Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Is Tim Hudak the new John Tory? | Main | Chavez in a Skirt »

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Peter Thiel on why democracy and freedom don't mix

Peter Thiel is the billionaire co-founder of PayPal who made a fortune as one of the earliest investors in Facebook. He was also the executive produce of one of my all-time favorite movies, Thank You For Smoking. As a libertarian, he pledged $500,000 to Patri Friedman's Seasteading Institute.

Recently, Cato Unbound, the Cato Institute's blog, published an essay Thiel wrote, one that is causing a bit of a stir both within and outside the libertarian community. The essay describes the way Thiel's attitude toward libertarianism has changed, and why he has ceased to believe that "democracy and freedom are compatible." Excerpts are below, but the whole piece is worth a read.

As a young lawyer and trader in Manhattan in the 1990s, I began to understand why so many become disillusioned after college. The world appears too big a place. Rather than fight the relentless indifference of the universe, many of my saner peers retreated to tending their small gardens. The higher one’s IQ, the more pessimistic one became about free-market politics — capitalism simply is not that popular with the crowd. Among the smartest conservatives, this pessimism often manifested in heroic drinking; the smartest libertarians, by contrast, had fewer hang-ups about positive law and escaped not only to alcohol but beyond it.

One of the passages that is causing the most consternation outside the libertarian community is this one, another expression of pessimism:

The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.

This is, for sure, a provocative statement. But first, we should turn to Thiel's optimism for the future. It's not an optimism rooted in the hope of political change, at least within the United States.

The critical question then becomes one of means, of how to escape not via politics but beyond it. Because there are no truly free places left in our world, I suspect that the mode for escape must involve some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered country...

For Thiel, getting "beyond politics" involves turning to (1) Cyberspace, (2) Outer Space, and (3) Seasteading. These are three arenas in which a libertarian politics might be possible. But real libertarian change will never occur in our ossifying "capitalist" democracies. Democracy and liberty simply do not mix.

If not for Thiel's comments about democracy -- and, specifically, the extension of the franchise to women -- it is unlikely his essay would even have been read outside the libertarian community. That's not a knock on the essay itself, but just an observation about the way both liberals and conservatives typically ignore libertarian ideas.

Well, at least the left is reading and responding. The folks at Gawker shamelessly misrepresent Thiel's claims: "Facebook Backer Wishes Women Couldn't Vote", the headline reads. At Salon, Michael Lind proposes an idea:

Thiel could use his leverage as a donor to combine the Seasteading Institute with the Methuselah Foundation and create a make-believe island where girls aren't allowed to vote and where nobody ever has to grow up. Call it Neverland. It would be easy for libertarian refugees from the United States and the occasional neo-Confederate to find it.

As should probably be expected, feminist bloggers are responding the most harshly. According to Amanda Marcotte, the sloppy thinker and rejected "chief blogger" for John Edwards presidential campaign, Thiel is a "complete wackaloon and apparently a misogynist besides.  Which is to say, he’s a libertarian."

Like the Gawker folks, Marcotte claims that Thiel "pretty openly states that he’d like to disenfranchise women and 'welfare' recipients, which I guess is a way of saying that voting is only acceptable if the franchise is limited to the landed gentry." Except, of course, Thiel didn't say that, openly or otherwise. But it's a standard tactic of this particular feminist bigot to put words into the mouths of political opponents or at least to present their arguments without the least amount of charity. The post at feministing is slightly -- slightly -- more balanced.

Still, I've found that "popular feminist blogger" is just another term for someone who is both a rather poor reasoner and completely unfamiliar with the principle of charity. Which is not to say that all feminists fit this description.

(Give them a break: they're typically sociology majors.)

In fact, there is nothing misogynistic about his comments at all. To compare, African-Americans were somewhat more likely to vote for Proposition 8 than whites. Pointing that out doesn't make me a racist, even given my opinion that the passage of Proposition 8 was a terrible thing. Pointing out that women have sometimes been more likely to support anti-libertarian policies -- the prohibition of alcohol comes to mind -- doesn't make a person a misogynist. Nor does it mean that the person making the observation desires to disenfranchise women or African-Americans.

So what's Thiel saying? Simply put, he wishes more people supported libertarian policies. However, the majority -- who, in the U.S. pay no income taxes at all* -- are content to exploit Thiel. That's not a situation that will change any time soon. After all, in the short-term, those people are getting a pretty good deal.

