Freddie DeBoer Smears Again

The way in which a kind of left discourse I call pop anti-libertarianism proliferates in direct relation to the abysmal shittiness of Obama’s presidency merits at least one full post on its own.  Suffice it to say that the huge, stenchful dump pop anti-libertarian Corey Robin recently took on the pages of The Nation,  just at the moment the flood of Democratic scandal reached eyeball level is, at the very least, highly symbolic.  Suffice it also to say that for leftier lefts wishing to sit at the Serious table, making a Robin-like ass of oneself on the topic of libertarians is highly advisable, particularly for those who can’t yet stoop to partisan apologetics. 

Those of us who see behind Freddie DeBoer’s handwringy earnestness an increasingly run-of-the mill, disingenuous liberal aren’t too surprised to see him jumping on the anti-libertarian bandwagon. Nor are we surprised that he took Robin’s widely-disparaged essay as his inspiration, where it functions as Robin normally does in pop anti-libertarianism:  as an ostensible scholarly foundation for breathtakingly stupid boilerplate smears, entirely unnecessary for anything but a facade of high-mindedness. DeBoer lingers on Robin only long enough to draw a smeary line between Hayek, Pinochet and Libertarians, and to parrot Robin’s smeary mischaracterization of a libertarian detractor.

After the familiar inventory of his own virtues – prolific and expansive reading;  open-mindedness; intellectual fearlessness; and eternal hope for, and openness to, alliances with his political inferiors — DeBoer unlocks the secret of libertarianism with his customary rigor, briefly considering one web site (Bleeding Heart Libertarians) and a handful of Facebook acquaintances.

Regular readers may recall that Freddie recently exposed the unworthiness of anarchists as allies via a single window-smasher he knew eight years ago. His study of one libertarian blog and some Facebook pages is no less fruitful, crucially revealing that libertarians are a bunch of school lunch-hating, sick-person killing, Pinochet admirers. Moreover, because of a uniquely ferocious proclivity for orthodox close-mindedness — ‘epistemic closure’ in Freddie-speak — it’s unlikely they will ever amount to much else.

Even if you accept Freddie’s idiotic premise that a perusal of one libertarian website and a handful of Facebook pages tells you all you need to know about libertarians, ‘epistemic closure’ seems rather an odd benchmark. Is it better, for instance, that liberals aren’t disciplined on anything except unconditionally supporting Democrats? To attempt to refute shit this arbitrary, sloppy, stupid and dishonest is to dignify and thereby encourage it. So I won’t.  Instead I will simply quote DeBoer himself, when the rhetorical project of smacking down the ‘bullshit social climber faux anti-racism‘ of African-American radio and video personality Jay Smooth necessitated this robust defense of libertarian Radley Balko:

Jay Smooth makes videos on the Internet. So he’s got that going for him. Radley Balko, meanwhile, has gotten actual black people out of actual jail. He has worked tirelessly against police abuse and corruption, the drug war, and mass incarceration, and specifically the mass incarceration of young black men. He’s been cited in court cases where innocent people were freed. His journalism– you know, the kind where you go out into the world and find out facts in order to create change, rather than sit in front of a webcam and use tired slang– has helped to create material change in the world.

Clearly, there are worse things than ‘epistemic closure.’ Like being smeary, sloppy, and unprincipled, for instance.

UPDATE

I’ve posted an amusing supplement to this piece: The Corey, Freddie and Erik Show

Related Reading

A Few Words on Jacobin and Purity Cults

If You Are Not A Libertarian, Why Are You Always Defending Them? (From the Rancid Honeytrap FAQ)

The Corey, Freddie and Erik Show

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54 Responses to Freddie DeBoer Smears Again

  1. scott says:

    Haters gotta hate.

    • ohtarzie says:

      You people and your substance. It’s awe-inspiring.

      I don’t hate Freddie, but his smeary blog posts are stinking up the discourse and making him look like a complete ass to anyone with any brains. Call this tough love. I know he can stink less. I used to like the little asshole.

      Please do drop by again and say almost nothing.

  2. Joe says:

    It’s funny how much effort is expended on discrediting a movement that, they’re always telling us, is irrelevant.

  3. Pingback: The Corey, Freddie and Erik Show | The Rancid Honeytrap

  4. Rob says:

    I cannot fucking figure out why the left hates libertarians so much. They get way more right than they get wrong, and I’m glad somebody out there on the left (you) has realized that.

