Libertarianism and Rothbard: Just a Smoke Screen for Avarice and Racism?

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Did you know libertarians are either racist or believe racism is a civil right?

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Spontaneous order is one of two major assumptions in Libertarian thought. The other is the necessity of voluntary relationships. The two are closely related and make assumptions that are simply not true. These assumptions lead to outright lies.

Spontaneous order was a concept developed by Adam Smith. He believed that order arises in society spontaneously through the invisible hand of self regulation. He cites the development of language, the market economy, and the development of law. Regarding law, judges were to find the law rather than make the law. The natural law was out their lurking about, and all one had to do was to find it!

Natural law is a concept that was popular with the rise of historic liberalism, which was similar to today's libertarianism. Libertarians count as fathers, John Locke and Adam Smith. Adam Smith did not say that benefits from government could not exist, but rather were not the best way to help the poor. George H. W. Bush's thousand points of light and the importance of charity would have been praised by Adam Smith.

I support the concept of private charity. But my view of natural law is that men do have conscience but that conscience is often times violated. Therefore, while some aspects of man's progression have come through spontaneous order, many aspects of man's cruelty, greed, and racism have also been manifested by spontaneous disorder. Just as you need umpires at a baseball game, you cannot rely on self regulation when it comes to racism, markets, drug enforcement, etc.

It is a lie to say we must trust spontaneous order as civilized nations no matter what. While much of mankind's bad behavior comes from war, and so libertarians are for peace, some comes from the outworking of regular society. I am for peace as well, which would limit much of the dark behavior of man but would not eliminate it.

But spontaneous order has failed in three major areas of life:

1. Racism was not eradicated by spontaneous order. Many libertarians, such as Peter Schiff, have not just fought against affirmative action, but have also adopted the belief that employers should be able to discriminate due to race. There are videos on YouTube at the time of this posting that show Peter Schiff stating in his own words that employers should be able to discriminate due to race. I don't happen to like the videos, so the reader can search for them, but the proof is there.

I heard Peter Schiff in his own voice state the doctrine. He said, and I quote: "I think it should be legal for employers to discriminate based upon race." Schiff has claimed he belongs to the 1 percent so his comments are significant.

Needless to say, these libertarians are opposed to the 1964 Civil Rights Act which stopped the practice. How would you feel if you were a minority and were hungry and were turned away from such a basic necessity as food? If there is a natural law, those refusing to serve are certainly violating it! While I do not believe that all libertarians are racist, and Peter Schiff is not a racist, his zeal for the ideal of self regulation clouds his judgement, in my opinion.

2. Spontaneous order has failed in the market place. I think of Ronald Reagan, who turned away from his basic New Deal values to promote more freedom and deregulation of capitalism. I wonder what Reagan would have said regarding the destruction of the middle class through financial deregulation and the Repeal of Glass-Steagall, allowing for all manner of toxic and hurtful lending and the credit crisis? He trusted big business, even though Eisenhower did not and warned about the war machine and the financial and industrial complex.

Now we seem to have perpetual war as Ike's concerns have become reality. All Republicans do these days is to try to trump one another regarding war. The champion of libertarian spontaneous order in the markets, Ronald Reagan, was deceived badly, and spontaneous order in the market place was a big, big failure. Alan Greenspan believed in that same spontaneous order, or at least he used the concept to blow financial bubbles and steal on behalf of the banking community. The result are protests on Wall Street and all over the world.

What a terrible legacy Greenspan left. He never saw a market that needed regulation and he will go down in history as the libertarian who destroyed the wealth of many, as he said you could get a "better deal" by taking out an adjustable mortgage. He said so in February of 2004.

Plus, he was involved in the plunge protection team, a way to keep the stock market propped up until it wasn't. How about that behavior libertarians? I have decided that most libertarians are more greedy than they are moral. Libertarianism is just a smoke screen for theft and avarice and racism! To use the concept of higher law for one's own selfishness as an end in itself is just wicked.

