Jacob Levy of McGill University has a thoughtful post entitled “Black Liberty Matters.” Levy forthrightly and forcefully recognizes the troubled history of libertarianism’s entanglement with racism. He correctly notes that “Now, libertarian, individualist, and market-liberal ideas, concepts, slogans, and advocates aren’t alone in having a history that is entangled with white supremacy. Hardly any set of social ideas in American intellectual history lacks such an entanglement.” Levy reminds us (or reminds me, anyway) that the real opposition is not between libertarianism vs. non-libertarianism but racism vs. anti-racism.
Levy’s essay also helps me clarify what my own project is and is not about. For me, this paragraph was especially stimulating. He frames it in the context of Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains. He’d read a few reviews and found them “entirely persuasive about Democracy in Chains’ details and core claims alike.” In conclusion he wrote:
I don’t want the convincing intellectual victory over Democracy in Chains to fool us into thinking that there’s no problem. I don’t want the forceful, true, statement that libertarian principles are incompatible with white supremacy to fool us into overlooking a morally compromised history and sociological and psychological patterns about how those principles turn into general political discourse.
Now, regular readers know that there has been no “convincing intellectual victory” over MacLean’s book, a point I will return to at the end of this post. For now I want to ask if it is really the case that “libertarian principles” really are incompatible with white supremacy because we seem to have a paradox.
It was pretty nice if you like this kind of thing.
I’m back from Hawai’i where I didn’t spend any time at all thinking about Murray Rothbard or Willis Carto. I’m ready take on the alt right again. Let’s wade in right up to our armpits, shall we?
Here’s a little scenario:
Major Right Wing Figure (MRWF): “Here is Something Horrible I believe.”
Proud Right Wing Racist (PRWR): “I believe something Something Horrible too! In fact, MRWF got Something Horrible from me and is furthering my racist agenda!”
Liberal Social Justice Warrior (LSJW): “OMG, everyone, MRWF got Something Horrible from PRWR and PRWR actually thanked MRWF for carrying out the racist agenda!”
MRWF: “How DARE you say that your filthy hippie LSJW! In fact, YOU are the real racist for pointing that out!!
This is a common script we see played out over and over these days. Trump, the current occupant of the dump we call the White House, tweeted a gif of him hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball. Hilarious, right? Turns out, however, that Trump didn’t make the gif himself (surprise!). It was a retweet from from a racist account called, get ready to hold your sides from laughing, “fuctupmind.”
Conservative website, The Daily Caller, has posted a piece by Peter Brimelow on how the Great and Powerful Trump has reduced immigration. Peter Brimelow runs a site called “Vdare” dedicated to white supremacy. It isn’t the first time the Daily Caller has helped the white supremacist cause, and it probably won’t be the last. The Daily Caller was founded by Tucker Carlson, cable TV’s number one draw and widely admired by white supremacists himself.
“I have one job on this lousy ship! It’s stupid, but I’m gonna do it, OK?!”
The machine has taken over, I’ve set up a series of reading assignments for you to be released at timed intervals by computer itself. This is the fourth:
The machine has taken over, I’ve set up a series of reading assignments for you to be released at timed intervals by computer itself. This is the third: