Kn@ppster: ‘A Notable Omission’


Longtime Libertarian Party activist Thomas L. Knapp writes:

On an episode of The Jason Stapleton Program today, Tom Woods explains why he declined to sign Liberty Against Fascism‘s “open letter” from libertarians who wanted to clearly distinguish themselves from the Charlottesville thugs:

When it comes to this whole, I have to get on the Internet and tell everybody how much I’m against the Nazis thing, I just, I don’t go for that. … The whole thing is so ridiculous, it’s an insult to ask libertarians in effect to sign a petition saying “we’re against fascism.” Obviously we’re against fascism, and if you’re dealing with people who are so vacant that they can’t see that, then get away from those people, there’s no helping those people.

What he doesn’t mention is that he’s a founding member of one of the groups marching for fascism in Charlottesville. He was one of the few people known as libertarians who would really have benefited from a chance to disassociate himself from that shit. But it turns out that those of us who signed it were, in part, disassociating ourselves from him.

He obviously doesn’t want to openly own his associations, but neither does he want to openly repudiate those associations. There’s a word for that kind of thing. No, the word isn’t “principle.” It’s “cowardice.”

35 thoughts on “Kn@ppster: ‘A Notable Omission’

  1. Anthony Dlugos

    I didn’t know Woods was a founding member of the League of the South.

    My opinion of him has sunk even lower.

  2. JamesT

    The failure, left libertine, party continues to attack its intellectual allies. Russel Kirk’s point about libertarians being nothing but chirping secretaries is 100% correct. The jealousy towards the RP wing of the broader movement is pathetic. So glad I’m done with a movement that wastes all its time infighting. Enjoy statism. We get the libertarian movement we deserve. The last 40 years says something nobody is willing to admit. My own personal experience was no one tried to galvanize and educate further the RP movement instead they just played gate keeper with new people and feud. This internet argument between Sawark & Woods is the latest example of this waste of time. What if libertarians got 10% as mad about the state as they did at each other over 1% disagreements.

  3. IPR reader

    Tom Woods replies directly in the comments at Kn@ppster’s blog entry, for those of you simply commenting on what you read here. (I take no position on the matter since I have no previous familiarity with it, but think the other side deserves consideration before readers jump to a conclusion)

  4. Tony From Long Island

    Tom Woods: ” . . . .” Obviously we’re against fascism, . . . .”

    Really? The current face of the scum bag douchebags is a former LP congressional candidate.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp

    As “IPR Reader” notes, Dr. Woods was good enough to come by and talk things over a little bit in comments at the original blog post. Anyone who’s interested in what he has to say about the matter can find out over there (CLICKBAIT! CLICKBAIT!).

    But I am going to extend and revise my remarks a little bit HERE, so that you can get them in more coherent form than they are in comments over there. A timeline:

    – A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, Tom Woods was “a founding member of” the League of the South.

    – Later, when the LoTs started to take on an overtly racist tone, he did explain himself a bit as having been a casual participant (link over at my blog to a LewRockwell.com post), although he did sort of smooth over and minimize that racist turn. This was about 12 years ago.

    – Not long ago, Jeff Deist of the Ludwig von Mises Institute used the term “blood and soil” in a speech. When that became controversial (personally I think it was intended as a little poke at Jeffrey Tucker, but it did blow up), Woods had Deist on to defend the talk.

    – And not long after THAT, members of the organization that Woods was a “founding member” of marched down the streets of Charlottesville, carrying tiki torches, bellowing “BLOOD AND SOIL” and looking for a fight with the untermenschen.

    It seems to me that that chain of events leads to a situation in which “bah — why should I have to say I’m not a Nazi? Everybody knows I’m not a Nazi!” is an evasive response and in which common sense says “you can either denounce the League of the South, or you can OWN the League of the South; it’s one or the other.”

  6. Chuck Moulton

    Woods does a fairly good job defending himself in that comment. But yes, he should just explicitly disassociate himself from the League of the South and white nationalists rather than assuming everyone should already know he disagrees with them.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT,

    In order for it to be an undeserved and baseless attack, it would have to be an attack.

    Noticing the omission of a clearly very relevant set of facts in someone’s statement isn’t an attack.

  8. robert capozzi

    tk: He was one of the few people known as libertarians who would really have benefited from a chance to disassociate himself from that shit.

    me: It might be clearer and more on point if this said:

    Woods, who often states that only he and his fellow NAPsters are the only “real” libertarians, would really have benefited from a chance to disassociate himself from that shit.

  9. Anthony Dlugos

    I gotta say, Thomas has some pretty funny one-liners over in his comments section.

  10. Anthony Dlugos

    well, on second thought, if you are a youth and can’t get sex, drugs and rock-n-roll in today’s deflated prices, then there’s no hope for you.

  11. robert capozzi

    tk,

    Listen to his podcasts with Cantwell and Harlos for starters. Woods is a leading exponent of NAP-as-the-Only-True-Way approach.

