Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, August 11, 2016

You’re Not A Real Libertarian, Jason Lewis!

Already, I can hear people crying “No true Scotsman!” Here’s the thing: like with any logical fallacy, the No True Scotsman fallacy has its exceptions. Yes, it would be fallacious to state that “no true Scotsman” puts sugar in their porridge, but it wouldn’t be so fallacious to insist that someone born in South Africa without any Scottish heritage is “no true Scotsman.”

If someone claims to be part of a group, yet actively works against the interests or goals of that group, then it’s safe to assume that that person was never a “true” member of that group. If someone claims to be a vegetarian animal rights activist, yet they wear fur coats and eat barbecue, then, yes, it’s quite accurate to say they’re not a true vegetarian who cares about animal rights.

Here’s another example: Jason Lewis.

Jason Lewis is a former talk radio pundit running for congress in Minnesota’s 6th district. He claims to be a libertarian. He also supports slavery:
In 2009, Lewis complained that “real Americans” believe Hurricane Katrina victims were “a bunch of whiners.” Last year he claimed, “the median income for blacks in America would make them rich in most African nations, not most – all.” He went on to argue that the United States government lacks the authority to outlaw slavery.”

“In fact, if you really want to be quite frank about it, how does somebody else owning a slave affect me?” Lewis said in an audio commentary added to his book Power Divided is Power Checked: The Argument for States’ Rights. “It doesn’t. If I don’t think it is right, I won’t own one, and people always say, ‘Well, if you don’t want to marry somebody of the same sex, you don’t have to, but why tell somebody else they can’t?’ Uh, you know if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t. But don’t tell other people they can’t.”
Why, yes, someone else owning a slave doesn’t directly affect me. But do you know who it does affect? THE SLAVE THEY’RE OWNING!

Sweet Celestia! We as a species recognized long ago that slavery is barbaric because it assumes ownership over another human being and treats them as property. Not only is the practice inhumane, but it’s also directly anti-libertarian, as it violates the libertarian principle of self-ownership, the concept that an individual human being is sole property of themselves, and thus no other human being can assume control and ownership over them.

And no, Lewis, you cannot compare slavery to gay marriage. At least in this country, people choose to get married through their own volition. People do not choose to become slaves.

Already, I can hear people performing mental gymnastics. They'll argue that if self-ownership stipulates that every person is their own property, and that property can be sold, then that person can sell themselves into slavery.

To that, I say that Murrary Rothbard already destroyed that bad argument in Ethics of Liberty:
[While] a man can alienate his labor service, but he cannot sell the capitalized future value of that service. In short, he cannot, in nature, sell himself into slavery and have this sale enforced-for this would mean that his future will over his own person was being surrendered in advance. In short, a man can naturally expend his labor currently for someone else's benefit, but he cannot transfer himself, even if he wished, into another man's permanent capital good. For he cannot rid himself of his own will, which may change in future years and repudiate the current arrangement. The concept of "voluntary slavery" is indeed a contradictory one, for so long as a laborer remains totally subservient to his master's will voluntarily, he is not yet a slave since his submission is voluntary; whereas, if he later changed his mind and the master enforced his slavery by violence, the slavery would not then be voluntary.
There is no libertarian defense for slavery. None. You cannot be a libertarian and support slavery. So, yes, it’s quite accurate to state that Jason Lewis is no true libertarian. That’s not a fallacy. That’s a fact.