3. Spontaneous order really will not help the poor and the elderly. Civilization has years of practice failing these people while waiting around for spontaneous order to kick in. Spontaneous order is just a way for wealthy people to justify dodging their taxes and responsibility. Dickens vilified Scrooge for a reason. He was a villain! So was Mr Potter in A Wonderful Life.

The reason that these stories are held in high esteem is because libertarianism is evil. There can be no other conclusion. There is a higher law, but it is revealed as mercy over justice. It is revealed as compassion over greed. It was once said, the wealthy have their reward already. Those are ominous words.

So government must exist to keep these merchants of greed in line. As the nations lose their sovereignty to the financial cabal, they will lose the ability to force societal responsibility on the wealthy. We know the answer is not communism because it failed.

The answer is a regulated capitalism, with government in charge rather than the capitalists. We have seen what happens when the capitalists are in charge. Ike warned us. You can find the speech on You Tube. Readers would do well to listen to it once again and ponder the words.

So, in summary, the spontaneous order so highly touted by libertarians is certain to fail in many instances. And the concept of voluntary relationships will bring strife to the nation. Indeed, the concept is flawed as well, as racism cannot be stopped by the hope that society will just not buy food at the restaurant that does not serve minorities. On the contrary, many racists will delight in the opportunity to shun major parts of the population in order to feed their moral decay.

The Libertarian Wall of Shame

Here is a partial list of men who believe in the libertarian (classical liberal) view of Spontaneous Order:

Adam Smith

Carl Menger

Friedrich Hayek

Milton Friedman

Paul Staines (Guy Fawkes Blogger)

John Stossel

David Stockman

Larry Summers

Ron Paul

Alan Greenspan

Peter Schiff

ludwig Von Mises

John Locke

Thomas Sowell

Murray Rothbard

Alex Jones (Exception:Alex Jones has interesting views on 911.)

No one is saying that many goods produced are the result of central planning, but clearly, racism and the credit crisis and child labor abuses are examples of the failure of spontaneous order and must be fixed by government.


You Judge Peter Schiff's Views

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Comments 28 comments

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 5 years ago from Port St. Lucie

Well, certainly an employer should judge a candidate on the basis of qualifications. I personally think the days of governmentmandating certain ratios is over. I think the time for repeal of affirmative action is over.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Perhaps so, but that is not all the Libertarians want. They want institutional racism and a repeal of the capacity of the customer to determine where they will eat. Their position is disgusting.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Excellent analysis Bgamall. The assumption of Spontaneous Order occurring is only possible in a utopia. Human beings do not operate in this realm. Greed and avarice eventually take over as you stated. That is why Libertarianism and limited government never work. They would lead to revolution.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Great point, Schneider, libertarianism is a utopian ideal. But it is a very hurtful ideal as it plays out in practice.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK

This hub makes complete sense to me. We all like to take liberties; we’re only human; that’s why we have to have rules and regulations. What else was the struggle for universal suffrage about - if not for the vote to give everyone some influence in making the laws and regulations under which decent society functions best?

I don't know much about US political terms, but it seems to me that libertarianism, (another ism) is just a euphemism for the law of the jungle - the survival of the fittest - the fittest being those with the sharpest claws in the economic jungle.

I think Ike said many wise things. Reading his Wikiquote page can be quite emotional, but I think the following one in particular has some relevance today: "Un-American activity cannot be prevented or routed out by employing un-American methods; to preserve freedom we must use the tools that freedom provides."


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Well said, Millar.


Scottmonster profile image

Scottmonster 5 years ago from Washington, D.C.

While I like the hub, I think you paint libertarians with a broad brush. Greenspan for instance, was a libertarian, but also an ayn rand style objectivist. His economic policies were informed more from his belief in individualism than libertarianism. I just have to note as well, that many Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act. One might believe that there are social ills without thinking that the government is the best institution to deal with them.

