Liberty & Power: Group Blog
Roderick T. Long
[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]
I dont know anything about Robert Steinfelds book Coercion, Contract, and Free Labor in the Nineteenth Century except the following description, but it sounds interesting:
This book presents a fundamental reassessment of the nature of wage labor in the nineteenth century, focusing on the use of sanctions to enforce wage labor agreements. Professor Steinfeld argues that wage workers were not employees at will but were often bound to their employment by enforceable labor agreements, which employers used whenever available to manage their labor costs and supply. Modern free wage labor only came into being late in the nineteenth century, as a result of reform legislation that restricted the contract remedies employers could legally use.
Anybody know any more about it?
David T. Beito
Investors Business Daily.
Arcfault wrote: ”As you say,"There are too many negatives with marijuana," well, there are FAR MORE negatives with NOT supporting its legalization.
I doubt that.
I have smoked marijuana and I have felt the negative effects. The severely impaired brain function for hours, much like alcohol. The big negative I see that is blindingly clear, alcohol can be tested and verified in the field with a breathalyzer. As far as I'm aware, marijuana cannot.
I have worked around pot smokers, something which I refuse to do now. They are a danger to me in my profession; they put my life at risk just so they can have their"high".
I also who have friends that are addicted to pot, socially addicted mind you. They cannot even talk to people without being high. They are so hooked on the high that without it they can't function. Sounds remarkably like an alcoholic.
So no, you have me pinned wrong. I have been on your side and I have experienced pot first hand. Frankly I see no reason to legalize it beyond medicinal purposes.
My Response: Arcfault, you had a bad experience with pot so I suggest that you do not use it anymore. But, literally millions of people have had very good experiences with it. Why should you get to decide the true nature of marijuana for every one? You say it is a hazard on the job and if this is correct I have no problem with your employer firing anyone who works while high. However, for 99% of all work place situations the statement that being stoned while there constitutes a danger simply is not true.
You talk about socially inept friends but I know people who use marijuana who are bright, energetic, articulate, and successful. In fact there are whole websites devoted to famous achieving people who use marijuana such as Louis Armstrong.
You know something, Arcfault; I do not like your girlfriend. I think she is bad for you. You spend too much time with her. She is too good a cook and you will gain weight causing lethal medical problems down the line. She is too flirtatious which means that she will cheat on you in the future leading to substantial heartache. You will lose a great deal of sleep over this making you a hazard to your co-workers. I am ordering you to break up with her. If you do not stop seeing her by the end of this week I will send the police to your door and they will throw you in prison. It is for your own good and I do not care what you yourself think of her.
And there's a bonus for those who know their British history. Not many journalists have even heard of Francis Wrigley Hirst or Sir ErnestBenn, let alone know anything about these great British liberal individualists. Wheatcroft places Ron Paul in the tradition of these two men.
I encourage you all to read Wheatcroft's tribute to the man whom he calls"Washington's good doctor."
To which Roderick Long responded,"Hey, I'm the moderate here! Other people have been arguing that those who endorse serious deviations from libertarian purity no longer count as libertarians at all, and I've been arguing against that view.
"If you don't like 'deviation,' what term would you prefer as shorthand for 'view put forward as libertarian but actually (in the opinion of the speaker) inconsistent with libertarian principle'? (Because we need such a term, I think.)"
I agree, and I want to take this opportunity to clarify something: When I say someone can't be a prowar anarchist or libertarian, I am not saying that person cannot have a basically libertarian philosophy overall, or that that person has nothing to teach or offer (of course, that would be absurd – without learning from statists, we could learn practically nothing!), or that there isn't some sense in which it's useful to call such people libertarians or even anarchists. I consider them in error, to the point that calling someone a"pro-war libertarian" strikes me as oxymoronic, and yet I see some use in the label. But I do think it is a deviation.
What I don't agree with is the idea that there is something special about foreign policy that makes it more okay for so-called libertarians (or libertarians very broadly defined) to radically disagree on it than on other issues. In the sense that someone can be a pro-war libertarian, I think one can also be a pro-gun control libertarian, a pro-income tax libertarian, a pro-conscription libertarian or a libertarian thief. But all these are contradictory, and I tell those who I believe are making a bad error on war that, insofar as they make that error, they are clearly straying from libertarianism, because my purpose is to explain why, in my opinion, libertarianism, if it to be taken seriously as a political philosophy, must preclude government war, especially of the modern kind that has been typical of the last century and which the US has pretty much exclusively practiced.
