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Thread: Tom Woods Ep. 928 Jeff Deist on the Key Libertarian Mistake, and What We Should Do Instead

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    Default Tom Woods Ep. 928 Jeff Deist on the Key Libertarian Mistake, and What We Should Do Instead

    Ep. 928 Jeff Deist on the Key Libertarian Mistake, and What We Should Do Instead

    Published on Jun 9, 2017
    Jeff Deist, president of the Mises Institute, on what libertarians (and even progressives and conservatives) ought to aim for, and why handing out U.S. Constitutions in Iraq might not be the most effective strategy.




    Self-Determination, not Universalism, is the Goal


    05/29/2017
    Jeff Deist

    ...

    Certainly there are universal normative principles found in libertarianism, especially natural law libertarianism. All humans have a right to sovereignty over their physical bodies and minds, a right to own justly-acquired property, and to freely associate (or disassociate) with others. Self-ownership and property rights are central tenets of libertarianism.

    But many parts of the world disagree with those tenets, whether we admit this or not. Universal social norms, cultural attitudes, or policy prescriptions are a very tough sell beyond the West. While libertarians can universally condemn slavery, or authoritarian collectivism, it’s quite another thing to suggest how other societies ought to organize themselves politically. Yet consistent universalism requires this. Gay rights in America means gay rights for Saudi Arabia, open borders for Germany means Monaco also must open its doors to refugees, and Texas-style open carry is the prescription France needs to prevent another Bataclan. If US military intervention is justified in Rwanda, it must be justified in Syria. How can a universalist libertarian argue otherwise?

    The fundamental problem with universalism is that so few things really are widely agreed upon. Universalists exhibit a special kind of hubris, one that smacks of neo-colonialism: the insistence that others must believe as we do, if only we show them the obvious superiority of our thinking.

    But humans not only often fail to believe as we want them to, they also fail to act as hoped. Actions, in fact, tend to be reliably singular. Thus universalism, whether political, economic, or cultural, poses a problem Ludwig von Mises identified decades ago— it is collectivist and unworkable within a praxeological framework:

    The philosophy of universalism has from time immemorial blocked access to a satisfactory grasp of praxeological problems, and contemporary universalists are utterly incapable of finding an approach to them. Universalism, collectivism, and conceptual realism see only wholes and universals. They speculate about mankind, nations, states, classes, about virtue and vice, right and wrong, about entire classes of wants and of commodities.
    Not only does universalism fail to fully account for individual human action, it also presupposes some form of overarching arbiter, whether deity or state:

    The essential problem of all varieties of universalistic, collectivistic, and holistic social philosophy is: By what mark do I recognize the true law, the authentic apostle of God's word, and the legitimate authority. For many claim that Providence has sent them, and each of these prophets preaches another gospel. For the faithful believer there cannot be any doubt; he is fully confident that he has espoused the only true doctrine. But it is precisely the firmness of such beliefs that renders the antagonisms irreconcilable.
    As Joe Salerno recently discussed, in rejecting universalism Mises instead saw self-determination as the highest political end. The smaller and more localized the political unit, the more apt the individual was to live under political terms acceptable to him. For Mises, this was not only a matter of civic comity but necessary to avoid outright civil war and bloodshed:

    The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.

    The right of self-determination of which we speak is not the right of self-determination of nations, but rather the right of self-determination of the inhabitants of every territory large enough to form an independent administrative unit. If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done. This is impracticable only because of compelling technical considerations, which make it necessary that a region be governed as a single administrative unit and that the right of self-determination be restricted to the will of the majority of the inhabitants of areas large enough to count as territorial units in the administration of the country.
    In other words, self-determination is the ultimate political goal. It is the path to liberty, however imperfect. A world of seven billion self-governing individuals is the ideal, but short of that we should prefer the Liechtensteins to the Germanys and the Luxembourgs to the Englands. We should prefer states’ rights to federalization in the US, and cheer for the breakup of EU. We should support breakaway movements in places like Catalonia and Scotland (provided they are organic and not engineered by states and their spy agencies). We should admire the Swiss federalist system, where localism is a governing principle. We should favor local control over faraway legislatures and administrative bodies, and thus reject multilateral trade deals. We should, in sum, prefer small to large when it comes to government.

