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Monday, July 11, 2011

Has LewRockwell.com Ever Heard of This Site Called Mises.org?

While some libertarians claim that "[libertarians] do not condone aggression [against government officials] whatsoever," others write articles calling for the death of the head of the FTC. (Yes, Oliva is smart enough not to come right out and say it in so many words, but follow the logic: Tyrants should always end the way Charles I did: killed. The head of the FTC is a tyrant. Therefore...) Mr. Horn, if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

15 comments:

  1. Some holes in your post:

    (1) Oliva actually isn't calling for the execution of the head of the FTC. Maybe he wants that; I don't know too much about him. But if I say, "I think that lady in Florida killed her daughter and was guilty of murder," I'm not therefore calling for her to receive the death penalty, even though a blogger could construe it as such with ellipses.

    (2) Instead of saying, "Has LRC ever heard of Mises.org," it would be more accurate to ask, "Does Norman Horn have the ability to predict what Skip Oliva will blog about a year in the future, and the webmaster of Mises.org won't delete once it comes to his attention?"

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  2. "Oliva actually isn't calling for the execution of the head of the FTC."

    Bob, I did say it was implicit, but you do understand the translation of the Latin title, correct? The execution of Charles I is held up as a shining example of how "tyrants" should be treated, and the post is titled "thus always to tyrants." Then the head of the FTC is listed as a tyrant. Just do the syllogism for yourself. And he quite explicitly says tyrants should be punished, and what is the big example of appropriate punishment he offers us? Execution!

    "Does Norman Horn have the ability to predict what Skip Oliva will blog about a year in the future, and the webmaster of Mises.org won't delete once it comes to his attention?"

    If Norman Horn had merely said "I don't believe in violence against government officials," he would have been on solid ground. But he said libertarians don't. Do I need to go and dig up more examples like this, or do you recall a little web site we were involved in where a bunch of the posters were enthusiastic about setting up a payment system for assassinating government officials? (I know you didn't approve.)

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  3. Gene, it's dishonest to take "implicit" meaning as explicit unless you've asked the author what he meant.

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  4. Gene, it's dishonest of you to use "implicit" meanings and post them when you haven't asked the author what was meant.

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  5. OK, Matthew, you've come to my site and called me a liar. Did you notice that right in the original post I wrote, "Yes, Oliva is smart enough not to come right out and say it in so many words..."

    So right in the original post I said I was discussing the implicit meaning! (And also, if you ask the author the meaning is no longer implicit, is it?)

    I expect an apology.

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  6. I love these crappy cowards who think it is cool to wander the Internet anonymously and demean people's character: "Matthew's" profile is completely anonymous.

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  7. So Matthew, who has now lost his posting privileges, has written back. In his "response," he does not for a second try to defend his accusation that I was lying. Instead, he introduces the totally irrelevant truth that lying is not as bad as murder. Well, true, but so what? I never accused Oliva of murder: I accused him of endorsing a train of reasoning that would justify the murder of the head of the FTC. So this idjits defense of himself is that what he (falsely) accused me of (and he never even tries to dispute my demonstration that his claim was false) is not as bad as what I never accused Oliva of.

    Well, there you have it.

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  8. Mr. Callahan,

    You've mischaracterized Oliva's post. It is clearly not a call to agression but an insightful observation of a legal concept. It doesn't even approach the barbaric claims you make.

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  9. It seems to me there's something else going on here: Oliva is using very conventional American libertarian rhetoric, which talks a big game about tyranny and revolution, but which never entails the kinds of actions historically associated with fighting tyranny. Oliva isn't sneakily urging violence, it's that he's indulging in the shared libertarian fantasy that one can be radical and harmless at the same time.

    Why not make more polite arguments, without a lot of melodrama about tyrants and assassins, to get a libertarian point across? The libertarian philosophy could stand to be separated from the habitual immaturity of libertarian rhetoric.

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  10. It's Dr. Callahan, Mr. Moore. But in any case, thank you for at least admitting the possibility I might be merely mistaken, rather than lying.

    However, did you read this in my first comment:
    "Bob, I did say it was implicit, but you do understand the translation of the Latin title, correct? The execution of Charles I is held up as a shining example of how "tyrants" should be treated, and the post is titled "thus always to tyrants." Then the head of the FTC is listed as a tyrant. Just do the syllogism for yourself. And he quite explicitly says tyrants should be punished, and what is the big example of appropriate punishment he offers us? Execution!"

    You don't dispute a word of it! You just say, "You are wrong."

    So where, in my above analysis, did I go wrong?

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  11. Good point, Dan. Oliva has no intention of acting on what his logic requires. Might point is rather that, when the next shooter guns down the next Giffords, he can, with perfect honesty, claim, "I'm just doing what this rhetoric called for."

    Oliva won't act on it, but a less balanced person might well do so.

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  12. I'm not going to defend the claim that "libertarians lack violence advocates", but in this particular case, after reading that post (and the recent follow-up on the Mises blog), it's clear that Oliva was defending the idea of trying an official for the specific crime of tyranny, not the execution per se.

    There are clearer, less convoluted examples you can -- and did -- find of pro-murder libertarians, like the advocates of assassination markets for politicians. Why not stick to good examples like those, instead of unnecessarily magicking up ill will where there was none?

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  13. Silas, if the head of the FTC is, as Oliva calls him, a tyrant, on what grounds might Oliva object to his assassination?

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  14. ... the lack of a trial with due process, maybe?

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  15. That is a silly answer, for two reasons:
    1) A tyrant is not likely to allow such a trial. Would it have been wrong to assassinate hitler because the third Reich would not have allowed him to be put on trial?
    2) Oliva clearly thinks the murder of Charles I was great. But he was condemned by a kangaroo court that had no legal authority: the New Model Army had used arms to expel anyone from Parliament who would resist condemning Charles (thus, the "Rump Parliament"). So Oliva clearly doesn't care about any "due process" nonsense!

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