    • ohtarzie says:

      Part of being at the serious liberal table is punching everyone to your right and left. It serves power — because it reduces everyone’s leverage, including liberals — and, hence, it’s rewarded. It’s always a mistake to assume that people come by this stuff by some wrong intellectual path. When some group behavior is really mystifying or counterintuitive, you have to look at who leads and who benefits.

      • Jack says:

        tarzie is right about the mechanics, Rob…but I’d add that libertarians are suspect for more than just being not-liberalism. In the US (and pretty much only here) they’re also fairly predictable defenders of capitalism, for all that they’re good on government and law. Kim Stanley Robinson’s quip is not without merit, here: “The minimum that most minimalists want leaves in place just the institutions who protect their interests. That’s libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.”~

      • ohtarzie says:

        Jack wrote: “In the US (and pretty much only here) they’re also fairly predictable defenders of capitalism”

        Which doesn’t set them apart from liberals or the Democratic Party, both of whom American socialists happily ally with.

        “Kim Stanley Robinson’s quip is not without merit”

        Actually it’s a smear, one that doesn’t factor in left libertarians, and would be much more at home at DeBoer’s joint, not here.

        What you guys just can’t get is the value of a tactical alliance, except the unconditional one most of you make with the Democratic Party, to whom most anti-libertarian smears apply and who actually wield real power.

      • Kind of beside the point, but “Kim Stanley Robinson’s quip” is more accurately one of his characters’ quips, and makes a lot of sense in that character’s mouth. I don’t know (or care, particularly) if KSR himself would agree with it (I imagine he would in terms of the type of libertarian it’s accurate about, but that’s, y’know, a tautology), but.

      • Jack says:

        Ethan’s correct to imply that I should have provided a bigger context for the Robinson quote, but it’s not functioning as a smear. It describing the most-common type of North American libertarian. You can introduce left-libertarians all you want, but let’s be very frank, you say “libertarian” in the US, it means “capitalist minimalists who have no real problem with hierarchies as long as they don’t call themselves states.” It does not mean “anarcho-syndicalists.”

      • ohtarzie says:

        “capitalist minimalists who have no real problem with hierarchies as long as they don’t call themselves states.”

        Not conceding that’s true — but that does not equate to Robinson’s talk of police and slaves anyway, which, among other things, is very much at odds with the extent to which libertarian journalists, at least, are completely exceeding everyone except African American radicals in making police brutality an issue.

        And any point predicated on ‘if you say x means this widely believed wrong thing because this wrong thing is widely believed’ is not something I am obliged to seriously consider. Where the fuck are you people going to school that makes you argue like this?

        The fact is there ARE people calling themselves libertarians who are NOT “capitalist minimalists who have no real problem with hierarchies as long as they don’t call themselves states” which, incidentally, is somewhat trivial considering how liberals and socialists LOVE LOVE LOVE states, but especially nation-states, and also beside the point of how tactical alliances in politics work anyway, you very silly man.

        Take this lazy sloppy shit to the liberals. They live and breathe it.

      • Jack says:

        If you want to argue that a preponderance of people saying that their A = X is offset by a minority – a very small minority – of people who argue “but, we think our A actually = Y, that’s your business. Won’t change what the word “libertarian” actually means in normal North American discourse. It won’t change what the majority of libertarians, in the US especially, actually represent. It’s your business to make whatever arguments you think matter, but that doesn’t alter general usages. I have a fairly narrow use of the word “power,” and it hasn’t changed the commonplace and pervasive use of that word to mean a whole host of other things I treat mostly as reifications, but which in everyday usages are just shorthand for a large set of behaviors and situations.

      • ohtarzie says:

        Jack:

        That’s mildly reasonable but also largely trivial. Even considering the libertarians we both know you mean, the generalizations about them still don’t account for wide disparities in where they place their regard for, say, property, in relation to their regard for the right of people to not be stopped and frisked. Your generalizations, like DeBoer’s and so many others, dishonestly ignore the extremely principled libertarians fighting mass incarceration, stop and frisk, the surveillance state and the war on terror. What it indicates to me, above all,is that statist lefts care so little about state violence that they don’t really notice who actually does, or they think it’s of so little consequence, no tactical alliance with the unholy is worth the minuscule risk it poses to their incipient, centrally planned utopia.

