Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”     Frederick Bastiat

August 18, 2008

Quote Of The Day — Libertarians for Commies Edition

by Doug Mataconis

This time, it’s an incredibly bizarre dispatch from the land of paleo-libertarianism:

There is a case to be made for Deng Xiaoping, who launched the biggest, fastest increase in prosperity and freedom in the history of the human race, and brought the Chinese people back into the world economy, to their great benefit and ours.

Yea, as long as you ignore the political oppression, lack of freedom of speech, lack of freedom of the press. suppression of religious beliefs, murder of political dissidents, and that little untidy affair in Tiananmen Square awhile back.

And, oh yeah, Mussolini made the trains run on on time.

The quote, by the way, is from Lew Rockwell. One time — perhaps still — buddy of Ron Paul, and one of the reasons why I sometimes think that libertarians will never really be taken seriously until we purge ourselves of the idiots.

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23 Comments

  1. Idiots? Like yourself.

    I believe Lew was applauding the economic liberalization of China which has done alot to increase the living standard of millions of Chinese(i.e. he is applauding the move from central planning to free market economics). China ain’t perfect but they seem to be moving away from totalitarian communism, while the US is moving closer toward it.

    Lew made no endorsement of China’s less than perfect political and religious freedoms. By the way all freedom loving individuals should join
    http://www.campaignforliberty.org/

    Comment by publius — August 18, 2008 @ 9:09 pm
  2. Purged how comrade?

    You can easily take issue with 5% of what Lew Rockwell says if you want to. I’d still prefer a society with 100 times as many Lew Rockwells and Ron Pauls than 1000 times as many .

    Comment by Thane Eichenauer — August 18, 2008 @ 9:10 pm
  3. that sentence should end “…1000 times as many (insert lesser of two evils here).”

    Comment by Thane Eichenauer — August 18, 2008 @ 9:11 pm
  4. I agree with publius. Except for the campaignforliberty.org part. What’s that going to do? Maybe Lew should of specified economic freedom. Maybe you just don’t like Lew Rockwell.

    Comment by Sean Sullivan — August 19, 2008 @ 1:36 am
  5. publius,

    I believe Lew was applauding the economic liberalization of China which has done alot to increase the living standard of millions of Chinese(i.e. he is applauding the move from central planning to free market economics). China ain’t perfect but they seem to be moving away from totalitarian communism, while the US is moving closer toward it.

    Tell that to the political prisoners, the Tibetan Monks, and the dead students in Tiananmen Square.

    China may be moving toward something, but, so far at least, a free society ain’t it.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 3:37 am
  6. Sean,

    I have no opinion about Rockwell as a person as I’ve never met him and probably never will.

    His rhetoric, though, is something I do have a problem with, and his tendancy to praise someone like Deng while claiming — falsely I think — that the USA is only one step away from tyranny and collapse is not only factually wrong but morally suspect.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 4:17 am
  7. Well, I take major issue as well with calling Deng Xiaoping the greatest man of the 20th century. Yes, Deng instigated the transition of China from communism to a State Capitalist economy, but China nevertheless is a repugnant, technological police state. There is nothing to praise about that.

    Nonetheless, I’m certainly not in favor of the neocon advocated cold war between china and the US. Sometimes it seems like rockwell takes these extreme, almost comical positions just to stick it in the eye of the “Neocons.” However, he isn’t doing the libertarian movement any favors when he engages in these types of histrionics.

    Comment by ka1igu1a — August 19, 2008 @ 5:23 am
  8. Doug,

    If, 50 years in the future, you could reach back in history and abort the birth of Deng or GW Bush, or both or neither, which of the four choices would likely leave the world better off?

    Regards, Don

    Comment by Don Lloyd — August 19, 2008 @ 5:45 am
  9. That is a most uncharitable interpretation. Any head of a national government can be condemned for murder, theft, and slavery. The point is really whether the person did less of those things than his predecessor. I don’t have a problem with someone saying George Washington or Thomas Jefferson were the greatest men of the 18th century, even though they were murderers, slavers, and, in the case of Jefferson, likely a rapist.

    Comment by Robert A. Wicks — August 19, 2008 @ 6:39 am
  10. 1) Although on LRC the post is titled, “Greatest Man of the 20th Century?”, the article actually says, “may yet go down as the single most important historical figure of the 20th century”. The difference isn’t exactly subtle, but it isn’t that huge either. For example, Time’s Person of the Year is generally interpreted by the masses as ‘greatest person of the year’ when it is really just an article on the most influential person of the year, good or bad.

    2. It’s an brief facial analysis suggesting that, on balance, he has done more for more people than anyone else. And that’s not a half-baked idea. There are 1.3 billion Chinese. So, if someone causes $1 per capita of improvement in both the US and China, he’s done over four times the good in China than in the US.

