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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13200/emma-goldman-and-the-end-of-the-first-libertarian-movement/

Emma Goldman and the End of the First Libertarian Movement

July 8, 2010 by

When World War I broke out, just as nearly 90 years later when the 9/11 attacks took place, many libertarians came down with war fever. But Emma Goldman remained stalwart. FULL ARTICLE by Jeff Riggenbach

{ 73 comments }

Ryan July 8, 2010 at 8:40 am

This is embarrasing. Why so much ink is spilled over a crazed, hate-filled fanatic like Goldman is beyond me. This self-proclaimed “anarchist” firmly held onto socialist/communist ideas her entire life (even, for a time, supporting the Bolsheviks!), the complete antithesis of anything resembling individualism or respect for individual rights. She was an an “invididualist” in the same way hippies and avant-garde types later claimed to be: just as a pose. Wake up, Riggenbach.

Allen Weingarten July 8, 2010 at 9:38 am

I believe that our founders were right when they developed our Constitution. Emma Goldman appears to rely upon them to support anarchy, yet they were committed to establishing a nation of laws (not of men). I also hold with Ayn Rand in her doctrine of the non-initiation of force, which is rejected by Goldman.

Byzantine July 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

The Mises Institute is the last place I expect to read a tongue-bath for a dead Bolshevik.

Aubrey Herbert July 8, 2010 at 10:45 am

Why am I under the impression no-one above actually read the article?
Thanks JR.

Byzantine July 8, 2010 at 11:09 am

I read it. Then I re-read it to make sure I didn’t miss any actual quotes from Goldman that the author could have cited in support of his thesis. It is a mawkish, clumsy article, as the author labors mightily to make swipes at Tucker and Frick and place Emma Goldman in the pantheon with Spooner and Thoreau. There is nothing remotely “libertarian” (or, for that matter, anarchist, as Hoppe would be only too happy to point out) in Goldman’s Marxist dialectic, and the author’s efforts to assure us that Goldman had some sort of Lockean epiphany are entirely unpersuasive.

newson October 22, 2010 at 11:17 pm

what would be interesting is exposing who was financing the early marxists, and why. trotsky received very generous funding and support from paul warburg and was able to recruit firebrands among the new york community to return and foment revolution in tzarist russia.

Barry Loberfeld July 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

The “anarcho-communist” opposes the State because he thinks it protects individual rights; the “anarcho-capitalist” opposes the State because he thinks it doesn’t.

mpolzkill July 8, 2010 at 11:45 am

Funny to watch our most embarrassing and unfortunate allies howling that Riggenbach should give a nod to a far less embarrassing ally. Can’t wait to see more resident righties howl.

Beefcake the Mighty July 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Speak for yourself, I always enjoy Byzantine’s posts (I’m guessing that’s who you’re referring to). Who appointed *you* to decide who or who is not embarrassing amongst Austro-libertarians, anyway?

mpolzkill July 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I said it was fun.

I appointed me to mention who is embarrassing to be associated with (the “our” is for anyone who would agree with me). Ayn Rand is always at the top of the list, for instance. Xenophobes, and those obsessed with race and class are embarrassing, I says. I’m sure many would agree that you are also one of the more embarrassing characters to be possibly associated with around here.

Beefcake the Mighty July 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm

“Zenophobes, and those obsessed with race and class are embarrassing, I says.”

And by this you doubtless mean anyone who doesn’t hold PC views on these issues. Or perhaps you have an example demonstrating “obsession,” beyond mere name-calling?

mpolzkill July 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm

“PC police!”, the newest refuge of the scoundrel.

Is there some way to print out hundreds of “Byzantine’s” posts going back years? I don’t care enough to try to find them, I’ve seen enough already. Where ever did I get the impression that he is obsessed with the inferiority of other cultures, I don’t know?

Look, this is simple: righties don’t like lefties, my kind of libertarians don’t like righties. They say it out loud, I say it out loud.

Why don’t you defend Riggenbach above from the self-promoted deciders of who or what is embarrassing?

mpolzkill July 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Haha, you caught me in the 20 seconds between when I wanted to describe those with a fear and loathing of foreigners and when I had mentioned those inexplicably frightened by the ancient Greek philosopher.

Beefcake the Mighty July 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Right, just as I thought: you’re full of crap.

mpolzkill July 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Yeah, I know I should get to work on my book about this anonymous internet clown but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Just lazy.

