The Limits of Support

When a politician does or says something right, it's fair to commend him or her. Trump's current discomfiture of the Republican Establishment is a case in point.
However Walter Block's recent launching of "Libertarians for Trump" goes far too far, as reasoned in today's ZGBlog, LFT: A Bad Idea.


Samarami's picture

It has occurred to me, Jim -- more than once -- that the press one receives as a libertarian can (and often will) become his or her downfall. Don't ask, and I'll not attempt to explain or expand on that observation. Except to say that libertarian-ism seems to be very closely related to individual-ism. As you know by now, I have little taste for "ism's".

I have no "right" (lots of argumentation in the forums as to the meaning of that) to judge you, your liberty, or your concept of how others' freedom might manifest. Or Walter Block's. I will say this: "Defending The Undefendable" became my libertarian "bible" well before I ever darkened the door of STR. So, I've admired Dr. Block for a long time. Just as I have admired you and your numerous publications -- even tho' we've had minor disagreements (mostly, I think, having to do with definitions).

But he seems to have an Achilles heel when he gets himself into the limelight. I began to see that when he so strongly not only endorsed Ron Paul, but implied that anybody NOT so endorsing was "...not truly libertarian..." I voiced the suspicion at the time that he might, deep down in that sub-conscious part of us that few admit exists, have hoped to be appointed vice-wizard-of-the-klan. I don't think I kept a link to the statement(s) he made back at that time; but I have kept the link to a video he made with Jeff Berwick pertaining to Rand Paul's "run" for this or that or some other government office.

Walter seems to have been attracted to the "...if-you-can't-lick-'em-you'll-have-to-join-'em..." mentality. I'm relieved that you see around that fallacy, which appears to be one of the delusions that keep allegiance to state strong. Sam

Jim Davies's picture

Hi Sam, thanks for commenting. I think your final para particularly is close to true truth; sadly, Walter seems to have fallen into the trap of supposing that politics can be eliminated by participating, to some degree, in politics. But maybe he's now had second thoughts about LFT; the idea has gone very quiet.
Nothing wrong with applauding someone when he gets something right, but there's no call to support any candidacy at all. As you often say, abstain from beans.
If I may say so, don't be too scared of isms. If two people agree on a belief, there's an ism :-)
Whether you want them or not, though, as a human being you certainly do have rights; integral to your very nature. Understanding them and acknowledging them is what makes a person a libertarian; without that there is no basis for morality or justice or peace or prosperity. The converse is also true; one who denies the reality of rights is not a libertarian. I explored this a couple of years ago in Liberty: Rooted in Rights and it quotes a magnificent paragraph by Murray Rothbard which, rationally, nails this matter down for all and for ever.

Samarami's picture

Thanks for the response.

Any difference you and I have is mostly definition, or contextual, by nature. My resistance to the term "rights" has to do with my observation that many, if not most, using the term were tying it to the sense of "constitutional rights". My take on use of the term was that, in order to have "rights", there had to be (or was implied to be) a "granter" or "sustainer" of those rights. But that is not necessarily, or always, the context under which it is used.

Thus, you might (correctly) retort, I was "...throwing the baby out with the bath h2o..." True.

So, having power over nobody other than myself, I can't issue a moratorium toward its use. I will probably continue to use "choice" in its stead -- not that you "should".


Jim Davies's picture

Okay, Sam, if THAT's how you see rights, we certainly agree. They do NOT come from government in any way, nor from the Constitution which set ours up.
On the contrary, rights are natural, an integral element in human nature. That was the whole point of that superb paragraph by Rothbard, which I quoted in Liberty: Rooted in Rights.
Incidentally the best part of what Trump is saying (one of the very few good bits) is his understanding of Amendment 2. He says it did not grant a right, rather it guaranteed (ha!) that an existing, natural right would be left undisturbed.

Samarami's picture

"Live and let live" is a basic anarchist concept, as Larken Rose explains to a young couple in a park conversation (video -- somewhat distracting due to the background activity and noise). The way you and/or I see things is the way things are -- for you, and for me. We won't always see the same things in the same way. We haven't both had identical exposure to the millions (billions?) of tiny experiences and studies and observations that make up who we are as individuals.

But we obviously do agree upon the principles.

I lean toward the practical. I resist libertarian "theory". None of us has ever actually lived in a world where there was no such thing as monopoly "government" (which does not actually exist -- it is an illusion and a superstition -- because only people exist). I proceed from the premise that others are not going to believe and behave the way I think they "otta" believe and behave.

It matters not whether "we should" abide by the non-agression principle. Many folks ain't a gonna. I have to deal with that, and yet be free here. Now. Where I'm "at".

You might say I have "faith" in liberty and freedom. My kids (soon all over fifty) and grandkids mostly think I'm "far too trusting" of free people. I'm not totally certain exactly how such things as "justice" will play out when people do indeed perpetrate crimes against others of our acquaintance once all government everywhere is scuttled and becomes history. I can only speculate. I'm still gradually pulling myself away from and out of, as Delmar England has described it, "the government-centered way of thinking with which we are indoctrinated from birth".

We won't always agree on the definitions and the nuances within the concept of freedom and liberty. That's one of the values of these forums and blogs. I'm not the same person (philosophically -- or physically for that matter, since most of the cells that made me up 20 or 25 years ago have been pooped and pee'd out by now) as I was when we first met in cyber space. I'm still swayed by your easy, jocular style of convincing folks that it would be a good idea to abstain from beans if we ever want to live a life of freedom. Sam

Jim Davies's picture

'I resist libertarian "theory".'  Hmm. Don't theory and practice complement each other?
You're in trucking, I recall. So you enjoyed the partial freedom of the open road, the practical pleasure of controlling a big rig as it crossed the Continent with all its beauty.
But I bet you knew something also about the theory of diesel engineering. Not perhaps enough to spell out the equations for the three-dimensional swirl of gases in the combustion chambers, but probably enough to know what to do when a mechanic charged you for changing the spark plugs.

Jim Davies's picture

I'd hoped that the near-silence on LRC since Walter Block first launched LFT indicated a storm of protest that has made him go quiet. Alas, a new piece out today shows that the opposite is the case. The Libertarian movement is surely in a very sick state.

mjackso6's picture

At this point in the Game of Thrones ("election" bread and circuses), it's a certainty that some puppet will be coronated President. I honestly don't think that "votes" from the plebes will change who "Ascends", but if the popular "vote" ends up favoring Darth Trumpious and Cruella de Clinton somehow miraculously gains the Throne instead, TPTB™ will have some 'splainin' to do. And though I have no intention of participating in the sham and help I'm lend it credence, that would put a big smile on my face

Autonomous's picture

Quoting Block.... "My thought, though, was that out of all the Republican candidates, he [Trump] was the most libertarian on foreign policy. He [Trump] was the least likely to get us into World War III."


I view Trump as a whiny, fickle, petulant and unpredictable loose cannon whose arrogant narcissism gets in the way of reason. I envision a Trump presidency as something akin to the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain!

"The Libertarian movement is surely in a very sick state."

Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that will ever change.

Jim Davies's picture

I might reconsider Trump if today's news about a poll of Federal workers is proved correct and applicable nationwide. It revealed that "25% [of them] would consider quitting if Trump becomes President."
The one and only way government can be caused to vanish is to persuade all its employees to quit; hence the QuitGov site and hence TOLFA.  If a Trump victory took care of a quarter of that at the Federal level in one single sweep, it might be worth it!
But no. They'd only go back when his term ran out. There's no practical alternative to universal re-education.