Discrimination

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Including White Supremacy, Segregation, Racism and Sexism. Libertarians usually think they should have a total freedom to discriminate however they wish. They are wrong. Discriminatory choices which affect markets undercut the assumptions of free markets, and thus destroy market efficiency which libertarians claim to want. In addition to harming others. Our society is a commons, and rampant discrimination is a tragedy of the commons.

Links

A Lazy New Year's Eve Morn on Twitter... [More...]
I have heard a lot of people who call themselves "libertarians" say and sagely nod at others’ saying that utility derived from satisfying a taste for discrimination is a proper thing to include in a social welfare function—and they are often the same people who are outraged at counting utility from redistribution, envy, or theft.
A small round of applause for decent Time Magazine writing [More...]
"Without coming out and saying it, it’s easy to see how libertarianism, despite all the heavy-handed rhetoric about freedom, is fundamentally a right wing authoritarian philosophy... Getting the government out isn’t about rejecting authority, but making individuals of the proper sex (male), proper race (white), and proper socio-economic status (property owners and independent businessmen) the ruling classes of a series of small societies."
Advancing White Supremacy Through Academic Strategy [More...]
The report’s chapters describe the interwoven infrastructure of neo-confederate scholars, funded by the Charles Koch Foundation, who are training and recruiting the next generation of anti-civil rights Austrian economists. We explore the dangerous ideologies involved in this network, past and present, including recent influence on the violent Alt-Right and Neo-Nazis. These ideas are also inflicted upon prisoners.
Capitalism And Freedom (Robert Nielsen review) [More...]
"Before I read the book, I knew I would not agree with it. Even still, I was shocked at how poor an argument Friedman makes and his complete aversion to using evidence to support his claims. His defence of discrimination is disgraceful and unbelievable."
Capitalism defeats racism. Government maintains it. [More...]
An amazing (yet common) example of libertarian revisionist history, in this case about how government (not white racists) wanted Jim Crow laws. Some good refutations in the comments.
Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ [More...]
"There is currently no reason at all to think that any significant portion of the IQ differences among socially defined racial groups is genetic in origin."
Confederacy (9 links)
Many libertarians buy into the old Confederacy, States Rights, "slavery was beneficial" and other "lost cause" mythology. There is a substantial cockeyed revisionist literature on this subject, making Abraham Lincoln an enemy of freedom, claiming slavery was a beneficial institution and arguing for State's Rights.
Gaps in the Market [More...]
"Standard economic theory tells us that firms [that discriminate] will be driven out by market competition... If men cannot overcome their sexism toward women when discussing the qualifications of female economists, then how can they assume that any job market -- or any market -- is free of discriminatory bias?"
How Did We Get Here? Or, Why Do 20 Year Old Newsletters Matter So Damn Much? [More...]
Steve Horwitz denounces the paleolibertarian strategy of Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard. "What the media has in their hands is only the tip of the iceberg of the really unsavory garbage that the paleo turn produced back then."
Libertarian superstar Ayn Rand defended Native American genocide [More...]
"New transcript of Rand at West Point in ’74 enthusiastically defends extermination of Native Americans."
Looking Back to Look Forward: Blacks, Liberty, and the State [More...]
If you can ignore the standard libertarian tropes, this makes the good point that libertarians must not ignore racism but must actively combat it if they want to attact blacks.
Markets Don't Stop Racism But They Can Perpetuate It [More...]
"The classically oblivious treatment of racism as an inefficiency that will be eroded in markets by the pursuit of profits has failed to produce results."
Paleolibertarianism (12 links)
A strategy of old-time racist conservatism combined with libertarian mummery and Historical Revisionism. Adherents include(d) Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, Charles Murray, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and now perhaps Donald Trump.
Prejudice and the Economics of Discrimination [More...]
Contrary to libertarian claims that markets will punish discriminatory firms, this paper shows theoretically and empirically that those claims are false.
Racists (14 links)
There is a strong overlap between racists and libertarians. Because libertarianism obsesses about independence from social norms, racists are welcome, and actively courted by people like Ron Paul. No surprise that libertarians are 94% white, whiter even than the Republican party.
Rand Paul is No Barry Goldwater on Civil Rights
Rand Paul has repeatedly said that he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on libertarian grounds: private businesses should not be forced to serve African Americans if they so choose. As opposed to Goldwater's supposed Constitutional concerns.
Should the state support anti-gay discrimination? [More...]
Why should the state provide services using public resources to businesses that discriminate? It could remove contract and property enforcement not to mention incorporation rights. In the past it has removed tax exempt status from discriminatory universities.
