Posts tagged Roderick Long

Re: Should We Let People Die If Unrelated Government Policies Tend To Drive Up The Costs Of Health Care?

dsatyglesias writes: “If you oppose universal health care, you by definition support letting people who can’t afford health care die.”

Maybe so. (Certainly, there are plenty of conservatives who are all too comfortable with — or even enthusiastic about — a lot of needless suffering in the world.)

But I hope that you realize that not everyone who supports universal healthcare supports government healthcare, and not everyone who opposes government healthcare opposes universal healthcare. The one might follow from the other if the only way to get universal coverage were by means of a political guarantee of coverage. But that’s not so: there are folks who oppose government healthcare because they think corporate healthcare is awesome and they don’t mind if people die; but there are also folks who oppose government healthcare because they support non-governmental, non-corporate universal coverage through grassroots social organization and community mutual aid. (See for example or the closing sections of .)

Of course, that leaves open the question of whether they (we — I’m one of ’em) are right about the best means for getting universal coverage. Maybe social means are inadequate; or maybe there is some reason, which has yet to be mentioned, why governmental control is preferable, as a means for getting it, to voluntary associations for mutual aid. But whether the position is right or wrong, it’s certainly not one that can be answered simply by defining it out of existence, as you do when you pretend that the only alternatives available are (1) corporate coverage of only those who can afford it; or else (2) universal coverage by means of government mandates; as if there were no (3) universal coverage by non-governmental means.

Re: Should we women be grateful …


I’m sorry if you find the essay disappointing. I certainly didn’t co-write the essay intending to make women “grateful;” I co-wrote it intending to argue for a specific point of view. I am glad where people have found it useful for clarifying or stimulating thoughts; sorry where they haven’t.

I also don’t think the point of the essay was to “rehabilitate” much of anyone, but rather than my trying to guess here, could you let me know who “the woman who destroyed feminism” is?

@Angela: “‘left-libertarian’ is just another name for another hen’s circle of white males.”

Maybe. Most libertarian circles are predominantly white, and predominantly male. To the extent it’s true, I think that’s a problem with the movement. But that’s not an argument against the content of the paper, is it? (And the fact that I know “left-libertarians” who are not white, and left-libertarians who are not male, is not an argument for it, either.)

@Angela: “You either believe in the NAP or you don’t. All these new names for libertarianism are bullshit”

“Libertarianism,” as I understand it, is a new name for “Anarchism.” (When it’s not — e.g. among Bob Barr supporters or Constitution fundamentalists or bomb-the-world Objectivists — “libertarianism” is generally not something I want anything to do with.) I’m not sure that makes a name bullshit; it just means that language evolves and people have shifting purposes in communicating.

In any case, Roderick and I both believe in the NAP, as we wrote in that essay and have said repeatedly all over the place. But he and I also believe in some other things that not all NAP-adherents believe in — for example, about the relationship between the NAP and some other social or political commitments that I have; and about the best strategy for achieving the political goal of a non-aggressive form of society; etc. So when communicating with other NAP-adherents about why I disagree with some of the details of their approach, it’s handy to have a label to help sum up where I’m coming from, and give a quick suggestion about the differences I have with them. Hence the “left-” prefix. I could just say (using the oldest term for our approach) that I am an “individualist anarchist,” like Tucker, Spooner, or de Cleyre). But that doesn’t mean as much to people now as it did in 1892, so sometimes “left-libertarian” is the best way of clarifying what I’m on about.

@Lassiter: “There is a percentage of left-feminists, female and male genders alike, who really, truly, deeply believe that women, by their nature, need government and laws to protect them from themselves.”

It is certainly true that there are statist feminists, and statist feminists often propose statist laws in the attempt to advance their political goals. Fortunately, there are many feminists (including the radical feminists we discuss in the paper) who have provided valuable critiques questioning that approach. Some are Anarchists; others are not. Those that are not haven’t carried their critiques through to consistent anti-statism; but I don’t need for people to be 100% ideologically consistent anti-statists in order to learn something from their writing or example.

In any case: whatever other “left-feminists” may believe, Roderick and I are Anarchists. We reject the claim that statist “protective” laws are necessary, desirable, or legitimate as means to feminist goals. For reasons that we discuss at some length in the paper.

