People

Sorry, no results were found.

Circles

Sorry, no results were found.

Posts

05/04/2022

Classical liberalism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism
Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism that advocates free market and laissez-faire economics; civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on limited government, economic freedom, and political freedom. It was developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanization and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America.[1][2][3]

Notable liberal individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke,[4] Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Robert Malthus, and David Ricardo. It drew on classical economics, especially the economic ideas as espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law,[5] progress,[6] and utilitarianism.[7]

Classical liberalism, contrary to liberal branches like social liberalism; looks more negatively on social policies, taxation and the state involvement in the lives of individuals, and it advocates deregulation.[8] Until the Great Depression and the rise of social liberalism, it was used under the name of economic liberalism. As a term, classical liberalism was applied in retronym to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from social liberalism.[9] By modern standards, in United States, simple liberalism often means social liberalism, but in Europe and Australia, simple liberalism often means classical liberalism.[10][11]

In the United States, classical liberalism may be described as "fiscally conservative" and "socially liberal". Despite this context, classical liberalism rejects conservatism's higher tolerance for protectionism and social liberalism's inclination for collective group rights, due to classical liberalism's central principle of individualism.[12] Classical liberalism is also considered closely tied with right-libertarianism in the United States.[13] In Europe, liberalism, whether social (especially radical) or conservative, is classical liberalism in itself, so the term classical liberalism mainly refers to centre-right economic liberalism.[14]

04/05/2022

Defending Discrimination & Deportation

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

In his most famous speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke in favor of discrimination.

What, Neil?

I’m a writer. Words are what we writers use to communicate. I’m using words to communicate with you right now. So the defined meanings of the words we use matter because differences matter.

The word “discriminate” was originally used to mean an ability to recognize core differences and render judgment. A person who exhibited discriminating taste for fine food and wine, for example, would have taken the sentence, “You discriminate” as a compliment, because a judgment was being rendered between food and wine which was more enjoyable to food and wine which was mundane or disgusting.

But, as often happens for reasons of propaganda, this use of “discriminate” was replaced by a sinister meaning: to render an unjust distinction. The original use was largely buried.

Dr. King wanted the original meaning of “discrimination” to be present in the future world he fantasized about. He wanted people not to refrain from discriminating judgment, but to make such distinctions based on character, which is a measure of moral worthiness, instead of ancestry or appearance, which is largely meaningless to judging a person’s worth.

Dr. King was teaching a moral lesson, one he’d learned from his background as a Christian and from fairly recent to him exemplars of moral philosophy such as Mohandas K. Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. These moral lessons transcended politics. Thoreau was a philosophical anarchist, Gandhi an East Indian nationalist, and King, himself, a Christian democratic socialist.

I call myself a libertarian when that term is not conflated with electoral partisans. I’ve frequently called myself an anarchist when that term is not conflated with vandals, arsonists, communists, or nihilists. I’ve called myself an Agorist since I was closely involved with launching that individualist-anarchist free-market movement founded by my friend and mentor, Samuel Edward Konkin III. Since I consider many calling themselves Agorists are instead stealth communists, I’ve recently considered newer labels such as Konkinist or — pinning it down with my own brand — Alongside Night Agorist.

But whatever label I use, I’m attempting to narrow the meaning to a moral philosophy based on natural law, natural rights, and making meaningful moral distinctions between individuals.

Be clear: the libertarianism I hold to is judgmental. Tolerance is not necessarily a virtue. It depends on what one is tolerating. My friend, author/filmmaker Brad Linaweaver, will be writing eventually about “That Hideous Tolerance,” expanding the concept from the title of his favorite C.S. Lewis novel, That Hideous Strength.

Nonetheless the libertarian moral judgment is narrowly drawn. Taste alone, such as the food and wine connoisseur’s discrimination, allows for one’s individual choice but does not allow for imposing one’s individual choice on unwilling others. So it is within my individual choice what I eat or drink but I may not choose what others may eat or drink — well, at least so far as I’m not holding cooks at gunpoint or murdering other people to drink their warm blood or eat their tasty flesh.

Rendering such moral judgments does require study, thinking, and discussion.

This could go on for volumes but I’m now going to zero in on a current controversy: the deportation of lawbreakers.

As I said, I’m an anarchist. But I do conclude that law and order is necessary even in an anarchist condition — that condition where the State no longer decrees what is punishable.

As an anarchist novelist, filmmaker, and essayist I’ve repeatedly made the point that work and travel are basic human liberties, so I reject the idea that government may rightfully (again, this is a moral discussion) restrict or license who may travel to somewhere else one is welcomed, and to exchange labor for pay when both buyer and seller of the labor freely reach an agreement.

But please remember that this essay of mine starts out by discussing discrimination — rendering judgment on essential differences.

In this instance the statist and the anarchist can agree: there is absolutely nothing wrong with expelling those who rob, rape, defraud, maim, or murder other individuals. Discriminating against others based on race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or even bad character if they have not victimized others by violence, menace, or deceit, is not a morally just reason for deportation. Having committed invasions of the rights of others and their justly-acquired property is a good reason to be a candidate for exile — allowing for mercy and mitigating circumstances.

Statistical analysis of risk that one might commit a violent offense is not a good enough reason for deportation. “Working off the books” isn’t a good enough reason. Passively accepting benefits that others have been swindled out of by politicians isn’t a good enough reason. Taking a job that someone else wants isn’t a good enough reason.

Murder is a good enough reason, assuming a response more severe than deportation isn’t called for. Planning criminal invasions of other people’s peaceful celebrations is a good enough reason.

Being an anarchist it would be neglectful of me not to make what Fox News pundits would call “moral equivalences.” Yes, the operator of a drone who kills innocent bystanders while eliminating terrorists may not be guilty of murder. But this anarchist might hold them to the same standard of negligent homicide that is used against reckless drivers.

If an anarchist can advocate for gated communities drawn up by contract, it’s hard to convince a believer in statist law-and-order that countries can’t have borders and use them to keep out enemies.

But, yes. It would also be so much easier if those same statists were able to discriminate between laws which defend people from being mugged and laws which prevent people from ingesting whatever food, drink, smoke, vapor, or chemical they have decided is necessary to their pursuit of happiness.

I seem to recall that this last was important to those who said countries should be based not on the divine right of kings but on the divine rights of everyone.

So there’s the problem. It isn’t discrimination. It’s that the wrong things, and the wrong people, are being discriminated against.