The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (book) (1 link)
An atrocious exercise in cherrypicking data to support racist themes of black inferiority. Citations from classic racist literature. Debunked by innumerable academics. The argument was based on numerous faulty assumptions, statistical monkey business and appeal to racist inclinations. Not peer reviewed before publication. No support for the genetic claims made in this book has ever been found.
The cost of racial bias in economic decisions [More...]
"It has been suggested that race bias in economic decisions may not occur in a market where discrimination is costly, but these findings provide the first evidence that this assumption is false." In other words, markets do not deter discrimination.
The Master Class on the Make [More...]
"In marking Calhoun’s political philosophy as the crucial antecedent of public choice theory, Tabarrok and Cowen unwittingly confirmed what critics have long maintained: libertarianism is a political philosophy shot through with white supremacy. Public choice theory, a technical language nominally about human behavior and incentives, helps ensure that blacks remain shackled."
The siren song of homogeneity [More...]
There is a strong strain of racism in some libertarian factions. This article discusses the claims about homogeneity in depth, and finds that it does not necessarily create distrust and it is impractical to recreate.
The White Ignorance of Milton Friedman [More...]
Milton Friedman's flawed, ahistorical excuses for libertarian revisionist history about slavery, discrimination, racism and other sins of capitalism. Still repeated endlessly by libertarians today.
What would constitute an end to the race war? [More...]
"Whites coming out every day and asserting hugely disproportionate power over blacks through the proxy of wealth is not a cessation of conflict. It is renewed daily conflict, which can either be responded to or not."
Where did Donald Trump get his racialized rhetoric? From libertarians. [More...]
A brief overview of the history of nakedly racist Rothbardian paleolibertarianism and and his fellow travellers. These ideas have been adopted wholesale by Donald Trump.
Why Aren’t There More Black Libertarians? [More...]
If you can ignore the standard libertarian tropes that lard this article, it points out that blacks are familiar with the historic racism of capitalism both in the USA and abroad. And the extent of past and current racism within the libertarian movement.
Why Blacks Aren't Libertarians [More...]
"As long as leaving America’s most vulnerable unprotected remains a core piece of libertarianism, it is unlikely that the libertarian movement will find many allies in communities of color."
Why Blacks Aren’t Libertarians [More...]
"As long as leaving America’s most vulnerable unprotected remains a core piece of libertarianism, it is unlikely that the libertarian movement will find many allies in communities of color."
Yeah, Ron Paul Is Racist After All, Sorry [More...]
Yet more confirmation of Ron Paul's racist politics, this time from hacking by Anonymous.
You Prevent Private Coercion With Labor Market Regulation [More...]
Megan McArdle calls a firing "private coercion." Matt Bruenig replies: "The legal framework that provides safeguards to protect individuals from private coercion is called labor and employment law. "

Quotations

I have heard a lot of people who call themselves "libertarians" say and sagely nod at others’ saying that utility derived from satisfying a taste for discrimination is a proper thing to include in a social welfare function—and they are often the same people who are outraged at counting utility from redistribution, envy, or theft.
Brad DeLong, "A Lazy New Year's Eve Morn on Twitter..."
[...] here in America "libertarianism" is a Frankenstein's monster that got its lightning-bolt juice from massive resistance to the Civil Rights Movement. Dismantling the New Deal and rolling back the social insurance state were not ideas that had much potential political-economy juice back in the 1950s and 1960s. But if the economic libertarian cause of dismantling the New Deal could be harnessed to the cause of white supremacy—if one of the key liberties that libertarians were fighting to defend was the liberty to discriminate against and oppress the Negroes—than all of a sudden you could have a political movement that might get somewhere. And so James Buchanan and the other libertarians to the right of Milton Friedman made the freedom to discriminate—or perhaps the power to discriminate?—a key one of the liberties that they were fighting for in their fight against BIG GOVERNMENT. And this has poisoned American libertarianism ever since.
Brad DeLong, "A Lazy New Year's Eve Morn on Twitter..."
Without coming out and saying it, it’s easy to see how libertarianism, despite all the heavy-handed rhetoric about freedom, is fundamentally a right wing authoritarian philosophy... Getting the government out isn’t about rejecting authority, but making individuals of the proper sex (male), proper race (white), and proper socio-economic status (property owners and independent businessmen) the ruling classes of a series of small societies.
