A Response to Dave Smith’s “Smoking Meth in a Public School” Immigration Analogy

Several months ago, when I on went on Dave Smith’s podcast Part of the Problem to discuss my problems with his promotion of Stefan Molyneux, the conversation eventually turned to our differences on immigration. Smith, in trying to make his point that it is not unlibertarian or in violation of anarcho-capitalist theory to support state border enforcement while the state exists, used the analogy of someone smoking meth inside of a public school, reasoning that it is reasonable for the school to use force to remove the meth user from the premises. For Smith, this was analogous to the state using force to keep out foreigners.

My response at the time was that the difference is that the meth user is being disruptive in interfering with classes. Although I will be the first to admit that my reasoning could have been better, something about the situation seemed different to me in a way that I could not put into words, given my unfamiliarity with the argument he was making. Smith contended that for someone to say that national border enforcement was not a libertarian position, they would also have to say that the school could not remove the meth user.

I will note that there is merit to the argument that the public school could not remove the meth user and stay consistent with libertarian principles. This argument was put forward as the “bum in the library” example by anarcho-capitalist scholar Walter Block:

But what if it is a public library? Here, the paleos and their libertarian colleagues part company. The latter would argue that the public libraries are per se illegitimate. As such, they are akin to an unowned good. Any occupant has as much right to them as any other. If we are in a revolutionary state of war, then the first homesteader may seize control. But if not, as at present, then, given “just war” considerations, any reasonable interference with public property would be legitimate.

The fact that certain outcomes (i.e. a “bum” in a library) are regarded as “bad” by the majority of people is not an argument that immigration enforcement is in line with libertarian principles but is instead used in an argument by the person making it for sacrificing those principles. If someone were to say, for example, that they recognize that individuals are able to use drugs given that they have the right to put whatever they want into their bodies, but that they are against drug legalization because of the way it may affect society or increase healthcare costs, this does not make drug prohibition a libertarian position; it would instead be a pragmatic rejection of libertarian principles. Likewise, border enforcement cannot be said to be a libertarian position in itself, even if some who call themselves libertarians argue for it pragmatically (wrongly, in my opinion).

Alternatively, let us for the sake of argument dismiss Block’s reasoning as illegitimate and contend that it is acceptable under libertarian principles for the school to remove the meth user. Are we now at an impasse, where we must either admit that libertarianism permits the state to engage in immigration enforcement while the state exists or knowingly contradict ourselves? Not quite, based on an argument put forward by Murray Rothbard, the father of anarcho-capitalism.

In Rothbard’s “Confiscation and the Homestead Principle,” he reasons that by way of the homesteading principle, “property justly belongs to the person who finds, occupies, and transforms it by his labor.” He applies the real-world example of state universities:

The proper owners of this university are the “homesteaders”, those who have already been using and therefore “mixing their labor” with the facilities. The prime consideration is to deprive the thief, in this case the State, as quickly as possible of the ownership and control of its ill-gotten gains, to return the property to the innocent, private sector. This means student and/or faculty ownership of the universities.

Rothbard goes on to say that he would favor the students over the faculty, in part because the faculty are “to some extent a part of the state apparatus.” Applying this reasoning to Smith’s example of a public school, one could argue that the students (and to some extent, the faculty, although this can be negated by Rothbard’s state apparatus reasoning) are the homesteaders in this situation, given that they are using the school for the purpose of education (libertarian arguments as to the quality of this education notwithstanding). In such a scenario, the students (or someone acting on behalf of them) would be justified in removing from the premises someone who is being disruptive. As I alluded to earlier, this is in no way condoning the current state of compulsory public schooling, but such schools are supposed to be at least in theory about providing an education to children.

But wouldn’t using agents of the state to remove someone from a school still be in conflict with anarcho-capitalist theory? To a point, yes, given that the state itself is considered to be illegitimate. But such a scenario would be more analogous to state agents responding to an actual “victim” crime (such as robbery, murder, etc.) than the “crime” of crossing a national border without the state’s permission.

Accepting this line of reasoning would bring us to another question: wouldn’t this also mean that the state could act to keep out foreigners on behalf of its citizenry? I contend that the answer is no. The amount of barren, unimproved land within the United States is massive. Given that some mixing of labor or use is required to homestead land under Rothbardian theory, a random man in Iowa has no more claim to barren land in the southwest United States than does a random man in Guatemala. The issue of whether “net-taxpayers” have the right to government-owned land (which I’ve discussed in detail here, finding that such an argument is full of holes) is one of restitution (which would also be owed to victims of the state across the world, not just domestic net-taxpayers), not homesteading. There is no victim in a scenario where someone peacefully crosses through land that does not have a legitimate owner; the way to create a victim is to use violence against the person to prevent them from crossing.

One could try to stretch to make an argument that under “Confiscation and the Homestead Principle,” those currently enforcing immigration restrictions on the ground would at least have the right to the areas designated for legally crossing the border, but Rothbard’s contention that those who are part of the state apparatus are less deserving would seem to negate such a claim. Even if this were to be accepted, for the sake of argument, there would still be countless square miles of barren land throughout the border and within the United States that could not be considered to have already been homesteaded.

