Posts tagged France

Re: ParALLax View

Kinsella: The original left-right spectrum is confused and anti-libertarian.

Well, if you’re going to get all originalist on us, Stephan, the original left-right spectrum ran from ultra-royalist mercantilists who believed that the State was the instrument of God on Earth, to radical free marketeers who favored the abolition of State control in the name of the Rights of Man [sic]. (Bastiat sat on the Left; so did Proudhon.) Doesn’t seem especially confused to me; seems like a pretty straightforward spectrum from statists to anti-statists, with a laissez-faire economist and an avowed anarchist holding down the leftward end.

Re: Keith Preston Hopefully Not Victorious


You’re being an asshole, and you really ought to stop.

Whether or not you think that Anonymous is in fact Aster, and whether or not you think that Anonymous or Aster has treated you unfairly, in this discussion or in other discussions, that’s absolutely no reason to respond with polemical distortions of her views, or with down-and-dirty attacks of your own. You ought to be embarassed at having made such thuggish appeals to tooth-for-a-tooth rhetorical retribution (“like I told you before, if you want to throw rocks at me, I’m going to hit back and hit hard”). If you think that you’ve been strawmanned or unfairly attacked or otherwise wronged in this conversation, I can’t see why you think it’s a good idea to reply by getting just as nasty as you wanna be yourself — as, for example, with your (really vile) attempts to exploit common prejudice against transgender people in order to score some kind of rhetorical point (as if there were anything wrong with being trans or otherwise challenging patriarchally-correct notions of gender identity; as if there were anything wrong with sex reassignment surgery; as if any of this had a damned thing to do with anything in the discussion about libertarian alliances and strategy).

If you have something worth saying about libertarian alliances and strategy (and, for the record, I think what you have to say combines some genuine insights — e.g. about the importance of populism, the importance of secessionist decentralism as way to work across traditional Culture War front lines, the classism that goes into certain Progressive attitudes about poor, rural, Southern, or otherwise marginalized white folks, etc. — with a lot that is really wrongheaded), then you can say it without resorting to this kind of garbage.

And I will hopefully have more to say about your essay later, both on some substantive points and some terminological points. (I think that you have misunderstood the meaning of the term “thick libertarianism”; “thick libertarianism” is not identical with left-libertarianism, and you’ll find thick conceptions of libertarianism not only among left-libertarians, but also among paleolibertarians, orthodox Objectivists, and, while we’re at it, your own expressed views about pluralism, and Anonymous’s expressed views, too; what we differ over is not thickness, but rather on the particular commitments that are to be bundled together with non-aggression.) But I’ll probably come around to a real response in a venue other than this already-lengthy comments thread.

Nick Manley: Am I going to throw acid in the face of a woman who chooses to stay at home and raise her children? No.

Other Nick: What about “ridiculing” or “socially ostracizing” her “patriarchal” husband?

Well, what about it?

If her husband really is acting in a domineering or patriarchal way, then why shouldn’t he be ridiculed or socially ostracized for it? He’s an asshole. Those of us who think that domineering behavior and patriarchal attitudes are ridiculous, foolish, or vicious have every right, and every reason, to withdraw our social support from, or to make fun of, people who engage in them.

Of course, I also think it would be silly to presume that you can just look at the fact that a woman chooses to spend her time on caring for children in her home and somehow automatically infer from that that it’s the result of domineering behavior or patriarchal attitudes on the part of her husband. People make all kinds of choices and there’s nothing in feminism which requires you to rag on heterosexually married women who are, for reasons of their own, working at childcare rather than in a capitalist workplace. Or on their husbands.

Other Nick: My main beef with the kind of thick libertarianism Johnson is advocating is that it seems not to respect the right of a person to voluntarily enter an inegalitarian/hierarchical lifestyle.

How so? You have the right to do whatever you please, an it coerce none. And I have the right to criticize your choices, if I think they are ill-considered, foolish, vicious, or otherwise harmful.

There may be cases where it is rude to do so; there may also be cases where it is morally wrong. (There is such a thing as a virtue of tolerance, and of minding your own business. If you think that libertarians have good reasons, qua libertarians, to cultivate those virtues, even in cases where intolerance or busybodying would have been expressed through nonviolent means like ostracism or ridicule, well, then what you’re advocating is in fact a form of thick libertarianism. A thin conception of libertarianism would have nothing to say about whether people should be tolerant or intolerant, as long as they’re non-aggressive.) But be that as it may, I can’t see that you’ve made any case for saying that it is never the right thing to do. If a husband is (nonviolently) being an asshole to his wife, and she (consensually) stays in the marriage, because she thinks his assholish behavior is basically O.K., or even that it’s the right way for him to treat her, then I certainly see no reason why I have some kind of obligation to continue associating with that asshole or providing social support to him or to hold off on calling him an asshole in conversation.

Other Nick: I’m all for battling ideas with ideas but I draw the line at using means such as “ridicule” and “social ostracism” to win the battle. . . . I don’t think it is, but that’s beside the point. The behaviors I described are a form of coercion in my opinion and therefore shouldn’t be justified even if it can be argued or proven that they serve libertarian ends.

Nick, are you seriously suggesting that ridicule and social ostracism are “a form of coercion”? If so, when you say “coercion” do you mean what libertarians normally mean by it (i.e., an invasion of the target’s liberty rights), or do you mean something else?

If you seriously mean to suggest that making fun of somebody in words or pictures, or withdrawing your social support from them (by refusing to trade with them, refusing to talk to them at parties, whatever) is unjustified because it’s somehow a violation of the target’s liberty rights, then I think this is absurd, and that it’s not recognizable as any form of libertarianism that I’m aware of, since it would require a claim to the effect that nonviolent speech or expression is invading the target’s liberty rights, or that people have a positive obligation to provide social support to people who they do not want to associate with. (And I’m supposed to be the p.c. fascist here?)

I hope that I’ve misunderstood your view. But if I have, then I do need some help in figuring out what it is. Do you think that ridicule or ostracism are not literally violations of the targets rights, but that they are objectionable on some other grounds? If so, what are those grounds, and why do they rule out any and all use of ridicule or social ostracism, just as such, as legitimate nonviolent means for libertarians to achieve their social or cultural goals?

Nick: Such an alliance would, for example, criticize mainstream feminism (or more precisely what Christina Hoff Sommers calls “gender feminism”), male chauvinism, racial supremacists, race hustlers, etc. In contrast, it would support equity feminism, men’s rights groups, “equal opportunity” anti-racism, etc.

May I suggest that if your understanding of the different factions within the feminist movement depends significantly on Christina Hoff Sommers’s worthless, more or less purely polemical distinction between “gender feminism” and “equity feminism,” then you probably need to do some more work learning about the history, theory, and practice of the feminist movement before you try to figure out whether to support or to criticize it. (For a discussion of some of what’s wrong with Sommers’s discussion of “gender” and “equity” feminism, see for example my comments about this alleged distinction over at feministe.)

Nick Manley: The French Revolution and 1968 were both complicated affairs. I don’t think there were no positive aspects to them though.

Well. I don’t think Keith was claiming that there were no positive aspects to them. I think he was claiming that the criteria that are being used to criticize his strategic views are not being consistently applied.