        And again, all of this is very much beside the main point, which is that everything customarily said about libertarians and property and hierarchies is true to varying degrees of most statists, including liberals, and certainly true of people with whom all the various statist factions routinely make common cause. Bashing libertarians for not being anarchists is, unless you’re an anarchist, pretty goofy, and even then, it’s politically impractical.

      • Jack says:

        My reply isn’t dishonest, tarzie. It just doesn’t have a 1:1 overlap with your own lensing. That’s your business, but you lose out on the opportunity to keep up discussion if you insist that disagreement is dishonesty.

      • ohtarzie says:

        That’s a non-response to what was a very substantive reply. Substance is respectful, even if it includes the word dishonest to describe one-line caricatures about libertarians, police and slaves. Sorry I hurt your feelings but your hurt feelings convince of nothing but a thin skin.

      • Jack says:

        tarzie, I think you have to take into account that being combative with people over minor points of agreement with you, while perfectly within your right, is a good way to end up in a one person ghetto. Worked well for Oxtrot. Seems to be working well for you, now. Good luck to you.

      • ohtarzie says:

        Oh God, you complain of being insulted and then compare me to Oxtrot. Look, being combative is bred in my bones and there’s a good way to avoid it: don’t talk shit. Making one-line caricatures and pretending they’re actual argumentative points is talking shit. As for winning friends, getting all miffy when someone suggests one-line caricatures to describe political tendencies are dishonest is not going to win many adherents either, at least not anyone interesting. For what it’s worth, popularity doesn’t worry me. If I wanted to be popular, I’d spend all day talking about libertarians and their slaves and how we must once again be rescued by a Democrat or some shit. For all my faults my blog is pretty well-trafficked and by people I respect a lot. Maybe there is an audience for someone who doesn’t politely swallow junk.

        You are welcome to reply substantively to my last comment before this became all about your feelings and my manners. Otherwise, [censored]

      • ninjascience says:

        In case it wasn’t clear, I’m procrastinating from real work right now, but I’ll take a stab a substantive reply. I think you’ve misunderstood the KSR quote. To an opponent of (propertarian) libertarianism, state-enforced instiutions of property uphold private hierarhcies of power. Exactly how the state enforces those institutions, while important, is not the relevant issue. If the state manages to uphold property without stop-and-frisk, mass-incarceration, the surveillance state or the war on terror, the problem doesn’t go away–as long as courts and police are still in charge, that is enough to enforce their will. Liberals and socialists aren’t better on this score, of course, but at least they admit that they are engaged in coercion–so one can have an argument over whether that particular coercion is good or bad. Or one could argue against all coercion, e.g. pacifism. But with libertarians, all too often, lefty proposals for state coercion are (rightly) called coercion, while enforcement of propertarianism is called “freedom”.

        The instiution of property acts as a multiplier of coercion–the state enforces the contracts and imposes the scarcity that makes people sign contracts. In that light, I would point to this good post by Steve Waldman. The abuses of our surveillance state are a problem, and Julian Sanchez, Radley Balko, Timothy Lee, et. al. are doing the Lord’s work. But I think they’re only scratching the surface of the kinds of coercion that exist in our world. I’m not fully convinced the state is the answer–in fact, if the complexity theory project I’m procrastinating on were successful maybe it would allow us to address the problems Waldman is talking about without the state. But, for most human beings alive today, I think the market imposes more artificial constraints than the state. (With the possible exception of laws restricting movement across borders, but, for today at least, liberals seem to be a stronger force for immigration liberalization than libertarians)

      • ohtarzie says:

        No, I don’t think I have misunderstood the quote. To say that libertarians are “anarchists who want police protection from their slaves” is broadly true when talking about the sort of right-wing libertarian that predominates in the US. But I simply reject politics that measures the value of a political tendency, in particular its fitness for tactical alliance, on what it would look like in its purist form. In fact, I find such politics very deliberately dishonest. It’s an evasion to keep comparing the social Darwinian nastiness of pure libertarianism to the really, truly, wonderful hopes and dreams of liberals and state socialists, instead of looking at what all these various factions have done in the past and what they are doing now. It doesn’t matter to me that people like Sanchez, Balko and Lee are only “scratching the surface of the kinds of coercion that exist in our world.” The only other people even scratching the surface in the same way are African American radicals, and they’re not as numerous. Far from scratching the surface, liberals are becoming the biggest apologists for imperialism and state tyranny and the most accomplished interference runners against doing something about it. This is the framework in which I place pop anti-libertarianism.

        I agree with everything you say about libertarians, which is why I am not a libertarian. Whether or not markets or states are more inimical to human freedom is an interesting question but one that I don’t find particularly useful to the present moment. This is, I guess, why I reject Robin’s project. In the end, I think a focus on some theoretical ‘reactionary mind’ is a distraction from the neoliberal minds in the drivers seat and also a cudgel against coalition-building. Even if I thought he was acting in good faith — which I don’t — again and again I see him invoked to do exactly what DeBoer did, which is to put a scholarly gloss on a vulgar, sectarian smear, or to mark entirely inconsequential differences between say, liberal wars and conservative ones, based entirely on what the state agents said they intended at the time. Put another way, I see DeBoer and Robin as just two more LOTE Democrats with high-end brands and I’m over it.

      • ninjascience says:

        “But I simply reject politics that measures the value of a political tendency, in particular its fitness for tactical alliance, on what it would look like in its purist form.”

        That’s absolutely right, but I don’t think DeBoer or Robin are talking about fitness for tactical alliance on particular issues. (I have no idea what KSR or his character were up to). Even DeBoer was willing to side with Rand Paul on drones.

        But we can’t give up the argument while we’re cooperating. Libertarians are still going to make their arguments against direct state coercion, lefty statists are still going to make their arguments for alleviating market coercion. Some of that argument is going to involve questioning the core premises of the other movement. In other words, even while they cooperate tactically on specific issues, they can’t take each other’s larger ideological projects at face value. But if we expect people of different religions to be able cooperate even while they think the other guy is going to hell, it’s not too much to ask people to cooperate, when they agree on a particular issue, even though they disagree fundamentally on political philosophy.

        I’d say a much bigger problem for liberaltarian cooperation is the attitude that some at BHL had (including Kevin V) that pointing out the Hayek/Pinochet connection is somehow out of bounds. It’s not a guilt by association smear, the arguments that lead to that support were the focus of Hayek’s most popular (though not best) book, and you can still hear echoes of it today in GOP/Libertarian circles (e.g. “nation of takers”). As important as Hayek’s insights into distributed information and price signals were, there’s a dark side to those insights–they imply a suspicion of democracy and even reasoned argument and analysis.

      • ohtarzie says:

        “That’s absolutely right, but I don’t think DeBoer or Robin are talking about fitness for tactical alliance on particular issues. (I have no idea what KSR or his character were up to). Even DeBoer was willing to side with Rand Paul on drones.”

        Right and he was also willing to defend Radley Balko against Jay Smooth, which is why I found his most recent post so very odd and off-putting. Following from his stupid post on anarchists and Jacobin, it looks to me like Freddie, for whatever reasons, is allying himself with the careerist left. When you are doing shit like that, the odd concession to, say, Rand Paul on drones just seems aimed at making you look more credible. Plus, I don’t see a single blog post saying, y’know, Rand Paul’s right on drones, coupled to unconditional lesser-evilism as tactical.

        Again, I have to re-iterate my general lack of interest in the broader problems with libertarians since I am not an advocate and since I don’t think libertarian influence is the most pressing problem in the political scene at the moment. I find the exaggerated preoccupation with them right now highly suspect for reasons I have made really clear and I am not going to indulge it. I also don’t find political theory very interesting. To me there is way too much talk of what we’ll do when we get the oligarchs off our necks than how to get them off. I don’t think debates about markets and states and reactionary minds and Hayek and Nietzsche are helping.

      • ninjascience says:

        In my view, while people calling themselves “libertarian” aren’t a large voting bloc, they’re the source of some arguments that larger forces employ on some of the biggest issues in the world right now–especially austerity and climate change. More than that, I think there are solutions to our problems we haven’t thought of yet, and tangling with the core of our ideologies might reveal new solutions, which we desperately need.

      • ohtarzie says:

        “In my view, while people calling themselves “libertarian” aren’t a large voting bloc, they’re the source of some arguments that larger forces employ on some of the biggest issues in the world right now–especially austerity and climate change.”

        That’s nice and would be relevant if I’d said never argue with libertarians about anything ever. Isn’t it a whole lot more efficient, at the moment, anyway, to deal with the specific, powerful, austerity promoters and specific, powerful climate change enablers (which includes, but is not limited to, climate change deniers), and get to the social Darwinian horror of future libertarianism later? I mean, that way, we might be able to focus on what liberals are doing to promote austerity (a lot!!!) and what they’re doing to stop climate change (not much).

