Philosophy

In the same way I recognize blind squirrels will occasionally stumble upon a nut I recognize those with whom I typically disagree morally or intellectually occasionally stagger into the correct position.

After extensive debate on the subject, I have decided this to be the case in the recent Antifa v. Nazis conflict. I do not in any way condone or support the Antifa’s everyday actions progressing their movement as I believe those actions to be counterproductive to the goals they hope to achieve. However, I believe they were acting well within their rights under the non-aggression principle (NAP) to respond with commensurate force against immoral, coercive agents in Charlottesville. Further, I think it possible to extend this stance and argue that, when being faced with an individual who openly advocates and encourages acts of baseless violence, it is entirely, hands down, 100% permissible to punch Nazis.

As defined by the Mises Institute, “The NAP is an ethical stance which asserts that “aggression” is inherently illegitimate.” It goes on to clarify by defining aggression. “’Aggression’ is defined as the ‘initiation’ of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property.”

This raises several interesting arguments. First and foremost, the Mises Institute, widely held as one of the greatest schools of libertarian thought, clearly states that the threat of physical violence against another person or their property still falls under the definition of the initiation of aggression. The white nationalists and actual self-proclaimed Neo-Nazis present at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, NC began their aggressive gathering with a march carrying Tiki torches, of all things, while chanting “Jews will not replace us!” and “Blood and soil!” If “blood and soil” and the phrase’s historical context isn’t enough of a threat of violence, what would constitute such a threat?

Because of the nature of the rally, eventually police showed up. It didn’t take long for things to escalate to a point where mace was deployed. Christopher Cantwell, one of the most outspoken leaders of the alt-right movement, was maced not once, but twice after putting himself front and center of the most volatile areas of the rally. While recovering after the first, Cantwell’s supporters can be seen and heard around him encouraging him, “You do the lord’s work!” and “Do it for your race!” and most startlingly, “We’ll kill them for this!” “Them” being the counterprotesters, even though it was police who used mace to disperse the crowd.
Cantwell and his cronies arrived in Charlottesville looking for, hoping for, and with all intentions of inciting racial violence. Neo-Nazis present at the rally made claims that as soon as their movement gained more power they would wipe the filth from the streets forever. It is impossible to see and hear this sort of rhetoric and not also see the toxic effect it has on peaceful society. These individuals are violating the NAP. These individuals should be met with heavy, unfaltering opposition. Does this logic justify Antifa’s own hateful rhetoric and violence in other situations? No. Not by any means. However, broken clocks are right twice a day, and it’s always the right time to punch Nazis like Christopher Cantwell and his sycophants.

OpinionPhilosophy

I’m a member of the Libertarian Party. A short articulation of why is “my body, my choice.” One might reasonably assume I’m referring to one’s right to choose regarding abortion or recreational drug use, and I do support both, but to claim that is the whole story would be a superficial reading of my commitment to liberty. “My body, my choice” as a maxim must extend to the choice to sell one’s own sexual services. Otherwise, it is a shallow refrain with little meaning and less impact.

It is perplexing when pro-choice advocates, with whom I largely agree, have boo to say regarding an individual’s natural right to sell their own body as a commodity. Or, even worse, when they reject that right.

Consider the positon of feminist scholar Andrea Dworkin. Regarding abortion, Dworkin claims the state has a duty to provide the legal option to terminate any pregnancy; she asserts abortion is, in fact, a civil right. This argument turns on two claims, one more controversial than the other.

The first claim is that because terminating a pregnancy is a medical procedure which only women can undergo, denying abortive services violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. The second, more provocative claim, is that the patriarchal culture in which we live and which is supported by the state, conditions toxic gender roles; men are trained and conditioned to be sexually dominant and women, against their own self-interest, to find pleasure in submission. Thus, Dworkin concludes sex is always a coercive act and becoming pregnant can never be interpreted as a free choice. Additionally, the state ought to be considered complicit in every unwanted pregnancy. Drawing again from the 14th amendment and a state’s obligation to promote gender equality, the state must provide legal means by which those pregnancies can be terminated.

Now, one can reasonably reject the premise that all sex is coercive and still recognize the fundamental right of individuals to bodily autonomy. Dworkin rightly points out the state is largely responsible for the systemic oppression and patriarchy in our society. However, when it comes to the question of whether a woman-or any individual-should be free from government reprisal for prostitution, she gives the state a pass.

Even though she argues the state must provide legal means of abortion, she contends prostitution ought to remain illegal and this puzzles me. Dworkin, a powerful communicator and writer of feminist ideas, seems to ignore the danger her theoretical arguments present to real sex workers, most of whom are women. Because the sexual marketplace remains illicit, prostitutes are left without the legal redress of monetary and physical damages incurred in their line of work. Not only are these individuals deprived of legal protections, their workplace itself is made exponentially more dangerous because it exists in the shadows.

Furthermore, those who argue for the continued prohibition of prostitution don’t seem to recognize that individuals with felony records are unlikely to break free from poverty and oppression. Having a felony diminishes the likelihood of obtaining employment and with no other means to support themselves or loved ones, individuals (again, mostly women) return to the sex trade, perpetually trapped.

Liberty is the solution to these problems, not institutionalized paternalism. The Libertarian Party recognizes, as Dworkin did, the state is culpable for perpetuating a cycle of oppression. But, by supporting an individual’s liberty to engage in the sex market with a legal safety net, the Libertarian

Party stands taller than those who simply want the freedom to terminate pregnancies or use drugs. The Libertarian Party is working to liberate those women forced into sexual slavery and to encourage voluntary individual entrepreneurship. That’s why I am a Libertarian.