Saturday, December 19, 2015

Refuting Rothbard

The following was a comment on my previous post here [link], and it's such a refreshing take and so insightful about the ethnic/sociological aspect of it all, that it deserves to reincarnate as a guest post, so here it is. My afterword follows.

Rothbard "appropriated" the term "libertarianism" and instead gave us anarcho capitalism as the reinterpretation of cosmopolitan ethics of the eastern european borderlands, under Russian, Lithuanian, and Polish rule. It is the ethic of the ghetto. Of the people who do not produce commons or defense.

There is nothing 'libertarian' in Rothbarianism, and nothing moral in his or Block's attempt to construct moral and legal rules.

The word "is" remains extremely confusing for english speakers, since it refers both to "exists as", and can be used as a shortcut for AVOIDING or CONFLATING, or DECEIVING the method by which something exists.

So I prefer to state libertarianism as the reciprocal insurance of all individuals in a polity against the undesired imposition of costs upon that which has been transformed at the cost of individual actions or inactions - whether that cost be imposed by an individual(violence, theft, fraud, externality) a group of individuals (conspiracy), or an organization devoted to the construction of commons (government).

Liberty can only be constructed by this means: mutual insurance against the involuntary imposition of costs.

There is no free lunch. And arguments in favor of 'belief' in liberty, or belief that we should leave one another alone, are merely fraudulent attempts to obtain the experience of liberty without paying the very high cost of both insuring one another against impositions of costs, and the high cost of refraining from imposing costs upon others, and the high cost of creating commons that produce disproportionate returns, including the commons of Liberty itself.

And as empirical evidence we should note that the cosmopolitans lost eastern Europe just as their ancestors lost Spain and Jerusalem.

There are no free rides.
Liberty is rare because it is expensive.
But the returns on the high trust society warrant it.
And because only a militia of warriors possesses the incentive to construct it.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine
Ex-Army here. I've always thought of Rothbard as a rather reasonable version of modern libertarianism. As opposed, of course, to the original libertarianism of the Founding Fathers, who I look to as a measure of such things. Curt's evaluation of him certainly gives me a bit of a Zen Aha! feeling. This could explain a lot. Despite Rothbard's sensible advocacy of working together with Buchananites and other old-right people, he does remain an anarchist of sorts, and looking at him, as Doolittle does, as the cultural/political product of the East European ghettos really does explain the difference between the wacky open-borders, legalize everything libertarians of today, and the Founders' version of it from th 18th century. "People who do not produce commons or defense" provokes a lot of thinking, all by itself. Commons and defense are, indeed, the very things that modern smug mother's-basement-dwelling left-libertarians seem disdain or ignore entirely, as not fitting their sandbox narrative.

So, thank you, Curt Doolittle for this comment/guest post. Doolittle's website is here, and I intend to spend the next few days reading through it in search of more Zen moments.
Quibcag: Somehow, Erwin of Girls und Panzer (ガールズ&パンツァーGāruzu ando Pantsā) seems right to illustrate the quote.


  1. “”””Commons and defense are, indeed, the very things that modern smug mother's-basement-dwelling left-libertarians seem disdain or ignore entirely, as not fitting their sandbox narrative.””””

    The commons are not always ignored, but when they are brought up they are misused.

    A example is when the open borders types start demanding free movement even on other peoples property so they can move around the world. They will often bring up the idea the roads are commons.

    But actual commons were not universal/globalist, they were local commons. The people in a village might decide that a field was common to all, but that only applied to the villagers. Someone in another village could not graze their cow in your common field. Nor even could one of your own villagers abuse the right by grazing 50 cows and eating up all the grass.

    The same applies to the commons used as roads, its use would be for those who made the agreement that such land was common and could be used as a road. Others who wanted to use it could be restricted in all sorts of ways, special rules, special fees, outright banning of use.

    If you don’t restrict and regulate the commons then you end up with the “Tragedy of the Commons” where unlimited use causes the destruction of the commons. So the Open Borders idea that a common road was open to all 7 billion people in the world is a crazy idea which not only destroys the road but destroys the property rights of those who had agreed in common on that property’s use.

    This wrong usage of the idea of commons is based on the wrong idea that there are Rights to movement when in fact what the free market and libertarianism is based on is negotiation. In the free market you have no Right to an apple, you can however negotiate with the owner of the apple so that you can have it. Whether in exchange for money or work or just because the owner of the apple wants you to have it.

    This is where high trust societies come into play since they would be more likely to create commons, but the same society would be destroyed by the idea that all 7 billion of the world have the same rights to the commons as the ones who created the commons in the first place.

  2. Curt Doolittle's world-view is not much different from most libertarians I knew in the 1980's. He's essentially a libertarian who believes that national/ethnic boundaries should be kept in place, a not unreasonable view.

    The fact is that essentially all of humanity in the eastern hemisphere (Eurasian and African continents) are tribal in nature. Family/clan/tribe being the social pattern. Doolittle's version of libertarianism seems suited for this kind of social structure and ought to work for such people.

  3. Open borders are a statement of Humans' natural right to travel and not be interfered with. The right to travel and live wherever one wants to, ought to be regarded as an inalienable right. The market can be a great regulator of who gets to live where.

    That being said, mass immigration of poor people IS a problem and causes conflict through large numbers of poor people being in proximity to relative wealth. But, what the anti-immigrationists often leave out of the discussion, is the fact that large scale immigration is just about always caused by Statism on a global scale: the support of statist regimes abroad by big corporations and western governments, the imperialism of regime change for profit which leads to destabilization, and coups organized by corporations. The best cure for mass immigration is not militarizing borders and building walls, but improvement of the standard of living in other countries and the world as a whole. If the globe were a free market society, and personal liberties were held up to the same standard everywhere, then wealth around the world would equalize, and an equilibrium would result. People would immigrate to Europe and the West because they WANTED to, not because they are FORCED to. Such people would therefore be moving out of an appreciation for the countries that they are moving to, and since their relative affluence would be comparable to the countries they are moving to, they would not present an ethnic conflict problem. Things would be in equilibrium. Because these people would be immigrating out of an informed choice, they would naturally respect the commons of the countries they would be moving to. Consider the following example:
    Suppose Mali were stable and economically sound enough for the vast majority of Malians to own their own houses. Suppose then that this Malian meets a European lady online, sees the beach in France, and decides that he would like to leave his landlocked country so that he can live near the ocean. So he sells his house, (with the global market being determined by a gold standard,) his house sells at a value such that he could afford to buy one in France. He then comes to France, and marries this woman, and develops an appreciation for the French culture. With Africans controlling their own gold and mineral resources (rather than them being plundered by outside forces), this Malian is able to command a pretty good price for his house.

    He then goes on to live a happy and prosperous life in France, with his French wife.

    You see how different this is to the present reality, where people are being forced to relocate because of poverty induced by neo-colonial exploitation?