Saturday, September 22, 2018

Libertarians Should Grow Up

By Robert Wenzel

The White House has drafted an executive order for President Donald Trump’s signature that would instruct federal antitrust and law enforcement agencies to open investigations into the business practices of Google, Facebook, Twitter and
other social media companies, reports Bloomberg.

The document instructs U.S. antitrust authorities to “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws.” It instructs other government agencies to recommend within a month after it’s signed actions that could potentially “protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias.”

I have seen some "libertarians" advocating for this type of action.

This is just bad news and reflects the naive thinking of those who think they will always have a call on power. It lacks deep thought and insight. It is typical Trump.

Once Trump has eaten his last Big Mac and is long gone from power, the tools of central power regulation and coercion that he will have created will remain in place to be used against his followers by their enemies.

“The worst thing that can happen to a socialist is to have his country ruled by socialists who are not his friends,” Ludwig von Mises reminded us.

Outsiders being censored by prevailing mainstream power is nothing new.

Mises, arguably the greatest economist of all time, couldn't get a decent paid university professorship in Austria or the United States.

He once wrote:
It would be a mistake to assume that the Austrian government promoted all of [the] great movements. On the contrary, it withdrew teaching assignments of Bolzano and Brentano; it isolated Bach, and did not bother at all with Husserl, Breuer and Freud.
It has also happened to extremists on the left. Angela Davis was fired from her teaching position in the philosophy department at UCLA for using inflammatory language in speeches describing the police as pigs and murderers for their role in suppressing a student protest in 1969 at the "People's Park" on the Berkeley campus.

And Vladimir Lenin, who knew a thing or two about revolutionary success, wrote long before he gained control:
We are surrounded on all sides by enemies and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire.
But this did not deter him from believing in the revolutionary vanguard who mastered the art of revolutionary conspiracy, "Such a party could not fail if led correctly," he wrote.

There are always workarounds.

Harvard Professor Stephen Greenblatt reports that Shakespeare had to use workarounds and was a master at it
There was no freedom of expression Shakespeare's

England, on the stage or anywhere else...

Sheakspeare carefully kept at least a full century bewteen himself and the events he dipicted... 
Censorship inevitably generates techniques of evasion...

Shakespeare was the supreme master of displacement and strategic indirection...

I have written before that even in the extremely oppressive Eastern bloc during the era of the Soviet Union that there was the samizdat.

Here in the United States, where the teaching of Austrian economics has been essentially blackballed at colleges and universities, the Mises Institute and the Independent Institute have emerged as great workarounds.

It is particularly absurd for libertarians, who should be anti-government to their core, to call on the government to help them in their battles. These "libertarians" don't get the essence of liberty. They do not understand the problem of government. That government central control of any kind creates a power source that the worst in society will work to control and over time do.

State power is never the answer. Truth can never be blocked from the minds of strong thinkers and part of the role of these strong thinkers is to devise the workarounds when "surrounded on all sides by enemies and...almost constantly under their fire."

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of


  1. I'm curious to know if any of these social media companies enjoy any government subsidies.

  2. Robert; great (and much needed) post. Thanks!!

  3. All the protests during the Obama administration about the fairness doctrine and net neutrality sure ring hollow nowadays.

  4. Hard to destroy The Ring when you want so badly to use it.

  5. Just granting the government jurisdiction over internet content is a recipe for disaster even it was "regulated" for content fairly for the first 15 years.

    I can imagine the imperious ultimate court opinion on the subject a few years down the road: "It cannot be gainsaid that the regulation of dangerous internet content is an important and essential basic function of government...."

    That's me mimicking the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling on why it was important and constitutional to limit campaign contributions to libertarian party candidates (.5% of the vote types) in the amount of $750 per contributor.

  6. This is the flaw in the logic of state-managed-borders libertarians.