Thus, I think there is some value in calling people libertarians, despite deviations on pretty much any issue, including taxation, gun restrictions, immigration controls or socialized medicine. (Most libertarians would draw the line here, but for one purpose of description, I would not.) But I also think there is another sense in which libertarianism precludes all this, as well as any and all advocacy for state power and activity. (Indeed, if there's any deviation that would disqualify someone from being a libertarian, I would say it's support for war, which is a greater violation of libertarian principle than nearly anything else government does – but I am willing to be big-tent about it to some degree. If you supported the invasion of Afhganistan or even were originally for the Iraq war, maybe you're a libertarian nevertheless. But if you are, then so is anyone who is generally pro-freedom to a sufficient extent, despite some serious deviations. Many people, however, who are very pro-war take it to a level that I find the description of them as libertarians to be totally unjustified.)
Thus writes Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at UCLA Law School, on"Multiculturalism as a source of valuable citizens."
Hat tip to Ian Goddard
Cross posted on The Trebach Report
David T. Beito
This might be a good opportunity to tune in early at 11:00 a.m. to hear Scott's insightful observations on the daily news in foreign policy. Few know more about this subject.
For all those American troops who wished to quit their jobs, but were forced to keep fighting under Stop Loss or just the plain threat of being tried for"desertion," there is a moral element to their deaths rarely grasped: Under the principles of the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence, the right to liberty is an inalienable right. This was enshrined in the 13th Amendment, which banned not just chattel slavery but involuntary servitude, including indentured servitude. What this means is in America, everyone is supposed to have a right to quit his job, at any time. He cannot sell himself into slavery, even for a term of service. If he violates a contract and quits, he can be held for damages, but he cannot be forced to keep working. Except in the military, where once you sign up, you cannot change jobs, even after your nominal term expires. What this means, in terms of morality, is everyone who is fighting in a war but would rather quit, and is held against his will to keep fighting, is a slave, and should he die while fighting, he is, morally speaking, a victim of murder by his own government. We do not have a fully voluntary military unless people can quit.
However, we can at least say these people, while often manipulated by recruiters, opted to sign up in the first place. But the Iraqis – what did they do to ask for this war? Nothing. This war has been a war of aggression against the Iraqi people, and so we must sympathize with not just Iraqi civilians but also the Iraqi soldiers who were killed in a war of aggression – on top of the possibly more than one million civilians killed as a result of this war, up to three times as many Iraqi soldiers died when compared to American soldiers.
A million civilians? If you think the number sounds too big, cut it in half – or even by 90%. There is something fundamentally dysfunctional about the way Americans tend to view their government's role in world affairs, to think that 100,000 Iraqis, by an extremely, perhaps even irresponsibly low, estimate, have perished in this war – and yet most focus, where there is any focus at all on the human costs of war, is centered on the American deaths.
There never was an excuse for this war, and there certainly is no excuse to stay. Four years ago, we began hearing the argument that if the US were to withdraw, there would be more violence and more death. There have been more violence and more death since – much more. The supposed success of the"surge" has been a return to the horrific levels of violence a few years back, back when the goal was supposedly to plant the roots of democracy and leave Iraq better than the US found it. Now the goal seems to be keeping the death toll to one or two Americans per day, while ignoring completely the mounting Iraqi death toll.
The US empire supported the horrible Saddam Hussein, encouraged his war of aggression against Iran, leaving hundreds of thousands dead, imposed through the United Nations a regime of sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands more, and now has the blood of many, many thousands more on its hands. For nearly three decades, the US has been the greatest enemy of the Iraqi people, for even when we could say it was Saddam, the dictator was being sponsored by the US government. The idea that more American intervention in Iraq is going to bring about peace and stability should seem pathologically absurd on its face by now. It is time to end this atrocity and begin the long process of reconciliation with the Iraqi people. The US government should take this as an opportunity to finally stop being the global policeman.
"I deny that someone who is pro-war can possibly be an anarchist."
Aeon responded,"Sorry, that's incorrect. Anarchism isn't identical with pacifism. Sometimes it's necessary to use force, which isn't immoral when it's defensive or retaliatory. It's not a matter of what _our_ views are, as long as _other people_ are statist collectivists, they will act accordingly, and that sometimes means warfare."