But I don't blame Thiel for wanting to leave. If you care about liberty, then democracy is hopeless.

* I know that the people who don't pay income tax still pay other taxes. But social security is supposed to be an investment in one's own future (it's an insurance program, after all.) As far as sale taxes go, Thiel pays those, too. The point remains: Thiel is getting ripped off.

Posted by Terrence Watson on April 28, 2009 | Permalink

Comments

Read the book(s), "Democracy, The God That Failed" by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and/or "Humbuggery and Manipulation: The Art of Leadership" by F. G. Bailey. Democracy has simply replaced rule by institutionalized nepotism, into by rule by the disingenuous misleading the gullible. Freedom is absolutely incompatible with democracy. Freedom is assured only with absolute property rights.
As Frederic Bastiat explained, democracy is the lie that everyone can live off of everyone else.

Posted by: Frank Gas | 2009-04-28 9:32:49 PM


Frank, "Democracy" is one of my favourite books.

I had a chance to go for dinner with Hoppe in Vegas when he was still at UNLV. It was a blast.

Terrence isn't a fan, I'm afraid. Isn't that right, TW?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-28 10:54:42 PM


I suspect that if asked in a poll, which is the best system democracy or capitalism, democracy would win by a huge factor. It has been pushed in the education system as the be all and end all. In the West today, where the notion of limits on government barely exist in the popular culture, and particularly in conjunction with progressive taxation, democracy is simply an accelerant to serfdom.

As for the female place in democracy, well lets see, they did give us Trudeau and Obama. Enough said.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-04-28 11:01:32 PM


I read Democracy the God That Failed quite a while back, as an undergrad.

It was impressive, at least at first. My major disappointment is that he failed to do what I thought he was going to do: prove why libertarians should adopt socially conservative attitudes about sex and other matters.

More specifically, I'd like someone to prove this statement of Hoppe's. I'm quoting it from another source because I don't have a copy of the book with me:

"They-the advocates of alternative, non-family-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order."

Is that something you agree with, Matthew? That to maintain a libertarian political order, one must first exile all the gays?

What's especially fascinating is that Thiel -- who, with his money, will probably do more for libertarianism than Hoppe ever will -- is himself gay. Does he get kicked out of libertarian land as well?

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-04-28 11:33:41 PM


I would add this: I'll take Nozick's libertarianism over this, um, stuff any day of the week.

Nozick at least acknowledged that hippies and capitalists can and should live side by side, as long as each is willing to leave the other in peace.

As far as Hoppe is concerned, I only wonder at which "stage" of libertarianism the purges and pogroms are supposed to begin.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-04-28 11:45:33 PM


I'm in agreement. BTW I happen to be a conservative who does read libertarian ideas and usually enjoys them, especially on economics.

In my spare time I like writing fiction and wish more people read it... besides in the papers.

http://libertyfic.proboards.com

Posted by: GeronL | 2009-04-28 11:48:54 PM


By far the best post I've ever seen from you Terrence, I tip my hat. You're not so bad when you are forthright. Actually I'll go one better and say this is the best post I've seen at WS. May I suggest you update your facebook status to "Heroic defender of freedom"?

"That to maintain a libertarian political order, one must first exile all the gays?"

Oh great, knew you couldn't keep it up. If I can prove to you that gay is statistically extremely tightly coupled with statism, then what? That's why Hitler rounded up the gays; not because they were gay, but because they were very very politically radical. When a gay is wholly indistinguishable from a bolshevik, and you're a head of state in 1930s Europe, what is your move? We're talking survival here. Maybe the gays shouldn't have aligned themselves so tightly with Marxism, then and now.

Besides, nobody ever said exile all gays, read the passage again. See, this is why gays are hated, they are grotesquely dishonest and overly dramatic, it's become impossible to even speak to them.

Exile the gays? Well, what have they done for us lately? I mean besides hating Christians and babies and women and freedom of expression and private sector workers and taxpayers and conservatives - what positive benefit do they offer? Did they speak up when conservatives were persecuted? No? OK, I'll keep that in mind when the blacks and Muslims, neither a friend of the gays, start throwing their rapidly growing political weight around.