        “More than that, I think there are solutions to our problems we haven’t thought of yet, and tangling with the core of our ideologies might reveal new solutions, which we desperately need.”

        It’s becoming harder to remain civil but I’ll try. There are lots of solutions to problems available to us right now, but our biggest problem is getting anyone with any power to put them in place. Projects to untangle ideologies — even allowing the risible premise that ideology drives goals rather than the other way around — won’t do shit for powerless people, and actually works against them if the net effect is to remove all political challenges to state coercion and imperialism. As I keep saying in so many words, whatever its intent, pop anti-libertarianism’s most conspicuous effect is stigmatizing some of the country’s most vocal opponents of state violence and imperialism. I don’t see it doing much about austerity or climate change except perhaps to take the focus off of what an asshole Obama is on both counts.

        You have said a lot here since first dropping by to sow doubt about my Crooked Timber anecdote, but you have yet to make any strong case at all for being uniquely concerned with libertarians, though you have certainly tried, I’ll give you that.

      • ninjascience says:

        Don’t talk to me about how hard it is to remain civil–I’ve bent over at least as far as you have to assume good faith in the face of provocations. If you want me to stop posting here, just ask.

        I never said we should be “uniquely” concerned with libertarianism. There are many broken ideas in this world–libertarianism is just one of the more influential. Poverty and enviromental destruction simply are state coercion and imperialism. And from the perspective of those issues, there isn’t much use distinguishing true libertarians on the other side from the much larger set of Tea Party conservatives employing libertarian arguments and buying copies of Road to Serfdom.

        “There are lots of solutions to problems available to us right now, but our biggest problem getting anyone with any power to put them in place.”

        Of course–that’s another problem we lack a solution for.

      • ohtarzie says:

        “Don’t talk to me about how hard it is to remain civil–I’ve bent over at least as far as you have to assume good faith in the face of provocations.Don’t talk to me about how hard it is to remain civil–I’ve bent over at least as far as you have to assume good faith in the face of provocations. If you want me to stop posting here, just ask.”

        That’s fair. Apologies. No I don’t want you to stop posting.

        I agree with you on a lot of things and find you thought-provoking on others. But my problem with way too many people on the left is the bias toward liberal Democrats, which includes sharing liberal Democrat biases and preoccupations. If various intellectuals and activists are going to have a serious conversation about what’s wrong and what to do about it, they need to contend with the painfully obvious fact that far from being allies of genuine radicals or even really principled liberals, partisan liberals are a tactical problem. This bias just has to go. Obama is a fucking disaster and he happens to be president. So why is everyone talking about fucking Hayek?

      • ninjascience says:

        You’ve got a good point there. To be honest, as much as I’ve liked some of Robin’s other work, I kind of wish he had spent a year on something other than the connection between Nietzsche and Hayek.

        I think a lot of the opposition to libertarianism amongst liberals isn’t so much about the harm libertarians or even conservative allies do, as about how we define ourselves. We’re trying to take the word “freedom” back. You can see that in this CT post on workplace coercion. Perhaps that piece is unfair to libertarians in places, but at its core there’s a very important idea: workplace coercion is coercion period, and neither libertarians or the right should get away with defining that kind of coercion away. At least for me, that’s probably what I most resent about libertarianism–it isn’t just on the other side, it’s trying to take language itself away from me, so I can’t appeal to others for redress of wrongs.

        But you’re probably right that liberals don’t spend enough time criticizing our own partisan/ideological institutions.

      • ohtarzie says:

        Well see, the difference between you and DeBoer on one side and me on the other is that I don’t think it’s accidental that “liberals don’t spend enough time criticizing our own partisan/ideological institutions.” Look at Loomis vs. DeBoer, all because DeBoer called out Loomis for using the racism/sexism cudgel against War on Terror opponents. See, I don’t see Robin’s topic choices and his rising star as entirely accidental. He is certainly not going to embark on any project that’s going to piss off the liberal establishment, and that’s what makes his scholarship useless at best. Like I said before, there can be no real meeting of minds between people like him and people like me until there is reckoning with the abject rottenness of partisan liberalism in its current state.

