Blogs > Liberty and Power > Hear, Hear, Libertarian Gaggism!

Jul 17, 2005 2:39 am


Hear, Hear, Libertarian Gaggism!



I suppose there will always be those who prefer the "civility," shall we say, of the feckless US Congress these days, to the rowdy behavior of the British Parliament. Everyone to their own taste!

American politics also used to be a bit rowdy. Dr. Joseph Warren, for example, the great orator, killed battling the British at Breed's Hiil, used to bait the British officers in speeches during their occupation of Boston, 1768-76.

By all means, let us have no nasty discourse, better none at all. Pity, some are so squeamish.

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Jeff Riggenbach - 7/16/2005

Dear Bill,

Given your posted attitude toward gagging, I never suspected you had anything to do with the "disappearing" of Stephan Kinsella. I'm told that the horse's ass in question is some sort of "officer" or person in authority at HNN. Clearly, those who run HNN are of the opinion that it's good policy to erase the historical record when its contents don't suit them.


William Marina - 7/16/2005

Dear Jeff,
Although I initiated this discussion with my initial comment about Gagging, I had nothing to do with removing Kinsella's comments. Much of the rest might as well also have been cut since many of mine make no sense since they were responses to some of Kinsella's observations.
Bill Marina


Jeff Riggenbach - 7/15/2005

I see that some self-important horse's ass has expunged all of Stephan Kinsella's messages from this and other threads on this blog. No doubt to "protect" us from Stephan's "incivility." Tom Palmer's asinine vendettas, apparently, are "civil."


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

There is of course nothing unlibertarian with "private" censorship; the fact that we feel compelled to explain this to each other is a bit depressing.

Personally I do not buy into the "both sides need to simmer down" type of view. My opinion is this: Tom Palmer (and some others, to varying degrees) repeatedly resort to personal attacks on the character and motives of fellow libertarians, as part of a response to substantive discussions. The motivations behind our views are questioned and snidely impugned, etc. It's to the point where if you have a differing view on federalism, it's because you come from the "fever swamp" of neo-confederate slavery apology. These type of personal attacks and libel seem to me to be prohibited by this blog.

It is not surprising that others, such as me, respond to these completely outrageous, uncivilized attacks on the character and motives of people I know to be decent people and sincere advocates of liberty. If anyone wants to equate my or others' response to the outrageous personal attacks of Tom Palmer or others, they are free to make this mistake. But just as there is a difference between initiating force and responding to it, there is a difference between launching an assault on someone and the response to it.

I and others that are regularly attacked by Palmer et al. are perfectly happy to go about our merry way, trying to understand and advocate liberty as we see it. There is no need to respond in a non-civil way to people who are not already breaching rules of civility, etiquette, courtesy, charity, decency, and honesty.

In my view personal attacks like those hurled by Palmer and implicitly or snidely suggested by others on this forum, ought to be prevented or a warning issued. But until this is done, I can tell you right now, whenever I see anyone maligning decent, fellow libertarians and impugning their motives, suggesting outrageous things like racism, bigotry, anti-semitism, I am going to call a spade a spade and denounce it. Ban me for doing this if you will. It's your property.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

And a good place to intercede might be at the first sign of a personal attack on a fellow poster or fellow libertarian. This would include allegations that the other libertarian has a given, say, political or constitutional view because he does not care about liberty, or is racist, or anti-semitic, or yearns for slavery, or is not a "real" libertarian. It would include snide comments that imply the advocate of a given argument has evil, hidden, unlibertarian motives.

In fact, since accusing someone of anti-semitism, bigotry, racism, etc., are arguably libelous, not to mention outrageous and not conducive to honest discourse, it would be a very good idea for a given forum not to tolerate it.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Bill, mayhap it is a personal preference whether one likes or does not like certain rules of discourse. Regardless, the rules of this blog, for better or worse, specify:

Please do not post any comments that are defamatory, obscene, pornographic, abusive, or unlawful. If you violate the law or are guilty of defamation you may be held legally responsible.

[...] Please be civil. No ad hominem attacks.


Call me crazy, but these seem like reasonable rules to me.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Actually, the comments are not deleted. The links to them disappeared. But I think the comments are still there.

See, e.g., the following subgroups of comments:

From Miserable Libertarians thread: some comments;

From "I'll Let You Know in a Couple of Years." thread: some comments.

Those sufficiently perspicacious will be able to find, e.g., from their browser history, several links to the comments.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Bill, it could be they named it Cato U. in imitation of Mises U.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Let me repeat a comment above here so it won't be buried: Actually, the comments are not deleted. The links to them disappeared from the main thread, but it seems the comments are still there. See, e.g., the following subgroups of comments:
From Miserable Libertarians thread: some comments;

From "I'll Let You Know in a Couple of Years." thread: some comments.

Those sufficiently perspicacious will be able to find, e.g., from their browser history, several links to the comments.


[ Reply ]


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

You are most welcome, Steve. Plus ca charge, plus ce la meme chose.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Right. Or, a simpler solution, would be for Tom Palmer to stop maligning people and making personal attacks. Especially ones that are so unjustified and unfair, and groundless and outrageous. Attacking decent fellow humans who are aslo fellow libertarian advocates. Seems to me civility, courtesy, decency, professionalism, etc., would tend to side against such behavior. But maybe it's just me.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Palmer -- "Each year the various political tendencies in France hold a Summer University. For a number of years (going back to 1988 or so), I have taken part in the "Summer University of the New Economics" held in Aix-en-Provence, which offers a variety of lectures, workshops, speeches, and seminars. Sorry to disappoint Mr. Kinsella, but that is the model for Cato University."

Mr. Kinsella thanks Mr. Palmer for his apology.

BTW, my former law school has an annual a summer program in Aix. Since I have a JD, I wonder if I should insist on being called Dr.? Some lawyers do. Off-topic, sorry.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Hmmm, Bill, well, as far as I know, no one is deceived into thinking the Mises U is a "real" university--it's just a catchy name for an intense summer week of Austrian economics lectures etc. I think that's understood. Creative use of language is widespread, and I'm not quite sure what's Orwellian about it. Anyway, was Orwell so bad?


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

To respect the rules of the forum, I'll avoid a substantive reply here. I'll put up a reply elsewhere.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Could be the universities themselves are doing the most damage to the term "university."


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

I don't know, Bill, but I think I just heard the sound of a dead horse being beaten.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Tom, in the spirit of civility of this forum, I want to say I love you as a fellow human, despite your many sins. Come home, my son.


Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Settle down, Beavis.


Tom G Palmer - 7/14/2005

Evidently nothing can embarrass Mr. Kinsella, including posting truly vile descriptions of the private parts of other people. Have you no shame at all, Mr. Kinsella? None? Your blog, which I notice you are rapidly cleaning up, has reveled in posting remarkable evidence of a truly twisted personality.


William Marina - 7/14/2005

That is no doubt the case in terms of the things ranging from Pentagon research to Big Pharma, but then why adopt that name for what is esssentially a week long or so, seminar?


Tom G Palmer - 7/14/2005

A remarkable dodge and an attempt to appear squeaky clean and "respect the rules of the forum." I have now noticed that a number of the more revolting postings have been removed from Mr. Kinsella's site. Some still persist as Google caches. I am willing to share some examples of Mr. Kinsella's idea of enlightened discourse with anyone who has a strong stomach and who wishes to email me. (Mr. Kinsella's accomplice in setting up the blog where they have devoted so much attention to what their imaginations picture as my private life is Mr. Raimondo's colleague at antiwar.com, who goes by the handle of "tex." A nice circle of malice.) Were I a believer in legal responses to such malicious claims, I would have contacted a lawyer. As it is, I hope that pure embarrassment will have some effect on Mr. Kinsella, although I suspect not. Mr. Raimondo's anonymous colleague "tex" is unlikely to be dissuaded.


William Marina - 7/14/2005

It's not that Orwell was bad, rather that he pointed out, based on Goebbels, I suspect, that a degradation of language accompanies power. If a term has a accepted definition, to begin to apply it to something else simply confuses things, as per using "university" in a multiplicity of situations.


Tom G Palmer - 7/14/2005

NOTE: I posted this above, but it ended up in the midst of a long thread. It seemed appropriate that it be a stand-alone entry. I apologize for it appearing twice.

----------------------------------------------------
Well, I hate to do so, especially since Mr. Kuznicki closed his comments for a reason. But as I have been accused of "unfair attacks" by Mr. Kinsella (see #64673 above), let me mention that Mr. Kinsella has devoted a great deal of time to creating an entire website, a great deal of which is dedicated to very strange sexual fantasies regarding myself, including a great deal of free use of such terms as "man meat," "throbbing pole," and worse. He also submits letters on various web sites under the names of other, living persons (one of whom wrote to me today and I suggested that he contact a lawyer to ask about issues of malicious misrepresentation) professing very disturbing sexual fantasies about me. The behavior is not only distasteful, but evidence of deeper problems. (I might also mention Mr. Kinsella's posting of the "N" word all over my web site before I banned his IP.) Similarly, Mr. Raimondo, who has also professed such sweet innocence, regularly relies on references to anal sex in referring to me in print on a variety of web sites, a practice he has also used with regard to Andrew Sullivan.

I have, it is certainly true, questioned the commitment of the above-mentioned persons to the principles of libertarianism for reasons that I have detailed elsewhere. I find affiliations with spokesmen for anti-Semitic and racist causes far more than distasteful, but a serious black mark on the good name of libertarianism. Both Mr. Kinsella and Mr. Raimondo have, in response resorted to what normal people would find disgusting sexual innuendo, anatomically explicit remarks, and worse. Here is a printable example from Mr. Kinsella, which contains none of the disgusting sexual references but gives one a sense of what Mr. Kinsella considers appropriate:
*****

A friend who knows about this Palmer person told me the following, which makes sense. Palmer makes personal attacks on others, while his own character is what is at issue:

Tom is the type of gay man who deeply and actively hates women. He has so little respect for women that he does not even wait for women to turn their backs before sinking in the rusted knife. He thinks women are so stupid that they will not notice or, perhaps, their noticing is beneath his notice. There is nothing decent within that shell of a human being.
This person wanted to remain anonymous, but is a trustworthy source.
*****

People who know Mr. Raimondo and Mr. Kinsella, both of whom have have painted themselves as maligned and badly treated persons, are aware of the depths of their malice. I am willing to have a discussion (elsewhere, to be sure) of their commitment to the principles of liberty, which I do seriously doubt, and of the damage I believe they do by allying themselves with undeniably anti-libertarian persons and causes. I am not, however, willing to descend to the depths that they have plumbed.


Tom G Palmer - 7/14/2005

Well, I hate to do so, especially since Mr. Kuznicki closed his comments for a reason. But as I have been accused of "unfair attacks" by Mr. Kinsella (see #64673 above), let me mention that Mr. Kinsella has devoted a great deal of time to creating an entire website, a great deal of which is dedicated to very strange sexual fantasies regarding myself, including a great deal of free use of such terms as "man meat," "throbbing pole," and worse. He also submits letters on various web sites under the names of other, living persons (one of whom wrote to me today and I suggested that he contact a lawyer to ask about issues of malicious misrepresentation) professing very disturbing sexual fantasies about me. The behavior is not only distasteful, but evidence of deeper problems. (I might also mention Mr. Kinsella's posting of the "N" word all over my web site before I banned his IP.) Similarly, Mr. Raimondo, who has also professed such sweet innocence, regularly relies on references to anal sex in referring to me in print on a variety of web sites, a practice he has also used with regard to Andrew Sullivan.

I have, it is certainly true, questioned the commitment of the above-mentioned persons to the principles of libertarianism for reasons that I have detailed elsewhere. I find affiliations with spokesmen for anti-Semitic and racist causes far more than distasteful, but a serious black mark on the good name of libertarianism. Both Mr. Kinsella and Mr. Raimondo have, in response resorted to what normal people would find disgusting sexual innuendo, anatomically explicit remarks, and worse. Here is a printable example from Mr. Kinsella, which contains none of the disgusting sexual references but gives one a sense of what Mr. Kinsella considers appropriate:
*****

A friend who knows about this Palmer person told me the following, which makes sense. Palmer makes personal attacks on others, while his own character is what is at issue:

Tom is the type of gay man who deeply and actively hates women. He has so little respect for women that he does not even wait for women to turn their backs before sinking in the rusted knife. He thinks women are so stupid that they will not notice or, perhaps, their noticing is beneath his notice. There is nothing decent within that shell of a human being.
This person wanted to remain anonymous, but is a trustworthy source.
*****

People who know Mr. Raimondo and Mr. Kinsella, both of whom have have painted themselves as maligned and badly treated persons, are aware of the depths of their malice. I am willing to have a discussion (elsewhere, to be sure) of their commitment to the principles of liberty, which I do seriously doubt, and of the damage I believe they do by allying themselves with undeniably anti-libertarian persons and causes. I am not, however, willing to descend to the depths that they have plumbed.


William Marina - 7/13/2005

Okay, Tom & Rod,
So why call it a University if it bears so little resemblance to a real one?
I'm sure no one would confuse it with Harvard, but it is still misleading and pretentious to use that term! If it is of so little import, why use that term?
Bill Marina


Roderick T. Long - 7/13/2005

Who has seen, I mean.


Roderick T. Long - 7/13/2005

I'm pretty sure nobody who seen the ads for, or has signed up for, either the Cato University or the Mises University has ever been confused/deceived as to whether this week-long seminar was a degree-granting four-year institution. Even without knowing about the European paralle I'm sure they could identify this use of "university" as a metaphor.


Tom G Palmer - 7/13/2005

Mr. Marina can define the term any way he wants. In France and other European countries, that's what they are called. In any case, the matter is of little import.


William Marina - 7/13/2005

Tom,
I particpated in a week long seminar at Aix many years ago, and when I was Dir of Int'l Studies we worked with Miami Dade which sponsored the CCIS program there, and we also had ones in Spain, Israel & Ecuadoe. Those seminars are a far cry from something one might define as a Univ.

I think your analogy on tenure is way overdone. I mentioned it as a characteriwsitic, not that I was so in favor of it. I did not have it in the 1960s when I was under attack for my antiwar and civil rights activities. It might have been better if I had been fired, who knows, I always made money with my Const. Co.


Tom G Palmer - 7/13/2005

Each year the various political tendencies in France hold a Summer University. For a number of years (going back to 1988 or so), I have taken part in the "Summer University of the New Economics" held in Aix-en-Provence, which offers a variety of lectures, workshops, speeches, and seminars. Sorry to disappoint Mr. Kinsella, but that is the model for Cato University.

In any case, I think that academic tenure, which Mr. Marina identifies as a defining characteristic of a university, has more drawbacks than advantages. It reminds me of the radio essay by Andrei Codrescu I heard some years ago, in which he described the life of the "sea squirt." The sea squirt is a creature that when in its tiny and immature state swims about in the ocean eating yet tinier creatures, until it finds the right rock, cements itself to it, and begins to devour its own brain. As Codrescu put it, "It kind of reminds me of tenure." (One way to achieve some of the few positive features of tensure is to negotiate long-term contracts for, say, three or five years. The late Paul Heyne, who taught for years at the University of Washington in Seattle, told me that he refused tenure, as he preferred a higher salary and a limited-term contract over a guaranteed job. As I recall, Armen Alchian at UCLA did the same.)


