For those that live in Lancaster or people interested in the odder things in life, you might be interested in knowing that a man was arrested Saturday after threatening to blow up the local Walgreens. Apparently, after the cashier refused to buy him a drink, he flipped out, started ranting about how he was part of ISIS, and how was going to blow the place up. Knowing this area and by a quick look at the guy, the man was probably a victim of drug abuse, completely tanked, or suffering from an untreated mental illness. Of course, most people are not taking it seriously and are calling into attention the need for mental healthcare, but you know how the internet works. It’s full of crazy people. It’s unfortunate that a clear example of severe mental illness is being used by an uneducated fringe to beat the drums of jingoism. As expected, I went through the comments myself so you don’t have to. “Enjoy”
It’s nice to know that I live with a bunch of violent sociopaths.
When researching the history of american right-libertarianism, its almost unavoidable to read the writings of Wendy McElroy and her associates such as Carl Watner. Their work on the history of Individualist Anarchism and it’s relationship with left-anarchism, I would argue, are absolutely vital to an understanding of how modern libertarianism came to be. Though other events arguably had bigger influences (such as the eventual libertarian acceptance of Ayn Rand despite decades of conflict or the libertarian alliance with right-wing populists in the early 1990s) it is hard to deny that the divide between individualist and left anarchism helped shape libertarianism.
Though an individualist anarchist herself (making some of her conclusions suspect), her book The Debates of Liberty is a good historical examination of individual anarchism. Her article The Schism between Individualist and Communist Anarchism in the Nineteenth Century is a must read too. McElroy’s documentation of the conflict between Chicago Left-Anarchists and Benjamin Tucker’s Individualism is pretty comprehensive. She argues that anarchist responses to Haymarket Affair solidified the difference between left and right anarchism. The controversy surrounding the Haymarket Affair was the beginning of the end of the word “libertarianism” being associated with left-wing movements and a gradual march in a rightward direction.
Some thoughts of mine after reading the article:
- Individualist anarchists were divided over the use of violence, while left anarchists generally accepted it.
The tension over strategy resulted in Tucker exposing fellow anarchists who he saw as violent.
- Tucker, through his publication Liberty, vigorously defended those on trial for the Haymarket bombing. Tucker believed them to be innocent.
- Individualist anarchists still saw a place for labor organizing and still had sympathy for a labor theory of value. In fact, he was a proponent of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s mutualism, who believed that property was theft.
“With such profound theoretical differences between the traditions of individualist and communist anarchism, it was inevitable that a bitter schism would eventually separate them. Nevertheless, Tucker’s strong links to European anarchist periodicals and personalities, as well as his championing of Proudhonian economics, had forged a bond that resisted severing. For instance, on July 16, 1881, when the moribund International Working People’s Association revived in London, Tucker had been ecstatic. In an article entitled ‘Vive l’Association Internationale,’ Tucker enthused, ‘To this momentous event, which marks an epoch in the progress of the great labor movement . . . Liberty, in the present issue, devotes a large portion of her space.'”
So what conclusions can be drawn out of this? Clearly 19th century individualist anarchism had significant differences from 20th century anarcho-capitalism. Clearly, there was significant evolution from the time of Tucker to the time of the official Libertarian Party. I personally would argue that modern american right-libertarian is the product of several different lineages, not just 19th century anti-statism. Despite this, McElroy seems to be correct in that Tucker’s split with the rest of the anarchist community made the space from which later free-market theories of anarchism would later arise. So in this way, the Haymarket Affair is even more poetic than previously believed. It simultaneously represents the execution of left anarchists but also the beginning of the end of left-anarchism being a player in US politics. It would eventually be replaced by free-market anti-statism.
Honestly, I was looking for forward to the Kent Hovind tax evasion trial. O, you don’t know who that is? He’s pretty much the greatest mind in the universe, enlightening the masses to the ways of young-earth creationism, KJV Onlyism, the New World Order, and baptist landmarkism. He was arrested and convicted in 2006 but now he is in trouble again for mail fraud and an array of other crimes related to his original tax evasion charges. Given Mr. Hovind’s internet popularity and the size fanatical following, I really hoping for something more exciting than a dozen Duck Dynasty fan club wannabes and obnoxious street preachers. There were no potentially violent escalations via open carrying middle aged men standing outside of the courthouse. There no homeschoolers screaming about the finer points of how Obama is the Antichrist. In fact, there was barely any coverage of the trial or the protests outside of the courthouse. It’s so boring that even Right Wing Watch hasn’t posted something about it. Privately, I was hoping that the Fundamentalist Messiah himself ,Jack Chick, would show up riding a velociraptor. Alas… I was severely disappointed.
But seriously… look at this protester’s beard. I’m impressed.
“I bet no one thinks that this is a Bible.”
Central Ohio native “Coach” Dave Daubenmire is there too and has been following the story. I met this guy in high-school once. He definitely can project his presence. He likes to tell other people how to raise their kids, even though he couldn’t raise his own son correctly. His son is a convicted sex offender. Psychologists examining him concluded that his “repressed upbringing caused him to seek sexual experience vicariously, rather than engaging in age-appropriate sexual conduct.” Honestly, I’m disappointed that he hasn’t been more vocal on the topic. I mean, at the very least the guy is entertaining.
These kids look bored out of their mind.
Deep down inside I really want this bus to be a transformer.
I suppose that the small number of protesters in probably a good sign. My boredom is but a small price to pay for a lack of public support for a strange fundamentalist sect.
I promised to give an example of the tension between Objectivism and Libertarianism from mouth of Rand herself, so here you go. You can find plenty of other examples but this seems to represent the issue pretty well. The simple fact remains that the idea that Libertarianism and Ayn Rand are one in the same is a recent invention.
“For the record, I shall repeat what I have said many times before: I do not join or endorse any political group or movement. More specifically, I disapprove of, disagree with, and have no connection with, the latest aberration of some conservatives, the so-called ‘hippies of the right,’ who attempt to snare the younger or more careless ones of my readers by claiming simultaneously to be followers of my philosophy and advocates of anarchism. Anyone offering such a combination confesses his inability to understand either. Anarchism is the most irrational, anti-intellectual notion ever spun by the concrete-bound, context-dropping, whim-worshiping fringe of the collectivist movement, where it properly belongs.”
The Objectivist, Sept. 1971, 1
So when did the two begin to be seen as in the same? Without going into depth, it’s largely due to the Cato Institute and their minarchist brand of libertarianism. Cato’s minarchism was far more compatible with objectivism than the Luwig Von Mises institute’s anti-authoritarianism and anarcho-capitalism. By 2012, the institutional gap between Cato style libertarianism and objectivist organizations such as the Ayn Rand Institution was functionally closed. Personally, I find the fact that Ayn Rand’s objectivism is more influential than Natural Law, Austrian economics, or Chicago economics VERY concerning. Ethical egoism seems to undermine the best arguments for libertarianism since it makes concerns about “liberty” absolutely secondary.
This will likely be my last post on this topic. I am hoping on reviewing past Libertarian Party presidential Candidates or exploring the world of libertarian experimental living.