Throughout this article, I purposefully did not take a position on whether I agree with the Blockean or Rothbardian argument more, as I wanted to illustrate that there are multiple possible arguments that can be used to dismiss the claim that “immigration restriction can be libertarian because removing an unwanted guest from a public school can be libertarian.” I will say, however, that the argument that the state, while it exists, should act as if it were a private property owner (as put forward by Smith and others) is extremely dangerous. The entire point of anarcho-capitalist theory in the Rothbardian tradition is that the state is not a legitimate property owner but a “gang of thieves writ large.” An anarcho-capitalist acknowledging that fact, and then essentially ignoring it to say that we should pretend the state is not that while the state exists, is like saying that we should consider a fugitive serial killer to be a doctor helping out his victims with assisted suicide until he is captured. It is getting the theory right in the beginning and then proceeding to misapply it to the point where the spirit of what was said is ignored.

As I have attempted to illustrate, the idea that state immigration enforcement is justified from a libertarian standpoint by the “meth user in a public school” example is easily objectionable. Either the decision to remove the meth user from the school is a deviation from libertarian principles that in no way legitimizes other deviations as part of strict libertarian theory, or it is based in homesteading grounds upon which state immigration enforcement cannot stand. It is my hope that Smith and others who have made this argument move to abandon it in favor of the idea that state border enforcement should be opposed.

Why I Left the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus

I initially joined the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus Facebook group sometime around August 2017, within weeks of its creation. At the time, I was mainly interested in keeping an eye on things for Fakertarians, a watchdog Facebook page that attempts to keep the alt-right (and other authoritarian groups) from gaining a stronghold in the libertarian movement.

As I anticipated, there were a decent number of alt-righters there. However, some of the names in leadership were surprising to me; several of them were people I had ran into before who were openly anti-alt-right. This gave me some hope that the LPMC could be a force for good, and as the number of alt-righters in the group gradually went down to a minimal level once they realized that the LPMC wasn’t a Chase Rachels fan club, I decided to become more involved in the caucus. While there were still various disagreements I had with some of the members (I was generally more socially liberal in my personal outlook, although I was far from the only person like that), I thought that I had found a group that cared about once again making the Libertarian Party the party of principle.

I eventually became involved in leadership as a moderator for the Facebook group, often tasked with parsing through membership requests to boot out alt-right infiltrators, and I assisted with the LP chair campaigns of their endorsed candidate. I was also one of the caucus’s loudest defenders, frequently arguing with those who claimed the LPMC was a group designed to bring in the type of people with views like Christopher Cantwell, Augustus Invictus, and the aforementioned Chase Rachels.

But over time, I became concerned with the direction the caucus was heading, noticing two main issues. The first was a sort of hero worship, in which any questioning or criticism of podcasters, philosophers, or other activists associated with the caucus resulted in an uproar. It seemed to be that many (but not all) members of the caucus took this criticism as a personal attack, feeling the reflexive need to defend their “team” from those who suggested that they were less than perfect.

The second issue was that, although I still don’t believe it was the explicit intention of (at least most of) those in leadership, the alt-right problem was beginning to ramp back up. Membership in the caucus was rapidly increasing at a level not seen before, as the previously referenced podcasters began to encourage their listeners to join. To be clear, some joining were good, principled libertarians, but even many of them were inflicted with the aforementioned hero worship problem.

But alongside those members came those who were clearly at best influenced by, or at worst part of, the alt-right. Others like them, who had been in the caucus group for a long time but generally kept quiet, came out of their dormancy. This played heavily into my resignation from LPMC leadership in November 2019, during which I also cited the fact that I no longer wanted to feel a conflict of interest between my work with Fakertarians and with the caucus (given that I felt the need to post from Fakertarians about individuals who were LPMC-endorsed or adjacent). However, I still stuck around as a normal caucus member, maintaining some level of hope that things would improve.

That changed several weeks ago, when I finally felt that something drastic had to be done before things spiraled out of control. For several weeks, many of the Fakertarians admins (myself included) were highly critical of Dave Smith, a podcaster associated with the LPMC, for what we viewed as a willingness to cozy up with and pander to alt-righters like Stefan Molyneux and Nick Fuentes (as well as Christopher Cantwell, in an interview that occurred several days after the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017), an issue that could take up an entire article by itself. I shared a Fakertarians post about it to the caucus Facebook group hoping to start a conversation and received a lot of pushback, which to be clear, was expected.

However, what struck me by surprise was a contentious interaction I had with the caucus chairman, Michael Heise, after I had raised the possibility that the caucus had an issue with alt-righters joining. He asked me to name one, so I proceeded to do so, explaining my rationale for why I thought this person was a problem (an individual I’ll refer to from here on out as “JM”, as his name isn’t particularly relevant to the story). I specifically zeroed in on JM’s previous comments about how “Europe is for Europeans” (a common alt-right trope) and how he had previously said that libertarians need to do more about race (JM had said that more needed to be done as it relates to “IQ, criminality, [and] social cohesion”). Instead of the individual being booted from the caucus, or at least a private message asking me for my evidence, I had a conversation with Heise that revolved around the semantics of “alt-right” in which Heise contended that “Europe is for Europeans” only indicates that JM has a  different “cultural preference” than me (as opposed to showing that he is alt-right and should be booted). During that conversation, JM also indicated that he wanted to ban all immigration to the United States.

This interaction motivated me to leave the caucus, because if what seemed to be an obvious case of an alt-righter present resulted in this kind of pushback, I felt there wasn’t much hope for solving the alt-right problem in general. In the comments section of a Fakertarians post about it several days later that included screenshots of JM’s comments, Heise doubled down on his defense.

A couple days after that, JM was finally booted after screenshots surfaced of JM ranting about Jews and using the anti-Semitic “triple parentheses” that originated in alt-right circles. I gave credit to the LPMC from the Fakertarians page for getting rid of him, but I was perturbed by the fact that Heise was continuing to public defend the decision to not boot JM for the first set of comments.