Passifire July 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

“Is there some way to print out hundreds of “Byzantine’s” posts going back years? I don’t care enough to try to find them, I’ve seen enough already.”

Yup, thanks goodness for Brainpolice.

http://polycentricorder.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-i-dislike-hoppeans-and-libertarian.html

R.J. Moore II November 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Nothing is more embarrassing than a lefty. I’d rather be associated with the Gestapo than with Chomsky and his ilk.

Ned Netterville July 8, 2010 at 11:49 am

Emma Goldman’s assessment of the state as described in her late-life essay, to which Riggenbach’s article provides a link (“The Individual, Society, & the State,” ), is vastly more penetrating than anything found among the voices of liberal, conservative, Tea Party, Libertarian Party, or any other POLITICAL group in America today. If, as Riggenbach indicates, Emma renounced violence, I certainly cannot hold her youthful embrace of violent anarchy and/or (necessarily) violent communism/socialism against her. Unlike Goldman, I’m not an atheist. In the spirit of a disciple of Jesus, I believe in redemption. For me, forgiveness is a matter of self defense. I was brought up on and fell–lock, stock and barrel–for our government’s World War II and Korean War propaganda. I regretted that I was too young for combat in either conflict, in which I knew I would have earned several Congressional Medals of Honor as a combat pilot of first a P-51 Mustang and later an F-86 Sabrejet by shooting down, and coincidentally killing, plenty of my state-designated “enemies” in their inferior aircraft. It is only by the grace of God and the timing of my birth that my own (required) military service occurred during a time when “our nation’s forces” were not being required to kill anyone. This was shortly before the inception of the Vietnam aggression, when I began to understand the true nature of government and war-times lies.

Today I hold the unequivocally conviction that nonviolent resistance to any “enemy” who would oppress me or others (almost invariably, oppressors are agents of some state) is far and away the most efficacious means of achieving victory in the cause of individual liberty.

Language and words, however, are important, perhaps sometime even crucial. To distance myself as far as I can from any philosophy that might allow for violence, I have lately come to refer to myself as a Voluntaryist. Sometimes I say I am a nonviolent, pacifist anarchist, but for many Voluntaryists that word sufficiently embraces those concepts as to make their statement superfluous. But nonviolence is so critical that it cannot be overstressed. Some Voluntaryist would allow violence as a legitimate means of self-defense against violent attacks, but I think that position fails to comprehend the invincible power of nonviolence to prevail against all force. When Jesus counseled “turn the other cheek” to violence, he wasn’t stupid, naive, nor promoting suicide. He meant what he said, and he knew whereof he spoke. His unflinching embrace of nonviolence even in the face of agonizing death at the hands of the Roman state is why he has become known as the Prince of Peace. Those who have tried nonviolence know he was right, that it always works far better than the alternative. Reading Emma Goldman’s essay, I can’t argue with Riggenbach that she had renounced nonviolence, but I do not sense that she realized its potency in the cause of individual liberty as, for example, Gandhi did. So to me, he is a better role model than she even though he wasn’t an anarchist. (I hope I am not besmirching Gandhi’s character in saying that.)

Thanks for the article, Mr. Riggenbach. I have often wanted to investigate Goldman’s writing, but, due to the shortness of life and the fact that I am a slow reader with so much yet to read that Mises.org makes available, I may have to satisfy myself with what you have said about her here.

david July 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

How is it a Libertarian must also be an Anarchist? Libertarians believe in property rights, which requires the authority of the State to enforce. As for the relationship between individuals and their society, Mises states that the individual depends on society because the functions of the individual become increasingly specialized, so we each depend on the specialized functions of other individuals as well. The relationship between individuals and society CAN be oppresive, but mostly it is mutualism. As for Jefferson, he wrote the DOI which states that the State exists to protect the rights of the individual. Thats not anarchy. I don”t think this article had much to do with Libertarianism at all, and I think the first Libertarian movement occurred with the American Revolution

BioTube July 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm

In order to enforce anything, a state must ipso facto violate rights by extorting money to fund itself. Private security agencies are possible, you know.

Byzantine July 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

“Private security agencies are possible, you know.”

Which Frick employed, like any good anarcho-capitalist.

newson July 9, 2010 at 12:26 am

as i understand, the violence occurred in the context of defending the plant from picketers, opposed to the deployment of “scab” labour.

