Blogs > Liberty and Power > Rockwell on the Hegelian Election

Feb 27, 2008 8:36 pm

Rockwell on the Hegelian Election

Lew Rockwell has a great new article that discusses the true problems for liberty presented by racism, sexism, religious bigotry and other such illiberal forms of collectivist confusion. While championing liberty itself, including the crucial freedom of association, he explains how a free society does not bring about the results racists and those who believe in class conflict want, and so they resort to statism, which, when coupled with such bigotry, can lead to the greatest of state horrors and oppressions.
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Anthony Gregory - 2/29/2008

I think he's actually saying that racism itself, as an idea, is in fact illiberal and problematic, and that this reality is illustrated in the ways racism has helped facilitate obvious horrors all the way up to genocide. He's saying that as libertarians, our question is: What should the state do? But he's also saying that racism itself presents a problem for those who wish to embrace liberal thought. We should tolerate racists with bad attitudes, but we should reject those attitudes and recognize that a free society actually means tolerance and mutual cooperation, whereas systematic racism requires violations of liberty to persist. In other words, he's maintaining his thinness in libertarianism, while acknowledging that there is a reason for libertarians to be concerned about and understand the problems of racism.

Roderick T. Long - 2/28/2008

I agree with most of what Lew said, of course, but I don't agree that racism becomes dangerous only when embodied in law as opposed to "on the level of individual ethics." Lew says "there are no inevitable and widespread social consequences of a bad attitude." If he means there are no inevitable and widespread social consequences of an occasional bad attitude here and there, I agree. But what if the bad attitude is itself widespread and systematic? It seems to me that it can then have "inevitable and widespread social consequences" even without government intervention. (Though there's good reason to expect government intervention to make things worse.)

Anthony Gregory - 2/27/2008

And here I thought you were trying to help me polish up my post!

Steven Horwitz - 2/27/2008

Yeah, I thought about noting that too, but thought the other was funnier.

Anthony Gregory - 2/27/2008

Personally, I'm much more embarrassed to have misspelled "Hegelian"!

Steven Horwitz - 2/27/2008

Not a bad article Anthony, but you might want to fix the (Freudian?) typo in the first word of your second sentence. ;)

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