I have a "zero-tolerance" policy regarding those who claim to be "conservative" but hurl baseless attacks at libertarians. Because no matter where I read or hear these attacks, they always include a great deal of misrepresentation and bald-faced lies. Which by the way, only gives limited-government ideals, both conservative and libertarian, a bad name.

It wasn't that long ago when H.L. Mencken (anarchist) and economist Murray Rothbard (anarcho-capitalist) were intellectual heroes on the American right. While libertarians and conservatives did/do have important philosophical differences, they used to respect one another and could vigorously debate without the viscous lies and attacks hurled today. After all, both were strenuously fighting against statism and in defense of limited-government.

Fast-forward a few decades and the world has changed. Neoconservatives not only entered the picture, but effectively hijacked the conservative movement ("against their respective wills"), bringing with them the philosophy and rhetorical tactics of the Trotskyite left.

Make no mistake about it, neoconservatism is a form of progressivism, which explains why they they attack libertarians so aggressively. Neoconservatives Heart Big Government!

[T]he G.O.P. was a strong government/progressive conservative party. It was the party of Lincoln, and thus of Hamilton. -- David Brooks

If the word conservative has any genuine political meaning, it is the defense of tradition, limited-government, due process, civil liberty, property rights and market freedom. This makes conservatives and libertarians natural allies.

Neoconservatives aren't interested in any of these things. They worship Roosevelt-progressivism. They believe in the leftist managerial status quo, but dress it up in traditional conservative rhetoric. When that fails (as it usually does), just like the honest progressives do, they screech "enemy!" Neocons live on slander.

The following is Mark R. Crovelli's documentation of neocon Lisa Richards lies:

The Sorry State of Neocon Argumentation

There are times in a man’s life when he must gird his loins and summon all of his powers of ratiocination in order to do battle with an intellectual opponent. The need for courage and peak performance arises whenever his opponent’s gifts of reasoning, cleverness or rhetoric exceed his own. Brave indeed is the man who enters the arena knowing full well that his opponent is armed with the intellectual equivalent of a broadsword, while he packs the intellectual equivalent of a fish knife.

There are other times in a man’s life, however, when his intellectual opponent poses no challenge whatsoever, because it is he that carries the broadsword and his opponent the fish knife. In those cases, a man need not summon all of his powers of ratiocination to enter the arena. He had still better gird his loins, though, because an idiot wielding a fish knife can safely be assumed to be ready to stick that knife wherever he – or she – can. The concepts of fair and foul play should be assumed to be beyond the grasp of an idiot.

A prime example of just this type of idiot is Ms. Lisa Richards, who writes for David Horowitz’s NewsRealBlog. Ms. Richards is apparently vying for the title of "liar par excellence" at NewsRealBlog, which is the second most coveted award at Horowitz’s site – the first being, of course, "lunatic par excellence." Richards is a truly remarkable idiot, in that she can almost effortlessly shift gears between making fallacious arguments and lying. One minute she will tell outright lies, and the next she will gracefully and almost imperceptibly construct the flimsiest straw man argument you can possibly imagine. It is an art, of sorts, and I would encourage Horowitz to give her the award.

Her recent article attempting to link libertarian anarchism to Saul Alinsky, contains not even one sentence that is not either an outright lie or a preposterous non sequitur. Take her opening paragraph, for example:

Radical libertarians are equivalent to leftist Saul Alinskyites. Both despise government and the Constitution, seeking to destroy America. Alinksy wanted a community government; radical libertarians want Rothbardian uprisings to destroy government and wealth altogether for communal equality. To accomplish this, radical libertarians demand anarchy.

This paragraph contains so many non sequiturs that it makes one think Richards is clinically insane, instead of just a run-of-the-mill idiot. First, we libertarian anarchists do indeed despise government, but from this premise how does it follow that we seek "to destroy America"? What does "destroy America" even mean? Is she really suggesting that we anarchists want all the people of America dead? If she is suggesting this, then she truly is insane. The second assertion about Rothbardian anarchists is even more ridiculous. To suggest that Rothbard or his followers seek to "destroy…wealth altogether for communal equality" is the most preposterous thing I have ever read. Richards is apparently unaware that Rothbard was an economist, and thus wrote voluminously about wealth creation, not wealth destruction. He also wrote Egalitarianism as a Revolt against Nature, and was thus no fan of "communal equality," if this awkward phrase is used by Richards as a synonym for some variant of egalitarianism. Finally, the idea that libertarian anarchists "want Rothbardian uprisings" to eliminate the state is a bald-faced lie, if she is suggesting that we Rothbardians endorse violence. We, unlike her publisher, don’t endorse aggressive violence.

Moving into the body of the article, one finds even more outright lies and non sequiturs. The next big lie comes in the form of a citation from my recent article discussing anarchism. She cites my article in the following way:

Americans assume Human nature is so intrinsically evil and depraved that, without cops walking the streets, judges locking up potheads, and politicians buying hookers and crack in Washington, the entire world would devolve into a horrifying bloodbath.

When I really wrote this:

It usually goes something like this: Human nature is so intrinsically evil and depraved that, without cops walking the streets, judges locking up potheads, and politicians buying hookers and crack in Washington, the entire world would devolve into a horrifying bloodbath.

Did you notice what she did here? She changed the first part of the sentence to read "Americans," when I never even mentioned Americans before this sentence, or even in this sentence. This gives the impression that I am "anti-American," in order to scare the easily terrified kooks who read Horowitz’s blog. For all they know from this quote, I must be an Islamo-fascist with an Italian last name (like Mussolini!) who wants to blow up the moon.

When she turns to discuss my argument, Richards, taking off her liar hat and donning her idiot hat once again, lets loose with a barrage of non sequiturs. I am charged with the following:

Crovelli’s argument is sheer stupidity. Without laws, mankind disintegrates. Society can’t survive and thrive without leadership and checking [sic] and balancing leaders [sic]. Yet Crovelli claims human nature lacks depravity, man is not "brutish," and society would work better without laws and with "the absence of police officers."

Setting aside how horribly written this is, take a gander at the gigantic non sequiturs these sentences contain. Never did I claim in my article that man needs no laws. Never did I claim in my article that man does not need "leadership" (by which, I assume, she means we need philosopher kings like Bush II). Richards is simply jumping to the conclusion that anarchy means "no laws and no leadership," but this simply does not follow from my argument. Anarchists of the Hoppean variety, like myself, do not condemn all authority, and libertarian anarchists of all stripes do not condemn laws. What we do condemn are laws that do not apply to all people equally, (e.g., don’t steal, unless you’re a tax collector), and "authority" that is rooted solely in aggression (e.g., if you smoke that plant, I will lock you up in a cage). Since this is so, Richards’ entire argument is nothing but an oh-so flimsy straw man.

Things only get worse from here, both in terms of reasoning and in terms of writing. Richards cites and responds to a Rothbard quote discussing the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian movements by claiming that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t an anarchist document. Not being content to limit her fallacious reasoning to non sequiturs, she apparently decided to mix in a little red herring for good measure. Needless to say, it is completely irrelevant to discuss the meaning of the Declaration of Independence in a discussion about the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian movements.

Richards then cites another Rothbard quote discussing the hideous immorality of war and somehow manages to describe the quote as follows:

Alinsky and Rothbard used social justice tactics – no one is evil except government and wealth. Government and laws create crime, not lawless people. Destroy both and all will be free. Radical libertarianism is anti-Jeffersonian conservative [sic]; it is Marxist.

Now, even for a person with as modest a level of intelligence as Ms. Richards, it should be obvious that Rothbard’s quote has absolutely nothing to do with "social justice tactics," whatever that phrase is intended to mean. Not only that, but to claim that Rothbard is saying that "no one is evil except government and wealth" can only be described as a non sequitur of the most childish and crassest variety. Once again, Rothbard never, ever claimed that wealth is "evil," and he never, ever claimed that only governments are "evil." He often distinguished, following the likes of Augustine and Lysander Spooner, between what he called "private criminals" and "public criminals," the latter being richer and more dangerous than the former, but existing nonetheless.

The claim here that Rothbard, and later that Ralph Raico, are Marxists is the most interesting of Richards’ many fabrications, because it reveals that she is either ignorant beyond repair or a liar of the most extreme sort. She appears to hold the sociopathic view that any people who oppose war are dangerous "leftists." She claims Raico is a Marxist because he wrote an article in 1991 (not quite his most recent article, I would hasten to remind her) celebrating the fall of the Soviet Union. How a person could think that an article celebrating the fall of the U.S.S.R. was "Marxist" is difficult to fathom, and tends to reinforce the idea that Richards is more an idiot than a liar. The same is just as true of her claim that Rothbard, the vocal critic of socialism and Marxism, was a Marxist. Pulling in the other direction, however, that she is more a liar than an idiot, is her next non sequitur; that libertarians "insist terrorists are not criminals. Instead, the military and police are." Only a liar could claim with a straight face that libertarians, the people who claim that life, liberty and property are inviolable, "insist" that terrorists are not criminals. We do say that politicians, police and soldiers are often the biggest terrorists of all, but that hardly means that "private" terrorists are less vile to us.

The rest of the article is filled with even more horrendously written, foaming at the mouth, lies and non sequiturs. The purpose of the last few paragraphs seems to be to reassure the Neocon readers of Horowitz’s loony blog that the cold war is still going on. Today’s libertarian anarchists are the new Red Menace that the Neocon crowd needs to justify the gigantic war-making and social engineering machine in Washington that all Neocons worship.

Libertarians should rejoice in her article, however. Few writers are less eloquent than Ms. Richards, and fewer still are capable of reasoning as badly as she. She has done the libertarian world a great service by exposing, even more pointedly than my article, the absolute absurdity of government. On behalf of the libertarian anarchists of the world, thank you, Ms. Richards.

  • http://blackandwhiteconservatism.wordpress.com Chris Madison

    Can we sign a yellow cone shaped hat and put it on Ms. Richards? For all of us that consider ourselves at least remotely Libertarian we owe her that service. CL, it seems you 'love' Neoconservatives just as much as I do. People label me a leftist because I'm not super gung-ho war. I must be some kind of pot smoking hippie "peace.. mannn" Argh.

  • http://thecurrent9171787.blogspot.com/ John Carey

    I'm not a libertarian, I'm a conservative. I understand the problem with neo-cons and how destructive they are to the conservative message of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a military for the defense of the nation not for nation building. If the conservative movement hopes to make strides in the future, the neo-cons must be purged. As I have told you before CL. We may not agree on all things, but we have more in common than we are different. Ms. Richards is lost in her words. Great post!

    • theCL

      Have you ever asked yourself why? After all, libertarianism is not only more compatible with the Constitution, but is the pith of the Declaration of Independence. Is there something our Founders got wrong? Libertarianism, at least according to my religious beliefs (German Lutheran), is more compatible with Christianity too. So I wonder, is your choice based on actual philosophy? Or just on rhetoric?

      There is no clash between Locke's libertarian concerns and devotion to "classical virtue." Devotees of liberty, property, and free markets have generally been moralists as well as adherents of a free-market economy. -- Stephan Kinsella

      There are of course key differences, the root of which I believe is that libertarians see liberty as the highest political end (see Jefferson) and conservatives believe government is the highest political end (see Kirk). Conservatives also are more likely to discount Natural Rights. This leads to the difference between Locke and Hobbes. For Locke, man is prior to government, for Hobbes, man is subservient to government.

      Of course, the above is a very brief and incomplete description of the underlying philosophical differences, but should provide enough for a working understanding. It is my belief that most "conservatives," if they actually understood the philosophies, would indeed call themselves libertarian and not conservative.

      Also realize, what is considered mainstream conservatism today would have been considered radical-leftism by folks like "Mr. Republican" Robert A. Taft, along with the entire Old Right of his day. More than a year ago I wrote a series of posts trying to define today's conservatism, but I couldn't, because it has nothing to do with it's roots. The best I can tell is that conservative means Republican Party cheerleading squad, a voting bloc, not a governing philosophy - Statism no problem, only those Democrats are evil.

