I’ve got a Jerusalem Post in front of me, an article written by Jeremy Sharon, actually an old acquaintance of mine. Apparently there are pashkavillim (flyers) going around urging people drafted into the army to kill soldiers with the M16’s they are given at basic training.
Before I go into the legalities of this from a libertarian perspective, I’ll just speculate that this is a scare tactic by young kana’im (zealots) probably teenagers who printed up a few posters that the media is blowing out of proportion. I do not believe that the actual power centers in the haredi community would post such papers, and Sharon’s article admits this possibility.
Some doubt has surfaced as to whether the flyers were part of the central anti-enlistment campaign because its wording is unlike that of standard pashkavillim, public notices commonly used in the haredi community. It was also not professionally printed, as are regular pashkavillim and anti-haredi military service materials.
It could be a false flag, planted by some state operator to cause outrage and deepen divisions, but probably not because they are not professionally printed. So most likely the rantings of an unstable zealous kid who is taking out some angst issues, seized on by the media to sell some newspapers. (I did not buy the Jerusalem Post. My parents are in town and they bought it.)
Be that as it may, the only situation I would say where it is permissible to kill a Jew, even a State agent Jew, is if your actual life is in immediate danger from the person. Otherwise, you can’t just go and kill a person for kidnapping you into the army. Active resistance is OK as long as you don’t kill anyone (though stupid and I recommend against it strongly), and passive resistance is the best option.
If it were a goy army then yes, it would be justified to kill a recruiter because goyim are much more dangerous. With a goy army, your life is in immediate danger the moment you are recruited, since you can be unwillingly recruited into combat. Whereas in the IDF, at worst you’ll be recruited into a useless unit, never by force into combat.
No state agent Jew is going to kill another Jew for not being willingly drafted. He’ll give you trouble, humiliate you, put you in prison, do other bad things, but he will not kill you. Thank God for at least that limit to State power. Cause him enough trouble and eventually he’ll let you go.
So no, whoever kanai printed these pashkvillim. You cannot go around killing Jews for arresting you. I’m speaking from a Jewish perspective here. From a secular libertarian perspective maybe you can (not sure), but Judaism overrides reshus in libertarian halacha. You have to suck it up and passively resist, unless your life is in obvious and immediate danger.
Jewish army recruiters do not pose an immediate threat to your life.
You know when Hillary Clinton says something so stupid and inane that literally everyone, even her fans, knows she’s either seriously mentally handicapped or deliberately lying? Yeah, well, she’s not the only one.
Back in our debate on the legitimacy of Israel from a libertarian perspective, which was challenging as Hammond gave me decent arguments that at least had the pretense of some sort of logic, Hammond insisted that there does exist a statute of limitations in libertarianism as far as claims to previously homesteaded land goes.
Our argument is that there is no statute of limitations in libertarianism in terms of a hard specific quantitative amount of time that must pass before a claim from the past becomes null and void. Such a statute cannot be in libertarianism because any specific quantitative time limit would be a posteriori and would null claims that could, in theory, be proven based on actual hard physical evidence of previous homesteading.
Now, Hammond is challenging me to “make an argument”. Obviously, what follows below will not qualify as “an argument” according to him, because according to him, I have never “made an argument”. I’ll just let you all judge for yourselves if I’m raving nonsense or presenting a very simple logical progression here.
Hammond, in his debate with me, quoted a footnote from our paper, in which we said the following:
But are there no statutes of limitation? Surely, two millennia and counting would more than qualify for any statute of limitations. There is such a thing, for the libertarian, as a “natural” statute of limitations: the further back ones goes into the past, the more difficult it is to encounter any relevant evidence. Since the burden of proof always rests with he who wishes to overturn extant property rights, mere passage of time can serve as a natural limitation.
Now, woe is me, I was not fully versed in every single footnote of our paper on the fly verbatim, so I thought he caught us in a contradiction. This sure sounds like we are accepting the notion of statutes of limitations in libertarianism based on time limits. During the debate, I knew this could not be, but I had no time to skim through the whole paper to look for the footnote as I was writing notes at the time to rebut his opening statement.
Let me be very clear, for Hammond’s sake. He is accusing us of contradicting ourselves with regard to statutes of limitations. On the one hand, we supposedly say that there is such a thing as statutes of limitation, and on the other hand, we supposedly accept the claim of Jews to land obviously and demonstrably previously homesteaded by Jews in Judea. How can we accept these claims and say they are legitimate if we accept a statute of limitations according to this footnote in the paper itself?
In Hammond’s words, this argument “fails even on its own terms” because we both accept and reject a statute of limitations.
OK, follow me so far? I’m going very very slowly here, deliberately, so even someone with zero background in logic can understand. I’m presenting “an argument” to expose Hammond’s dishonesty. He will no doubt say that he has no idea what I’m talking about and that this is not “an argument”. I can’t go any slower than I’m going now. So stay with me. (Obviously I don’t think Hammond is an idiot. He’s just playing one because he knows we caught him on this and he can’t get out of it.)
Now, what is the meaning of this footnote he has cited? As a co-author of the paper, I will give it you. Let’s go sentence by sentence.
Surely, two millennia and counting would more than qualify for any statute of limitations.
Meaning, yes, in general, 2,000 years does qualify as a statute of limitations. How so? הכא במאי עסקינן? במה דברים אמורים? (In what case does 2,000 years qualify as a statute of limitations? תניא (The text states)
There is such a thing, for the libertarian, as a “natural” statute of limitations: the further back one goes into the past, the more difficult it is to encounter any relevant evidenceץ
תיובתא דרפי פרבר? (Is this a refutation of Farber et al?)
אדרבא. Just the opposite.
