These opinions warrantied for the lifetime of your brain.

Loading Table of Contents...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Less Antman Is Starting To Get It

Less, while you were on hiatus from LP activism for all those years, it seems that the meaning of "minarchism" shifted.  When I first read the 1970s-vintage writings of Libertarians revealing Konkin's original sense of "minarchism", I was quite shocked to see it implied that "minarchism" still included absolute abstention from anything that could be labeled force initiation.  Reading my way into the movement c. 1990 first on Usenet and then on the Web, the sense of "minarchism" I encountered was clearly about a state that used the absolute minimum amount of force initiation to protect life, liberty, and property.
Yes, the fundamental distinction I see here is between 1) absolutist clean-hands abstentionism regarding force initiation and 2) an opposition to force initiation that is so resolute that it it willing to consider using means other than setting a good example of abstinence.  I personally see absolutist abstentionism as a radical indulgence in self-righteousness, but not a truly radical commitment to minimizing society's net amount of force initiation.
I can't tell if you agree that personal secession is equivalent to anarchism, but I'll bet you that neither a majority of current LP members nor even a majority of Denver delegates would agree with a right of personal secession.  For example, I'm pretty sure Steve Kubby doesn't, and he's more radical than the modal NatCon delegate.  Steve also apparently agrees with the Sixth Amendment right of subpoena, which (as I predicted) you didn't address.  I don't see how you could possibly say that Kubby agrees with your strict abstentionist interpretation of non-aggression if he believes in such subpoena power against innocent third party witnesses.  A minarchist would be deluded to think she can support such a power without thus embracing an exception to your abstentionist NAP.  (It's not an exception to my aggression-minimizing interpretation of the NAP -- which of course is my point about what our minarchists implicitly believe.)  Like her many other firsts, Ruwart would apparently be the first LP presidential candidate to be on record as opposing the Sixth Amendment (unless Bergland addressed it somewhere).
I agree with Roy Childs against Rand (and Nolan?) that a state cannot meaningfully be said to be legislating, rather than just suggesting, if it doesn't reserve the right to initiate force to maintain its monopoly on enforcing its laws.  Nolan recently revealed that he doesn't believe in a state monopoly on writing or enforcing laws, which strongly suggests he is a David-Friedman-style private-law anarchist.  In a private email he said he wasn't interested in explaining why he disagreed with Childs or how he differs from Friedman.  Oh well, it's not like it's a core question in libertarian political theory, with any interesting implications for the Party he founded almost 40 years ago ...  :-)
I note that you did not dispute my characterization that Ruwart claims to represent the best and most authentic form of libertarianism.  Do you seriously think she would admit that a Sixth-Amendment-endorsing Steve Kubby is as pure a libertarian as she is?  She may have called Ron Paul "principled", but Marxists are principled too.  She can either run on her claim of being the most pure libertarian in the race, or she can ask us to ignore how her anarchist principles apply to the question of state laws against child prostitution, but she can't do both.  She needed to make up her mind, and two days ago she very clearly did.
It was only in 2000 that the LP Platform finally took a stand against the implication of the earlier Children's Rights plank, and said that parents have an obligation to care for their children.  The LP is just barely stepping out of the shadows of Rothbardianism, and a Ruwart nomination -- after she's angrily denounced those who disagree with her on state legislation outlawing aggression against children -- would take us right back into the darkness.  Since she's even more radical than Kubby, she needs to work even harder than he in being an ideological uniter rather than a divider.  She seems to have no interest in doing so.  I gave an extended quote of her apparently declaring the centrality of her purity to her campaign, and at some point is has to become specious for you to keep repeating the talking point that her campaign is only about the three topics (health care, war, and whatever) on which you've told us she's willing to have her principles be examined.