“Gun control [properly understood] is we the people getting whatever arms we want, and telling the government what they’re allowed to have.” –Spike Cohen

Libertarians have long argued that the purpose of the second amendment, and the right to keep and bear arms is not the national guard, it is hunting, it is not defense against private criminals, and it’s not even keeping the King of England out of your face, as The Simpsons once put it-it’s keeping the king of Washington out of your face.  In short, it’s about defense against tyranny.  It is the right of rebellion made manifest, and it is the last check and balance in defense of liberty.

Let me be clear:  I have absolutely no desire for civil war (not looking forward to any big boogaloo of any kind), nor do I think that our system has degenerated far enough where armed rebellion is remotely morally or practically appropriate.  But the threat needs to always be there, ideally so that the simple threat will keep our politicians in line enough so that more drastic action is ever necessary.

That said…whenever this argument is posited, inevitably someone thinking themselves clever says something to the effect of “what about nukes and drones?” or “yeah sure, Bubba and his 50 extra pounds and CPD, and his single shot AR are gonna do great against the entire US military”, usually followed by something like “the second amendment is outdated”, “submit”, or general accusations of craziness.

Yeah…that whole argument is garbage for a multitude of reasons.  Let’s dissect them.

First, nukes.  Simply put, the chance of the US government using nukes on its own people is pretty damn low.  Not because the feds are moral exemplars-I’m sure they would if they could do so consequence free-but because it would destroy the prize.  A civil war is almost by definition about controlling territory rather than destroying it.  No matter how much war by its nature destroys, it’s very unlikely that any tyrannical government would destroy its own home beyond its ability to send troops to stand on it.

Next, dronesMillennium Challenge 2002 put that to rest pretty damn quick.  Drones are nifty tech, but they’re not invulnerable or inescapable.  New problems demand new solutions, and this is an area where new solutions have already been prepared in abundance.

More generally, how about a high tech, numerically superior military vs. a scrappy band of freedom fighters?  First off, that sound you hear is anyone who’s ever studied history laughing in Afghani, Iraqi, Vietnamese, and a host of others.  Second, wars of attrition are expensive and morally complicated at best for the crowds back home.

So…how conquerable is the US, really?  Answer:  not very.  Any civil war would almost certainly divide the United States military, meaning that its full strength could never be brought to bear on  a particular rebel group for very long.  Next, the United States is big, with incredibly varied geography and terrain.  Finding someone in all of that, with at least something of a friendly populace, would be guaranteed to wreck havoc.

Or in other words, any rebellion, however undersized, would probably have a surprisingly good chance of tying up the United States federal government for years, and given that an insurgency really just has to outlast rather than win, well…

Again, I have absolutely zero taste or desire for civil war, for any number of reasons.  But to say that the second amendment is a dead letter because private citizenry with simpler weaponry couldn’t stand up against the US war machine is both terrible on principle and ignorant of reality.

 

A few days ago a draft Supreme Court decision on abortion, authored by Samuel Alito, leaked.  The reactions are…exactly what you’d expect.  Pro-choice folks are up in arms and out in the streets, pro-lifers are cheering, libertarians are split, and lots of smarmy accusations of hypocrisy are flying through the virtual air.

To fully examine this issue, first a general discussion of libertarian thoughts on abortion is needed, then examining the various charges of hypocrisy, and then looking at the draft itself.  NB:  I am fervently pro-choice, and remain so, but I will do my best to be fair to the pro-life arguments.

Left leaning friends of mine have asked me more than once, “why aren’t libertarians more vocal about abortion?”.  The answer is that to libertarians, who are generally used to seeing issues as very clearly right or wrong, it’s a complicated question.  Libertarianism is a philosophy that has as its fundamental unit of value the sanctity of the individual.  Every bit of our political and legal morality is (at least theoretically) based on that.  Which means, however, that where the individual begins is the breaking point of the philosophy.  At the moment science can’t clearly tell us where life begins, and arguments about viability are very easily countered by “absent modern medical intervention, this fetus would not be viable”.  Rothbard said that the mother’s property right to her own body trumps the fetus (an idea recently advanced by many pro-choice folks), to my idea that the mother’s right to control her actual life trumps the fetus’ right to potential for life.  There are also, of course, a number of arguments from practicality that are not strictly libertarian but worthy of consideration, including long term impacts of unwanted pregnancies, health consequences, a dysfunctional adoption system, and the surprising correlation between the beginnings of fully legal abortion and the drop in crime.