2,000 years is a “natural” statute of limitations only because in general, the further back one goes into the past, the more difficult it is to encounter relevant evidence of past claims. This is only an observation of general natural trends. The “naturalness” of the statute of limitations for the libertarian is הכי השתא (one and the same as, intertwined with) the lack of hard, relevant, physical evidence of a claim in the first place. The limitation is not inherent in the amount of time passed, which would be a posteriori, but intrinsic only in the lack of evidence generally due to the passage of time.
גופא (going back to the quote) תני תוהא (we already know)
Since the burden of proof always rests with he who wishes to overturn extant property rights, mere passage of time can serve as a natural limitation.
“Can” כתיב, “Must” לא כתיב. It says “can”. It does not say “must”. When “can” 2,000 years serve as a natural statute of limitations? Only when there is no longer any hard physical evidence of past claims due to the “natural” passage of time. This would apply to all land in Israel for which there is no hard physical evidence of previous Jewish homesteading. The Right of Return for non-Jewish Palestinians who do not descend from Jews applies only to that land.
Meaning, if and where there is hard physical evidence of previous claims, the mere passage of time does not constitute a statute of limitations for the libertarian.
Now, what did Hammond leave out of his selective quotation of this footnote? Only this:
However, there can be no man-made statute in this regard,at least not for the libertarian. If there were, injustice would prevail when the plaintiff can marshal proof that a property title is illicit, and yet the court would not uphold it. This would also spell almost the death knell for reparations, surely a basic element of the libertarian philosophy. See on this note 75.
Now, I have challenged Hammond to quote the footnote in full on this dishonest incomplete lazy excuse for a rebuttal on his site here. And suprise suprise, he thinks the rest of the footnote is irrelevant.
Anyone forming pictures of Hillary Clinton in their heads right now? I certainly am!
I actually feel stupid, as if I’m talking to a 10 year old in an introductory course to symbolic logic and Aristotle’s basic premise that contradictions don’t exist. How could this not be relevant? I don’t know. I don’t know what to say anymore other than Hammond is being deliberately stupid so as not to get himself caught in the contradiction he has placed himself in.
What contradiction specifically? He says that our argument “fails on its own terms”. What “terms” are those? The terms that Jews’ claim on land previously homesteaded by Jews in Judea, with hard physical and indisputable evidence of previous homesteading by Jews (Har Habayit, Ma’aarat Hamachpela, most of East Jerusalem in Ir David), is valid because there is no man-made statute of limitations in libertarianism, when supposedly in this footnote that he quotes, without quoting the end of it, we supposedly admit that we believe in a statute of limitations for the libertarian when we do not and we never did.
So let me make this very clear to you Jeremy Hammond and fans, even though I am absolutely positive you all already understand perfectly and are just feigning idiocy in order to stem yourselves from admitting your contradiction:
There is no man-made statute of limitations in libertarianism, nor can there possibly be one, by the very apriorinature of libertarianism itself. The only natural statute of limitations in libertarianism is when there is no longer any hard evidence of previous claims, whether due to mere passage of time or anything else that erases evidence. OR there is an explicit relinquishment of all claims, as in the case of ייאוש.
But in cases where there is hard evidence of previous homesteading and no ייאוש, plus hard evidence that the nearest of kin to those original legitimate homesteaders still exist and claim this land and never ever relinquished their claims…
Well then, all land with hard physical evidence of previous homesteading by Jews, must go to the nearest of kin, which are Jews, by shares of stock in that land, regardless of any subsequent homesteader on that land.
Practically speaking then, because there is no man-made statute of limitations in libertarianism, all land with hard physical evidence of previous Jewish homesteading from the Roman period, must go to the descendants of those original homesteaders, given that no one Jew can prove descent from any specific homesteader. Therefore, all of itmust go to all verifiable genetic Jews with certain Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA markers by shares, to be determined by impartial third-party judges with zero connection to the Judeo-Christian-Muslim line.
Is this “an argument”?
Will Hammond quote the entire footnote at that dishonest article of his? No, because he thinks it’s “irrelevant”.
Why will he not actually quote the entire thing in reality, when he knows full well that it’s VERY relevant? Because he knows if he does, the stupidity he is currently feigning will become obvious even to the densest of his own readers.
When your only defense is to play dumb (I don’t know what “C” means on these classified emails! I never knew you couldn’t have a private email server! What’s the definition of “is”?) then I may as well be arguing with Hillary Clinton, which really, is not worth anyone’s time.
If Hammond wants to continue acting like Hillary Clinton, he is welcome to it. But if that’s really the best that the anti-Israel libertarian crowd has to offer, it’s really sub par.
Give me and every other genetic Jew on the planet (including Palestinian non Jews with Jewish genes!) Har Habayit by shares of stock. Give us Ma’arat Hamachpela, give us every single piece of land in Israel with verifiable physical hard evidence of previous Jewish homesteading, and the “Palestinians” can have the right of return to the rest. (See? I accept the right of return by Palestinians, but onlyto land where there is no hard and obvious physical evidence of previous Jewish homesteading. There is no hard obvious physical evidence of previous Jewish homesteading in most of Israel, so practically, we actually agree on much even though he insists I reject the right of return, which I DO NOT.)
So does our argument “fail on its own terms”? NO. It fails on his terms, which are that libertarianism necessitates a time-bound man-made a posteriori statute of limitations. These terms are wrong.
Dramatic effect follows for rhetorical emphasis only, no violence implied against any government official (skip to 1:21, and FYI Mandy Patinkin is a Jew):
Offer me money. (Not really, not interested.) Power too. Promise me that. (Not interested either.) Offer meeverything I ask for. (Har Habayit, Ma’arat HaMachpela, and every parcel of land with hard evidence of previous Jewish homesteading. That I actually DO demand. Not of Hammond. He is irrelevant. Of the Israeli government yemach shemam. They are my real enemy.)
