Jewish Involvement in Libertarianism
- Is libertarianism a ‘Jewish intellectual movement’?
In his influential study The Culture of Critique, Kevin MacDonald analyses a number of 20th century intellectual and social movements that were led by Jews and often centred around some charismatic Jewish leader, including Boasian anthropology, Freudian psychoanalysis and Critical Theory. Approaching them from an evolutionary psychology and social identity theory perspective, MacDonald argues that they exemplify ‘group-evolutionary strategies’. In brief, he contends that these movements are stratagems used in Jew-Gentile competition: they function to ‘critique’ and undermine the ethnocentrism of Gentile societies so as to make them more hospitable for Jews and Jewish advancement, and to combat resistance to this advancement (labelled ‘anti-Semitism’). MacDonald never claimed to provide an exhaustive list of such movements, but a question this article will consider is whether libertarianism could be placed among them. Though some other authors have suggested or argued this before, I have a different take on things to them, as will be explained in due course.
Why might one suspect this of libertarianism? Libertarianism developed from classical liberalism. Though the founding fathers of classical liberalism were gentiles (with the exception of David Ricardo, who converted to Unitarianism against his family’s wishes), the successor ideology of libertarianism has had many Jews as its major figures. In fact, libertarian economist Steven Horwitz describes the Jewish role in libertarianism as pivotal:
It is not a coincidence that among the leading libertarian thinkers of the 20th century, we have a large number of Jews, starting with Mises, Milton Friedman, Israel Kirzner, and Robert Nozick. And despite the [fact that they] rejected their Judaism, we should not forget Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard. They are only the tip of the iceberg of the disproportionate number of Jews who have been instrumental in forwarding the ideas of classical liberalism in the last century. It is no exaggeration to say that the modern libertarian movement would not exist were it not for these Jews.
Apparently, libertarian ideas have had a magnetic pull for many Jewish intellectuals; but is libertarianism a ‘Jewish intellectual movement’ in MacDonald’s sense? To answer this we should look to the preface of The Culture of Critique, were he gives four criteria he’s looking for:
1) The movement must be dominated by Jews.
2) There should be evidence that these Jews strongly identify as Jews and believe that they can advance Jewish interests through the movement (though they might deceive themselves about their having this motivation).
3) It should have an influence on gentile society, helping to make the society more hospitable to Jews.
4) It should provoke some response from gentiles, particularly an anti-Semitic response.
Now if Horwitz is right, we can take libertarianism to satisfy the first condition (Walter Block has provided a longer list of prominent Jewish libertarians). Consider next the third criterion—that libertarianism has influenced gentile society and in a way that’s good for the Jews. Though it has had other popular political ideologies and forces to contend with, classical liberalism has certainly been deeply influential in the West, to the extent of being part of the Western identity or self-conception. Moreover, although its successor libertarianism is often regarded as a fringe movement, in the US especially it is promoted by an energetic ecosystem of institutes, political parties, law firms, publishers, journals, magazines and websites. And regarding the Jewish connection, it is often said that Jews have flourished the most in liberal, individualistic countries. Liberal ideas led to Jewish emancipation in Europe, and the US, which perhaps has most approximated to the libertarian ideal, was spoken of as a ‘promised land’ for the Jews. So the influence of (classical) liberal ideas has been ‘good for the Jews’, though perhaps not good enough, with most Jews nevertheless favouring a left-wing, progressive political orientation that campaigns for equality rather than liberty, to the dismay of many Jewish libertarians.
However, it might be argued that liberalism is not good for the Jews at the expense of gentiles, but rather is just good period, that is, for everyone. Jews are not attracted to it for specifically self-interested reasons. Relatedly, it is sometimes said that Jewish overrepresentation in libertarianism is of no special significance since Jews are also overrepresented in the ranks of libertarianism’s arch-enemy, communism. As one writer put it, ‘if Communism and Libertarianism are both great for the Jews, you have to figure that probably just about anything can be construed as good for the Jews.’ Mises concurred: ‘these contradictory charges [blaming Jews for both laissez faire capitalism and communism] cancel each other.’ Being an urban, intellectual people, Jews will be overrepresented in most intellectual movements.