Libertarianism includes many branches which are the opposite of individualism. Social libertarians for instance probably have more in common with socialists than capitalists.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

I understand what you are saying, but mainstream libertarianism believes in spontaneous organization. It is a bogus doctrine that must be repudiated. The government is the best institution to deal with racism. No one else dealt with racism.

You are utopean in your thinking Scott, because we are stuck with government as a solution to some injustice, acknowledging that government creates injustice sometimes as well. But Scott, we are stuck with government, so get over it.

We have to make sure, pragmatically, that government works for the prosperity of Americans and not against it.


Scottmonster profile image

Scottmonster 5 years ago from Washington, D.C.

Actually pal, I'm not a libertarian at all. I believe in government and am shocked to live in a country where people refused to fill out their Census, but will give all that info and more to any company without even reading the contracts they signed. I trust democracy more than the free market and company's with CEOs who are totally unaccountable.

I never said you were wrong about anything, only broad. Pretty quick to jump to the conclusion that I'm the very fool you wrote your hub about. A little defensive are we?


TeaPartyCrasher profile image

TeaPartyCrasher 5 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

Permission to share on FB?


Brooke Lorren profile image

Brooke Lorren 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

If I recall, it was the government telling businesses that they couldn't serve specific people because of their race in the South. I'm sure that some people went along with it, but not every white person believed in segregation.

We could definitely use a little more libertarianism in this society. Why should the government tell me what kind of milk I can drink? If you think that it's unsafe, don't drink it! There's way too much nit-picking going on in the government.

Libertarian principles work best in a disciplined society, where people get up in the morning, have a productive day at work, and take responsibility for themselves. In the absence of that, you need to have some regulation. However, as government can be as much of a problem as the individual, as little government as possible is preferable.

We can't have mob rule, but we need more freedom than we have today.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Scott, I was just pointing out that libertarians strongly believe that government is not the way to solve social ills. In most cases that is false, so I am just attacking the libertarian positions, not you. Sorry.

Teapartycrasher, feel free to post to Facebook with excerpts, but don't post the whole article.

Brook, everyone should be skeptical of government, but also equally skeptical of libertarianism which is an inflexible religion of self.

We have a big problem with libertarianism because Rothbard called himself an anarcho-capitalist, hardly a word that doesn't have mob rule, or elite mob rule written all over it.


TeaPartyCrasher profile image

TeaPartyCrasher 5 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

How about this--I post excerpts and a link to your "HubPage"


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Sure, that would be great. Thanks.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I don't know is all about this recialism. When will aver die out? It does so much hurt and harm.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

It does, Hello, and is a sad result of stupid libertarian assumptions regarding voluntary relationships in the public sector.


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 5 years ago

What a crock!Spontaneous order means nothing to a mom or a military veteran. Order is anything but spontaneous.

This is a great job of exposing "stupid libertarian assumptions". I have been trying to hear them out for the longest time and now you revealed why I cannot listen to them for very long.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks for the encouragement. They need to be outed.


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 5 years ago from USA

your faith in government is worrying.

This statement:

"The answer is a regulated capitalism, with government in charge rather than the capitalists."

even more so.

Is not a government just people? Are you saying "government" people are not corruptible, or not subject to the same human failings of avarice and greed as the people of the corporations you imply are villainous?

Surely then you must hold our congressional representatives in higher esteem than the rest of the general public that is giving them something near an 18% approval rating.

which government run program would you cite as a successful example of social engineering? Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? How about successful government service ventures - the postal service? What about government life support programs? Medicare, or maybe SSI?

Government's ONLY jobs should be those given to it by the people. Do you dispute that as electors we have put a lot of shady characters and knuckleheads in office? And you want those people controlling capitalism?

On the flip-side, there is a lot wrong with "Wall Street" and the things the financial market gets away with, but if they are able to buy the politicians that enable them to do the things they do now, why would they not just buy the politicians involved in the "new" regulated capitalism you think is the answer?

