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Racism in the libertarian world? And more. . . .

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 9:48
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I recommend you read this long article, “A Libertarian Icon’s Descent into Racist Pseudoscience,” for at least a couple reasons:

First, it exposes a soft underbelly of certain segments of the secular (although many hold the same beliefs while professing to be Christians, Romans Catholics, etc.) libertarian world. This is a latent, or sometimes purposeful but covert, racism. I have suspected this and caught glimpses of it for some time, and I believe it has deep roots in the “libertarian” world going back at least to the segregation era.

To think that anti-black and white supremacy sentiments could be so prevalent in society as to lead to lynchings and burnings of blacks as late as the 1960s—barely over a generation ago—is difficult for many to comprehend today. But not only do you need to comprehend it, you need to realize that the mobs of people who harbored such widespread racism and hatred did not just disappear once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law. They may have been dissuaded from certain actions and expressions under threat of criminal punishment and decreasing social acceptability, but they learned to hide their true meanings under various guises: opposition to things like “communism,” “multiculturalism,” “cultural Marxism,” or “the New World Order.” The latest euphemism seems to be “Human Biodiversity.”

Where legitimate biblical values and organizations overlap with the professed beliefs of such people, they often find a home: property rights, “liberty,” “freedom of religion,” “western civilization,” “Christian society,” etc. Thus, groups that may have perfectly laudable purposes in general—libertarian economics, Christian worldview, etc.—may often be followed, supported, infiltrated, or even led, by covert racists or sympathizers with racialist nonsense. Some proponents may be open champions on property rights and Christian values, but what they fully mean beneath those terms is a mostly white society, or a white-dominated society. Again, there are various degrees of such belief, as well as various levels of ability to articulate it.

The Trump campaign has emboldened many of these people, intentionally or not. Some such people may even say they would never vote for a Trump, but they secretly and strongly hope he wins because of his perceived stance against Mexican and Muslims immigrants.

It was a bit of a head scratcher for me the other day when Lew Rockwell posted an openly pro-Trump interview and commentary, but the article mentioned above helps make sense of it. Rothbard—despite himself being a Jew—bought into some of the racialist work on IQ, likely of The Bell Curve infamy. Stefan Molyneux, the main subject of the article, has grown quite open in applying this tradition, as the article relates:

Memorable is Molyneux’s reaction to German president Joachim Gauck, who stated, “To understand the opportunity of immigration, more Germans need to say farewell to their image of a nation that is very homogeneous, predominantly German-speaking, Christian, and fair-skinned…. I think we need to redefine ‘nation’ as a community of diverse people who accept common values.”

To this, Molyneux shoots back:

Well, they all have to accept “common values.” I would ask this guy: is it easier for white, Christian Germans to have white, Christian babies and to teach them German values and have them grow up speaking German, and have them have the same IQ, ethnicity, and so on—is it easier to do that, or is it easier to import low-IQ, rapey people from north Africa, who don’t speak your language, pay them on welfare, have them sit on ghettos, not integrate into the community? Is that how you get them to accept common values? Because you have a choice. Every migrant who comes in is a European who won’t be born. [Emphasis Molyneux’s.]

Elsewhere Molyneux laments,

London is now majority nonwhite in England…. People are like, “It’s uncomfortable to talk about this stuff.” Well, you know, it’s also uncomfortable for high levels of criminality and rape in your society. That’s kind of uncomfortable. [Emphasis Molyneux’s.]

The author’s commentary is the same as mine would be:

Note the presumption that if there are high levels of “criminality and rape” in London, the cause of this must necessarily be London being “majority nonwhite” per se.

There is no good reason Rockwell would post anything associated with such nonsense on his site unless it were 1) a high personal allegiance and friendship with Molyneux, 2) a secret allegiance to Trump, or 3) acceptance of the racialist/IQ theory coming through Rothbard’s influence.

I think the latter makes most sense here, and it is likely also why Lew completely abandons every principle he stands for when it comes to the issue of immigration. Prejudice is the mother of inconsistency.

To be quite frank, this problem does not exist only in the secular libertarian world. Hardly. It bleeds into so-called “paleo-conservatism” as well as broader areas of the conservative world. The same impulses characterize the work in many ways of such men as Pat Buchanan and Charles Murray (again, Bell Curve infamy). Murray, for example, in his latest book still holds out hope that his genetic explanations of culture will be vindicated:

“I am predicting that over the next few decades advances in evolutionary psychology are going to be conjoined with advances in genetic understanding, leading to a scientific consensus that goes something like this: There are genetic reasons, rooted in the mechanisms of human evolution, why little boys who grow up in neighborhoods without married fathers tend to reach adolescence not socialized to the norms of behavior that they will need to stay out of prison and to hold jobs. . . . These same reasons explain why society’s attempts to compensate for the lack of married biological fathers don’t work and never will work.”1

Likewise, the fringe right (not just the openly racist segments of the “alt-right”) partakes of the same problems. Not too long ago Gary North eviscerated the documentary Agenda for fearmongering about a dead ideology. The documentary was made by well-meaning Christians and actually was awarded the grand prize at the now-defunct Vision Forum’s San Antonio Film Festival. But it was wrong headed, and the professing Christian Reconstructionists and intellectual leaders of that organization could not see the obvious problem.

