Postrel, guru of the "dynamist"
trend in libertarianism, and ex-editor of Reason
magazine, has long used her
website as a kind of pulpit to correct the old, "static"
libertarian movement and encourage a new generation of properly
dynamic Bright Young Things. The latest is one Brink Lindsey,
whom, she notes, has written
long important post on the 'antiwar' libertarians who are
fast becoming anti-American, even anti-market, cozying up
to people like Gore Vidal and Pat Buchanan ('Fast becoming'
makes this seem like a newer phenomenon than it is. Actually,
it's decades-old.) Brink explains the phenomenon and its flaws
we continue with more of Postrel's posturing, please note
the sardonic quotation marks adorning "antiwar" as if the
confluence of peace and liberty is almost too absurd to contemplate.
Gee, that's strange, since every libertarian theoretician
of note, from Ludwig von Mises to Murray Rothbard to the classical
liberals has noted that war is inimical to liberty, both personal
and economic, and that peace is the essential prerequisite
of a free society. What universe does this woman live in?
should also note that this business about "cozying up to Gore
Vidal" refers to an upcoming event put on by the Independent
Institute, a free market thinktank headquartered in Oakland,
California, featuring Gore Vidal as a guest speaker on the
subject of "Understanding America's
Terrorist Crisis: What Should be Done?" I strongly suspect
that bit about Buchanan was an oblique reference to me, as
I spent much of the year 2000 extolling the virtues of his
foreign policy views, and even made the opening
nominating speech at the Reform Party's infamous Long
Beach convention: but apparently I am too lowly for the mighty
Postrel to even acknowledge, although she is counting on the
fact that everyone will know whom she is talking about.
these libertarians are less interested in creating, maintaining,
and defending free societies than they are in destroying states,
any states, never mind what replaces them. Hence, Murray Rothbard,
the intellectual source of much of this worldview, notoriously
rejoiced at the fall of Saigon, because it represented the
end of a state as if anarchist utopia followed."
begin with, Postrel is lying about the content of Rothbard's
1975 article, "Death of a State." What she is hoping is that no one will check : after all,
how long would it take to ferret out the article? (Not long,
if, like me, you happen to have the collected works of Rothbard
sitting on your bookshelf). But there are grounds for suspicion:
note that she doesn't quote directly from the piece, but merely
paraphrases. Here is what Rothbard actually said:
"sudden and total collapse" of the South Vietnamese government,
he wrote, illustrates a point made by David Hume and Ludwig
von Mises, namely that
matter how bloody or despotic any State may be, it rests for
its existence in the long run (and not so long run) on the
'voluntary servitude (as [Etienne] La Boetie first phrased
it) of its victims. . . .of course, the process does not
now usher in any sort of libertarian Nirvana, since another
bloody state is in the process of taking over. But the
disintegration remains, and offers us many instructive lessons."
in short, is full of it. Rothbard was merely isolating a particular
phenomenon, and analyzing its implications, not hailing a
Communist victory, as she shamelessly implies. She is, in
short, a liar.
CREED OF DESTRUCTION?
she is either lying, or deluded, in likening antiwar libertarians
to subversive and somewhat sinister nihilists intent on "destroying
states," all states everywhere. If we were, indeed, narrowly
focused on this creed of destruction, then certainly we would
be in the vanguard of the War Party along with Ms. Postrel
eagerly awaiting the dissolution of the Iraqi state under
a rain of American bombs.
behind such brazen misrepresentations? There's an agenda at
work here, and it has to do with the post-cold war divisions
on the Right that have pitted neoconservatives
ex-leftists and liberals turned ostensibly conservative
against those who represent an older tradition, the "paleoconservatives"
who harken back to the "isolationist" traditions of conservative
anti-imperialism. After the cold war ended, many libertarians
(notably Rothbard and Llewellyn
H. Rockwell, of the Ludwig
von Mises Institute) forged a working alliance with the
old-style conservatives and even "reactionaries" grouped around
the Rockford Institute and Chronicles
Buchanan Ms. Postrel's bete noir: a symbol, for
her, of all that is "reactionary" and evil figured prominently
among these "paleos," in particular for his principled and
very visible opposition to the first Gulf War. In her own
anti-state libertarians often slip very quickly into alliances
with the anti-trade, anti-immigration, anti-cosmopolitan reactionaries
of the left and right. They imagine that at some golden age
in the past, their perfect world existed until it was ruined
by foreigners, industry, abolitionists, or some other force
immigration, Big Business, and Sherman's march through Georgia
were these Forces of Change really the locomotives of economic
and personal liberty in America?