I want my Beis HaMikdash back Binyamin Netanyahu you son of a bitch. The Feiglinites are coming.
The Jews are back. The exiles are gathered. Our only stumbling block left is the Israeli government itself. After this post I will get back to only that, because these Hammondeers only dig in by deliberately acting progressively more ignorant of basic English and logic.
Put the whole quote on the post. Yeah, no chance of that. Because it’s irrelevant obviously. Whatever Hillary. C is for Clinton, that’s good enough for you.
In my debate with Jeremy Hammond on the legitimacy of the State of Israel from a libertarian perspective, the center of Hammond’s argument is that a 2,000 year old claim to previously homesteaded land is invalid because there is a statute of limitations in libertarianism.
First of all, he quotes a footnote in the paper that reads as follows.
But are there no statutes of limitation? Surely, two millenia and counting would more than qualify for any statute of limitations. There is such a thing, for the libertarian, as a ‘natural’ statute of limitations: the further back ones [sic] goes into the past, the more difficult it is to encounter any relevant evidence. Since the burden of proof always rests with he who wishes to overturn extant property rights, mere passage of time can serve as a natural limitation.
Sure sounds like there is a statute of limitations according to our paper! But Hammond deliberately leaves out the second part of the footnote to give the impression that we hold that libertarianism does support a statute of limitations, when we hold no such thing.Here is the full footnote. Note the However after Jeremy’s selective out of context quote:
I have requested that Jeremy put up the full quote on his article on his site discussing this very issue. I put it in the comments in any case.
But anyway, there is a statute of limitations in libertarianism, and it is a priori, but it has nothing to do with time passed. It cannot have anything to do with time passed because any measurement of time is a posteriori, whereas libertarianism, or should I say the positive Austrian method of deductive analysis as set forth by Ludwig Von Mises in “Economic Science and the Austrian Method” which leads to normative libertarianism, is a priori.
So what is the statute of limitations in libertarianism? It is when a claim is entirely foregone. When a claim is foregone, that claim cannot be picked up by subsequent generations. Once someone gives up a claim, that claim is gone and can no longer be inherited. In halacha the concept is called ייאוש, transliterated ye’ush. Giving up.
In Judaism for example there is a religious obligation to return lost objects to their previous owners. Lost objects cannot ever be taken regardless of the amount of time passed, unless there is ייאוש by the person who lost the object. It is not time-dependent. It is ייאוש dependent.
Once there is וודאי ייאוש, or definite relinquishing of claims, there is no longer any obligation to return a lost object, and the person who found it can keep it.
Now let’s reason this out deductively, just like Mises reasoned out the business cycle and just like Chazal reasoned out ייאוש in בבא קמא. If a person declares a piece of his property hefker (ownerless) and someone takes that piece of property, the child of that person can no longer claim that piece of property as his inheritance, obviously. Further, if a parent’s property was stolen and the parent has ייאוש, meaning he completely gives up on ever getting the property back, the child’s claim is now null and void and the child can no longer claim the property either, even though the property was lost unjustly in the first place.
If we now enlarge the sample size, do Mexicans have a claim on California and Texas? No, they do not, because Mexicans have given up their claims entirely. I don’t hear of any Mexicans claiming these places. Do Native Americans have a claim on their stolen land? In that case I am not 100% certain because I am unfamiliar with Indian tribes, but in the event that they have given up any hope of ever getting their stolen land back, then subsequent generations cannot claim it back either.
So, have Jews ever given up their claims to Judea/Israel/Palestine? No, not ever. We have never had any ייאוש regarding our eventual return to our homesteaded land. Not for a single generation. Our claims are reinforced every single day of our lives without exception and we are in fact commanded never to give up our claims. This is inherent in our mandated belief in the גאולה, the redemption of the Jewish People by the משיח at whatever point in the future and the ingathering of the exiles, which in fact has already happened.
Have some Jews given up their claims? Certainly. Have some Jews experienced ייאוש? Absolutely. Most of those Jews are no longer part of the nation. They are gone, assimilated, kaput. Many Jews have not had ייאוש, including yours truly. If and when a Jew who has given up his claims to his homeland marries one who has not,he or she re-inherits the continuous unbroken claim through marriage. Think of the Jewish Nation as one body, like Wolverine or the T-1000. If one strand breaks off and gives up the claim, the core heals and makes the body, the claim, full again. One piece flies off, but if it is found by the core and reabsorbed, the claim is restored through joining back up with the unbroken, whole Nation.
The only thing I need to prove is actual physical descent from the original homesteaders. All land with evidence of previous Jewish homesteading goes to the nearest of kin, which are Jews, whether they happen to practice Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Hinduism it does not matter. Since there is no one Jew who can prove individual ownership of any plot of land, all land with evidence of previous Jewish homesteading goes to the descendants of Jews by shares of stock, whether these descendants call themselves Palestinian or Israeli or whatever.
I can easily prove descent. I have the genes and I have the claim, repeated constantly and never, ever broken. Anyone else who can prove decent also has a right to previously homesteaded land, unless he has had ייאוש. Most Palestinians have not had ייאוש either.
So here’s what it comes down to practically:
Since possession is 9/10ths of the law, any human being sitting on homesteaded land in Israel that has no previous evidence of any homesteading by Jews, gets to stay there. If there is previous evidence of homesteading by Jews, anyone on that land must prove descent from Jews, and if they cannot, they must leave. All people who were expelled from their homesteaded land unjustly in 1948 or whenever, has a right of return. If he descends from Jews, he can return regardless of whether the land he was expelled from was homesteaded by Jews in the past or not. If he is not descended from Jews, he only has a right of return if the land he was on has no previous evidence of homesteading by Jews.