I see it all over the conservative and Christian world: fear of this boogeyman “Cultural Marxism.” Just this last week I saw it decried by a prominent leader of a Christian legal defense group, as well as by a celebrity conservative leader. Likewise, I see it decried by Molyneux’s interviewee, Paul Joseph Watson, of fame. I see it everywhere on the lips of libertarians and conservatives. But when I go looking for the actual origins of it, it appears to be American and quite recent—nowhere near Marx. William S. Lind (another Lew Rockwell columnist) gives us a little history that stems from yet another hard-core right/libertarian, Paul Weyrich.

What Lind doesn’t tell you, however, is that there is no such thing as “Cultural Marxism,” because it is an oxymoron. Gary North, again, has written a detailed article on this, so I won’t retread that ground. The term is absolute nonsense to anyone who understands what Marxism is. The bottom line is that by continually harping about “cultural Marxism,” such conservatives only accomplish two things: 1) they announce themselves to the world as ignorant (which serves as confirmation to most of the world, which already thinks they’re ignorant), and 2) they tip their hand that they may be motivated by racial prejudices (which serves as confirmation to most of the world, which already thinks they’re racists).

Second, this article is important not only for exposing such connections (personally and ideologically), but for laying to rest some of the pseudoscience that supports the beliefs. I, for one, was grateful and impressed to read the following section:

Consider this example from Canadian journalist Doug Saunders. The leaders of an impoverished country invited an Australian management consultant to observe their places of business and to advise them on how they could improve productivity. The consultant reported back to them that the situation was hopeless: “My impression as to your cheap labor was soon disillusioned when I saw your people at work. No doubt they are lowly paid, but the return is equally so; to see your men to work made me feel that you are a very satisfied and easy-going race who reckon time is no object.”

This was in the year 1915, and the slothful employees the consultant was reporting on were Japanese. From the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, East Asians held a reputation among English speakers for being lazy. For his part, Fabian socialist writer Sidney Webb—a pioneer in the eugenics movement—wrote to fellow socialist eugenicist George Bernard Shaw in 1911, “The Koreans are 12 millions of dirty, degraded, sullen, lazy and religionless savages who slouch about in dirty white garments of the most inept kind and who live in filthy mudhuts.”

During the late 1860s and early 1870s, scores of white Californians saw Chinese immigrant laborers in terms similar to those that Trump and Molyneux have used to describe Mexicans. The Chinese were reviled for forming ghettos and not being able to assimilate into American culture. They were blamed for bringing in drugs, particularly opium. They were hated for engaging in crimes such as prostitution. And Chinese men were presumed to be rapists. Jacob Sullum writes of the popularity of the era’s “image of the sinister Chinaman who lured white women into his opium den, turning them into concubines, prostitutes, or sex slaves.” To use Molyneux’s term, the same East Asians whom Molyneux now ostensibly admires as industrious and family-oriented were the ones prior generations of “race realists” presumed to be “rapey people.”

My how times change! But the arguments don’t seem to. Just the targeted non-white group.

I think you should read the whole article. I cannot vouch for the worldview of the author, but the information presented is very helpful.

My point also is not to say that any and everyone associated with the secular libertarian world is supportive of such racism, or that we should abandon the writings of Rothbard and the Austrian schools, etc. By no means. I am not sure what percentage of leadership and following would be implicated. It may be small, but it is obviously large enough to come to the surface repeatedly when something so marginal as a Trump campaign stirs it.

And the retort that will come—“But Lew Rockwell also runs articles from Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, and they’re black!”—will need a little more meat on its bones to be impressive to me. I love much of the writings of these gentlemen, but if “guilt by association” is wrong, so is “vindication by association.” I want to hear about the biblical perspective on the issue compared to how individuals express themselves on it, not merely who’s friends with who, or who holds up who else’s books for sale.

  1. Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2000 (New York: Crown Forum, 2012, 299.

American Vision’s mission is to Restore America to its Biblical Foundation—from Genesis to Revelation. American Vision (AV) has been at the heart of worldview study since 1978, providing resources to exhort Christian families and individuals to live by a Biblically based worldview. Visit for more information, content and resources


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