  12. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Here’s his comments on being at a founding meeting of the League of the South. https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/in-case-you-were-wondering/

    I’m more disgusted that TODAY he can defend Deists speech on “blood and soil”, libertarian women having six kids each to build a libertarian army, and “blood and soil” ethno-centrism that sees ethno-centric states as main means to liberty, as opposed to something you have a right to secede into in a libertarian society. See his nonsense here https://mises.org/blog/new-libertarian and my response here:
    https://www.facebook.com/CarolMoore1776/posts/10159307338585599

    As for six kids, Deist writes: “assuming roughly 10% of the US population is reasonably liberty-minded, we’re talking about 32M people. Imagine if each of them had 3 kids, we’d create an army of 100M people!” Well, if only 1/2 of those 32 million are women, that’s six kids each. But since probably only 12 million will will be women – you do the math! And good luck finding libertarian women who will go along with THAT plan. geez

  13. paulie

    “assuming roughly 10% of the US population is reasonably liberty-minded, we’re talking about 32M people. Imagine if each of them had 3 kids, we’d create an army of 100M people!”

    That’s idiotic on many levels. The most obvious one is that kids don’t have to have the same politics as their parents. I don’t have the same politics as my parents. My parents could have had more kids to breed a progressive army, but in my case that plan would have backfired.

  14. Anthony Dlugos

    “The most obvious one is that kids don’t have to have the same politics as their parents. I don’t have the same politics as my parents.”

    My parents are motherlovin’ die hard evangelical Christian Trumpsters and they somehow ended up with me. The handled my defection to the LP okay, and I think are ignoring my atheism…but they went ballistic when I told them I was pro-choice. Ballistic!

  15. George Dance

    carpozzi – “Woods is a leading exponent of NAP-as-the-Only-True-Way approach.”

    At least 80% of the libertarian opposition to the Libertarian Party, in the last 3 POTUS election, has come from paleolibertarians – Woods, LewRockwell.com, Liberty Hangout, etc. – and their ‘alt.right’ proteges: Cantwell, Spencer, etc. Since their version of libertarianism, so big in the glory days of the Ron Paul Survival Report, is less popular these days, they tend to call themselves ‘thin libertarians’ who believe in NAP and only NAP, and try to portray ideas like opposition to bigotry as ‘thick’ deviations from pure “NAPsterism”.

    But just a tactical maneuver. Paleos have their own ideology, and their own social agenda, that’s every bit as ‘thick’, or non-NAPster, as their opponents.

  16. dL

    so big in the glory days of the Ron Paul Survival Report, is less popular these days, they tend to call themselves ‘thin libertarians’ who believe in NAP and only NAP

    No, they don’t call themselves “thin libertarians.” Their preferred term for “thin libertarian” is cuck, be it delusional or autistic.

    But just a tactical maneuver. Paleos have their own ideology, and their own social agenda, that’s every bit as ‘thick’, or non-NAPster, as their opponents.

    Yes, but they admit to being “thick.”

  17. robert capozzi

    dL: Yes, but they admit to being “thick.”

    me: My sense is that some admit to some thickness, and others in that crew (Block, iirc) claim to a have particularly fundamentalist NAPster stance. I’m not 100% on this, but I think Woods tends to be a fundamentalist NAPster as well, but he carves out a few issues where he is thick, e.g., immigration, iirc.

    If that characterization is in the neighborhood of accurate, I appreciate the candor of allowing for carve-outs, even if I don’t agree with the carve-outs. Personally, I find fundamentalist NAPsterism to be the bigger impediment against the LM being an effective force in the Public Square of Ideas and Politics.

  18. dL

    me: My sense is that some admit to some thickness, and others in that crew (Block, iirc) claim to a have particularly fundamentalist NAPster stance. I’m not 100% on this, but I think Woods tends to be a fundamentalist NAPster as well, but he carves out a few issues where he is thick, e.g., immigration, iirc.

    I will re-quote Hoppe from “Realistic Libertarianism”

    In light of this, as a right-libertarian, I would of course first say to my children and students: always respect and do not invade others’ private property rights and recognize the State as an enemy and indeed the very anti-thesis of private property. But I would not leave it at that. I would not say (or silently imply) that once you have satisfied this requirement “anything goes.” Which is pretty much what ‘thin’ libertarians appear to be saying! I would not be a cultural relativist as most “thin” libertarians at least implicitly are. Instead, I would add (at a minimum): be and do whatever makes you happy, but always keep in mind that as long as you are an integral part of the worldwide division of labor, your existence and well-being depends decisively on the continued existence of others, and especially on the continued existence of white heterosexual male dominated societies, their patriarchic family structures, and their bourgeois or aristocratic lifestyle and conduct. Hence, even if you do not want to have any part in that, recognize that you are nonetheless a beneficiary of this standard “Western” model of social organization and hence, for your own sake, do nothing to undermine it but instead be supportive of it as something to be respected and protected.