R.J. Moore II November 17, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I’m going to get a poster of Frick to spite the lefties.

Barry Loberfeld July 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm
Nick July 8, 2010 at 7:12 pm

How is it a Libertarian must also be an Anarchist?

Just as “liberal”, “capitalist”, “socialist”, etc. are labels, so is “libertarian”. Because they’re labels, they’re used and interpreted subjectively. For instance, some hear “libertarian” and assume it means a member of the Libertarian Party. Some hear “libertarian” and assume it describes someone that wants strict adherence to the constitution (like Ron Paul). I personally define “libertarian” as someone that adheres to the principle of non-aggression (believes that aggression is never justified). Using that definition, a libertarian would be an anarchist (since all states must employ aggression). Of course, if you define “libertarian” differently, then the answer to your question changes.

Libertarians believe in property rights, which requires the authority of the State to enforce.

Yes, libertarians “believe in property rights” but they don’t believe they come from the state. Why would the state be required to enforce property rights when the state is, by far, the biggest violator of property rights?

I would suggest checking out these links. You might find it interesting.

Robert Brager July 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm

No mention, unfortunately, is made of Goldman’s “My Disillusionment in Russia”, whose publication placed her foursquare out of the left mainstream and is a rousing historical document in its own right. Long before Antony Sutton exposed the bankrolling of the Bolshevik experiment by corporatists on our shores, Goldman was documenting their presence and the political repression they helped to unleash and finding her efforts falling on deaf ears across the spectrum. Riggenbach’s article mentions only that Goldman spent her post-deportation years in Canada and the south of France, when in fact Goldman spent the first year and a half of her deportation in the Soviet Union. Once in Germany, then in Britain, then France, and then in Canada, Goldman was ostracized from the left’s leading lights and foot soldiers for her outspoken condemnation of the Bolsheviks. That is why it amuses me to no end to see comments here like, “… the Mises Institute is the last place I expect to read a tongue-bath for a dead Bolshevik”.

A commenter above shed crocodile tears for Frick, of all people. Let’s not forget that Frick ordered violence against striking steelworkers that resulted in fatalities. Emma Goldman came to her senses and Riggenbach is right to draw parallels between that episode and alleged libertarians today who favor wars of aggression.

Incidentally, unlike what I gather is the bulk of people who come through the Mises site, I came to libertarianism and Austrian economics by way of Emma Goldman and her conception of anarchism initially. Already steeped in that healthy aversion to the state, I was prepared, mentally, to explore the Austrian perspective when my first introduction to it was made with the simultaneous acquisition of Douglas Casey’s “The International Man” and its very helpful bibliography (which introduced me to Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, and the Tannehills) and Howard Katz’s “The Warmongers” in 1998. Good article, Mr. Riggenbach. Evidently, a few of our more cantankerous commentators on Mises are unfamiliar with the disseminating of ideas via outreach, which is what I believe this article plays a part in doing.

Byzantine July 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm

The Left comes to anarchy via egalitarianism, having had their hopes in a flat society dashed by the realities of the State. But in a free market, there is no wealth transfer mechanism to enable janitors to live as well as owners of steel refineries. So, the anarchist Left must continually cast about for reasons why anybody of any talent or means has somehow acquired their status unjustly. They cry oppression as soon as any hierarchical (or even just interdependent) model emerges and so, like their Bolshevik cousins, must be continually engaged in a levelling process to reduce humanity to the Revolution’s Year Zero, over and over again.Somebody tell me again what the Left brings to the table, other than anger and resentment at anybody doing better than them?

In anarchist society, Emma Goldman would be thrown out of town as an enemy of property rights.

Nick July 8, 2010 at 7:40 pm

The STATE IDEA, the authoritarian principle, has been proven bankrupt by the experience of the Russian Revolution. If I were to sum up my whole argument in one sentence I should say: The inherent tendency of the State is to concentrate, to narrow, and monopolize all social activities; the nature of revolution is, on the contrary, to grow, to broaden, and disseminate itself in ever-wider circles. In other words, the State is institutional and static; revolution is fluent, dynamic. These two tendencies are incompatible and mutually destructive. The State idea killed the Russian Revolution and it must have the same result in all other revolutions, unless the libertarian idea prevail…

…There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another, This conception is a potent menace to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, modify it, and presently the aims and means become identical. —My Disillusionment in Russia (1923).

Via the July 4th post at Rad Geek People’s Daily.

michael July 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm

“No mention, unfortunately, is made of Goldman’s “My Disillusionment in Russia”, whose publication placed her foursquare out of the left mainstream and is a rousing historical document in its own right.”

Robert, you have the beginnings of a point that needs to be made.

One thing I find here is that everyone shares a monolithic view of something they call Communism, or socialism. In this view, all Communists are fungible, holding identical views and having the same purpose. One problem I have with this is the fusion of two wholly disparate ideas. Namely, I would like to offer that a belief in social goals is not identical with an urge toward totalitarianism (in fact they are opposites). And Emma Goldman’s a prime example. Like all humanists, she passionately upholds the one while hating the other.

It’s a shame socialism got off to such a bad start. Imperial Russia was used to totalitarian rule. Under the new Communists it was hardly different, except much worse than under the Czar. Now they’ve given social justice a bad name.

I see something of a difference along the continuum from wanting cabbies to be licensed to ordering the deaths of millions in labor camps. But there are those who don’t.

PL July 9, 2010 at 2:08 am

Emma Goldman was foremost an radical feminist who dispised family values. That really makes her a fool/maniac because there will be no functional society without strong families. The family unit is the whole cornerstone of civilized society. Goldman´s contrbutions to the feminist movement was far greater than hers to the libertarian movement, and the feminists are today a great threat to individual liberty. If we think about what Goldman contributed for mankind, then her her bad deed definetly outweighs the good ones.
Here´s a quote my Goldman: “Is there indeed anything more terrible, more criminal, than our glorified sacred function of motherhood? ” What a foolish and stupid thing to say…

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 5:48 am

Thanks, PL, for the link to this:

http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/goldmanmor.htm

An interesting lady you righties are unwittingly promoting. I don’t agree with her through much of this lightweight Nietzsche stuff, but I sure can see her main point and the point of thousands of women who died or were maimed in back alleys because they got the idea from people who sound like you (and worse) that they were livestock. What exactly was Goldman’s “bad deed”, PL? Speaking her mind? Making some certain amount of women uppity? Perhaps the State wasn’t vigilant enough in silencing her “bad deeds”?

Byzantine July 9, 2010 at 6:22 am

Fortunately for the human species, most women reject Goldman’s views. You, on the other hand, are casting your lot with people who are going extinct.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 6:59 am

Lovely. Even to sympathize is verboten it seems.

Which views? That women were treated as livestock or that they should free themselves from their masters?

Please, tell us a little more about these “people” so that the “Bringer of the Purple Light” might see.

Beefcake the Mighty July 9, 2010 at 11:05 am

“Bringer of the Purple Light”

Wow, that’s a blast from the past. You’ve got hang-ups, clearly.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 11:23 am

Get over yourself. You guys blabber incessantly for years, some people remember, big deal, it’s called “a joke.”

Sorry, it looks like I can’t bait him into giving us one of his full screeds on inferior “peoples”, still not going to dig up old ones though.

Beefcake the Mighty July 9, 2010 at 11:27 am

I’ll let Byzantine defend himself. Not sure there’d be much point, however, as this statement of yours:

“That women were treated as livestock or that they should free themselves from their masters?”

pretty much shows that you’re beyond rational debate on these issues.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 11:33 am

Oh, now you will? Fine.

No, the fact that you think that question is irrational shows that you’re a nitwit, an ignoramus or just plain dishonest. You think 19th century women were free? You think 19th century black Americans were free, too?

tralphkays July 9, 2010 at 11:54 am

As usual, no rational discussion allowed in the area of mpolzkill’s obsessions.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 11:57 am

Thanks, Ralph, now what was irrational?

Beefcake the Mighty July 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Suffice to say that one can believe that certain cures (feminism, “civil rights” laws, etc) are much worse than the putative disease (un-progressive social relations of the 19th century), without being the boogeyman of the fever-dreams of fools like mpolzkill.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Yep, plain dishonest. Where did I (or Goldman for that matter) advocate the State enforcing the equality of women or blacks. I’m for a third way.

And isn’t that “suffice it to say” and that “putative” sweet coming from white guys?

One other thing, who said this is some debate? Again, I’m here saying: “haha, look at the overheated lightweight righties angry that Riggenbach gave props to a heavyweight leftie on what they seem to consider their home page.”

