David Boaz

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One of the senior tools of the Kochtopus, who disseminates vulgar libertarianism for the Cato Institute.

Links

Black History Is American History [More...]
David Boaz writes: 'But I was asked not long ago, what’s the most important libertarian accomplishment in history? I said, “the abolition of slavery.”' This barefaced, jaw-dropping revisionism ignores the fact that all slavery was ended by government fiat, in this case during an enormous war.
Libertarianism: A Primer (book) (1 link)
(1998) David Boaz' pollyanna view of just how wonderful libertarianism is!
Oh God, Please Not Libertarianism...
"Two new books by libertarians. Are they bad? Yes." Reviews of David Boaz’s The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom and Charles Cooke’s The Conservatarian Manifesto.
State of the Debate: The Libertarian Conceit [More...]
Books by Isaiah Berlin, David Boaz and Charles Murray are compared. "Reading the books side by side elucidates both the appeal and the basic dishonesty of libertarianism and highlights the importance of wiser responses to skepticism about politics."
The Libertarian Reader: Classic & Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman (book)
(1998) David Boaz cherry picks passages from historical figures as if they wouldn't object strongly to modern libertarianism. Plus selections from the usual ideologues.
What's Wrong With Libertarianism [More...]
Jeffrey Friedman, editor of Critical Review. thoroughly skewers four books on libertarianism. "Libertarian arguments about the empirical benefits of capitalism are, as yet, Inadequate to convince anyone who lacks libertarian philosophical convictions. Yet ‘philosophical’ libertarianism founders on internal contradictions that render it unfit to make libertarians out of anyone who does not have strong consequentialist reasons for libertarian belief. The joint failure of these two approaches to libertarianism explains why they are both present in orthodox libertarianism -- they hide each other’s weaknesses, thereby perpetuating them." Reviewed: Libertarianism, A Primer, by David Boaz; Classical Liberalism: The Unvanquished Ideal, by David Conway; What It Means to Be a Libertarian, by Charles Murray; Bringing the Market Back In, by John Kelley.

Quotations

There is a wearying familiarity to The Libertarian Mind; Hayek wrote all of this in The Constitution of Liberty, then Rothbard wrote it again in The Ethics of Liberty, then David Friedman in The Machinery of Freedom. Read one sentence of one libertarian book and you’ve read every sentence of every libertarian book... libertarianism ranges from people who support small governments and free market capitalism to… people who support small governments and free market capitalism.
Nathan Robinson, "Oh God, Please Not Libertarianism..."
The jump from the right to self-ownership to the right of property ownership always occurs hastily, as if the libertarian knows full well he’s fudging one of the most dubious steps of his proof. Boaz makes the unfortunate decision to choose John Locke’s theory of “labor mixing” as his preferred means of papering over the leap. This is the theory, dating from 1689, that when a person “mixes” her labor with a thing (say by turning a tree into a chair), she develops a property right in it. Why this should be so, nobody knows. What “mixing” even is, nobody knows either. Boaz doesn’t attempt to define it; its function is simply to jury-rig a rickety theoretical bridge that will suffice until the next deduction is made. So long as the reader blinks, she will fail to notice that the entire natural rights justification for property is built upon flashy prestidigitation.
Nathan Robinson, "Oh God, Please Not Libertarianism..."
Boaz has fully mastered Patronizing Libertarian Voice, with which (male) libertarians use highly irrational arguments to dismiss every other politics as the beliefs of a child, while loudly insisting on their faultless rationality.
Nathan Robinson, "Oh God, Please Not Libertarianism..."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not just wrong but “impossible,” Boaz declares, because to declare education a human right mean that someone has to provide it, and since that’s not always possible, education cannot be a right. This weird little trick of language only works if you define a right to be a thing that can be provided at all times, instead of a moral obligation toward which all societies must aspire.
Nathan Robinson, "Oh God, Please Not Libertarianism..."
Amartya Sen has pointed out that all contemporary moral theories, including libertarianism, are essentially egalitarian; we can press on from this observation to ask why, if (as Boaz maintains) the liberty of a human being to own another should be trumped by equal human rights, the liberty to own large amounts of property should not also be trumped by equal human rights. This alone would seem definitively to lay to rest the philosophical case for libertarianism.
Jeffrey Friedman, "What's Wrong With Libertarianism"