04/04/2022

Breaking Better: Decriminalizing Agorist Markets
retrieved from J Neil Schulman's The Book of Words

I just watched the entire series Breaking Bad in a few marathon sessions. This is my entire review, right here:
Breaking Bad is wonderful. Watch it if you love great, compelling drama with a lot of comic riffs. But watch only if you have a strong stomach.

Now let me move on to the point of this essay.

Breaking Bad shows us the operations of a counter-economic manufacturing and distribution industry: the production and sales of the mood-altering drug methamphetamine — meth, for short. Our primary viewpoint character is a chemist who is able to produce a higher-grade of meth than is otherwise available on the black market, eventually in clandestine laboratories able to manufacture mass-market quantities.

Now, Breaking Bad is a TV show, and it ran six seasons. So plot points needed to be dramatic, ironic, and extreme. The characters needed to be, well, characters.

So this was a series filled with characters who committed a lot of murders, thefts, and mayhem; lied their asses off with a straight face; and their promises were never straightforward but always conditional and capricious. Business disputes were as often as not resolved with violence, usually fatal.

But, even as fantasized drama, this TV series raises a lot of thoughtful challenges that need to be answered by the Agorist theoretician who is arguing for stateless Agorist markets that can eventually replace that monopoly of legitimized violence we tag the State. If we argue that a stateless solution can be both more practical and more capable of producing an ethically preferable outcome, we need to find solid ground to stand on.

Breaking Bad, if taken literally as a parable, pulls a lot of ground out from under the Agorist theoretician — and that’s as much of a problem for the Agorist as was the failure of Marxism to achieve its stated predictions.

Any theory has to be reality tested. If applying the theory does not produce results as advertised, but adverse unintended consequences, it’s back to the drawing board.

A lot of social theories are considered utopian — unrealistically optimistic — because success requires future actors within the paradigm to act better than historical actors.

The Breaking Bad challenge to the Agorist is simply this: how can you operate in an illegal marketplace with the expectation that criminal personalities will not dominate it? And by criminal personalities I mean people whose ordinary, every-day choices include every form of human rights violation that we Agorists despise: murder, robbery, fraud, physical abuse and mayhem, enslavement, and threats and intimidation using all of the above in order to manipulate a desired outcome.

I am not prepared at this point to answer the Breaking Bad challenge exhaustively. But I do think I have a few opening ideas that I hope will provoke further discussion among other Agorists.

1. Agorist markets need to be decriminalized. I am not using the word “decriminalize” as a euphemism for “legalize.” As one who sees the State and its functions as hopelessly dysfunctional, the whole point of Agorism is not to seek permission from the State to engage in a commercial enterprise but to operate without such permission yet achieve marketplaces which thrive on and reward honesty, decency, and honor. Immediately this provokes the challenge of not attempting to achieve a utopian result by the goal of seeking New Libertarian Man — but merely by demanding in underground marketplaces business standards equal to or superior to businesses operating in the legal, above-ground markets. So by “decriminalize” I literally mean driving criminals out of the black market.

2. A marketplace in a product or service tends to reflect the standards of the consumer. For example, a slave factor would be out of business if there were no customers who wanted to buy slaves. There would be no market for “organic” food products if there were not consumers who prefer products with fewer artificial additives and kinder treatment of animals bred as food. Tuna cans would not be labelled as “dolphin safe” if its consumers had not been made aware that the tuna-fishing industry was making dolphins collateral damage to their harvesting methods. So perhaps marketing methamphetamine or cocaine to a class of consumers who are solely interested in getting high without a thought to the human rights violations used in the manufacture and distribution of their product should not be the first choice for Agorists whose intent is to free markets from Statist domination. Is it really unacceptable to suggest that fulfulling the needs of more enlightened consumers might be a better first step in building Agorist markets?

3. The very statist police agencies who enforce statist laws may find common cause with Agorists who have a desire to decriminalize Agorist markets. The idea of the “snitch” or “rat” needs to mean one thing and one thing only: turning in to the State honest and decent underground businesspeople who abide by their words, stand behind the quality of their products, and reject violence as a means of dispute settlement. Turning in the violent criminal to the State is the exile from the Agora of those who do not respect the Agora.

4. Using violence to enforce a monopoly on sales territory is probably the single most destructive thing to the advancement and expansion of Agorist marketplaces. Markets work by bringing buyers and sellers together so markets can clear products. The Cartel system by which sales “turfs” are monopolized by violence against competitors is nothing other than importing all the worst traits of statism into underground markets.

Agorism and Cartelism are
polar opposites. The Agorist has no goal more important than either destroying the Cartel or convincing the Cartelite of the superiority and greater profitability of the Agorist marketplace. Agorism, according to its founder Samuel Edward Konkin III, is libertarianism in practice. Libertarianism is the new manual for operating human commerce that is premised on the Zero Aggression Principle: violence is only rightful when used against an aggressor, and the “collateral damage” to the innocent bystander is to be deplored, minimized a much as humanly possible, and repaired to whatever extent possible when this standard has not been met.

The wonderful TV series Breaking Bad is a set of counterfactuals that tell us how not to operate an Agorist Underground.

Agorism, if it is to succeed, needs to learn that lesson and find both practical and moral solutions to its intellectual challenges.

Videos

12/13/2021

The Conscious Resistance Network presents: The Activation podcast

On this episode of The Activation podcast Derrick Broze interviews Jeffrey Tucker, economist, thought leader, and founder of the Brownstone Institute.

Jeffrey Tucker is founder and president of the Brownstone Institute, and author of 10 books on economics, culture, and technology.

Brownstone Institute



Sign up for Derrick Broze’s Holistic Self-Assessment online course: https://www.universityofreason.com/holistic-self-assessment

People

Sorry, no results were found.

Circles

Sorry, no results were found.

Videos

12/13/2021

The Conscious Resistance Network presents: The Activation podcast

On this episode of The Activation podcast Derrick Broze interviews Jeffrey Tucker, economist, thought leader, and founder of the Brownstone Institute.

Jeffrey Tucker is founder and president of the Brownstone Institute, and author of 10 books on economics, culture, and technology.