Several others have been booted from the LPMC since this for alt-right ties (including one after we made another post about the specific person), but I still worry that these actions are either being done to save face (although I do know for a fact that some in leadership do oppose the alt-right and have taken at least a step or two behind the scenes to help fix things, even if I think the response hasn’t been adequate) and/or that it is only the symptoms of the problem that are being addressed (a few members here and then), as opposed to treating the “disease” itself (aka why the alt-righters are joining in the first place, which like the Dave Smith controversy, is complicated enough to write another entire article about).

I want to make it clear, as I alluded to earlier, that I do think there are still some good people in the caucus (and in the caucus’s leadership). I’ve had numerous caucus members reach out to me privately in agreement on a lot of aspects of this, and I know that some of them are working on trying to solve the issue, although I do think there are far too many who won’t even acknowledge that there’s a problem (and even those who think that the actual problem is that this issue is even being addressed at all, as some have complained that the caucus is taking the criticism too seriously).

After one individual in caucus leadership, who has generally been critical of the alt-right but has also objected to my public posts on the issue, told me several days ago that I should “either join the mod team again, or let [the caucus] handle it,” I made a good-faith public offer last night to rejoin as a moderator and help them combat the problem (although I do not particularly expect to be taken up on my proposal and have yet to hear any comment from LPMC leadership about it).

I generally have a propensity for trying to help groups or organizations that I see as salvageable get better instead of simply going scorched-Earth and only trying to tear them down, maybe even to a fault (like I did when I gave Liberty Hangout some credit several years ago for their firing of several alt-right writers, only to see them devolve once again several months later). But I do think there is something to be gained from a Libertarian Party caucus that focuses on Austrian economics and strict adherence to principles (which, although it is surely debatable how much that has happened in reality, is what the LPMC has often billed itself as). If I were in LPMC leadership right now, my first course of action would be to loudly state that the alt-right is not welcome (as opposed to simply kicking a person here or there without making a big deal about it publicly).

But whether the caucus really attempts to solve their alt-right problem and does so, whether they only pay it lip service, or whether they completely ignore the criticisms of myself and others and devolve into an alt-right cesspool, the other Fakertarians admins and I will continue to do what we can to help keep the alt-right from gaining a foothold in the Libertarian Party and movement.

Chris Johncox: From Mainstream Libertarian to Working with David Duke. What Went Wrong?

Chris Johncox’s time in the libertarian movement seems to have started innocently enough. Johncox co-founded Being Libertarian, an organization with a popular Facebook page and website that tends to take a somewhat big-tent libertarian view, incorporating voices from all across the spectrum of libertarian ideas. I would like to make it clear that this connection isn’t meant to disparage Being Libertarian; I know many great libertarians involved there, and they’ve even published a few of my articles before. My objective is to illustrate that Johncox’s initial foray into the political world came with few or no warning signs, at least from an outside observer’s perspective. Johncox eventually left Being Libertarian, choosing instead to write for a variety of other sites. This included Liberty Hangout (which I’ve written about here and here), a website that bills itself as somewhat of a conservative/libertarian fusion that has since risen in profile due to its association with the Kent State Gun Girl. This is around when I had my first interaction with Johncox, who at this time went by the pseudonym “I, AnCap”, after writing an article that included criticisms of Liberty Hangout’s founder. I had gone out of my way early in the piece to make it clear that I was making an ideological attack as opposed to a personal one, but that didn’t stop Johncox from typing out a rather unhinged rant in the common section.
By this time, the warning signs of someone going down a dark path were beginning to pop up. In March 2017, in reference to infamous white nationalist Richard Spencer coming out in favor of a healthcare public option, Johncox wrote on Facebook that he “actually kind of liked Spencer until this bullshit.” It became clear that Johncox was wading into the realm of white identity politics, which from what I have seen generally acts as the first step down the alt-right pipeline. A May 2017 profile of him by Mel Magazine, entitled “The Young Libertarian Blogger who Wants to be the Future of the Far Right”, raised additional red flags. While he was quoted within the article as saying that he is “not a big fan of the white nationalist thing”, he still espoused common white nationalist talking points, saying “I don’t buy the idea that Europe is for everyone. Humans have their native communities.” In October 2017, while “Crying Nazi” Christopher Cantwell was in jail for his actions at the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, Johncox was tapped by Liberty Hangout to conduct an interview with him via phone. The interviewed, reuploaded on the Fakertarians page here, generally consisted of Cantwell ranting about Jews, with Johncox saying “right, right” and neglecting to challenge him. His time at Liberty Hangout soon came to an end, however, when he was removed from the site after he had tried to put Christopher Cantwell and alt-righter Augustus Invictus (whose site, The Revolutionary Conservative, Johncox is a co-owner of) on a list for an article about the “top ten libertarians of 2017”. Since the firing, Johncox has taken an even sharper alt-right turn. His views seem to have evolved to become more extreme; whether this is just a change in being less careful about his rhetoric or an actual ideological shift is something we can only speculate about. He strongly supported the push by some on the alt-right to report sex workers to the IRS for tax evasion, writing that “Left wing cam thots estoppel themselves from property rights by contributing to the replacement crisis.” This nonsensical logic is often seen in those who drift toward fascist ideologies from libertarianism; their new hatred of whichever group they’re focusing on at that point in time causes them to try to twist libertarianism to justify violence against said group. This often culminates in an abandonment of libertarianism altogether, at which time many have already shifted into fascism without directly acknowledging it. Johncox also frequently speaks negatively about Jews, a common refrain of those on the alt-right. Writing under a variation of his new pseudonym (he has switched to using Krios Kritikis, Krios Krisis, or Kaiser Krios, a sign that he may be attempting to appeal to the non-anarcho-capitalist factions of the alt-right), he said on Facebook in October 2018 that “Keynsianism [sic] is a Jewish state controlled and managed form of Neo-liberal economics where the state manages and regulates the private sector through corporate law.” (Keynesianism is admittedly terrible, but Keynes wasn’t Jewish; in fact, he’s often accused of disliking Jews).
He also made a post in February of 2019 alleging that “the Jews” are responsible for whites eventually becoming a minority in America.
At some point in late 2018 or early 2019, Johncox became involved with the Heel Turn Network, an alt-right streaming group that has been covered extensively elsewhere. Those featured on the network have included Johncox, Richard Spencer, and Jared Howe, among others. Johncox is also now a producer for a show hosted by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, according to Johncox’s Twitter account.
Confirmation that this Twitter account is his (note the I, AnCap URL on the blog)
So I would say that the important question here is: what exactly went wrong? What motivated someone interested in libertarianism, which is supposed to be about rights for all individuals, to end up palling around with people like David Duke and Richard Spencer? Having been involved with Fakertarians since its inception in 2017 and covering many people with a story similar to Johncox’s, I can make an educated guess. Libertarianism, especially the radical version (which I subscribe to), is essentially a fringe ideology. Those who are susceptible to adopting fringe ideologies are more likely to be libertarians than those who generally stay in the political mainstream (the stereotypical Republican versus Democrat battle). This isn’t a bad thing in itself, as I see a lot of value in going against the grain and challenging conventional opinions to try to ascertain the truth. But sometimes, those on this journey stumble upon pseudoscience, downright lunacy, or the work of those with bad intentions who care more about power and control than individual rights. Many times, I see those who enter the alt-right from the libertarian sphere start with race science that has generally been looked down upon by the scientific community (like the idea that certain races are genetically inferior). They think they’ve discovered a hidden truth and seek to incorporate it into their ideology. Often, this incorporation involves a twisting of libertarianism, like mental gymnastics to justify keeping members of the “undesirable” races out of a country by use of government force. As the newfound alt-righter drifts further and further away from libertarianism, they begin to find more ways to justify authoritarianism under supposed libertarian principles (like Johncox’s insistence that taxing sex workers is okay because he believes they corrupt society and bring about additional taxation/spending). Eventually, but not always, the libertarian label fades away, with libertarians being seen by the alt-right as not willing to be able to do what it takes to bring about major change.
A post about race-mixing by Johncox on Twitter
So what should be done? First, I think we need to remain steadfast in our libertarianism. The fact that a handful of libertarians have went on to espouse destructive ideologies does not mean that we should abandon ours. But we should be loud about disavowing those who seek to deny individual rights under the banner of libertarianism; those who justify government force through bigotry should not have a home in our movement. It is technically possible for those who profess racism to support libertarian policies, but in practice, the vast majority of those who claim to be both racist and libertarian are only the former.

