Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis.) A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)
So neat to hit it off so well with Steve Hogarth of Marillion! We talked about the work he’s proudest of, how Marillion fans’ devotion made them Internet pioneers, whether the popularity of forgettable music bothers him, what’s next for Marillion, and more. Have a listen! (And subscribe to the Tom Woods Show on iTunes or Stitcher.)
I wonder what Walter Williams would think of the suggestion that the libertarian movement is “too white,” or that it’s that way because libertarians are gratuitously mean to nonwhites or have not abased themselves sufficiently. The Anarchist Notebook writes:
I like to consider myself a calm person. Most of the time. But I lose all patience when someone throws out the word “privilege” out of nowhere. Usually, it’s because the person who employs the word is using it while making a highly judgmental, snide, haughty and ignorant remark about someone else.
For example, I was once accused of denying my “white privilege” when explaining why I had no college debt. I insisted that the fact that I had attended an inexpensive, in-state university, worked through high school saving up for college, spent next to no money during the school year, and lived in a old miner’s shack my last quarter while graduating a year early had something to do with it.
No. It was solely because there is some mystical power called “white privilege” that enabled me to pay my bills and not take out a loan.
Just as a side note, when someone says “privilege,” most of the time they really mean someone else made better life choices and are enjoying the fruits, while they made poor choices and are suffering for it but refuse to accept responsibility for it.
You’d think that as libertarians, these people would be interested in attacking the obvious privileges that the State enjoys, such as a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, money, taxation, and countless other immunities granted to its members which do not apply to ordinary citizens.
Silly me to think that. Apparently the real problem facing our society isn’t the Federal Reserve, the National Defense Authorization Act, the Patriot Act, NSA surveillance programs, drone strikes, undeclared wars, or warrant-less searches. These are not the greatest threat to our liberties, according to these so-called libertarians.
So what is?
White male privilege with Bitcoin.
You read that right.
The argument started when a female libertarian accused Bitcoin of having white male privilege because its users are overwhelming white men.
This is the kind of argument one would expect to get from conventional political thinking – which is really no thinking at all. Nowhere in this assessment does the libertarian attempt to provide evidence for their highly contentious and facile assertion. Nor do they raise any thought-provoking questions, such as what constitutes “privilege” and what it has to do with libertarianism. If no one’s rights are being violated, then what concern is it of ours?
Bitcoin, in case you don’t know, is an open sourced digital currency anyone can use anywhere in the world. Unlike a central bank, it is run by no one.
This is one of many, many reasons why I so despise the use of the word “privilege.” It’s a cop out for someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about to make judgments based on superficial observations.
One has to ask if this person had even tried using Bitcoin – or maybe the question answers itself.
One simple question could have settled this for her.
1. What part of Bitcoin gives white males an advantage or privilege in terms of its use that other people do not receive, and in what way are people’s rights violated by this?
The answer, of course, is none.
Yesterday the Libertarian Republic published this column, in which the writer discusses this feud within the context of a bigger argument that libertarians need to branch out more to attract people beyond the white male demographic. The writer is vague in terms of details and concrete steps to take, but it’s fairly apparent what they’re implying. We need to stop talking so much about economic issues such as critical theory and talk more about issues like privilege – things that progressives and leftists love to preach on.
Tom Woods has written on these types of libertarians, saying:
Unfortunately, this kind of thinking dominates a certain wing of the libertarian movement, which congratulates itself for its “thick” libertarianism, as opposed to the (I guess) thin kind embraced by the rest of us. Yes, yes, they concede, nonaggression is the key thing, but if you really want to promote liberty you can’t just oppose the state. You have to oppose “the patriarchy,” embrace countercultural values, etc.
Then, once libertarianism has been made to seem as freakish and anti-bourgeois as possible, these same people turn around and blame the rest of us for why the idea isn’t more popular.
In the 1850′s, abolitionists, the only group opposing slavery on moral grounds, comprised a paltry 2% of the voting population. Clearly only a specific demographic believed in emancipation and pushed for it. Was that due to privilege? Or could there perhaps have been other factors involved?
We should be less concerned with the demographic make-up of the liberty movement and more concerned about maintaining its integrity and core beliefs.
Those who join the libertarian movement must accept that their beliefs are not popular and may never be popular. There also maybe social repercussions for it. They may suffer for what they believe. If they’re only interested in what’s popular, they’ve come to the wrong place.
Subscribe to the Tom Woods Show on iTunes or Stitcher — every day it’s an interesting guest with something to teach us about history, the economy, philosophy, civil liberties, and plenty of unexpected stuff, too. Over at iTunes check out the list of programs so far — you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store. And thanks!
