Liberty & Power: Group Blog
David T. Beito
David T. Beito
Roderick T. Long
The Molinari/C4SS/ALL crowd are planning our biggest presence yet at Libertopia next month. There’ll be a panel on Markets Not Capitalism on the main stage, featuring Gary Chartier, Charles Johnson, Sheldon Richman, and your humble correspondent. In addition, there’ll be individual talks by Gary (on “There’s War, and Then There’s Everything Else”), Charles (on “Ask An Anti-Capitalist!: A Freewheeling Q&A on Markets Not Capitalism, Left-Libertarianism, and Mutualist Ends Through Free-Market Means”), Sheldon (on “Market, State and Autonomy”), and myself (on “Race, Gender, and Anarchy”), as well as Markets Not Capitalism audiobook narrator Stephanie Murphy (on “Mutual Aid for the Modern World”); plus Charles is on an anti-IP panel with Stephan Kinsella. (Unfortunately, some of these events are scheduled opposite one another – the price of success, I guess. See the current schedule here.)
In addition, we’ll have an exhibitor’s booth (see our banner here) selling and promoting Markets Not Capitalism and other Molinari/C4SS/ALL literature.
Want to help fund a) Charles’ transportation to San Diego for his triple speaking gig, and b) the fee for our exhibitor’s booth? Chip in below!
A libertarian--a radical, decentralist, pro-market, but anti-capitalist left-libertarian, at any rate--could tell that Alex Cockburn was exceptional when even his eulogy for a departed Marxist compelled interest.
After the Marxist economist Paul Sweezy died, Alex wrote that Sweezy "trenchantly detected and explained: the reasons for the New Deal's failure, until World War II bailed out the system; military Keynesianism and the Korean war as the factors in US recovery after that war; underdevelopment in the Third World, consequence of dependency that was created by imperialism . . . ; the increasing role of finance in the operations of capitalism. . . ."
The implied debunking of the standard left-right fairy tale that constitutes most people's notion of American history, is--or should be--of great interest to libertarians, who ought to understand that capitalism equals, not radically decentralized freed markets, but exploitative corporatism.That insight and attitude are what drew me and my left-libertarian comrades to Alex. My last contact with him was to ask that he blurb a book to which I contributed, Markets Not Capitalism, edited by Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson. He delivered the blurb: "We on the left need a good shake to get us thinking, and these arguments for market anarchism do the job in lively and thoughtful fashion."
Unfortunately, I only met Alex once, in 2008. We both spoke at an extraordinary conference put on by the Future of Freedom Foundation in Reston, Virginia titled "Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties." What was extraordinary was that this well-attended anti-empire, pro-Bill of Rights gathering featured the most prominent conservatives, progressives, leftists, and libertarians who were alarmed about imperial war and domestic tyranny. They included: Glenn Greenwald, Bruce Fein, Stephen Kinzer, Robert Higgs, Justin Raimondo, and Ron Paul.
I knew of Alex's work long before that, and followed his writings in The Village Voice, The Nation, even The War Street Journal. Now, finally, I would have my chance to talk to him. (He had already published me at CounterPunch.) He did not disappoint; he was funny and charming, and interested in what subversion I was up to. I'd like to think we hit it off.
In his wonderfully wide-ranging talk, he discussed the prospect of an alliance between the libertarians and his kind of left. "There has to be more utopianism, and there has to be more straightforward spirit of mutiny, which I think you libertarians are good at offering. If the left would offer a little bit of utopia-some of the utopia may differ-then I think we can continue to have an enjoyable and hopefully a creative association."
When I asked him to elaborate in the Q&A, he referred to an earlier attempted alliance, namely, the old Inquiry magazine (which I helped edit, 1982-1984), which assembled the best anti-statists no matter where they placed themselves on the political spectrum. Acknowledging that there are "some big issues [between libertarians and him] that . . . have to be sorted through," he continued, "I think a battle of the ideas, maybe one a year, would be a lot of fun. We should talk about it. I hope we do." Alas, we never got to do it.
Tom Szasz was what Chris Sciabarra would call a dialectical libertarian. Here's an example. Many years ago the city of Berkeley, California, (if I remember correctly) had a public referendum on whether to outlaw all electroshock, or "electro-convulsive therapy [sic]." Tom endorsed the ban. But he was a libertarian, so how could he possibly support a ban on even voluntary electroshock?
Simple. He knew that electroshock was far more likely to be used on people against their will. In the unlikely case that someone wanted it, he or she could go to a neighboring community. The net result of a ban would be that no one could be subjected to that barbaric procedure against his or her will within the borders of Berkeley. Hence it was a clear-cut victory for freedom.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
Today at Notablog, I posted an announcement of the new issue (Volume 12, Number 1, Issue 23, August 2012) of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. Check out the Table of Contents and the Contributor Biographies. As I state on the JARS site:
Since 1999, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (JARS) has published over 250 essays, written by over 130 authors, working across scholarly disciplines and specialties. Starting in 2013, with Volume 13, Number 1 (Issue 25), the JARS Foundation will begin a collaboration with Pennsylvania State University Press (PSUP). PSUP will manage distribution and subscription fulfillment for print and online editions, while the Editorial Board will focus exclusively on journal content. Extensive digital dissemination and preservation of the journal is guaranteed through PSUP partnerships with JSTOR and Project Muse, and the dark archiving of all journal back issues at Stanford's CLOCKSS. Read about this exciting collaborative project here.
David T. Beito
George Takei at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon. Credit: Gage Skidmore
It’s no surprise that I’m a Democrat. I’m a gay man, I got married to my husband Brad, and I don’t particularly like being told my marriage should be invalidated because I don’t have the same rights as other people. But mind you, I don’t forget that it was a Democratic President (FDR) who abused his power 70 years ago and put my family and me in an internment camp without charge, trial or cause. Now that was Big Government at its very worst. So I am leery of excessive government power or control of any kind.
That’s why I want to take a moment here to talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room: To ask why the GOP has allowed itself to be hijacked by extremists who aren’t Republican at all.
At their core, Republicans are for smaller government. That means LESS governmental intrusion into our lives, our affairs, our money. Consistently applied, this is a sound and important philosophy that acts as a counterweight to wasteful government spending, excessive taxation, and Big Brother intrusiveness. It is a “live and let live” attitude. Good people may disagree respectfully whether more or less government is needed in areas such as healthcare and education, whether a larger military or more international intervention is needed, and whether we should cut taxes on the wealthy or raise them. I personally can completely understand the economic rationales behind the GOP platform, even if I don’t think we should retry them right now.
What I simply can’t understand is why the GOP ignores the gorilla in their tent when it comes to social issues. For a party that prides itself on less government intrusion, it sure seems busy these days telling women and LGBT persons what they can and cannot do....
Read the full article: www.allegiancemusical.com/blog-entry/gorilla-their-midst