is not a question to ask the author of The Future and its
Enemies, who sternly divides the history of ideas into
two camps: those doddering obscurantists who are for "stasis"
and the hip, fully-wired young know-it-alls like herself,
who have made a religion out of modernity.
the more ascetic, less self-infatuated individualism of an
earlier era of the with the narcissism of the nineties, Reason
under Postrel's stewardship steered away from the bread-and-butter
economic issues that had built and sustained it under the
W. Poole, and concentrated much of its attention on social
issues: drugs, homosexuality, and wowie-zowie technology worship.
Under Postrel's tutelage, Reason gradually became an
ideological sideshow a weird combination of High
Stories, touting drug legalization and the virtues
of cloning yes, cloning! as the signature issues
of the libertarian ethos.
THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
Poole's editorship, there had been some debate on specific
foreign policy issues, but most of the writers, at least in
the early years, maintained the classic libertarian stance:
non-intervention in the affairs of other nations, and general
opposition to the US military action abroad. This began to
change, under Postrel: Reason supported the Gulf war
editorially, and, while trenchant
pieces critiquing the radical internationalism of the
neoconservatives still appeared in its pages, by the time
she left, last year, and handed over the reins to Nick
Gillespie (an even more self-consciously hip clone of
herself), the magazine was running rabidly pro-war tracts
indistinguishable in tone and quality from a New York Post
editorial for example, this
laughable screed by Jonathan Rauch where the author wrongly
(and without a lick of evidence) fingered Saddam Hussein as
the perpetrator of the anthrax-by-mail terrorist attacks.
How disappointed Rauch and the editors of Reason must
have been when it turned out to be one of our own government
the FBI still refuses to accuse, never mind arrest.
POSTRELIAN FOREIGN POLICY
"dynamist" creed change good, "stasis" bad doesn't offer
much guidance on foreign policy issues: a "dynamist consensus,"
she once averred in
a speech, "would not tell us what to do about Bosnia."
This incapacity, however, didn't stop her from writing an article calling on
the US to arm (and presumably train) the Bosnians exactly
what Osama bin Laden was doing at the time.
this piece on Bosnia, she expands on a general theory of US
hegemony that closely resembles the
infamous memorandum of (now deputy defense secretary) Paul
Wolfowitz, in which he called on the US to adopt a policy
that would preemptively strike against any power that threatened
its regional supremacy anywhere on earth: Wolfowitz, eminence grise
of the ultra-interventionist faction in the Bush administration,
gained attention, in early 1992, when his memo was leaked to
the New York Times. In it, he posited a new post-cold war
military build-up predicated on the idea that the US must:
to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose
resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient
to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe,
East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest
world would no longer consist of a preminent superpower and
several regional powers: instead of being a mere superpower,
the US would ascend in rank and aspire to the role of what
the French call a "hyperpower,"
a global hegemon preeminent in every region. Now that Wolfowitz
and his neoconservative buddies are in power, ensconced not
only in the Defense Department but in the White House, this
militant vision is being implemented, first of all, in the
Middle East. As the Bushies get ready to ride to the sound
of the guns, and the War Party is advocating the military
occupation not only of Iraq but
also Saudi Arabia and even Syria,
Postrel's formulation of a proper US foreign policy sounds
positively Wolfowitzian. Here is Postrel:
the post-Cold War era, U.S. interests lie in preventing the
rise of expansionist despotic powers. This strategic goal
distinguishes between countries that threaten their neighbors
and those that do not. It recognizes the importance to the
world, and to U.S. citizens, not of maintaining the stability
of regimesthe road from despotism to liberalism leads through
instability but of containing aggressive oppressors."