However, this argument emphasizes the differences between libertarianism and communism while overlooking what they have in common: their shared cosmopolitan or internationalist outlook. Ludwig von Mises described the cosmopolitanism of liberalism as follows:
The ultimate ideal envisioned by liberalism is the perfect cooperation of all mankind, taking place peacefully and without friction. Liberal thinking always has the whole of humanity in view and not just parts. It does not stop at limited groups; it does not end at the border of the village, of the province, of the nation, or of the continent. Its thinking is cosmopolitan and ecumenical: it takes in all men and the whole world. Liberalism is, in this sense, humanism; and the liberal, a citizen of the world, a cosmopolite.
Replace ‘liberalism/liberal’ with ‘communism/communist’ in this passage and it wouldn’t look out of place in any Marxist tract. We could thus suppose that it’s their shared cosmopolitanism, with its de-emphasis on national borders and ethnic or racial identity, that makes both ideologies attractive to a dispersed, diaspora people like the Jews. And we could then suppose that they would be much less enthused about and much less represented in non-cosmopolitan political orientations like conservatism, nationalism, royalism and theocracy (outside the Israeli context).
Next let’s move on to the fourth condition. It is more difficult to see this one being satisfied, since it does not seem that libertarianism, or Jewish involvement in libertarianism, has provoked any defensive, anti-Semitic responses on the part of gentiles, and the issue of Jewish overrepresentation in libertarianism has not even attracted a great deal of notice or comment. But satisfaction of this seems to be just for bonus points, since MacDonald doesn’t treat it as a necessary condition. For instance, in his discussion of Boasian anthropology, he doesn’t show that it provoked an anti-Semitic reaction but just standard scientific criticism. So it seems that the answer to whether libertarianism is a Jewish group-evolutionary strategy comes down to whether the second condition is satisfied: are Jewish promoters of libertarianism motivated by strong Jewish self-identification and the belief that libertarianism advances specifically Jewish interests (perhaps at the expense of Gentile interests)?
Jewish libertarians can indeed be found who explicitly attribute their adherence to libertarianism to Jewish concerns. For instance, the Jewish American legal scholar Randy Barnett has explained how ‘being a contrarian Jew has affected my academic agenda, my scholarly commitments, and the future direction of my work’. His libertarianism, he tells us, stems from a belief that ‘the reason Jews have thrived in the US is because it was fundamentally a republic that puts a primacy on individual rights rather than a democracy that unduly privileges the will of the majority’, and he criticizes progressive Jews for being ‘short-sighted about what is good for the Jews.’ However, Barnett is not a major figure and we should turn our attention to the big Jewish libertarian luminaries. Accordingly we will focus on two main intellectual strands, the Ayn Rand strand and the Mises-Rothbard strand. Different answers, I believe, will be obtained for each.
- The objectivist strand of libertarianism
As was mentioned, some have previously argued that libertarianism is a ‘Jewish intellectual movement’. Trudie Pert, for instance, argues this in relation to the Mises-Rothbard strand but doesn’t discuss the Ayn Rand or ‘objectivist’ strand. The view taken here, however, is that a much better case can be made for this claim in relation to the objectivist strand.
Ayn Rand was the founder of objectivism, which combines a libertarian, individualistic political philosophy with some other ideas including an ethics of selfishness. Shortly before the publication of her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, a coterie of admirers began to form around and meet regularly with her, which they jokingly named The Collective. This group formed an institute to promote Rand’s philosophy and was entirely Jewish: as Rothbard, who briefly associated with this group, said, ‘each and every one of them was related to each other, all being part of the one Canadian Jewish family, relatives of either Nathan or Barbara Branden [born Blumenthal and Weidman respectively].’ The group believed that Rand was of messianic significance and it has been described as a cult.