Augustus Invictus Returns, This Time in the California GOP

A lot has happened, to say the least, since I last wrote about former US Senate candidate Augustus Invictus (if you’re unfamiliar with him, see my previous article).

This includes his participation and scheduled speaking spot in the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that began with the now-infamous tiki torch march through the University of Virginia in which many chanted “Jews will not replace us” and culminated in alt-righter James Fields murdering Heather Heyer with his car, his Unabomber fandom, his appearance on a small, openly anti-Semitic show called “Goy Talk” alongside Richard Spencer, his website publishing an article about the “Jewish question”, and his criticism of those who denounced political violence the morning after a white nationalist murdered dozens of Muslims at mosques in New Zealand, among other craziness.

But in terms of electoral politics, Invictus has generally been quiet since he abandoned his short-lived GOP Senate run in 2017 (he had previously lost decisively in the Libertarian Party’s primary when he ran for Senate in the 2016 election). A little digging, however, reveals a different story.

Invictus was recently appointed by California Republican Party Delegate Anthony Macias to fill a vacancy in the GOP as an Associate Delegate; the pair are running for re-election in 2020. In addition, Macias is seeking a spot on the California Republican Party Platform Committee, in which case Invictus would be his alternate. Macias is also running for the California State Assembly. Macias had said that if he were to win the primary for the Assembly seat, he would resign from his delegate spot and appoint Invictus in his place.

While the positions of power described above that Invictus is currently in or could eventually fill are relatively low on the totem pole, it is nonetheless alarming that someone as open about his repugnant views as Invictus has been able to insert himself into a leadership position while remaining relatively undetected and free of relevant media attention. There also remains the strong possibility that Invictus could again choose to seek some sort of higher office if his current tenure is successful.

What makes this situation even more odd is that Macias seems to be trying to appeal to Jewish Republican voters for support; he recently attended the San Jose State University Purim Carnival, writing on Facebook that he will “always… oppose antisemitic hate, wherever it rears its ugly head.”

Besides the fact that Invictus has closely allied himself with people like Richard Spencer and David Duke who generally like to blame Jews for all of the world’s problems (including what they view as a plot to demographically replace the white race, ridiculously referred to as “white genocide), even writing the first draft of the “Charlottesville Statement” for the rally mentioned in the second paragraph, Invictus also dabbled in Holocaust denial in a 2017 interview, saying “Do I believe that 6 million Jews were killed by evil Hitler? Is that what you’re asking me? Okay, then I am still waiting to see those facts.”

