Silverwolf was actually astonished and flabbergasted today when he stumbled across a youtube video entitled “Harvard Lecture on Libertarianism”. Astonished and flabbergasted, not because of any especial brilliance of the lecture, although it was interesting and touched on many relevent Libertarian principles, but because of the virtually-complete inanity and inarticulateness of the students when asked to argue first the con- and then the pro- sides of Libertarianism. Though these were Harvard students, supposedly amongst the brightest in the nation, virtually every student who spoke could not speak in complete sentences, seemed to wander vaguely in their answers, and could not help polluting their rhetoric with a constant dribble of “you know”s, “I mean”s, verbal pauses, and unconnected phrases.
What first astonished Silverwolf was the fact that the uploader completely failed to mention the lecturer’s name, which seems like an incredible oversight. And even more incredibly, not one of the commenters mentioned his name, nor asked who he was. That’s unbelievably negligent.
The lecturer did, however, speak in complete, holistic sentences, since he had obviously come of age before the computer, and still spoke like a Human Being. His lecture was very good, but it too was amazing and astonishing in that no where in the lecture did he mention the founder of the American Libertarian Party, Professor Murray Rothbard, nor any of the prominent Free-Market Capitalist Economists on which modern Libertarianism is based: Bohm-Bawerk, Mises, and Hayek. Neither did his lecture forcefully stress the intimate and necessary connection between Libertarianism and free-markets, though free-markets were mentioned numerous times.
The lecturer also simplistically defined Libertarianism as “self-possession” or “self-ownership”, but he never once articulated the core Libertarian axiom, which states that “no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of any individual man.”
Finally he slipped the traditional piece of mainstream propaganda into the lecture by mentioning the “Libertarian economist”, Milton Friedman. As we demonstrated in our blog post “Ron Paul and Murray Rothbard vs. Milton Friedman and the Collectivists”, Murray Rothbard, in a 1971 interview with The Banner, clearly argues and proves that Friedman was no Libertarian, but actually a Statist, although on certain points he took a Libertarian position. And certainly, in comparison to the prevailing philosophy of big government of his time, Friedman was much more Libertarian and pro-free markets than virtually all well-known economists. He was a comparative Libertarian in a Statist age, but not a real one.
And the fact that “The Austrian School of Economics”, the backbone of modern Libertarianism, was not mentioned even once in the lecture, despite Hayek having been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, is scandalous. But it shows how even Harvard tries to mold the brains of the young.
In listening to the inarticulate students trying to explain why overthrowing property rights was OK if it “helped the poor”, and to the girl who was an outright collectivist who said that we didn’t have self-ownership, that we belonged to the society and so have to “give up” our rights, and so government could tell us what to do and extract labor from us, Silverwolf could see how Socialist propaganda has been fed to these students throughout their earlier school days, where they were probably told that “it takes a village”.
And in one sense, it does: A village of Libertarians.
For example, anti-Libertarian Raoul spouted that “we get our rights from the government”, evidently disagreeing with Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence of the United States, that we are endowed by our creator with certain “unalienable” rights, which means they can never be taken away. Raoul seemed to think though that the government gave us our rights, and so if the democratic majority makes a rule, even if it violates our rights, then everyone must obey, and if you don’t like it, you’re free to emigrate.
Neither the Prof, nor the three students arguing the pro-Libertarian position, seemed to catch Raoul’s initial falsehood that “we get our rights from the government”. And later, when students brought up the old Liberal illusion that “society has given you these things and so you owe back to society the taxes you pay”, the pro-Libertarians never called into question whether this fictional “society” even exists.
Notice how easily so many people accept the fictions of “society”, ” the People”, “the Nation”, when in reality there are only Individuals, with Individual Rights. This is one of the key insights of Libertarianism, and one of the reasons why the anti-Libertarian ideologues get so confused. “Society” does not exist; only you and the other individuals exists, each one, simultaneously, and it is the interactions and relationships between all these individuals that make up society. The Democrats and Republicans who believe in the income tax, or other taxes to fund programs other than the defense of persons and property (i.e. the police and courts, and the military), have had to invent this fictional idea of “society” or the Nation. But Society does not exist; only Individual lives exist.
So, the defenses of the Libertarians to these attacks seemed to constantly miss the key philosophical reason which would have clearly defended their position. That such shoddy thinking could emerge from so many students. who are supposedly top-notch intellectually, was indeed chilling. If these are the best and the brightest of this country, America is in big trouble.
These inarticulate students also seemed to conform to many of the characteristics that we read of recently on a website which responded to our discussion of the computer, and its effect on the degeneration of the Human Mind. We posited in that post that computers were subtly reconditioning the way the Human Mind functioned, and that the young who were growing up with computers were completely conditioned by this upbringing in a way which those who grew up in the pre-computer days were free of. (A computer glitch having wiped out that week’s browsing history, we are unfortunately unable to give the name of that website. which was in both English and German.)
That website discussed an article which listed 10 characteristics of these new cyber-conditioned children. For example, they pressed buttons with their thumbs instead of their index fingers. They had trouble concentrating. They couldn’t talk in complete sentences. They showed a lack of consideration of the consequences of their actions on others. It was a drearily accurate picture of the youth Silverwolf has observed being completely taken over by the computer during the past decade, so that silence, and silent meditation or long periods of sustained cogitation on one topic, become impossible for such a conditioned brain. The Harvard student’s lack of insight and inability to think in complete sentences seemed universal. Silverwolf used to hear more cogent discussions in High School.
After hearing the unthoughout blatherings of these inarticulate students at Harvard, Silverwolf is more convinced than ever that a new Human Mind is emerging which is so heavily cyber-conditioned that it is completely unaware of the way in which it has been thus conditioned, and so is virtually unable to break out of this syndrome and de-condition itself.
Can Libertarianism, the Philosophy of Natural Rights, overcome this brainwashing of the mass of young people, even the so-called brightest? We doubt it, but it had better do so or we’re doomed.
Hoooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf