Monday, May 30, 2016

Minarchism, Border Control, and Invasion

NB: I know Hornberger has today replied to my latest post on the topic of open borders; this post below is not in reply to Jacob’s post of today.  I have been chewing on the below post for a couple of days and have decided that more chewing isn’t going to help.

I am not sure I will reply to Hornberger’s post of today.  I think we are talking past each other.  I am feeling that my points are either ignored or misrepresented; I do not put this solely on Jacob, as it takes two to effectively communicate (or not).  Therefore, I am not sure it is worth covering the same ground again as I will likely find no better way to cover it.


Taken from the comments to my latest response to Jacob Hornberger: May 26, 2016 at 3:45 PM

A minarchist that wants the state to keep the borders open. A state that controls the borders for the benefit of the nation's posterity is the best argument for minarchism and yet Hornberger wants to retain the rump of a state merely to force the borders open. What is his agenda?

This got me to thinking about the intersection of the subjects in the title of this post.

Hornberger, in his preceding reply to me implies he is a minarchist.  I wanted to find something explicit; it is here, and stated in the first few minutes of the video interview.  I paraphrase:

Scott Horton: I know you’re a minarchist and constitutionalist.

Jacob Hornberger: I ask myself what is the role of government in a free society?

Hornberger describes the need for a final arbiter as his justification for supporting minarchism.  Absent such an institution, he suggests that the final arbiter will be the strongest brute (which, of course, this minarchist state would be, at least within its borders).

In the interview he directly speaks to the role of police and courts; he does not directly speak about some form of military defense (at least I didn’t catch it).  He does, however, refer to the “night-watchman state.” 

In political philosophy, a night-watchman state is a model of a minimal state proposed by minarchists, and variously defined by sources. In the strictest sense, it is a state whose only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from assault, theft, breach of contract, and fraud, and the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police, and courts. In the broadest sense, it extends to various civil service and emergency-rescue departments (such as the fire departments), prisons, the executive, the judiciary, and the legislatures as legitimate government functions.

I think it is reasonable to assume that Hornberger’s definition of minarchism includes some form of military defense – a defense from invasion; there must be some way to defend from another brute coming in to enforce his “final arbitration” over yours, after all.

Also from the interview: prior to discovering libertarianism Hornberger was a liberal – he believed in the welfare state.  This does, perhaps, explain certain of his leanings.


Hornberger’s call for a final arbiter is a road that leads to one place – one world government.  Wherever there is a dispute between two individuals under two different jurisdictions (or, more commonly, a dispute between the government authorities of two different jurisdictions), there is no final arbiter unless there is a higher final arbiter.  In other words, the only way to solve this problem via a minarchist (or any other) government (as the term is traditionally understood), is for one world government.

If one is searching for a final arbiter for the purpose of settling disputes within the context of state governments, to what other end does the road lead?

I want to come back to this later; this is especially concerning given Hornberger’s views on open borders.

They Died So We Could Be Free

Today is Memorial Day in the US.  Following is a typical sentiment:

Since the inception of the United States of America on July 4, 1776 every generation of Americans have been called on to defend freedom and liberty. Over the years more than forty two million American men and women have served their country in time of war. More than a million have secured the blessings of liberty with their lives.

The site offers a list of every major and many minor conflicts in which the US military took part, with corresponding casualties.  Interestingly, it lists the deaths for both the North and the South in the Civil War.  This got me to thinking – did both sides fight for our freedom?  Is this possible?

But I digress.  Take a look at the list.  I leave it to you to make a case in the comments section for any war on the list that fits the bill: they died so we could be free.

I will make it easier – you are free to assume the condition that exists in the United States is freedom.

Brexit and a Silent Europe

David Cameron has asked EU leaders to keep out of the Brexit debate as millions of British citizens prepare to vote on their future in the European Union.

It seems anything the mainstream centralizing bureaucrats advocate for is worthy of derision by the people.

When it comes to defending the European Union, the Luxembourger doesn't usually hold his tongue for long…. The reason is that Juncker had to promise British Prime Minister David Cameron that the EU executive branch would stay out of the Brexit debate. Officials in Brussels have a miserable reputation in Britain….

Thirty-thousand EU bureaucrats have been paralyzed, none daring to say or do anything prior to the June 23 vote:

All initiatives are anxiously examined to determine whether they might provide ammunition for Brexit supporters.

They obviously don’t care about public reaction to their initiatives otherwise.

Juncker even personally asked each of his 27 commissioners to use "common sense" during any visits to Britain.

They obviously don’t care about common sense otherwise.

