Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Children Come out to Play

By Bionic Mosquito

I am not referring to chronological age….

A couple of years ago, I commented on an interview by Alexander McCobin at The Daily Bell.  He is the Executive Director of Students for Liberty (SFL).  I will not rehash the entire interview; I conclude as follows, reflecting on his statement that “This is the most libertarian generation that has ever existed….”:

If this represents the greatest libertarian generation in history, you can have it.

I only bring this up because I now come across another SFL colleague, a Cory Massimino:

Cory the GreⒶt@CoryMassimino: Your daily dose of individualist anarchism, virtue ethics, Austrian economics, and punk rock.

Cory the Great.  I’m glad he warned me.

Why bother with a self-absorbed member of “the most libertarian generation that has ever existed”?  I guess just because it will be fun.  Plus, as I will explain later, there is absolutely no reason to take Cory seriously.  You will notice that I don’t.  this makes it even more fun.

He has written a response to Lew Rockwell’s post, “What Libertarianism Is, and Isn’t.” Little Cory’s is entitled “Libertarianism is More than Anti-Statism.”  Let’s gather a few pearls of youthful wisdom together, shall we?

There is a growing division among libertarians regarding the relationship between our fervent commitment to anti-statism and other principles we might hold regarding social and cultural issues.

I didn’t realize that libertarianism as libertarianism held this as a distinction.  I have noted a curious tendency lately to create this narrative, however.

This distinction is a false dichotomy, though.

I am glad Cory the magnificent agrees; but I suspect I will be proven wrong.

Put simply, libertarians are for one overriding principle: liberty.

While liberty is a result, technically this isn’t what libertarians as libertarians are for. Libertarians concern themselves with one question.  When is violence or aggression justified?  From this, liberty flows.  Yet, from faulty premises (to say nothing of faulty definitions) come faulty conclusions:

This principle applies to situations involving the state and situations that don’t. Being concerned about non-state injustices in addition to state created ones strengthens our commitment to liberty. It means libertarianism is about more than anti-statism.

Oh boy, here we go.  Liberty means being free from non-state injustices.

Cory the great takes umbrage at Mr. Rockwell’s definition of libertarianism:

Mr. Rockwell argues, “Libertarianism is concerned with the use of violence in society. That is all. It is not anything else.”

Any concern for social and cultural issues beyond this is merely a person’s preferences that have nothing to do with their libertarianism.

Suffice it to say, I tend to agree with Rockwell’s view on this.  Let’s see if the great one can convince me otherwise:

I don’t believe this is the case. My aligning myself with the ideas of feminism, anti-racism, gay and trans liberation, and worker empowerment is an outgrowth of my libertarianism.

It may be an outgrowth, my young, enormous eminence; but is it an inherent feature of libertarianism?  Come on, King Cory, let’s get to it.  Write something convincing.

The reason I concern myself with violations of peoples’ liberty that don’t owe their origin to the state is explained by Rockwell when he writes, “Our position is not merely that the state is a moral evil, but that human liberty is a tremendous moral good.” Exactly! I am against authoritarianism, domination, and believe in equality of authority.

This is interesting.  I guess Cory never held a job.  Or had a dad….  I wonder if he has ever had a landlord.

It gets better.  Cory understands Rothbard better than Rockwell does:

Rockwell quotes Mr. Libertarian himself, Murray Rothbard, to support his undecorated libertarian position. Rothbard writes, “Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles.” I believe the true implications of what Rothbard is saying here supports the idea of a broad view of libertarianism, as opposed to Rockwell’s view.

Look, Rockwell may be wrong, and Rothbard may be wrong, and Rockwell might be wrong about Rothbard (that should pretty much cover it).  But I’m willing to take a wager that Lew, better than anyone else on this planet, understands Murray’s implications (maybe different on Planet Cory?).  Besides, how many different ways can one interpret “Libertarianism does not offer a way of life”?

Rothbard’s argument shows how liberty is needed for each person to find their own purpose and achieve their own good. This goes beyond the actions of the state. Repressive cultural norms and domineering social customs also prevent people from flourishing…. A black person can’t flourish if he lives in a staunchly racist community with employers and businesses who refuse him service.

Here we go with racism again.  It is easier to take this kind of comment more seriously if someone like, oh, Sheldon Richman writes it, as opposed to when it comes from a self-proclaimed tremendous nobleness.  I will still disagree, and for the same reasons; it’s just easier to take seriously.

But I will try.  Oh immense, exalted Cory: please reconcile the non-aggression principle with the suppression of “Repressive cultural norms and domineering social customs” for which you don’t approve.  I suggest one must be subservient to the other.  Demonstrate that this is not so, and that they can both hold equal status in a libertarian society.

I have yet to find a means consistent with the non-aggression principle to do much of anything about it – beyond organizing a voluntary boycott of the racists.  Hopefully his magnificent munificence can enlighten me on this matter.

(NB: I feel the obligatory need to state that I do not approve of racism as suggested in this example.)

Rothbard continues, “Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that “liberty is the highest political end” – not necessarily the highest end on everyone’s personal scale of values.” While this is an excellent quote by Lord Action, it doesn’t go far enough. Why would liberty only be relevant in the political sphere?

And what, young prince, do you suggest to do about it when you see it in private spheres?  (Don’t worry, little king, this isn’t a new question; just a restatement of my last one.  I wouldn’t want to overly tax – in the non-state sense – an up and coming member of the greatest generation too much.)

Showing concern for authoritarian social relationships outside the purview of the state is merely fully fleshing out our core principles of autonomy and freedom.

Go ahead, gigantous Corysimous, fully flesh away: tell your boss you are going to be gone for lunch as long as you like.  Let the landlord know that she will get the check…whenever.  Spread those autonomous wings against the weight of “authoritarian social relationships outside the purview of the state.”  Have a field day.

Well, perhaps youthful Cory doesn’t mean all authoritarian social relationships.  Just the ones he is speaking of.  That should clarify it.

Forgive the length of the following cite; I promise it is the last one.

We support self-sovereignty, individual autonomy, and personal freedom. These are the bedrocks of our philosophical ideas: the pizza crust. Opposing statism, political tyranny, and centralized force and supporting civil liberties, free markets, and non-interventionism are one set of conclusions we must embrace: the tomato sauce. But this hardly the whole story. Our foundations also mean opposing cultural repression, societal intolerance, and authoritarian relationships and supporting feminism, gay and trans liberation, anti-racism, and worker empowerment, which are the other set of conclusions we must embrace: the cheese. Combined, all these things make up a large, delicious, beautiful pizza known as libertarianism.

Young collegiate Cory, obviously more knowledgeable about pizza than he is libertarian thought.  I will only comment on the cheese.  Suffice it to say, his eminence Cory, with his irrelevant requirements, has pretty much excluded 99.9% of the world from ever even considering the concept of libertarianism.  Talk about a small tent.

You think I am being a little too disrespectful of a poor, misguided lad?  Don’t worry, Cory doesn’t take himself seriously, and neither should the rest of us.  Don’t believe me?

Cory the GreⒶt ‏@CoryMassimino  · Apr 4 
@KevinCarson1 that's my only concern. I don't even believe in what I write. I just aim to be controversial.

Tighten your aim, SFS colleague Cory.  To be controversial, it helps to at least understand your subject.

The above originally appeared at Bionic Mosquito.


  1. Really? Libertarianism is a pizza now?

    Good god, my generation. Why don't you all just f-f-fade away?

  2. "Your daily dose of individualist anarchism."

    That's funny. Because talking about liberation through feminism, anti-racism, pro-gay and transgender positions etc sounds pretty damn group-oriented (aka collectivist) anarchism to me. This guy cannot even see the individual but merely the gender, the race, the sexual orientation, and yet proclaims his anarchism is "individualist" in nature. What is it with these imbeciles that simply cannot grasp definitions?

    "Put simply, libertarians are for one overriding principle: liberty."

    Bionic Mosquito is right and Cory the 'great' is so, so wrong. Why is this so?
    Because if libertarians are for one overriding principle: liberty, then this would ALSO be the case for, say, murderers, rapists, thieves, pedophiles, terrorists etcetera etcetera.