From my research, it’s been difficult to tell whether Macias is sincere in his statement against anti-semitism, and is simply deluded and wholly ignorant of Invictus’s views, or if this pandering to the Jewish community is all some kind of a sick joke.

Regardless, it remains imperative that people like Invictus, who represent an ideology that deserves to be relegated as a footnote to the dark corners of history, are kept from any position that aids them in making their sick dreams a reality.

The paperwork for the Invictus appointment, with an announcement on Facebook
Macias making the appointment via email
Macias talking about how he’d appoint Invictus as a delegate (as opposed to associate delegate, which Invictus is now) if he’s forced to resign if he wins his primary
Macias/Invictus running for the California Republican Party Platform Committee
Macias’s statement against anti-Semitism, despite his running mate’s views

Rise of the Anarcho-Statists Part III: Augustus Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun God

(Originally published July 16, 2017 at johnmhudak.wordpress.com)

Before I begin, I feel it’s necessary to point out that the man I’ll be focusing on in this article is not (and has never claimed to be, that I’m aware of) an anarchist. He instead identifies as a classical liberal and a “small L” libertarian. Nevertheless, I found it appropriate to include him in my Rise of the Anarcho-Statists series, as he espouses many of the same values and policy positions (as well as being in many of the same circles) as those who I have profiled previously.

Augustus Sol Invictus sprung into the public eye in 2015 during his unsuccessful campaign for the Libertarian nomination for a Senate seat in Florida. His unique name, which is not the one he was given at birth, translates roughly from Latin to “Unconquerable Sun God” (other commonly-seen translations are “Majestic Unconquered Sun” and “Invincible Sun Emperor”.) He drew mainstream attention in October 2015 when then Libertarian Party of Florida Chairman Adrian Wyllie resigned from his post in protest of Invictus’s candidacy.

Wyllie alleged in a Facebook post that Invictus was a fascist with neo-Nazi ties who supported eugenics and was hell-bent on sparking a second American Civil War. Wyllie also accused him of being “ejected from Ordo Templi Orientis [a Pagan organization] for brutally and sadistically dismembering a goat in a ritualistic sacrifice.” Invictus insisted that much of what Wyllie alleged was false and politically-motivated, although he admitted to sacrificing a goat and drinking its blood as part of a religious ceremony.

Regarding the eugenics allegation, Invictus conceded that he had written a paper supporting eugenics several years ago, but claimed that he no longer believed in the idea of state-sponsored eugenics. A post he made on the website for his 2016 Senate run entitled “A Declaration of the Failings of the Federal Government”, however, seems to tell a different story. In it, Invictus lists his issues with the United States Federal Government. Number 25 on the list as is follows: “It has abandoned its eugenics programs & elitist mindset in favor of a decadent ideology that rejects the beauty of strength and demands the exponential growth of the weakest, the least intelligent, and the most diseased.”

To say that one doesn’t support a practice while simultaneously stating that one of the U.S. government’s biggest problems is the abandonment of said practice seems to be absolutely contradictory. If I were to say that abandoning the practice of “X” is a failure of government, it would be logical to believe that I support the practice of “X”. For Invictus to say that he does not support a state-sponsored eugenics program, while also saying that he doesn’t believe the government should have abandoned its eugenics program, seems awfully disingenuous.

Invictus has also repeatedly denied the allegation that he is a fascist, a denial in which I have no faith. While his common use of fascist imagery (his 2016 campaign logo was almost identical to the war flag of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic), this alone is not enough to prove that someone is a fascist. While he often fetishizes about power and strength (he has inferred that he is proud of the fact that “our forefathers came as conquerors”), this too is not enough to definitively say that he is a fascist.

Proof of Invictus’s support for fascism instead comes from the fact that he has called himself one. On November 20, 2013, Invictus uploaded a video to his Youtube channel entitled “Ezra Pound, ‘Salutation the Third’”. The description of the video, in which he refers to Pound as his “fellow American fascist”, is pictured below (the red box around the specific phrase is mine.)

fellow american fascist

Invictus was asked about this description in a 2015 “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. In response, Invictus said, “You are referring to a description of a poetry recitation on YouTube… I refer to myself as many different things in poetry recitations, and none of them are intended as statements on my political positions.” This half-baked response seems to make little sense, especially given that there are no other poetry recitations on Invictus’s Youtube channel in which he refers to himself in the description as something that he does not claim to be.

Notice that Invictus does not say that his views have changed (as he did with eugenics), even though it is extremely difficult to believe that he was trying to make some sort of poetic statement; he simply denies that he was actually calling himself a fascist. His answer reads more like the words of someone who has unwillingly had a past statement exposed than someone who is making a coherent argument.

Adding to the oddity of this situation is Invictus’s apparent delusion of grandeur. In a 2013 letter in which he also boasted about the things he had so far achieved in his life, he wrote: “I have prophesied for years that I was born for a Great War; that if I did not witness the coming of the Second American Civil War I would begin it myself. Mark well: That day is fast coming upon you. On the New Moon of May, I shall disappear into the Wilderness. I will return bearing Revolution, or I will not return at all”.

The above quote seems to indicate that this is not simply a situation of a person who is a strong proponent of fascist ideals. It goes far beyond that; this is someone who has said that he was born for the purpose of starting a civil war. There is an inherent danger in someone who believes that their purpose in life is to commit violence, whether that be in the name of a cause or in the name of a religion. Those who are followers or fans of Invictus should keep this in mind.