Beefcake the Mighty July 9, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Fair point, I didn’t mean to suggest you advocate State intervention. Feminism, however, does not need to appeal to the State to be objectionable. I’m sure even that comment will bunch up your panties, however, so why do I even bother with you?

Beefcake the Mighty July 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm

BTW mpolzkill, what’s your problem with white guys?

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Do you think it’s possible that you and “Byzantine” are so sensitive about being called pigs and have developed these clever mechanisms for combating its being merely suggested because you are in fact pigs?

I have no use for and never in fact use this word “feminism” (bizarre for you to try to divorce the term from the State, btw: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”)

What exactly is objectionable about women now enjoying all the rights white men always did in this country? (If someone here will actually deign to answer one of this here fool’s questions)

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm

It was the “white guy” + “putative”.

tralphkays July 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I find it interesting that I actually share a great many of mpolzkill’s views, his obsession with perfection not so much. If a society, or any group of people for that matter are not absolutely perfect in their application of the ideals of freedom, then they are equated with the most oppressive societies or groups in history. Oppress one person or oppress millions, he sees no difference. Pretty much eliminates any rational discussion.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

It’s really not hard, Ralph. Don’t be a sucker, don’t ever advocate coercion; look, now you’re “perfect”.

No one person oppresses millions. It takes tens of millions here to oppress, say, the Iraqis. The majority of Americans had to be corrupted for Cheney and team to get their way in that case. Every one of the little comforts and little self-delusions, they are the root, and they all add up.

Beefcake the Mighty July 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

mpolzkill’s obsession with white guys and his identification of Cheney as the main culprit in the Iraq fiasco leave little doubt as to what he’s really up to here.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

?

Just the most identifiable. I don’t know any more famous or more in the loop Halliburton execs.

A white guy basically calls the very real and near total subjugation of blacks and women in the 19th century by white guys, a “so-called” disease and suggests that things are somehow worse today because of the imperfect way they went about getting out from under the hideous yoke.

Obsession:

Stating that that is precious coming from a white guy.

tralphkays July 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm

mpolzkill feeds his ego with the delusion that he is the only ‘enlightened one’. If anyone mentions one injustice then they are a fool or a pig for not somehow simultaneously mentioning ALL injustices. If anyone criticises a persons support for injustice he attacks them for not simultaneously acknowledging that said person was themselves a victim of injustice. He and he alone sees all injustice and he and he alone is qualified to condemn injustice.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm

And Ralph, who am I here defending? Goldman was a major screw-ball, and woefully ignorant, but I would have proudly gone to one of Wilson’s prisons following her lead on that *most* important matter.

This is the heart of it too, lefties are generally ignorant, but righties are thoroughly rotten. Lefties can only really go wrong, in their ignorance, by imitating righties.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Ralph, it is difficult to not feel enlightened when one is alone in the company of troglodytes, but it is only relative. I will come down off my high as soon as my girlfriend ridicules me for wasting a couple hours here.

Not talking about justice here, or who is better than who; if you support the Empire, or think you can reform it you are a fool, and I’m irritated that you’re (en masse) going to drag me down with you. I shouldn’t be irritated, I know, it’s probably inevitable, but it’s more fun to scream about it.

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm

And Ralph, where *was* this?

“If anyone criticises a persons support for injustice he attacks them for not simultaneously acknowledging that said person was themselves a victim of injustice.”

You’re saying that Goldman’s rejection of the particular American myths of motherhood was a support of injustice?

tralphkays July 9, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for emphasizing my point!

mpolzkill July 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Which point? How?

michael July 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Fascinating discussion.

“Ralph, it is difficult to not feel enlightened when one is alone in the company of troglodytes..”

Classic megalomaniac manifestation. Play along, Ralph. Get him to say more.

mpolzkill July 11, 2010 at 6:56 pm

“A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.”

You were just slagging Freud there, Doc?

In the land of blind men, the one-eyed man is king. Big deal. What condition do they have, Doc, where they evade the most straightforward questions?

Ben Ranson July 9, 2010 at 10:40 am

At the least, Mr. Riggenbach’s article is thought provoking.

I think that many readers have missed the point of the essay. The essay aims to educate the modern anarchist community about the dead-end, skeleton-in-the-closet that the turn of the twentieth century anarchist movement represents to us. Secondly, the essay’s editorial content contrasts the strategies of various libertarian groups and movements.