@Tyler: “Why is there something about feminism written by two men?”

Well, why not?

@Tyler: “why would you not include women in the writing process”

Because it was written to advance a specific argument that Roderick and I had already discussed, in the middle of an ongoing conversation in which we represent only two voices. It’s not a manifesto written by committee, or intended (the Good forbid) to try and say everything that there is to say about libertarian feminism, let alone feminism as such.

@Bryan: “aside from a few questionable/unfortunate comments on homosexuals”

  1. Well, aside from that, I think that Hoppe’s expressed views about immigration are both despicable and anti-libertarian (in the sense that he directly proposes continuing — indeed, escalating — massive government violence against innocent victims, solely on the basis of nationality and socioeconomic class).

  2. While not involving direct proposals for state aggression, I also think that his expressed views on “internal ranks of authority” within the family (as discussed in the LibFem essay), traditional authority and “natural elites” within society, his qualified praise for hereditary monarchy, and his demand that “libertarians must be moral and cultural conservatives of the most uncompromising kind” are all absolute rot.

  3. I think Hoppe’s comments about homosexuality are rather worse than “questionable” or “unfortunate.” I’m not sure what you have in mind here — do you mean his (ridiculous and insulting) comments about homosexuality and time-preference in his UNLV lectures? His bizarre series of sexuality-related personal attacks on Tom Palmer? His frankly totalitarian insistence (in D:TGTF) that “the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered life-styles, such as, for instance … homosexuality … will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order”? I think these are all pretty despicable, and while you might be able to pass off the first two as personal idiocies of Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s, which can be passed over in order to get at the core of his theory, the last — the stuff about his “covenant communities” — is part of the core of what his theory is, of what he thinks a free society has to look like in order to be sustainable. (Much the same goes for, e.g., his Know-Nothing views on immigration, which are also attached to the hip to his picture of “covenant communities.”)

For reference, here’s Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God that Failed (p. 218): “In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. … There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They–the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism–will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.

“It should be obvious then that and why libertarians must be moral and cultural conservatives of the most uncompromising kind. The current state of moral degeneration, social disintegration and cultural rot is precisely the result of too much–and above all erroneous and misconceived–tolerance. Rather than having all habitual democrats, communists, and alternative lifestylists quickly isolated, excluded and expelled from civilization in accordance with the principles of the covenant, they were tolerated by society.”

Of course, none of this prevents one from citing Hoppe on those occasions where he is right. But may I just suggest that in a paper intended to discuss a radical form of libertarian feminism, I’ve found those occasions pretty rare?

Re: Mariana Evica by Roderick Tracy Long: “Two things conservatives like to say…”

By “this guy” do you mean Roderick Long, the author of the article? If so, then I don’t think you’ve correctly understood the “view of Christianity” he espouses. As a matter of fact, Long’s post is not about promoting any view of Christianity at all. If you’ll look more carefully at the post, you’ll see that it’s about promoting a particular view of conservatism.

Raphael,… See More

Roderick explains what he means by “Austro-Athenian” in the tagline of the blog: ‘”Austro” as in Rothbard and Wittgenstein, “Athenian” as in Aristotle and smashing-the-plutocracy.’ It has to do with Roderick’s interests in the joint and several insights of Viennese philosophy, the Austrian school of economics, classical philosophy, and Athenian democratic theory.


Man, I already read Ayn Rand’s review of J.H. Randall’s /Aristotle/ a long time ago [*], and it didn’t taste any better coming back up than it did going down.

Rand was many things, but a careful scholar of antiquity she was not, and especially not when she lapsed into this kind of world-historical theorizing. Her view of Plato, and of Aristotle’s relationship to him, is so wide of the mark as to be laughable. (For starters, if you think that Plato’s point is to doubt “the cognitive efficacy of man’s [sic] mind,” or to “deny and surrender … [the human person’s] particular mode of consciousness” then I can only say that your reading of Plato is a curious one. And would perhaps benefit from actually doing some, well, reading, of what Plato has to say about reason, consciousness and cognition.)

[*] Originally appeared in the Objectivist Newsletter May 1963; reprinted in The Voice of Reason, pp. 6-12; also excerpted in the Ayn Rand Lexicon under “Aristotle,” if I’m not mistaken.

Re: Muslims Find Christian Anti-Gay Laws Too Harsh

If the mic cut-out occurs during a discussion of malign spontaneous orders, one thing to keep in mind is that Roderick does have a pun associated with that discussion — “spontaneous ordure” — which may be the occasion for both the groaning and the apologies, rather than anyone getting upset over the content of the claim.

Re: Amazon versus the Market

Marx was wrong.

There, that was easy.

It’s worth noting as well, in addition to the points that Roderick and Tracy make, that the relevant question, in this particular case, actually isn’t whether the economies of scale in online retail sales would be large or small under freed-market conditions. For all I know, they might well turn out to be considerable. (Certainly, there is a natural economy of scale involved in a lot of long-distance shipping and tightly-packed warehouse storage.)

But the real question here is what the economies of scale are, not only for potential competing retailers, but in all competing uses for the distribution center worker’s labor — since the question is not only whether the worker could make as good a living or better setting up as a competitor for Amazon, but also whether or not the worker could make as good a living or better in other lines of work outside the industry, or possibly outside of the cash-wage economy entirely. So there is not only the question of opportunities for entrepreneurial competition with Amazon downstream in the retail market, but also the question of opportunities for entrepreneurial competition with Amazon upstream, in the labor market.

If it is true (as Kevin has argued, and as I argued in Scratching By) that, absent the state, most ordinary workers would experience a dramatic decline in the fixed costs of living, including (among other things) considerably better access to individual ownership of small plots of land, no income or property tax to pay, and no zoning, licensing, or other government restraints on small-scale neighborhood home-based crafts, cottage industry, or light farming/heavy gardening, I think you’d see a lot more people in a position to begin edging out or to drop out of low-income wage labor entirely — in favor of making a modest living in the informal sector, by growing their own food, or both, quite apart from the question of economies of scale in the formal retail sector. If that’s the case, then, on the one hand, workers who dropped out wouldn’t have to deal with Amazon’s taskmastering at all; meanwhile, back at Amazon, in order to convince others to stay in, Amazon would have to offer them a corresponding premium to make it worth their while — whether in the form of wage increases, improvements in conditions, or both.

Re: The Caucus Race


I’m interested in the rights-ist take on all this. … I’m a long time intuitive supporter of nuclear proliferation into the hands of individuals (albeit hopefully at some as yet undetermined time in the future after everyone has evolved into enlightened anarchs)

Well, either people have an unconditional right to possession of atomic weapons or they don’t. If they lean towards the position that you say you intuitively support, then the rights-based case is pretty easy to make out. (Right to nonviolently possess powerful tools as long as you don’t threaten to use them aggressively against any identifiable victims, etc.)

If you lean more towards a position that would allow forcible disarmament, then the challenge is to come up with a non-strictly-consequentialist argument to the effect that it doesn’t violate the rights of the person being disarmed. That’s a lot harder but I don’t think it’s impossible. (Presumably it would have something to do with the lack of possible non-aggressive uses for currently-feasible sorts of atomic weapons and some conception of a standing threat. And presumably you could make out much the same case against, say, private possession of some killer nanoplague. If we’re imagining near-future-plausible but not-yet-actual situations where there would be some non-aggressive use — e.g. asteroid demolition, low-yield weapons, whatever — then that would tend to undermine the rights-based case for forcible disarmament in those cases. But it’d also tend to undermine the demand for such a case, since those are just cases where it looks like the intuitive demand for forcible disarmament is as weak as the theoretical case for its legitimacy.)

For someone like Roderick, who holds that considerations about what has good or bad results can actually play a role in deliberation about what rights people have (and vice versa, in deliberation about what would count as a good or bad result), there are a lot of further nuances that I haven’t mentioned.

Either way, it seems to me like this issue is probably orthogonal to the consequentialist-natural rights debate. Or if it’s angled a bit, the angle actually would tend to tilt rightsers more towards your own expressed position than it would consequentialists.