    Block is the one the few libertarians who have expressed a very high regard for Hoppe who nonetheless have publicly countered Hoppe’s “thick libertarianism.”
    [Block: Plumb-line Libertarianism: A Critique of Hoppe]
    https://reasonpapers.com/pdf/29/rp_29_10.pdf

    However, I’m not certain Block still holds to his “thin” views.

    NOTE: Although I consider myself a thin libertarian, my thinness has nothing to w/ NAP. I define “thinness” in terms of impersonal obligations(duties owed to no one). So, obviously, I categorically reject the Hoppean commitment to white patriarchy expressed above.

  19. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Thanks for reminder on thin-thick libertarianism and relevance to today’s debate.

    George D’s comment “But just a tactical maneuver. Paleos have their own ideology, and their own social agenda, that’s every bit as ‘thick’, or non-NAPster, as their opponents.”

    Thanks for neat summary I shall save for the future!!

    Though considering NAP is only about refraining from engaging in force and fraud, not about refraining from living your life as you want or criticizing those who make different choices, I don’t even know how they get to creating “thick” libertarianism idea.

  20. George Dance

    GD – “[Paleolibertarian ideology], so big in the glory days of the Ron Paul Survival Report, is less popular these days, they tend to call themselves ‘thin libertarians’ who believe in NAP and only NAP”
    dL- “No, they don’t call themselves “thin libertarians” … they admit to being “thick.”

    Oh, bullshit; they explicitly define ‘thick’ libertarianism as leftist, “part of a larger project opposed to all forms of oppression”. (Rockwell), as the belief that “We also need to have left-liberal views on religion, sexual morality, feminism, etc., because reactionary beliefs among the public are also threats to liberty. This is “thick” libertarianism.” (Woods)

  21. George Dance

    Carol Moore – “Though considering NAP is only about refraining from engaging in force and fraud, not about refraining from living your life as you want or criticizing those who make different choices, I don’t even know how they get to creating “thick” libertarianism idea.”

    I think it’s because every actual libertarian in the world is ‘thick’ – meaning only that there’s more to their own ethics and ideology, than the NAP.

    NAP by itself doesn’t describe anyone’s ideal society, nor does it supply the means to it. All that it does is limit, or constrain, people’s beliefs and acts in one area – the use of force – which is necessary to the ideal world, but certainly not sufficient to spontaneously bring it into existence.

    Of course, I’d argue that because every thinking person, and therefore every thinking libertarian, is ‘thick’, that libertarianism should be ‘thin’ – it needs to be a coalition of people of different moralities and ideologies, who agree only on that one constraint.

  22. Thomas L. Knapp

    “a coalition of people of different moralities and ideologies, who agree only on that one constraint”

    A nice vision. But there’s a problem with it over on the Rothbardian side. Rothbard didn’t see non-aggression as a constraint that people of different moralities and ideologies might share or rally around. He saw it as the foundation of a single specific system:

    “No one may threaten or commit violence (‘aggress’) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a nonaggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.” (“War, Peace, and the State,” 1963)

    That allows for one, and only one, “right” answer to every question or problem, said answer to be deduced entirely from one contextless principle and then stacked into a brittle tower of findings that will collapse if a single such deduction underlying a bunch of others should not prove out. No wonder the paleos feel the need to build “thick” bundles of such findings in the hope that the thing will hold together. And no wonder they go bugfuck and start screaming “smear” at any hint that any of their findings might actually require defense rather than mere pronouncement.

  23. dL

    Oh, bullshit; they explicitly define ‘thick’ libertarianism as leftist,

    Thick vs thin libertarianism is not left-libertarianism vs right-libertarianism.

  24. George Dance

    GD – “Oh, bullshit; they explicitly define ‘thick’ libertarianism as leftist”
    dL – “Thick vs thin libertarianism is not left-libertarianism vs right-libertarianism.”

    I agree with that 100% – and that paleos are (in consequence) thick.

    I’m saying that paleos define it differently (and incorrectly) as a tactical maneuver, because the U.S. has changed in 25 years; they pose as ‘thin libertarians’ because that’s easier to defend these days.

    I’m not defending that; but it is something I learned the hard way, in the fallout over Jeffrey Tucker’s essay on “humanitarians” vs. “brutalists”. Of course that’s just 2 different kinds of ‘thick’ libertarians – classical liberals vs. paleos – but the paleos, from Woods to Cantwell (not to mention those who took issue on facebook with my blogging Tucker’s essay), all tried to reframe the issue as thickness vs. thinness, with themselves as the thin men.

  25. itdoesntmatter

    For all the love of Lew Rockwell, he could be a Trump speechwriter, especially on promoting police brutality. He did it first (and better?). I don’t know how anyone going around calling people “statists” can worship a guy who wrote major op-eds on allowing police to act as judges and mete out immediate “street justice.” That speech Trump gave on the police not needing to be so careful putting suspects in the car could have been dumbed-down Rockwell.

  26. paulie

    To be fair to Rockwell, he changed his tune on the police since then. But since he is now showering our own Dear Leader with praise he obviously hasn’t changed it nearly enough.

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