The pro-life arguments are that the since we don’t know where the individual begins, it’s better to err on the side of caution, or religious arguments.  Pro-life people also make arguments from practicality, especially health and psychological effects of abortion, as well as the perils of decoupling sex from consequences.

The Libertarian Party has typically come to what I feel is the best possible compromise on an essentially intractable issue, which is that abortion should be kept 100% safe and legal, but no tax dollars should ever be used to pay for one.  Either way though, it’s complicated, and I still think that while some pro-choicers are Neo-Malthusian whackjobs, and some pro-lifers are patriarchal religious nutjobs interested only in controlling women, generally speaking people of good conscience can hold views on both sides of the issue.

Next, let’s look at some of those hypocrisy charges.  The ones I’ve seen pop up most often have been:

  • Nice to see “my body, my choice” make a comeback after two years of mask and vax mandates.  Not quite the own you think it is, folks.  You can argue the science and legality of those mandates all you want (and essentially the entirety of my social media feeds for the past two years has been two camps of very smart people, with a lot of numbers, calling the other side bastards and idiots), but an airborne virus can spread to others in a way an abortion can’t.  And not protecting oneself and then going out into places with lots of people could arguably be negligence.  It’s the difference between smoking and drinking-neither is good for you, but as far as I know no one’s ever gotten cirrhosis of the liver from secondhand beer.
  • Look at how quickly the left abandons “birthing persons!” in favor of “only women should make decisions about women’s bodies!”.  Yeah, transphobic assholes can @#^! all the way right off.  Check here for some science.  But pro-choice folks, this is one time where the inclusive language really would help show some moral consistency, even if it’s just “women and other birthing persons”, or “women and everyone else with a uterus”.
  • Even if the fetus is a life, the mother’s bodily autonomy trumps all, in much more detail and more articulately here.  This is the argument that makes the most sense to me, and very clearly (though almost certainly unintentionally) echoes Rothbard’s argument from decades earlier.  But here’s the thing-this argument backs directly into the libertarian argument about coercison, extortion, and bodily autonomy.  If you believe that someone cannot be coerced to sacrifice their body to save another, that they have no legal obligation to do so independent of any moral obligation, then consequently you have to believe that no one can be forced to pay for the expansion of someone’s business, or their home, or their healthcare.  The entire statist/socialist conceit falls apart if you truly embrace bodily autonomy.

So let’s look at the decision itself.  Spoiler alert:  it’s mostly terrible, even if you are pro-life.  Also disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer, I do not play one on tv, I am not bar certified in any state, this is not legal or financial advice, discontinue use if rash persists after four weeks.

The crux of the decision, as I read it, rests on two main parts:  first, that Roe was badly decided because it was an incoherent decision, including usurping the legislature by legislating from the bench, and second, that because the right to abortion is not “deeply rooted in American tradition”, and not enumerated in the constitution.

The only part of that I have some concurrence with is the idea that Roe was legislating from the bench.  At least as referenced in this decision, Roe did not come out and say unequivocally abortion is a right or abortion isn’t a right, rather it said that abortion is a right here, but is only kind of a right here, and isn’t a right here.  A proper decision should have either gone all the way in one direction or the other, or punted completely back to the states by saying it was absolutely not a matter for the federal government.  Saying what’s left is a bit of a mess is a fair point, and the decision does cite multiple pro-choice advocates who were never satisfied with the reasoning of Roe.  Aside from pointing out that stare decisis is not necessarily permanent and that the court has screwed up more than a few times, that’s about all it gets right.

Throughout the decision the argument rests on multiple appeals to the common law tradition, but does not recognize that law, like democracy, is not an ends unto itself.  It is a means to an end, that end being liberty.  Yes, the English that became the first Americans brought with them English common law, and that is important, but they were animated by the spirit of natural rights theory.  The US constitution is far more the embodiment of John Locke than William Blackstone, especially the Bill Of Rights-hence the “chains of the Constitution” conceived of by Jefferson.  While it’s true that there are limits to what is implied rather than simply written in the text, especially as concerns negative liberty vs. positive liberty, but almost all the debates of the founding era, and especially the plain text of the ninth and tenth amendments, indicate very strongly that the founders wanted the government to err in the direction of more liberty, not less.

Not a word about either of those two amendments makes it into the decision.

Though to its credit it does recognize that the fourteenth amendment incorporates most (if not all) rights in the federal constitution into state and local documents as well, prohibiting any level of government from impinging on fundamental liberties.

