Respectable libertarians attack RFK

By Tom Woods

Yesterday Reason magazine released a YouTube video called “RFK Jr.’s Long Con,” by a Liz Wolfe.

So I thought I’d say something about it.

Reason itself interviewed RFK maybe two weeks ago and asked him about some of the very issues Wolfe raises in her video from yesterday, but the Wolfe video either ignores his responses or (in one case) actually misrepresents them.

RFK, she says, “frequently implies that the establishment is corrupt at best, evil at worst.”

Oh, no! How can he say such a thing about our beloved Jerome Powell, Nancy Pelosi, and Lindsey Graham!

“And he winks at the existence of puppet masters pulling the strings of major institutions.”

Wow, he must be crazy! Every single Western regime may be committed to precisely the same anti-human agenda and the suppression of dissident voices, but that’s probably just a coincidence.

Now I’ll grant: if you’d asked me five years ago who’s “really” running things, I would have thought you batty for even posing the question. But after the nonstop lies and idiocy and evil of the past three years, you’d have to be out of your mind not to wonder what’s really going on here.

At the very least, you should hardly be scandalized by someone who describes the establishment as “corrupt at best, evil at worst.” What more do these people have to do, exactly, before you conclude they do not have your best interests at heart?

She further describes RFK as “not really a persecuted truth-teller — although recent attempts to go after Joe Rogan for having him on his podcast, or to cut him out of public debate in other ways, have fed that impression.”

Cutting him out of public debate evidently isn’t such a big deal, since we can brush it aside in a throwaway line. RFK says things Liz Wolfe insists no respectable people believe, so who really cares?

There is a full-on assault on RFK from all quarters, and Liz Wolfe thinks this must be because he says things that are false.

How I wish I could live in the just world Liz Wolfe thinks we inhabit, in which the establishment doesn’t deserve abuse, and where people are driven from public life because they make false claims.

Meanwhile, the establishment utters clear and obvious falsehoods 24 hours a day and nobody goes after them, so maybe RFK’s alleged falsehoods are not the real reason he’s targeted.

Then this: “He wildly extrapolates from little grains of truth” — and as these words are being uttered, his excellent book The Real Anthony Fauci appears on screen.

Then she says, in response to accusations RFK has made against the World Health Organization: “Libertarians who understand the incompetence of government entities should be more skeptical that the World Health Organization would be so effective at carrying out such a nefarious scheme.”

I’ve always thought this was a foolish line of argument: governments are slow and clunky when it comes to building roads and bridges, so therefore no conspiring to accomplish wicked ends could ever occur.

There are several responses to this:

(1) It is impossible to count all the deaths the world’s governments have been responsible for from 1914 on, with world wars and totalitarian revolutions. One hundred million? Not impossible. When that was all getting started, should we have said, “Don’t worry! Governments are incompetent! You’re a crazy conspiracy theorist for thinking it can actually kill 100 million people”?

(2) Someone on Twitter said they don’t doubt governments are capable of generalized evil; they simply doubt governments can carry out a specific plot. All right, then I’ll give you an example off the top of my head: they made people think Iraq deserved to be decimated. That was a specific plot, and it succeeded brilliantly.

(3) We watched the CDC carry out a “nefarious scheme” right before our eyes when it released bogus numbers (which even they had to retract, but how could such obviously fake numbers have been released in the first place?) about the threat to children posed by Covid, with the obvious intention of manipulating parents into giving their kids the shots. We watched them release “studies” about masking that isolated small and arbitrary segments of time in which masked places did better than unmasked, but ignoring the huge swaths of time in which the situation was reversed or the two groups showed no difference from each other.

Unless you were pushing an agenda, you would never have released those numbers and those studies. But they did it and got away with it. Not one person has been so much as reprimanded, much less punished.

I will grant that RFK has some truly terrible positions. He favors some kind of Green New Deal, though he insists his would be more “market-based.” He has previously not been such a principled supporter of free speech. And although Liz Wolfe didn’t mention it, for reasons you may wonder about, RFK opposed the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action.

So why might libertarians be interested in him? Liz Wolfe generously grants us one sentence: “Part of his appeal, to libertarians at least, is that he’s staunchly anti-war and a huge critic of COVID lockdowns and mandates.”

Well, those are two pretty big issues, and they’re issues on which very few people in either party can claim to have been sound.

But of course it’s vastly more than this. He’s been excellent on the surveillance state, the FBI, the CIA, censorship, and the military-industrial complex.

In our current climate virtually everyone is bad on some major issue(s), and very few people are good on everything. Some candidates are excellent on everything except foreign policy. Others are great on lots of things apart from energy. I assume we’re all adult enough to understand this. To be particularly outraged by RFK in particular, the obvious outlier who’s being attacked by everyone, seems weird.

We are told that he “portrays complex trends as simpler than they really are, with easily identifiable villains.” On the screen during this little lecture is a Tweet from RFK in which he criticizes then-CDC director Rochelle Walensky. (Yes, Liz Wolfe, we do consider Walensky to be a villain.) He says the CDC knew the shots didn’t prevent infection and that they lied about it.

When Pfizer execs revealed months ago that they didn’t know at the time they brought their shots to market whether they prevented transmission, the you-stupid-conspiracy-theorists midwits insisted that the comments were missing context, that everyone said all along that they didn’t know if the shots would stop the spread, etc.

Then we dug up statement after statement by the Pfizer CEO in which he urged people to get vaccinated to keep others safe (which is another way of saying the shots stop the spread) and for once the other side actually had to shut up.

At the end of the video we’re told RFK is a “crackpot.”

Well, of course he is. He holds opinions that respectable people from the establishment tell you are wrong.

Yet here’s the funny thing:

If we’d listened to the crackpots, there would never have been an idiotic war in Iraq, the reintroduction of slavery in Libya, the 2008 financial meltdown, or the worse-than-useless Covid lockdowns — to name just a few items of modest importance.

No doubt we crackpots would have gotten one wrong here and there, and we have quite a diversity of opinions among the lot of us, but overall I’d be rather content with that track record.

Now at the risk of being called a crackpot, I am happy to announce that Professor Michael Rectenwald has just made an outstanding addition to Liberty Classroom with his course on the Great Reset — which is a real thing, and not something we crackpots made up.

As with all 33 (and counting) of our courses, you can watch or listen to it anytime, anywhere.

Real American history, European history, economics, and a lot more, taught by me and by people I trust.

We talk about creating parallel institutions. I’ve created Liberty Classroom for adult enrichment, for all of us who suffered from educational malpractice. I can’t reform the universities, but I can go around them.

I hope you’ll join me (and you have my thanks and gratitude in advance):

Tom Woods


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