Reply To: The Human Condition


1) I think the Freakanomics guys make clever arguments. Or, rather, “clever” ones. Note this is not the same as “successful” or “good” ones, though they may seem so at first glance. IIRC David Gordon did a review of their first book. Or maybe their second. Anyhow, that sort of argument IMO is unconvincing; especially given that society, like the economy, is dynamic. In any case, to embrace his argument just is to embrace a racial argument as well.

2) on this:

Now when I consider people who follow libertarian beliefs and/or people on this site, I feel as though a libertarian society is much more likely to succeed (obviously). In considering other groups of people, however, I have doubt as to what people are capable of. . .For sake of argument lets consider that there are two types of people in regards to a libertarian society, capable and not capable.

Though I think almost all libertarians would phrase it differently, I’m not sure they would disagree. However the very point of trying to spread the message and convince people of the merits of libertarianism is to generate not only more people who support it, but more people who accept the justice of it, internalize libertarian norms, understand libertarian ethics, and thus will be capable of living in a libertarian society.

The theory goes something like this (in brief): we’re not going to get a libertarian society until enough people support libertarian principles; when we do, and are able to form a libertarian society, then the people in it will, by and large and for the most part, be people who understand and agree with the ethics of liberty and follow its norms (obviously there will be the exceptions, lawbreakers, and the like, as there are in any society, and these will be handled in the usual way, though in this case through private law).

In addition I think they also believe, especially the more Hoppean ones, that once a libertarian society is created it will only be attractive to immigrants who want to live in such a society. It will not be attractive to freeloaders or deadbeats of any race (and as for those who are legitimately needy, benevolence and mutual aid will exist for them, to help them, but since it will not be run by the state, it will be able to impose and maintain standards that actually work, instead of just making more clientela for politicians).

Anyhow this informs my own critique of “open borders libertarians” – libertarians who support open borders, or at least significantly lax immigration standards, in the current system, on the grounds I discussed before.

IMO one does not even have to get into innate biological, or deeply cultural-rooted “capabilities” of this or that group (even if one believes such exist, there would be exceptions, individuals that IMO would be more welcome in any libertarian society, regardless of the general inclinations of the “group” they are members of, than members of “groups” that are, on the whole, more inclined to libertarianism. For example, I’ll take Walter E. Williams and Thomas Sowell over, say, Krugman, DeLong, and, well, just about any academic progressive). But one can still understand that inviting people in under the current statist dispensation attracts people who want to live under that dispensation and benefit from it, and thus is self-defeating (indeed, suicidal) from the standpoint of advancing libertarianism. Further, every political society, to include a libertarian one, even to include an anarcho-libertarian one, by definition starts by distinguishing members and non-members, and has the prerogative of excluding anyone from joining who would seek to transform it into something else (anarcho-libertarians would do this by ostracism, thus not violating anyone’s rights. Note that in the modern state, no one has this liberty anymore. This is one reason why advocating open immigration on economic & “freedom to associate with anyone I want to” grounds fails under the current dispensation, where we do not actually have the right to associate – which includes the right not to associate).

In the 19th century even “Stated” societies could have basically open immigration, no passports, and the like; in no small part because, however bad they were, these were pre-Progressive welfare-warfare states. This is not how things are now.