Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Libertarian-Socialism = Righteous-Wickedness

By Victor J. Ward

I agree with everything mentioned in the post: It's Here: Libertarian-Socialism. But I wanted to comment on one section of Will Moyers' article.

Moyers says:
How can we combat racism? Property rights and non-agression. How should humans approach sexuality and gender? Property rights and non-agression. What is the place of hierarchies in society, whether it's families or workplaces or financial classes? Property rights and non-agression. What role -- if any -- should religion and superstition play in society? Property rights and non-agression.

And to Moyers, I say: Yes, that's correct.

Moyers writes in an attempt to say that libertarians have an extremely limited answer to some of life's most pressing questions. In truth, however,
libertarians have the most expansive answer.

Let's take a look at these things:

How do we handle racism? Yes, by property rights and non-agression.

I used to work as a legal assistant for a law firm in San Francisco. There were several Black people who were staff, but only one Black person who was an attorney. After a couple of months, the Black attorney left.

Were some of the influential people in the firm racist? I am pretty sure the answer is, "Yes."

One day, a Deputy General Counsel of one of the firm's clients came to visit. The DGC was a Black guy. He was checking to see if the firms representing his company were diverse. When he saw the lack of diversity of the law firm where I was working, he promptly fired the firm.

Now, if you check that firm's website, they have many people of color.

Don't get me wrong: Personally, I don't care about diversity. I want to know if you can get the job done. I don't care about your race. I don't care about your gender. I don't care about your sexual orientation. There is only one question: Are you good at what you do?

But, there are other people who make different choices -- and that's their right and prerogative. For the Black Deputy General Counsel, he was especially concerned about racism and diversity. Because one of his job responsibilities was to evaluate the firms representing his company, he got to deal with racism, or what he perceived as racism, the way that he wanted to. In this instance, the law firm changed its course.

He handled racism the way he wanted to. Good for him. I would have handled the situation differently. Good for me. The person being affected can handle the situation in whatever way they believe is best for them. Every person owns their personhood. You are your own private property. You get to decide how you want to handle things, as long as you don't aggress against someone else.

Moyers acts like the typical Socialist -- believing that one person or one group has the right answer. In reading his article, he calls for a complete social philosophy. Really??? Have you seen society lately? Most marriages don't have a complete marriage philosophy, so, how in the world does Moyer think that we are going to arrive at a complete social philosophy? There is no one right answer in how to deal with problems like racism. There is a right answer for you, and even that right answer may change depending on where you are in life.

How about sexuality and gender? That's a really broad subject, and Moyer doesn't narrow it much, but let's take the issue of sex. My wife and I both practice the Christian faith. From the way we read the Bible, we talk about areas of our lives where we fall short, otherwise known as sin. So, if/when I lust after someone, I talk to my wife about it. The same goes for her.

We know a couple in our fellowship where the husband cannot talk to his wife about any lust-related issue. It makes his wife too insecure. When the husband feels the need to talk to someone and ask for prayer, he confesses his sin to other men and seeks their counsel.

I am sure that there are some people who would call what I do bizarre or unwise or unhealthy. That's ok -- I'm not married to them. My practice is working for my wife and me, and my friend's practice is working for his wife and him. It is my hope that your practice is working for you and your significant other.

My friend and I have many of the same beliefs in terms of Christianity, but it would be detrimental if there was only one approach to marriage harmony.

Our marriages are our private property. The two married couples answer the sexuality question in two different ways. Since each answer is successful, please leave us alone, Will Moyer.

How should we handle hierarchies in society, let's say specifically in families? Yes, private property/property rights is again the perfect answer.

I once heard a husband say that he gave his wife an allowance. Well, that wouldn't work for me, especially since my wife makes more than 5x what I make. My wife and I share everything, including the bank account. (After reading this, my wife may want to give me an allowance!) But, in that guy's family, that type of hierarchical structure worked.

I know other families where the young child's vote counts as much as the parent's vote. When the family is trying to decide where to go for dinner, there is always one vote for McDonalds. I find this laughable, but their hierarchy works for them. Am I smarter than they are? Regarding my family, yes; regarding their family, no.

Finally, what role should religion and superstition play in society? My gosh, what a stupid question. Society cannot answer this question. I mean, what are we supposed to do? Poll everyone, and then whatever religion gets 51% of the vote becomes the established religion? Or better yet, allow our wise and benevolent politicians tell us which religion holds the answers to life?

Why would I trust people, whom I do not know and/or whom I neither trust nor respect, to control the most intimate areas of my life? Why would I trust anything that the government has to say about the issue of faith? Many, maybe most, politicians are hallmarks of treachery, not faithfulness.

Again, the only answer to the religion question is: Property rights and non-agression.