Posted by: Your Better | 2009-04-29 7:23:32 AM


Oh, and the Liberal Party of Canada campaigned on a platform last election which included adding gender to the HRC's mandate, meaning you would be fined for this post if the Liberals had their way. They also want to make divorce more favourable to women, read the Pink Book 2.

Still think the Liberals are a viable alternative, as you have all but clearly stated in previous comments? Really? The party of the Green Plan and race hustling and feminism led by a man who says we need to raise taxes is a better, less statist alternative to the Conservatives? Really? Because one of their MPs wants to legalize dope? Really? This is your level of reasoning?

Posted by: Your Better | 2009-04-29 8:06:16 AM


"They-the advocates of alternative, non-family-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order."

Unless he means something different by "physically removed" than the obvious interpretation, I would not agree with that. And even if he does mean something only sightly less than force, I would likely not agree with that either.

I think the dominate culture in a libertarian society would and should be conservative, but presumably there would be a vibrant sub-culture, the presence of which would not threaten the dominate culture or harm society.

Most importantly, though, I'm committed to the process of spontaneous order and the market for culture. I'm confident that subcultures like individual hedonism or parasitism, two of Hoppe's examples, would be marginal without the state as they are destructive to social order and a healthy society in the broadest sense.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-29 8:52:58 AM


What source are you quoting from Terrence, as I'm sure the full context would show that Hoppe is not advocating the use of force? That would make him a non-libertarian.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-29 9:00:51 AM


"They-the advocates of alternative, non-family-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order."

Note that he says "advocates", not gays themselves, the difference is critical. Nobody cares about two guys being gay in their own home, it's the Perez Hiltons and Mike Brocks who are the problem - radical activists.

In the latter case he isn't even gay, yet I'd be happy to exile him since his radical agenda and over the top hatred is a bit of an issue; a more respectful and balanced gay person would be welcome to take his place.

So, exiling militant gay sex radicals is a different matter than exiling actual gays. One represents a serious threat to liberty, beauty, and truth, the other doesn't. At least in theory. In practice, moderate gays who aren't consumed with hatred for Christians, women, babies, and fiscal conservatism seem few and far between.

When the nearly unelectable Bob Rae needed a riding to run in, where did he go? The most religious riding he could find? No. The most elderly riding? No. He picked the gayest riding in Canada and possibly the world, Toronto Centre, and he won in a cakewalk. Game, set, and match, kids, gays are the most Marxist, most radically left wing voters in Canada - by a longshot.

Posted by: Your Better | 2009-04-29 9:48:46 AM


The problem is that democracy is a function (or a functional tool) and was elevated to a value, sometimes absolute value. On occasion you can use democratic process with a warning attach :"Do not operate the machinery when intoxicated" and " It can cause an injury to others" .

Posted by: xiat | 2009-04-29 9:54:56 AM


Excellent comment, xiat.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-29 9:57:18 AM


Matthew,

Google Books says it is on page 218 of Democracy. I'm not the first one to remark on the passage, either. Here's another:

"Libertarians must distinguish themselves from others by practicing (as well as advocating) the most extreme form of intolerance and discrimination against egalitarians, democrats, socialists, communists, multiculturalists, environmentalists, ill manners, misconduct, incompetence, rudeness, vulgarity, and obscenity."

That's from page 219. He goes on from there to describe how libertarians must "visibly and ostentatiously dissociate themselves" from the "anti-authoritarians" on the left (does that include the ACLU?)

Now, there are a couple of problems. First, Hoppe never proved to my satisfaction that libertarians must practice this kind of intolerance. At the time, I had more sympathy for social conservatism, so I was really looking for an argument to that effect. I didn't find one.

That's my major problem.

Second: Hoppe's comments run counter to the WS's mission, and, I'd add, counter to effective libertarian activism generally. I don't think Hoppe would much like the tolerance and advocacy we've exercised on behalf of, say, Emery.

Best,

Terrence

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-04-29 10:41:24 AM


"Libertarians must distinguish themselves from others by practicing (as well as advocating) the most extreme form of intolerance and discrimination against egalitarians, democrats, socialists, communists, multiculturalists, environmentalists, ill manners, misconduct, incompetence, rudeness, vulgarity, and obscenity."

I see no problem with this. It's actually very much up my alley, got any more of this stuff?

"First, Hoppe never proved to my satisfaction that libertarians must practice this kind of intolerance. "

Change "practice this kind of intolerance" to "hunt and kill anything that threatens their liberty" and it makes more sense. I like this guy!

