By Mason Mohon | USA
The mainstream media has continued its seemingly eternal attack on the political philosophy of freedom and individualism, and this time, it is almost laughable.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post published an article by John Ganz titled “Libertarians have more in common with the alt-right than they want you to think”. John Ganz himself is an executive editor at Genius.com, a website that is solely based around music. With his background in music behind him, he seems to think he is ready to tie the defense of liberty to the hateful ideologies of the far right.
But enough on the author, let us look what he actually has said in an attack on the good kind of liberalism.
Ron Paul and Racism?
The first thing a reader of the article sees is an image of Ron Paul, captioned with an accusation of racist rhetoric. After a summary of the events in Charlottesville, Ganz goes in on this, connecting Murray Rothbard to Lew Rockwell, who he claims wrote ” a series of virulently racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic newsletters on behalf of Ron Paul.”
This part of the article seemed to be attempting to link Ron Paul to racism and homophobia. Dr. Paul has been linked to a controversy regarding these letters for decades, yet assailants of him have always been ignorant of the truth.
First, they are commonly taken out of context, such as the quote used in the Washington Post article which was as follows:
I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in [Washington] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal,
This may seem like a blatant show of libertarian racism, but that is because the full quote was not expressed.
Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.
It takes very little thought to recognize that what he meant was that the laughable D.C. criminal justice system had been criminalizing black people by their own standards, not that the black community was inherently criminal.
Furthermore, Dr. Paul is not responsible for these newsletters. No doubt, Ganz blamed Rockwell for their writing, but he is still making the attempt to smear the libertarian icon as a bigot when he is clearly not, as shown by the article’s own photo caption. A full story of Paul’s responses to the newsletter controversy can be found here.
The strategy of racial signaling practiced by Lew Rockwell was a bad and ineffective practice that has not been used to a serious extent ever since, and the actions of Rockwell provide no ground to accuse Dr. Paul or libertarianism as a whole of any kind of racism.
Lastly, on the subject of Ron Paul’s leanings on the idea of race, I would strongly suggest reading his manifesto The Revolution, which makes abundantly clear that Paul views racism as a form of collectivism and on the antithesis of libertarian values of individualism. Seeing as that it is merely six dollars on Amazon, I am amazed that John Ganz did not take the liberty of purchasing it for himself so he would at least be somewhat educated on the people he was trying to attack.
Murray Rothbard, David Duke, and Populism
Let us not forget that Murray Rothbard’s parents were Jewish immigrants to the United States that came from Poland and Russia. With this knowledge, shouting that Rothbard was a Nazi or fascist sympathizer in any light can only be seen as ignorant and a result of not looking deep into the background of the Austrian economist.
Ganz’s biggest attack on Rothbard himself seemed to be about his essay, Right-Wing Populism, which was published in January of 1992, that most notably provides reflections on the presidential run of David Duke and advocates for the abolition of race-based laws, along with an “America First” idea.
On David Duke, Rothbard himself was a descendant of two Jews and by no means a white supremacist. Rather, he praised the ideas of racial equality for all that Duke actually advocated for, along with David Duke’s more libertarian-leaning economic policies.
Rothbard goes on to critique affirmative action and race-based quotas, along with the remnants of the civil rights movement’s legal impact. Affirmative action is essentially telling people of certain races that they aren’t as good as their white peers so they need a boost. Affirmative action is engaging in its own racism while attempting to pursue nobility by meeting ‘race quotas’ which judge people based on the color of skin, rather than the content of heart and mind. No doubt Rothbard was against these things, as would be the case of any other sensible person.
The legal results of the civil rights movement have been the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, which should not exist. Owner of private property should be able to choose who has access to that private property, however bigoted their reasons may be.
Moreover, Ganz attempts to give Murray Rothbard a Trumpian tie, merely because they both use the series of words “America First.” The writer claims Rothbard was advocating for “economic nationalism,” something President Trump has been notorious for, while Trump’s form of nationalism is collectivism, which is in stark contrast to Rothbard’s criticism of providing foreign aid to other countries. Why wouldn’t he oppose this foreign aid, when it amounts to nothing more than creating dependent countries while problems still arise here in the United States.
Ganz’s criticisms of Murray Rothbard are poorly founded and barely backed and should be disregarded.
Hoppe, Segregation, Private Property and White Nationalism
The article continues by discussing the Property and Freedom Society founded by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and how various white nationalists have been invited to speak there. Hans-Hermann Hoppe himself is not a supporter of racism and has been against the growing issue of right-wing authoritarianism and fascism in the U.S. since before it was a major issue, and he does not represent the liberty movement as a whole.
The article brings up three people who have spoken at the Property and Freedom Society: Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor, and Peter Brimelow. Richard Spencer himself is by no means a libertarian, stating that he is against most right wingers and a supporter of socialism in this youtube video. People do not like Spencer, especially libertarians. He was accused of being brain dead in an article by popular Anarcho-Capitalist site Liberty Hangout.
Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow are not libertarians either. They are both white nationalists, and this sort of ethnic identity is a cancerous form of collectivism that should be put down and shunned by libertarians. Consider this that shunning. They are not libertarian and should not be used to represent libertarians in any capacity.
After the attempt to connect libertarians to white nationalists, Ganz now brings up how Hoppe is in support of segregation by owners of private property, as he should be. Nobody is obligated to let anyone on their property, and the state shouldn’t force them to. if a neighborhood does not want to provide housing for a particular race for whatever reason, they reserve every right to do so. Market forces provide the disadvantage of a competing neighborhood offering to house without bigotry that would result in monetary loss for the racist one. The state should not be in the business of making sure we aren’t racist, as I mentioned before when mentioning the Civil Rights movement.
Hoppe’s statement from his book “Democracy: The God that Failed” is also criticized. It portrays people that do not understand very basic human action as barely human or not human at all, but Ganz takes the quote out of context and eliminates the reasoning. It is found on page 173 of the book and can be read here.
The Meaning of Libertarianism
John Ganz’s final criticism is supported by a confusion between mainstream libertarianism and Randian objectivism. He accuses libertarians of basing their ideology off of self-interest that ultimately leads to collectivist racism, but this is wrong. Libertarianism is the belief that everyone has nature (or God) given rights, and nobody has rights that infringe on anyone else’s. These rights are life, body, and property.
I would like to conclude first by saying that John Ganz has no idea what he is talking about when he discusses what it means to be libertarian, and second with a Murray Rothbard quote.
My own basic perspective on the history of man…is to place central importance on the great conflict which is eternally waged between Liberty and Power… I see the liberty of the individual not only as a great moral good in itself (or, with Lord Acton, as the highest political good), but also as the necessary condition for the flowering of all the other goods that mankind cherishes: moral virtue, civilization, the arts and sciences, economic prosperity. Out of liberty, then, stem the glories of civilized life.
For further libertarian offense against the alt-right, I suggest the following article by Jeffrey Tucker: