Category Archives: Ideologies (Conservatism)

Libertarianism Is Going Medieval 


Libertarianism Is Going Medieval
By Richard Storey                                                                                

I have long-believed that the realisation of anarcho-capitalist principles would most resemble the stateless societies of Medieval Europe.  After all, there seems no other time or place where such an ordered anarchy has existed, nor which warrants Rothbard’s description of a ‘gorgeous mosaic’ of self-governing communities.  Yet, most others have rather envisioned some future ‘Ancapistani’ sci-fi utopia – the aesthetics of Blade Runner tempered by the mild-mannered industriousness of Star Trek, perhaps.  Now, however, it seems that many right-libertarians, disillusioned with such hyper-individualistic caricatures, are on the verge of agreeing with me; but, how and why? Read more

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Why Conservatism Inc. Beats Up On America’s First Nations


By ilana mercer

The Indian tribesman’s claim to his ancient stomping grounds can’t be reduced to a title search at the deeds office. That’s the stuff of the positive law. And this was the point I took away from a conversation, circa 2000, with Mr. Property Rights himself, Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

Dr. Hoppe argued unassailably—does he argue any other way?—that if Amerindians had repeatedly traversed, for their livelihood, the same hunting, fishing and foraging grounds, they would have, in effect, homesteaded these, making them their own.

Another apodictic profundity deduced from that conversation: The strict Lockean stipulation, whereby to make property one’s own, one must transform it to Western standards, is not convincing.

In an article marking Columbus Day—the day Conservatism Inc. beats up on what remains of America’s First People—Ryan McMaken debunked Ayn Rand’s specious claim that aboriginal Americans “did not have the concept of property or property rights.” This was Rand’s ruse for justifying Europeans’ disregard for the homesteading rights of the First Nations. “[T]he Indian tribes had no right to the land they lived on because” they were primitive and nomadic.

Hoppean Homesteading

Cultural supremacy is no argument for the dispossession of a Lesser Other. To libertarians, Lockean—or, rather Hoppean—homesteading is sacrosanct. He who believes he has a right to another man’s property ought to produce proof that he is its rightful owner. “As the old legal adage goes, ‘Possession is nine-tenths of the law,’ as it is the best evidence of legitimate title. The burden of proof rests squarely with the person attempting to relieve another of present property titles.” (Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, p. 276.)

However, even if we allow that “the tribes and individual Indians had no concept of property,” which McMaken nicely refutes—it doesn’t follow that dispossessing them of their land would have been justified. From the fact that a man or a community of men lacks the intellectual wherewithal or cultural and philosophical framework to conceive of these rights—it doesn’t follow that he has no such rights, or that he has forfeited them. Not if one adheres to the ancient doctrine of natural rights. If American Indians had no attachment to the land, they would not have died defending their territories.

Neither does the fact the First Nations formed communal living arrangements invalidate land ownership claims, as McMaken elucidates. Think of the Kibbutz. Kibbutzim in Israel instantiate the principles of voluntary socialism. As such, they are perfectly fine living arrangements, where leadership is empowered as custodian of the resource and from which members can freely secede. You can’t rob the commune of its assets just because members elect to live communally.

Conservatism’s Perennial Piñata

Columbus Day has become an occasion for neoconservatives, conservatives and their followers to vent their spleen against American Indians. And woe betide the deviationist who pens anything remotely fair or sympathetic about, say the genocide of the Indians, the trail of tears or the relegation of Indians to reservations. Berated he will be for daring to lament the wrongs visited on the original inhabitants of this continent on the grounds, mostly, that they were savages.

Come Columbus Day, the same hackneyed observations are disgorged—as though these repetitions cut through the left’s rhetoric of moral superiority; as if these shopworn shibboleths challenge a cultural script that upholds the myth of the purity of primitive life, juxtaposed to the savagery of Western Culture. They don’t.

I mean, who doesn’t know that natives were hardly nature’s custodians? This fallacy was popularized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s panegyric on the Noble Savage. Pre-Columbian America was no pristine natural kingdom. Native tribes likely engaged in bi-annual forest burning to flush out the species the Indians most wanted to hunt. There was the stampeding, during a hunt, of herds of animals over a cliff. Used repeatedly, some buffalo jumps hold the remains of hundreds of thousands of animals, with patterns of local extinction being well-documented. Where agriculture was practiced in the central and southern parts of America, evidence from sediment points to soil erosion, which was, too, likely ongoing before the arrival of Europeans.

It’s old hat that the Americas are scattered with archeological evidence of routine massacres, cannibalism, dismemberment, slavery, abuse of women and human sacrifice among native tribes. In no way can these facts mitigate or excuse the cruel treatment natives have endured. For is such exculpation not the crux of the neoconservative creed, against which President Trump ran? “The world is up to no good. As a superior ‘nation,’ let American power remake it in its image.” By hook or by crook, if necessary.

Neoconservative deity Dinesh D’Souza likes to claim Native-Americans were decimated not by genocide or ethnocide, “but by diseases brought from Europe by the white man.” Not quite. In his magisterial History of the American People, historian Paul Johnson, a leading protagonist for America, details the rather energetic “destruction of the Indians” by Andrew Jackson.