The war in Iraq began 11 years ago this month. Here’s an excerpt from a recent episode of the Tom Woods Show, in which Scott Horton demolishes the typical claims advanced for the war once and for all, including the low-level-neocon fallback position: “Saddam shipped the WMDs to Syria!”
I talked to Burt Folsom, author of New Deal or Raw Deal? How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America on the Tom Woods Show not long ago. Have a listen.
Writes Michael Matt:
I wonder if it’s possible for so many of our modern churchmen to be any more out of touch with reality than they already are. They keep making grand and solemn statements to the world about this and that social issue, almost as if the world hadn’t stopped listening some twenty-five years ago. With all due respect, exactly who in the world do they imagine still cares? On any given day, Miley Cyrus has more social impact on society than any ten princes of the Church combined. If they realized this perhaps they’d start trying to say things that actually matter to real people, rather than just media people.
Media people are not the real people. The ones I lived with in Rome during the last conclave, for example, care much more about good Roman restaurants than Roman Catholic rituals. A casual observer watching them at work, however, buzzing around with their cameras and high-tech microphones, might have come away with the impression that these guys really do care about all things Catholic. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
So if a cardinal or a pope evaluates the world’s reaction to his words by the media’s reaction, he’ll likely end up with a fairly skewed notion of reality, if not utterly oblivious to the fact that in the real world—in the bars, cafes, stadiums, workplaces, kitchen tables and churches—nobody cares. The scandal has been too great, the words too vapid, the dumbing down too complete, the liturgy too stupid, and too many churchmen just too silly to matter anymore—which is why millions have opted out of the Church altogether.
Erik Voorhees writes:
MtGox is gone. So let’s prepare ourselves.
On Tuesday, and for the rest of the week, all hell will break lose in the media. It will be blamed on MtGox, it will be blamed on Bitcoin, it will be blamed on the “bug,” and it will, more than anything, be blamed on the “lack of regulation.” Pundits and “experts” of all types will weigh in on the calamity. It will be world news in a matter of hours.
Get ready, because it will be an ugly week.
For all of you who lost money, my heart goes out to you. Some people lost a little, some lost a fortune. It will make people sick, and depressed, and full of grief. Personally, I had over 550 BTC in Gox. I will never get any of that back. If misery loves company, then we’ll be enjoying a grand feast today.
I should have known better, of course. I take responsibility for leaving those funds with an entity that had proven incompetence repeatedly. I chose to ignore even my own warnings, for nothing more than the sake of convenience.
Gox is still at fault, to be sure, but I have learned the lesson. I hope it is not such an expensive lesson for others. And for all you observers, please take a moment to consider it as well.
Be mindful, however, that the wrong lessons are not learned, for that would be the true tragedy, indeed.
Let me suggest that the lesson is not that Bitcoin is broken. Bitcoin is fine.
Similarly, the lesson is not that security is impossible. Those who know what they are doing, can achieve it and help others to do so.
The lesson is not that nobody can be trusted. There are countless good men and women in this community who are worthy of trust, and some of the very best people I’ve ever met.
And finally, the lesson is not that we ought to seek out “regulation” to save us from the evils and incompetence of man. For the regulators are men too, and wield the very same evil and incompetence, only enshrined in an authority from which it can wreck amplified and far more insidious destruction. Let us not retreat from our rising platform only to cower back underneath the deranged machinations of Leviathan.
The proper lesson, if I may suggest, is this: We are building a new financial order, and those of us building it, investing in it, and growing it, will pay the price of bringing it to the world. This is the harsh truth. We are building the channels, the bridges, and the towers of tomorrow’s finance, and we put ourselves at risk in doing so.
We are at risk from accidents. We are at risk from fraud, from corruption, and from evil. We are at risk from journalists seeking headlines and from politicians seeking power and glory. We are at risk from the very market we are trying to build – a market which cares not about our portfolio, our ambitions, or our delicate sympathies.
For all these risks, devastation will befall us repeatedly. Some of us will be discouraged. Some will be ridiculed and insulted. Some will be tricked, or swindled. Some of us will be crushed or caged. We will be set upon by all manner of antagonists, repeatedly, for a long time.
So why do we do it? Why do we build these towers that fall down upon us? Why do we toil and strain and risk our precious time, which is the only real wealth we possess?
Because the world needs what we’re building. It needs it desperately. If that matters to you, as it does to me, then hold to that thought. You will see through the smoke, and your wounds will heal.
So shake it off, brothers, for this won’t be the last calamity endured before the win.
Tonight, my heart is with you all.
Tomorrow, my head is down. My eyes are open. And I am building.
Toward peace and freedom,
Michael Huemer, author of The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey, joined me last week to discuss some of the common arguments — e.g., social contract, majority rule, etc. — advanced on behalf of the state. A great show!
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