Brownstone Institute



Sign up for Derrick Broze’s Holistic Self-Assessment online course: https://www.universityofreason.com/holistic-self-assessment

Posts

05/04/2022

Classical liberalism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism
Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism that advocates free market and laissez-faire economics; civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on limited government, economic freedom, and political freedom. It was developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanization and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America.[1][2][3]

Notable liberal individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke,[4] Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Robert Malthus, and David Ricardo. It drew on classical economics, especially the economic ideas as espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law,[5] progress,[6] and utilitarianism.[7]

Classical liberalism, contrary to liberal branches like social liberalism; looks more negatively on social policies, taxation and the state involvement in the lives of individuals, and it advocates deregulation.[8] Until the Great Depression and the rise of social liberalism, it was used under the name of economic liberalism. As a term, classical liberalism was applied in retronym to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from social liberalism.[9] By modern standards, in United States, simple liberalism often means social liberalism, but in Europe and Australia, simple liberalism often means classical liberalism.[10][11]

In the United States, classical liberalism may be described as "fiscally conservative" and "socially liberal". Despite this context, classical liberalism rejects conservatism's higher tolerance for protectionism and social liberalism's inclination for collective group rights, due to classical liberalism's central principle of individualism.[12] Classical liberalism is also considered closely tied with right-libertarianism in the United States.[13] In Europe, liberalism, whether social (especially radical) or conservative, is classical liberalism in itself, so the term classical liberalism mainly refers to centre-right economic liberalism.[14]

04/05/2022

Defending Discrimination & Deportation

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

In his most famous speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke in favor of discrimination.

What, Neil?

I’m a writer. Words are what we writers use to communicate. I’m using words to communicate with you right now. So the defined meanings of the words we use matter because differences matter.

The word “discriminate” was originally used to mean an ability to recognize core differences and render judgment. A person who exhibited discriminating taste for fine food and wine, for example, would have taken the sentence, “You discriminate” as a compliment, because a judgment was being rendered between food and wine which was more enjoyable to food and wine which was mundane or disgusting.

But, as often happens for reasons of propaganda, this use of “discriminate” was replaced by a sinister meaning: to render an unjust distinction. The original use was largely buried.

Dr. King wanted the original meaning of “discrimination” to be present in the future world he fantasized about. He wanted people not to refrain from discriminating judgment, but to make such distinctions based on character, which is a measure of moral worthiness, instead of ancestry or appearance, which is largely meaningless to judging a person’s worth.

Dr. King was teaching a moral lesson, one he’d learned from his background as a Christian and from fairly recent to him exemplars of moral philosophy such as Mohandas K. Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. These moral lessons transcended politics. Thoreau was a philosophical anarchist, Gandhi an East Indian nationalist, and King, himself, a Christian democratic socialist.

I call myself a libertarian when that term is not conflated with electoral partisans. I’ve frequently called myself an anarchist when that term is not conflated with vandals, arsonists, communists, or nihilists. I’ve called myself an Agorist since I was closely involved with launching that individualist-anarchist free-market movement founded by my friend and mentor, Samuel Edward Konkin III. Since I consider many calling themselves Agorists are instead stealth communists, I’ve recently considered newer labels such as Konkinist or — pinning it down with my own brand — Alongside Night Agorist.

But whatever label I use, I’m attempting to narrow the meaning to a moral philosophy based on natural law, natural rights, and making meaningful moral distinctions between individuals.

Be clear: the libertarianism I hold to is judgmental. Tolerance is not necessarily a virtue. It depends on what one is tolerating. My friend, author/filmmaker Brad Linaweaver, will be writing eventually about “That Hideous Tolerance,” expanding the concept from the title of his favorite C.S. Lewis novel, That Hideous Strength.

Nonetheless the libertarian moral judgment is narrowly drawn. Taste alone, such as the food and wine connoisseur’s discrimination, allows for one’s individual choice but does not allow for imposing one’s individual choice on unwilling others. So it is within my individual choice what I eat or drink but I may not choose what others may eat or drink — well, at least so far as I’m not holding cooks at gunpoint or murdering other people to drink their warm blood or eat their tasty flesh.

Rendering such moral judgments does require study, thinking, and discussion.

This could go on for volumes but I’m now going to zero in on a current controversy: the deportation of lawbreakers.

As I said, I’m an anarchist. But I do conclude that law and order is necessary even in an anarchist condition — that condition where the State no longer decrees what is punishable.

As an anarchist novelist, filmmaker, and essayist I’ve repeatedly made the point that work and travel are basic human liberties, so I reject the idea that government may rightfully (again, this is a moral discussion) restrict or license who may travel to somewhere else one is welcomed, and to exchange labor for pay when both buyer and seller of the labor freely reach an agreement.

But please remember that this essay of mine starts out by discussing discrimination — rendering judgment on essential differences.

In this instance the statist and the anarchist can agree: there is absolutely nothing wrong with expelling those who rob, rape, defraud, maim, or murder other individuals. Discriminating against others based on race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or even bad character if they have not victimized others by violence, menace, or deceit, is not a morally just reason for deportation. Having committed invasions of the rights of others and their justly-acquired property is a good reason to be a candidate for exile — allowing for mercy and mitigating circumstances.

Statistical analysis of risk that one might commit a violent offense is not a good enough reason for deportation. “Working off the books” isn’t a good enough reason. Passively accepting benefits that others have been swindled out of by politicians isn’t a good enough reason. Taking a job that someone else wants isn’t a good enough reason.

Murder is a good enough reason, assuming a response more severe than deportation isn’t called for. Planning criminal invasions of other people’s peaceful celebrations is a good enough reason.

Being an anarchist it would be neglectful of me not to make what Fox News pundits would call “moral equivalences.” Yes, the operator of a drone who kills innocent bystanders while eliminating terrorists may not be guilty of murder. But this anarchist might hold them to the same standard of negligent homicide that is used against reckless drivers.

If an anarchist can advocate for gated communities drawn up by contract, it’s hard to convince a believer in statist law-and-order that countries can’t have borders and use them to keep out enemies.

But, yes. It would also be so much easier if those same statists were able to discriminate between laws which defend people from being mugged and laws which prevent people from ingesting whatever food, drink, smoke, vapor, or chemical they have decided is necessary to their pursuit of happiness.

I seem to recall that this last was important to those who said countries should be based not on the divine right of kings but on the divine rights of everyone.

So there’s the problem. It isn’t discrimination. It’s that the wrong things, and the wrong people, are being discriminated against.

04/04/2022

Breaking Better: Decriminalizing Agorist Markets
retrieved from J Neil Schulman's The Book of Words

I just watched the entire series Breaking Bad in a few marathon sessions. This is my entire review, right here:
Breaking Bad is wonderful. Watch it if you love great, compelling drama with a lot of comic riffs. But watch only if you have a strong stomach.

Now let me move on to the point of this essay.

Breaking Bad shows us the operations of a counter-economic manufacturing and distribution industry: the production and sales of the mood-altering drug methamphetamine — meth, for short. Our primary viewpoint character is a chemist who is able to produce a higher-grade of meth than is otherwise available on the black market, eventually in clandestine laboratories able to manufacture mass-market quantities.

