Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bionic Mosquito,Tuckernacks, Lesbians and Me

Bionic has a post up on Thick Libertarians, aka Tuckernacks.

Bionic in the post, poses a series of questions:
 What a timely blog post by William Norman Grigg:

A slave is somebody compelled to provide service to another. Elane Huguenin, a wedding photographer from New Mexico, was arraigned before that state’s “human rights” soviet for politely declining to provide her services to a lesbian couple planning a “commitment ceremony” (the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage).

In the certain conflicts that will arise between the non-aggression principle and the I-love-everybody principle of thick libertarians, which principle would be superior?

When your thick humanitarian dreams butt up against my thin property reality, which side do you say is triumphant?  On what principle will this be decided?

One or the other must be chosen:

1)      Are my property rights and my racist/sexist/whatever views to be protected?
2)      Are my property rights and my racist/sexist/whatever views to be rejected? 

I suspect that Bionic thinks that he has the Tuckernacks in a bind with these questions. What are they to do?

However, I don't think the Tuckernacks, certainly not Jeff Tucker, would have any problem answering this question. If I am reading Tucker correctly, he supports the nonaggression principle first BUT believes that libertarians should also promote such things as LGBT tolerance and race tolerance, as a sort of appendage to libertarianism because they are humane things to do.

In other words, Tucker would say, yes, the photographer does have the right to not work for the lesbians but libertarians should stand against this. Thus, by asking the question, Bionic is really getting to the core of what Tuckernacks are about. They are about attaching to libertarianism advocacy on all sorts of politically correct positions that have nothing to do with libertarianism.

As I have stated before, I have nothing against gays, lesbians, blacks, but do I have to become a PR agent for the gay, lesbian or black communities, just because I am a libertarian? Of course not.

Promoting cancer research is probably a good thing, promoting research seeking cures for diabetes, Alzheimers and autisim is probably a good thing, but should there be a moral requirement that all people promote these good things?  If there is a group that on medical grounds, or any other grounds, hates medical research (but doesn't coerce others from conducting research), do I as a libertarian have an obligation to promote these research efforts and oppose the haters? Of course not.

In the same way, that people have views different than me with regard to certain ethnic groups, religious groups, or those with non-traditional sexual preferences, does not mean there is any requirement that I, as a libertarian, must attempt to change these people's views. (As I side note, while I don't dispute that racism exists and some anti-gay sentiment exists, I believe the amount of it is widely overblown and to the degree it does not violate NAP, it is really not that big of a deal. SEE: About My Racist Friends, My Homophobic Friends and My Own Prejudices )  As long as people with these views don't violate the non-aggression principle, there is nothing that a libertarian, as a libertarian, can say about their activities, even if we make the assumption that tolerance of such groups is a good thing, any more than a libertarian, as a libertarian, can call for the promotion of cancer research as an appendage to libertarianism because it is humane research.

If someone wants to spend time advancing the work of the American Cancer Society, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or the LGBT community, there is no libertarian that is going to call for coercion against anyone advocating such, NONE. But, none of these are an appendage to libertarianism, as good or as bad as such advocacy may be.

Libertarianism holds no opinion on whether advocacy done by any of these groups is good or bad. It, put simply, has nothing to do with the advocacy of liberty. It would seem that it wouldn't be necessary to make this clear, but the Tuckernacks attempted appendages to libertarianism make it necessary: The advocacy of liberty is about the advocacy of liberty and nothing else.


  1. “I suspect that Bionic thinks that he has the Tuckernacks in a bind with these questions.”

    I would never be so bold as to think this! in any case, I am not writing for the benefit of the “Tuckernacks.”

    What is being offered by Tucker, Richman, Borders, etc., does a great job of muddying the meaning of “libertarian.” I offer the questions in an attempt to clearly frame the issue / contradiction. If my doing so helps bring clarity to those thinking about / looking at libertarianism, I will feel that I made a contribution.

    “If I am reading Tucker correctly…. In other words, Tucker would say, yes, the photographer does have the right to not work for the lesbians but libertarians should stand against this.”

    As long as “should” is like good advice from mom (be nice to the boys at school, Billie), no problem.

    Perhaps Tucker should write more clearly if this is the case. If Robert Wenzel, one of the clearer and most mature thinkers regarding libertarian thought, has to speculate about Tucker’s meaning (“If”), imagine where this leaves those who are still exploring. One not quite as far along as Mr. Wenzel might conclude that libertarian equals libertine.

    So, let’s see if “should” is offered. And on what basis he suggests that his “shoulds” are grounded in the NAP.

    “The advocacy of liberty is about the advocacy of liberty and nothing else.”

    I wish I thought of this line; it would have saved me a few thousand words.

  2. There is some hypocrisy going on here. Wenzel admits that Tucker gives priority to the NAP. Tucker is not trying to change the definition of "libertarian." Tucker is saying that libertarians should also do certain other things, like speak out against racism. I think we can agree Tucker does not mean devote your energies to the subject, but rather to hold a certain stance and express it when appropriate. Furthermore, Tucker says "SHOULD," rather than "HAVE TO." Thus, Tucker does not say you can't be racist and a libertarian, but that you should not be. Does anyone really have a problem with that? I certainly don't. Tucker can promote whatever he wants, as long as he does not call for intervention by the State.

    But I find it funny when people like Wenzel and Mosquito say that a libertarian only has to hold to the NAP, and can do, act, or promote whatever else they want. Well then, what's your problem with Tucker? He is holding on to the NAP and also promoting some other ideas. Isn't that exactly what you are doing as well? Aren't you accusing Tucker of the very same thing that you are doing? Namely, promoting certain views while holding the NAP paramount?

    Put differently, if I say "hey, don't spit or fart when you talk to people about libertarian ideas," are you going to accuse me of trying to change the definition of libertarianism?

    1. Duh, Tucker is the one that is saying there are two different types of libertarians. Wenzel is only saying that libertariansim is about liberty. Do you think there is more to libertariansim than liberty?

    2. I think Wenzel is going even further if you consider the link he puts to his earlier post, About My Racist Friends, My Homophobic Friends and My Own Prejudices. He pretty much is saying that if racisim and anti-gay sentiment is a problem, it isn't a libertarian issue, but he is going further and saying it isn't a problem. This is a double whammy against Tucker.

    3. "Thus, Tucker does not say you can't be racist and a libertarian, but that you should not be. Does anyone really have a problem with that?"

      You are misrepresenting the disagreement, either willfully or ignorantly. Tucker did not label racist libertarians (I personally know none of those, do they really exist?) as "brutalist" and denigrate them as lesser libertarians to the "humanitarians," he labeled libertarians who believe that libertarians as libertarians stand for the non-aggression principle and liberty and nothing more (that is all libertarians FYI) as brutalist and, as Robert said, added the appendage of promoting gay marriage and the like to libertarianism.

      Put another way, I believe the proper libertarian position on government marriage, of all types, should be to get the government out of marriage. Couples should not have to pay the state to get married nor be forced to have signed government permission slips. If you say, "but what about the special privileges given to married couples? Shouldn't that 'right' be available to gays too?" I think a pragmatic libertarian position is to advocate for the lower tax rates for married couples be made for single people too, but even better, how about advocating for eliminating the income tax all together?

      Even If I believe that gays should have government marriage certificates made available to them for a fee but I do not advocate for that publicly as a libertarian, then I am designated a "brutalist" by Tucker.

      So, according to Tucker, if Instead of advocating for gay marriage to be ordained by the state I advocate for the libertarian positions of getting the government out of marriage and abolishing the income tax, I am a brutalist (brute) and he is a humanitarian (better) libertarian than I.

      This is Tucker marginalizing my views, elevating his own, while also muddying the definition of libertarian. I shouldn't have a problem with that?

      No one here is saying that libertarians cannot promote gay marriage, but only that gay marriage has nothing to do with libertarianism. Jeff and others can promote gay marriage by the government all he wants to, but he is incorrect to say that promoting gay marriage is a part of libertarianism, and even worse, that those who do not are "bad (brutalist)" libertarians.