I don't understand this conflating of being antiwar with being pacifist. I know some people use the word that way, but I take pacifism to mean the opposition to violence across the board. I am not a pacifist. The right to self defense and even retaliation is something I fully accept.
But I also accept the right to give your money to charity, yet I oppose the welfare state. Why? Because, as a libertarian, I understand I have no right to take money from some people and give it to others.
Surely, this must carry over to all areas of life. If a neighbor attacks me, I have a right to fight back. But I can't steal my other neighbor's money to buy weapons to do so. More fundamental, I cannot, under libertarian ethics, bomb the whole street.
To be an anarchist, you have to, I believe, oppose the state. This would espeically include its enforcement arm – the police and military. For without the state's enforcement arm, its territorial monopoly would cease to be. Welfare doesn't bother me so much if its not backed up by guns.
Surely, US militarism is, just in the domestic sphere, at least as unlibertarian as welfare, since it is funded in the exact same, indefensible manner.
But war is of course much worse. In looking at the history of the US government in particular, it is hard to imagine an anarchist supporting it going to war. It is not as though the US government has never murdered anyone, and when the question of war arises, we are debating whether it should embark on some new project with every intention of avoiding the violation of people's rights. Given the actual history of the US government abroad, it seems to me particularly odd that any anarchist or libertarian would trust its actions overseas.
But back to the question of pacifism and war: I brought this to a new post because I think it's worth special contemplation. Who here thinks you have to eschew all violence to oppose all war? And who here believes, as I do, that you can believe in defensive violence, but that the inherent aggression involved in the warfare state, against taxpayers, soldiers who wish to quit their jobs and foreign victims of collateral damage alike, is enough for libertarians and anarchists to oppose government war out of principle?
And if this is not so, on what basis can we anarcho-libertarians oppose more mundane statism like welfare handouts, which are no more coercively financed than the military?
David T. Beito
Pratt was born on this day in 1886 in Sharpsville, Indiana. His family owned a tomato cannery and extensive farmland in the area. He attended Marion College, where he studied to be a teacher. Sometime during this period, the family lost most of its money because the cannery business failed. As a result, he permanently shelved a teaching career and moved to homestead farmland in northern Saskatchewan. Eventually, it became one of the largest farms in the immediate area. In 1913, Pratt began a long political career when the counselors of Lost River, a rural municipality, elected him as their secretary treasurer. One of his duties was tax collection. The irony was not lost on Pratt who often joked about it during his stint as a tax rebel in Chicago.
The life of a tax collector did not suit Pratt who moved to Winnipeg in 1917 to accept a position as municipal editor of The Grain Growers Guide, which spoke for the nascent cooperative movement in Canada. Pratt’s views on taxation as reflected in his columns reflected an affinity for theories of Henry George. Like George, he supported the replacement of the predominant local tax on acreage with a “system of taxing the unimproved values of land.”
In 1921, Pratt moved permanently to Chicago where he took a job with the Universal Feature and Specialty Company, a national newspaper syndicate. From there, he went on to become advertising manager of the Chicago Herald and Examiner, one of the two newspapers of William Randolph Hearst in the city. In addition to his other duties, he organized public relations for the Hearst-sponsored tour of Queen Marie of Romania.
In 1930, Pratt quit his newspaper job to take the helm as executive director of the Association of Real Estate Taxpayers (ARET), an organization of real-estate taxpayers in Chicago and Cook County. The president of was James. Bistor. Between 1931 and 1933, ARET organized a major tax strike. The group's chief demand was that local and state governments obey a long-ignored provision of the Illinois Constitution of 1870 requiring uniform taxation for all forms of property, Pratt charged that the failure to assess such personal property as furniture, cars, and stocks and bonds was not only illegal but left owners of real estate with excessive burdens. ARET's program also included support for sweeping rate reductions in the general property tax and retrenchment in local governmental spending.
ARET functioned primarily as a cooperative legal service. Each member paid annual dues of $15 to fund lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of real-estate assessments. The radical side of the movement became apparent by early 1931 when ARET called for taxpayers to withhold real-estate taxes (or “strike”) pending a final ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court, and later the U.S. Supreme Court. Mayor Anton Cermak and other politicians desperately tried to break the strike by threatening criminal prosecution of Pratt and other ARET leaders and revocation of city services.
ARET's influence peaked in late 1932, with a membership approaching 30,000 (largely skilled workers and small-business owners.) By this time, it had a budget of over $600,000 and a radio show in Chicago. But it suffered a demoralizing blow in October 1932 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case it had brought. Buffeted by political coercion and legal defeats, and torn by internal factionalism, the strike collapsed in early 1933.