Now, Breaking Bad is a TV show, and it ran six seasons. So plot points needed to be dramatic, ironic, and extreme. The characters needed to be, well, characters.

So this was a series filled with characters who committed a lot of murders, thefts, and mayhem; lied their asses off with a straight face; and their promises were never straightforward but always conditional and capricious. Business disputes were as often as not resolved with violence, usually fatal.

But, even as fantasized drama, this TV series raises a lot of thoughtful challenges that need to be answered by the Agorist theoretician who is arguing for stateless Agorist markets that can eventually replace that monopoly of legitimized violence we tag the State. If we argue that a stateless solution can be both more practical and more capable of producing an ethically preferable outcome, we need to find solid ground to stand on.

Breaking Bad, if taken literally as a parable, pulls a lot of ground out from under the Agorist theoretician — and that’s as much of a problem for the Agorist as was the failure of Marxism to achieve its stated predictions.

Any theory has to be reality tested. If applying the theory does not produce results as advertised, but adverse unintended consequences, it’s back to the drawing board.

A lot of social theories are considered utopian — unrealistically optimistic — because success requires future actors within the paradigm to act better than historical actors.

The Breaking Bad challenge to the Agorist is simply this: how can you operate in an illegal marketplace with the expectation that criminal personalities will not dominate it? And by criminal personalities I mean people whose ordinary, every-day choices include every form of human rights violation that we Agorists despise: murder, robbery, fraud, physical abuse and mayhem, enslavement, and threats and intimidation using all of the above in order to manipulate a desired outcome.

I am not prepared at this point to answer the Breaking Bad challenge exhaustively. But I do think I have a few opening ideas that I hope will provoke further discussion among other Agorists.

1. Agorist markets need to be decriminalized. I am not using the word “decriminalize” as a euphemism for “legalize.” As one who sees the State and its functions as hopelessly dysfunctional, the whole point of Agorism is not to seek permission from the State to engage in a commercial enterprise but to operate without such permission yet achieve marketplaces which thrive on and reward honesty, decency, and honor. Immediately this provokes the challenge of not attempting to achieve a utopian result by the goal of seeking New Libertarian Man — but merely by demanding in underground marketplaces business standards equal to or superior to businesses operating in the legal, above-ground markets. So by “decriminalize” I literally mean driving criminals out of the black market.

2. A marketplace in a product or service tends to reflect the standards of the consumer. For example, a slave factor would be out of business if there were no customers who wanted to buy slaves. There would be no market for “organic” food products if there were not consumers who prefer products with fewer artificial additives and kinder treatment of animals bred as food. Tuna cans would not be labelled as “dolphin safe” if its consumers had not been made aware that the tuna-fishing industry was making dolphins collateral damage to their harvesting methods. So perhaps marketing methamphetamine or cocaine to a class of consumers who are solely interested in getting high without a thought to the human rights violations used in the manufacture and distribution of their product should not be the first choice for Agorists whose intent is to free markets from Statist domination. Is it really unacceptable to suggest that fulfulling the needs of more enlightened consumers might be a better first step in building Agorist markets?

3. The very statist police agencies who enforce statist laws may find common cause with Agorists who have a desire to decriminalize Agorist markets. The idea of the “snitch” or “rat” needs to mean one thing and one thing only: turning in to the State honest and decent underground businesspeople who abide by their words, stand behind the quality of their products, and reject violence as a means of dispute settlement. Turning in the violent criminal to the State is the exile from the Agora of those who do not respect the Agora.

4. Using violence to enforce a monopoly on sales territory is probably the single most destructive thing to the advancement and expansion of Agorist marketplaces. Markets work by bringing buyers and sellers together so markets can clear products. The Cartel system by which sales “turfs” are monopolized by violence against competitors is nothing other than importing all the worst traits of statism into underground markets.

Agorism and Cartelism are
polar opposites. The Agorist has no goal more important than either destroying the Cartel or convincing the Cartelite of the superiority and greater profitability of the Agorist marketplace. Agorism, according to its founder Samuel Edward Konkin III, is libertarianism in practice. Libertarianism is the new manual for operating human commerce that is premised on the Zero Aggression Principle: violence is only rightful when used against an aggressor, and the “collateral damage” to the innocent bystander is to be deplored, minimized a much as humanly possible, and repaired to whatever extent possible when this standard has not been met.

The wonderful TV series Breaking Bad is a set of counterfactuals that tell us how not to operate an Agorist Underground.

Agorism, if it is to succeed, needs to learn that lesson and find both practical and moral solutions to its intellectual challenges.

04/03/2022

Jews and Israel
retrieved from J Neil Schulman's The Book of Words

On Holocaust Revisionism
by Jew Neil Schulman Introduction: 1992

The following article, which I wrote twelve years ago, was originally published in the October, 1981 issue of New Libertarian magazine. I reprint it here, with no changes, if for no other reason than to disprove that I wrote it recently to defend Pat Buchanan from charges of anti-Semitism.

I am not a political supporter of Mr. Buchanan — largely because I disagree with his recently-acquired protectionist views — but it bothers me that Buchanan is being called anti-Semitic merely for questioning whether, in the post-Cold-War world, massive U.S. subsidies to Israel serve any strategic political or military interest of the United States' taxpayer.

It's worth noting that the same issue of New Libertarian magazine that carried my article also carried three articles on the cover theme of that issue — which was punk/new wave music — and the first of several columns by Kerry Thornley, who once bunked with Lee Harvey Oswald in the Marines, was accused of being part of the JFK assassination by Jim Garrison, and who now — possibly as part of some schizophrenic delusion — admits it. New Libertarian was an interesting magazine to be associated with in the 1970's and 80's. Though its circulation was tiny, its influence throughout the libertarian movement was wide. It certainly was not in any way anti-Semitic in its views or editorial policies; the idea is laughable to anyone who knows Samuel Edward Konkin III, the magazine's editor and publisher.

The David McCalden I reference in this article was one of the defendants in the Mel Mermelstein lawsuit against the Institute of Historical Review, which was reported widely and later made into a TV movie. McCalden died a few years ago; of the many individuals I personally know who have died of AIDS, he is one of the few whom I know for a fact — because of women who have told me so — to be, to the best of their knowledge, exclusively heterosexual.

McCalden and I had a strange relationship. It could hardly be called friendship — I, an apostate New York Jew, and he, an Ulster-born anti-Semite — because we never grew to like or respect the other much. But we were often thrown into each other's company at Libertarian Supper Clubs and parties, and spent a good deal of time in conversation, if for no other reason than that we were both writers for New Libertarian. I called him Rabbi McCalden, because he had a much greater interest in Judaism than I did; he accepted the label with a sort of sardonic pride.

