Peter St. Onge on libertarianism and in-group/out-group politics

“Paul Rubin’s Darwinian Politics posits that genetic dispositions make lefties fight in-group domination (i.e. equality), while righties fight out-group domination (i.e. “making America strong”). Libertarians, I would argue, think that freedom counters both types of domination — free markets are the best way to help the weak within society, and free-markets plus pacifism makes us both rich enough to deter potential enemies, and peaceful enough to not have many enemies in the first place. Hence libertarianism’s potential appeal to both left and right.” - Peter St. Onge


Justin Raimondo on "The Real Axis of Evil": Al Qaeda, the Saudis, and Israel

Lumping all his enemies into a single sinister amalgam, Bibi went ballistic:

“After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is conducting a pincer movement to the south to conquer the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity, and must be stopped.”

The "Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis"? (...)

Bibi’s evocation of an "Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis" sounds like something that might have come out of Riyadh. While the Saudis are careful to maintain their traditional anti-Israeli stance in theory, in practice the reality is that the two nations are on the same side. Both target Iran as the main danger to their national interests, and both are pressuring Washington to give up any thought of a deal with Tehran. Furthermore, this complementary relationship has taken on a military aspect in Syria, where the Israelis are now openly supporting Islamist rebels of the Al-Nusra Front – although so far they have only publicly acknowledged giving wounded Nusra fighters medical aidand releasing them across the border. Meanwhile, support to al-Qaeda affiliated fighters is pouring in from the Gulf states. 

In the religious civil war tearing the Muslim world apart, the Israelis are clearly rooting for the Sunnis – led by the Kingdom. When it comes to the conflict in Yemen, Israel’s chief concern is alleged Iranian influence – the presence of al-Qaeda is never mentioned. Israel’s surrogates in this country have spent the last few years demanding US support for Islamist rebels in Syria, most of whom have ties to al-Qaeda. 

Al-Qaeda, for its part, has never laid a glove on Israel. For all the ranting against "the Zionist-Crusader alliance," the heirs of Osama bin Laden have been remarkably pacific when it comes to attacking Israel proper. Bin Laden always advocated generally ignoring the "near enemy" – Israel and the Arab despotisms – in favor of attacking the "far enemy," the United States – a strategic orientation that suits the Israelis just fine.

And although Bibi and the Islamists would seem to be polar opposites, there is an odd congruity going on there: as long as medievalists such as al-Qaeda predominate in the Arab world the entire region will be stuck in the Dark Ages, backward and riven with religious conflict. The Islamists, on the other hand, need the Zionist bogeyman as a convenient ideological hate object, without which their appeal would be considerably lessened.

This weird symbiosis has given rise to what might be called the axis of Tel Aviv, Riyadh and al-Qaeda – an informal de facto alliance of converging interests. And it’s no accident that its main targets are not only Iran but also the United States.


Cradle to Grave and Back Again

Cradle of Civilization? Bomb and invade it. Then starve it. Aren't we good?

What's this? Terrorism? They must hate us because we're free.

Graveyard of Empires? Bomb, invade, and occupy it. What could go wrong? Aren't we wise?

While we're at it, bomb and invade the Cradle again. And this time occupy it, for good measure. Aren't we exceptional?

Still more terrorism? They must hate us because we're awesome.

"Democrat" and "Republican" should be just as much a byword for evil as "Nazi"

The Democratic Party should go down in history as the organization of the butchers of Asia, the mass murderers who incinerated Japanese cities, and launched the bloodbaths of the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

The Republican Party should go down in history as the organization of the butchers of the Muslim world, the mass murderers who launched the bloodbaths of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and brought chaos to that entire swath of the globe.

Never mind the question of voting and elections; in a sane and just world, mere *membership* in the two major American parties would be considered as shameful as membership in the Nazi Party. 

The One Thing that Attracted Rothbard about Communist China

Murray Rothbard, in a speech during his later years: "One thing about communist China, by the way, is that... the leadership are all in their upper 80s, or early 90s. The youngsters - the young liberals - are all about 75. The only thing that attracts me about communist China is that if I were in communist China, I would be a brilliant teenage youth leader!"

The 1989 source:


A Powder Keg Waiting to Blow

On CNN this morning, former NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark said that the U.S. notified the Syrian government that "we're coming," and that this was smart, so as to avoid any complications between the USAF and Syria's air force. He said that if the two were to tangle, that the Syrians "would lose," and that it's good that it doesn't happen, because he knows there might be Russian officers involved with the Syrian forces who could get caught up in the fight.

Combine this with the fact that Saudi Arabia and our client Gulf states, which hate and want to overthrow Assad, are participating in the air strikes on Syrian soil, and you have a powder keg waiting to blow.

Oh, and already one of the U.S. airstrikes in Syria has killed 8 civilians, including 3 children, and created for Americans who-knows-how-many more implacable enemies among those who loved the victims.


The Button Pusher Reconsidered

Outstanding analysis by Jakub Wisniewski:

"Rothbard famously claimed that a principled supporter of a voluntary society has to be "a "button pusher" who would blister his thumb pushing a button that would abolish the State immediately, if such a button existed". I regard this metaphor as in one sense rather unfortunate, not because of its alleged "utopianism", but because of its ambiguity, while in another sense as deeply revealing of what being a principled and effective advocate of a voluntary society really involves.

On the one hand, if the abolition in question were to involve the instantaneous incapacitation of the existing ruling class and the disappearance of the financial and military resources that sustain the institutions of power, then this would provide at best a temporary relief. The result of such an abolition would not be the emergence of a voluntary society, but the emergence of what I call "statism without the state", i.e., the situation where a territorial monopoly of violence disappears, but everything else, including the mentality that legitimizes and supports its existence, stays the same. Needless to say, under such circumstances there would appear an almost immediate push for reestablishing a ruling class and the institutions of power.

If, on the other hand, pushing the Rothbardian button were to result in making the majority of the world's population instantly and fully aware of the flagrant evils, inefficiencies, and logical inconsistencies of statism, as well as of the vast economic and moral superiority of a voluntary society, then states would be truly and permanently abolished, joining slavery, legally sanctioned racial discrimination, and the divine right of kings in the dustbin of history.

If Rothbard's claim is to be interpreted in the latter way, it becomes clear that, far from illustrating the difference between the abolitionist and the gradualist approach to creating a voluntary society, it indicates that the difference in question is actually a moot point, since a voluntary society cannot be created by starting with dismantling the institutions of power (be it revolutionarily or gradually), but only by first changing the cultural and moral preferences of the majority. In the context of this latter task, however, there is no tradeoff between the advantages and disadvantages of abolitionism and gradualism to speak of, since, presumably, every advocate of a voluntary society would agree that the quicker the relevant awareness-raising efforts could progress and succeed, the better it would be. Thus, given the right choice of pro-voluntarist tasks and goals, the difference between the abolitionist and the gradualist collapses, indicating that the relevant disputes and trade-offs may lie somewhere else entirely."



My response:

"Outstanding analysis, Jakub. I wonder if the "monopoly of force" definition of a state is really useful? Lately I've come to prefer something like "any group enjoying a privilege of legitimized aggression." Those who consider their aggression legitimate need not include literally everyone in the relevant geographic region. Thus, a gang that is attempting to achieve a monopoly of force but has not yet, is still a state, because it is still granted special legitimacy for its aggression by its adherents. So situations which are often called "anarchies" are just civil wars among geographically overlapping states."