Maybe EU countries could establish a rotating calendar of “exit” votes, one per year.  This could paralyze Brussels permanently.

One of the victims of this caution has been chief EU diplomat Federica Mogherini, who has spent recent months crafting the EU Global Strategy…. Mogherini has now been forced to push her presentation back to June 24.

If the EU bureaucrats so fear the public reaction to their policy initiatives, why would they pursue these in any case?  (I know the answer.  Of course they normally are unconcerned about public reaction.)

They don’t even want to hold a regularly scheduled summit meeting before the vote:

EU member-state leaders have also become infected with the Brexit virus. They had originally planned to hold their regularly scheduled summit, organized months in advance, on June 23 and 24. There is certainly no lack of pressing issues, but because of the referendum, the summit is now taking place a week later.


This same situation has been seen in the United States over the last year with Trump.  The more he has been attacked by the mainstream, the stronger his support. 

Maybe people are getting a little tired of being told what to do and how to think.  The bigger victory will be on the horizon when they see that their new “saviors” are really not much better than the old.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Libertarian Party Avoids Choosing a Libertarian

Orlando, Florida (CNN) — Libertarians on Sunday selected former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as their party's presidential nominee, at their party convention in Orlando, Florida.

Johnson was the party's nominee in 2012 and once again won the position despite backlash from the party's more radical Libertarian wing.

Imagine: the “libertarian wing” of the Libertarian Party is considered the radical wing.

Writes Murray Rothbard (with the best view in the house): ROTFLMAO

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Burnt Toast

Jacob Hornberger has replied to my recent post on the topic of borders and immigration.  In this post, he offers that I am wrong.  Well, I will be the judge of that…

Libertarianism is a consistent philosophy, one that does not embrace positions that contradict each other.

I don’t like going off on a tangent to start a post, but I must.  This is an interesting statement to make given how much time some very well qualified libertarian theorists spend debating both theory and application – on some subjects coming to conclusions that are exactly the opposite one from the other.

It may be a consistent philosophy, but it should be obvious that humans – imperfect, such as we are – haven’t found that total consistency yet on several subjects, so we really haven’t proven this to be true.  Now it might be so that through continued debate and dialogue, the thus-far elusive “truth” will be found.  Or it might be so that libertarian theory cannot be so perfect in a world of social, imperfect humans (this is my bet).

While those might be true, it certainly is true that there are disagreements today between and amongst well-meaning and well-versed libertarian theorists on many issues.  So, someone tell Walter Block that his 500 published articles were unnecessary – libertarian theory and application is already settled and consistent.  Walter just doesn’t know it yet.

In any case, I have stated several times that I do not burden libertarian theory with such an impossible standard.  I don’t expect more from it that what it is – the non-aggression principle.  I don’t expect it to define “aggression” or “property.”  I don’t expect that it will offer the single answer to these concepts and their application for every libertarian everywhere in the world.

God – yes, that God – has given man his Word: the Bible and His Son.  This “philosophy” has been studied by countless thousands of scholars for two thousand years.  Guess what?  Even this perfectly whole philosophy has not been sorted out by man – we have today, what, maybe 20,000 sects of Christianity?  (I am only guessing at the number.  Take a look at this page.  You do the counting.)

But somehow libertarian theory – after basically 50 years (I start counting a whole theory from Rothbard) has already achieved what God has not been able to achieve after 2,000 years.  Hornberger has a rather high opinion of man – even if you don’t like my “God” example, show me one philosophical / social theory with more than one follower where all who claim to be adherents agree on all aspects – both theoretical and in application.  I won’t wait here for your answer; I will move on.

Interestingly enough, Bionic does not disagree with the major point of my article — that there is only one position on immigration within libertarianism and that’s open borders.

[bionic writes:] If all we need to do is agree on the theory, we can stop here.

Yes, I wrote that.  And merely opening or ignoring the border has nothing to do with the very next step in Hornberger’s hypothetical: an individual is doing the inviting.  Nowhere in this reply does Hornberger deal with my main criticism of his view: he describes a hypothetical which I broke down into two implicit steps and four explicit steps.  Merely opening the borders – getting government out of being involved in deciding who crosses the border – does nothing to implement Hornberger’s four explicit steps and one additional implicit step.  The steps that he says describe libertarian open borders theory.

Nothing.  And Hornberger ignores this.  He did not say that nobody invited Miguel; he said Pete invited Miguel.  There is more to “open borders” in libertarian theory than merely opening the border – on this I agree with Hornberger completely (or at least I agree with his hypothetical.  It is clear to me that Hornberger does not agree with his hypothetical when it comes to practice; see below).  Some individual does the inviting; in practice, Hornberger misses this rather important element. 