    Can a small local state be equally or more illiberal than a large distant one? Of course, although history often demonstrates otherwise. But the Misesian principle remains: the best chance for liberty occurs under rules made by the smallest and closest possible administrative unit to the individual. Each higher level of government attenuates the individual’s ability to effect (or affect) such rules.

    Decentralization, secession, subsidiarity, localism, and nullification are the tools for greater self-determination, and thus greater liberty. These tools, not universalist platitudes, should be the stock in trade of libertarians trying to make the case for a freer world.

    ...
    https://mises.org/blog/self-determin...versalism-goal
    Last edited by Suzanimal; 06-09-2017 at 03:27 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.



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  3. #2

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    Every ideology (with the exception of true pacifism) aims to forcibly impose its values on others.

    This is true of libertarianism, socialism, and everything in between; it's true of people who advocate for Patchwork as well as people who advocate for world government. All (again, with the sole exception of true pacifists, who reject the use of violence in all cases) aim to impose their values on others. The only difference between ideological groups is what values they're aiming to impose on others: e.g. libertarian values v. socialist values. Now, the author obviously has a nationalistic bent, and wishes to use the term "universalist" to bludgeon the more cosmopolitan-minded libertarians, but this approach is misleading and hypocritical. He is not a pacifist either, he too wants to impose his values on others; they are simply different values.

    The fundamental problem with universalism is that so few things really are widely agreed upon. Universalists exhibit a special kind of hubris, one that smacks of neo-colonialism: the insistence that others must believe as we do, if only we show them the obvious superiority of our thinking.
    A. "What is right is [insert exposition of libertarian ethical principles]"

    B. What is right is whatever the majority says is right."

    Choose one and only one, as they're contradictory.

    If you choose A, you're a libertarian. If you choose B, you're not (I'd guess you'd be something like a democratic socialist).

    While libertarians can universally condemn slavery, or authoritarian collectivism, it’s quite another thing to suggest how other societies ought to organize themselves politically.
    Condemning slavery and authoritarian collectivism is telling societies how to organize themselves politically.

    More to the point, it means imposing our values on them: i.e. "univeralism," as he calls it.

    Again, the author's attempt to bludgeon his libertarian opponents as "universalists" is hypocritical.

    in rejecting universalism Mises instead saw self-determination as the highest political end. The smaller and more localized the political unit, the more apt the individual was to live under political terms acceptable to him. For Mises, this was not only a matter of civic comity but necessary to avoid outright civil war and bloodshed
    On the other hand,

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism, Ch. 3, Sec. 10
    But, for the liberal, the world does not end at the borders of the state. In his eyes, whatever significance national boundaries have is only incidental and subordinate. His political thinking encompasses the whole of mankind. The starting-point of his entire political philosophy is the conviction that the division of labor is international and not merely national. He realizes from the very first that it is not sufficient to establish peace with in each country, that it is much more important that all nations live at peace with one another. The liberal therefore demands that the political organization of society be extended until it reaches its culmination in a world state that unites all nations on an equal basis. For this reason he sees the law of each nation as subordinate to international law, and that is why he demands supranational tribunals and administrative authorities to assure peace among nations in the same way that the judicial and executive organs of each country are charged with the maintenance of peace within its own territory
    Local government can coexist with national or even supranational government (aka federalism).

    ...or so thought that dastardly universalist () for whom Mr. Deist's organization is named, anyway.
    "The program of liberalism, ...if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property..."

    -Ludwig von Mises

    "Patriotism, not nationalism, should inspire the citizen. The ethnic nationalist who wants a linguistically and culturally uniform nation is akin to the racist who is intolerant toward those who look (and behave) differently. The patriot is a "diversitarian"; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens. And he looks up and down, not left and right."

