Enough Already with the Juvenile ‘Privilege’ Nonsense

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.

Read the whole thing.

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  • manner

    This is the first time I’ve heard of the concept of critical theory in the context of libertarianism. How do they relate?

  • http://www.TomWoods.com Tom Woods

    I didn’t get that reference, either.

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    Critical theory was mentioned in the article by the Libertarian Republic as to things we should stop talking about in favor of “privilege” – why they mentioned it either, I don’t know. I brought it up only to show how ridiculous the whole debate is.

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    It was mentioned in the article by the Libertarian Republic I referenced.

  • DissidentRight

    The demographics of liberty may be irrelevant, but they are sure are interesting.

    Libertarians are disproportionately white and disproportionately male. Indeed we are much more male than any other political group, and much whiter than any leftist group. Conservatives are whiter still, though. What is it about limiting the state (or abolishing it) that white men find attractive? I mean, for every Walter Williams or Tom Sowell there are dozens (hundreds) of white libertarian leaders.

    It is not hard to see why a leftist (or left libertarian) would choose a politically correct answer: white men are disproportionately anti-state because they benefit the most from free markets. If there are other answers, they might have unsettling implications. Best not to think about them. If, for example, someone (white male) made better life choices than someone else (non-white or non-male), it might be worth wondering why they did.

    Anyway it will be hard to avoid the charge of white privilege (or simple old racism) if anyone ever tries to nullify the Civil Rights Act.

  • Mike

    “The argument started when a female libertarian accused Bitcoin of
    having white male privilege because its users are overwhelming white

    Dear, you’re not a libertarian but a nutcase feminist (that was redundant wasn’t it?).

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    I agree, it is interesting. At the same time, I get irritated when people automatically assume that anything comprised mainly of white men is by definition racist or involves “privilege.” Yet they do not apply this standard to anything dominated by a minority demographic like, say, professional sports – which for the record I don’t think involves privilege or racism, either.

    Julie Borowski did a great video exploring why there are few female libertarians like herself and some solutions to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nASPjBVQkQk

    Rather than blame it on sexism or privilege, she proposed a few possibilities that strayed from the P.C. script and got castigated for it by the Libertarian Thought Police.

  • Mike


    “….and got castigated for it by the Idiot Left Thought Police.”

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ


  • DissidentRight

    I used to get irritated by it too, but now I just accept leftist definitions wholesale. Am I a racist? Sure, why not. It’s racist to notice group differences, after all. Have I benefited from white (male) privilege? Doubtlessly: my parents are Christian, well-educated, and smarter than average. Their (white) values and care gave me a big advantage over a lot of people.

    Do I feel guilty about either? Of course not. That puts Lefties on their rear end.

    The problem is most of us have accepted the moral legitimacy of sex/race gaps. But the Left (in typical form) never demonstrated why we should care. It’s difficult to be a libertarian and an egalitarian, that’s for sure.

    Although on the topic of American sports, ironically there is substantial evidence of racial privilege.

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    I come from the same background, so I know what you mean. I too have learned not to be apologetic about it for a minute. It’s just hard to talk to people from other backgrounds because they have been thoroughly indoctrinated and conditioned to not even consider other perspectives or viewpoints. I find it nearly impossible to have a basic conversation or ask any questions about the legitimacy of government.

    Admittedly, I don’t have the solution to this problem we face. But I know it’s not our fault, either. If only one kid in a classroom thinks the earth is round and not flat, he shouldn’t be blamed for it.

  • DissidentRight

    I think we’ve already hit on the solution, all that remains is to just keep on doing it and doing it and doing it.

    Continue to talk about how Leftists are hypocritical about everything (especially race and sex), and how theft is theft, even if the State is doing it–all the while remaining classy (within reason).

    The Left didn’t get where they are through arguments, or really even political power (although it didn’t hurt). They achieved hegemony through simple repetition, 100 years of blindly drilling in the rubbish. We can do the same thing, but with the advantage of being on the side of facts and logic.

    Also, electing black democratic presidents from here on out couldn’t hurt.

  • Realistic Libertarian Whitey

    Life’s too short to get caught up in bovine excrement like this. Let the loose ends drag, and move on with life. Stupidity will exist forever.

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    Sadly, no. The modern feminist movement is made up of women who seek to emulate the mythical nihilistic, chauvinistic, misogynistic, crude, selfish, and promiscuous male pig of the 1950’s they claim to despise so much. Though they pretend otherwise. Traditional feminists jumped off that bandwagon a long time ago when they saw it was heading off a cliff.

  • Timmy Tongemans

    Here’s a funny thought. Don’t know why i had it.
    Maybe, just maybe, libertarianism is dominated by white men because women and blacks see individual freedom (as opposed to group dogma) and responsibility on the one hand, and a state considering them poor victims that need to be assisted and catered to (e.g. with affirmative action) on the other.
    Maybe, just maybe, this “privilege” is caused by white men not giving a damn about racial or gender issues and just want to go about their business without giving a hoot about state propaganda.

    Maybe Bitcoin should have implemented some sort of imposed gender quota of Bitcoin clients, and the Mises Institute should have implemented pro-black affirmative action policy.
    Seriously, it’s not rocket science why the majority of libertarians are white males. When the state wants to give you freebies because you are black or female (or pretends it wants to), it is a lot more tempting than actually having to work to get what you want without whining about everything.

  • DissidentRight

    The truth can be painful.

  • Euler

    “I mean, for every Walter Williams or Tom Sowell there are dozens (hundreds) of white libertarian leaders.” Your assumption is that Williams and Sowell are libertarians. They’re not. On “economic” issues, they support a free market. But they are pro-war. I will concede that Williams is more politically radical, though

  • Mike

    Feminism was never about equality (an impossible goal anyway. For example, I’m not equal to Calvin Johnson as an athlete. Not even close). That is a myth that should have been left in the dust long ago.

    Feminism is a child of Marxism. In the US it came from here:


  • Neoconned

    The leftist woman pretending to be a libertarian who made the initial “white privilege” charge has a hilarious twitter feed. I looked at it the other day and she had one post up trashing Hoppe and calling him a racist and sexist, and that he would turn people off libertarianism. I read another post where she was soliciting some porn star to work with her on empowering women, and that porn star woman had completely pornographic photos of herself in the act on her twitter page. I guess this idiot feminist doesn’t think that could turn anyone away from libertarianism, but Hoppe could?

  • DissidentRight

    Is your point that the leaders of the Liberty movement are even whiter than previously claimed?

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    I’m starting to think this troubled young woman has the word libertarian confused with libertine. Oops. Sort of like an guy looking for the Society for Creative Anachronism and entering the Society for Creative Anarchism.

    The whole porn thing, if what you say is true, just proves my point about modern feminism. They rail about male oppression, but think that films featuring graphic and degrading sexual acts against women by men is “liberating.”

    I’m not trying to be mean, but they have “crazy” written on them like the vacancy sign on the “Nowhere Motel.”

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    Unfortunately in this case stupidity can get a lot of media coverage and lead to misconceptions about libertarianism that takes a lot of hard work to overcome. This person in particular has access to media sources others don’t, which means they can cause more harm.

  • Euler

    Not my point. But probably true. I do think that so many libertarians are still stuck in a liberal mindset. To that end, they use Williams and Sowell as examples of our lack of racism. They’ll say, “We’re not racist, Williams and Sowell are libertarians.” To me, a conservative who is black is still a conservative. From a strategic point of view, it’s better to have all kinds of people in the liberty movement. But the rightness or wrongness of our creed is not based on the correspondence of the ethnic make-up to our movement to society in general.

  • Mike

    Well, you’re not being mean. You’re actually being nice about it. They’re not only crazy, they’re narcissistic, hateful, and hypocritical.

  • Neoconned


    Check out that link! She is tweeting to the porn name of the duke university student who has admitted she stars in adult films to pay for her tuition. I am not going to link to the porn star’s twitter feed, but if you want to see it just click the name Cathy is tweeting. It is not safe for work though, as there are several stil frame shots from her movies in her image section.

    So apparently this is the kind of stuff that will attract regular people to the libertarian movement, while Hoppe destroying the basis for the state on a historical and economic level will just run people off! Hilarious logic!

