Since the (serious) rise of the liberty movement in 2007 and 2008 when Ron Paul ran for United States president, libertarians have been accused of being racist. Whether it’s from Democrats who think it’s discriminating to support private property rights or Republicans who think it’s racist to endorse the right to secede, libertarians are constantly bombarded with racist accusations.
For those who understand libertarianism, the non-aggression principle and the Austrian Theory of Economics, libertarians do not promote racism, they do not urge the government to enforce racist legislation and they don’t want to invoke the thought police. Indeed, prominent libertarians like Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Murray N. Rothbard, Henry Hazlitt and Walter Block have never once iterated a racist comment.
In fact, the only racists there are in society are the statists, the adherers to big government and the proponents of legislation that have hurt minorities as well as the uneducated, immigrants and youth for decades.
No, Cathy Reisenwitz, it’s the statists that you should direct your racist allegations towards, not the libertarians.
If you haven’t heard, Reisenwitz, a political writer and editor, posted a series of inflammatory comments regarding libertarians and supposed racism. The tweets have been deleted since then, but some blogs have saved screen shots so here are some of her remarks:
“The movement is eaten up with racism. Hoppe, Rothbard, Rockwell, Ron Paul all have racist quotes attributed to them.”
“Maybe it’s just American libertarians who are super racist.”
“…Except where [Hans-Herman] Hoppe, Rockwell, Block, etc continued spewing racism.”
Block, an author and professor, was accused of being racist after the New York Times published an article regarding Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul and libertarians. The newspaper completely distorted his remarks and defamed his character and has yet to retract or apologize their story. (The whole fiasco can be read here.)
Over the years, libertarians have defended minorities, immigrants and those who have been the victims of public policies that have been promoted by individuals, politicians and organizations supposedly defending these very same people. Let’s take a look at some of the statists’ policies that are racist in nature.
The federal and state governments believe they could and still can help blacks with affirmative action initiatives. Racial quotas, preferences and the like have actually hurt black people more than help them. It is also rather insulting to black people because Washington and state capitols believe blacks are too incompetent to look after themselves, attain an education or succeed in life.
Proponents of affirmative action are just as repugnant as slave owners and openly racist people.
Minimum Wage Laws
First enacted as an anti-poverty policy, it has now been turned into a policy that condemns minorities, unskilled, uneducated, youth and immigrants to a lifetime of perpetual poverty and “compulsory unemployment.” Since businesses are required to pay their employees set minimum wages then they’re not going to spend the money to hire a workforce of neophytes and train them. Instead, they’re going to do a number of things:
– Reduce staffing levels and cut hours
– Enhance their employment qualifications
– Transition the workforce into automation
– Slash any hiring initiatives
The War on Drugs
It’s no secret that blacks are imprisoned at higher rates than their Caucasian counterparts in regards to the War on Drugs. According to data from the FBI and U.S. Census Bureau, arrest rates between 2001 and 2010 have been immensely higher for blacks than whites (see chart below).
The drug war is a statist policy meant to impose certain values into people and telling them what they can or cannot consume inside their body. With such a huge discrepancy detention rates between blacks and whites, why aren’t the government, President Obama and state leaders being accused of racism?
These are just some of the government policies that can be viewed as racist, but the general public would never argue that point because it would be politically incorrect to do so. These are important facts to ponder, though, and proponents of freedom, liberty, free markets and non-aggression principles should not accuse others of racism.
Besides, if someone is racist but still adheres to NAP, does it really matter?
Oh, for those who believe Rothbard is racist, here’s what Rothbard wrote in “The Ethics of Liberty” about the Civil War:
“We have indicated above that there was only one possible moral solution for the slave question: immediate and unconditional abolition, with no compensation to the slavemasters. Indeed, any compensation should have been the other way—to repay the oppressed slaves for their lifetime of slavery. A vital part of such necessary compensation would have been to grant the plantation lands not to the slavemaster, who scarcely had valid title to any property, but to the slaves themselves, whose labor, on our “homesteading” principle, was mixed with the soil to develop the plantations. In short, at the very least, elementary libertarian justice required not only the immediate freeing of the slaves, but also the immediate turning over to the slaves, again without compensation to the masters, of the plantation lands on which they had worked and sweated. As it was, the victorious North made the same mistake—though “mistake” is far too charitable a word for an act that preserved the essence of an unjust and oppressive social system—as had Czar Alexander when he freed the Russian serfs in 1861: the bodies of the oppressed were freed, but the property which they had worked and eminently deserved to own, remained in the hands of their former oppressors. With the economic power thus remaining in their hands, the former lords soon found themselves virtual masters once more of what were now free tenants or farm laborers. The serfs and the slaves had tasted freedom, but had been cruelly deprived of its fruits.”