Since losing in the Libertarian primary to Paul Stanton, Invictus has left the Libertarian Party to become a registered Republican. He has been on a crusade against those who wish to remove Confederate monuments in the South, which he has referred to as “The Great Southern Genocide.” Invictus has also made videos arguing for the existence of white genocide, using things like European commercials frequently having mixed race or minority couples as proof. In the same video, Invictus said that the promotion of race mixing is additional evidence of this genocide. Regardless of what one thinks about the removal of said monuments or the political correctness culture of the modern world, to compare the things that Invictus is talking about to actual genocide (such as what has occurred in Nazi Germany, Rwanda, or Armenia) is downright absurd. No one is being murdered by interracial relationships, the removal of statues, or politically correct commercials. To use the term “genocide” to describe these situations seems like pandering to white nationalists, at best.

Although I’ve never directly interacted with Mr. Invictus, I have seen him make what seemed to be an indirect threat toward myself and a group I was working with. In early June of this year, I was asked to help with a Facebook page entitled “Fakertarians” whose purpose is to call out so-called libertarians who pander to fascists and authoritarians. Chris Johncox, a writer for a right-wing libertarian site called Liberty Hangout who also writes for Invictus’s The Revolutionary Conservative, made a Facebook post criticizing the page shortly after I joined. A portion of the comment thread is pictured below.

Doxx

Ignoring the fact that Invictus seems to be using the common alt-right tactic of referring to everyone he doesn’t like as a leftist, he seems to be calling upon others to “doxx” us, a process in which a person’s personal information (phone number, address, etc.) is posted for others to harass and/or threaten them. This childish tactic should have no place in the libertarian community. Ironically, Missouri Senate candidate Austin Petersen (AKA Austin Wade), who also just left the Libertarian party to become a Republican, was active in the comment thread. Although he did not respond to Invictus’s comment, it would be fair to assume that he might have seen it. If he did, I am curious about whether he still believes Invictus is “a gentleman and a scholar”, as Petersen said in November of 2016.

Scholar and a Gentleman

It is my belief that Invictus’s departure from the party is a step in the right direction, although we must do more as a movement to ensure that those who do not represent our ideals do not gain power within it. We are not a movement of fascists or eugenicists, but of people who believe in self-ownership and freedom for every individual. We must be loud in denouncing those who state otherwise.

Rise of the Anarcho-Statists Part II: Jared “The Drug War Isn’t a Priority of Mine” Howe

(Originally published July 8, 2017 at johnmhudak.wordpress.com)

As many in the liberty movement are aware, the rise of Donald Trump has resulted in an influx of alt-right ideology into libertarian circles. I discussed this extensively in my recent article, Trump Libertarians: Rise of the Anarcho-Statists, but this time I’d like to focus on one individual in particular. This individual so perfectly exemplifies the problems brought on by the recent trend of anarcho-statism: a perfect storm of fascism, general authoritarianism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. His name is Jared Howe.

Howe, who calls himself an “austro-libertarian”, was once a run of the mill anarcho-capitalist who even supported open borders. However, a look back at his work from the past few years shows a gradual descent into the dark corners of authoritarianism, a label which he no longer rejects. He has even gone as far as to advocate for fascism as a means of bringing about a libertarian society, an idea ludicrous to anyone who understands the true nature of government.jared fasc

As evidenced by the growth of the United States government over the past hundred years, once you give a government the power to do something, it is almost impossible to turn back the clock. When thinking about granting a new power to a government, one must always remember that social security was supposed to be a temporary measure. Today, it has morphed into what most in politics view as a sacred cow that cannot be taken away, even if many believe that it is completely unsustainable. The idea of giving government, a group of people that most libertarians would not trust to babysit their kids, the absolute power that accompanies fascism is frankly absurd. Those in power, especially those engaging in totalitarian rule, are not typically apt to relinquishing it. Just as we rejected George W. Bush’s idea that we must abandon free-market principles to save the free-market system, we must reject Howe’s idea that we must abandon our libertarian ideals in order to bring about libertarianism.

The existence of people like Jared Howe in the dark corners of the internet is not new, nor is it surprising. What is special about this situation, however, is his presence in mainstream libertarian circles. Howe contributes to Liberty Hangout, a popular right-leaning libertarian website. Until recently, he was the assistant multimedia director for Being Libertarian, one of the largest libertarian websites on the internet. Calls for his removal from his position became louder recently after what can only be described as his rampant anti-Semitism seemed to intensify, or at least become more public.

One does not have to look far to find an example of this; in his letter announcing his resignation (which he described as a decision that “wasn’t exactly mutual”), Howe called out his critics for using “out of context screenshots” of his social media posts in order to damage his reputation. Ironically, he showed his true colors only two paragraphs later, when he accused his detractors at Being Libertarian of silencing “right-wing perspectives” on “the Jewish question.”

This, of course, is far from the only recent instance of anti-Semitic rhetoric from Howe. His social media accounts feature frequent disparaging remarks toward people of Jewish origin, as well as the use of the “three parentheses” used by neo-Nazi groups to identify Jews.         jaredparentheses

Jared’s hatred does not extend only to Jews; he has also expressed a preference for racism in general. In a Facebook post on March 10, Howe wrote “Being a leftist is worse than being a racist.” When pressed by one of his followers who contended that there is nothing wrong with racism, Howe wrote, “Being a rapist is worse than being a husband. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to be a husband.” Howe also frequently complains of immigrants from Somalia living in his home state, writing “These people need to be deported.”