  • Neoconned

    Agreed. Look at how the term “conservative” was taken over by neocons to mean something totally different from what it once meant just a few decades ago. Don’t kid yourself into thinking the same will not happen to the meaning of “libertarian.”

  • Neoconned

    Just in case anyone does not want to follow the link, here is the exact text:

    “@belle_knox I’d really like to talk with you about working together on freedom and sex-positive feminism. DM me?”

  • Neoconned

    Yes – she is extremely hateful to most people in the libertarian movement who have actually helped change things like Hoppe. Hoppe is the main reason I became an ancap, but of course I could not have reached that level without Ron Paul, lew Rockwell, dilorenzo, woods, etc. she casually called Hoppe a racist, sexist, and homophobe just as a run of the mill Marxist would. To hell with her!

  • Mike

    By her calling Hoppe a racist, sexist, and homophobe then she’s automatically admitting she doesn’t have an argument. This kind of thing has become so routine that it’s almost funny.

  • DissidentRight

    Well of course, of course, and of course.

    But it remains that ethnic/racial proportions matter a lot to the politically correct world, and so they need to matter to us.

    However, I don’t recommend that we embrace diversity superstitions as a strategic matter, since that is a battle we can never win. (For two reasons: first because almost everyone even remotely sympathetic to libertarianism is white and second because diversity is fundamentally a cudgel to make whites feel bad about being anti-State; the Left will never accept any anti-State movement no matter how diverse.)

    The far better strategic move is for the liberty movement to do the opposite: embrace whiteness and embrace group differences. Everyone knows that large race gaps exist in education, in employment, in crime, in family values, in intelligence, etc. Conservatives (whites) have been beat over the head with the Left’s laughable explanations for these gaps for several generations, and are tired of being expected to feel guilty just so that the Left can further ruin the culture, plunder what little wealth they (average whites) have left, and elect a new pro-government population to ensure the State’s indefinite dominance.

    What we need to hear is the truth: that group differences are okay, that the whiteness of the liberty movement should make us proud to be white, and the support of blacks for big government should make them ashamed to be black.

    It’s a bit classless to engage in the same sort of cheap identity politics that the Left does, but we can be classy after we win. I don’t know if libertarians have noticed, but there is a rising tide of “racism” amidst the white grassroots–much if it maddeningly sympathetic to socialism–and the liberty movement could co-opt it easily by simply admitting that racism is okay. We are going to have to do this eventually (Civil Rights Act), so why not do it now.

  • DissidentRight

    Well, Hoppe is a racist. Or at least realistic about racism. But that should be a turn on, not a turn off.

  • Mike

    It’s because we’re exceptional.

  • Mike

    Instead of arguing with women though I think libertarian men should work on making themselves attractive to them by getting in shape, dressing presentably, learning ‘game’/realist female psychology etc. Then more women will naturally follow us.

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    Lord, have mercy on us. “Sex-positive feminism.” Only progressive make up such nonsensical terms. A woman gets paid to be degraded sexually by men, and they call it freedom. Sex-positive? As opposed to sex-negative feminism? What is that? Where a woman only has sex with her husband? (Gasp, so bourgeois!)

    It reminds me of what Linus said to Charlie Brown: You’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful thing like Christmas and turn it into a problem.

  • Mike

    No TJ. It’s “empowerment” for these chicks to make themselves into sex objects but “oppressive” when men dare to look and ogle. The contradictions and hypocrisy are sickening but still laughable at the same time.

  • http://www.anarchistnotebook.wordpress.com TJ

    Right. It’s empowering when they are in control, but they get furious when it becomes apparent they’re not. Fred Reed wrote a great column about this “I want roasted ice” mentality.


  • Mike

    It’s funny that these people have so little intelligence that they don’t even realize they’re asking for roasted ice.

    Fred’s got some good material at his site.

  • Neoconned


    Speaking of her, her dad just came back from Afghanistan to find out who her daughter is! Poor guy!

  • Neoconned

    Great point! She would be the first to go on a tirade about evil men daring to look at an attractive, scantily clad female. Yet when they perform in porn movies, that is empowering. Hilarious logic. This crazy Cathy feminist doesn’t need to be lecturing anyone on anything, let alone privilege.