by "aggressive oppressors," you can be sure she doesn't mean
'LIBERTARIAN' WING OF THE WAR PARTY
the Israeli "Defense Force" carries out a bloody and brutal
pogrom in Palestine, and George W. Bush sets his sights on
Iraq, Postrel and her neocon clones have signed on as the
ostensibly "libertarian" platoon of the War Party. Their proclaimed
goal is to "save" libertarianism from us "disreputable" types,
and convert it into a druggie we-love-cloning subset of neoconservatism
with only an inchoate foreign policy stance. As neoconservative
warhawk Daniel Pipes once
wrote in reply to William
Niskanen of the libertarian Cato Institute: "Stick to
the economic analyses you do so well and leave foreign policy
to others" those "others" being the ultra-interventionist,
fanatically pro-Israel wing of the conservative movement.
sees the proper role of libertarians in wartime as too important
to be left to the likes of people like, uh, me: libertarians
have to ask "unpopular questions," like why should John Ashcroft
have the right to bust into homes and offices and round up
whomever he likes (but not too unpopular, like "what
are we fighting for?"):
questions are a lot harder to take seriously from people who
hate America or encourage those who doand who dream of
a static, stateless utopia."
hates America? How are these nameless errant souls
encouraging "those who do" and who are they, anyway?
That's why they call it a smear. The mudslinger doesn't have
to offer any evidence, or even a link, a citation not anything.
They just have to concoct the dirtiest, slimiest mudball,
preferably one with a rock at its center, and fling it as
hard as they can the results are guaranteed every time,
because at least some of the grime will stick to its
target. And, who knows, maybe that rock will knock them out
of action for a while. So that the next time someone hears
about antiwar libertarians, the politically correct response
will be: Oh, you mean those anarcho-nihilist subversives
who hate America?
Lindsey, author of Against the Dead Hand, and a fellow
at the Cato Institute, unlike the arrogant Postrel, deigns
to mention antiwar.com, although he insists on putting the
name of our sponsoring organization the Center
for Libertarian Studies (CLS) in ironic quotes. But
the Center has been around for 35 years: its founding preceded
that of the Cato Institute by a full decade. CLS was supporting
libertarian scholarship and publishing libertarian giants
like Murray Rothbard,
Block, and others, when Lindsey was in swaddling clothes
and, barring any unforeseen catastrophe, will continue to
do so. Nonetheless, an air of smug self-satisfaction suffuses
of the libertarian wing of the antiwar movement. Of course,
a real critique is not what we get from Mr. Lindsey. Instead,
we get the strange accusation of "America-hating," again,
similarly focused on the devil-figure of Gore
a real eye-popper. The Independent Institute is a Bay Area
libertarian think tank which claims as members of its Board
of Advisors such libertarian luminaries as Nobel laureate
James Buchanan, Richard Epstein, Charles Murray, and Walter
Williams. On April 18, the institute is sponsoring a forum
entitled 'Understanding America's Terrorist Crisis: What Should
Be Done?' The moderator is none other than Harper's editor
Lewis Lapham, who has condemned the war on terror as an 'American
jihad' in the pages of his magazine. And who is the featured
speaker? The King of All America Haters, Gore Vidal himself!"
the greatest of our novelists, a writer whose works, gathered
together end to end, depict the vast panorama of American
history in all its dramatic sweep and grandeur. To call him
an "America Hater" is a statement of such extraordinary stupidity
that it is hard to fathom what could possibly motivate it
but willful ignorance and malice. Unless, of course, one knows
that Gore Vidal is the great devil figure of the neocons,
a man who has been marked for all time because once scornfully
averred that Norman
Podhoretz and Midge
Decter, two prominent neoconservatives, had made "common
cause with the lunatic fringe" (i.e. conservatives)
scare Americans into spending gargantuan sums for a military
buildup against the sclerotic Soviets and in order to secure
an unlimited amount of aid to Israel."
wrote this way back in 1986, in The Nation, and looking
at the public pronouncements of these two since that time,
his prognosis seems pretty accurate to me particularly his
remarks that they amount to little more than "fifth columnists,"
far more interested in Israel than in their own country. One
has only to note the Podhoretzian-neocon display
of anger at our President's attempt to rein in the rampaging
Israeli army to see that Vidal was absolutely right. In any
pulled his usual act and replied that Vidal's piece was
"perhaps the most blatantly anti-Semitic article to have appeared
in a respectable American periodical since World War II."
The battle was joined, and Mr. Lindsey continues where Podhoretz
is going on? What's wrong with these people? One can dismiss
particular individuals or groups as disreputable or crankish,
but the fact is that anti-war views similar to those held
by the loonie left are not uncommon among libertarians these
"wrong" with "these people" namely, the heroic David
Theroux, a principled and dedicated libertarian and president
of the Independent Insitute is that they don't take dictation
from Poddy and his Pod-people, they don't get fat grants from
neocon foundations, and they don't consider Israel differently
from any other Third World socialist hellhole. That may be
shocking to Mr. Lindsey, but then he'll just have to learn
to live with it.
VIDAL, OLD-STYLE LIBERAL
to call Vidal part of the "loonie left" is utter crap. Listen
to the author of The
Golden Age speaking through one of his characters:
am anti-war as you may have guessed but not because, as some
deep thinkers believe, I am a Quaker born and bred. I'm perfectly
willing for us to fight if we have to. But I see something
worse than war on the horizon. I am certain that the next
war will absolutely transform us. I see more power to the
great corporations. More power to the government. Less power
to the people. That's what I fear. Because once this starts,
it is irreversible. You see, I want to live in a community
that governs itself. Well, you can't extend the mastery of
the government over the daily life of a people without making
government the master of those people's souls and thoughts,
the way the fascists and the Bolsheviks have done."
Vidal may support nationalized health care, is this really a
liberal talking? Perhaps only in the classical sense.
might also ask the same sort of question in regard to Mr.
Lindsey, and come up with the opposite answer: what kind of
a "libertarian" is so baffled by opposition to this administration's
endless "war on terrorism"? Vidal understands what the "libertarian"
Lindsey fails to even mention in his contentless critique
of libertarian opposition to the policy of perpetual war
that you can't have an empire on which the sun never sets,
and our old Republic. With the rise of America as a
global hegemon, even a relatively frugal one, the idea of
limited government goes right out the window. For how will
we pay for the extensive armies, navies, and weapons
systems required to maintain and police such an empire without
resorting to confiscatory levels of taxation? How will we
rein in the power of a President, who, in war, has practically
SOUL OF A NEOCON
is the health of the State,
Bourne observed, its very lifeblood, and this is a truism
the neocons understand even if their tame "libertarians" stupidly
evade it. Vidal, too, understands the dynamic of war and statism,
and he shows it in a little speech by one of his all-too-real
fictional creations, one Billy Thornton, a commie-turned-rightwinger
who has gone to work for the Wall Street Journal. The main character, Peter Sanford, a stand-in for
Vidal, marvels at how Bill has actually come full
circle from communism
to capitalism." Vidal then gives the archetypal neoconservative
scales have fallen from your eyes at last.' Billy blew smoke
across the table. 'Taken to their logical conclusion, the
two are nearly identical. Where the ideal communist socialist
state would use the national wealth for the good of the citizen,
strictly regulated, of course, by a centralized money power,
we are now, in the interest of defending ourselves against
an enemy both Satanic and godless
creating a totally militarized
the alleged "loonie leftist," understands the interplay of
war and the growth of State power, while the alleged "libertarian"
Lindsey is utterly clueless or pretends to be. Instead,
he critiques arguments that nobody makes, and tries to diagnose
the baffling to him antiwar sentiments of libertarians
as attributable to anarchism, which he calls "delusional."
But Lindsey is battling a straw man: for the argument he makes
that libertarians oppose this rotten war because we don't
recognize the "legitimacy" of the State and the "paradox"
that the defense of liberty requires the use of force are
equally applicable to minimal statism. One can see that some
minimal State is a necessary evil, without either granting
it "legitimacy" in the reverent sense Lindsey means or giving
it a blank check to go on an international rampage.
government that has the power and resources to project huge
armies across vast oceans, and to act with the arrogant impunity
of a preening "superpower," is not going to be minimal in
any sense of the term: instead, it is necessarily and inevitably
going to maximize both its resources and its insufferable
hubris. Lindsey, Postrel, and their fellow sell-outs over
at the Cato Institute (we'll get to them in a minute) clearly
see themselves in the role of house critics: while never challenging
the warrior ethic that animates the creators of the Welfare-Warfare
State, they are content to nestle in its shadow, pointing
out how this or that aspect of the (endless) War Effort might
be made more efficient if only it were "privatized."
only we're allowed to drug ourselves into a stupor and clone
our "cosmopolitan" selves in an orgy of frenzied narcissism,
what does anything else matter? So what if the savages
at the edge of the Empire are bombed into submission for
their own good, of course and killed in the thousands, even
hundreds of thousands? We can always clone a few more.
strikes me as odd is the complete absence of any moral sense
in Lindsey's screed, as well as the complete lack of any real
arguments. He simply assumes the total morality of the present course, and pontificates:
a set of ideas yields a horribly mistaken response to an absolutely
critical question, there's something fundamentally wrong with
those ideas. That's the situation, as I see it, with the species
of libertarianism that has given rise to anti-war sentiment.