In the two decades after the collapse of ARET, Pratt continued to be active in various organizations on the Old Right. To Pratt, participation in these organizations bespoke a deep suspicion of government paternalism. The first of these was the National Committee to Uphold Constitutional Government, which was organized by newspaper Frank Gannett to fight Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the U.S. Supreme Court. Although Pratt agreed with this goal, he later quit the Committee because he feared that Gannett would turn it into a springboard for the presidency.
In 1940, Pratt organized the National Physicians Committee for the Extension of Medical Service. The Committee played a major role in defeating President Harry S Truman’s plan for governmentally subsidized insurance. He also organization a group called the Heritage Foundation (different from the current group of the same name) which published and distributed the books of Clarence Manion, a key figure in the Old Right, and Paul Harvey, then a young radio commentator. He died in 1954. Pratt was the father of set designer, John T. Pratt, the husband of the famous black dancer Katherine Dunham.
I have not seen a similar survey for the US but it no doubt exists -- or could be written. Since American economic activity is on a much bigger scale, very substantial parts outside the New York credit markets & the housing sector -- are undoubtedly still flourishing.
This is worth bearing in mind. Life as usual is not & cannot be, news; but it is the greater part of the historical context.
Roderick T. Long
[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]
I note with interest that my old friend Mary Ruwart is entering the race for the LP nomination. Leaving aside the tangled question of whether electoral politics is an appropriate venue for libertarian activism (for the record, my view is that it shouldnt be central but is not forbidden either), I have to point out that Mary is clearly a more acceptable candidate to those of a left-libertarian persuasion than is Ron Paul.
On such issues as abortion, immigration, punishment, plutocracy, constitutionalism, gay marriage, and patents and copyrights, her positions, while not always perfect, are at least broadly left-libertarian, while on the issues of foreign policy and the war on terror shes actually more radically antiwar than Paul. Plus shes even an anarchist, though she doesnt trumpet it or use the term. Go Mary!
In not-especially-related news, Im pleased to see that Ken MacLeods Fall Revolution tetralogy, the ultimate left-libertarian science-fiction epic, is being re-released in a two-volume edition.
Roderick T. Long
Roderick T. Long
[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]
Now that Ron Pauls candidacy is winding down, my debate with Walter Block over the analogy or disanalogy between Pauls and Randy Barnetts deviations no longer has much urgency (assuming it ever did), but let us proceed nonetheless.
Recap: last December I asked why Pauls supporters downplay the importance of Pauls deviations from libertarian purity (on, e.g., abortion and immigration at least for those, like Walter, who agree with me that Pauls positions on those issues are deviations) while on the other hand treating Barnetts deviations (above all his support for the war) as a reason to deny his status as a libertarian at all. What justifies this disparity? (My own view is that both mens deviations are sufficiently serious for me not to support either one for President [not that Barnett is running for President, but supposing he were], but that neithers deviations disqualifies him from being considered a libertarian.)
Walter replied, I counter-replied, and Walter has now counter-counter-replied. (Theres also lively discussion in the comments section over 50 posts and counting.) I hereby counter-counter-counter-reply.
1. Walters first point is that Barnetts deviations are more serious than Pauls: I see bombing innocent children and adults as a far more serious violation of liberty than aborting fetuses, or violating the rights of people to cross national borders. This is a bit oddly worded; since Walter agrees with me on the permissibility of abortion, then of course we can agree that bombing innocent people is a more serious violation of liberty than aborting fetuses, since we dont regard aborting fetuses as a violation of liberty at all. Presumably Walter meant that bombing innocent people is a more serious violation of liberty than preventing women from having abortions.
Now perhaps Walter is right that bombing innocent people is a worse violation of liberty than preventing women from having abortions. But thats still consistent with thinking that preventing women from having abortions is an extremely serious violation of liberty; and I think any libertarian who holds the position that Walter and I hold on abortion is indeed committed to regarding a prohibition of abortion as an extremely serious violation of liberty, far more serious than, say, drug laws or economic regulations. For a ban on abortion then counts as unrightfully forcing women to allow their bodies to be used as incubators the moral equivalent of mass rape and mass enslavement. Taking into account the pain and risk involved in childbirth, an abortion ban also counts as the moral equivalent of mass torture. Is mass rape/enslavement/torture a less serious violation of liberty than mass murder? Maybe so; but it certainly counts as being in the same moral ballpark.