    -Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

    "The monarch is a responsible person. The fact that a monarch is responsible "to God alone," rather than to an assembly or a popular majority, is rather shocking to an agnostic mind; but while God cannot be fooled, the masses can. While it is perhaps true that "one cannot fool all the people all the time," it seems one can fool millions for centuries."

    -Ibid.

  4. #3

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    So, I guess the distilled question for liberals and whatever would be, "Wouldn't you rather make that decision for yourself?"
    "There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."~~Charles Kingsley

  5. #4

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    Some things are universal, others are a matter of taste.
    Some cultures are ready to listen to the universal truths, some would require baby steps or generations of benign tyranny forcing freedom on them. (we should not try the latter, it would have to come from within their own culture)
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  6. #5

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    Some groups are drawn to the siren call of communal socialism because they can't compete in a purely capitalistic system (BTW I'm not saying we have a capitalist system).
    “Force the normies into taking sides. At the moment they are just like "meh, I am minding my own business" retreating culturally into their private bubbles and "safe-spaces" since they don't understand what is going on. When the actual "us vs them" starts, they will be forced to fight or they'll die.” - Anonymous Poster

  7. #6

    Default

    No one on this planet in in a position to force anything "universally", but the globalists certainly react hysterically to anything that might get in the way of a planet-wide order.

    Now some people want transgender bathrooms everywhere, while others want to throw homosexuals off of high buildings. Some want vegetarianism and other want to eat animals. Seems that globalism is an impossible dream.
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  8. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    No one on this planet in in a position to force anything "universally", but the globalists certainly react hysterically to anything that might get in the way of a planet-wide order. Now some people want transgender bathrooms everywhere, while others want to throw homosexuals off of high buildings. Some want vegetarianism and other want to eat animals. Seems that globalism is an impossible dream.
    That diversity of opinion exists within the US, and yet there's a uniform law (eating animals legal, defenestrating homosexuals not).

    Anyway, apart from the feasibility of imposing one's values on others (esp. on larger scales), what of the morality of it, in your view?
    "The program of liberalism, ...if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property..."

    -Ludwig von Mises

    "Patriotism, not nationalism, should inspire the citizen. The ethnic nationalist who wants a linguistically and culturally uniform nation is akin to the racist who is intolerant toward those who look (and behave) differently. The patriot is a "diversitarian"; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens. And he looks up and down, not left and right."

    -Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

    "The monarch is a responsible person. The fact that a monarch is responsible "to God alone," rather than to an assembly or a popular majority, is rather shocking to an agnostic mind; but while God cannot be fooled, the masses can. While it is perhaps true that "one cannot fool all the people all the time," it seems one can fool millions for centuries."

    -Ibid.

  9. #8

    Default

    defenestrating. I learned a new word today.
    Quote Originally Posted by juleswin View Post
    You do know that you [dannno] are a moron right?
    Quote Originally Posted by juleswin View Post
    I love Che because...
    Quote Originally Posted by juleswin View Post
    ...he did that which I was too cowardly afraid to do
    Quote Originally Posted by juleswin View Post
    Just for the record, 99% of the time I say "In my country........" I am actually messing with you people because I know you guys have absolutely no idea what happens in my country.

    Quiz: Test Your "Income" Tax IQ!


    Short Income Tax Video

    The Income Tax Is An Excise, And Excise Taxes Are Privilege Taxes

    The Federalist Papers, No. 15:

    Except as to the rule of apportionment, the United States have an indefinite discretion to make requisitions for men and money; but they have no authority to raise either by regulations extending to the individual citizens of America.

  10. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Danke View Post
    defenestrating. I learned a new word today.
    Actually it means: to throw out of the window.
    Not: to throw from the top of the building.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  11. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    That diversity of opinion exists within the US, and yet there's a uniform law (eating animals legal, defenestrating homosexuals not).