      I am a Christian. I can promote my faith to whoever I want, or not do so, it is up to me. My faith also has nothing to do with being a libertarian. For me to say otherwise (ie only Christians can be libertarians, vice versa, or as Tucker did here- try to inject the promotion of Christianity into the definition of libertarian) would be wrong and I would expect corrections from EPJ and LRC should my article come to their attention. I personally believe the two go hand in hand, and can promote my faith to libertarians, but I do not feel the need to divide Christian libertarians from non-Christian libertarians, putting the non-Christians in a lower category (how about "Righteous" libertarians and "Infidel" libertarians?).

      I do not see Gary North or any other Christian libertarians denigrating non-Christian promoting libertarians.

      So why does Tucker feel the need to divide and label us according to his advocacy preferences?

    4. "So why does Tucker feel the need to divide and label us according to his advocacy preferences?"

      Good question!

      I think it's because he feels libertarianism can't 'win' as it's structured. He thinks the tent is too small and him and Cato are joining hands to sing Kumbaya and 'expand' libertarianism philosophically to try to further it with the power of his own libertarian leaning mob.

      That's the interesting thing, they are distorting libertarianism by 'expanding' it, like you would water down a drink for a wimp who couldn't take it as it's created. As soon as you start watering it down it no longer resembles the drink that it was created to be.

      These attempts to co-opt and distort intellectual movements have been going on forever.

      On one hand, the irony is that hard core libertarianism IS successful on its own, otherwise no one would care or try to co-opt any of it...one can only guess at the reasons it is being done.

      Here are some guesses from me:

      In Tucker's case:

      He's a decent guy who has some left leaning friends that he cares about and feels bad that libertarianism isn't the solution to some of the evils they experience outside the NAP, yet also frustrated in that he's been doing the 'libertarian' thing a long time and the progress is slow or he's maybe even lost faith that it's winnable.

      In Cato's case: They are statists IMO. They really don't hide it. They are trying to legitimize government by saying if it's "limited" then that's OK. That's why they are in DC, they refer to 'limited government' in all their design & definitions, etc. So naturally, they want the word 'libertarian' to mean a 'little' government is 'ok'.

      "Libertarian" has become a little bit of a hipster word now too, casually thrown around by people in the mainstream that have no idea what the NAP is.

      Bill Maher for example. There's tons of people that say "I have libertarian sympathies" and things of that nature, yet rest assured they haven't the faintest idea of it's core or history.

      The big question is what to do with those people. On one hand, you want people to be hardcore libertarians(if you're a hardcore libertarian), and the other hand you don't want a bunch of people running around turning "libertarian" into a watered down nothing that has no real meaning.

      I can understand Tucker's desires, but he's wavered and fallen short, possibly in the end even creating the divisions you speak of that might actually have the opposite intended effect.

    5. You make a good point.

      However, Tucker has closely affiliated himself with Cathy Reisenwitz, who has come out and said she thinks "slut shaming" and other kind of 'intolerant' but non-violent expressions are COERCIVE.

      This means that non-violent but intolerant or insensitive expressions would be against the NAP as far as she's concerned; there's no other way to explain it. Why is Tucker associating himself so much with someone who feels this way? Why is not coming out against her classification of "insensitive" behavior as coercive, in order to show his mind hasn't changed on the precise definition of the NAP?

      This is why, especially in light of his overall sentiment on left-wing issues, i have a hard time believing he really does still support the NAP as it is widely seen, over personal added leftist views.

  3. Very well said, Robert.

  4. @Education

    That's not true at all. Tucker didn't just say be nice.
    Let me quote so people don't buy this spin:

    First - a huge long wind-up telling people about how ugly and crude brutalism was as a style.
    Calls it threatening:

    "Otherwise, absent the extremist and fundamentalist ideology, the building comes across as terrifying and threatening."

    " tossing out the finesse, the refinements, the grace, the decency, the accoutrements."

    So is he saying Rockwell, Wenzel, Woods, Shaeffer, Rossini, Bionic et al. have no finesse, grace, or even decency? They're self-identified brutalists. No decency?