    I certainly won’t argue that Deng Xiaopeng is a saint. But one can judge him on what his government has done right, and that’s quite a bit.

    3. The article, for the most part, has nothing to do specifically with Xiaopeng. It’s about China and the past and future role in the world.

    Comment by ThomasBlair — August 19, 2008 @ 6:54 am
  11. Don,

    If, 50 years in the future, you could reach back in history and abort the birth of Deng or GW Bush, or both or neither, which of the four choices would likely leave the world better off?

    Well, since I don’t think it’s morally justified to murder a baby based on something they might do in the future, I would choose neither.

    However, if both men appeared before me to judge their fate, I would say that Deng clearly has more blood on his hands.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 8:08 am
  12. Robert,

    Yes, but Washington and Jefferson both recognized that there was a contradiction between their words and their actions and governed in a way that enhanced individual liberty.

    The same cannot be said for a man like Deng.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 8:09 am
  13. I certainly won’t argue that Deng Xiaopeng is a saint. But one can judge him on what his government has done right, and that’s quite a bit.

    You could say the same thing about George W. Bush, or even Richard Nixon.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 8:10 am
  14. Deng was never unclear concerning his goals: He wanted to bring western capital and industrial innovation to China …

    … to the exact extent that he could do so without compromising the power of his totalitarian state so much as an iota, and not one inch further.

    Any small signs of liberalization we see in China are symbols of Deng’s failure, not of his success, in achieving his goals.

    His success, measured by his own lights, is that he managed to leverage the customer power of relatively free countries into production power exercised by China’s slave population to produce revenues for its slave-keeping regime.

    Comment by Thomas L. Knapp — August 19, 2008 @ 8:57 am
  15. Agreed.

    “There’s a case to be made” =/= was someone to admire as a human being.

    To paraphrase you: one of the reasons why I sometimes think that libertarians will never really be taken seriously until we purge ourselves of the simpleminded purists.

    Only admire Spooner then, since he was pure. Of the rest of mankind we have to think ill since they are all a bunch of socialists or would be once in power…

    Give me a break.

    Comment by Juan Fernando C. — August 19, 2008 @ 9:00 am
  16. Thomas,

    Deng was never unclear concerning his goals: He wanted to bring western capital and industrial innovation to China …

    … to the exact extent that he could do so without compromising the power of his totalitarian state so much as an iota, and not one inch further.

    Any small signs of liberalization we see in China are symbols of Deng’s failure, not of his success, in achieving his goals.

    Exactly.

    One could argue that Deng’s model wasn’t the United States, but Sinagpore, which has managed to combine technological innovation and economic liberalization with an authoritarian state.

    Although I’m sure that Deng though Singapore was far to free for his taste.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 9:09 am
  17. Juan,

    There’s a case to be made that the Soviet Communists improved the lives of the Russian people by eliminating the nation’s dependence on farming and building a large, if inefficient, industrial complex.

    Of course, they murdered alot of people to do it.

    Just because Deng made the trains run faster doesn’t mean he’s worthy of any praise or recognition at all. Remember that he’s the one who allowed thousands of innocent students to die:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deng_Xiaoping#Role_in_the_Tiananmen_Square_protests

    The man was a thug, pure and simple.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 9:11 am
  18. Doug,

    “Well, since I don’t think it’s morally justified to murder a baby based on something they might do in the future, I would choose neither.”

    OK, then convince (or bribe) the mother to voluntarily abort.

    Regards, Don

    Comment by Don Lloyd — August 19, 2008 @ 9:43 am
  19. oh wow, you’re still obsessed with Ron Paul. that’s …sad.

    Comment by oilnwater — August 19, 2008 @ 10:33 am
  20. oilnwater,

    I thought the exact same thing.

    1. The article is mostly about China’s past and future place in the world.

    2. Lew Rockwell posted a link saying, “here’s something to think about”.

    3. And LW and RP at one time (and maybe still are!) friends.

    Conclusion? RP is a communista.

    QED.

    Comment by ThomasBlair — August 19, 2008 @ 11:04 am
  21. oilnwater & Thomas,

    Talk about seeing things that aren’t there.

    Geez, Rockwell was the moron who wrote the post praising a dictator, he’s the one I was talking about.

    And….obsessed with Ron Paul, I haven’t given him much thought for about six months now.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 1:51 pm
  22. Don,

    Why ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 19, 2008 @ 1:51 pm
  23. His article is ethnocentric. If all the idiots were thrown out of the libertarian movement. There wouldn’t be much left of it.

    Comment by uhm — August 20, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

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