarians see an opening, theyll present themselves as an ally before usurping like Napoleon did the Council of Five Hundred. Organizers and thinkers need to be good shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks to make sure no sheep go astray into danger or destruction. It also denies the fascists the chance to gain power.

The key way of rejecting these fakers isnt through violence or the government because that allows the wolves to play the victim card and whine into their keyboards how life isnt fair. They can also coerce more people into their ranks, by tossing sympathy around like a business card and pretending to be martyrs. The strategy of shutting up the opposition through laws and violence also is completely anathema to the tenets of liberty and freedom of association, press, and speech. People have the right to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of how hare-brained and cockamamie it might be. The idea of a nation just for white, black, or brown people is rather absurd within itself, even if those who want to put race on top believe it will lead to utopia.

It should be society who tells these con artists to go away, much like they did when the KKK attempted to stay relevant after most of America left them behind. As my friend, Jason Pye, wrote at Townhall, his mother raised him to respect everyone and treat them how I wanted to be treated. It was society who deemed the Klan inconsequential and treated their attempts into the public eye with scorn and derision, until their sideshows became as unpopular as MySpace: still around, but hardly worth mentioning unless one is remembering what not to do. There is nothing wrong with peacefully removing racist thought leaders from conventions, much like the libertarians did to Spencer at ISFLC in February, but the power of the state should not be used.

As for those who complain about the lefts violence, to them I say, grow up! These people are doing their best imitation of a toddler pointing fingers at another child howling they did it first! while the adults stare at both with cocked eyebrow and disappointed gaze. There is violence on the left, make no mistake, but it behooves those in the freedom and liberty movement to decry and condemn violence as a whole, no matter who does it. The good news is that there are more adults than toddlers in the world and most of them have already denounced what happened in Virginia, along with other actions by the so-called alt-Right. The adults who are lagging behind need to ponder long and hard whether the left should remove its eye plank, before the right does.

To those who believe violence is the way to wipe out white supremacy, I would say, no because violence puts innocents in the middle. It damages those who have no interest in being involved in a particular fight, and who simply want to live their lives in peace. To those who say the government is the answer to snuffing out white supremacy, I say, no. The heavy hand of government has no business in wiping away an ideology no matter how horrific it might be.

It falls on society to rid the world of hatred. Its also up to intellectual and community leaders, along with politicians, to make sure these small-minded wannabe Jabroni try-hard nationalists are rejected and marginalized, and their philosophy tossed onto the dung heap of history.

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Marxism, Nazism and a Potentially Radical Theory for Libertarianism – Being Libertarian

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The Poles have the historical appearance to have been oppressed by both the Nazis and the Commies/Marxists. Countries in Eastern Europe who went through being occupied by Nazis and Marxists often speak out loudly about their dangers. Yet, out here in the West, it seems our people are willing to only hear half of it, as the Marxists are spreading like wildfire.

Socialism, National Socialism (Nazism for those who somehow dont know this), Communism and any other variation of Marixsm, as well as any racial supremacist groups, including the KKK, have no place in the United States. You have the right to your beliefs but you do not have the right to enforce those beliefs on the people via policy and/or law, and this has to be the libertarian position. These political beliefs violate the non-aggression principle, and the overall rights of the individual. If we were to allow any socialist policies to go forth, including such things as universal healthcare or free college/university we would be failing (I hate to sound like a collectivist) the people of the United States. Through these types of policies, we, the people, would essentially be financially responsible for the lifestyles and educational choices of the rest of the country through taxation, which brings me to my next point.

The general libertarian view on taxation is that it is coercion. The state is essentially stealing our money through threat of force; this means that the state itself is in violation of the NAP. Would we, in turn, suggest that the state itself be dissolved? Many say yes, yet this enters the realm of anarchism, and less of libertarianism. Libertarianism, as I know it, isnt for the complete dissolution of government but for the reduction of government. But how can a government exist without money? Weve already answered this in thousands upon thousands of conversations: through donation and charity.

The government works today as a middle man: it takes our money and funnels it into things such as infrastructure and welfare. It does so via coercion through threat of force and while we know that these services can be provided solely through the market, we must think of those who arent capable of a self-sustainable life: seniors, the mentally and physically disabled, and in some cases, children whose parents are unable to provide resources needed to live.

