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Friday, May 2, 2008

An Open Letter to David Nolan

David Nolan writes at (where this reponse is now posted):
DN) Interesting that the people who are most “concerned” about negative fallout from Mary Ruwart’s alleged views on kid porn are the same people who have been yammering about it for the last week (DN
Actually, David, I've said from the beginning of this teacup tempest that the MSM would ignore it.  Within 24 hours of this controversy breaking, I'd posted in my very first comment on it my advice to Mary about how to end it -- by saying she was just opposing bright lines about age of consent, but still supports a case-by-case rebuttable presumption that is a function of age.  Unfortunately, it took her until the 8th day of the controversy to say that was her position, backing away from her published assertion that the rules must be age-blind.  Since she issued that statement yesterday, the controversy is rapidly fizzling.
The angle about Constitution Party eavesdroppers is one I confess I hadn't considered until yesterday.  The LP needs to ask itself whether it can afford to have an anarchist nominee who is touted as a "plumbline" libertarian theorist but who needs eight days to figure out how to react when somebody calls attention to one of her many published anarchist positions.  In fact, another of her "short answers" suggests support for a part of the Rothbardian plumbline that is even more heinous than legalizing pubescent prostitution.  Let's just hope that if a controversy erupts around that, it will take her less than eight days to come up with the right answer.
Meanwhile, prominent anarchist supporters of Ruwart -- Less Antman and Alex Peak -- have been touting you as an example of a minarchist who nevertheless is very comfortable with her candidacy.  But I've never been able to figure out in what sense you're a "minarchist".  Do you support the state having any special power or authority that a voluntary club does not have, such as the power to enforce subpoenas served on innocently bystanding witnesses by the criminally accused, or the general power to impose its monopoly on retaliatory force (or to at least impose on uncooperative defense agencies some minimum standards for due process)?  Or do you deny all authority of the state to initiate any force, so that it has no more ability to guarantee due process than a standards body or an advice columnist?  
The fundamental question, of course, is that raised by Roy Childs' 1969 open letter to Ayn Rand: you've already published your thoughts on the topic any time since then, feel free to point us to it.