Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Robert Higgs Endorsement Announcement

The great Robert Higgs announces:
I realize that the suspense may become unbearable unless I make the following announcement, so here it is: I will not be endorsing any of the candidates seeking the Republican or Democratic Party nominations for president nor any of those seeking nomination by the minor parties. Indeed, I will not be endorsing the election itself. Finally, I will not be endorsing the continued existence of the nation-state over which these aspirants seek to preside. Enough is enough. I will not give my endorsement to politics as usual, a process by which competing parties seek to gain control the state's powers in order to plunder and bully the people at large for the sake of their principal supporters. Oh that all other people would join me in withdrawing their endorsement -- indeed, their acquiescence and blessings. Decent people ought to flee the whole diabolical process, leaving only the criminally inclined to go to war exclusively against one another without sacrificing the bodies, souls, and wealth of innocent parties.


  1. Hey Dr. Higgs,
    If you'd like to visit us on the boat (in Bahamas, currently), I'd gladly be Higgs's Bosun! :)

  2. Anarchists are useless. Not participating changes nothing. We just get ruled by tyrants instead of classical liberals like Ron Paul. Someone is going to be in charge.

    1. you saw what happened to Ron, didn't you?

    2. The battle of ideas must be won before the battle of the ballot.

      Endorsing people you don't believe in sabotages that war. "I'm an anti-imperialist libertarian but I am voting for imperialist B." Yeah? That'll show 'em.

      Or, even worse, if you are a vocal libertarian and endorse an imperialist for office your ideas are clearly tarnished by your hypocrisy (and your cognitive dissonance), people will not take you seriously, or worse yet, people will think your support of an imperialist means libertarians support imperialism. Way to shoot yourself in the foot!

    3. Spooner, Rockwell, and Rothbard (just to name 3) have done a lot more for liberty than your vote within the state apparatus designed to control you. Is this even an argument?

      You could join their ranks by pointing that out every time you are asked, "who are you voting for?"

    4. I often brag that I've never voted for president. People look at me like I'm insane even after I explain that voting for the "lesser of two evils" is still voting for evil.

    5. Yes, and the second time someone tells them that it will be slightly less crazy.

    6. No one escapes tyranny in a land ruled by tyrants. Not voting for the most libertarian candidate (who actually proposes advancements toward liberty, as opposed to the least statist candidate) is a major error on the part of those who seek a free society.

      I think we can agree that a peaceful move toward a libertarian society is preferred over an apoplectic move toward a libertarian society (brought on by WW3 or severe domestic and economic turmoil.)

      Will a Libertarian win the presidential nomination? Probably not. However voting for the Libertarian will signal to others that there is an appetite for a Libertarian option. That will help the movement grow and go mainstream. Withdrawing from the process signals nothing. No votes are not counted. No one cares how many people did not vote. No one makes the connection that these people may be conscientious objectors. Apathy changes no minds.

      The better statement for Higgs is that he will support the candidate that proposes to move the country furthest toward a libertarian society.

      To the person who brought up Rothbard, remember that he was very active in politics. He endorsed the rotten Pat Buchanan (who called Alexander Hamilton his "hero") of all people.

      Robert Higgs, I think, is being hypocritical. He formerly taught at the public University of Washington. Did he burn those taxpayer paychecks, knowing those same checks elsewhere supported the wars he despises?

      More to his point, the people carrying out blow back do not seek out those who supported belligerent foreign policy for retribution. Your support or antipathy toward the state doesn't matter to the people on the other side of the wars. You are fair game. So the least one can do - even a great scholar and defender of liberty like Higgs - is to vote for the candidate who will retreat most from tyranny and advance most toward liberty. At least that is a signal even to outsiders that some people demand policy changes.

    7. Anarchist are not worthless. Anarchist are the ones carrying and forwarding the Libertarian position.
      If u feel the need to vote for someone to rule over you, have at it.
      But don't tell we who won't be ruled voluntarily to accept the State.

    8. This article is much more influential than voting. Well done Professor Higgs, and I should have included your name in my tiny list of anarchist examples.

  3. "No one escapes tyranny in a land ruled by tyrants. Not voting for the most libertarian candidate (who actually proposes advancements toward liberty, as opposed to the least statist candidate) is a major error on the part of those who seek a free society."

    -There is no such candidate in this election. Ron Paul isn't running.

    -According to Rothbard he never actually voted. Are we talking about voting?

    -The act of voting in this election is a minuscule act compared to just telling one person not to vote (and why, exposing them to the libertarian message) if your goal is to move people towards a libertarian society. Indeed I argued above that voting for a candidate in this election hurts the libertarian position. If you want people to support candidate A or B, tll them who you will vote for, but don't pretend you are supporting libertarianism. There is no libertarian in the race!

    Do not confuse your act of compliance and support (voting) for the state apparatus as a rebellious act against the state.

  4. I'll vote for Gary Johnson if he's the LP nominee. He's by no means a perfect libertarian, but still better than Rand Paul.

    I'll listen to you about compliance and support when you stop paying your taxes. Thoreau did it.

    "The state, however, allows you a limited choice — there's no question about the fact that the choice is limited. Since you are in this coercive situation, there is no reason why you shouldn't try to make use of it if you think it will make a difference to your liberty or possessions. So by voting you can't say that this is a moral choice, a fully voluntary choice, on the part of the public. It's not a fully voluntary situation. It's a situation where you are surrounded by the whole state which you can't vote out of existence. For example, we can't vote the Presidency out of existence — unfortunately, it would be great if we could — but since we can't why not make use of the vote if there is a difference at all between the two people," Murray Rothbard.

    1. The difference you imagine you are making by voting is minuscule compared to the books and articles Higgs and others have written.

      Enjoy your bleats in the booth, but don't denigrate Professor Higgs and others, who've done much more than mere voting for the cause of Liberty, for choosing not to join you there. Their writing is a much more impactful action.

    2. I didn't denigrate Higgs. I just think his view here is mistaken. I also think it's hypocritical for him to abstain from the political process on moral grounds, but to have cashed state-signed pay checks. I don't think either is wrong, I just find it hypocritical to hold both views simultaneously.

      I also used to write on economics and state policy as a journalist. I used a libertarian angle to inform nearly all my stories. I challenged former MLB commissioner Bud Selig on the subsidies for sports stadiums, I did investigative work on crony economic development deals, I railed against crony unionism and jacked up public pensions, my reporting (I think) killed bills totaling over $200 million. I interviewed Walter Block and Peter Klein and any free-market economist who would talk to me for comment/analysis on news stories.

      That was journalism read by thousands of people every day with angles covered by no one else in the local media. My contribution to the advancement of liberty is not just checking a box for the LP in the voting booth. I have tremendous respect for Higgs, Wenzel, Woods, Schiff, Balko, Greenwald, Assange, etc. who have audiences and impact far greater than I had. I still think there's more to do than just writing.

      If we're ranking people on this regard, I'd say Ron Paul has done more for liberty than any libertarian writer since Henry Hazlitt. But still, Craig Newmark, Peter Thiel, Jimmy Wales, etc. in my estimation have done more for advancing toward a libertarian society than even Ron Paul.