Now it is true, of course, that Paul favours returning the abortion issue to the states rather than imposing a federal ban on abortion. That certainly makes his position less objectionable than it would otherwise be. (For my views on how to weigh the merits of decentralism against the merits of striking down local oppressive legislation, see the second half of my LRC article on Kelo.) Perhaps Walter will say thats enough to make the difference between purgatorio for Paul and inferno for Barnett. Well, suppose we stipulate that that is so. Still, we may also note that Barnett is an anarchist while Paul is not. So Paul supports, while Barnett opposes, what Walter and I will agree is the most anti-liberty institution on earth, unreformable, unsalvageable, an inevitable source of more war and oppression so long as it exists. So why isnt that enough to lower Pauls score and/or raise Barnetts?
2. Walters second point is that abortion and immigration are more complex issues than war, and deviation on complex issues counts less against ones libertarian credentials than deviation on simple issues just as getting 2 + 2 = 4 wrong counts more against ones credentials as a mathematician than getting the Pythagorean theorem wrong, or getting the ex ante benefit of exchange wrong counts more against ones credentials as an Austrian economist than getting the business cycle wrong.
But first of all, its not obvious to me that war is a less complex issue than abortion and immigration. Now maybe this is charitable bias on my part toward my own past self: I started my libertarian career as a Randian, so while I was never guilty of the anti-abortion and anti-immigration deviations, I was once hawkishly deviant on the issue of foreign policy yet I dont want to deny my past self the title of libertarian. But to put my position less self-servingly, I would say that, having once been a liberventionist myself, I can understand the position from the inside and see how a libertarian could sincerely adopt it. (Just combine an empirically mistaken view about whether a certain use of force is actually defensive with a morally mistaken view about the requirements for permissible violence against innocent shields, and voilà.)
Consider Barnetts defense of his position here. Is it mistaken? Yes, I think so. Is it so obviously, grossly mistaken that no intelligent libertarian could sincerely adopt it? I cant see that it is.
But second, even if I were to grant that the libertarian case against war is much simpler and more obvious than the libertarian case against restrictions on abortion and immigration, I cant see how that would establish that deviation on the former does, while deviation on the latter does not, disqualify the proponent from counting as a libertarian. Greater complexity of an issue may make deviation on that issue more excusable, but I didnt think we were arguing about who is more blameworthy for a given deviation. Whether Paul and/or Barnett reached their mistaken positions through honest error, culpable intellectual negligence, or some combination of the two is not my concern; Im not interested in passing judgment on their souls.
The question of how complex an issue is seems to me quite different from the question of how serious a mistake about that issue is. Yes, Walter cites some cases in which the two do go together; but they need not always do so. Getting the fuel mixture wrong in the space shuttle, for example, is a more serious error than misspelling the shuttles name on the side, even though the latter error is less complex and so easier to avoid.
Likewise, the libertarian case against abortion laws is surely more complex than the libertarian case against taxation (since the former, unlike the latter, requires assessing the moral status of the fetus); hence its much easier to show that taxation is inconsistent with libertarian principles than to show that restrictions on abortion are. But it doesnt seem to follow that libertarian deviations on abortion are less serious than libertarian deviations on taxation. On the contrary, once we grant that a ban on abortion is a rights-violation, then it must be seen as a worse rights-violation than taxation, since it invades the victims very body and not just her external property. And likewise for the pro-life side: if I regarded abortion itself as a rights-violation, I would again have to take it as a worse rights-violation than taxation, inasmuch as murder is worse than theft. So although abortion may be an easier issue for libertarians to get wrong than taxation is, its still surely worse to get abortion wrong whichever side one thinks of as getting it wrong than to get taxation wrong.
3. Walter thinks the case for regarding a deviation as within rather than beyond the pale of libertarianism depends on whether the deviation is endorsed by prominent libertarian authorities. The argument seems to be mainly epistemological: if so authoritative a libertarian as X holds a certain position, we should be more cautious about rejecting that position, and so accordingly more cautious about how serious a deviation we take it to be. (One might also interpret Walter as offering a paradigm-case argument: if theorist X is a paradigm case of a libertarian, then we cannot treat a deviation held by that theorist as reason to deny libertarian status to holders of that deviation. Im not sure whether Walter intends this latter argument as well.) Given Walters additional premise that anti-immigrationists like Murray Rothbard, Hans Hoppe, and Stephan Kinsella are more deserving of the title of eminent libertarian theorist than liberventionists like John Hospers and Randy Barnett, it follows that libertarian deviation on immigration must be more serious than libertarian deviation on war. (Walter is apparently not sure nor am I what Hoppes and Kinsellas views on abortion are; its an issue that argumentation ethics doesnt clearly address. K-dog, if youre reading this, pray enlighten us.)
