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Friday, December 28, 2007

Walter Block: Ron Paul Is Libertarian Litmus Test

Radical libertarian economist Walter Block of Loyola University yesterday posted an open letter to libertarians:
In my view, the "Ron Paul question" constitutes a litmus test for libertarians. Simply put, the "Ron Paul question" consists of determining whether or not a person supports Dr. Paul. If so, as I see matters, he passes this test and can be constituted a libertarian; if not, his credentials are to that extent suspect. So, who is failing this exam? [...]

[I]mmigration and abortion are highly unsettled issues in our community. I regard Murray Rothbard, Hans Hermann Hoppe and Stephan Kinsella as three of the most gifted libertarian theoreticians that have ever graced our movement. All three disagree with me and Paul’s critics on these two matters. As I stated here, when expert libertarian philosophers disagree with each other, it is a bit much to declare either side anti- or non-libertarian. It is therefore highly improper to castigate Dr. Paul for taking a position on immigration and abortion incompatible with libertarianism, no matter how much, nor how fervently, we disagree with Paul, Hoppe, Rothbard and Kinsella on these two issues, as I do. [...]
Block goes on to wave away the objection by radical libertarian philosopher Roderick Long that Paul's alleged deviations on immigration and abortion and gay rights are comparable to, say, Georgetown's libertarian law professor Randy Barnett's alleged deviation in favor of libervention in Iraq. Block cites his own takedown of Barnett's defense of libervention in Iraq, but Barnett's argument (that nation-building in Iraq is "self-defense against Islamic jihadists") is an embarrassment to this liberventionist. Stronger arguments are available from me and from Starchild.

1 comment:

Thomas L. Knapp said...

This "you're with Paul or you're against liberty" nonsense is widespread right now, but I am particularly disappointed to see even a weak riff on it from Dr. Block.

Interestingly, I've been coming around a bit regarding Paul's candidacy -- and the main brake on that change of attitude is the Stalinist garbage that seems to be LewRockwell.Com's bread and butter right now.