Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rand Paul, Jeffrey Tucker and Standards

The Bionic Mosquito emails:

As you have rightly been pointing out the actions of Senator Paul, and recently have called into questions some of the curiosities of Mr. Tucker, I offer the following to you - from five months ago. 

It is worth clicking through the link on my post to the book review of Rand Paul's book, reviewed by Tucker.

I smelled a change in tone even then.

I will add, I have a high degree of respect for Mr. Tucker.  Several years ago he wrote an article that greatly influenced my relationship with the Mises Institute.


  1. Tucker said: … [Rand Paul] is silent on the drug war (but silent is better than endorsement)…

    This is certainly true. Rothbard would have agreed.

    So Bionic Mosquito is unhappy that Tucker didn't call out Rand for not being against the drug war. Could be Tucker understands that Rand is not a libertarian and has a conservative constituency to play to. Could be he hopes Rand will someday not be silent and will come out against the drug war. There are many possible explanations. Could be that he is speaking strategically, that he is just saying the fewer supporters the Drug War has the better, and at least Rand isn't one.

    But we don't know. We are only to take away some innuendo about Tucker being soft on Rand. And this by rummaging through past writings to infer a trend from one data point. Very weak. If Tucker is now a target for the "not libertarian enough" label, those on the attack had better come up with something better than this.

    A larger point: If we questioned every libertarian writer on everything they *didn't* attack a non-libertarian on, there would be no limit to this. This too Rothbard understood. This is sectarian. This is meant to divide over inferred deviations from the plumb line. Better to save such efforts for real deviationists and ignore crap like this. Bob, I'm really disappointed that you put this up.

    1. Tucker is writing this on his own libertarian web site! If he can be straight forward there, where will he be?

    2. Excellent post, Scott O. Stuff like this only serves to discredit EPJ. Your larger point is spot on.

  2. This is laughable. The quote the Bionic Mosquito reproduces comes from a section of Tucker's review where he is pointing out the weaknesses of Rand's book. Similarly, I can point out this quote from BM's post:

    "Silence regarding the weapon of the state devised to ensure civil liberties can be violated at anytime and anywhere for often non-violent offenses is certainly better than endorsement."

    How is this different from what Tucker said? Can I know refer to BM's post and talk about his "change in tone"?

  3. Scott O January 23, 2013 at 6:58 PM: So Bionic Mosquito is unhappy that Tucker didn't call out Rand for not being against the drug war.

    BM: I said nothing about being unhappy.

    Anonymous January 23, 2013 at 7:06 PM: How is this different from what Tucker said?

    BM: Unfortunately, you left out the next sentence after the one you quote, as follows: But it is a long way from not giving in to evil and proceeding ever more boldly against it.

    As this was the entire point of my post, I will consider this misunderstanding reflects my shortcoming as a writer.

    The point of my original post is simple. The drug war is one of the more intrusive acts of the state, an act that allows for all manner of rights violations. This “war” results in the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of non-violent "offenders." For such an invasive, abusive practice:

    This: … [Rand Paul] is silent on the drug war (but silent is better than endorsement)…

    Is not this: Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito.

    Nothing more.

    1. Okay, I read the review (I haven't read Rand's book). The entire Tucker line is:

      "If you want to start putting acid tests on his thinking in the book, you will note that he is mixed on the subject of immigration, he is silent on the drug war (but silent is better than endorsement), and he seems to hold out the possibility of some war-making role for the state."

      I think the last line sums up the review pretty well:

      "It doesn’t give the whole truth, and his naivete that government can be cut and contained, rather than completely dismembered, is frustrating for anyone steeped in the current radicalism of the liberty-minded world. Still, that a book this brassy and bold could come from a sitting member of the U.S. Senate would have been unthinkable a few years ago."

      So it's a review of a political book by a libertarian-leaning, but not libertarian politician. Taken in that context, the proper response is much closer to that of Anonymous above. It is absurd to criticize Tucker for "not proceeding against evil", he's praising the book for the advance it represents over the books Senators usually write (though the last one I can think of right now is 'Profiles in Courage').

      Rothbard is cackling. I can hear him saying, "You're applying the wrong standard here". Rothbard would be happy there is someone in the Senate fighting the State on all these fronts, even if he is silent on some other fronts or bad on other fronts. He would call out Rand on whatever areas Rand supported the State, as Tucker apparently does. What's to complain about?

    2. Posting this on a site that is known as currently on an anti-Jeffrey Tucker tear is hardly "cautious".
      You know very well this just feeds Wenzel's current "let's tear Jeffrey Tucker a new asshole" mode.

      So stop pretending to be as "cautious" as you claim to be. You're just helping Wenzel pile on while hiding behind "Well gee, i didn't say any of the things you claim i am."

      At least have the courage to come out and say that you no longer trust Tucker's credentials.

  4. Tucker's book review is on his site, a site that sells books.

    (End of transmission.)