So does a statute of limitations exist in libertarianism? Yes. It is called ייאוש, ye’ush. Jews never had ye’ush, our claim is still valid, and it must be so a priori. All previously homesteaded land in Israel belongs to us by shares, simply because it is impossible to know which Jew owns which plot of land. Shares of stock in previously homesteaded land in the areas currently under the control of the Jewish State, must be distributed to all demonstrable descendants of the Jews that originally homesteaded the land.
As for Har Habayit, that specific land was homesteaded with Jewish money, donated and taxed, on the condition that it be used for the Beit HaMikdash. Any other use of it is a violation of contract. Therefore, according to libertarianism, the Beit HaMikdash, the Temple, must be rebuilt.
Wow that was SO much fun. What a thrill to be on the Tom Woods show! He really is one of my favorite, if not actually my #1 favorite libertarian speaker. He is a scathing but light-hearted and hilarious cynic, with a biting sarcasm and wit possibly even more scathing than my own. He just does it better than me I think and with more poise, while I am more spastic and emotional. He can destroy any statist argument in seconds and he is entertaining as anything.
Here is Tom at his best. I loved this talk.
Here is what he writes in preview of our debate on his site:
There aren’t too many countries created from scratch before our eyes, so that historical episode raises important and interesting questions, for libertarians in particular.
Here’s the resolution: “Israel was founded on the basis of legitimate homesteading of land and reclamation of lost Jewish property from previous generations of Jews.”
Arguing in the affirmative: Rafi Farber.
Arguing in the negative: Jeremy R. Hammond.
The episode is already recorded, so I can tell you: this topic is debated in a manner that is at once civil, engaging, and informative.
I decided to host a debate on the topic when I discovered that Walter Block and the late Murray Rothbard, two Jewish libertarians, disagreed on the issue. So I thought we ought to hash it out and see what conclusions we can reach.
Now you’ll never guess: on Twitter, someone demanded to know why I was allowing a debate on the legitimacy of the state of Israel. Why not Germany, England, France, etc.?
I found the question obtuse. How about because major libertarians disagree, and it’s good to try to resolve disagreements? Or how about the significance for current events of the circumstances surrounding the creation of Israel? Only if we understand Israel’s birth correctly can we form correct judgments about ongoing events in our own day.
I’m not sure exactly how well I performed because I haven’t actually heard it yet, and you people in the US will probably hear it before me because it will be Shabbos here in Israel by the time it’s online. But I believe I did very well, at least in my own head. I dug in there with my Jewish claws so to speak and didn’t let go, and spoke from the soul about Rome, Har Habayit (the Temple Mount), Ma’arat Hamachpela (Cave of the Patriarchs), the expulsion from Gush Katif (Gazan Jewish settlements) and other topics. I also made a request of Tom personally as a Catholic libertarian at the end of the debate which you will hopefully hear, and I am serious about the request. It has to do with the Vatican and some stuff they have.
I have to commend Jeremy for a respectful debate. I believe he and I made history here, along with Tom, in conducting this discussion civilly. You’ll hear in the debate that we actually agree on much of the practical solutions to this conflict, which happen to be very similar to the solutions of Moshe Feiglin.
No Jeremy and those that agree with him generally will not turn into Feiglinites any time soon, that I’m certain of. But on principle, paying the Christian and Muslim Judeans to leave voluntarily (and with that nomenclature I’m giving you a small hint of the direction of my argument) is a solution that Jeremy did not object to on principle if the non Jewish people now living in Israel so desire to leave for money.
I believe they do. So let’s get it done.
Enjoy the show! You’ll find it here some time today. I will link to it on Motzash.
The shooting in Orlando has brought out political opinions from areas that I don’t normally see them. Someone referred me to a video of Obama responding to a question about the murder rate in Chicago. The point being that the murder rate in Chicago is very high despite very tough gun control laws, with background checks and all that. Obama did not answer the question, but went into an unrelated invective against the NRA and how they have successfully lobbied to forbid the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta to study gun violence.
First of all, I would support any effort to prevent the CDC from doing anything, and even existing for that matter. They should be disbanded and their efforts left up to private industry. Second of all, what the CDC has to do with gun violence I have no idea, and why they should spend my money studying it is beyond me. They are supposed to study diseases, not gun violence. So why we should be outraged that the CDC cannot study gun violence is something I don’t understand.
But anyway, I was referred to a study done apparently supporting the idea that gun violence is lessened when gun control laws are passed. Nevermind the recent Paris attacks, which took place in a gun free zone, or the murder of that British MP over the weekend, also in a gun free zone, or the shooting in Orlando in a gay club that was also a gun free zone. The logic of gun free zones being open targets just doesn’t register when sociological studies can be linked to.
There is no problem with being a sociologist or anthropologist or economist for that matter. It is a noble activity to conduct privately funded studies to try to find out things, whether they are in the past or present. The problem with sociologists is that they tend to come to government, or their works tend to be forwarded to government, to justify certain policy positions that have affect people’s lives on the basis of “science” with standards that would shock a physicist or biologist.
If we take the FDA for example, or NASA, two organizations which should be privatized but that’s a different issue, if the FDA approved a drug based on the pseudoscientific methods conducted in sociological surveys and studies, they would be putting the lives of people at risk and many would die. The amount of exactitude necessary for a phase 3 study to gain FDA approval is extremely high. Every piece of data has to checked and rechecked with placebo controls in most cases and everything else, with confirmatory studies to follow, and if there’s even a shred of doubt that a new medicine may be causing harm it will be pulled off the shelves. Phase 3’s often negate positive evidence of Phase 2’s and so forth. The example of a placebo arm in a trial is particularly important because the FDA does not normally accept something known as “historical control” where you compare people on a drug with past data from people who were not.