Look, Hornberger is the one who said it in his hypothetical – if you open borders advocates don’t like it, take it up with him; it is his hypothetical, not mine.

(As an aside, Bionic’s claim that state borders are inconsistent with libertarian theory is incorrect. I think what he meant to say was that state borders are inconsistent with libertarian anarchist theory. Borders are entirely consistent with libertarian minarchist theory — i.e., libertarian limited-government theory, and open borders are an essential aspect of liberty under limited government).

Jacob, I have enough trouble doing my own thinking for me; please leave my thinking to me (and that guy on my shoulder, Pepe). 

I meant to say no such thing.  I meant to say what I said.  It is impossible to derive “limited-government theory” from the non-aggression principle (go ahead and try, Jacob; you will waste a lifetime and then we won’t have to deal with this open borders stuff).  “Libertarian limited-government” is an oxymoron: “we don’t believe in initiating aggression except when we believe in initiating aggression.”  There is no way to conclude from libertarian theory that initiating aggression is OK in just a few areas.  There may be other reasons to conclude “limited government,” but not based on libertarian theory.

So, what is Bionic’s beef with my article? It amounts to a variation of an argument that Milton Friedman made many years ago about the welfare state.

My “beef” is much more than this, and I wrote it in my response – but you would never know this from reading Hornberger.  My beef is that it will lead to an irresistible push for more government, not less.  Less generally-accepted common culture = more government. 

Gramsci knew this.  Cultural Marxists know this.  Left-libertarians ignore (or pretend to ignore) this.  Hornberger either doesn’t know this or he knows this.  At this point, I am beginning to question his view on this matter – maybe he isn’t ignorant on the matter; maybe he understands this issue very well. 

Anyway, I wrote all of this in my post, but you would never know this from reading Hornberger’s reply.


Several weeks ago, the [RAND Corporation] released [a] study that received a fair amount of attention. Financed by the Pentagon, they created a series of simulations for a hypothetical Russian invasion of the two Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia.

"The outcome was, bluntly, a disaster for NATO," the RAND researchers wrote in their report. In each simulation, the Russians were able to either circumvent the outnumbered NATO units, or even worse, destroy them. Between 36 and 60 hours after the beginning of hostilities, Russian troops stood before the gates of Riga or Tallinn -- or both.

Says Spiegel.  The solution?  Spend more money:

The Americans in particular are putting pressure on the Europeans to once again invest more significantly in their own defense. In March, US President Barack Obama complained about the European "free riders" who are profiting from American protection while refusing to take on their "fair share."

Donald Trump must be Obama’s new speech writer.

Since then, numerous NATO states have announced that they intend to once again invest more money in defense. Fifteen of the 28 member states have increased their military spending…

Let’s Look at the Numbers

NATO countries spend $920 billion in military expenditures.  By the time you include various clandestine and off-budget items, I will suggest the figure is significantly higher, but we will go with this figure.  Take out the United States and Canada (the non-European countries) and the spending is $293 billion.

Other US allies (Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Israel, and Taiwan), all useful in hounding and surrounding Russia, spend about $210 billion.

Russia spends $52 billion.  For kicks, China (the other global island enemy) spends $145 billion.

So…NATO and other US allies spend $1.13 trillion dollars a year on military expenditures, Russia and China spend under $200 billion.  European NATO countries spend over $290 billion and Russia spends about $50 billion.

Yet somehow the problem, as Spiegel offers, is that NATO does not spend enough; NATO needs to spend more.  Unfortunately for NATO (do you see my tears), this spending increase isn’t going to happen.  None of the alliance members meet the list of nine parameters held by NATO to measure capabilities and readiness – not even the United States. 

One key parameter is to spend 2% of GDP on defense; only 6 out of 28 NATO member countries reach this target.  What might hinder one of the larger NATO members from ever achieving this 2% target…well, I will allow Spiegel to explain:

If it was taken seriously, Germany would need to increase its defense budget by 5.5 billion year after year until 2024. In the end, Germany would be the continent's greatest military might by far, which probably wouldn't make all of its European neighbors happy.

No, it wouldn’t.  Probably the opposite, actually.


NATO outspends Russia by a factor of 18 to 1; European NATO countries outspend Russia by a factor of 5.5 to 1.  NATO and all US allies outspend Russia and China combined by almost 6 to 1.

Yet there is no protection for Estonia and Latvia.  More spending by NATO countries isn’t going to change this reality. 

Maybe they can try diplomacy?