Posted by: Your Better | 2009-04-29 10:48:54 AM


"Your Better" (we both know who you really are :)

I think you've got me pretty wrong. I've never supported the Liberals -- or any political party, in fact. I'm anti-political party and anti-democracy in general. To some degree, I agree with Hoppe's arguments against democracy, although I have some of my own, too.

And if gays tend to be less libertarian than the average person (which hasn't been proven, btw), so what? Maybe that's because too many libertarians have tried too hard to maintain an alliance with the social conservatives who hate them.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" and all that.

In any event, there are good counter examples: Thiel himself and Kip Esquire come to mind. There's also Tom Palmer of Cato.

From my own experience, queer folk tend to be less supportive of private property than your typical libertarian. But, at least in the United States, they are very strident supporters of civil liberties: the right to privacy, freedom of speech, and so on.

Do I think these people are unreachable on economic issues? No. In fact, I've had good success by raising considerations to them drawn from public choice economics.

On the other hand: do I think social conservatives are unreachable on social freedoms? Not completely, but it's a tougher road to hoe because their objections aren't so much founded in ignorance as in bigotry. As of yet, I haven't found a cure for bigotry, but I have found a moderately successful cure for ignorance.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-04-29 10:50:43 AM


Your Better:

I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it either if I didn't think Hoppe believed that being a practicing homosexual is an example of obscenity or ill manners.

So, to put it another way, how are practicing homosexuals a threat to my liberty? Be specific.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-04-29 10:55:38 AM


"So, to put it another way, how are practicing homosexuals a threat to my liberty? Be specific. "

You're awfully uppity.

I already answered your question, see Bob Rae, above, a perfect example of how gays are extremely, extremely left wing, so incredibly left wing in fact that they elected the unelectable Bob Rae, in Ontario no less. Bob Rae is an enormous threat to liberty, he imposed race quotas on private businesses and made it a *goal* of his mandate to increase the debt and deficit, to name two examples.

You have to admit I nailed that reply, please don't "yeah but" me.

Posted by: Your Better | 2009-04-29 12:38:34 PM


Those supplemental quotes you provided are quintessential Hoppe and perfectly consistent with the libertarian principle of non-aggression and property rights. Are they radical? Culturally conservative? Over the top? Yep. But they are not anti-libertarian.

Hoppe is making cultural observations. I was at the anarchists bookfair in Calgary last weekend looking for a WS story. Many of the attendees I spoke to hate capitalist libertarians like myself with a passion, even those who would not prohibit consensual capitalist acts. It was primarily a question of culture. Left anarchists (and counter-culture libertarians) and anarcho-capitalists like Hoppe are extremely hostile to each other primarily for cultural reasons, but both would outlaw the use of force in human relationships. (Issues like property also divide left and right anarchists, but that’s something for another post.)

I trust now that by "physically removed" Hoppe is not advocating force. (He’s a leading figure in the libertarian movement after all.) He is advocating “intolerance” and “discrimination,” things everyone of every ideological persuasion practices everyday. There are people I will not tolerate as friends or business associates for a variety of reasons – they might be racists or noisy or practice poor hygiene, and I discriminate according to my values and preferences by not associating with them – they are “physically removed” from my life, an awkward phrase for sure. That’s what freedom provides and demands. The freedom and the obligation to peacefully act on one’s own judgement within the private sphere of one’s own life.

As for Hoppe's views being inconsistent with the WS editorial mission, that seems unlikely since I wrote that mission.

You mention Emery in particular. Hoppe might say of Emery that he's a degenerate and a counter-culture weirdo. He would not, however, support drug prohibition or Emery’s incarceration. He would say only that we should not glorify drug use and that we should exercise our property rights in such a way as to keep drugs away from our children as much as that is possible. I’m not guessing here. This is one of things Hoppe and I discussed over dinner some years ago. (I’m proud, by the way, to have run several campaigns for Marc and that he remains a close friend to this day.)

Finally, you make the point that Hoppe was not convincing as to why counter-culture movements should be opposed so fiercely. I’ll agree with you on this, although nothing would likely convince you. Hoppe was speaking to a culturally conservative audience with that book, and is attempting to radicalize middle class conservatives toward an anti-statist world view, something Rothbard advocated. He has no interest in arguing with liberaltarians or the “alternative lifestyle” crowd at CATO, a term he used. He’s not a grad student with unlimited energy and curiosity in search of himself. He’s already decided these matters to his satisfaction and is interested in making macro observations and bridging the gap between conservatives and radical property rights libertarians.