One example I’ve dealt with recently is Sarepta Therapeutics, which tested Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug Eteplirsen versus historical control from other DMD patients who were not involved in the study. This is a problem because the endpoint in the study is the 6 minute walk test, basically how far a DMD patient can walk in six minutes on the drug, compared to how far other DMD patients can walk without it in the past, the so-called historical control. But the problem is the patients on the drug are more motivated to walk as far as they can in order to get the drug approved, while the historical control was not motivated at all because they were not involved in trialing any drug. This inflates numbers towards Eteplirsen, which is one of the big reasons why the FDA has not approved the drug yet.
The historical control model is similar to sociological study methods, but not as bad. With studies about gun control laws, there are so, so many variables that enter the equation that it cannot be controlled. You can maybe make some guesses, but nothing more than that, and they won’t be very good ones.
If NASA or SpaceX were to build their hardware based on the methods in sociological studies, everyone who ever blasted off in a rocket would be dead. No hard scientist would ever risk anyone’s life on the basis of a study conducted via the methods of sociology.
But when “social scientists” with certain political opinion conduct studies on minimum wage, gun control, or whatever other political issue and then these studies are presented to politicians who make laws based on them, then logic is thrown out the window and laws are passed. People literally become lab rats, testing the policies of the political elite with their lives. This is incredibly immoral.
Based on pseudoscientific minimum wage studies, low skilled workers will lose their jobs. Based on gun control studies, it will become more difficult for nonviolent people to buy and carry guns. Nevermind the a priori logic that higher minimum wage means a labor surplus AKA unemployment, and never mind the a priori logic that criminals do not follow gun control laws.
Let’s say a bunch of academics study which gun control laws correlated with the lowest gun violence. This could be done, but proves nothing of a causal link. Let’s then say they piece together the “perfect gun control legislation” they have pieced together from their correlative hunt based on what they think are the best aspects of each “successful” gun control law. Then they give it to the politicians and they pass it into law.
That would be like putting astronauts on a rocket engineered by sociologists who conducted studies of rockets that have worked in the past but have no idea why because they are not physicists, and combined what they think are the best features into a new rocket, and then test it for the very first time when it’s fully loaded with people on the thing.
The Challenger exploded and people died in 1986 because it took off on a cool day and that made the O-rings less elastic. This was discovered by physicist Richard Feynman. It was not proven because there were no trials, but the point is, one tiny oversight based on the temperature of the day the Challenger took off took the lives of everyone on board. Here’s Feynman on that:
Now, here’s Feynman on social sciences:
Now, there is nothing wrong with being an academic. If you study the past, say the bible and try to prove who wrote it or where it came from or whatever, go for it. But don’t try to get a law passed forbidding kosher slaughter because you think שחיטה is a myth. If you’re a sociologist studying the evolution of human behavior, have fun. Publish studies, but don’t advocate for a law mandating human behavior based on your observations. Have the humility to recognize that the methods you use cannot lead to anything close to the certainty of hard science like physics or biology, and that you have no right to force your conclusions on anybody, regardless of any good intention. All your work can do is increase the amount of hypotheses we have regarding any particular question. If social academics stopped at that, I’d have no problem.
I follow Judaism (maybe). But I don’t fool myself into believing my version of it is proven scientifically. Therefore I would absolutely oppose a law that would force anyone to do anything based on what I believe about God, because I understand that my belief could be wrong. Sometimes I might try to convince someone of the truth of what I believe about X, but if they don’t believe me, it doesn’t particularly bother me.
I speculate about the future. It’s what I do for a living. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. I try to convince people to buy gold based on what I see as the truth, but I have done no experiments and cannot predict exactly when it will go up to $10,000, which I believe soon that it will. If I’m wrong, I lose my own money, not other people’s money.
But the academics that try to get laws passed based on the pseudoscientific studies that they conduct, those are the ones that really piss me off. I do not want to be anyone’s guinea pig. It’s immoral and disgusting and infuriating. When someone wants a law passed preventing me from getting a gun because of some study they read, I can’t stand it. I can forgive those who defer to so-called academic authority, but not the academics themselves who advocate for laws based on their gun control studies. Or increasing minimum wage because of a study they read, it drives me up a wall.
Or raising or lowering interest rates based on a study, it scares me.
On that score, it is a very good thing that the CDC is forbidden from conducting studies on gun violence. Because those studies will be biased by political opinions and then brought to Congress to pass laws. No government body should conduct a single study about anything whatsoever. Studies should be private initiatives.
No hard scientist that values human life would ever force people to participate in a study that might harm them without each and every individual’s expressed written consent. But when sociologists advocate for policy based on these studies, they are essentially forcing all of us to participate in a study extension without our consent so they can see how many of us get killed and whether it will be more or less than something else.
I am not a lab rat. Gun control based on studies is immoral. So is minimum wage or any other policy of force, whether it is based on nothing but feeling or peer reviewed study by the most recognized PhD’s in the universe, it’s all the same garbage.
And of the lot, economists are the absolute worst in terms of turning us all into murine models in their human experiments.
I was just made aware of this case after perusing headlines in NRG. Apparently, back in 2010, there was this guy Yonatan Hailo who had an attacker harassing him, extorting him for money, beating him up and even anally raping him several times. Hailo had no criminal record at the time. At some point, this rapist was busy abusing Hailo when he turned around to urinate.