There are some who show-off their coexist bumper stickers. The problem is, if you practice radical and violent Islam, you don't want to coexist with anybody. This is one reason why the libertarian requirement of non-aggression is so important.

If you only want to hang around other Christians, or other Muslims, or other Agnostics, or other Atheists, then, personally, I think that your life will be a bit dull and boring. But, by all means, do what is going to make you happy, just don't try and tell me what is going to make me happy -- especially, as I just mentioned, in this most sacred and personal of areas.

The ideology of socialism strikes me as being immature and naive. I remember my first semester at UC Berkeley. I came home for the Thanksgiving break, and I proudly told my parents that they made a mistake sending me to private schools for my K -- 12 education. I told them they wasted their money, and that they should have sent me to a public school.

They weren't too happy with me: Not only was I ungrateful for all they had done, I was acting as if I had all the answers.

When I look back at that time, I plead youth and stupidity. With age and, begging your pardon, a little bit of wisdom, come the realization that God has infused life and lives with mystery. The task for each person is to find his/her solution. Yes, some solutions will work better than others, but that's a good thing. It means that when we see something better, we can adopt the superior and leave the inferior behind.

Victor J. Ward  first came across libertarianism by reading Murray Rothbard's Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy and Walter Block's Defending the Undefendable. He holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and an MBA from Santa Clara University.


  1. Victor scores again! Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Keep up the good writing!

  2. Great stuff. This should be added to the list of essays that every Libertarian should read.

  3. A Christian cannot be a libertarian. In claiming to be a libertarian, the professing Christian would necessarily be overriding biblical non-resistance with the NAP. This is holding man's "wisdom" above God's wisdom. You're either a Christian or a libertarian, not both. The "Just War tradition" follows the same disobedient line of thought.

    1. Yogsie,

      You follow the NAP as a Christian, you simply always "turn the other cheek" when someone aggresses(word?) on you. You are still following the NAP logically because you are not aggressing even if you see Jesus's dictate as supreme.

      Pacifists are abiding by the NAP, it just so happens that some NAP followers are not pacifists, which while might conflict with your interpretation of Jesus's commandment, does not conflict with the NAP.

      So all pacifist Christians are NAP followers(whether they care to be or not), and some NAP followers are pacifist Christians(but not all).

    2. No Nick, I don't follow the NAP. The NAP allows for "defensive" (this would inevitably become an ambiguous term) use of force, where biblical non-resistance forbids it. Again, you're holding the NAP supreme over Christ's laws here. Biblical non-resistance is not "okay" because it doesn't violate the NAP; instead, the NAP should be examined through a non-resistant lens for a Christian. And when you do that, it simply doesn't hold up. Seeing as how that's the bedrock (supposedly) of libertarianism, a Christian cannot truthfully call himself a libertarian.

      Also, it's important to note that biblical non-resistance is not the same thing as political pacifism. Biblical non-resistance applies to God's kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world. How the pagans decide to govern themselves is up to them.

    3. "The NAP allows for "defensive" (this would inevitably become an ambiguous term) use of force, where biblical non-resistance forbids it."

      Fair enough; I've reconsidered your point and I think I understand where you are coming from. So I can further understand though, could you explain this statement:

      "Also, it's important to note that biblical non-resistance is not the same thing as political pacifism. Biblical non-resistance applies to God's kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world."

      I don't understand what relevance the above statement has from your perspective on the world as we live in it today(or as you put it, "the kingdoms of this world") if you are saying that this "Biblical non-resistance" is only to apply to God's kingdom.

      If you could explain your perspective on that I'd appreciate it.

    4. Actually, refusing to defend yourself (while not attacking others) is fully consistent with NAP.

    5. The NAP allows self defense, it doesn't insist on it. It is an option not a requirement.

      The NAP is perfectly compatible with Christianity as it makes no non Christian demands on Christians.

  4. Yes, great stuff. Perceived racism was addressed by a non-violent refusal to deal. Further, the very fact that someone is willing to apply the NAP to people who are very different than themselves is quite a big deal.

    And I remain confused by the thickists. What is so wrong with taking baby steps and just getting rid of war, genocide, assault, pillage, rape and slavery?

    Oh you libertarians, you are such heartless souless monsters.

  5. I am not a libertarian; but I am beginning to understand, that under libertarianism, there is individualism and no public anything; no public roads, no public transportation, no public schools; no public statue, not even of Murray Rothbard. The flag of the libertarian is Don't tread on me; and the banner of the libertarian reads The Individual way is the right way. For libertarians, justice is freedom from public ownership.

    1. You understood nothing, theyenguy. Libertarianism starts and ends with the Non-Aggression Principle. It does not consider communal ("public") ownership or communal living wrong or evil - as long as it is purely voluntary. Violating this principle does make all existing governments and their "public" works funded by compulsory taxes or by monetary fraud nothing more than criminal enterprises.