    But this is obviously NOT the case. We do no declare liberty to be an overriding principle for these people. Why not?
    Because of the very distinction that Bionic Mosquito and most serious libertarians make: that being, the non-aggression principle and private property rights. THESE are the overriding principles of libertarianism. While these lead to individualist liberty (unlike the collectivist group oriented one of Cory the 'great'), liberty itself does not lead to the NAP or private property rights. After all, the murdered that is granted "liberty" as an overriding principle, will use this liberty to kill people. Only if the overriding principles are the NAP and private property rights, would this exclude the "liberty" of the murderer to kill.

    In other words, the NAP and private property rights lead to individualist liberty, but ONLY for the innocent and peaceful, while liberty does not itself lead to the NAP and private property rights.

    Superficial thinkers, obsessed with collectivist and politically correct thought, do not get logical thinking because they employ EMOTIONAL thinking. And therefor getting things in the right order will be very difficult for them. They have egalitarianism as an overriding ideology and then try to fit their no.2, libertarianism, around that. But they cannot avoid the contradictions between these two.

  3. Insulting your opponent isn't a particularly good way to sway him or her to your position. When a person is insulted, the capacity to see the reason of your argument goes down. So why call this person childish? Or keep referring to him as young? It detracts from your arguments, the only things that matter.

    1. This person is childish because he calls himself Cory the "great". No mature person would refer to himself as such.

      Also, this person tweeted: "I don't even believe in what I write. I just aim to be controversial."
      So suffice it to say that this person does not aim to be persuaded with reason, because honesty is not his aim to begin with. So why hold back on the insults to someone who openly admits to being disingenuous?

    2. I don't care if he calls himself "The most UBER LIBERTARIAN of all of human history!" It's irrelevant. Only his arguments matter. We should take the high road and stop with the insults. Just address the arguments.
      Second, it doesn't matter to me if Cory doesn't want to be persuaded with reason. Reason happens. He will be much more receptive if we don't insult him.
      Third, there are people who hold a similar view to Cory's. By calling Cory childish, we alienate these people who identify with his views, as well.
      When I argue, my aim is to inform and persuade. If I'm insulting someone, it makes my goal that much harder.

    3. Good for you.
      I'll make my own decisions on the way i approach certain people.

  4. Eliminating state approved crimes like taxation would elminate 99% of all the crimes on the planet. It would also bring down the number of non-state crimes because state approved rules like drug prohibition etc mandate private crime.

  5. "My aligning myself with the ideas of feminism, anti-racism, gay and trans liberation, and worker empowerment is an outgrowth of my libertarianism."

    IOW, you're a fucking PC Bot liberal. For crying out loud, don't these morons think beyond their PC religion at all? Pal, go back to the left socialists. They'll love you.

  6. 1) At Tony: Edward is correct. You are wrong. You have the liberty to approach people however you want, even if it's counter-productive. Edward is still correct.

    2) At Mike: Cory may very well be a product of public schools and liberal university professors. Consider it a near miracle he's even heard of Rothbard or Rockwell.

    3) At Mosquito and others of similar mind: Rome was not built in a day and no one arrives instantaneously at pure libertarianism without a gradual process of maturation and logical progression. Ridicule and holier-than-thou smugness are no way to nurture that process. You are more likely to have made a lifelong enemy than to have won any new converts to the NAP. If you have done the legwork to establish a platform and a name for yourself, and a sizeable audience, try not to fritter them away with counter-productive anti-audience rants. Public shaming is not the way to steer curious (if misguided) young minds towards logic and principle, away from emotional knee-jerk reactionism.

    4) At everyone: Consider Cory's collectivism, and his seeming blindness to the economic liberty of "employers and business" a glimpse behind enemy lines. It's a sign of how the youth are being taught and conditioned. It should come as no surprise, as we've been seeing it for years. Workers have rights. Employers do not. Women are oppressed, unless they freely make traditional choices, in which case they're oppressing others. "We support self-sovereignty" as long as you adhere to the collective will. This guy fundamentally does not understand the difference between positive and negative rights. We (collectively) have our work cut out for us.

  7. "At Mike: Cory may very well be a product of public schools and liberal university professors"

    Yes, but then aren't we all? These people just need to grow some balls and start questioning the BS line their fed. And for crying out loud stop with the beta simp touchy feely PC crap!