Sean Gabb has a timely article on the problem of censorship being outsourced from the state to state-allied institutions in present day society. This should motivate many right-leaning libertarians to rethink the overly neat and tidy “public vs. private” dichotomy that right-libertarians frequently embrace. Instead, we need to apply the insights of elite theory and recognize that governments, corporations, universities, and the mass media are all part of the same state/ruling class/power elite apparatus.
By Sean Gabb
Every age we have so far known has been one of censorship. This is not to say that opinion has been equally constrained in all times and places. Sometimes, as in the Soviet Union, it has been oppressive and omnipresent – even extending to an imposition of orthodoxy on the natural sciences. More often, it has been focussed on perceived criticisms of the established political and religious order. Sometimes, dissent has been permitted among the intellectual classes – especially when expressed in a language unknown to the people at large, and only punished when communicated to the people at large. Sometimes, a diversity of political orders has limited any particular censorship to an area of just a few square hundreds of miles. Sometimes it has been limited by a general belief in the right of free expression. But I can think of no time or place where publication has been absolutely unconstrained.
If I look at modern England, I cannot say that censorship is as oppressive and omnipresent as it was in the Soviet Union. I cannot think of any opinion that cannot somehow be expressed. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not wish to do any of these things. However, if I want to deny the holocaust, I can. If I want to argue for sex with children, I can. If I want to claim that the coloured races are intellectually or morally inferior, I can. If I want to say that homosexuality is a dreadful sin that will be punished by everlasting torments, I can. If I want to argue – in the abstract – for the rightness of shooting politicians, I can. The law punishes what are regarded as inflammatory expressions of such belief. It punishes expressions of such belief when they are regarded as affecting known individuals. But I am not aware of a law that makes it a crime to publish sober and abstract expressions of any opinion.
By Keith Preston
The State exists for the purpose of maintaining a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence within a particular geographical territory in order to more effectively control resources, exploit subjects, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, and expand its own power both internally and externally. The State does this while maintaining a self-legitimating ideological superstructure, and buying the loyalty of the middle class by suppressing the lower/underclass. The State is what you would get if the Mafia managed to eliminate all of its competitors, including the State itself, and consequently become a state of its own.
At times, the State will seek to maintain total control over every aspect of social life (e.g. the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, present day North Korea or Islamist regimes like ISIS, the Taliban, and Saudi Arabia, or Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories). However, most modern states allow for a fairly robust civil society to exist that may actually have the effect of affording the average person a fair amount of comfort. States of these kinds, so-called “liberal democracies,” may even encourage intense political debate within certain narrow parameters (or even fairly broad parameters). Some states will allow or even encourage a fair amount crime and disorder in order to legitimize the expansion of state power to an even greater degree (what the late paleconservative writer Samuel Francis called “anarcho-tyranny’‘). For example, isn’t it interesting that in spite of the massive police and prison systems that now exist in the United States, one third of all murders go unsolved?
However, no state can allow disorder to spiral too far out of control, or it will lose its legitimacy in the process. A state of this kind is a protection racket that continues to engage in extortion and exploitation, but can no longer offer actual protection. Hence, states tend to be very sensitive to perceived threats to their own legitimacy. At present, the violence that is taking place between the Antifa, Alt-Right, and their various allies certainly poses no threat to the state. America in 2017 is light years away from Weimar Germany in 1932. But the important question involves the issue of to what degree the State will continue allow such violence to persist, if indeed it does persist, which it may not. That remains to be seen.
From The Guardian.
Between this, raids on Internet shitposters, and jailing historiographical dissidents, it’s reassuring to know that the German state is moving beyond its repressive, authoritarian past. PROGRESS!
German police have arrested two Chinese tourists for making illegal Hitler salutes in front of the Reichstag building that houses the German parliament.
Berlin police officers say they detained two men, aged 36 and 49, after they were seen striking the Nazi-era pose and photographing each other with their mobile phones.
They face charges for “using symbols of illegal organisations”, the police said in a statement, and were released after posting bail of €500 (£450) each.
Germany has strict laws on hate speech and symbols linked to Hitler and the Nazis, who ruled between 1933 and 1945.
The Reichstag is a powerful symbol in Germany. It was destroyed by fire in 1933 by an arsonist thought to have been paid by the Nazis, who then blamed the blaze on the Communists and used it as an excuse to severely restrict civil liberties.
By Napp Nazworth
Almost daily I encounter messages saying that conservative Christians should stop “pretending” to be victims of discrimination. I encounter these messages about as often as messages arguing in favor of discriminating against Christians. Why the cognitive dissonance?