      Thoughts?

      • http://thecurrent9171787.blogspot.com/ John Carey

        Don't get me wrong CL; I do know that conservatism has its problems. What we have here with the political parties is a tribal mentality...a kind of lord of the flies. This is why I unplugged from the Republican Party a long time ago. However unlike Patrick Henry, I do believe that we need a federal government in partnership with the states to make this thing work. I have never argued in favor of a huge federal government, but I do believe we need to find a balance; a balance that leans more towards the states. Some people that claim to be conservative know very little about true conservatism. They wear the ideology but refuse to live it. They refuse to see the advantages of a limited federal government, less regulation, and they impose their own sense of morality on others, believing they have taken the high road while those that don’t believe as them are lost. In the end this flavor of conservatism morphs into another form of tyranny just in a different flavor. I do understand that a number of our founders held libertarian beliefs; but not all. The believed in the overall cause of liberty and freedom, but many held to the idea that a more centralized control was needed. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were just a few that held onto that belief. The reason I cannot take the Libertarian leap is because I believe that they swing to far away from the Constitution and more towards the Articles of Confederation. The Articles were much too weak to hold the union together. We were beginning to follow the path of the Greeks where the states were becoming more like city states. I do applaud the libertarians for their steadfast support of individual liberties. I too believe that individual liberties must be guarded and defended at all cost. I also believe that our rights are not granted by men, but by our creator. The constitution was crafted to limit the natural drift men have towards tyranny, while creating a system of government that shared the responsibilities with states in attending to the matters of the nation. However the federal government was never supposed to become the dictating force as it is now. We have indeed strayed way off course and yes “conservatism lite” has had a hand in this. As you know when the constitution was completed many of the founders were worried that this is exactly what would happen if people did not stay engaged and informed. This is where we are at today. I also believe in a strong national defense, but for defensive purposes. Perhaps I do not have a grasp on the meaning of the conservatism you speak of and I'm just calling myself a conservative because in the end that is what I have been conditioned to do. But I do know what I believe and what I believe is that freedom is not free and we must always be ready to defend our rights against all whom would steal them away through legislative means…conservative or liberal.

        • theCL

          Yes, the Founders were far from in unison. The Constitution was quite controversial, a large percentage of the population thought it would lead to, well, where we are now. There were a lot of special interest groups behind Hamilton and his desire to replace the Articles of Confederation too. The Constitution didn't happen out of divinity.

          Hamilton wanted a monarchy and a mercantilist economy with a central bank. Yes, more or less what we have now. Jefferson wanted liberty, local control, and a free market. Jefferson did not attend the constitutional convention. He was in France at the time.

          The country split between federalists (Hamilton) and anti-Federalists (Jefferson). People who call themselves federalists today - states rights, 10th amendment - are actually in the anti-federalist camp.

          The Articles weren't too weak, that is a myth. Fast-forward to today, we are living Hamilton's Curse.

  • theCL

    People label me a leftist because I’m not super gung-ho war.

    Of course, that's one of those bald-faced lies that has been repeated so much people actually believe it! I sometimes think people must hate history, because history is the opposite of everything they believe. It was long after WWII before anyone on the right declared themselves pro-war. Today, being pro-war is a litmus test. If you don't support whatever foreign policy the Ruling Class decides, if you're not scared of every enemy the Ruling Class declares, if you're not lock-stock-and-barrel behind whatever the military is sent to do - YOU'RE ANTI-AMERICAN!

    Weird isn't it? Because that's the exact opposite of our founding.

  • http://blackandwhiteconservatism.wordpress.com Chris Madison

    CL, I propose an idea. How about for all of us folks that at least consider ourselves remotely Libertarian, we create a yellow cone shaped hat and put it on Ms. Richards' head. That sounds fair, right?

    • theCL

      Not bad, but I think I'd prefer tar and feathering! 8-O

  • http://blackandwhiteconservatism.wordpress.com Chris Madison

    Woops on the double post. I didn't refresh.. lmao.