Hailo then strangled him to unconsciousness and beat him over the head with a rock and killed him. Hailo then turned himself in to the police. There were no witnesses at the scene.
Hailo is in an Israeli government cage for 12 years for killing his rapist/extortionist. The news from today is that his sentence was (thankfully) shortened from 20 years to 12 years.
The “judges” responsible for this atrocity of jailing a man for killing his rapist made the excuse that he had the opportunity to not kill him and only disable him, and Hailo never went to the police.
Of course he didn’t go to the police. What a joke. Had he gone to the police they would have done either nothing, or arrested his attacker briefly, and when the attacker got out of jail he would go after Hailo again. So Hailo of course had no choice.
This is the same case as Azriah who killed that Arab after the Arab attacked a fellow soldier with a knife. In Azariah case it’s not so clear cut because Azariah as a soldier is arguably the aggressor in the situation and the Arab has the right to kill him. But once attacked Azariah had a right to fight back because he was not there to kill anyone directly at the time.
The reason these cases are so serious for the state is that they challenge the state’s monopoly on administering justice. If anyone does that, the state’s existence is in jeopardy. Vigilantes are incompatible with the state’s existence. But Hailo had every right to kill his attacker, as does every woman or man who is threatened with sexual assault or actively raped.
I would only aspire to do the same. If anyone ever God forbid raped me or threatened to do so, I would have no moral qualms about killing that person in any way possible. The only difference is I would not turn myself in because I know I will be arrested for a long time.
People own their own bodies. The state does not own any of us. They think they do but they do not. Just remember that if you dare defend your own body from attack, you can get in serious trouble.
Had Hailo went to the cops, he might easily be dead today. Had he not gone to the cops after killing his attacker, he might be free today.
Don’t ever go to the cops if you don’t absolutely have to, as in the case of a home invasion or something and there’s nobody else to help you.
Hailo has Jewish law on his side as well. Whatever the prohibition against homosexuality is, meaning whether or not it includes consensual sex (I do not believe it does), it most definitely includes homosexual rape, and the penalty for that is death. In my opinion, the only reason that the Torah did not put heterosexual rape in the death penalty category is out of concern for the raped woman, who may not be able to marry anyone after the attack for cultural reasons, which would put her in an economically destitute situation. She has the option of forcing him to marry her and support her, which we find unconscionable, but could work in a case Patty Hearst-type case, which is not that uncommon.
Anyway, I doubt God would fault a woman for killing her rapist in any case, and by libertarian law anyone has the right to kill his or her rapist without state permission at any given opportunity.
I personally thank Hailo for ridding the planet of the thing that attacked him and I hope he gets out of his government cage as soon as possible. As far as I’m concerned, Hailo has the status of a captive, a שבוי though I am not at all recommending anyone try to break him out of prison. Never fight the state directly.
I just encountered your website, it looks most interesting. I was curious as to whether you have explored the issue of why so may Jewish libertarians/anarcho-capitalists are uncomfortable with their Jewishness. Two prominent examples would be Ayn Rand (even though she eschewed the libertarian label) and Murray Rothbard. One example of Rand’s refusal to confront her Jewish origins was her treatment of the Kira character in We the Living. The novel’s protagonists was by Rand’s description largely autobiographical, yet she was Russian Orthodox, not Jewish. Rand was able to bravely depict the consequences of the Bolshevik revolution on a “bourgeois” family, but ,apparently, not on a Jewish “bourgeois” family.
Rothbard is a psychologically even more interesting case. He was ,in many ways, the favorite Jew of a number of anti-semites. This was particularly true towards the end of his life when he was closely allied with ,amongst others, Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran. Rothbard even went so far as to endorse the gubernatorial candidacy of David Duke.
In short many Jewish libertarians ,like many Jewish Marxists, experience extreme discomfort vis a vis their ethnic and religious origins. Any thoughts as to why this is so?
Thanks for asking. First, let me get some stuff out of the way. Murray was not friends with any anti semites. David Duke, Joe Sobran, and Pat Buchanan do not hate Jews. They hate Jewish lobbyist groups, as they hate most other lobbyist groups that advocate spending money in places where they, Duke Sobran and Buchanan, would rather not spend it. All lobbyists hate all other lobbyists, and all libertarians should hate all lobbyists, save the liberty lobby which actually lobbies for less government. The myth that these people are anti Semites is perpetuated by ADL whiners whose incomes are in proportion to how loudly they whine about non-issues. They also hate the Israeli government. So do I, so we’re cool on that.
Second I have no magical answer, but I have some suspicions. Ayn Rand didn’t hate Judaism. She hated religion and the idea of worshipping a deity in an organized way with authority figures telling you how to do it and what to think whey you do the worshipping. She actually was an Israel supporter, a position I don’t tend to vocally take. I have only read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, not We the Living, though someday I may get to it. I would simply say she was obsessed with her ideas of selfishness and objectivism and whatnot that she constantly hammered and just didn’t want to be associated with Judaism. I understand that.
As for Murray, he has many a talk denouncing anti Semites, particularly Keynes. That he was the favorite Jew of a number of anti Semites only proves that those people were not anti Semitic, but only hated Jewish efforts at manipulating government for their own purposes. Murray did in fact hate the State of Israel, with a fiery passion. I’m involved in co-authoring a paper debunking his infamous “War Guilt in the Middle East” article as we speak. His hatred of the State of Israel in particular over other states is far beyond my own. I do hate the State of Israel, but not any more than any other State government. Murray had a special hatred for Israel as a State particularly. I don’t understand exactly why.