        I am gonna pass on refuting your latest attempt to explain why partisan liberals uniquely give a shit about libertarians and simply recommend that if you are going to insist on doing this you present a really weighty problem in which liberals are not also implicated and that can’t be attacked by more direct means than parsing libertarianism.

      • ninjascience says:

        Robin’s work on the politics of fear challenges the liberal establishment.

        And I think a definition of freedom that includes all freedom–that understands that economic depression or ecological collapse represents a loss of freedom–is critical to winning any struggle on these issues.

      • ohtarzie says:

        “Robin’s work on the politics of fear challenges the liberal establishment.”

        That was a long time ago, bub. Robin’s far less critical of the state as a platform for human improvement than he used to be. His star started rising when his project became ‘the reactionary mind.’ You know this, so why even try this reply?

        “And I think a definition of freedom that includes all freedom–that understands that economic depression or ecological collapse represents a loss of freedom–is critical to winning any struggle on these issues.”

        Right because before we can do anything about say, a president with a Kill List, we have to consider how that Kill List sits in exact moral relation to shitty wages at Wal Mart and climate change, and what better way to do that than reading lengthy dull essays on Hayek and libertarians, instead of contending with actual problems being caused by actual people.

        I think this conversation is played out.

      • ninjascience says:

        This is more recent, and good: http://crookedtimber.org/2013/03/25/why-did-liberals-suppor-the-iraq-war/

        If you think that we should just give up the struggle over “freedom”, then I guess this conversation really has run its course. Not only do I think that giving up there would set back any effort to reform the economy or stop ecological destruction, but you’re asking me to give up my very identity and sense of self. Private coercion is coercion, a violation of the individual’s moral dignity just like direct state coercion, to deny that would be to deny myself.

        Thanks for the discussion. Sorry I got unnecessarily testy six posts up or so.

      • ohtarzie says:

        “If you think that we should just give up the struggle over “freedom”, then I guess this conversation really has run its course. ”

        It’s run it’s course because you are shooting all kinds of blanks, like this one, where you completely mischaracterize what I said. I dont really think your concern for freedom exceeds mine. We differ on where that concern should lead.

        I will no longer respond to anything that seems in bad faith to me, even if there’s doubt as to whether it’s intended or not.

      • ninjascience says:

        Wait, sorry, I retract that link from the last post–that essay is actually reprinted from 2005.

      • ninjascience says:

        Okay, how should we wage our struggle for the meaning of freedom?

      • ohtarzie says:

        Again, I just don’t think ‘meanings’ including the meaning of freedom are the highest priority right now. I don’t think the big barrier to human freedom is that people don’t know what it is and even if it were, I don’t think priority one for lefts is stealing the word back from libertarians on the dubious assumption that they even own it right now. This whole line of thinking just really seems aimed at first, separating state coercion from market coercion and two, completely avoiding liberal complicity in both.

      • ninjascience says:

        “Right because before we can do anything about say, a president with a Kill List, we have to consider how that Kill List sits in exact moral relation to shitty wages at Wal Mart and climate change, and what better way to do that than reading lengthy dull essays on Hayek and libertarians”

        Actually, you can answer my last question or not, but having just seen this, I’m not interested. I never said I cared more about freedom than you do. I thought you were saying (in the pre-edit version of this passage) that the definition of “freedom” wasn’t worth spending time on. Maybe I misunderstood you, maybe you misunderstood me (as saying you didn’t care about freedom), sorry for any fault of mine in either case.

        But, come on. I was clear, repeatedly, that we all should cooperate with libertarians (or even pseudo-libertarian conservatives like Sen. Paul) on kill lists. That you would pull out something like that after questioning my good faith–yeah, we are totally done here. You’ve got a lot of good insights, but you’re not really setting as great an example of how to build cross-ideological cooperation as you think you are. Good luck in your efforts all the same.

      • ohtarzie says:

        There is a difference between arguing with heat and arguing in bad faith, but I do not wish to get into a back and forth about which of us said what when. I am more concerned with your priorities are here than how you argue for them, though there have been problems on both counts, starting with your first comment.

        You seem to have had these purposes here:

        1. Sowing doubt about the Crooked Timber anecdote
        2. Persuading me and our readers to the unique awfulness of Joseph Brennan’s remark
        3. Persuading me and our readers that the career left-liberal preoccupation with libertarians out of all proportion to concern with powerful liberals is warranted and completely unrelated to political agendas.