    Next he said these unnamed brutalists

    "shouts down people who do so as being insufficiently devoted to the core of the theory, "

    Where? Every other libertarian blog but Wenzel's and LRC is filled with leftist, anarchist, humanitarian, feminist, gay-friendly, libs, who are precisely the ones shouting down the non-lefties. So it's Tucker's humanitarians who are doing the most shouting. Even on Bob's blog, there are a ton of them, always around, so who's shouting them down?

    That's beside all the humanitarians at Independent Institute, and FEE, and Mercatus, at BLH and at Reason and on the left anarchist sites and among plain liberals. You'd think left-libs were an endangered species instead of over-represented in the academies and media outlets.

    3. Now he calls brutalists primitives:

    "Brutalism is relentless and unabashed in its refusal to get beyond the most primitive postulates."

    So who is this about? Wenzel? He's always elaborating and refining his arguments, from the classic texts.
    So is Mises primitive?

    4.Then he claims religious fundamentalism (and LRC has some fundamentalists or at least traditionalists)
    is the same as Nazism and Bolshevism.

    "Bolshevism and Nazism are both obvious examples: Class and race become the only metric driving politics to the exclusion of every other consideration. In modern democracy, partisan politics tends toward brutalism insofar as it asserts party control as the only relevant concern. Religious fundamentalism is yet another obvious form."

    5. Finally, he tells us that brutalists are by default people supporting men, heteros, whites, and Christians:

    "Thus do the brutalists assert the right to be racist, the right to be a misogynist, the right to hate Jews or foreigners, the right to ignore civil standards of social engagement, the right to be uncivilized, to be rude and crude."

    So brutalists are primitive, have no decency, are racists, misogynists, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, boorish and rude.

    So clearly, only left-libertarians are the real thing.

    Thus, as I've amply documented, Tucker made an extended and virulent attack on Christianity, fundamental libertarians principles, and the style of right-libertarians, equating them with Nazis and Bolsheviks.

    And Bionic is a bad guy for responding?


    1. @ Lila

      Sigh. How you interpreted my comment as a defense of Tucker's views is beyond me. All I was trying to say is that Tucker was dressing up his mannequin in one set of clothes, while Wenzel was dressing up the same manneqin in a different set. But they are both trying to dress up the mannequin.

      Also, I believe that Tucker is a Catholic, so I am not sure why he would be attacking Christianity.

    2. "Thus do the brutalists assert the right to be racist, the right to be a misogynist, the right to hate Jews or foreigners, the right to ignore civil standards of social engagement, the right to be uncivilized, to be rude and crude."

      As I believe Walter Block would say, absolutely everyone has the right to believe all those things if they want to (hate based on skin, religion, etc). Libertarianism has no opinion on what goes on in other people's minds, it is only concerned with the use of violence.

      I would just add personally, as Walter has also done similarly, those are very low and terrible ideas to hold, and as a person I advocate against them. That is just outside of my libertarianism.

      What else is there to say about it?

      Why do people want to make libertarianism something it is not? As a political philosophy it has a long way to go combatting with all the state violence committed daily, why try to tag onto it or focus it on things not involving life or death but instead personal ideas, usually hidden, in people's heads? I have never seen racist ideas propagated in libertarian circles.

      It seems there is some sort of libertarian mythical boogeyman out there, saying racist things somewhere that Tucker sees and wants to protect us from it. Thing is, I read what are presumed the targeted sites, and I have yet to find this boogeyman.... Ever.

    3. Perhaps he is a thick humanitarian catholic?

      Sorry couldn't help it.

  5. I'm not calling anyone nothing but...Progressives politicize EVERYTHING.
    Ya gotta watch'em.

    1. "I'm not calling anyone nothing but...Progressives politicize EVERYTHING."

      That's because they're control freaks and pathetic little cowards. They can't live unless everyone else is FORCED to live and think (they do?) as they like.

  6. So...Is Jeb Bush a brutal or thick Libertarian?
    Or what?

  7. Why are all these divisions and dividers popping up now?

    What good is liberty.me at actually promoting liberty? It is a closed pay site.

    1. Well, that's what happens when the Idiot Left infects something. Like a virus or parasite it divides and destroys by watering down the message.

  8. @Education

    OK...no worries...

    I have no skin in the game at all. I belong in at least 2 of Tucker's "victim" categories, but somehow, I've never noticed any REAL appreciation of my views from the left, except where it exactly matched their own interests.

    Also, Catholics and Christians attacks traditionalist Christianity all the time.
    Anyway, if it wasn't an attack on traditionalist beliefs, then good.

  9. 1. Since libertarianism concerns nothing more than the appropriate place for violence in society, libertarianism and the NAP come, of course, without embroidery or beautiful flowers. The NAP is, in a sense, a bare but essential superstructure. All that other stuff is what you do in your safe voluntary community pursuant to voluntary contractual bylaws.

    2. If someone adopts the NAP, doesn't that mean that their personal racism has been practically minimized by respecting the right of all other humans to control their body and property? What more can be expected? Isn't that hard enough to accomplish?

    3. I always thought that one of the good things about libertarianism was that you could approach non-inclusive enclaves and explain that they would be safe and that no one would be messing with them or their culture. Why shouldn't we be able to approach southern evangelicals and explain that they could live in their own communities free of the PC Nazis? Those people all think Ron Paul is a libertine. What happens to that under Tuckerism? How are we ever going to reach critical mass if most people think we are libertines?

    4. Under libertarianism, where forced transfers of property are prohibited, EVERYONE is going to have to find other people in the market to please in order to earn a living. Hasn't Thomas Sowell shown that the only color people care about in the market is green? People who hate Jews, Chinese and Mexican nevertheless less hire them in droves and buy their products by the ton. So what is the practical effect of “racism” in the market anyway?

    5. Recall that the South in the 1890s DEMOCRATICALLY enacted Jim Crow laws to force the separation of the races. It became illegal for blacks and whites to play pool together. If that was the natural result of the free market, why all of the laws?

    6. It's already legal to be a racist and to print and say the most horrible things. But the Westboro Baptist Church creeps would not be allowed within miles of a cemetery served by a private road. Problem solved.

    7. If racism was disliked by the vast majority of the population, no racist would be allowed in any voluntary neighborhood. Further, any group of avowed racists (who no one would ever have to encounter anyway on their private street) would be notorious and they would be shunned.

    So, you commies and Tuckerists, where's the crisis caused by the brutal NAP?

  10. The paleo-libertarian position is supported by Catholic philosophy, even though sadly not widely understood by many priests and bishops. Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas agreed that is was wrong to criminalize prostitution, for example, not because it was a good thing, but because criminalizing vices led to bigger problems, as the criminalization of everything now occurring illustrates so well. There needs to be room in society for human freedom, which means toleration for positions you might consider evil. Toleration either works both ways, or it is just a word without meaning.

    1. BTW, there is nothing to stop a voluntary community from banning prostitutes from such communities. I submit that libertarianism does not concern prostitution or vice at all other than prohibiting the initiation of force against the practitioners. I wouldn't expect to see many or any thugs or druggies in safe family child-proof communities.

  11. "Also, I believe that Tucker is a Catholic, so I am not sure why he would be attacking Christianity."

    When did Tucker betray the Faith?

    Tucker is an orthodox Catholic which I think partly explains his appeals to aesthetics. Check out his fine work at:



    I must say, I came to Wenzel's site via Lew Rockwell many years ago, and I think that Wenzel and his followers have been an extreme disappointment, especially when they confront any libertarians that disagree with them. Wenzel, learn some lessons from Lew on how to confront like minded critics. Hint: you do not treat them the same way as your enemies.

    1. RW, I hope you realize this comment is from Tucker, himself. You are obviously getting into his head. He won't comment under his name but is nervous enough about your exposure of him that he is trying to do it anonymously.

      It is also interesting that he makes the charge that you are the one who is divisive, when he is the one who has called those who disagree with him "brutalist." What an evil propagandist.

    2. Let's clarify. There are the NAP libertarians that include people like Tucker, Richman, Rockwell, Hornberger, Wenzel, Rockwell, Raimondo, and Woods, and then there are the regimists that include Boaz, Cato, Kochtopus.

      Tucker is not muddying the waters of libertarianism any more than he would be muddying his Catholic faith in asking his fellow libertarians and Christians to consider their evangelical approach. Approach matters if you want to get more people to follow your ideas and ideals. Marketing does matter, especially in a world of Emotivism and Feminism. Emotivism and Feminism are incapable of appeals to logic, and as such, our tactics need to address such a problem. Mere appeals to NAP are insufficient as a matter of the environment in which we live. That's reality. Deal with it. Especially if you want to promote libertarianism.

      And if you don't know what Emotivism is and how it has a massive detrimental effect on our political discourse, it's a nuance - an erroneous one - that you had better begin to understand if you want to have better influence over your non-libertarian peers.

    3. "RW, I hope you realize this comment is from Tucker, himself. "

      I'm not Tucker.

    4. @ anonymous

      Tucker is not trying to bring libertarianism to feminists, he is trying to bring feminism to libertarians. He is mostly addressing us, and thus addressing people who do appeal to logic rather than emotivism.
      Is he publishing in NOW magazine or Ms Magazine? Or even Salon or Slate or Huff Post?
      No he isn't.
      So nice try trying to claim he is doing this to broaden the appeal of libertarianism to the mainstream. And he certainly shouldn't have taken some "libertarian" woman under his wing who would go so far as to bemoan an alleged "white male privilege" issue in Bitcoin, among others. Are they trying to appeal to feminists with that horseshit? Because it is not in any way libertarian. I see it as trying to smuggle feminism into libertarianism instead.

      Aside from that, you're not going anywhere trying to appeal to political animals like feminists. Feminists are generally cultural marxists. You're not going to bring 1 percent of them over. If you want to bring people over it is the ordinary man and woman in the street, not PC ideologues.

  12. @Anonymous

    Yes, we get that Tucker likes the music and art. Many on the left do. They just don't like the beliefs that inspired the art so they keep trying to co-opt it for their own belief system. Too bad. Traditionalism is what produced the most beautiful things in this culture.

    And yes, we also get that you'd like to divide EPJ from LRC in popular perception, so that you can keep that anti-IP thing going and turn the whole of LRC into left-anarchism.

    Got it.

    1. "Yes, we get that Tucker likes the music and art. Many on the left do."

      What? Tucker is a closet leftist trying to utilize Traditional Catholicism to co-opt it for a leftist cause. Tucker is trying to betray Holy Mother Church. Is that the charge? That's a new one, let Father Z know:


      If these are the sorts of spurious non-sequiturs being made by certain libertarians, then the charge of Brutalism is apt.

      As for turning LRC into anything, that's up to Lew himself, a class act.

    2. Being anti-IP has nothing to do with being "left-wing", dipshit. It has nothing to do with trying to communize private property, because anti-IP libertarians can subscribe to the notion that IP can simply not BE property in the same sense that matter is, period (it can be infinitely copied without ever "stealing" the property from the owner, therefore is not scarce).
      This position is based on logical perceptions and definitions, NOT on ideology of wanting shit to be "free".
      That you disagree with that is your problem, but does not turn anti-IP libertarians magically into "left-anarchists."

  13. Cognitive Infiltration / COINTELPRO anyone?

  14. You seem to nail it by stating that is has nothing to do with advocating liberty. It really doesnt. But Tucker has mad a living off of doing so, which is great for him. Simply put liberty is the by product of libertarian NAP. With those not in check with consumers around then losing their privilege of ownership and control without violence to accomplish this. However, consumers can vary and disperse freely with their tastes etc. I.e. There is a red light district to serve such consumers whilst other property owners can disallow such practice on their own property so long as their consumers prefer this. The market and social cooperation through NAP arrange this... not ought statements.

  15. Part of being straight is the belief that being gay is abnormal; That's the *reason* people are straight.

    So, it is entirely consistent with being straight to denounce the gay lifestyle choice.

    It is entirely inconsistent, however, for gays to claim that they are fighting bigotry:

    If gays were truly against bigotry, they would be bisexual, not homosexual.

    Bigotry is not necessarily a bad thing.