“Christians haven’t been discriminated against like blacks, gays and Muslims, and they aren’t being persecuted like Christians in China or the Middle East,” I often hear in response, which is both true and beside the point. Discrimination doesn’t have to be the worst ever for it to still be a cause of concern.
Here are a few examples of Christian discrimination.
Christians who post biblical yet unpopular views on social media can be subject to business losses or unemployment. Steve Tennes posted a message consistent with his Christian views to his Facebook page and because of that his business was excluded from the East Lansing farmer’s market.
It’s acceptable to exclude Christians from governmental positions. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Chris Van Hollen voted against a Trump appointee due to his orthodox Christian beliefs. When the Department of Education recently hosted a panel discussion on fatherhood, LGBT groups protested its inclusion of conservative viewpoints.
There are attempts to force Christian hospitals to provide abortions and gender reassignment surgeries. Christian crisis pregnancy centers are being forced to promote abortion.
An interesting discussion of the church/state separation issue. I generally agree with the arguments made by this author.
By Millennial Transmissions
Libertarianism Without Adjectives
I’m not a very “principled” person. I am in the sense that my actions are guided by a number of principles defined loosely and amorphously, but I’m not dogmatic, I don’t subscribe to Kant’s categorical imperative, I’m not a utopian or an idealist. I’m a realist and a pragmatist before I’m even a libertarian.
I was recently considering a conversation between Penn Jillette and Glenn Beck on the subject of libertarianism. If you haven’t watched it, I urge you to, it’s very good viewing. Penn Jillette was one of the guiding lights that lead me out of my socialist slumber, and Glenn Beck himself makes some great contributions too. They don’t just discuss libertarianism; a friendly conversation about atheism also takes place. Glenn Beck raises an example:
“In Pennsylvania, a mostly Catholic Italian town had to relocate their nativity scene…it was outside of city hall…because of an outside atheist group, the ‘Freedom from Religion Foundation’, they came in and threatened legal action. Thomas Jefferson, in his writings, was proud that city hall was being used for meetings, church meetings on Sundays, four different ones. He thought that was not a problem…it’s not freedom from religion it’s freedom of…if I can put a menorah and everything else on the town square, why do atheists get so pissy about this…as long as it’s not the endorsement of one religion?” (lightly paraphrased)
A review of “The Unique and Its Property” by Max Stirner. Translated with a new introduction by Wolfi Landstreicher. Underworld Amusements.
By Keith Preston
An apparently controversial publisher has issued a new translation of a controversial book. The original work in question is Max Stirner’s egoist classic, originally published in Germany in 1844 under the title Der Einzige und sein Eigentum. This book was later translated into English by the American individualist-anarchist writer Steven T. Byington, and published in 1907 by Benjamin R. Tucker, the most prominent of the American individualist-anarchists of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, under the title The Ego and His Own. All subsequent English editions of Stirner’s work have essentially been reprints of the 1907 translation. However, Underworld Amusements has released a new translation by Wolfi Landstreicher under the title The Unique and Its Property. Landstreicher has also provided an interesting introduction of his own to this new translation that touches on many of the most salient aspects of Stirner’s thought.
By Frances Lee
There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of my Seattle community that has troubled me, silenced my loved ones, and turned away potential allies. I believe in justice. I believe in liberation. I believe it is our duty to obliterate white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, ableism, capitalism, and imperialism. And I also believe there should be openness around the tactics we use and ways our commitments are manifested over time. Beliefs and actions are too often conflated with each other, yet questioning the latter should not renege the former. As a Cultural Studies scholar, I am interested in the ways that culture does the work of power. What then, is the culture of activism, and in what ways are activists restrained by it? To be clear, I’m only one person who is trying to figure things out, and I’m open to revisions and learning. But as someone who has spent the last decade recovering from a forced conversion to evangelical Christianity, I’m seeing a disturbing parallel between religion and activism in the presence of dogma:
1. Seeking purity
There is an underlying current of fear in my activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless hushed conversations with friends about this anxiety, and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical. I actually don’t prefer to call myself an activist, because I don’t fit the traditional mold of the public figure marching in the streets and interrupting business as usual. When I was a Christian, all I could think about was being good, showing goodness, and proving to my parents and my spiritual leaders that I was on the right path to God. All the while, I believed I would never be good enough, so I had to strain for the rest of my life towards an impossible destination of perfection.
A veteran anarcho-communist questions the Marcusean approach appropriated by the Antifa and SJWs.