I once debated him at a supper-club meeting as a last minute fill-in on the subject not of the Holocaust but on Northern Ireland. Frankly, I don't remember what I said, beyond the position that decentralization along the lines of the Swiss canton system seemed the solution not only in Ulster but also in South Africa and the disputed West Bank in Israel. He didn't disagree so it wasn't much of a debate.

On another occasion the two of us visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles together. It was a fascinating exhibition to visit with such a person, particularly because his utter skepticism made me aware of how little physical evidence of the Holocaust was on display there. It bothered me that one exhibit implied it was leather made by the Nazis from human skin; it couldn't have possibly been, since such would have been an unpardonable breach of Jewish law. It also bothered me that there were Jewish newspapers from five years before the Holocaust began, that declared that six million Jews would be murdered. The use of the six-million figure that early creates a cognitive dissonance in me that won't go away.

I have no trouble believing in the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis, because I have no trouble believing in evil. If you do not believe in this particular Holocaust, I can show you others: Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao ze Dong's China, and Pol Pot's Cambodia come to mind immediately. If you prefer ancient examples, look up what Genghis Khan did when he rode into an innocent town.

The six million figure isn't crucial to believing in the Holocaust. Neither is belief in the gas chambers at Auschwitz, for that matter: forced marches, machine gun executions, starvation, exposure, and making people live in filth can pile up the bodies fast enough to make getting rid of the dead a major undertaking.

One thing is certain. Jews were well-established in Europe before the Nazis — as well established as they are today in the United States. At the end of the Nazis' work, Europe was Jew-free — and it would have remained so if Germany had won the war.

Whatever you believe about the Holocaust, "Never Again" are two words the world needs to take seriously.

Here, then, is what I had to say about the holocaust over a decade ago. I find that I have no major disagreements today with what I wrote in 1981.

—J. Neil Schulman
March 24, 1992

If you read the papers these days or turn on a television or radio, then you might have heard that there is an ideological and historical War going on concerning the Holocaust, with anti-Semites, revisionist historians, libertarians, and cranks uncritically lumped together on one side, and Jews, concentration camp survivors, and the Zionist Conspiracy uncritically lumped together on the other.

Normally, I write under the name J. (for Joseph) Neil Schulman. Today, for this article, I will call myself Jew Neil Schulman. This is because no matter what I say, I'm going to be classified as a Jewish writer by both sides anyway, and I hope to offend such collectivist bigots on both sides right off.

I was born in 1953, have lived my entire life in the United States, and the worst anti-Semitism I've ever had to undergo is being stoned. Certainly not much when you consider what Jews in Spain, Poland, Germany, and Russia have had to put up with, at various times in history. For the record, I was Bar Mitzvahed at 13, gave a terrific performance, and have done everything I can do to avoid going into a synagogue ever since. Much more interesting to me than the boring lessons in Hebrew were the horror stories my Hebrew tutor, Louisa Munzer, told me of her imprisonment as a young girl in Auschwitz, where she was sterilized by Nazi doctors performing medical experiments on her, and where—so she told me—she avoided being put into the gas chambers—by pinching her cheeks to make herself look healthy.

I have been told by Jews all my life that if I'd been living in Nazi Germany, I would have been sent to a concentration camp simply for being born a Jew.

It wouldn't have made any difference. As an anarchist, I would have been sent to one by the Nazis anyway, regardless of my genetics.

Still, living in the Land of the Free, I was propagandized in favor of my native State mercilessly as a child.

I was told, as Unquestionable Historical Fact, that the Constitution of the United States "gives" us rights — never mind that I was also taught that the Declaration of Independence maintained before the Constitution that rights were not to be given or taken by a government.

I was told, as Unquestionable Historical Fact, that the North fought the South in the Civil War to "free the slaves." Never mind that the Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in territories the North did not control, and allowed slave states allied with the Union — Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, and sections of other slave states — to keep their slaves. And never mind that the Confederacy told England that they were willing to abolish slavery if only England would support their secession.

I was told as Unquestionable Historical Fact that the United States entered into World War One because of the German sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania, supposedly a peaceful ship in international waters carrying American civilians. Never mind that it has come out that the Lusitania was actually carrying British munitions.

I was told as Unquestionable Historical Fact that the United States entered World War Two because of an unprovoked sneak attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. Never mind that Franklin Delano Roosevelt — in his economic and political policies fully as fascistic as Mussolini — had frozen all Japanese assets in the United States, had repeatedly insulted the Japanese ambassadors, had helped blockade the Indonesian Straits which the Japanese needed as vital trade resources, and —if you at all believe that the series of unlikely events which left Pearl Harbor totally unprotected was not coincidental — that in a classic chess move he had gambited the entire fleet at Pearl Harbor because spotting the Japanese that pawn was the only way he could get them to attack a country they knew they couldn't win a war against.

Well, look at the invasion of Toyota, Datsun, and Subaru as reparations.

All of the above Unquestionable Historical Facts were successfully questioned by such revisionist historians as the late Harry Elmer Barnes, a liberal; the late Charles A. Beard, a Progressive; and the very-much-alive James J. Martin, a libertarian.

So we come to the Holocaust.

On the one hand we have a mixed bag of concentration camp survivors—most notably Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal; professional Holocaust historians, most notable Lucy S. Dawidowicz, author of The War Against The Jew 1933-1945; and Zionists, most notably Menachem Begin — who say that even to question the Holocaust is to give aid and comfort to those anti-Semites who would rehabilitate Hitler and the Nazis, deny the unspeakable suffering of the concentration camp survivors, and defame the memory of the Jewish dead.

On the other hand we have a mixed bag of anti-Semites—most notably Willis Carto of the Institute for Historical Review; revisionist historians, most notably James J. Martin; post-War baby-boom generationists such as David McCalden/Lewis Brandon, resigned editor of the I.H.R.'s Journal of Historical Review; and libertarians (who take up the matter only in private conversations) who — for differing reasons — raise various objections to the Unquestionable Historical Fact of the Holocaust.

The latter question — among other things — whether the gas chambers existed to kill people or merely disinfect clothing, whether the number of Jews who died other than in war-related deaths was actually six million, whether the killing of Jews in concentration camps was an official S.S. policy of deliberate extermination, and whether the death of so many Jews could be blamed not only on the Nazis but also the Poles, the Russians, and perhaps the War itself.