I can only really answer as to why I embrace my Jewishness and libertarianism. To be a libertarian and embrace your Jewishness takes a lot of flexibility, not in terms of libertarianism which is not all that flexible, but in terms of Judaism, which is much more flexible. To encounter the economic ignorance and annoying Israel activism of mainstream Jewish people is a lot to take, and if you don’t have a flexible background in Judaism, you’ll leave it because other Jews are so off base and totally confused.
I come from a background of Maimonidean rationalist yeshivishness, hard liberal modern yeshivishness, with several Haredi friends who are classical frummies. I have one main assumption about God and his plan for the Jewish people. I assume that God’s plan is to lead human history to choosing a libertarian path. My reading of Tanach supports this, as I see Abraham as the first activist libertarian as well as the first Jew. Noach was a libertarian but he wasn’t an activist.
So God made a promise to Abraham that his kids would continue his philosophy. I have no evidence this promise was ever made other than the fact that Jews as a distinct entity still exist. I have no evidence that God exists or that Judaism is a definable thing with boundaries. I don’t really care if it is or not. So I am extremely flexible regarding my own Jewishness. I follow Halacha generally because I see some value in it and that’s how I grew up. Without Halacha there would be no Jews, and without Jews there would be no chance at global libertarianism. But when Halacha conflicts with libertarianism I ignore halacha assuming it is simply wrong. I am flexible enough to say that without having a major crisis of religious identity. And since I see all Jews as one family together responsible for converting the world to libertarianism, I can withstand supreme idiocy from within my own family without disowning it and becoming estranged. I see no Rabbi as above me, and look up to nobody but myself.
So to be comfortable with your Jewishness as well as libertarianism, you need to be comfortable with molding Judaism into libertarianism and assuming that the former is meant to reflect the latter.
My end belief is that without the Jewish people, libertarianism on a global scale would be impossible. First it’s us, then it’s the rest of the world, with the Beit HaMikdash at the center.
This was written almost 6 years ago by a friend of mine, who has allowed me to repost it here. He’s a gentile who knows more about the ideal Torah system of government (anarchy with privately chosen judges) than the average Gadol HaDor. Sometimes it just takes reading the book itself to remember what it actually says.
I agree with the main point of the article. I only disagree with some nomenclature. I would say that libertarianism is not really a political theory at all. It is an antipolitical theory. Every political theory suggests different degrees of force to organize society. Libertarianism eschews all of it.
I would also add that, from a Jewish “chosen people” perspective, my view is that the role of the Jewish people is first to free themselves and the rest of the world will follow. Without the Jews global freedom will never happen. I don’t know how we will free ourselves here exactly, but I trust God will enable it somehow. Just hoping to be a part of it.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
It’s Not All or Nothing
There was a long piece in the Daily Kos this week that ‘exposed’ libertarians and their goofy-subversive-dangerous ideas. Outside of the general snarky patina of the article, it was actually a pretty good survey of libertarian positions on most issues. There were some key, and common, characterizations that were, I felt, wide of the mark. I have chosen to highlight one that I feel is fundamental to the overall misunderstanding of the libertarian philosophy.
I am often accused of being an idealist. Unable to deal with the ‘real world,’ they say, I adhere to an ideology that has no practical application. There is no constituency to abolish the FDA, SSA, CIA, IRS, or DEA. Also, a libertarian society would provide no safety net and people could starve, or be homeless, or die without all these government programs. Imposing the libertarian system on a modern society would require everyone to accept it, and that ain’t going to happen. Idealism never works, they say, which is why all ‘isms’ fail. Libertarianism is no different from Communism. Pie in the sky, impractical, doomed to failure.
Perhaps the critique of Communism is correct. It does seem to require a violent revolution to wipe away the old bourgeois regime and replace it with a worker’s paradise in one fell swoop. If the program is not adopted in its’ entirety, it fails. Let one bourgeois remain in power and he will ruin the Communist stew. Root them out! Kill them all! Purge society of the wreckers so Communism can flourish and create a worker’s paradise. So when critics of Communism say it doesn’t work, and Communists reply that it hasn’t been tried, the Communists have a point. (Forget for a moment that successful small scale communist experiments have been carried out in the U.S. since the early 1800’s, in towns such as New Harmony and New Economy.) Both the critics of Communism and the supporters of Communism agree: what has been tried in various nations around the world has lacked the requisite purity, and they have all failed miserably. Maybe it would work if pure, but we know it won’t work if it is impure.
While Libertarianism tries to be a comprehensive political philosophy, like the Marxist and Communist theories, it does not run afoul of the same purity problem as other ‘isms.’ Impure libertarian societies have existed on a national scale, and they have been highly successful. I’m thinking of the U.S. prior to World War I. The Roman Republic before Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Hong Kong. Even the ancient Hebrews lived in a kind of libertarian world with no kings or rulers (the Jews were warned not to get a king because he would tax their wealth and send their children off to war…oh how prophetic!) In each case, the relative freedom enjoyed by individuals in those societies resulted in stable and wealthy communities. As their freedoms were curtailed, each of those societies experienced a decline in wealth, stability, and vitality (Hong Kong has not yet seen a decline, as it remains one of the freest places on earth despite belonging to a ‘communist’ country). Libertarian theory endorses the idea that more freedom means more wealth, stability, and security, while less freedom means more poverty, discontent, and conflict.
Taken to its’ logical extreme, Libertarianism calls for an entirely voluntary society. A century and a half ago, that might have been imaginable. Today, from the perspective of people who are taxed, licensed, mandated, regulated, and subsidized by a 360 degree government that alternates between kind paternalism and nasty scold, this is a ridiculous thought. Surely the Libertarian ideal is so disconnected with the world as it exists that it is not worthy of serious consideration. Problems today must be fixed with practical solutions, not pie-in-the-sky theories.
