My conclusion was that what they were offering was a version of libertarianism designed to appeal to their non-libertarian colleagues.
My other post came out of the controversy over the Ron Paul newsletters, some of which contained articles attacked as racist. While I may have missed something, I do not think any of them either asserted innate inferiority of blacks or hatred of blacks qua blacks. What they did was express a derogatory opinion of particular blacks — Watts rioters or muggers — in a gleeful fashion. They were thus likely both to appeal to racists and to offend liberals — more generally, people who accept current conventions of acceptable and unacceptable speech. My guess is that both effects were intentional.
I see the clash as between people
who see non-PC speech as a virtue and those who see it as a
fault, between people who approve of offending
liberal sensibilities and
those who share enough of those sensibilities to prefer to respect
them. The former group see the latter as wimps, the latter see the
former as boors.The wimps have friends
on the left they respect, so prefer to think of those on the left as reasonable people who are mistaken. The boors are more likely to have friends on the right, including some, such as religious
fundamentalists or neo-confederates, whom the wimps disapprove of, so in
that case the pattern reverses, with the wimps seeing those they
disagree with as evil or stupid, the boors seeing them as reasonable people with, perhaps, some
Ron Paul, or whichever of his people wrote the relevant articles, identified with and was appealing to the boors and so offended the wimps. The Bleeding Heart Libertarians are professional academics, associate mostly with people well on the left, so speak respectfully of even bad arguments that such people respect and would like to revise libertarianism to make it more palatable to their left wing friends.
Some important context on the Ron Paul newsletter, which was allegedly written by Lew Rockwell. Rockwell and Paul were both associates of Murray Rothbard. Rothbard, knowing that libertarians were too few in numbers to have a major impact, was big on outreach and coalition-building. He tried to form alliances with both the New Left and the populist right. You can see this in the material Rockwell runs (ran? I haven't read it in 15 years) over at lewrockwell.com. He had a number of regular columnists all over the spectrum, from the fringe left to the fringe right.
I suspect that the newsletters were a deliberate attempt to pander to the populist right.
Correct, except that "populist" right paints with too broad a brush. The newsletters -- in fact, the whole "paleo strategy" -- were a deliberate attempt to pander to the racist right. That attempt backfired terribly when Paul ran for president, and has continued to damage the libertarian movement in two ways (first, by making it easy to paint us as racist ourselves; second, by attracting racists who believe the pandering and think libertarianism sanctions their beliefs).
It was dumb.
Absolutely dumb. The set of potential allies who can only be appealed to by joining them in hatred or mockery of their outgroup, is almost always too small and impotent to be worth the bother. If they're worth having on your side, try appealing to them in a way that speaks to their concerns without so blatantly attacking anyone else you might someday want as a friend.
I have to say that Murray Rothbard had a lifelong record of poor judgment on political alliances, starting with his support for Strom Thurmond in the 1940s. Over and over, he tried not for libertarian-moderate, or libertarian conservative, or libertarian-liberal alliances, but for various flavors of libertarian-authoritarian alliance.
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