        I find this set of priorities very odd. At the very least, it suggests the bias I was talking about earlier that I think is so at odds with LOTE lefts and unaffiliated dissidents getting along. I do not feel I have been at all successful in persuading you to suspend these biases if only while engaging with me. It is this, and not our manners, that I see as the problem with cross-ideological cooperation.

        For me, this stuff is not about being nice so much as being intellectually honest. If I alienate someone who seems overwhelmingly interested in constructing elaborate alibis for the liberal status quo (if only the status quo of what they think and talk about) I am not terribly concerned.

      • ninjascience says:

        Saying that I wouldn’t cooperate with someone on kill lists is bad faith or confusion, not heat.

        A) I think a popular misunderstanding of freedom makes austerity and climate change inaction politically stronger than they should be. I concede that fixing this is a long shot. But long shots are all we have, I hope all of them have someone working on them.

        B) I also think that understanding the nature of freedom is important in and of itself–“unexamined life not worth living” and all that. Not everything meaningful is about directly changing states or markets. My definition of freedom is central to my identity. Giving it up is not an option, and nobody genuinely interested in cross-ideological cooperation would ask for that, just as I wouldn’t ask Sanchez or Balko to stop criticizing liberal economic proposals or liberalism as a political philosophy (no, I’m not comparing myself or anyone else to Sanchez or Balko, the right to criticize an ideology is not something one earns through good deeds.)

        I can understand disagreeing with A. I can’t understand that you think A is so obviously wrong that it’s either disingenuous or biased. That kind of certainty reflects bias and an obstacle to cooperation on your part. But B, as I said above, if you’re asking me to give up my identity and sense of self–my recognition that private coercion is, in fact, coercion–then there’s nothing to talk about.

        Re: my “priorities”.
        1. I was genuinely confused what you meant. I think that’s because what you wrote was a bit (unintentionally) confusing, but we discussed that in the other thread. Given that your own confusion (or bad faith) is at least as extensive as mine, it’s absurd that you dwell on this.
        2. I never said “uniquely”, heck I’m not even saying he’s a bad person, but he was misbehaving in that instance, nothing elaborate about that. And, again, this seems to be a higher priority for you than me.
        3. See A and B above.

        Anyway, no, you are not good at cross-ideological cooperation. I shouldn’t be a hard person to convince, I get in arguments with “third-party or stay-at-home is voting for SuperHitler!” LOTE types all the time. It’s not because of your “heat” (although that’s enough), it’s not even because of bad faith (though there’s at least as much evidence for yours as anyone else’s), it’s because you won’t accept “I agree with those guys on this issue even though I disagree with strongly with their overall program”. That’s the only kind of cooperation I’m offering libertarians, that’s the only kind they’re offering me, and that’s all anyone has the right to expect.

        Anyway, you get the last word, but given how you’ve misrepresented me in the past anyone sorry enough to have found themselves reading all this should take it with a grain of salt.

      • ohtarzie says:

        Fair enough. Perhaps I was too harsh. In any event, I don’t think this discussion was a total loss. It’s fitting that you’ve finished as you started, by mischaracterizing. Thanks for dropping by.

  5. alhambralahomo says:

    “What you dimwits people” [snip] “get” [snip] “is the value of” [snip] “alliance,” [snip] “unconditional” [snip] “most of you make with the Democratic Party” [snip] “who actually wield real power.”

    I think when put like that, the (almost?) sexual attraction explains itself. And is quite unbeatable.

    Also your quest to show liberals their own hypocrisy by politely ignoring the too obvious to mention for the umpteenth time wrongs of the right-wing of libertarians, makes you sound like a corporatist opportunistic right libertarian, who when republicans win will blame all their faults on liberals. Not that it would make any difference if you bothered.

    • ohtarzie says:

      Alhambralahomo —

      I don’t ignore the wrongs of the libertarians but as there is a liberal subgenre in pointing them out and greatly exaggerating them, I see no point in doing so at length here. My interest is clear: They’re principled on state violence in ways that too few sects are. I believe in tactical alliances not religion. Saying I sound like a “corporatist opportunistic right libertarian” is just idiotic. Take that shit to the liberal blogs, where they call it an argument.

      My whole point here is to expose and mock the gatekeeping left. Go do the blog you think I should do.