    Anyway, apart from the feasibility of imposing one's values on others (esp. on larger scales), what of the morality of it, in your view?
    Morality is not universal (or global). Those who support imposing a prohibition on killing and eating humans consider their positions against cannibalism and imposing it upon others to be moral. Likewise, those who want the same prohibition on eating cats and dogs believe it is a moral position. Look no further than India for a majority that believe that a prohibition on beef is moral.
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  12. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    Morality is not universal (or global). Those who support imposing a prohibition on killing and eating humans consider their positions against cannibalism and imposing it upon others to be moral. Likewise, those who want the same prohibition on eating cats and dogs believe it is a moral position. Look no further than India for a majority that believe that a prohibition on beef is moral.
    Of course, but what I'm asking is whether you think it is immoral to impose libertarian values on others.

    For instance, would it be immoral to punish thieves or murderers?
    "The program of liberalism, ...if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property..."

    -Ludwig von Mises

    "Patriotism, not nationalism, should inspire the citizen. The ethnic nationalist who wants a linguistically and culturally uniform nation is akin to the racist who is intolerant toward those who look (and behave) differently. The patriot is a "diversitarian"; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens. And he looks up and down, not left and right."

    -Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

    "The monarch is a responsible person. The fact that a monarch is responsible "to God alone," rather than to an assembly or a popular majority, is rather shocking to an agnostic mind; but while God cannot be fooled, the masses can. While it is perhaps true that "one cannot fool all the people all the time," it seems one can fool millions for centuries."

    -Ibid.

  13. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Actually it means: to throw out of the window.
    Not: to throw from the top of the building.
    My favorite funnily named but important historical event:

    The First Defenestration of Prague involved the killing of seven members of the city council by a crowd of radical Czech Hussites on 30 July 1419.

    Jan Želivský
    , a Hussite priest at the church of the Virgin Mary of the Snows, led his congregation on a procession through the streets of Prague to the New Town Hall (Novoměstská radnice) on Charles Square. The town council members had refused to exchange their Hussite prisoners. While they were marching, a stone was thrown at Želivský from the window of the town hall.[1] This enraged the mob and they stormed the town hall. Once inside the hall, the group defenestrated the judge, the burgomaster, and several members of the town council. They were all killed by the fall.[1]

    King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia, upon hearing this news, was stunned and died shortly after, supposedly due to the shock.[1]

    The procession was a result of the growing discontent at the contemporary direction of the Church and the inequality between the peasants, the Church's prelates, and the nobility. This discontent combined with rising feelings of nationalism and increased the influence of radical preachers such as Jan Želivský, influenced by John Wycliffe, who saw the state of the Catholic Church as corrupt. These preachers urged their congregations to action, including taking up arms, to combat these perceived transgressions. The First Defenestration was thus the turning point between talk and action leading to the prolonged Hussite Wars. The wars broke out shortly afterwards and lasted until 1436.
    There was a second, unrelated Defenestration of Prague a couple centuries later.

    Lesson: don't anger Czechs above the first floor.
    "The program of liberalism, ...if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property..."

    -Ludwig von Mises

    "Patriotism, not nationalism, should inspire the citizen. The ethnic nationalist who wants a linguistically and culturally uniform nation is akin to the racist who is intolerant toward those who look (and behave) differently. The patriot is a "diversitarian"; he is pleased, indeed proud of the variety within the borders of his country; he looks for loyalty from all citizens. And he looks up and down, not left and right."

    -Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

    "The monarch is a responsible person. The fact that a monarch is responsible "to God alone," rather than to an assembly or a popular majority, is rather shocking to an agnostic mind; but while God cannot be fooled, the masses can. While it is perhaps true that "one cannot fool all the people all the time," it seems one can fool millions for centuries."

    -Ibid.

  14. #13

    Default

    The fundamental problem with universalism is that so few things really are widely agreed upon. Universalists exhibit a special kind of hubris, one that smacks of neo-colonialism: the insistence that others must believe as we do, if only we show them the obvious superiority of our thinking.
    No. We insist that others must leave us the $#@! alone. Stop stealing from us, stop aggression against us. We believe we have the moral authority to defend ourselves against these transgressions. Y'all wanna Marx YOURSELVES up? Not my problem.
    All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State.
    -Albert Camus






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