When Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell opened a libertarian think tank in Auburn, Alabama, it struck observers as somewhat odd. Auburn was a surprising location for the fledgling Ludwig von Mises Institute—but the choice was inspired at least in part by nearby Auburn University, which at the time had an economics department friendly toward the Mises-Rothbard brand of Austrian economics.
That was 1982.
Though the Mises Institute still sits next to Auburn University, it is hard to overstate what a difference 35 years have made. As we saw on Tuesday, Auburn, the once “Austrian-friendly,” conservative bastion of the Old South, tried everything it could to prevent Richard Spencer from giving a speech. It gave in only at the eleventh hour, after reneging on a contract, and under the compulsion of a federal court order.
But if Auburn will ease up on its left-wing censorship only through government command, then it is difficult to see how it differs from any Northern liberal school.
This brings us to a sad but unavoidable truth. If we assume that Rothbard and Mr. Rockwell were right to move to Auburn in the first place, then 35 years of close proximity to some of the world’s best and most insightful libertarian theorists has done nothing to prevent Auburn from following the general cultural tides leftward. At worst, it may have contributed to it.
As such, the Mises-Auburn dynamic is a microcosm for libertarianism’s relationship to the country at large. The Libertarian Party was founded in the 1970s, but our country is less free in virtually every resepect that matters to libertarians. And though Murray Rothbard was a courageous thinker who attacked egalitarianism on philosophical grounds, supported the science behind race differences in IQ, and at the end of his life even turned against open immigration, the movement he created, belonged to, and left to us is more given to navel-gazing than honestly addressing the existential issues of our time. As I write, the top articles on the Mises Institute home page are about the Federal Reserve (two), taxes (two more), a “dems-are-the-real-racists” attack on minimum wage laws, and an expose of government intervention in the Easter-candy market.
The Mises Institute has published nothing about the sustained efforts by communists and left-wing campus bureaucrats to undermine free speech at its own front door. As far as I can tell, its commentary on events in Auburn consists exclusively of three Jeffrey Tucker articles (1, 2, 3) complaining that the city has too many stop signs.
Libertarianism is irrelevant since, unlike the ascendant alt-right, it does not meet the enemy head on. No matter what the Mises Institute may claim, the enemies of our civilization are not motivated by a desire to regulate Easter candy. At their heart, they are not even motivated by economic intervention, though leftists will certainly support extensive economic controls when given the chance.
When Ludwig von Mises wrote in the 1920s and 30s, the debate between free markets and interventionism was important and lively. But his disciples, in their zeal to emulate the master, have forgotten that time moves on, and that their enemies no longer care about the discredited interwar collectivism they once espoused. As Paul Gottfried wrote in The Strange Death of Marxism, the Left has replaced its old economic ideology with a cultural and racial one. It still believes that the proletariat needs to destroy the oppressors; but now the proletariat is a medley of blacks, women, Muslims, gays, Jews, Hispanics, transsexuals, and otherkin, while the oppressors are straight white males.
Libertarians like to pretend they can get along with the modern Left, mainly out of a belief that its focus on sex and drugs reflects opposition to government controls. In fact, on the road to achieving their vision of sexually and emotionally “liberated” individuals, there is no doubt today’s Left will become every bit as oppressive as their Maoist and Leninist predecessors. Witness the cheers to which Kim Davis was put in jail for defying gay marriage. Witness the constant cries that free speech does not apply to “racists.” Or witness the Left gloating over the prospects of white dispossession—even as the South African Boers face ruthless government-backed plunder—while it cheers the importation of millions of Muslim migrants for whom apostasy is a capital offense.
Each of these should be enough to make a real friend of liberty grab a stick and join the fight against the antifa. Instead, we get mealy-mouthed false equivalencies that claim both Left and Right are equally bad. Or worse, we get silence.
But, as the Battles of Huntington Beach, then Berkeley, and now Auburn show, libertarians cannot long retreat into what William F. Buckley called “their busy little seminars to demunicipalize the garbage collectors.” The modern Left, like its communist predecessors, is a totalitarian monster that will allow no peace to those who do not accept its ever-increasing demands.
During an anti-Milo protest, antifa destroyed a Starbucks leaving the spray-painted message “Liberals Get the Bullet Too.” If antifa had rioted in Auburn, there is no doubt they would have smashed the Mises Institute, if they knew what it was. They focus on Mr. Spencer because he is more outspoken and newsworthy, but people who think Starbucks is insufficiently leftist will certainly not tolerate a group named after an economist who compared socialism to potassium cyanide.
And as bad as antifa are, they at least come from a European culture that speaks in terms of human rights. The Somalis and Pakistanis with whom they want to replace native whites do not even have that. If the Left gets its way and transforms us into a minority-white country, we may pine for the benevolent rule of people like Moldylocks.
Libertarians do not understand that not only is our enemy no longer at the gates; he is rampaging inside the city walls. And he does not recognize the concept of neutrals or bystanders. We no longer have the luxury of debating whether taxation is theft or whether stop signs violate the non-aggression principle. Libertarian debates were always luxury goods that were possible only in a peaceful, cohesive society where both sides accepted the same principles of honest discourse. But now, when the enemy does not want to debate you, but instead wants to silence you so that he may demographically destroy you, there is no framework for a reasoned discussion of policy.
Today, free speech is under vicious attack. And white people—the only people in the history of the world ever to care about another group’s liberty—are slated for demographic destruction. If we lose these battles, libertarians will not be able to go back to their debates and seminars. As white men—and how many libertarians are not?—they will be attacked, expropriated, and driven from their homes. Yesterday, the formerly white population of Rhodesia; tomorrow, the whites of South Africa; how long before they come for us?
It is past time libertarians recognized this. If you love liberty, if you love progress, if you love reason and the triumph of light over the darkness, you should stand and fight for the civilization that gave us the Magna Carta and the man on the moon. Berkeley and Auburn prove this. Those who refuse to see it are only proving their irrelevance.