The first and most obvious problem is the dogmatically anti-interventionist
foreign policy touted by many libertarians. There is a clear
conflict between such a vision of foreign policy and the effective
prosecution of the present war on terror, and libertarians
who oppose the war have recognized that conflict and decided
to go down with the anti-interventionist ship."
about the clear conflict between Lindsey's fulsome support
for George W. Bush's endless war and the vision of a much
smaller government supposedly embraced by libertarians? Is
he really so oblivious to this obvious contradiction or
has he implicitly recognized it, decided libertarianism is
doomed because "everything's changed" since 9/11, and, like
the rat he is, commenced to jump what he sees as a sinking
to Lindsey, there no general principles applicable to
foreign policy no, not even, it appears, any moral
principles and, in any case, the non-intervention principle
has a number of (unspecified) "shortcomings":
could illustrate those shortcomings more vividly than the
reality-evading nonsense that anti-war libertarians are putting
out in defense of that principle's present applicability.
Take a look at those websites I cited if you doubt me."
Mr. Lindsey, I'm taking a look at them, and what do I see?
On antiwar.com I see links to stories describing, in brutal
detail, the depredations of the Israeli Army as it slaughters
more Palestinians every day all of it paid for and tacitly
approved by Uncle Sam. I see our columnists writing on every
aspect of this ever-widening "war on terrorism," pointing
out that Bush's drive to conquer Iraq is entirely disconnected
from 9/11 and that Osama bin Laden has been virtually forgotten
in the rush to take advantage of the war hysteria. I see comprehensive
coverage of what is actually happening in this war,
and commentary that is neither pacifist nor leftist but proudly
and outspokenly libertarian. You gotta problem with that?
is indicative of Lindsey's whole method of non-argument that
he nowhere quotes a single article or story that appears on
this site: instead, he sniffs that we may even be "disreputable."
Yeah, that's right, Brink baby, we're just not good enough
for the likes of your hifalutin' self: why, we never
get invited to any fancy Washington cocktail parties and have
no opportunity to rub shoulders with Republican fat-cats.
Street Journal wouldn't even think of reviewing any book written
by us. Gee, being pro-war sure is good for your
career, eh, Brink? But that of course is just a coincidence,
and couldn't possibly be a consideration in determining
your views isn't that right? Like hell it is.
'CULTURAL POWER,' AND THEIRS
don't mean to be rude or, then again, maybe I do but the
dismissive tone of these neocon clones is really beneath contempt.
In their transparent attempts to suck up to the War Party,
and build up their flimsy little careers, they are imitating
the methods of the neocons: don't attack the arguments, attack
the people who hold them. Gore Vidal? A "loonie leftist."
Antiwar.com? Quite possibly "disreputable." Meanwhile, we
are reaching one million visits a month, while Lindsey, declaiming
from his dinky little website, pompously asks:
cares what a tiny fringe of libertarians thinks about the
war? They're clearly having no impact on public opinion or
government policy. And unlike their comrades against arms
on the left, they hold no positions of cultural power."
but he's worried, too, because, as he states at the outset,
"Denunciations of the war by people of libertarian views are
splashed all over the web." Well, then, which is it:
are we just a "fringe" that has "no impact on public opinion"
and "no cultural power," or are increasingly large numbers
of people coming into contact with our ideas because they
are "all over the web"?
INVADE PAKISTAN ?
enough of this phony, who promises a debate but then fails
to follow through: I have my doubts about his "cultural
power," too, and there are other, more deserving targets.
Galen Carpenter of the formerly libertarian Cato Institute,
now advocating that we invade Pakistan.