First, a practical matter.  Towards the end of the decision, starting on page 59, it raises the concern of reliance, ie court decisions need to remain stable so that people can make decisions based on known law, unless of course there’s a very good reason to overturn said law.  The decision finds traditional reliance interests uncompelling, because abortion is generally an unplanned decision.  They also found a more vague reliance test lacking as well.

I do not.  Thanks to the sexual revolution (and an expanding idea of bodily autonomy; see below) Americans are generally able to plan when they reproduce and when they don’t.  Yes, much of this is easy access to cheap, reliable, and legal contraception, but some of it is also the knowledge that unwanted pregnancies can be terminated if necessary.  This is an, if not essential, certainly very important part of modern life, and one that depends on reliance on established law, ie a right to abortion.  The opinion gets this wrong. 

More importantly liberty across American history properly evolves in two ways, neither of which the decision recognizes.  The founders recognized that new technologies and new manners of living would arise that they could not entirely predict, so they left mechanisms in place to give people the liberty to adapt to these new circumstances.  First, contra the decision, rights enumerated in the constitution do imply other rights, very easily.  The first amendment in toto is all about freedom of conscience and freedom of thought, and the amendments that deal with criminal jurisprudence clearly guarantee a freedom from coercion except as part of punishment for a crime for which one has been duly convicted.  It’s a very simple leap from here to freedom of marriage, and to freedom from buying a product one finds repugnant or unnecessary.  The enumerated right to being secure in one’s papers very clearly also guarantees being secure from government intrusion in one’s digital papers. 

The second major path of evolution is to a much more expansive view of who is worthy of fundamental rights-of who is human.  During the times cited in the decision when abortion was illegal, women were viewed as second class citizens at best.  They were not thought of as fully human, and not deserving of full bodily autonomy, thus making citations of laws of this time concerning them suspect at best.  Perhaps this is assuming too much-after all, I grant above that pro-life people can believe just as much from good conscience as pro-life-but the historical context has to be examined here.  Failure to do so, and simply listing the history without a broader context of womens’ legal status in the 1800s, was a severe failure of logic.

And then there’s page 32.  “‘These attempts to justify abortion through appeals to a broader right to autonomy and to define one’s ‘concept of existence’ prove too much…Those criteria, at a high level of generality, could license fundamental rights to illicit drug use, prostitution, and the like…None of these rights has any claim to being deeply rooted in history.”

Bullshit.

Before it was rephrased as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, John Locke’s rallying cry was “life, liberty, and property”.  In his Second Treatise On Government, he states that “every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his.”  The concept of liberty that animates the United States was all about bodily autonomy.  The enumeration of the right of assembly, the right of security of one’s person and effects, and the constitution’s original text creating a free trade and free travel zone in the 13 colonies all add up to liberty of the individual in their own body.  And, in 200 or so years, it’s reasonable to assume that we can and should be much more ecumenical about whose bodies are recognized as autonomous and inviolable.  Furthermore, yes, Justice Alito and company, the implication is absolutely that there is a fundamental right to drug use, prostitution, and the like-as there should be.  The laws prohibiting such things between consenting adults are blatantly unconstitutional at the federal level under the tenth amendment, and the ninth amendment, in concurrence with the first amendment and others above, should very easily guarantee cognitive freedom and freedom of commerce-in short, bodily autonomy. 

Not coincidentally, this is why even pro-life libertarians should be up in arms over this decision.  It scoffs at any concept of rights in the US that would allow for real liberty, and takes such a narrow view of the Bill Of Rights as to completely gut whatever is left of the ninth and tenth amendments.

If this decision had come out unequivocally one way or the other (as Roe probably should have) it would have been required to show much better reasoning.  Instead it punts in the worst way possible, in such a way that not only denies bodily autonomy for women (and others with uteri), but bodily autonomy for all and potentially severely narrows the potential for personal liberty going forward.  It is a terrible decision that ignores history, ignores the plain text of the constitution, and ignores basic principles of natural law.  If any of this reasoning makes it to the final decision it will be terrible for everyone.

My previous entry was something I’ve been meaning to write for a while (sorry, not all of us have the luxury of being full time pundits), and was written when I could dismiss the Mises Caucus as a group of people that attracted some assholes and said some things I disagreed with, but were generally moving in the same direction as me.

And then it hit that Tom Woods met his first wife when he was 26 and she was 15.  The details, including significant corroboration from his ex-wife’s sister, are spelled out here.

