By ilana mercer
Paul Gottfried’s essay, “Are Bannon’s Critics For Real?”, dispenses with the no-brainer that Steve Bannon, “Breitbart executive and Donald Trump adviser,” is a white nationalist. After all, argues Gottfried, Bannon “comes from the world of Washington politics and journalism,” not exactly a hotbed of white identity politics. It’s “not at all clear to me that those who write for Bannon’s website publication, some of whom are Orthodox Jews, have much to do with white identitarians who also use the term ‘Altright,’” contends Gottfried.
As co-originator of the Alternative Right concept and phrase, Gottfried is in the know. Continue reading
Today, I’m going to look at tolerance, particularly in the spheres of religion and politics. And I’m going to conclude that a world based on political and religious tolerance would be a far better place to live than today’s world of out of date, failing states and superstates.
This essay arose out of three recent posts at the Libertarian Alliance blog, all on or related to the subject of religious tolerance; by Keir Martland, Stephen Moriarty and Sean Gabb. For which, I thank all three; though I’m not replying specifically to any one of them. Continue reading
Mr Martland, for the moment, thinks religious toleration is a good thing. It is not. Religious tolerance is usually just agnosticism or atheism. Those who are just going through the motions of their own religion find it easy to believe that others are merely doing the same. I discuss below why such play-acting is so commonplace, and whether it is quite as benign as it seems. Continue reading
By Ilana Mercer
Prominent neoconservative Bill Kristol shared his election-year hallucinations with the nation. From the ashes of the Republican primaries would rise a man to stand for president against victor Donald J. Trump, a Sisyphean task that has been attempted and failed by 17 other worthies.
This individual is David French, an attorney, a decorated Iraq War veteran, and writer for the decidedly “Against Trump” National Review. Curiously, Kristol’s independent candidate is a “devout social conservative,” an evangelical who questions the merits of “de-stigmatizing” homosexuality, rejects the progressive premise upon which the transgender, potty wars are being waged, and would keep women out of combat. Continue reading
Dr. Rita Louise, Guest
The end of the world is close at hand. I know it has to be true. I saw it on TV! There are also websites all over the internet dedicated to providing us with specific information of our inevitable demise. Will it be today, tomorrow, next week or next year. Well that depend on who you talk to, where they derived their information and how they calculated the precise date and time we will all be goners. Continue reading
Right from the start I will say this: I consider stoning to be a form of torture and that therefore its practice should be outlawed. Having said that, and having gone on record as a strong supporter of Gary North’s view of things in general, here is my take on North’s apparent endorsement of stoning (at least in the past).
In the 1986 edition of his book The Sinai Strategy (TSS) North included a subchapter with the heading “In Defense of Stoning”. However, in his later, 2006 edition, that subsection was removed completely (not just “toned down”). Here are his arguments from the 1986 edition in brief:
- Stoning is cheap: “the implements of execution are available at virtually no cost”.
- It is communal: “no one citizen can regard himself as ‘the executioner’”
- By the same token, the community cannot hide behind an outsourced executioner. The “whole community is responsible for preventing criminal behaviour”.
- It is personal: “The condemned man has a right to confront his executioners face to face”.
- It is symbolic of the promise in Genesis 3:15 that the serpent’s head will be crushed.
(See North, G.: The Sinai Strategy, Tyler, Texas, 1986, pages 122-23)
What I have not found is a definitive synopsis of exactly under which circumstances (meaning for which crimes) North says that the death penalty is required for and, secondly, for which this has to be stoning. I have found, in another book of his, that he is definitely in favour of the death penalty for murderers:
I believe that the reason why libertarianism isn’t getting anywhere is that it has nothing to counter the power of utopia. It quite rightly doesn’t have a utopia of its own, but without anything of at least equal leverage, libertarianism will always fail.
In his great essay “Individualism: True and False”, Friedrich A. von Hayek points out that Adam Smith’s chief concern was “not so much with what man might occasionally achieve when he was at his best but that he should have as little opportunity as possible to do harm when he was at his worst. It would scarcely be too much to claim that the main merit of the individualism which he and his contemporaries advocated is that it is a system under which bad men can do least harm.”
Striving for a “system under which bad men can do least harm” is of course the right and proper thing to do. It’s the libertarian thing to do. It’s a good basic idea, the best possible, actually, about how to run a society. But it is my contention that it is not sufficient if libertarians ever want to have a chance to push back the bad people who, just by being in power, think they are doing good. Or who, because they think they’re good, think they have the absolute right to be in power.