LLR Pages

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hoppe, Brimelow, Gabb, Raimondo speeches online

Google videos of several of the speeches at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Property and Freedom Society--a international society for the promotion of radical “Austro-Libertarianism,” founded in 2006 as an alternative to the now watered-down and neo-liberal Mont Pelerin Society by the pre-eminent libertarian philosopher and Austrian economist of our time, Hans-Hermann Hoppe--are now available, as are several of the papers delivered, including:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Longer a Libertarian

In my time I've "converted" a fair number of people to the cause--or nudged them in that direction. Now I'm apparently one of the reasons a Skip Oliva is "no longer a libertarian." Ah, well, you can't win 'em all.

But what does it mean to say one is not a libertarian? To my mind, it means one does not always and on principle oppose aggression. I don't think Oliva is an advocate of criminality and aggression, so I don't understand his comment.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Are Libertarians Built To Achieve Success?

Today, a topic for discussion:

I remember being part of a discussion on the old LPUS listserv years ago about Libertarian Party members' personality types on the Myers-Briggs spectrum. While the survey was hardly scientific, a significant majority of those involved in the discussion said they were INTJs. Since INTJs are generally scientific-minded systems builders who look to "big picture" solutions, this makes sense for those attracted to the LP. But INTJs are a very small proportion of the population at large -- less than one percent, by some accounts.

Similarly, I have several times recently seen Libertarians' IQs on their blogs or websites. Putting aside the larger debate of whether IQ is a useful measurement, in many cases these LP members' IQs were quite high, even genius-level. Again, this makes sense; one needs to be pretty intelligent and engaged in order to investigate political philosophies and alternative parties. But again, those with IQs in the 130-plus range account for only about two percent of the U.S. population.

My question, then: Can a party that appeals primarily to an exceptional but proportionally tiny subset of the population ever achieve mass acceptance and victory?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Name Is Peter, And I'm A Drug Addict

While I wrote earlier that "my Libertarianism is generally instinctual," in at least one case it is also quite personal. I have a very good reason for supporting drug legalization: I am a drug addict.

The drug I am addicted to is alcohol. Ten years ago this week, on June 4, 1998, I had my last drink. Because the drug I am addicted to is a legal one, I was able to get help and support -- and I needed it. I had tried to give up drinking several times before, and I had failed. But because my addiction was to a legal drug, I was able to eventually find the aid I needed. If I had been hooked on an illegal drug, I might have resorted to theft to acquire it, or I might have ended up in jail.

It would be disingenuous for me to not concede that if alcohol had been illegal, I would probably not have become addicted to it. Its accessibility made it easier for me to abuse it. But again, legalization makes recovery more achievable. In the Netherlands, for example, there are fewer drug-related accidents because users are not afraid to seek help, nor are they afraid to frankly consult with doctors regarding their condition.

And while inaccesibility may have kept me from becoming an alcohol addict, and may keep some from becoming addicted to today's illegal drugs (remember, my drug of choice was an illegal drug once, too), the costs to society are too high. I live in a city where drug trafficking is a profitable and dangerous criminal enterprise. Too often in D.C., we hear about innocents being caught in drive-by shootings and drug war-related mayhem, just as drug kingpins like Al Capone wreaked havoc on society when alcohol was illegal. Legalization removes the criminal element.

The fact that I slipped into drug abuse does not give me the right to take personal choice away from you. I would not dream of saying that because I am an alcoholic, your beer and your wine should be banned. In fact, I encourage my family and friends to feel comfortable consuming alcohol in my presence. For them, safe recreational use is a pleasure, and it pleases me to see them happy. While I was never a serious marijuana user, I have consumed it responsibly and had positive experiences doing so. There is no difference, except that one is illegal now and the other was illegal then.

A nice summary of arguments for drug legalization can be found on this Wikipedia page.