My view of this is simply that there is a market for cultural ideas. In a free society, where this market is not distorted, certain cultural ideas will capture more or less of the market share. The cultural ideas that dominate will be the ones that best serve society’s desire for both prosperity and social order (security). I believe conservative cultural ideas do a better job of serving society’s desire for prosperity and social order than other cultural ideas, like those advocated by the counter-culture youngsters at the anarchist book fair for instance, which included rejecting the family institution entirely. (I find the left-anarchist aesthetic intolerable. They need to wear brighter colours and replace that drab wardrobe.) As people go about making choices in this market they are discriminating among options and expressing intolerance for bad cultural ideas the way they might toward bad computer products, like Vista, which sucks. Some of these people might express preferences that you don’t share, Terrence, but that’s OK as long as they express these preferences peacefully.

But let’s get to the heart of this issue: you think conservatives are superstitious bigots whose values are a reflection of their ignorance and hatred and not a reflection of an authentic desire to make the world a better place, a motivation you reserve for liberals as you ignore or excuse whatever statist inclinations they might have. I don’t have the same low opinion of conservatives, and I don’t single them out for ridicule and contempt despite my passionately held libertarian views.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-29 12:52:11 PM


Hey, morons, you all know that Peter Thiel is gay, right?

Homosexuality and libertarianism fit hand in hand. I'm sick and tired of obviously socially conservative Republicans pretending they're libertarian.

Posted by: Solana | 2009-04-29 12:52:36 PM


Solana, no reasonale person would argue that you can't be both gay and libertarian.

Thanks for your comment.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-29 1:49:33 PM



Socially conservative Republican Libertarian works for me.

Posted by: BoomNoZoom | 2009-04-29 2:15:03 PM


Your Better,

Try this: How are practicing homosexuals qua homosexuals a threat to my liberty?

Obviously, people who support statism are a threat, regardless of sexual orientation. Social conservatives included.

(It would have been nice if you're read the qua into the statement yourself.)

Matthew,

They're consistent with libertarianism the way the belief that the earth is flat is consistent with libertarianism. I'm not arguing that there's an inconsistency. What I am claiming is that:

(a) Hoppe never really explains why libertarians have to adopt the intolerant attitudes he describes. And believe me, when I read the book, I was looking for that kind of argument. I had much more sympathy for social conservatives back then.

(b) Hoppe's attitudes, if adopted by libertarians more generally, would be poisonous to the movement as a whole. Why? Well, consider the flat-earther libertarian. Sure, he can claim that the earth is flat at t1 and argue for free markets at t2.

In practice, people will conclude that he's a lunatic, and that will affect their assessment of his political ideas as well.

When it comes to bigotry, people are even more likely to draw such conclusions. Libertarianism will never be successful if the "leading figures" in the movement say things like "we need to physically remove gays (or people who advocate homosexuality, whatever that means) from society."

This is so even if one buys your interpretation of that statement -- which I don't. The interpretation of most reasonable, non-libertarians will be more along the lines of "This Hoppe guy is a homophobic bastard." If you don't believe me, Google search the first quote and you'll see that even libertarians (those in the Rockwell camp excepted) were somewhat disturbed by it.

You don't build a culture of liberty (especially not in Canada) by promoting people who are either so hateful or simply so sloppy in their writing that to most normal people their statements sound like the ravings of Fred Phelps.

Maybe the mission of the WS is not to build a culture of liberty. But if it is, people like Hoppe should be locked away in the basement, because they are going to scare away most of the non-libertarians we're trying to persuade.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-04-29 2:15:29 PM


"Try this: How are practicing homosexuals qua homosexuals a threat to my liberty?"

It is you who should be explaining your support of a grotesquely statist cohort to me, pal, although I suspect the "morality gap" that exists between us is too vast to have what might reasonably be called a conversation. You just aren't up to the level of civility, maturity, and forthrightness we expect here in the het community.