Particularly poignant are Red Eagle’s words to Jackson, on April 14, 1814, after the president-to-be had rampaged through villages, burning them and destroying crops in a ruthless campaign against the Indians east of the Mississippi:

“I am in your power. My people are gone. I can do no more but weep over the misfortunes of my nation.” Jackson had just “imposed a Carthaginian peace on 35 frightened Indian chiefs,” forcing them to part with the lion’s share of their ancestral lands.

Equally moving is the account of another philoamerican, philosopher and historian Alexis de Tocqueville. The Frenchman describes a crowd of displaced Choctaw warriors—having been subjected to ethnic cleansing (in today’s parlance):

“There was an air of ruin and destruction, something which gave the impression of a final farewell, with no going back; one couldn’t witness it without a heavy heart. … it is an odd coincidence that we should have arrived in Memphis to witness the expulsion, or perhaps the dissolution, of one of the last vestiges of one of the oldest American nations.”

As they heap contempt upon native American societies—conservatives, with admirable exceptions, are at the beck and call of African-Americans. Most conservatives agree about the legitimacy of African-Americans’ eternal grievances (“the fault of Democrats,” they intone). The same establishment offers incontinent exhilaration about the greatness of African-American heroes (MLK über alles). And the only piss-poor argument mustered in these quarters for raising, rather than removing, statues for the South’s heroes is, “We need to preserve our history, horribly flawed with respect to African-Americans, mea culpa.” Or, “Who’s next? Jefferson?”

Conservatives are constitutionally (as in physically) incapable of arguing the merits of the great Robert E. Lee, something Lord Acton managed on solid philosophical grounds.

Here’s a theory as to why Conservatism Inc. uses American Indians as its perennial piñata, while generally acceding to the aggressive demands for permanent victim status levied by African-Americans.

Plainly put, among African-Americans, the extractive view of politics prevails. People seek and aggressively obtain an advantage from positions of power. Unlike African-Americans, Native-Americans have little political clout and even less of an extractive approach to politics.

In short, the First Peoples are politically powerless and proud, making them an easy target.

 

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

WHY LIBERTARIANS AND TRADITIONALISTS ARE NATURAL ALLIES


Why Libertarians and Traditionalists are Natural Allies
Christian Robitaille

A version of this article appeared in French in January 2016 (Contrepoints.org).

christianIn this article, I will identify the reasons why it is essential to build a solid alliance between libertarians and traditionalists.[1] As a libertarian, it appears to me that it is now of utmost importance to insist on a strict separation between libertarianism and various ideologies that are increasingly plaguing the libertarian movement. Indeed, when one notices the feminist, queer, relativistic, and hippie excesses characterising the cultural leftist turn of the libertarian movement, one realises that it is not without utility to remind libertarians of some traditionalist implications of an application of the libertarian doctrine to Western societies. It is also appropriate to remind traditionalists that the State is not a good tool in order to implement and maintain a traditional social order. Although few libertarians, to my knowledge, have formulated such analyses in French, it is important to indicate that the ideas that follow have already been expressed in English by various writers. Given the current state of the libertarian movement, however, restating these ideas is not, I believe, a useless endeavour. Read more

The ‘Reactionary’ Libertarianism of Frank van Dun


The ‘Reactionary’ Libertarianism of Frank van Dun
By Richard Storey

Before I reached out to Prof. Frank van Dun, I had it all figured out.  Like many anarcho-capitalist libertarians, I believed that the Church, far from being a hindrance to state growth, was the primary promoter of centralised statism in Northern Europe.  Whilst many of the greatest intellectual defenders of liberty were Christians (Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell etc. etc.), I assumed they were wrong about the Church.  Rather arrogantly, I thought them blind to the historical data and for emotional reasons.  I contacted the good professor, hoping he could teach me a thing or two and, of course, confirm my conclusions.  I got more of the former than I had bargained for.  Permit me to outline the historical perspective I presented to Prof. van Dun before I provide his responses. Read more

In Response to the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally


Keir Martland: In response to the violent white supremacist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, I thought that I would re-print the text of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s 1943 essay ‘Credo of a Reactionary.’ Kuehnelt-Leddihn was very far to the Right himself, which is what makes his own perspective on fascism, Nazism, and racialism so interesting. He was firmly of the opinion that an “extreme conservative arch-liberal” such as himself must abhor fascism and racialism. This essay is therefore a must-read for all open-minded ‘Alt-Right’ sympathisers, note in particular the distinction between patriotism and nationalism.  Read more

Sean Gabb: Speech to Conservative Future, 2009


Note: I was invited to give this speech by Patrick Sullivan. He wanted to cause a stir, and was delighted by the outrage I provoked. Here is a text of the speech I gave. And here is what now seems to be the killer quote:

Do you want a Conservative Government that will succeed? Or do you want, in twenty years time, to watch another series of documentaries in which today’s Conservative leaders – looking older and baggier – will discuss how things went wrong, and they were pushed aside by yet another Labour rejuvenation?

The evidence is now in. SIG Read more

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