  6. Satchel Paige says:

    Why is Crow here reiterating his Tired Schtick, that of seeing crypto-misogynists under every single Teap Artier rock, and fluffing the flaccid hypocrite Gnomie the “anarcho syndicalist” whose “anarchism” includes keeping people tethered to the state so that we may “change it from within” by wresting control over that very same state that supposedly Gnomie finds so objectionable?

    The most disgusting theme in the blogiverse is that which is employed by Jack Crow and the many echoing sock puppets who run the same short con — pretending at a deep knowing wisdom, a wisdom which actually (in practice) consists of Knowing One’s Audience And Pandering Shamelessly To Their Weak Points And Blind Spots. In Crow’s case, thse weak points include misandry-powered “feminism” (shame, for being hetero and male) and the blind spots include Pseudo-Profundity by using historical reference and rare, “exquisite” words.

    If Crow signed his “essays” with the name “Glenn Greenwald” it would be understandable, since Greenwald is obviously writing for pay and not honest informing of his readers to expand their horizons.

    • ohtarzie says:

      Ah, I know who you are. You’re Oxy.

      To be honest, I like Jack Crow for the most part, and had I known the whole time that ‘Jack’ was him, I probably would have been nicer. His stuff about libertarians sounded like so much liberal boilerplate, it never occurred to me until he mentioned you.

      • Satchel Paige says:

        You may be interested in knowing who exactly is this “Jack Crow” creation that blogs under that handle and several others.

        Or you may not.

        What is your handle at SMBIVA? It’s not “ohtarzie.”

      • ohtarzie says:

        You just said that Jack doesn’t get paid, so whatever you have on him it can’t be too bad.

        I haven’t been to SMBIVA in years.

      • Satchel Paige says:

        Crow isn’t any kind of anarchist, so it might be useful to know what exact complexion of thoughts and ideas informs his posts. That’s what you’re doing here, right? Having an enlightened discussion of meaningful things?

        If not, feel free to ban me for what you consider a distraction. It would make good sense, I guess.

      • ohtarzie says:

        Satchel aka Oxy:

        Like I said, I don’t like to ban anyone. Honestly, I am not that interested in Jack’s secret non-anarchist essence any more than I am interested in the intricacies of Robin’s ‘reactionary mind.’ I like to work with what people say and do at face value. I prefer that comments be mostly about my posts and what other people say about them, not the people doing the saying.

  7. Satchel Paige says:

    “That’s your business, but you lose out on the opportunity to keep up discussion if you insist that disagreement is dishonesty.”

    That’s a funny one, Crow. Almost as funny as accusing people of being rapists, when you don’t even know them personally and don’t have any legitimate reason to accuse them of that foul crime.

    In Crow’s land, if someone disagrees with Crow, that person is a rapist.

    So how’s that shining any kind of illumination on the discussion?

    • ohtarzie says:

      Oxy, please do not use my comment section to settle scores with Jack Crow. I don’t like to ban anyone, but I will do it without apologies.

      • Satchel Paige says:

        Excuse me?

        “tarzie, I think you have to take into account that being combative with people over minor points of agreement with you, while perfectly within your right, is a good way to end up in a one person ghetto. Worked well for Oxtrot. Seems to be working well for you, now. Good luck to you.”

        What’s that up to?

        I’m curious. Not yellow.

  8. Satchel Paige says:

    Also, ohtarzie, I didn’t say Crow doesn’t get paid. I said it would be more understandable if he signed his essays “Glenn Greenwald.” The point is that the two entities/personalities are nearly indistinguishable when you look at the motives behind each one’s published work on the Internet. The same unifying themes exist beneath their two different perspectives. One writes in pretense of “anarchism” and the other writes in pretense of “constitutional law expert.” Neither is what he says, or is promoting himself as being. The self-stylings are there to pull in readers of a certain type, people who imagine _themselves_ as flirting with anarchist ideas, or scholars of government and its organic documents.

    It may be useful to you, the investigation of what these “experts” actually possess as a base of knowledge and experience.

    Or it may not.

    Really, it depends on what your aim is.

  9. Satchel Paige says:

    Who is gossiping? I have no time for “gossip.” I’m simply wondering if you are interested in meaning behind words. I could be well gulled by your writing here. Or I could be too stupid to see what you are trying to satirize. Gullible and stupid are hallmarks of my written work. In any case I suggest you contact me at kapshow@gmail.com, where I can be reached by anyone who finds these comments confusing. I will explain with facts, not gossip.

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