No Lockdowns: The Terrifying Polio Pandemic of 1949-52 1

I’ve seen some of the circles around C4SS and other supposed “left-libertarians” bashing Jeffrey Tucker (whose orthodox libertarianism I don’t personally share, although I am in favor of all forms of voluntary libertarianism and anarchism) for questioning the sanctity of the lockdowns.

By Jeffrey Tucker

Many people infected with polio don’t show any symptoms. Some become temporarily paralyzed; for others, it’s permanent. In 1952, the polio epidemic reached a peak in U.S.: almost 58,000 reported cases and more than 3,000 deaths.

World War II had ended four years earlier and the U.S. was trying to return to peace and prosperity. Price controls and rationing was ended. Trade was opening. People were returning to normal life. The economy started humming again. Optimism for the future was growing. Harry Truman became the symbol of a new normacy. From Depression and war, society was on the mend.

As if to serve as a reminder that there were still threats to life and liberty present, an old enemy made its appearance: polio. It’s a disease with ancient origins, with its most terrifying effect, the paralysis of the lower extremities. It maimed children, killed adults, and struck enormous fear into everyone.

Polio is also a paradigmatic case that targeted and localized policy mitigations have worked in the past, but society-wide lockdowns have never been used before. They weren’t even considered as an option.

READ MORE

 

An Aesthetic of Liberty Reply

I have my differences with Jeffrey Tucker, but this is a timely article calling for the need to develop an anti-statist centrism in response to the present day polarization and without falling into the various right-wing and left-wing deviations.

By Jeffrey A. Tucker

Foundation for Economic Education

Liberty-minded people are doing a lot of soul-searching these days. It’s probably needed.

In case you haven’t heard, many academic and media observers are on a hunt to discover the origin of the bizarre and violent alt-right (Klan, Nazi, and so on) marchers and protesters who appeared in Charlottesville, Virginia, shouting genocidal slogans. Every day new stories appear. To the horror of many dedicated intellectuals and activists in the liberty space, some journalists have tried to link this movement backward in time to the libertarian political movement as it developed over the last decade.

It should be obvious that, in theory and contrary to what the socialist left has long claimed, there is no connection whatsoever between what we call libertarianism and any species of rightist totalitarian ideology. One negates the other. As Leonard Read wrote in 1956, “Liberty has no horizontal relationship to authoritarianism. Libertarianism’s relationship to authoritarianism is vertical; it is up from the muck of men enslaving man…”

And yet today, there does indeed appear to be a social, institutional, and even intellectual connection, and migration, between what is called the liberty movement and the alt-right. Some of the most prominent alt-right voices in Charlottesville once identified as libertarians. This fact has been widely covered. It’s a fair question to ask: did these individuals ever really believe in a liberal worldview? Were they trolling all along? Were they just deeply confused?

Brutalism

I’ve been interviewed many times on these questions. How did this come to be? The answer is complex.

READ MORE

Left “Libertarians” vs The Alt Right w/Richard Spencer Reply

In this landmark 20th episode of the Liberty Machine Unleashed podcast it’s a meeting of the minds as Richard Heathen interviews Alt-Right icon, Richard Spencer. Richard Spencer clashed with libertarian mainstay Jeffery Tucker when Spencer was invited to a break down session of the International Students for Liberty Conference by the Hans Hermann Hoppe Caucus. Left libertarians were outraged by his presence. The situation climaxed when social justice warrior friendly Jeffery Tucker threw a temper tantrum at Spencer calling him a fascist. Jeffery Tucker allegedly called the cops to have Spencer removed, but Spencer left before they arrived. Richard Heathen interviews Richard Spencer to get his side of the story. The two also discuss a myriad of different issues including aristocracy and the state.

Jeffrey Tucker on the Problems of the Alt-Right 2

Watch Derrick Broze’s interview with Jeffrey Tucker here.

I disagree with Tucker’s treatment of Richard Spencer at the Students for Liberty conference. It should be possible for libertarians, anarchists, left-libertarians and Alt-Rightists to engage in civilized debate and discussion. Tucker also exaggerates the Trumpian threat with the Nazi comparisons. Trump represents a neo-Nixonian threat, not a neo-fascist threat. But some of the potential conflicts between the nationalistic collectivism of the Alt-Right and radical anti-statism, left or right, that Tucker discusses are legitimate.

Watch Tucker’s confrontation with Spencer and Spencer’s response below.

I hope Julie Borowski’s offer to host a debate between Spencer and Tucker materializes. That should be interesting.