Pakistan, the most loyal and completely cooperative
of our Muslim allies. According to Carpenter, it would be
"misplaced gratitude," you see, to a government that has cracked
down on Islamic militants, whose army has fought Al Qaeda
and whose support was instrumental in the Afghan war to refrain
from doing so. Why? Because, we are told, there is "overwhelming
evidence" that Pakistan is "harboring" Al Qaeda indeed,
it is so overwhelming that Carpenter doesn't even bother citing
any of it. Even Donald Rumsfeld, the chief hawk in this administration,
shied away from the suggestion that the US might turn on General
Pervez Musharraf, the country's ruler, but this is just
not acceptable to super-hawk Carpenter. US troops need to
"head straight for Pakistan," and Musharraf must give his
he declines to do so, the United States should make it clear
that from now on we will regard Pakistan as part of the problem
in the struggle against terrorism, not part of the solution,
and will treat the country accordingly."
not, then what? Will we invade Pakistan, perhaps
with Indian help, and set off the first fully-nuclearized
war? Will we invade and "liberate" Pakistan, as we did Afghanistan,
and install an army of occupation? What a wonderful lesson
for our Muslim-Arab allies. Fail to cooperate, as in Afghanistan,
and we'll crush you; agree to cooperate, and we'll still
crush you. Oh, yes, that's the way to build a broad
united front against international terrorism
ROOTS OF THE SELL-OUT
we have to depend on the common sense of people like Rumsfeld
to fend off the loony warmongering of Carpenter and the Cato
Institute, then we are all in deep trouble. What is
becoming increasingly clear is that these fake "libertarians"
Postrel, Lindsey, Carpener, Cato, et al have found a new
niche is the post-9/11 era, that of extremists in the camp
of the War Party. If you look at the smearmongering style
of argument, it is clear that these sell-outs are getting
their arguments (if not their marching orders) from the neoconservatives.
evidence is in a very interesting document,
a polemic by the radical Zionist and warhawk Daniel
Pipes, in the form of a review of America
Entangled, a 1992 Cato book that incorporates papers
written for a conference opposing the first Gulf War. William
Niskanen, chairman of the Cato board, wrote to Orbis,
where the review initially appeared, protesting it as unfair.
Pipes replied, at length, with a broadside that focused on
the "far left" orientation of Cato's work in the foreign policy
area, and particularly homing in on a book-length work by
a noted libertarian scholar, Sheldon
History," in which the author commits the sin of citing
Noam Chomsky another neocon devil-figure along with a
whole list of proscribed authors, including Edward Said, Christopher
Hitchins, Joe Stork, Livia Rokach, Simha Flapan, Gabriel Kolko,
and Jonathan Kwitney. But, as far as Pipes is concerned, Richman's
real crime is this:
History' is suffused with an animus indistinguishable from
common left-wing diatribes against the U.S. government and
its foreign allies, whether Iran under the shah or, especially,
the state of Israel. Indeed, Richman's footnotes provide a
who's who of anti-Zionist polemicists."
first rule of the neocons never, ever criticize Israel
under any circumstances has been broken, and Pipes's rage
is palpable as he takes out after libertarians for supposedly
allying with "Marxist-Leninists," citing the loony ravings
of Ayn Rand cultist Peter Schwartz as "evidence." Of course,
Schwartz and his crowd, notably Rand's "intellectual heir"
Leonard Peikoff, have called for a
nuclear first strike against the entire Arab world but
naturally La Postrel and Lindsey seem to have no problem with
that. We're the real problem, eh guys?
MAKES ME SICK
Cato paid dearly for its opposition
to Gulf War I several large contributors withdrew their
support, and they were viciously attacked, as in the Pipes
smear but, this time around, they aren't making that "mistake."
A libertarian institution, that once played a great role in
generating and sustaining the libertarian movement one that
was founded, by the way, by Murray Rothbard is now
trying to lead the war charge, actually criticizing
the chief warmonger in this administration for insufficiently
warlike zeal. Pardon me while I go vomit
LEFT & RIGHT
critique of libertarianism advanced by Pipes that it is
really just a conspiracy of "anti-American" "leftists" has
been adopted, whole-heartedly, by the Postrelians, along with
the hooligan smearing tactics employed by Pipes and his neocon
confreres. The same ripped-out-of context quote from Rothbard
used by Postrel is utilized by Pipes, and the same ugly simple-minded
tone employed: antiwar libertarians are allying themselves
with "anti-market" commies in their critique of "corporate
capitalism." But of course libertarians are advocates of laissez-faire
capitalism, and insofar as this "corporate" version of capitalism
means anything, historically, it is the exact opposite of
laissez-faire. It is, in short, a version of capitalism
that benefits certain corporations and this is precisely
what is shown by the researches of such "leftist" historians
as Gabriel Kolko, for example, who showed how government regulation
was initiated and advocated by Big Business precisely because
they stood to benefit. In this same way, certain business
entities will fill their corporate coffers as a result of
this phony "war on terrorism," and certainly it is not "anti-market,"
as Postrel avers, to ask: Who benefits?
