An Interesting Forum for Debate on “Historical Matters”

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Professor Eric Muller of the University of North Carolina Law School has been using his web site to uncover rather interesting bits of information about the book The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and author Professor Thomas Woods of Suffolk Community College and his affiliations, including the rather spooky League of the South. (You can go through the various threads, links to Woods’s defenses, and so on and make up your own mind.)

Cathy Young of Reason magazine has a review of Woods’s book in the Boston Globe, to which Professor Woods has responded by calling her a “neocon” (the slam of choice on for anyone who disagrees with their Confederate Revivalism) and writing, “There is no point in answering someone like this.” Zing!

161 Responses to “An Interesting Forum for Debate on “Historical Matters””

  1. Anthony Goodman

    Of course, Marx, the imperialist-sympathizer that he was, supported the Union cause, which he knew was motivated by economic nationalism. “The war between the North and the South is a tariff war. The war is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for sovereignty.”

  2. Otto M. Kerner

    Yeah, George F, quit marginalizing others, you dishonest, thoughtless, racist, cultish Leninist-moralist. (Imagine! Someone trying to live by absolute morality in times like these. How unrealistic can you get?)

  3. I think that every libertarian should put forth his action plan for winning freedom. Not having an action plan or mentioning that central planning is notoriously difficult to manage in practice ought to be grounds for immediate dismissal from the libertarian movement.

  4. Bill Woolsey

    In the late seventies and early eighties, I was at an IHS or Cato conference. We were given a paper by Rothbard on Strategy. The beginning of the paper described the strategy as Leninist.

    The Libertarian Party was supposed to be the open-center of the movement. It would hold high the banner of principle. While libertarian reforms could be promoted, the long term goal of radical change must always be mentioned. Electing Libertarians to implement libertarian reforms was not part of the strategy. By the time Libertarians could get elected, libertopia could be implmented immediately.

    Most libertarian activity would in in the context of single issue groups. These groups would have a position on the issue that involved some libertarian reform. It could be radical or moderate. Libertarians in these groups would seek to convert nonlibertarians to support a libertarian position on more issues. That would allow them to be recruited into other single issue groups that promote libertarian positions.

    As more and more people are converted to libertarian positions on more and more issues, they are moving up the pyramid of ideology.

    At the very top, is the open center–the Libertarian Party.

    When enough people are in the open center, the Libertarian Party can win elections on the program of implementing libertopia.

    Rothbard predicted (in the paper) that the ruling class would attempt a violent counter-revolution. That is because no ruling class has ever given up power voluntarily. And so the Libertarians would have to fight a civil war and defeat the ruling class.

    I believe that this strategic vision had (and continues to have) some impact on the Libertarian Party. Most of those who support holding high the banner of principle and disdain immediate electorial success aren’t really aware of the rest of the strategy.

    The single issue groups hasn’t worked out very well for libertarians. Some of the twists and turns that Rothbard has undertaken appear to be efforts at some sort of single-issue involvement. Rothbard and the rest of the libertarian movement was part of the right when they started, so that was hardly a twist or turn.

    The first turn was too the left. Libertarians were supposed to make common cause with the left in fighting the draft and opposing the Vietnam war.

    The next turn was to the right, and there we were supposed to work with conservatives in opposing Wilsonianism in general after the fall of communism. Opposition to the first Iraq war and the Balkan interventions in particular.

    As it turned out, only the hard right had much interest in opposing those interventions.

    So, there we have it. Rothbard always emphasized foreign policy. The people who oppose this intervention and that can be pretty unsavory.

    I don’t think Rothbard’s strategy has been successful or even very plausible.

    My own view is that libertarianism should be understood as a broad perspective with many variants and indendent of, and equally distant from both left and right. Libertarians should promote libertarian reforms. Libertarians shouldn’t focus on end-states, though that doesn’t mean that no libertarian should _ever_ worry about such things. Rather it should be understood that different libertarians favor different end states with different levels of committment and fervor.

  5. “Eng*ls was ant*-sem*tic?”

    Yes, see h t t p : / / m a r x w o r d s . b l o g s p o t . c o m /

    For example: Eng*ls: “We discovered that in connection with these figures the G*rman nation*l simplet*ns and money-gr*bbers of the Frankfurt parliamentary sw*mp always counted as G*rmans the P*lish J*ws as well, although this d*rtiest of all r*ces, neither by its jargon nor by its desc*nt, but at most only through its l*st for pr*fit, could have any relation of k*nship with Fr*nkfurt”.

  6. E.B. Arthur

    “Perhaps Mr. Francis should have thought of how he would be remembered before devoting his life to peddling segregationist hatefulness.” – Tom G. Palmer at February 24, 2005 11:23 AM

    It depends on who is doing the remembering. Brave men don’t care how they’re remembered by liars and cowards.

    I’ll remember Francis as a very interesting maverick writer. I will remember you (my only time I’ve been to your web site and have heard of you, from a link from VDare), as a pompous nobody asshole; so much so that I won’t bother coming back.


    E.B. Arthur

  7. Tom G. Palmer

    Well, this has been a remarkably long thread, with many conversations (and denunciations and worse, as well) running across each other.

    I’ll tie it up with E. B. Arthur’s comment above. The link from VDare has generated some remarkably racist emails from very odd people. The issues discussed above evidently bring out the Sam Francis crowd, the Council of Conservative Citizens, and all the other pointy-hooded sheet-wearers, who are deeply concerned about the allegedly “imminent genocide of the white race” through “dysgenic breeding” (that from a Belgian).

    What was the most interesting element (aside from the racial and sexual slurs directed against me) was yet another clear bit of testimony about the way in which Lew Rockwell leads people from libertarianism to pure and unadulterated collectivism, from someone named Arthur Pendleton (about whom I was unable to locate any more information through a Google search):
    From: []
    Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 6:15 AM
    Subject: Sam Francis

    Sister Palmer:

    Many years ago, I had the privilege of attending an I seminar week held in California. I generally enjoyed myself, learned a great deal, and met many interesting intellectuals, albeit ones I thought distinctly inferior to those grouped around the legendary Murray Rothbard and the then relatively young Mises Institute, whose similar program I had attended the previous year.

    Stangely, I also distinctly recall you, especially for one comment. You kept blathering about “historic preservation Nazis”, persons about whom you seemed ‘exercised’, to say the least. I thought to myself at the time, “This man is a true fanatic. America is racing towards socialism [even in the alleged free-market heyday of Reaganism], not one major government program has been dismantled, ‘civil rights’ totalitarianism and huxterism is getting worse by the hour, gun control is waxing, the culture is a moral cesspool, and the nation is being colonized and conquered by racial aliens … and this fool is berating my aunt! [yes, she is a fine, Constitution-loving, Old-Stock American who happens also to spend some of her time working to preserve architectural treasures and classic Americana]”. Even the staunchest libertarian, if he’s a sober man worthy of consideration, must acknowledge that not all statist depredations are equal, and that, in a postwar era of constantly creeping domestic communism, some putative ‘offenses’ against absolutist conceptions of property rights are hardly worth notice, let alone bother.

    Well, the years passed, my immature early libertarianism was gradually replaced by an historically informed Old Right sympathy, and you were appropriately forgotten. Alas, until now. I have come across your slanders of the recently deceased paleoconservative Sam Francis, and am appropriately shocked, though not so much by their poor taste (libertarians, except for the paleo variety, tend to be rather uncouth — and everyone knows about ‘bitchy queers”), as by the implicit, ludicrous assumption that someone of your meager abilities and limited erudition is capable, let alone worthy, of judiciously assessing a man and thinker of the aliber of the late Dr. Francis. That courageous and brilliant man was simply the greatest political analyst of our age, whose inimitable writings contain at least the seeds of a revolutionary reappraisal (unfortunately, never systematically developed by Sam) of the whole course of post-Enlightenment political theory in the West.

    You, on the other hand, are a “little man”, a typical carping liberal whose writings, some of which I’ve now looked over (they are hardly worth more than a look-over), are at best restatements of illustrious forebears, with nary a scintilla of the originality of insight that Dr. Sam brought to even the most insignificant of his throw-away columns. Long after your genes and memory have disappeared into the expanding mongrel morass that so excites you, the great Samuel Francis will be read and treasured by Occidental men as a leader of that very select company who saw our epoch in all its filthy reality — and who had the courage to write what they witnessed and understood. Sam was made of far sterner and more honorable stuff than you, fairy-boy, and I think, at some primitive level, you know it.

    You use libertarianism to excuse your perversions, and “political correctness” to hide your treason. You are a fool and a disgrace.

    Arthur Pendleton

    I don’t recall Mr. Pendleton (or my alleged blathering about “historic preservation Nazis,” an annoying group of property-grabbers who have never been a major concern of mine, although whatever remark I made evidently made an impression on Mr. Pendleton), but his story is a revealing one. Mr. Pendleton, thank you for pointing out just what Lew Rockwell and his crew are up to. And on that note, I’m closing this very amusing thread, to which the racist crowd and their various defenders have had ample opportunity to contribute.