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Libertarian Fake Psychology
& Other Thoughts on Recent YouTube Debates

[1]2,097 words

Good and Evil

One of the most popular lines of argument against our recent arguments in defense of paternalism (see here [2], here [3] and here [4]) goes something like this: “If evil doesn’t meaningfully exist as a choice, then neither does good.”

Where does anyone get off with such nonsense? I don’t need to have the “freedom” to be able to molest children in order for it to be a good thing for me not to molest children. Moreover, even if the state passes laws to deter child molestation, one can still choose to molest children. Other people will simply choose to punish you if you do. And they have declared their intention to choose to punish in advance, in hopes that you will choose not to molest. If attempting to sway others’ choices through your own were somehow illegitimate, then literally all forms of communication would be off limits.

Furthermore, if one really believes this, then it is completely and totally self-defeating. So you believe that paternalistic laws are bad laws? Then your love for this weird and arbitrary conception of “freedom” has to compel you to support our right to implement them if we wish—because according to your rule, we are not “truly free” if we cannot make bad choices. So, if crafting paternalistic laws is, according to you, a bad choice, then your own principles compel you to allow us a “meaningful” ability to make that choice, or else you are opposing “freedom” too. Thus, this is really a notion of “freedom” that drives itself into a ditch and ends up nowhere.

Fake Psychology

A similar point goes for the argument that prohibiting people from making certain choices just increases the psychological temptation for them to indulge in those choices, and therefore results in more of it. But I’ll get to why this is self-defeating in just a minute. Greg Johnson’s opponents in his recent debate on Warski Live [4] were just horribly uninformed about the basic facts.

As I detailed in my article clarifying the real history of prohibition, we know that it wasn’t until the 1970s that alcohol reached the levels it had been at prior to the implementation of national prohibition [5]. Prohibition resulted in significantly less alcohol consumption [6], period.

Likewise, Libertarians and mainstream fake news are simply wrong when they claim that the war on drugs has failed to curb drug use. Here’s James Q. Wilson, writing in the Wall Street Journal [7]:

Another shift that has probably helped to bring down crime is the decrease in heavy cocaine use in many states. . . Between 1992 and 2009, the number of [hospital emergency room] admissions for cocaine or crack use fell by nearly two-thirds. In 1999, 9.8% of 12th-grade students said that they had tried cocaine; by 2010, that figure had fallen to 5.5%.

What we really need to know, though, is not how many people tried coke but how many are heavy users. Casual users who regard coke as a party drug are probably less likely to commit serious crimes than heavy users who may resort to theft and violence to feed their craving. But a study by Jonathan Caulkins at Carnegie Mellon University found that the total demand for cocaine dropped between 1988 and 2010, with a sharp decline among both light and heavy users. . . . Drug use among blacks has changed even more dramatically than it has among the population as a whole. As Mr. Latzer points out—and his argument is confirmed by a study by Bruce D. Johnson, Andrew Golub and Eloise Dunlap—among 13,000 people arrested in Manhattan between 1987 and 1997, a disproportionate number of whom were black, those born between 1948 and 1969 were heavily involved with crack cocaine, but those born after 1969 used very little crack . . . The reason was simple: The younger African-Americans had known many people who used crack and other hard drugs and wound up in prisons, hospitals and morgues. . . . This shift in drug use, if the New York City experience is borne out in other locations, can help to explain the fall in black inner-city crime rates after the early 1990s.

Greg Johnson made a very good point against this fake psychology by noting that it is ironic that libertarians, who constantly harp on the laws of supply and demand, will pivot on a dime when it comes to prohibiting vices and claim that making a product like heroin or cocaine more expensive (more costly, more risky) by banning it will actually increase demand for it.

If this theory is true—if prohibiting people from making certain choices just increases the psychological temptation for them to indulge in those choices, and therefore results in more of it—then the anti-paternalists and anti-prohibitionists had better be extremely careful about arguing against paternalism. Why? Because according to their own fake psychology, it follows that they’re only going to increase the psychological temptation for us to indulge in paternalism by trying to prevent us from doing so, and thereby create even more paternalism. Right?

“Assimilation”

We keep seeing the topic of the history of Irish immigration to the United States come up in debates on immigration policy, as we did during Mike Enoch’s appearance on Andy Warski’s show [8]. The argument is supposed to win by triggering the obvious sense that white people in the United States today, though having originally come from vastly different particular ethnic-national backgrounds, have generally come together to adopt “American” as their new shared identity.

Here’s the thing, though: I don’t know why we keep granting this premise.

My argument for ethnonationalism goes like this:

1. People tend to get along better with others who are behaviorally and psychologically more like themselves. This is a finding proven by research [9].

2. Since behavioral and psychological traits are heavily influenced by genes, people therefore tend to form deeper friendships with others who are genetically more like themselves. Indeed, studies have confirmed [10] that people tend to form close relationships with people who are about as genetically similar to them as fourth cousins.