By Wayne Price
There has recently been controversy on the Left over “free speech” for right-wingers (not necessarily fascists). Should it be supported or physically opposed? Some leftists have revived interest in the ideas of Herbert Marcuse on “repressive tolerance” and why it should be opposed. Marcuse’s theory is reviewed and arguments are raised against it from a revolutionary anti-authoritarian perspective.
There has been, recently, controversy on the Left over “free speech.” Should radical leftists and anti-fascists disrupt speeches by right-wingers? Should leftists break up such meetings, charge the stage, and smash windows? Or should the leftists limit themselves to counter-demonstrations, boycotts, protest leaflets, and, perhaps, heckling? The controversy is not so much over public events by fascists—U.S. Nazis or Klan members, for example—but over right wingers who claim to not be fascists but “conservatives” who value free speech.
In working out an approach to this issue, a number of leftist thinkers—anarchists and Marxists—have revived interest in the ideas of Herbert Marcuse (1969). In 1965 (updated 1968), Marcuse wrote an influential essay, “Repressive Tolerance” (which appeared with essays by two others in the little book, Critique of Pure Tolerance). Marcuse (1898—1979) was one of the most influential Left theorists of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies. A member of the Frankfort School, he was a scholar of Marx, Hegel, and Freud. Marcuse had an enormous impact and following. Given the general ignorance and muddle of much of today’s radical thinking, it is not surprising that there has been an attempt to revive Marcuse’s ideas about free speech and the limits of “pure tolerance.”
By Keith Preston
Special thanks to Peter Topfer, Adam Ormes, Thom Forester, and Sean Jobst for their assistance in the writing of this summary.
On June 17 and 18, the first ever conference of the National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM) took place in Madrid. The process of arranging this conference was certainly not without its difficulties, and the organizers deserve much praise for their diligence in this regard. Originally, the conference was supposed to be hosted by the Madrid section of N-AM, who dropped out of the project shortly (and out of N-AM altogether) before the conference took place. This led to the irony of a conference being held in Spain where no actual Spanish people were among the attendees. Because National-Anarchists are widely despised by leftists who mistakenly regard N-A as a “fascist” tendency, security was a paramount concern.
The conflicts between myself and the mainstream leftist-anarchist movement are well-known. When I am asked about the source of this conflict by outsiders to the anarchist milieu, my usual response is that what they are observing is a continuation of the historic battle between the anarchists and the Marxists. Fundamental to this conflict is a contending view of the concepts of state and class. For Marxists, the principal target of revolutionary conflict is capital. However, for anarchists it is the state that is the primary enemy. This difference was acknowledged by Friedrich Engels.
“The anarchists put the thing upside down. They declare that the proletariat revolution must begin by doing away with the political organization of the state. But after its victory the sole organization which the proletariat finds already in existence is precisely the state. This state may require very considerable alterations before it can fulfill its new functions. But to destroy it at such a moment would be to destroy the only organism by means of which the victorious proletariat can assert its newly conquered power, hold down its capitalist adversaries and carry out that economic revolution of society without which the whole victory must end in a new defeat and in a mass slaughter of the workers similar to those after the Paris Commune.”
– Frederick Engels, “Engels to Philipp Van Patten in New York,” London, April 18, 1883.
Boston Free Speech Rally
Boston Commons, Boston, Massachusetts
May 13th, 2017
Gabriel Brown explains a brief history on the origins of the Anti-Fascist Action (Antifa) as well as their sponsors in the Ford Foundation and the Southern Poverty Law Center with Steven J. Baldassari. Steven was not certain what to make of the Anarchist position during the discussion but he came to the agreement that we shared much more in common than we had disagreements so this discussion and interview resulted in a positive conclusion.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Human Rights Activist) joins Dave Rubin to discuss the preaching of Islam, the left’s alliance with Islamists, the dangers of political Islam, Sharia law, “Islamophobia”, her serious fight against the practice of female genital mutilation as well as, her political and idealogical awakening, her foundation and activism, and much more. *This episode was filmed on location, not in The Rubin Report studio.
Speaking of libertarians, Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams say some sensible things about the Syrian gas attack and its ensuing fallout:
From March last year: Ann Sterzinger’s libertarian solution to the Islamist problem.
The welfare state is a gravy train for ISIS.
If the welfare state doesn’t end in Europe, the welfare state will end Europe. And future historians will look back on the way the West ended and think we were all out of our goddamn minds.
As the dust is still clearing in Brussels and Pakistan (killing kids on Easter… stay classy, ISIS) and wherever else the nut jobs hit before this goes to press—as the Left signals their concern that all these dead bodies and raped orificia might feed an irrational fear of suicide bombers and rapists—the press is busy lecturing European security agencies about their incompetence. They could have stopped all these attacks somehow, if only they knew how to do their jobs!