Depending on the social context, I do call myself an anarchist. The association in the public’s mind of anarchism with bomb hurling anarcho-communists is an impediment to the spread of libertarian ideas.

Unless libertarians take the trouble to educate themselves about Emma Goldman, communism and the turn of the century anarchist movement, the stigma attached to the word anarchist will never go away. As a point for further discussion, it might be added that communist movements throughout the world mostly began as struggles against oppressive governments. Without a strong foundation in the history of these people and groups, it is very difficult to present the case for our own movement to the general public.

Paul Stephens July 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I wish I had time to read all the comments and reply to some of them. It looks like the balance of power is holding steady, though.
Wonderful essay! One of the few I wish I would have written, myself. Even goes far beyond Rothbard’s pathbreaking Left and Right approach to libertarian theory and history.

Paul Marks July 10, 2010 at 7:00 am

The line about Mr Frick “setting strike breakers on to strikers” reads like a school or college textbook. How did Mr Frick find these poor strikers? DId he search long and hard for their homes?

Of course, in reality, Frick and co did not have to find the “stikers” – the strikers came to Mr Frick’s own property (his steel mill) and they came with no friendly intent.

So the line implies that Frick was the aggressor – which is false as he was defending his property from people trying to block its entrance (to “picket” is a MILITARY term – and unions do not use the word by accident, if you doubt me try and cross a union “picket line” and see what happens to you). Also the line implies that Frick was a coward – that he found people and “set them” on others (being too much of coward to fight himself). Frick was no coward – even after he was shot he carried on his work.

However, there is a also a general point here. The early “libertarian movement” (Spooner, Tucker, Nock and so on) had something in common with anarchists that is not mentioned here – they were deeply unsound about private property in LAND.

Looking at a society where (horror of horrors) some people were very rich and other people were very poor, some people looked around for something to blame (as if life is “unfair” if some people are vastly better off than other people). Blaming the government was a bit difficult at that time (as total governement, Federal State and local, was only about 10% of the economy), so private property in land was the favoured scapegoat.

If only the “unearned profits” of land were taxed away (or whatever) then the naughty inequality would go.

The late Murry Rothbard may have agreed that every war the United States has faught in the last couple of centuries (or at least since 1812) was “state sanctioned murder” (all part of the America-is-always- wrong-America’s-enemies-are-always-right doctrine that was supposed to convert leftists to libertarianism – but somehow tends to work the other way with libertarians being turned into leftists), but he never fell for this line – he exposed it as the nonsense it is (Henry Georgeist nonsense).

By the way (before the brickbats start) I did NOT support the Iraq war – and I turned against the Afghan war when I found out that it was not about tracking down OBL and co, but was another example of “nation building”. But to say that people who supported armed (U.S. government) opposition to Saddam Hussain in Iraq or to the Taliban in Afghanistan are supporters of “state santioned murder” is false.

The vast majority of the American military (and the British military also) are decent men and women fighting against some of the most evil people on the planet – I may think (I DO think) that these wars are big mistakes, but I do not question the honor of those taking part in them (and calling them “murderers” is spitting on their honor).

By the way if anarchists think they could have defeated such foes as the Slave Power (and the “Slave Holding States of America” was the real name of the Confederacy – there was no “States rights” NOT to have slaves in a member State), or Nazi Germany, or the power of the Soviet Union around the world…….

Well if you do think you could have defeated such powers (without having a government military) you have a hard argument to make.

mpolzkill July 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

“Blame America”, “honor the troops”, “combating evil” (that springs somehow wholly from the other, the Soviets, the Nazis, the Confederacy).

No point in arguing with someone as thoroughly trained as an American rightie, just a couple observations:

If one were a power mad individual there would always be a preeminent place in the world where one would either try to rise through the ranks; or barring that try to become a junior partner to; or barring that have to do battle with. In the year 1 A.D. that would be Rome; in 1893, London; today it would be the place from which they disseminate this guy’s thoughts.

Of course, every army has a percentage of decent men in it who believe they are fighting evil, as do most police forces. They are called suckers, and the ones who have a bit of intelligence, curiosity and moral courage, and as they grow up, a growing vigilance in intelligently fighting evil….well the brass have very effective methods of “reforming” them, driving them out, or jailing or killing them.

newson July 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm

well, at least i can agree on frick.

mpolzkill July 11, 2010 at 9:03 am

Newson,

On Frick (and Paul Marks, for that matter): “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster”

newson July 11, 2010 at 11:18 pm

but was frick not the initial victim of union aggression?

newson July 11, 2010 at 12:05 am

the decency or otherwise of members of the armed forces is a distraction. decent people can abet indecent actions. ultimately it’s the actions that count. indecent people without powerful means are less of a worry.