This hateful collectivism is everything the liberty movement is supposed to stand against. People are to be judged as individuals, not for the actions of others who may have the same skin color, religion, or national origin as them. As the great libertarian Ron Paul once wrote, “Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans only as members of groups and never as individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike; as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups.”

Howe and others who share his worldview would dismiss my critique of judging people collectively instead of as individuals as “virtue signaling,” although Howe himself is often guilty of virtue signaling to the right. Instead of saying that it’s wrong to judge people based on the color of their skin, Howe’s virtue signaling is based upon cultural conservatism, such as his incoherent Facebook status below:ohjared

The idea that the cultural conservative (i.e. heterosexual) version of the “monogamous, pair-bonded family” is the “first and last defense” of private property is nonsensical and only serves to throw a bone to the far-right groups he attempts to appeal to. There is no reason that a homosexual couple or two (or more) people living together as roommates would not be able to defend their private property as well as or better than a traditional heterosexual family. This is not to disparage monogamous heterosexual relationships in any way; I’m in one myself, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But to say that having a preference for traditionalism is inherently libertarian is incorrect; this would be the case even if Howe’s statement above about defense of private property was true. Having a preference for something that you believe will create a better outcome is not inherently libertarian, nor is the opposite true. There’s nothing “inherently libertarian” about supporting any type of consensual relationship between adults over another; it is simply a preference. What is libertarian is believing that consenting adults should be able to do as they please, as long as they are not aggressing upon anyone else.

I sincerely applaud those at Being Libertarian who were involved with Jared’s removal from the leadership of the site, and I believe that the rest of the liberty movement should follow suit in condemning his beliefs and actions described above. I hereby call upon Justin Moldow and the rest of the Liberty Hangout team to speak out against Jared’s more incendiary and hateful beliefs. I ask the same of anyone who cares about liberty. When I started doing the research for my original Anarcho-Statists article, it hit me that I did not want prospective libertarians and the rest of the world to think that our movement is about hate, collectivist thinking, and pandering to fascists. I feel the same way today. We are a movement of people who share a common belief in self-ownership, non-aggression, and freedom, and we must never forget that.

Trump Libertarians: Rise of the Anarcho-Statists

(Originally published February 17, 2017 at johnmhudak.wordpress.com)

I would like to preface this by saying that I have nothing personally against the people that I’m about to discuss in this article. All of them have contributed to spreading the message of freedom to various degrees, and for that I am grateful. One of them, Stefan Molyneux, was a strong influence on me personally when I was first exploring the concepts of self-ownership and voluntary interaction. Without him, my views might not be where they are today.

However, I would be remiss if I were to ignore the problems with the worrying trend that they’ve been a part of. Along with the rise of Donald Trump has come a strain of the liberty movement that looks more like a cousin of the alt-right than a philosophy based on freedom. Between the call for greater border enforcement and even a wall (more on that later), to the cries for “God Emperor Trump” to come down with an iron fist on those on those deemed to be degenerates, those involved often sound more fascistic than libertarian.

Whether it is a deliberate move to attract a bigger audience, a shift in philosophy, or the product of the conservative-minded side of the movement, these “anarcho-statists” have become a vocal and very real part of the libertarian and anarcho-capitalist community. Central to their thinking is that those on the left are the true enemies of freedom, while those on the right are the lesser evil (if not an ally in the fight against liberalism.) They are not necessarily ardent supporters of Donald Trump (although some are), but they often incorporate parts of his message.

Justin Moldow, self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist and founder of the libertarian website Liberty Hangout, is a prime example of this. As I stated in the first sentence of this article, the specific individuals discussed herein (Moldow included), have been an overall plus for the causes of liberty and freedom. But this in no way makes him or any of the others immune to criticism.

In recent months, Moldow has written multiple articles about his issues with the left. Before I go any further, I must say that some of the assertions he makes are entirely true. There is a sizeable contingent of leftists who look to shut down speech they disagree with, as he states in “It’s Time to Admit That Leftists Can’t Be Reasoned With.” Yes, leftists do use the violence of the state to impose their views on others. And yes, many of them (at least those in the mainstream) do erroneously believe that the state is ultimately a force for good. We have no disagreement on these points; I would never claim that liberalism is in anyway synonymous with libertarianism.

The problem with Moldow’s assertions about leftists is not necessarily a factual error, although I do believe he often over-generalizes and overstates the contempt that those on the left have for the liberty movement. The problem is instead an error of omission; those on the right can be just as bad, if not worse, than leftists in these areas. In “Libertarians Who Side With Leftists are Tools for Their Marxist Agenda,” he says that “it’s not the alt-right… encouraging the ongoing violence against peaceful people.” Violence against peaceful people is not limited to the left, whether that be on an individual basis or a state level.

To anyone who believes otherwise, I would encourage you to try to peacefully burn an American flag in protest of the United States government in front of a group of conservatives (on second thought, don’t try that unless you’re able to defend yourself.) Needless to say, they would not respond kindly. There have been numerous occasions in which protesters attempting to peacefully burn flags (a constitutionally protected act) have been threatened with violence or even attacked. I have experienced the vitriol of the right first-hand in response to my article “No Thank You For Your Service: The Fallacy of Troop Worship,” and trust me, they were not comments about how they disagreed with me but still respected my right to free speech.

In the same way that the left advocates using the violence of the state for wealth distribution and forced association, the right uses it for their own means. Although there are exceptions (as there are on the left), those on the right-wing are usually more than happy to use violence against peaceful people if it will result in a larger military, the imprisonment of drug users and others who commit victimless crimes, and fewer foreigners coming into the country. Arguing over whether it’s worse to steal people’s money from them or to throw them in a cage for smoking a plant is like arguing whether it’s worse to get punched in the face or kicked in the groin. You might have a preference, but both are terrible outcomes.