Not all of the questioning group question all the traditional claims about the Holocaust. David McCalden, for example, questions — for whatever his reasons are — the six million figure (he thinks it's closer to one million), the claims of gas chamber executions and cremation of the living, the claims of Jews being rendered into bars of soap, and the claim that the Diary of Anne Frank is authentic. McCalden does not, in conversations with me, question that Jews in concentration camps — along with gypsies, communists, homosexuals, and other enemies of the State — were subjected by the Nazis to shootings, forced labor, starvation, exposure, beatings, dislocation and breaking up of families, forced marches, robbery and terrorism.

If this isn't conceding the Holocaust, and arguing about details, I don't know what is.

Of the various different claims about the Holocaust, some by their nature involve and arise out of those who were there as witnesses — concentration camp survivors, "Good" Nazis and even "Good" S.S. men, (Simon Wiesenthal documents deeds of kindness by individuals of both groups), regular-army Germans who disliked the S.S., and Allied soldiers who liberated the concentration camps.

Some of the claims about the Holocaust, such as the six million figure, can't possibly be based on direct observation of witnesses and involve much interpolation of data, speculation, and debate about proper investigative methodology. It was the traditionalist historians who started the "body count" numbers games, and it is not surprising that these games have now been picked up by the revisionists.

Complicating this entire subject — making it almost impossible for me to write about it objectively (my first two drafts of this article were almost incoherently profane) — are paranoids, bigots, camp survivors who even 3-1/2 decades later can't contemplate their experiences other than as an irreducible emotional primary not subject to rational analysis, issues of free speech and free press, the epistemological difficulties inherent in determining the truth of things for which one has no direct experience, smear campaigns against people I know to be good and fair, assertions about events and facts by persons who weren't even born at the time, the use of the Holocaust as a political football, and — how many times shall I say this? — cowardice, Cowardice, COWARDICE!

More simply, people who talk about the Holocaust fall into three groups: (1) those who were there as eyewitnesses, know what they saw, extrapolate from what they saw to various conclusions according to their philosophical and emotional premises; (2) those who weren't there, perhaps being born afterwards, and would honestly like to know what happened; and (3) those who, for reasons of protecting Vested Interests, either know the truth and wish to lie about it, or don't know and wish to keep it that way so they may continue to protect those Vested Interests.

In all three groupings are to be found traditional historians, revisionist historians, Jews, gentiles, libertarians, statist, Zionists, ex-Nazis, and anti-Semites. For obvious reasons camp survivors cannot be in the second group; but their relatives and children can be.

I wish I knew where to classify various specific people I know. Sometimes I wonder whether I myself, belong in the second or third group. Perhaps my only honesty is in continually asking myself that question.

But there are some things I do know, and it is not as a professional historian (which I am not) that I will now discuss them. I write only as a professional novelist and ten-year libertarian activist — hopefully rational, hopefully in love with truth and justice above all. If that isn't enough credentials to address this subject, then tell me what mountain you came down from.

First. The issue of the Holocaust has been tied in, by both sides, with Zionism and the politics of the State of Israel.

As an anarchist, I do not support the State of Israel — as I oppose all States, including the formation of a Palestinian State — and do not think that whatever happened to Jews over three decades ago is justification today for any statist acts and policies. As such, I see that the sooner the issue of the Holocaust is made distinct and separate from the issue of the State of Israel, the sooner a consensus about what happened will be achieved.

And if you believe that truth is arrived at by consensus — what an absurd concept! — then, no. There is no consensus about it yet.

I concede that Jews fleeing Europe after the Holocaust had the right to immigrate in Palestine, having in many cases nowhere else to go, but I do not concede that the forced displacement of non-Jewish natives was justified. And I certainly do not concede that either Jew or Gentile should be subject to the coercion of a bunker-mentality, welfare/warfare nascent-apartheid Jewish State.

As a libertarian, I see the only possibility of any lasting peace in the territories now called Israel would be for the dismantling of all expansionist States in the Middle East. Since it is obvious that there is little chance for this to happen in the "foreseeable" future, I do not foresee any possibility of lasting peace there.

All who wish to live in such a State of Perpetual War are welcome to it; I want no part of it.

Second. So long as the Holocaust is being used in the political arena, as justification for acts of the Israeli State, then it is fair game to raise historical questions about it. Period. Those who would deny anyone the right to question \any\ historical fact which is being used to political ends are guilty of Intellectual Suppressionism.

If you do not know that the Holocaust is being used politically, I will give you but one example. It is all I need.

After the Israeli destruction of the Iraqi nuclear power plant, which was accused of being a manufacturing facility of nuclear weapons, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin stated that such a strike was necessary because of the Holocaust, and "Never Again" would Jews be exterminated.

If this isn't the use of the Holocaust as a political justification for a State's military policies, I don't know what is.

I would say it is in the extreme interest of all Holocaust survivors — and all others interested in seeing truth will out — to prevent it from being used as the justification for Israeli political and military policies.

Third. Establishment Historians. Do not expect anybody to accept your demands that your "facts" be Unquestionably Accepted as History. You have lied to apologize for States too many times before. If you tell the truth about the Holocaust, now, you are in the position of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

In this category, I will now put author Lucy S. Dawidowicz for an article that she wrote and published in the December, 1980 issue of Commentary.

In this article — professionally suspect, dripping with vitriol and sarcasm, full of loaded terms and guilt-by-association — Dawidowicz launched the most one-sided, ad hominemsmear job I've ever seen on revisionist historians such as Harry Elmer Barnes, A.J.P. Taylor, James J. Martin, and others I consider rational, truthful, and fair. Since she has written three books on the Holocaust it is excusable that she does not include one fact about the Holocaust in this article, or even references to facts. What is inexcusable is that she calls other historians liars without rebutting one substantive charge they raise, relying not on facts for her charges of lying, but merely assuming her conclusion and demanding her readers take her on faith.

Simon Wiesenthal I consider to be a much more difficult case. On the one hand, he has supplemented his own first-hand observations of Jews being exterminated with a file (which I haven't seen) of affidavits documenting thousands of anti-Jewish atrocities. For the most part he has been a one-man Angel of Retribution — a figure out of Raymond Chandler — wary of political interests and operating on private funds. On the other hand, he \was\ employed by the O.S.S. after the war, exchanged evidence with the marsupial and hypocritical Nuernberg War Crimes Trials (which tried Germans for internal, non-War related atrocities, while never trying the Allies' War Crimes such as the bombings of Dresden and Nagasaki), and has cooperated with any State when it served his cause.

His bad associations aside (and I will not succumb to guilt by-association here), I think him to be truthful and rational.