Pipes polemic is very revealing, in that it shows how far
and how fast these ostensible "libertarians" have capitulated
to their neocon masters. At its conclusion, Pipes condescends
to offer Niskanen some unsolicited advice:
final thought: The Cato Institute does creative and valuable
work on economic questions; if not yet part of the Washington
mainstream, its voice is increasingly respected. Why then
does it flaunt this affinity for the fringe Left on foreign
policy issues? Why reach out in solidarity with The Nation
and boast of intellectual debts to Noam Chomsky? What has
this to do with the spirit of free markets and free minds
that inspires the best of libertarian thinking? Niskanen has
not asked me for advice, but here is some anyway: Stick to
the economic analyses you do so well and leave foreign policy
the post-9/11 era, Cato, Postrel, and the others know their
place, and they are keeping to it, lest they be accused of
letting "anti-Zionist" references invade their footnotes.
They have yielded to the warmongers and the professional apologists
for Israel, like Pipes, and decided to jump ship rather than
fight (although, in Postrel's case, it is doubtful there was
ever anything to fight for). Well, I'll tell you one thing:
I'd much rather make an alliance with Marxist-Leninists, with
Noam Chomsky, with The Nation, and a good old-fashioned
isolationist or two, like Gore Vidal, than with Daniel Pipes,
Norman Podhoretzes, and a gaggle of Likudnik neocons who would
just as soon nuke Mecca as look at it. I'll take Pat Buchanan,
Charlie Reese, Lew Rockwell, and Sheldon Richman over the
pretentious Postrel, the sanctimonious Bill Bennett, the insufferable
Andrew Sullivan, and all the vast resources and influence
of the mighty Cato Institute any day of the week. Postrel
and her cyber-sycophants are an example of what happens when
people abandon their principles in the pursuit of their pathetic
little careers: none of them ever had an inkling as to what
libertarianism was all about to begin with. Today, they are
just neocons, ersatz "libertarian" clones who jump
when Podhoretz and Pipes give the word, and all too happy
and eager to do the neocons' dirty work for them. As such,
they are beneath contempt, and deserve to be boycotted not
only by libertarians, but by all decent people: don't buy
their rotten boring books, don't read their neocon-subsidized
magazines, and when they come crawling to you for contributions,
tell them to take a hike. They deserve nothing less and
POSTREL A MESSAGE
and her cohorts want you to believe that we're "anti-American,"
that we're plotting with Commies (and, presumaby, Osama bin
Laden) to "destroy states" including the American state.
This is unmitigated nonsense, and dangerous nonsense at that.
Like the evil David Horowitz, and the intellectual vigilantes
who've gone on a crusade to purge the universities and the
punditocracy of anyone who dissents from the official neocon-government
line, she's trying to line us up as allies of "terrorism"
and then I guess whatever Ashcroft decides to do with us
is okay by her. We need to send a strong message to Postrel
and her necon friends, and it goes like this:
dear, we don't give a hoot what you and your pro-war comrades
think has "changed" about libertarianism: as far as we're
concerned, libertarianism never changed, it isn't changing
now, and it won't change. What's changing is you, and
it isn't a change for the better. You're getting older, more
concerned about your career than abstract principles, and
you've decided to sell-out well, then, what's stopping you?
Go for it, girl but you aren't dragging the rest of us along
with you. You and Ted Galen Carpenter, in going "straight
for Pakistan," or Iraq, or wherever, can indeed go straight
to hell but don't keep calling yourselves libertarians.
Because we'll challenge you at every turn, and harry you until
you stop discrediting an idea that has the power to liberate
the world. Go ahead, tell her yourself: you can write her
And tell her Justin Raimondo sent you
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