This brings me to my next point and a defining characteristic of those discussed in this article: the demand for the state to crack down on illegal immigration. Those who advocate for this often say that being in favor of open borders is an un-libertarian position, as Moldow does in “Open Borders Are Not Libertarian. They’re Communist.” In it, one of the arguments he makes in favor of closed borders is that immigrants might vote to increase taxes and may support Democratic politicians. Effectively, he is arguing that because of a possible bad outcome, an organization that he deems to be illegitimate should use violence against those who peacefully cross an arbitrary line in order to defend territory that the organization does not rightfully own (the irony of this seems to be lost on him).

This utilitarian defense of initiatory violence is completely at-odds with the non-aggression principle and the philosophy of anarcho-capitalism and would result in an authoritarian state if taken to its logical ends. If it is acceptable to use violence against someone based on a hypothetical, the idea of self-ownership is completely thrown out the window. The fact that someone comes from a bad neighborhood is not enough reason to attack them in defense of them possibly attacking you, just as the fact that someone comes from a poor country is not enough to attack them in defense of them possibly stealing your money. Ironically, the same critique of using initiatory violence to stop initiatory violence that Moldow would likely (and rightfully) use to argue against a state is present in his thinking on immigration.

Rather than being a product of a belief in self-ownership and freedom, Moldow’s words look more like those of someone attempting to sell a conservative position to a libertarian audience. His follow-up article “Open Borders Advocates are Hypocritical Nationalists That Also Put America First” was even more perplexing. In it, he claimed that open-borders libertarians who were criticizing Trump’s immigration ban were actually nationalists, due to the fact that they were not speaking out against Iran’s ban against immigration from the United States.

Even ignoring the fact that Iran’s ban was a direct response to Trump’s, you would be hard-pressed to find a libertarian who believes in open-borders who would also be in favor of the Iranian government restricting immigration. The fact that Trump’s ban is focused on more often is a matter of priority, not an indication of support for the Iranian regime. There are far more people who are looking to immigrate to the United States from the seven countries affected than people looking to immigrate to Iran from the US. Using the logic of Moldow’s argument, someone who criticizes the murders committed by a serial killer does not care about or even approves of a murder committed by a one-time killer. Focusing on the greater evil before attempting to draw attention to a lesser one does not make someone a nationalist; it makes them a sane person following a logical strategy.

Christopher Cantwell is another example of this style of anarcho-capitalist that I find so troubling. When he’s not preoccupied with calling people “cucks,” Cantwell is outwardly racist and is a fervent supporter of Donald Trump. He argues for a strong authoritarian leader to rid the world of leftists, all while claiming to be an anarchist. I don’t plan on saying much more about him within this article, but I wanted to point out that there is a real problem with racism in this “Trumpian” brand of libertarianism. I’m not referring to the accusations of racism made by “social justice warriors,” in which innocent actions are deemed to be bigoted by overzealous college students. The type of racism that concerns me is one in which statements about the superiority of a specific race (in this case, whites) are thrown around.

Although Cantwell and his ilk would dismiss my critique as “virtue signaling,” racism is simply another ugly form of collectivism. A person with black or brown skin does not deserve to be judged by the actions of others with the same skin color, just as all whites do not deserve to be lumped in with the authoritarian megalomaniac some call our President. Cantwell and others who focus on race are only turning off potential converts to libertarianism and contradicting the individualism that we preach.

Although I’ve thus far focused on Moldow and Cantwell, there might be no greater example of this “anarcho-statist” mindset than prominent anarcho-capitalist Stefan Molyneux. He has been around for many years and has been a vital part of the liberty movement. Until recently, he argued against closed-border advocates and said that we had much worse things to worry about than immigrants. Around the time that Trump came onto the scene during the 2016 Presidential Election, he did a complete 180 on immigration and became maybe the most vocal Trump-supporting libertarian. His foray into presidential politics was especially ironic due to the fact that he had considered the presidential runs of Ron Paul (who had much greater libertarian credentials than Trump) a waste of time.

Molyneux uses many of the same arguments as Moldow when discussing his newfound desire for border enforcement. Whether they’re based on the idea that illegal immigrants may leach off taxpayers (even though the fact that these immigrants are fearful of being punished by the state is what forces them to work under the table), typical fear-mongering about Islamic Terrorism (you’re significantly more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist), or preserving what he vaguely refers to as Western culture (which has brought us the same state we decry as evil), his platform basically boils down to the idea that we must sacrifice our ideals to save them. Eerily reminiscent of George W. Bush’s assertion that he “abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market,” this Orwellian double-think will never result in the fulfillment of libertarian ideals.

Just as there has been up to now, there will always be another crisis that we’re told requires the suspension of our rights or the rights of others. Although the powers that be typically give us assurances that these restrictions will be temporary, they hardly ever are; one needs to look no further than the aftermath of 9/11 and the advent of the mass surveillance state to see this in action. If the state takes away our rights, even temporarily, it should be obvious to us all that the state (and those who support it) never considered them rights in the first place. In the same vein, if we must sacrifice our principles in order to achieve our goals, they were never really our principles.

We must think long and hard about what we believe and why. Are we the philosophy of fear-mongering, collectivism, and authoritarianism when it suits us? Or are we the ones who will stand up to the state and others who wish to take away the rights of those who cannot stand up for themselves?