You know what? I feel sorry for the security agencies, bumbling though they may allegedly be. From where I’m sitting, their job looks freakin’ impossible. According to Pew, over a third of French Muslims think suicide bombing is at least on occasion acceptable (and among the 18-30 crowd, it’s an eye-watering 42 percent).
How would you like it to be your job to root out terrorists when a third of the base population—of whose diversity and feelings you must always be respectful—would be happy to house and hide the assholes you’re looking for?
Meanwhile the media have kept stumping for not just bringing more of the terrorist-supporting population in, but feeding and housing them at the expense of the very government budget that must also fund security operations.
I know, only a bad person would ever suggest that you end welfare, and no educated European wants to be a bad person. But what you are accomplishing by being too nice is very bad indeed, Europe. Because if you do not end the welfare state, you’re going to have a violent genocide, one way or another.
By Andrew Doyle
any of us on the left are tired of playing a losing game. Too often we are unhorsed by the worst excesses of our own side, in particular the mindless peddling of identity politics as a substitute for rigorous debate. Each week brings with it a fresh litany of petitions, articles and social-media posts, all contributing to the impression that the left has turned into a coterie of preening killjoys, unschooled in the art of self-awareness.
Recent low points include calls for Doctor Who to regenerate as a black woman in an effort better to reflect the diversity of the Time Lord community; Caitlin Moran’s advice to young girls that they should avoid reading books by male authors; and Lincoln University Students’ Union’s banning its conservative society from using its social media account for the crime of highlighting restrictions on free speech. Irony, it seems, is not a strong point among these guardians of social rectitude.
More recently, a British artist has called for the destruction of a painting currently being displayed at the Whitney Biennial exhibition in New York because its theme – the murder of an African-American child in Mississippi in 1955 – is not appropriate material to be tackled by a white artist. Apparently, ‘white free speech and white creative freedom have been founded on the constraint of others, and are not natural rights’. Many of us find the destruction of artwork and the curtailing of free expression to be troubling phenomena. The historically illiterate have no such misgivings.
It’s unhelpful to describe this trend as ‘political correctness gone mad’. The phrase has become predictable right-wing boilerplate; one associates it with the screeds of Richard Littlejohn, or the reactionary paranoia of Jon Gaunt, who believes that it ‘will soon be a crime to be a heterosexual married parent’. In any case, ‘political correctness gone mad’ has become a cliché, and all writers worth their salt avoid clichés like the plague.
The sledgehammer tactics of contemporary identity politics have little to do with political correctness as traditionally understood. Tacit social contracts concerning polite forms of discourse in the workplace, schools or public spaces are hardly a controversial notion. We all adhere to such principles in one form or another, albeit with some inevitable sticking points and disagreements along the way. We are facing something far more sinister: a mutated form of political correctness that seeks to police language and thought alike. It’s an authoritarian movement spearheaded by well-intentioned activists who are seemingly blind to their own bigotry.
By Aleksey Bashtavenko of Academic Composition
Politicians, scholars and political pundits are almost unanimous in their belief that their political views are entirely objective. As such, they often maintain that those who disagree with them are either misguided, ignorant, plain obtuse or worse. They are entirely oblivious to the fact that much of their political reasoning is motivated by the subconscious biases that shape their temperament. In light of this premise, George Lakoff argued that our political attitudes are defined by the “central metaphors”, which are shaped by the process of socialization. Hence, our earliest interactions with family members tend to define the core attitudes that constitute our political temperament.
By Aleksey Bashtavenko with Academic Composition
Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is widely regarded as one of the best self-help books of the 20th century. Indeed, Carnegie’s work is deservedly known as a modern classic because it is founded on powerful insights about social psychology. Today, there is no shortage of seminars and business classes teaching people to embrace the potent lessons of human nature that he has uncovered. Among these notions is the idea that “nobody wants to be told what to do” and that it is necessary to make people “glad to do what you want them to do”. It is difficult to appreciate this idea without fully understanding its subtlety and the many ways in which it can become enormously effective across all social contexts.
“From Gamergate, to Ben Affleck’s ‘Gross and Racist’ tirade, to trigger warnings and safe spaces, to Hillary’s ‘deplorables’ comment, to punching Nazis, and now to the mayhem after Milo Yiannopoulos tried to speak at UC Berkeley, the battle over free speech is now front and center in the American psyche.”
Howling mobs of illiterate, superstitious and ignorant peasants looking for witches. Otherwise known at “the Left.”