Mr. Woods is already a controversial figure in the libertarian movement, being dogged by allegations of racism given his founding of an organization called League Of The South 30 or so years ago.  Personally I thought he did a pretty good job of setting that all to rest here, with receipts.  Moreso since almost every libertarian starts off in one of the big two camps and migrates to a vision of a freer world, and therefore allowances should probably be made for what we believed then if we can prove, by our actions, that we believe different and better now. 

I don’t know that I’d describe him as a personal hero, but I do think he’s done a lot of important scholarship and helped advance the intellectual case for liberty.  Contra Krugman was great work, consistently refuting one of the dumbest people to ever get a PhD.  Without him I wouldn’t know about the Depression of 1920-21, which is one of the clearest historical refutations of Keynsian economic interventionism in modern history.  The man has done the work.

Which makes the revelation here very disappointing.

Let us be clear:  as of right now, Woods is being accused of grooming, which is a crime in the court of public opinion, not in a court of law.  No one has come forward with any evidence that the relationship was consummated before she was 18.  But Wood’s response was…bizarre at best, arrogant and dismissive at worst.  Especially troubling to me was his claim that “traditional Catholics marry young”.  Well fine, yes, more conservative religious folk often do get married young…to other young people, not people eleven years their senior.  If he had responded in pretty much any other way-the timeline is wrong, we were acquaintances and our relationship only deepened after she became an adult, or even something along the lines of “you know what?  This does look bad and it wasn’t my shining hour, but it worked out ok”-it might be grounds for a different conversation.  Instead the whole response basically boils down to “@#^! you, nothing to see here, it’s all ok because I’m a traditional Catholic”.

That’s just gross.

Let’s open the whole can of worms here.  What children are, in a legal sense, is something that can give libertarians, which like nice and neat answers carefully derived from first principles, absolute fits.  Two of the three major answers-that children are the legal property of their parents or that children are immediately completely sovereign individuals from birth-have really awful implications very quickly if carried to any kind of logical conclusion.  The third-that children are in the custody of their parents until they obtain majority, unless the parents screw things up-leads to all sorts of questions about who decides what’s appropriate and when majority happens.  And I’ll even acknowledge (in what I’m sure will please libertarian critics everywhere) that situations like the 17 and 364/18 and 1 make things very messy, and probably indicate a need for some kind of reform.  But regardless, everyone with a modicum of human decency agrees that there is a very strong dividing line before which one cannot consent to sexual relations (or most other adult responsibilities), and after which one can.  Moreover, it’s not anything unreasonable to point out that while age gaps do get smaller and less important as people get older, 15 and 26 is a giant eleven years that pretty much guarantees a huge imbalance of power in the relationship.  You know, the perfect circumstances for grooming, especially if the older person was in a position of trust with the younger person’s family.

If Woods had acknowledged any of that and shown any kind of humility, as long as his ex-wife wasn’t alleging any kind of abuse, this probably would have been a non issue.  Instead his response, again, was basically “@#^& you, I’m Catholic.  Also buy my homeschool course”.

Which brings me to the most galling part of all of this:  the absolute hypocrisy of Woods’ defenders, usually fellow Mises Caucus people.  Since I got back into things during the Jorgensen campaign, I’ve heard all manner of jokes about how pedophiles need to go straight into the woodchipper.  At least in spirit I agree-child abuse is horrific and disgusting, and the only addendum I’d make is “after due process of law”.  I’ve also seen conservatarian after conservatarian attack LGBTQ folk as “groomers” and “child molesters” for daring to say that Johnny might have two moms, and they’re cool, or that Uncle Steve might show up next Thanksgiving as Aunt Barbara, and that’s ok too.  This is, of course, fully ignoring that libertarianism is a whole philosophy based on the sanctity of the individual, that celebrates the individual defining their individuality in their quest of life, and that the LP itself has been pro-LGBTQ since 1972 and ran a gay man as its first presidential candidate.

What, then, have the responses been?  Well how about this from Dave “getting a woman drunk to sleep with her isn’t so bad” Smith?  Or Eric July getting the article yanked from Being Libertarian?  Or the counter accusations of grooming I’ve seen.  Two years of yelling about pedos (sure) and grooming (against people that aren’t groomers, using accusations almost as old and debunked as the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion), and then when presented with an unrepentant groomer in their own midst, the responses are nothing but deflect or excuse.

As libertarians, we claim the moral high ground.  And we usually come to libertarianism because we find ourselves disgusted by the either the inability of the major parties to do good for people, or the shameless power and bloodlust usually on display by their highest standard bearers.  We say, with great regularity, “this is what I believe.  My ideas derive from clear first principles and are not only the best for practical reasons, but because they are morally right.  My ideology, and the people and policies I support are consistent because of this.” 