What we need is tax reform and we already know the solution (in fact, we rant about it all the time): volunteerism. Make it so that taxation is a voluntary system and that we, the people, get to decide where our money gets to go to. If you want to donate $2,000 to the welfare of the mentally ill than thats where the money will go. If you want to donate $10 to fill a pot hole, have at it. In short, the government is supposed to work for the people, but through threatening us in order to provide us services, it is doing more harm than good. Without the threat of jail time or even a forced quota system, government could be, at its essence, a charitable organization. Isnt that what the government is supposed to be anyways, for the people and by the people?

This being such a radical idea, and already with so many holes in it for a large country to implement suddenly, I would suggest if we want to make any progress towards a truly free and liberty focused society we find a way to test a system such as this. It could be proposed and put up for a vote in a small town somewhere and tried out for a set period of time. Probably the best two things about this theory is that it is doesnt violate the NAP in any way and that it is a volunteer based system.

In a time of radicals on every side of the aisle and high tensions, I cant think of a better time to try to actually test out this theory and bring the country back to sanity. Benjamin Franklin supposedly said, Im an extreme moderate. I believe anybody not in favor of moderation and compromise ought to be castrated. It is best that the only radicals in society be those who promote individualism and liberty instead of those who promote collectivism and obedience.

* Jarod Goodwin is an archaeology student in his mid-twenties. Hes worked in the grassroots movement for the election of Jim Webb in 2016, and in informing foreigners and locals alike to the different political sides of things like Brexit, the Dutch election, French election, Canadian, Swedish, and Brazilian politics.

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Is the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism like Wikipedia? – Cato Institute (blog)

Posted: at 5:47 pm

I see that my colleagues are referring to the new online Encyclopedia of Libertarianism as a Wikipedia for libertarianism. I suppose thats sort of true, in that its an online encyclopedia. But its not exactly Hayekian, as Jimmy Wales describes Wikipedia. That is, it didnt emerge spontaneously from the actions of hundreds of thousands of contributors. Instead, editors Ronald Hamowy, Jason Kuznicki, and Aaron Steelman drew up a list of topics and sought the best scholars to write on each one people like Alan Charles Kors, Bryan Caplan, Deirdre McCloskey, George H. Smith, Israel Kirzner, James Buchanan, Joan Kennedy Taylor, Jeremy Shearmur, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, Norman Barry, Richard Epstein, Randy Barnett, and Vernon L. Smith, along with many Cato Institute experts. In that regard its more like the Encyclopedia Britannica of libertarianism, a guide to important topics by top scholars in the relevant field.

The Britannica over the years has published articles byAlbert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Marie Curie, Leon Trotsky, Harry Houdini, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Milton Friedman, Simon Baron Cohen, and Desmond Tutu. They may have slipped a bit when they published articles by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Lee Iacocca. And particularly when they chose to me to write their entry on libertarianism.

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Learn the History of Liberty with the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism – Cato Institute (blog)

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 4:43 am

The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, published in 2008 in hard copy, is now available free online at The Encyclopedia includesmore than 300 succinct, original articles on libertarian ideas, institutions, and thinkers. Contributors include James Buchanan, Richard Epstein, Tyler Cowen, Randy Barnett, Ellen Frankel Paul, Deirdre McCloskey, and more than 100 otherscholars.

A couple of years ago, in an interesting discussion of social change and especiallythe best ways to spread classical liberal ideasat Liberty Funds Online Library of Liberty, historian David M. Hart had high praise for the Encyclopedia:

The Encyclopedia of Libertarianismprovides an excellent survey of the key movements, individuals, and events in the evolution of the classical liberal movement.

One should begin with Steve Davies General Introduction, pp. xxv-xxxvii, which is an excellent survey of the ideas, movements, and key events in the development of liberty, then read some of the articles on specific historical periods, movements, schools of thought, and individuals.

He goes on to suggest specific articles in the Encyclopedia that are essential reading for understanding successful radical change in ideas and political and economic structures, in both a pro-liberty and anti-liberty direction. Heres his guide to learning about the history of liberty in theEncyclopedia of Libertarianism:

I could add more essays to his list, but Ill restrain myself to just one: Along with the essays on the Constitution and James Madison, read Federalists Versus Anti-Federalists by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel.

By the way, you can still get the beautiful hardcover edition. Right now its half-price at the Cato Store.

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