Actually, this is where Libertarianism excels. Since Libertarianism does not require perfect execution to generate positive results, it can be taken in small pieces. Example: When the airlines were “deregulated” in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, there was loud complaining that air travel would become more expensive and unsafe. Libertarian theory said it would become more affordable, flexible, and safer (if that was important to consumers). Indeed, that is exactly what happened. Air travel boomed. Over the next ten years fares dropped by some 50% and the number of carriers and routes doubled, making air travel affordable and practical for millions of Americans who otherwise would not have considered flying. The entire economy did not have to be deregulated, just a portion of a portion. More freedom was better, however limited.
The same thing happened with the trucking business at about the same time. The result was lower freight rates for industry and lower merchandise prices for consumers.
Alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s resulted in a wave of violent crime as gangs battled over the black market while doing little to decrease drinking. Making alcohol legal again was another step in the direction of freedom, and the unintended consequences of prohibition disappeared overnight. A similar approach is needed with marijuana, and for the same reasons: it is practical and it is the right thing to do in a free society. Theory says that society would benefit from legalizing all drugs, but it will benefit from just the first small step with marijuana.
Libertarianism is not all or nothing. In general, freedom is good, more freedom is better. It is not necessary to have a pure Libertarian system to experience the benefits of freedom. Libertarian theory can be taken to the extreme…if you want…but it can also be taken in small pieces if that is all your society can handle. No need for a violent revolution. Just the steady drip, drip, drip of ideals and practical compromise. Then, one day, we may all be free. Perfectly free.
Is anarcho capitalism a utopian vision? Anarcho capitalism is simply the natural state of human interaction. In most normal interactions between people, the state is not involved. Someone says good morning to you. He was not mandated to do so by law, and you are not mandated to respond. But you usually do. Not out of fear of government reprisal, but because that is the decent thing to do. If you don’t, you don’t. You lose your chance for a possibly valuable social connection, most likely to your own detriment.
Almost all exchanges are voluntarily honored with no need of government courts. Almost all salaries are paid as contracted. Almost all exchanges made without involvement of state authorities. The only question is, for those that are not honored, is it best to be resolved through private insurance companies or through government entities?
The answer is private companies.
What is a utopian vision? It is the vision of one man who thinks he knows how all of humanity should interact. He then mandates it by law, because has this idea in his head that will work, but that neglects the very idea of diversity within humanity. His vision of how humanity should interact is what becomes law. Diversity is outlawed. Anyone who chooses to interact differently is killed or imprisoned. It is Utopia or death.
The only mechanism equipped to properly handle the diversity within human existence is the free market.
Forced communism is a utopian vision. One human believes it will be best for all humans to act this way. He forces it, and most die. A utopian vision gone awry.
Same with forced anything.
The only thing that must be enforced is lack of force, and that must be enforced by competing insurance companies. A true utopian will call on force on a whim, whenever society is not acting exactly as he personally envisions it. An anarcho capitalist society resorts to force only when force is applied in the first place, in order to neutralize it.
In my attempt to get Moshe Feiglin to agree to the principle of anarcho-libertarianism, he has accused me of being utopian. I am not utopian.
I simply believe in the right of every human being not be stolen from or forced to do what he does not want to do.
Whatever results from that, results from that. But the key point is that anarcho capitalism is not seeking an end goal. Only social engineers do that. Anarcho capitalists seek justice in a pure sense. Whatever happens happens, whether it be utopia or not. We have reason to believe it would be the best of all forms of human existence. But we are not anarcho capitalists in order to achieve a certain outcome. We are what we are because we believe it is the most just way to live.
We do not seek utopia. We only seek what is right, given the facts of human existence. And given those facts, government is wrong.
Just to clear up a common misconception, as much as I find what we commonly call “communism” detestable, it is still possible to be a communist and a libertarian. It isn’t communism per se that libertarianism rejects, but rather the forced collectivization of goods and and services into communes.
If a group of people decided that they wanted to voluntarily live in commune where the rule “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” held sway, I’d have no problem with that. Only confused libertarians would have a problem with it. The only problem with communism is that it requires force to implement. A central authority must come in and confiscate all property to collectivize it. That means the natural state of things is private individual property and communes come in with a central authority to take all property and redistribute it by force.
That usually leads to mass starvation and death, as in Mao’s Great Leap Forward, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Stalin’s rape of Ukraine etc. These examples were all communism enacted by force. There have been no greater examples of mass death than these. But if communism is enacted voluntarily by people who don’t want private property but would rather work for the commune, then it can indeed work.
The classic example is the Israeli Kibbutz. People who want to live there agree to work on a communistic basis, and that’s fine, as long as they don’t force people who want to work for themselves to live there. Kibbutzim are not particularly successful enterprises in terms of amassing wealth, but if the people who live there like them and want to continue doing as they do, then libertarianism has no objection.
The same is true even for murder societies who all agree that if you live within a certain previously homesteaded area, anyone can murder you without warning. That’s fine too, as long as everyone who lives there agrees to the rules. The key is it has to be previously homesteaded. Otherwise property is appropriated by private means and the rules of that property become subject to their owner.
A voluntary communist society wouldn’t lead to much wealth creation, but it sounds attractive to sado-masochists at least, and some people like it. You can’t argue with what makes people happy because it is subjective.
The same is true for collectivism or socialism or whatever. Libertarians are not against team sports, because everyone on the team agrees to work as a collective. Socialism per se is not a problem as long as everyone who has to fund it fully agrees to it. As long as everyone agrees, no problem.
The only thing libertarians object to is the use of force against innocents. There is literally nothing else to it. It is one of the simplest antipolitical philosophies in the world, which is what makes it so prone to error.