If the revisionists are to prove the Holocaust as a Zionist/Allied propaganda hoax, they must prove this individual man a pathological liar.

Fourth. Libertarians. This is the War against the State, now and you'd better be on the side of the righteous or kiss freedom goodbye. You who run from revisionist associations because you're afraid that your liberal friends in Washington D.C. won't invite you to their cocktail parties—so you can play statist games and pretend you're changing things—you are incubi and succubi of the movement.

We don't need you summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.

You at Libertarian Review and Reason who banned articles on Holocaust revisionism and ads for I.H.R. conferences, then attack Sam Konkin for joining James J. Martin and Percy Greaves on the J.H.R.'s editorial advisory committee, publishing the banned ads and one article by Lewis Brandon — when you know that Sam Konkin has consistently used his name and New Libertarian publications to make libertarianism attractive to all suppressed factions — get out of the movement before future historians conclude that the libertarians of today were hypocrites.

You who banned the I.H.R., whose ideas you never listened to, from your Future of Freedom Conference — when those you banned allowed libertarians to speak freely at their conferences...Is this what you would have the world think libertarian marketplaces will be like when the world is run the way we say it should be? That freedom to express ideas is only for those who toe your party line?

That we are free to trade our publications, incestuously, among ourselves — but that those whose ideas you disapprove of are to be chased away?

Have you no courage that Truth , if set against Lies, can prevail? If not, if human minds cannot discern the truth, then what hope is there for the future of freedom anyway?

Don't you dare tell me that to deny someone space in a private publication, or at a private conference, is not the same thing as censorship by a State. You do not control a State. To some of you, I will answer; if your "Libertarian" Party ever comes to power, let those who believe in free speech shudder, for they've had an example of your tolerance. To the rest of you — if there is no absolute principle of free expression of ideas no matter what the content — to be expressed freely and refuted freely—then what do we stand for? Establishment publications will not publish them; and if we do not, are we to be outdone by Marxist and other collectivist statists in demonstrating the belief in a open marketplace of ideas? Do we really need the ludicrous spectacle of a Libertarian Free Speech Movement — for libertarians?

Fifth. Concentration Camp Survivors. I admire you for your courage. I suspect that under such conditions I would not have had the courage to survive.

But your pain is not a claim on the life of anyone today — Jew or non-Jew, German or American born after 1930 — certainly no one of my generation.

If you use your pain as a weapon against the innocents of today, then they become yourvictim, and you have allowed yourself to be destroyed in a way the Nazis could not accomplish by force: you have denied the value of individual human dignity.

Do not let yourselves be the pawns of politicians. Do not let your sufferings be an excuse to make others suffer today. An Arab woman holding a dead baby, killed in an Israeli raid on a Palestinian guerilla camp, cries just as hard as you did. If your suffering can be used by politicians to defend Israel, her suffering can be used by politicians to defend Israel's enemies.

Sixth. Revisionist Historians. You have held the Candle of the Truth, to light the World. Keep it lit and never let it die.

Free yourselves from those who care nothing for truth, and liberate us from the crimes of the past by telling us how they really happened.

Don't apologize for the sins of the States. If you must err about atrocities, err on the side of the victims.

Don't tell us how few Jews the Nazi State killed. Tell us, instead, how many others were also killed by the Polish and Soviet States, and — indirectly — by American denial of entry to Jews escaping from Europe.

Tell us of the twelve million killed in the Holocaust of Stalin, and of the forty million killed in the Holocaust of Mao.

If you find the methods of previous historians questionable, then come up with your own facts, and tell the World — once and for all — what really happened.

Seventh. Fellow Jews.

I am a Jew, also, but I am many other things I consider to be much more important.

I am a libertarian, a novelist, the son of a violinist and the grandson of a man who came to this country to escape the Czarist draft.

If the word meant anything anymore, I would be happy to call myself a humanist.

Above all, I am an individual human being, with the right and the responsibility to see with my own eyes, think with my own mind, and believe only what I can determine to be true.

I will accept nothing on faith.

I will not be intimidated, by Jew or anti-Semite.

If you think that because I condemn the State of Israel as I condemn all other States, that this means that I collectively hate Jews and my Jewishness, then you are as bad as the anti-Semites who think that because of my circumcision I can't speak other than as a Jew.

Both you, and such an anti-Semite, are guilty of collectivism and the logical error Ludwig Von Mises called polylogism: thinking that there is one logical truth for one group, and another logical truth for another group.

Some of you play the game of heads-I-win, tails-you-lose. A goy says a word against Israel, he's an anti-Semite. A Jew says word against Israel, he's a self hater.

Any Jew who would call me either anti-Semite or self hater to my face — you self-righteous bastard — I will give you a Holocaust—one to one.

These days when, if we're to prevent the Holocaust of this entire planet, we must be Human Beings before we are Jews, Arabs, Russians, Americans, or Chinese.

But I am not an Internationalist. I am an Individualist. If the world perishes, it will be because of nationalist collectivism that denies Individual Human Rights—and I don't intend to see life and liberty incinerated on the Cool Green Hills of Earth without a fighting chance.

There is an Objective Existence — a body of facts that exists independent of human consciousness — and it is the right and duty of every person — Jew or gentile — to respect the truths of existence above all.

What happened happened, but there is a difference between what happened and knowledge of what happened and those who do not know must have the right to conclude things that you dislike hearing. On a planet overrun with mass-murdering States — with their professional liars and propagandists covering up for the criminals — finding out historical truth is alwaysdifficult, and may be impossible.

Truth will not be arrived at by bullying and smearing. It will arise — if at all — in individual human minds, whether Jewish or not. The qualities of rationality, honesty, tenacity, courage and love of justice can arise in anybody who claims it.

And, yes. I have met honest, intelligent people who don't believe in the Holocaust.

I didn't automatically believe in the Holocaust.

I don't automatically believe in anything.

But the fact is, I didn't even question the Holocaust — even after hearing the revisionist version — until I witnessed the spectacle of self-righteous Jewish historians basing their entire case for the Holocaust not on facts but on unproved assertions, numbers games, psychological intimidation, and smears against anybody who won't take them on faith. When something stinks, I sniff.

If being Jewish means the courage of the concentration camp survivors and of valiant Jewish fighters against murdering anti-Semites... of a people celebrating the tradition every year of liberation from slavery...of humor in the face of adversity...then I'm proud of have been born a Jew.

But many peoples have equivalent legacies — some of the best friends Jews ever had have been goys — and there's nothing exclusively — even predominantly —Jewish about courage, love of emancipation, and humor.