In my very first real essay here, I made the point that if you claim membership in a group, such as a fandom, or a political movement, you also claim responsibility for the baggage of that group unless you acknowledge it and qualify your loyalty.  Well, Mises Caucus folks, here we are.  You have an actual, unrepentant groomer in your midst, and most of you have either shut up or said “NO U”, because he happens to be from your camp.  If you’ve got credible evidence of other groomers and abusers in our movement, let’s drag them all into the light.  I’m sure Cliff Maloney wasn’t the only garbage lurking in the bowels of #YALtoo, and there’s a reason why this group exists.  But your response to the one that belongs to you is disgusting, galling in its hypocrisy, and absolutely unworthy of people who try to claim the moral high ground.

And speaking of calling out garbage in one’s own camp, to give a final addendum to this horror show, the national Libertarian Party voted down a motion to disinvite Woods to this year’s convention.  Meaning that’s who my party chooses to have on their stage.

Ugh.

“Party of principle” my ass.

If the LP gets its collective shit together and repudiates this garbage I’ll be happy to start working for party causes again.  I’ll support individual candidates as I see fit.  And it’s still better and less scandal ridden than either of the majors.  But this is a bridge too far for me.  I will not donate to LP National, and I will not support any candidate or local affiliate that does not clearly repudiate Woods and his actions.

This is foul, and all of you know it.

 

 

 

Here’s the essay I would have written before the Tom Woods revelations dropped.  I feel it’s important to post in its relatively unaltered form to give context, and to give proper perspective to my feelings on the Woods problem.

Over the last year or two, the Mises Caucus of the Libertarian Party has been at the center of, well, a civil war inside the Libertarian Party and the broader libertarian movement.  Accusations have flown from one side to the other-from the Mises Caucus, they’ve alleged corruption, pandering, appeasement, and the classic not being real libertarians.  The retorts have been homophobia, transphobia, cop worshiping, racism, sexism, and just flat out missing the point, among others, and of course not being real libertarians.  Also there have been many accusations of rules lawyering and rules violations from both sides, which are harder for me to comment on.

I’m a 20+ year veteran of LP politics.  I’ve seen a lot of things in my time in the party, including some successes, some colossal failures, and some seriously missed opportunities.  I left party activism for a long time over my own frustrations with the deficiencies of party leadership.  But the Mises Caucus overall…it makes me uncomfortable. 

To show why, a good deal of background is needed.

First, the modern libertarian movement has its roots as a fusion of ex-Republicans and ex-hippies.  There are socially conservative libertarians.  Internally we disagree on things, most notably abortion and the death penalty, although also strategy, and relative importance of the many issues we do agree on.  That sometimes uncomfortable fusion means that there are libertarian spaces that intersect with the left, sometimes even the asshole left, and some that intersect with the right, including (although far less than our leftist critics would believe) sometimes the alt-right.

Second, there are plenty of very valid criticisms of the Libertarian Party to be leveled.  In my time the most glaring would be:

  • Outright scandals:  in my time there were serious allegations during the second Harry Browne campaign about missing money, and later on with Carla Howell’s campaign for governor.  There were probably a few others along the way that I missed.
  • Mismanagement and unnecessary party expenditures:  The LP’s physical office has always been a source of contention, for location, for expense, for any number of things.  More important to me is the lack of coordination between national and local affiliates.  If the point of a political party is to run candidates that win and thus advance the ideological agenda of that party and ideology, it’s an absolute travesty that national and most local parties have no idea what the elected offices even are, let alone put any real time into candidate recruitment.  I will say that one of the most refreshing things of the Jorgensen/Cohen campaign was actually trying to have some coattails and support local races, and of course Pennsylvania recently kicked ass in local races, but it’s still a major issue.  I’ve also heard tell of significant lack of coordination between the Jorgensen and Cohen sides of the campaign this time out.
  • Everyone wants to be president, no one wants to be dogcatcher:  related to above, and again better than it was in the early 00s, there’s still a cultural problem where everyone wants to run for the top spots, and no one wants to run for city council.  Yes, the top spot campaigns are important, but the only way to build a farm team, a track record of effective, non-societal ending governance, and proving that Libertarians can win is at the local level first.  We need city council members to run for mayor, mayors to run for county supervisor, county supervisors to run for state assembly, and so on.
  • Botching the war issue:  My final disillusionment with the party came in 2002, with the onset of W Bush’s Iraq War.  Despite peace, non-aggression, and anti-imperialism being in our DNA since before our movement had a name, the LP dwaddled on a response at a time when the country was begging for a proper anti-war movement and party.  And since then, while individual libertarians have certainly been leading anti-war voices, the party as a whole hasn’t done a great job on what could be the issue of our time.
  • Soft messaging:  We’re the Libertarian Party, damnit.  Don’t just call for the legalization of marijuana, call for the end of the whole damned drug war and immediate pardons and expungements for any non-violent convictions relating to it.  Don’t just call for no war in Syria, call for the end of the whole damn empire.  This hasn’t always been applicable, to be sure, but there have been a lot of times when LP National should have come out swinging with the biggest bat it could find, and instead was wielding a kid’s whiffleball toy.
  • Running Republican retreads:  Bob “Defense Of Marriage Act” Barr was simply disgusting.  Gary Johnson is, as far as I can tell, a nice guy and a successful governor, but libertarian lite.  And Bill Weld, he of the praise for Hilary and the calls for gun control, had absolutely no business on a libertarian ticket.  Every time we put a former Republican on the top of our ticket (that hasn’t won lower office as a Libertarian first), we a)give credence to the criticism that Libertarians are just Republicans that like pot and b)far more importantly dilute the message.  Libertarians are libertarians, not Republicans or Democrats.  Also, when the LP runs homegrown talent that are committed libertarians, like, say, Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen, the people that are brought in are so much more motivated and so much more inclined to stick around.  Johnson’s campaign brought in some fair weather annoyed Republicans.  Jorgensen’s campaign brought in the next generation of city council candidates.

So what about that Mises Caucus then?  Well…I can’t say they’ve done no good.  There are a lot of MC people that are awesome personally and doing good work.  Bringing motivated people into campaigns and activism is generally a good thing.  Some of them have had the sense to reach out to non-LP groups on different issues and start to coalition build, which is essential for actually changing policy when you’re a small movement.   And personally I’m all in favor of radicialism and being unapologetic and loud about one’s beliefs.

BUT…the Mises Caucus’ central conceit seems to be a complete inability to acknowledge good ideas from outside our own camp.  The constant condemnation of anything and everything, including traditionally very libertarian issues, as “woke”-and thus worthy of complete dismissal-is just ignorant.  Some of the posts from Mises affiliated sources have just been idiotic, such as LP New Hampshire’s assertion that “libertarians suffer more oppression than black people”.  Second, the caucus doesn’t isn’t just an intersection between libertarianism and the right, it’s often an intersection between libertarianism and the alt-right.  In the Mises Caucus facebook group and from various members I’ve seen entirely too many posts decrying Black Lives Matter and acting as police apologists (to say nothing of all the “pandering” bullshit during the election season, which I had a lengthy response to), claims about Trump being the most libertarian president ever, a lot more homophobia than I’d expect from libertarians, courting of anti-semites and entertaining their theories (especially gross given that the namesake of their caucus escaped Germany before the rise of the Nazis), and especially a lot of transphobic postings.  Just a little while ago there was a fresh post complaining about “males competing in womens’ sports”, never mind that the current science on the matter is complicated but generally falls on the side of trans athletes, and the very phrasing denies the individuality and identity of people. Some of whom, might I add, are otherwise with us but ready to quit the movement because enough of us can’t get it together there.

And there’s stuff that’s flat out gross, like Dave Smith dismissing the idea of getting someone drunk just to sleep with them being bad, or the way Cliff Maloney had MC affiliated defenders even after being fired in the wake of the #YALtoo revelations, or the embrace of Kyle Rittenhouse as not just legally innocent or in a bad position, but as an outright hero of some kind.

Oh, and then there was Lew Rockwell publishing an article that ends with praise for literal fascists.  No, LewRockwell.com isn’t MC, but there’s enough overlap to not look very good.

Now…all of this is not an everyday occurrence, and the various Mises Caucus groups are still far more tolerant places than a mainstream Republican gathering these days. But it’s still a lot more than I think is appropriate for those claiming to hold libertarian values. And enough of them hold beliefs that I find repugnant for me to be fully comfortable with them.

If you’re doing good work for liberty, keep it up.  But please think carefully about whose banner you choose to wave. Those banners often come with a lot of hidden baggage.  And while yes, the LP absolutely needs a serious housecleaning on a lot of levels, but I don’t think the Mises Caucus is the right group to do it.