Amanda Marcotte, "A small round of applause for decent Time Magazine writing"
Slapping a few admirable ideas about legalizing vice crimes on top of a larger philosophy that’s about restoring “local” control—i.e. making it easier for white men to directly oppress everyone else in their community without interference—doesn’t make them pro-freedom. It just makes the cover story sound better.
Amanda Marcotte, "A small round of applause for decent Time Magazine writing"
It's interesting how libertarians believe that racism can get enough public support to win a local election, but somehow not enough to maintain a local restaurant.
LRonPaul2012 (pseudonym), in comments of "Capitalism defeats racism. Government maintains it."
Justice = Profit.jpg
Don McLenaghen, "Cultural norms is no excuse for sexism"
John Stuart Mill spoke eloquently of liberty, but when it came down to it, he believed that some people are "more or less unfit for liberty" even if they "prefer a free government," and are incapable and undeserving of one due to their "indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice." Mill said that in the case of those people, "a civilized government... will require to be in a considerable degree despotic [and impose] a great amount of forcible restraint upon their actions." Mill deemed some "unfit for more than a limited and qualified freedom," giving as an example "the Hindoos, [who] will perjure themselves to screen the man who has robbed them." Probably best not to give much credence to Mill, then, on the subject of when to withhold democracy.
Nathan Robinson, "Democracy: Probably a Good Thing"
The actual case Brennan advances [in Against Democracy] can be devastated rather quickly, since it suffers from a central logical flaw that renders the whole core argument worthless. Brennan makes his case against democracy by pointing out all the ways in which people are stupid and fail to govern themselves well. Then, he makes the case for epistocracy by thinking through how smart people might make better decisions. All of this is very persuasive, until we remember that he is comparing “democracy as it actually exists” with “epistocracy as an abstract theory.” By comparing real democracy to hypothetical epistocracy (instead of epistocracy as it would actually be implemented), Brennan’s book doesn’t address a single one of the important questions around restricted suffrage: in practice, wouldn’t voting tests probably be used (as they have for their entire history) to disenfranchise the socially powerless? Wouldn’t such a system inevitably be abused, and wouldn’t “knowledge” just become a stand-in for “things powerful people believe”? (Brennan admits that wealthy white men will probably be considered the most “knowledgable,” but does not appear to have a problem with this.) By presenting democracy with all its warts, but giving no thought to how “epistocracies” work in practice, Brennan avoids confronting the difficult fact that his preferred system of government, if adopted, will almost certainly reinstate Jim Crow. Thus Brennan’s book is ultimately morally disgusting, since it amounts to a manifesto in favor of seizing a right from African Americans that took them centuries of bloodshed to win.
Nathan Robinson, "Democracy: Probably a Good Thing"
Jim Crow laws were not the primary cause of segregation in the South. In many places few laws, if any, explicitly restricted blacks from entry into desirable social positions, from purchasing property in white neighborhoods, from entering private schools and colleges, or from using hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and other private businesses frequented by whites. Still, these events rarely occurred due to tacit (often explicit) agreement among whites. Because of privately imposed restrictive covenants, discriminatory business practices, and blacks' abject economic status, there was little need for laws imposing segregation and discrimination. It could be left up to the invisible hand.
Samuel Freeman, "Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism Is Not a Liberal View" pg. 135
Libertarianism has always claimed to be scrupulously colorblind.... If the original sin of American history is slavery, then the original sin of conservatism and libertarianism is silence in the face of segregation.
Jennifer Burns, "Jennifer Burns' harsh review of Nancy MacLean's Democracy In Chains", pg. 644.
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.
Lee Atwater, "Exclusive: Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy"
Libertarians need to actively combat racial prejudice instead of relying on assumptions that the market will work it all out on its own. If libertarians are going to maintain that government answers to racism are usually inappropriate, then libertarians must be among those leading the private, society-driven remedies to injustice. It is not enough to be passively ‘not racist’—libertarians must be actively anti-racism. To do anything else is to accept the status quo and hide behind the logic of markets, despite the deeply seated, inherent illogic of racism.
Jonathan Blanks, "Looking Back to Look Forward: Blacks, Liberty, and the State"
[T]here is a prevalent libertarian assumption that the dearth of black libertarians is traceable to black ignorance of the benefits of free markets, perhaps enabled by poor public schools. Yet one may argue that libertarians are largely ignorant of how exclusionary American markets were when its moneyed participants were left to their own devices.