Im not convinced. First, with regard to the epistemological argument, suppose its true that we should be more cautious about rejecting positions that the big guns of libertarianism defend; I would probably put less weight on this point than Walter would, but lets grant it arguendo. Still I dont follow the inference from being more cautious in labeling a position as a deviation to attributing a lesser degree of seriousness to those positions we do label as deviations. The strength or certainty with which were prepared to hold a position seems like a different matter from the content of the positions we hold. Its not as though we have to hold extreme views with extreme conviction and moderate views with moderate conviction; on the contrary, we might well have grounds to hold extreme views with moderate conviction and moderate views with extreme conviction. Hence even if thinker Xs greater eminence over thinker Y gives us reason for greater caution in labeling one of Xs positions a deviation than in labeling one of Ys positions such, if we do decide that X and Y are both guilty of deviations, I cant see that our reasons for differential caution translate into reasons for regarding Xs deviations as less serious than Ys.
As for Walters claim that Barnett does not count as eminent, this isnt obvious to me. If Walter means eminent in the descriptive sense, meaning essentially famous, then I think Barnett probably counts as more eminent than, say, Hoppe and Kinsella, though probably less so than Rothbard. If Walter means eminent in the normative sense, meaning something like important or deserving to be famous, then Barnett surely belongs in the same tier of eminence as Hoppe and Kinsella. (I also dont think the early, pro-immigration Rothbard can be less eminent than the later, anti-immigration Rothbard.) On behalf of Barnetts claim to normative eminence, I would point to his excellent book The Structure of Liberty and articles on, for example, restitution, contract theory, and Spoonerite jurisprudence, as well as his marvelous two-part piece (Part 1; Part 2) in defense of anarchism. How, in light of these contributions, can we avoid acknowledging Barnetts status as an eminent libertarian theorist? (I would make such a case for Hospers as well.)
As for the paradigm-case argument (if Walter means to offer one), Mises and Rand surely count as paradigmatic cases of libertarian theorists; yet Mises supported the Cold War, and Rand, though less hawkish than her current followers, held that any free or semi-free country has the right to invade any dictatorship, and that any innocent casualties in such an invasion are to be laid at the door of the invaded dictatorship, not the semi-free invaders. And then theres Benjamin Tucker, a paradigmatic libertarian theorist for at least some of us, who defended U.S. entry into World War I. So deviation on war seems insufficient grounds for ejection from libertarian status.
In any case, Im not sure how much should turn on whether a given position counts as within or beyond the pale of libertarianism per se; the main questions, as I see it, are a) is the position mistaken, and b) if so, is the mistake bad enough to warrant refusal to support a candidate? How bad a mistake is and how unlibertarian a mistake is are, after all, different questions. For example, someone who held that the entire human race should be exterminated, but favoured persuasive rather than coercive measures for achieving this, would be taking a worse position than someone who, say, endorsed copyrights, even though the former position has more claim than the latter to be consistent with the letter (though not the spirit) of libertarianism. Favouring voluntary extermination of the human race I would regard as a stronger reason not to support a candidate than favouring copyrights.
4. Walter closes by suggesting that he is operating from a sort of agnostic point of view, that of a newcomer to libertarianism. Okay, but in that case I have to ask: why is he doing that? After all, hes not an agnostic; he appears to defend his positions quite forcefully, not tentatively or with one eye over his shoulder toward the eminent libertarian authorities (hey, Ive heard him call Hans Hoppe a pinko! this is not Mr. Quaking Deference); and hes certainly less of a newcomer to libertarianism than I am.
5. Finally, Im curious to know Walters opinion of Mary Ruwarts candidacy. Ruwart holds (what Walter and I regard as) the right libertarian positions on foreign policy and abortion and immigration; plus shes a generally radical libertarian, a proponent of Austrian business cycle theory, and an anarchist to boot. Does Walter agree with me that Ruwarts candidacy is more deserving of libertarian support than Ron Pauls?