3. Since a member of a given race is genetically more similar to the average member of his race than he is to a non-member (Lewontin’s fallacy notwithstanding) ethnically segregated societies will have proportionally more people with a greater degree of genetic relatedness between them. They will therefore have proportionally more people with a greater degree of behavioral and psychological similarity between them, and they will therefore tend to have more social trust and civic participation, as well as stronger interpersonal bonds and relationships. Indeed, a whole mountain of studies [11] have proven that increases in racial diversity do in fact result in decreases in social trust, civic participation, and co-operative social norms.

Since these are all positive values that we all ought to encourage, for everyone’s sake, peaceful movement towards ethnostates is something that members of all races have very good reason to support.

Well, there is genetic distance between, let’s say, Irishmen and Italians. There is less distance than there is between Irishmen and African Pygmies, but more than there is between Irishmen and Irishmen. Have the Irish “assimilated”? Yes, in the sense that most no longer actively identify themselves foremost as “Irish” in contradistinction to other white groups in the United States.

But the lines between the political Left and Right in this country run deep, and there have always been steep political divisions. If one reads David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed or Colin Woodard’s American Nations, it becomes very clear that the divisions in this country over ways of life, social and political policies even among whites align strikingly well with the history of migration patterns of these different founding populations into the United States.

The Scots-Irish who founded Appalachia are to this day the primary adherents of classical republican philosophy. Bill O’Reilly is quite literally more closely related ethnically to Andrew Jackson than Rachel Maddow is, and it shows in his worldview and philosophy. The Quakers who founded Pennsylvania and led the charge against slavery still to this day lead the charge against, say, the death penalty.

What were the American Founders’ solution to these differences?

Why, it was quite literally ethnic segregation between whites! Specifically, it was the ideal of “the” United States as “these united states” with the emphasis on the plural, and the ideal of the states as “laboratories of democracy” which should be given as much leeway as possible by the federal government. This would result in “red states” and “blue states” being allowed autonomy to implement “red” and “blue” rules, and as little interference from the federal government as possible.

But it just so happens that these differences in social and political values correlate extremely well with ethnicity. There are always outliers, of course. But as a rule, the social and political trends established in the very first waves of migration into the United States still persist to this day—whether people no longer consciously identify themselves by their ethnic origins in this way or not. So the anti-federalist philosophy’s solution to different visions of self and future among whites in the United States is quite literally exactly what we propose as the solution to these same differences in visions of self and future between whites and non-whites.

The upshot of biting the bullet on this argument and denying that all of these different white populations ever truly “assimilated” without costs to social trust and a sense of belonging is that my enemies cannot accuse of me of being driven to my views by hatred of non-whites unless they want to insist that I hate basically all white people as well. But hatred of non-whites isn’t the real motivation for ethnonationalism, any more than hatred of whites was the motivation for anti-federalism and for founding the United States as a laboratory of regional democracy.

Furthermore, in the past we had far more regional variation and diversity in the United States than is seen today. It is my view that this was an incredibly good thing. The transformation of the United States into a monoculture, where every state has the same McDonald’s for fast food, the same Starbucks for coffee, and so on is truly a disaster. Maintaining regional independence and intra-white ethnic division would, and still does to some extent, form a bulwark against this form of cultural destruction. And yet, this type of monoculturalization is what our enemies are (intentionally or not) threatening to do to the entire globe.

“Parasites”

Mike Enoch also got flak in his debate on Warski Live for claiming that refugees who enter a country they do not historically belong to and go on welfare are “parasites,” while poor whites on welfare are not. He defended his stance with valid points, for instance, that these welfare institutions were literally founded by our ancestors for the sake of their posterity, and not for the benefit of the world at large—and that they would have found this idea absurd. But I think we can defend this with arguments much closer to peoples’ everyday experience.

Suppose I live in a household with a wife and two kids. Those children are going to cost me somewhere around $500,000 by the time they turn 18. We make ends meet, but there are plenty of opportunities we’d like to afford for our children and can’t. Now suppose a friend of a friend of a distant relative comes to live in my house while he recovers from a work injury or an awful break-up.

Not only do we have to change our lifestyle to accommodate him, but he costs us—let’s say even just a third of what either of our children cost. Ay normal person asked about this scenario on the street would feel perfectly okay about me deciding to kick this person out so I can devote my resources to my own children.

What sort of bigotry would allow me to think that my children are more valuable than random strangers? Aren’t we all equal in the eyes of God? And yet, absolutely no one would call me a bigot for “arbitrarily” deciding that this person was being a “parasite” on my household, while refusing to use the same word for my children. They wouldn’t even object to me saying that it is more important to me to give my children a luxury like expensive guitar classes than it is to give this stranger a place to live while he recovers from breaking his leg.

It frankly baffles me that it is considered a greater sin to want to preserve welfare institutions for one’s ethnic group than it is to be a libertarian who advocates the wholesale abolition of these institutions. Indeed, one can say things like, “Honestly I feel like . . . fuck everybody and fuck your skin color because even if you were gold I still don’t give a fuck about you,” and be approved for it in modern society. In fact, this a direct quote from a top-rated comment I saw in a thread online. And yet, if one took this same sentiment and added the caveat that he did not feel the same way about members of his ethnic group, one would be on a fast-track into social and professional destruction. Is selfish nihilism and hatred of all humanity really morally superior to “racism,” in which one prefers some people over others? If not, then why does modern society punish the latter while rewarding the former?