Must-Read: Noah Smith (2011): Noahpinion: The liberty of local bullies

July 20, 2017

Must-Read: Noah Smith (2011): Noahpinion: The liberty of local bullies

Must-Read: A promos of Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains My view is that Brown v. Board of Education was not the major cause of James Buchanan’s decision to try and U VA President Colgate Darden’s decision to fund the “Virginia School of Political Economy”—Public Choice as a discipline that had only one wing, a right one, and that would, as the late Mancur Olson liked to say, “never be healthy until its left wing was as strong as its right, and it was no longer an ideological movement masquerading as an academic sub discipline”. But it was certainly a trigger, and support was always very welcome from those whose concerns about appropriate governmental decentralization, limited powers, and checks and balances started and ended with preserving white supremacy.

Noah Smith was on the case back in 2011:

Noah Smith (2011): Noahpinion: The liberty of local bullies: “I have not been surprised by any of the quotes that have recently come to light from Ron Paul’s racist newsletters. I grew up in Texas, remember…

…If you talk to a hardcore Paul supporter for a reasonable length of time, these sorts of ideas are more likely than not to come up. So does this mean that Ron Paul’s libertarianism is merely a thin veneer covering a bedrock of tribalist white-supremacist paleoconservatism? Well, no, I don’t think so. Sure, the tribalist white-supremacist paleoconservatism is there. I just don’t think it’s incompatible with libertarianism….

Libertarianism… [in] its modern American manifestation… is not really about increasing liberty…. An ideal libertarian society would leave the vast majority of people feeling profoundly constrained in many ways…. Freedom… can be curtailed… by a large variety of intermediate powers like work bosses, neighborhood associations, self-organized ethnic movements, organized religions, tough violent men, or social conventions…. There is plenty of room for people to be oppressed by… “local bullies”. The modern American libertarian ideology does not deal with the issue…. [To] Nozick, Hayek, Rand, and other foundational thinkers… if your freedom is not being taken away by the biggest bully that exists, your freedom is not being taken away at all….

Not surprisingly, this gigantic loophole has made modern American libertarianism the favorite philosophy of a vast array of local bullies…. The curtailment of government legitimacy, in the name of “liberty,” allows abusive bosses to abuse workers, racists to curtail opportunities for minorities, polluters to pollute without cost, religious groups to make religious minorities feel excluded, etc…. I see no real conflict between Ron Paul’s libertarianism and his support for the agenda of racists. It’s just part and parcel of the whole movement… as it in fact exists.


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