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I had a student who I suspect was a Rothbard fan a few years back. He liked to make a big show of reading Ayn Rand before class and wore “More Mises, Less Marx” t-shirts. He’s the only student I ever had that openly defended child labor (it was valuable work experience). He wasn’t dumb, but I think he was lonely. Initiated into the political science honor society, he came alone, while the other inductees had friends and family with them. I never saw him talk to another student, sit with a classmate, or even walk alongside someone else to or from class. He graduated and went to George Mason for an economics Masters. Then he planned to move to Singapore.

That last part sparked my curiosity. Was it the financial hub aspect that attracted him, or did he share the common RW male fantasy of marrying the stereotyped “docile” Asian woman? If it’s the latter, and he finds someone, I feel sorry for her.

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Nov 21, 2023Liked by John Ganz

Absolutely fascinating how Rothbardian political morality is, among other things, so perfectly compatible with being obviously, totally, clinically insane. (Apologies for the adverbial overkill, and great job as always in bringing important context to our collective journey to the bottom).

Also remark-worthy that the hawkers of this vision, when the state and its market distortions and distributivist manipulations are all abolished and the natural hierarchy of man assumes its rightful dominion, they, in their imaginings, at the end of it all, are always the Michael, never the Fredo.

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The path from libertarian to fash is so well trodden, at least in the US, that its almost a rite of passage. When you've had all the fun you can get from sneering down on all lesser beings as a superior individual, I guess it gets lonely after a while. So moving on to huddling together with a group of like-minded misanthropes allows you to rediscover some of the elements of collectivity you previously saw as a weakness, even if it's a collectivity alienated and perverted into "race" or whatever

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"While Marx saw modern society divided into two productive classes, bourgeoisie and proletariat, according to Rothbard, drawing on John C. Calhoun, “the Marx of the Master Class,” society is divided into tax-payers and tax-producers, producers and parasites. The free market, if unchained and left alone, would reveal the natural hierarchy of mankind, but the state and its parasites prevent this natural course from taking place."

This is the most succinct summation of the mindset underlying all the seemingly disparate elements that are coalescing into the current far-right. There is a lot to unpack in this statement, but Hannah Arendt already did the heavy lifting.

However, doesn't this also help make perfect sense of why Girard's "philosophy" is so attractive to these folks? This is a great article. However, you made a comment a few articles back that concerned me ("...Girard has much to recommend him"), and I really hope the more you dig into who Rene Girard is and what he teaches, the more you will realize how incredibly shallow it all is.

When fascism is worn on one's sleeve, it is easy to see, but when it is cloaked in layers of academic bs, it can be a bit more difficult to discern, but no less obvious.

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I'm currently in Buenos Aires for a short research trip. It's a wonderful city, a kind of simulacrum of Europe of maybe 40 years ago, with ornate buildings, old-school cafés, restaurants with table cloths and waiters in ties and jackets. A dinner costs at most $10. The streets have holes. The windows haven't been cleaned in years. Those $10 buys you dinner if you exchange money on the black market, in my case in a booth in a florists stand, where a machine whips out piles of 1000 peson notes each worth about $1.05. That's after over 100% inflation.

There's a history here of magical politics, mainly social democratic policies called Peronism (after the dictator who supported Franco and let in nazis).Don't ask. It doesn't work because it's not affordable given the resources. They tax exports to keep prices low for Argentines. It's a comodity based economy with all the ups and downs that means.

I hope this doesn't end any worse than Trump left the US, of course with a different starting point. People I know are of course dismayed. OTOH, he beat the Economy Minister who was in charge during this inflation. So it's not surprising. The hope is that the inevitable failure breaks the cycle of magical politics. Of course, it's always true that things can always get worse. Either way, I recommend a trip here now before things heat up.

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We all got a glimpse at the kinship between fascism and libertarianism in 2008 when Ron Paul's old newsletters surfaced. Their racist screeds were indistinguishable from something you'd find on Stormfront. The Paul campaign drew out a bunch of Revolutionary War cosplayer kooks, which gave an indication of where our politics was headed.

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Nov 21, 2023·edited Nov 21, 2023

This is horrible news. Unfortunately this is what Steve Bannon wants for the US. Thump is the salesman.

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This time we can’t compare to him to Donald Trump because he seems totally different. He seems similar to some crazy Roman Emperor. The idea of listening to his dogs seems more about ancient lifestyles, He thinks he is in Rome but Argentina is totally different thing.

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Thanks for the information on Rothbard. I had heard of him only as a name before your lengthy exposition. As you imply, Rothbard found it very convenient to take advantage of his economic and educational opportunities and then take sole credit for his successes.

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Those last two lines are hot fucking fire

Great piece

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Honestly thought that picture was Benny Hill circa 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' for a second...

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Nov 21, 2023·edited Nov 21, 2023

Just started reading the book “The Fourth Turning Is Here”. I may be wrong, but events in Argentina seem to fit the author’s predictions.

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