Ned Netterville July 14, 2010 at 9:25 pm

“Depending on the social context, I do call myself an anarchist. The association in the public’s mind of anarchism with bomb hurling anarcho-communists is an impediment to the spread of libertarian ideas.”

That is why I opt to call myself a Voluntaryist.

DAVID: “As for the relationship between individuals and their society, Mises states that the individual depends on society because the functions of the individual become increasingly specialized, so we each depend on the specialized functions of other individuals as well.”

David, I’m not sure, but it seems to me that you may be conflating society with the state. I think individuals who depend for anything critical–security, food, etc,–on the state are in a very dangerous, vulnerable position. In return for its benefits, the state must always extract some degree of liberty. Society, on the other hand, includes your neighbor, your grocer, etc., on whom you must and do depend without sacrificing your freedom.

“As for Jefferson, he wrote the DOI which states that the State exists to protect the rights of the individual. Thats not anarchy. I don”t think this article had much to do with Libertarianism at all, and I think the first Libertarian movement occurred with the American Revolution”

For all of its high-sounding words, and it truly is a wonderful piece of literature, DOI was just that: words. Jefferson was a slave owner at a time when abolitionists, including Tom Paine, were already condemning that peculiar institution and calling attention to the dichotomy between liberty and slavery. With the Constitution a few years later the Founding Fathers either subscribed to or silently acquiesced in the “legality” of slavery. I must also disagree with your designation of the AR as the first libertarian movement. Eighteen centuries earlier Jesus led a much more affective libertarian movement, one that was true to the principles of modern libertarianism. In many respects, the AR was not. During the war that culminated in independence, many Americans who were loyalists had their property stolen and suffered violent abuse at the hands of American revolutionaries. There was much that may fairly be referred to as the antithesis of libertarian principles that was part and parcel of the American Revolution.

Emma, God bless her soul. If she was still around today and had unequivocally renounced violence my guess is she’d be a resident scholar at the LvMI.

Ned Netterville July 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I think one reason we humans seem unable to live without war is that we glorify those who participate. If we want to pursue peace on earth, it would probably be a good idea to tear down all of our war memorials, abolish Memorial Day. terminate the practice of awarding high honors to military personnel for “bravery” in combat, stop calling the slaughter of innocent people by the euphemism “collateral damage,” and, among those who profess to be Christians, belatedly begin living by the nonviolent principles Jesus urged upon us.

John July 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm

If the communist Emma Goldman is going to be held up as a founder of the Libertarian party, I want out now.

newson December 9, 2010 at 7:11 pm

meanwhile, james j. martin, who never armed a bomb in his life, apparently is too explosive to deserve a place in the pantheon of libertarians. go figure.

tungsten watches July 24, 2010 at 3:56 am

I sopport shese pointsI find here is that everyone shares a monolithic view of something they call Communism,Goldman was a major screw-ball, and woefully ignorant, but I would have proudly gone to one of Wilson’s prisons following her lead on that *most* important matter.The vast majority of the American military (and the British military also) are decent men and women fighting against some of the most evil people on the planet – I may think (I DO think) that these wars are big mistakes, but I do not question the honor of those taking part in them (and calling them “murderers” is spitting on their honor).

Agnapostate September 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm

LOL. The response to this is incredibly amusing. Once again, we see Internet pseudo-anarchists fallaciously believing that they are greater representatives of the philosophy than legitimate anarchists, those who recognized capitalism as an authoritarian system that crushed liberty in the hierarchies of its labor markets.

mpolzkill September 13, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I call it “mercantilism” (systematic, authoritarian capitalism), and other than that I think I agree with you.

whitney porter March 30, 2011 at 9:30 pm

This was a very roundabout way of getting a point across…but interesting article, and ultimately, I agree. Although I believe some things can be loosely defined (as there is always more gray matter than that which is black or white) political definitions are of the most important. To define what you stand for, who you are, your values, and who you align yourself with are those of the utmost importance when fighting for Libertarian ways of life.

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