There's nothing even particularly Jewish about making your suffering a Cross You Have To Bear.

But if being Jewish means to you that because Jews have been victims in the past, that it's all right for Jews now to victimize anybody who gets in our way, then beware.

Maybe some new group of Nazis will kill me for being born a Jew, but if this neo-Nazism can catch on among decent people, it will be because Jews made it possible by demonstrating that they care only for the Jews — at the cost of reason, of justice to all people, and of liberty. Under such circumstances, I would deny I was Jewish even as I was being shoved into the gas chamber.

I would die as an individual, the victim of irrationalism, not as a Jew, the victim of anti-Semites.

If Jews do not stand above all as a people who love Virtue above all, then by default Jews will have brought on your own worst nightmares about Never Again — and Brother, we'll have asked for it!

J. Neil Schulman
October, 1981

03/25/2022

Comment by Murray N. Rothbard
retrieved from The Libertarian Forum, VOLUME III, NOS. 6-7 July-August, 1971 in response to LIBERTY: FROM CHRIST TO RAND by Joseph R. Peden

Dr. Warren Carroll's Leap Over the Wall from Randianism to Triumphantist Christianity highlights two important problems that deserve far more attention than they have received from libertarians: the growing problem of defection, and the status of Christianity and the Christian ethic within the movement.

As Professor Peden points out, a major reason for Carroll's defection was his thirst for Instant Victory - a flaw that he shared with all too many libertarians. When that Instant Victory was not forthcoming, Carroll took flight for a retreatist Utopia in Tasmania, and when that proved abortive, abandoned the cause altogether. Why can't libertarians settle down cheerfully to a lifelong struggle for liberty? Carroll says repeatedly that libertarianism offers "no reward along the way", no "reward in the road itself" except for the eventual attainment of liberty. But why not? Why is there not joy in dedication to the advancement of truth, justice, and liberty? The businessman, after all, finds joy in the ceaseless pursuit of profit and growth, the scientist in the endless quest for ever-expanding truth; why may not the libertarian obtain the same from the "long march" toward liberty? Every other "career" offers joys and satisfactions in the functioning of the career itself, and apart from specific achievements emanating from it. Why should the "career" of liberty hold any less excitement and reward for the libertarian?

Carroll does have a small point here, however. In that all too many libertarians have, in their commendable "purism", systematically ruled out any conceivable strategy for even ultimate or eventual victory, By ruling out virtually all tactics except pure education, libertarians have almost doomed themselves to perpetual defeat, which might be enough to discourage even the stoutest of heart. On the contrary, it is precisely in the area of strategy and tactics where the libertarian should be flexible and pragmatic - in contrast to the realm of principle where he should be "doctrinaire" and consistent.

On the whole issue that Carroll raises about the nature of man and his institutions, Carroll is about the one millionth person to totally misinterpret the libertarian view in this area, He states that "all libertarian schools view man as naturally good and naturally rational"; in contrast, I don't know of one that holds such an absurdly naive doctrine, And yet this has been the major charge hurled at us by archists for generations. To set the record straight hopefully for good and all, the libertarian believes, along with everyone else, that man is a mixture of good and evil. What we are trying to do is to eliminate institutions which are inherently evil and thereby provide a legalized, legitimated channel for evil to proceed unchecked in society. There should be nothing very mysterious about that.

This brings me to the whole question of Christianity and the Christian ethic. Not a Christian myself, I have seen for years how Christian libertarians have been abused, badgered, and hectored by militant atheists and presumptuous Randians, and their libertarian bona fides sharply questioned. Being on the whole - perhaps as a result of their Christian training - far nicer people than their tormentors, these Christian libertarians have put up with this shabby treatment with calm and good humor. But it should be crystal clear that a libertarian movement which imperiously insists upon atheism as a necessary condition for membership is going to needlessly alienate countless numbers of potential supporters. Atheists, to be sure, believe that Christianity, like other theism, is an error; but there are millions of errors in the world, and it passeth understanding why this particular one should bar Christians from the libertarian community. There is certainly no substantial reason why Christians and atheists cannot peacefully coexist within the libertarian movement. It is high time, therefore, for all libertarians, Christian and atheist alike, to blow the whistle on the anti-Christian abuse that has infected the movement for so long a time.

But there is more to the tale than that. For while every rationalist libertarian must hold reason higher than tradition, there is one sense in which the traditionalist conservatives have gotten hold of a very important point, and one that has been unfortunately overlooked by the rationalists. And that is wrapped up in the great truth of the division of labor: the fact that the vast majority of people have neither the ability nor the skill to carve out a rational ethic on their own. Ethics is a science, a discipline like other disciplines; and as in any other branch of knowledge it is vain folly to begin exploration of the science afresh and on one's own while disregarding all the other explorers and thinkers who have gone before, I once knew a Randian who tried to deduce astronomy a priori and out of his own head without bothering to consult any of the other literature in the field. While this was a caricature and a half-jest on his part, it exemplified all too well the rationalist - and particularly the Randian - disposition to attempt to carve out a body of thought without bothering to read one's predecessors. In the field of ethics and philosophy in general, it is simply an empirical fact that the greatest thinkers, for two thousand years, have been Christian; and to ignore these Christian philosophers and to attempt to carve out an ethical system purely on one's own is to court folly and disaster.

Apart from their respective merits, then, it is no accident that, in practical application - from sex to music - Christian ethicists should have a far more rational batting average than the Randian. After all, Randian thought has only been in existence for a decade or two, while Christianity has had two thousand years to develop. We stand on the shoulders of the thinkers of the past, even though of course we must use our reason to correct them.

But there are further, and grimmer, implications here for rationalists. For if few people have the ability or inclination to carve out an ethical system on their own, this means that they must - if their actions are to be guided by any coherent set of values - take them passively, almost on trust. But who then are the masses of men to trust for their system of values? Surely that system with the longest and most successful tradition, with the largest quota of great minds - in short, the Christian ethic, This is a bitter pill for many of us non-Christians to swallow, but I am afraid it is inescapable nevertheless.

This conclusion is reinforced when we look around at what has happened to much of today's libertarian movement. The peculiar aspects of the Randian ethic are as nothing to the bizarreries, to the outright lunacies, into which so many ex-Randians (who constitute the bulk of the libertarian movement) have sunk, in their vain attempts to carve out a system of objective ethics on their own. (The latest craze, so we have heard, is "rational bestiality.") The Christian ethic is, in the words of the old hymn, a Rock of Ages, and it is at least incumbent upon the individual to think long and hard before he abandons that Rock lest he sink into the quagmire of the capricious and the bizarre.