There are more than enough documented policies and anecdotal evidence to confirm my belief that the government efforts pushing lending institutions to make loans to unqualified applicants - in their effort to social engineer the equality of home ownership, was as big a factor in the credit crisis, if not bigger, than the misdeeds of the financial market and their bogus mortgage bundles and derivatives.

GA


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Of course I am worried about my faith in government. You hope the police are honest. You hope the umps provided by the Recreation Center are honest.

But you accept that umps and police are necessary.

But you are wrong about the government pushing the shadow banks into making loans to unqualified applicants. They did it for greed. Take a look at the chart in this link below and you will see that the ACORN insured part of the bubble was minuscule compared with the greedy private MBS rated AAA that took over in mid 2003. You won't see Faux tell you this: http://www.businessinsider.com/you-can-hate-fed-be...


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 5 years ago from USA

Well... using that link is almost as bad as me using Fox News, but anyway.

I must not have made my point clearly. I did not mean to imply that it was ALL governments fault. Of course there was "greed and avarice" on the side of the private market, but....

and this is the but, I believe it was our governments actions that facilitated that greed and avarice.

For one point - your referenced chart covers a 9 year period, of which only three years were documented as the private market having a larger contribution than the Federally associated programs.

It also appears that the period of private segment dominance coincides with the span of government efforts to facilitate home ownership, ie. programs and policies that enabled the private sector to lessen their risks via "shadow-banking" accounting, and Federal risk-loss positions. For instance - allowing lenders to count Food stamps as income to qualify for a loan! With the lenders knowing they were going to bundle those mortgages and sell them as securities.

The private greed was there - but it couldn't have continued without a little Federal abetting.

But back to your chart - why did the Federally related funds become almost the sole holder/issuer of mortgage securities from late 2007 onward? I think it's because they were accepting the trash MBS packages that the private sector was dumping.

You see, I think the "greed and avarice" is on both sides of the fence. But I also think the governments portion of it is worse because they were the "purchased" facilitators. They changed the rules which had restricted these type of activities. Why? because BIG Money bought them.

Or at least that's my view, and that's why I don't want governmental capitalism. I want the government regulation needed to ensure there is sunlight illuminating a level playing field. Then - get the hell out of the way until it's time to bring the full force of the law down on the greedy sneaks that still try to fix the game.

GA


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Excuse me? That was my article. But let's talk about it. You say that this was corresponding to the CRA. No, the CRA stopped, as Barry Ritholz has also said, in mid 2003. They stopped their contribution, a small one, to the bubble. Fox lies about that continually.

And the issue of Fannie and Freddie taking on the toxic trash mortgages that the private sector dumped in 2007 is very astute of you and I believe is correct as well.

But the point of the chart is that the big bubble was private, and actually came from Basel 2 in 1998 that allowed the framework for mass securitization and for hiding toxic loans off balance sheet.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall allowed all of this. That was the killing of regulation that allowed the bubble.

The international banking cartel, and the shadow banking system, had it's way with America.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I wish you were in my Facebook clique. I'm the least qualified individual in a group called "Economic Paradigm Shift Group" - I'd love to read your comments were you in that group of whizzes.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Well, I will take a look, Wesman. No guarantees. And Niall, thanks for the encouragement.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

Very interesting points in this hub. One thing I would like to point out to a few commenters is that it was the Southern branch of the Democratic party that was against desegregation. Actually, under the New Deal many places in the US had far more integregation in the work place for the first time ever. Truman, another Democratic president, was responsible for desegregating the mmilitary. Many of the Dixiecrats switched to the Republican party after the passage of the Equal Rights and Voting Rights Act.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Well said SweetiePie.


verizon-hurts-sip profile image

verizon-hurts-sip 4 years ago

This was a moderately entertaining straw man rant.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

No, spontaneous order is a real basis for libertarianism. In fact, it is the basis for the credit crisis and the housing bubble that caused the credit crisis.

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