The snark? Yeah, that's one of the more annoying "gifts" the gay community has bequeathed, to the great detriment of western civilization. It's ruining our conversation and I'm not the only person to notice, if the bestsellers list is any indication. The dishonesty is an even bigger problem. Sorry, I'm not interested in debating you any more than I am interested in debating a worm or a fish, I'm interested in defeating you.

Unless you'll debate me on my home turf. 4chan. I have great debates with gays there on this specific issue in fact, you should come check it out. Use a proxy, and I should warn you it may be a bit much for your delicate lib-left sensibilities.

Posted by: Your Better | 2009-04-29 2:28:15 PM


Your Better,

If only I had more time. I know about 4chan, but it's not exactly my style.

As for my snark, well: I'm going to respond in a snarky way insofar as I'm accused of being something I'm not.

I have defended free markets and freedom of speech for years now. I'm not a Marxist, and -- generally -- I think the law should only be used to protect people from others. Not to promote one way of life, or one religious point of view.

That makes me both a liberal and a libertarian.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-04-29 3:23:27 PM


"A" is a reasonable point and "B" is a reasonable concern.

Another concern is that conservatives remain eternally hostile to the freedom movement because they think it will demand that they abandon their core beliefs -- like family and faith.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-29 3:38:48 PM


Matthew,

It might require them to modify some of their beliefs. Maybe. When I finish my dissertation, I'll have an answer, because that's basically the problem I'm grappling with.

The general question that needs to be answered is this:

According to some (most?) folks, the world would be a better place if people made different choices from the ones they actually do make. Some social conservatives believe this and so do some left-wing environmentalists. So I'm not just picking on the so-cons here.

Nevertheless, the libertarian argues, it is wrong to force people to make the very choices that would make the world a better place.

Now when I'm confronted with someone who wants to force me to choose in a way he believes would make the world a better place, I have two options:

(a) I can attack the core of his moral view: the part of the view that leads him to believe that if people chose the way he wants them to, the world would be better, or

(b) I can leave the core of his view alone, and persuade him that it would still be wrong for him to force people to make the choices he truly believes would make the world a better place.

Personally, I don't see why we can't do both these things. But (b) seems very difficult and -- sometimes, at least to me -- hopeless. That leaves (a).

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-04-29 4:23:33 PM


You can and should do both "a" and "b". But you're right, "b" is trickier is a world hostile to liberty.

Let me say this: There is utility in traditional conservative social arrangements and values. Should these arrangements and values be forced by law on society? No. Should they prevail without any competition from less dominate sub-cultures? Probably not, although Hoppe would say “yes.” Should they form the dominate culture of society? I think so.

What we know about moral hazard, time preference and the commons problem (the de-civilizing effect of public property) should give us some insight into what culture might develop within the minimal state.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-29 5:30:24 PM


Maybe all of the gay haters and what not should just start their own libertarian community where gays are not allowed and socially conservative lifestyles are preferred.

Just don't use violence against those you don't agree with and I don't care. But I sure as hell don't want to be a part of your community!

Posted by: Joe Black | 2009-04-30 7:17:20 AM


The biggest problem with Hoppe is that he is willing to abandon the non-aggression principal (something Joe Black clearly understands). That is like saying "to be a good libertarian, you must abandon libertarian principals".

I've read and watch a lot of Hoppe at LRC and Mises and he strikes me as a great libertarian when discussing economics and nothing more than an authoritarian thug on social issues. He seems to not want to live and let live, but to force others to live by his ideals, through violence if needed.

That is about as far from libertarianism as I know.

In short, I agree with Terrance and Matthew.

Posted by: Mike | 2009-04-30 12:20:22 PM


unsurprisingly Theil does not lament the way in which the ruling class and the managerial class has tilted the system to benefit themselves, in the form of low wages to workers, greater productivity and less resistance from workers and of course greater profits to people like him. The State gives welfare to many corporations.

Posted by: romm | 2009-04-30 3:13:31 PM


Don't forget Spooner's "Against Woman Suffrage"
http://www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2003/0930spooner.html

http://leagueofnonvoters.org/

Posted by: Robert Anthony Peters | 2009-04-30 9:53:10 PM


Fuck Peter Thiel. Let him get into an accident in his $500,000 sports car and require spoonfeeding before he can complain about women and welfare recipients. His definition of libertarianism is sociopathic pursuit of wealth.

Posted by: Herb | 2009-05-05 5:24:15 AM



The comments to this entry are closed.