Steven Horwitz - 7/13/2005

Having watched/been involved with a number of blogs and comments that involved Tom, Stephan, Justin and others and having seen the way in which the conversation can quickly degrade to name-calling and the like, I simply did not wish to have that take place in the comments section of a thread I started, not to mention on L&P in general. Let them take their issues elsewhere.


William Marina - 7/13/2005

Stephan,
That could be, but Mises is not a real University either. In a real U., could you fire the Rothbard chair? Is tenure in existence? Do so-called Senior Scholars have any policy making role? None of the above is true at Mises, and I would hope Cato could do better if they took the term in imitation of Mises.
Why use that term when the reality is so at variance with a real Univ, and so begs for explanation. It is all a bit Orwellian in terminology.
Bill


William Marina - 7/13/2005

Steve,
I understand about what you meant by freezing the discussion, as opposed to the whole thing disappearing, but why do you feel the need either to "control," or freeze anything?
I think it a good thing there is no freeze option, either put the ideas out there and let the chips fly, or hit the no comment button from the get-go.
I admit I have put some things out that were informational, and I didn't expect commenta and probably ought to have hit that button.
Bill


Steven Horwitz - 7/13/2005

Thank you Stephan.


William Marina - 7/13/2005

You ought to explain at your and Cato's web site therather specialized way in which you use the term, University. I think it pretentious to imply a real university unless it is so qualified.

In the South, we use all kiknds of four letter words, and one not even use them to be abusive in tone, which is what you tend to do, but, as I said, that'doesn't really bother me


Steven Horwitz - 7/13/2005

Again, Bill, I didn't realize the comments would *disappear*. I think it's perfectly reasonable to open comments then freeze them at some point. Evidently, L&P's software does not allow that option.


Tom G Palmer - 7/13/2005

Bill, "Cato University" is modeled on the continental European idea of a "summer university," not on the English or American idea of a degree-granting institution. Other summer programs have similar names. But, suit yourself.

Regarding abusive language, I don't recall having used any expletives, four-letter words, or scatalogical or sexual or anatomical references in any of my postings, here or elsewhere.


William Marina - 7/13/2005

At the site where a comment is posted at our site, there is a place to indicate "No comment," and if that is posted beforehand, no one can disagree with that. If you allow comments, it does seem a bit underhanded to then withdraw that because, whatever the reason, one dislikes what ensued in the discussion.

It is hard to take Tom Palmer, and even Cato at times seriously, not because of his abusive language which doesn't bother me, but the pretentiousness of calling the program of which he is Dir., a "University."

Years ago, every cow college took to calling itself that, but how can what Cato does have any relationship to the idea of a real University, much of which is beginning to disappear from some of our formerly great ones as well?


William Marina - 7/13/2005

As I said earlier, I differentiate between a group Blog and one's own.
I didn't realize some contributors consider it "their" front lawn. Quite a feat of imminent domain!
I don't think that real free speech can accept any of the kinds of limitations that Stephan suggests.
Many years ago when I was writing for LRC.com, I mentioned to Lew about doing an article on the way in which Joe Sobran, in his book on Shakespeare, had handled Thomas Looney's great 1918 classic identifying Edward De Vere as WS. It appeared to ne to be a case of one variety of plagiarism. I even offered to lend Lew my copy to read. He said, "No," one could not criticize one of "his" writers. I respect that at his site, and no longer wanted to be one of "his" wriers. I did respect the fact that he wrote me recently before using a piece of mine from HNN.
I have my own web site at www.billmarina.com, and I would not want to be a part of a group Blog that began to have the conditions talked about above.


Tom G Palmer - 7/13/2005

Mr. Kuznicki is well within his rights. There is no "censorship," nor are "gags" being placed on people. If he doesn't want to host a set of comments, that is certainly not censorship.


Geoffrey Allan Plauche - 7/13/2005

Well, I completely missed the events that led up to this, but I have to agree with Jason that blocking comments to one's posts is not censorship. He isn't stopping anyone from using their own property or voluntarily contracting out other means to publish their ideas. Others can make their own posts on L&P, comment on other L&Pers posts, comment on other blogs, and post on their own blogs. It's only censorship when the State stops you from speaking out. Disagree about the need for, or how much, civility all you like, but that's another matter entirely.


Jeff Riggenbach - 7/13/2005

I often wonder if these jackasses who are so obsessed with "civility" have any idea how tiresome they are?


Steven Horwitz - 7/13/2005

Let me quickly note too that I didn't realize the comments would disappear. I just wanted to end the discussion, not drop it down the memoryhole.

And my rationale is exactly Jason's: if an argument breaks out on my front lawn, I simply want people to take it elsewhere. In the case of my thread, the battle between Tom and his interlocutors is a long-running one and one that I would prefer take place in their own forums. I see nothing "unlibertarian" about ending conversation on what amounts to my "property" given that I started the thread.

Let me note that I was not "offended" by what was said (excepting possibly the insinuation in THIS thread that cutting off the comments is makes my libertarianism suspect), nor was I bemoaning any lack of my own control over the content. Simply put, the comments had turned into a pissing match that has been replayed over and over in several other forums recently and I simply didn't want L&P to be the next host for it.

If there were a way to freeze comments rather then delete them, I'd gladly restore what's been written.


Jason Kuznicki - 7/13/2005

What do you mean, I didn't explain what offended me? How about "name-calling" and "unjustified insinuations?" Or did you not even bother to read my post?

Further, the old canard about censorship is just as mistaken as always. It is not censorship if I decline to publish views with which I disagree. Nor is it censorship if I, as a publisher, reject some content that I find to be beneath my standards. I have no obligation whatsoever to provide a microphone for the world.


Mark Brady - 7/13/2005

"I had not realized that the threads themselves would entirely disappear."

That's reassuring. I'm glad to hear that.


William Marina - 7/13/2005

It is perhaps appropriate that your comments appeared right next to a piece about Dershowitz.!


William Marina - 7/13/2005

If you put something out on the Blog, rather than your own web site, and allow for comments, then it appears to me you have opened things up for discussion.

In closing off your original piece with comments, you nowhere make it clear, nor did Horwitz, what it was that so offended you, or in his case, made him feel he was no longer in "control," a real libertry kind of word, nor who was, in your view, the offender(s), not that it matters, since in any event you have practiced censorship.

All this theoretical talk about liberty, right!




Jason Kuznicki - 7/13/2005

Mark,

I had not realized that the threads themselves would entirely disappear. Some of the posts were indeed quite civil, and your suggestion is a good one.

As to whether I am gagging anyone, the suggestion can't be taken seriously. With hundreds of thousands of other forums to choose from, those who want to fight can certainly do so. But if, in the real world, a fight were to break out on my front lawn, I think I am well within my rights to remove the unwelcome parties. It is a strange libertarianism indeed that would deprive me of this right.


Mark Brady - 7/13/2005

It's one thing to cut off a thread. It's another to delete the existing thread. I'm now wondering: Did I read each thread in its entirety? I'm on the West Coast so I probably read most of the two threads and, yes, there was some, err, uncivility. That said, there was also serious discussion. May I suggest in future that the original commentator first post a line recommending civility before he/she takes more drastic action?


William Marina - 7/13/2005

Anthony,
Sounds good to me. Back when I was a consultant for migrant programs in Tenn., Texas & GA, in 1968 the good old boys had built a still out of galvanized pipe all the way down Grundy Mtn, TN. When the Revenuers saw it by flying over it, the Boyz defended it, in the Battle of Grundy Mtn, until it could be dismantled and carted off to be rebuilt in a more decentralized fashion. Rothbard would have liked that in the spirit of the Whiskey Rebellion.
None of this, of course was in the Media!
Here in NC, it's Ok to do moonshine, but better stay away from growing grass!


Anthony Gregory - 7/13/2005

Didn't they also used to allow alcohol at the voting booths, so as to lubricate conversation and make the fights more interesting?

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