Jonathan Blanks, "Looking Back to Look Forward: Blacks, Liberty, and the State"
The dominant libertarian assumption that rational economic self-interest would trump racism if government just got out of the way fails to reckon with more than 200 years of evidence to the contrary. Consequently, the strident libertarian argument against positive law and government writ large flies directly in the face of the historical black experience. The federal government protected the rights of freedmen and established schools during Reconstruction, only to abandon blacks to Southern white terrorism in the name of States’ Rights. Positive law destroyed Jim Crow, breaking up both formal and informal segregation in accommodations not just in the South where it was law, but throughout other parts of the country where it was standard practice within a supposedly free market. The federal government took an active role in criminal justice because local police often did not investigate anti-black terrorism and murders -- or, if they did, sometimes testified in the murderers’ defense. And today, governments offer jobs with security and benefits in a job market that still disfavors blacks. This is not to say that blacks are particular fans of Big Government, but all of these government actions addressed problems in private society -- ranging from indifference to murderous hostility—that should test anyone’s faith in an unfettered free market.
Jonathan Blanks, "Looking Back to Look Forward: Blacks, Liberty, and the State"
I would venture that many, if not most libertarians -- like the general American public -- haven’t come to terms with the widespread, systemic subversion of markets and democracy American racism wreaked on its most marginalized citizens. Consequently, libertarians have concentrated rather myopically on government reform as the sole function of libertarian social critique without taking full reckoning of what markets have failed to correct throughout American history.
Jonathan Blanks, "Looking Back to Look Forward: Blacks, Liberty, and the State"
[The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using.... What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their "right" to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.
Ayn Rand, "Q and A session following her Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974"
As we know from history, the free market did not lead to a breakdown of segregation. Indeed, it got much worse, not just because it was enforced by law but because it was mandated by self-reinforcing societal pressure. Any store owner in the South who chose to serve blacks would certainly have lost far more business among whites than he gained. There is no reason to believe that this system wouldn't have perpetuated itself absent outside pressure for change. In short, the libertarian philosophy of Rand Paul and the Supreme Court of the 1880s and 1890s gave us almost 100 years of segregation, white supremacy, lynchings, chain gangs, the KKK, and discrimination of African Americans for no other reason except their skin color. The gains made by the former slaves in the years after the Civil War were completely reversed once the Supreme Court effectively prevented the federal government from protecting them. Thus we have a perfect test of the libertarian philosophy and an indisputable conclusion: it didn't work. Freedom did not lead to a decline in racism; it only got worse.
Bruce Bartlett, "Rand Paul is No Barry Goldwater on Civil Rights"
I don't believe Rand is a racist; I think he is a fool who is suffering from the foolish consistency syndrome that affects all libertarians. They believe that freedom consists of one thing and one thing only--freedom from governmental constraint. Therefore, it is illogical to them that any increase in government power could ever expand freedom. Yet it is clear that African Americans were far from free in 1964 and that the Civil Rights Act greatly expanded their freedom while diminishing that of racists.
Bruce Bartlett, "Rand Paul is No Barry Goldwater on Civil Rights"
Buchanan proposed that Virginia could finesse the question of full compliance with Brown and avoid leaving the impression that the state wished to revert to crude Jim Crow standards of race privilege. Buchanan’s innovative solution was the introduction of school vouchers... On paper, at least, Buchanan was advocating a market-based, seemingly race-neutral policy solution. In effect, however, it allowed for the continued perpetuation of segregation. For example, Virginia’s Prince Edwards County shuttered its public schools in 1959 while doling out vouchers to students who attended private schools that only accepted white children. As a result, black children in Prince Edwards County went without formal education for more than five years.
Andrew Hartman, "The Master Class on the Make"
The cost of diversity is really just the cost of intolerance framed differently.
Unknown author, in comments to "The siren song of homogeneity"
To solve the problem that few Americans are interested in small government, Rothbard argued that libertarians needed to align themselves with people they might not like much in order to expand their numbers. “Outreach to the Rednecks” was needed to make common cause with far-right Christian conservatives who hated the federal government, disliked drugs and wanted to crack down on crime.
Matthew Sheffield, "Where did Donald Trump get his racialized rhetoric? From libertarians."
Barry Goldwater, generally believed to be the most libertarian major party presidential candidate of the past hundred years, famously voted against the Civil Rights Act, the most liberating piece of federal legislation since the end of Reconstruction... This sort of adherence to principle at the expense of the tangible freedom of millions of African Americans sent a clear message of whose liberty received priority. Fairly or unfairly, holding such a man up as a hero of liberty sends a mixed message, at best.
Jonathan Blanks, "Why Aren’t There More Black Libertarians?"