In these respects the objectivist movement in its beginnings appeared similar to a paradigmatic MacDonaldian Jewish intellectual movement. But despite the Jewish makeup of The Collective, there is little to suggest that Rand or her group were significantly motivated by Jewish interests. Rand was from a young age introverted and independent. She rarely spoke or wrote about her Jewish identity and showed little interest in it. As with her familial relationships, she didn’t place much importance in it because it was unchosen and therefore not expressive of one’s values: ‘one is simply born into a family. Therefore it’s of no real significance.’ Feeling pride (or shame) in one’s family or ethnic background was for Rand irrational and a kind of ‘racism’. It only makes sense to feel pride in one’s own achievements, and anything else is ‘a quest for the unearned.’ (Perhaps Rand is looking at this the wrong way. Taking pride in, say, one’s ancestors might not be an attempt to, illogically, claim their achievements as one’s own, but rather to see in their achievements one’s own potentialities; they show to us what we might be capable of.) There is some evidence, however, that later in life Rand developed more of an attachment to her kinsfolk, as she donated to Israel (her first act of giving to a cause) and vehemently defended its right to bring civilization to a ‘primitive’ region. However, she similarly defended European colonialism, so this might have partly stemmed from a universal principle as much as from ethnic loyalty.
Rand was not very interested in leading a movement, and saw her objectivism as a philosophy to be taken up by individuals. The institute associated with The Collective was formed by her main disciple and was called the Nathaniel Branden Institute, and it ended after Branden’s acrimonious break from Rand. It wasn’t until 1985, three years after Rand’s death, that another significant attempt was made to get a movement going, when Collective member Leonard Peikoff, who Rand made heir to her estate, established the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). Peikoff was more concerned with typical Jewish bugbears, and wrote a book called The Ominous Parallels that attempted to explain the rise of Nazism in Germany with a familiar It-could-happen-here trope.
Next in the line of succession was Yaron Brook, who was appointed by Peikoff as Executive Director in 2000 and who has led the institute since then. Brook is a dual American-Israeli citizen and served in Israeli military intelligence before emigrating to the US at age 26, where he gained an MBA and PhD in finance. Brook got into Rand’s ideas in his teenage years, but before joining the ARI he was reportedly not very well known in objectivist circles. Brook said that he left Israel because of the ‘socialist policy, ridiculous political system, constant external threats.’ Nevertheless Israel remained close to his heart, and under his directorship at the ARI, Israel advocacy was ramped up.
The gold-standard for establishing whether Jewish activists are sincere in their principles or are just using them as a gambit to advance Jewish interests is perhaps to find evidence of a double-standard, where those principles are pushed on gentiles but not on Jews. Now objectivists are, generally speaking, in favour of open borders and Brook and his colleagues say that this policy is entailed by objectivist principles. But what do they say about the borders of the Jewish state?
In his regular podcast show, after expressing concern about rising nationalism in Europe after the Brexit referendum, Brook said the following:
Now look … any time I mention immigration, any time I mention nationalism, people bring up Israel. … I don’t have time to cover the Israel example. But Israel is an exception. You heard it here. Israel is an exception. Not a good exception. Not an exception that is ideal. But it is an exception. And, uh, why is Israel an exception? … [that’s something] we will get to on a future show, but not now.”
Objectivists advocate not only for the free movement of people but also of goods and money. Brook’s remarks above might now make us wonder whether these other beliefs would hold firm in relation to the Israel case. Brook denounces EU agricultural tariffs but would he also denounce Israeli agricultural tariffs, which protect struggling Israeli farmers who work difficult, dusty land, from global competition? Would he accept Israel being dependent for its food supply on non-Jews, that is, potential anti-Semites? And would he make an exception for the shekel when it comes to currency controls, which might protect it from manipulations by foreign speculators in certain circumstances?
Brook eventually returns to the same topic in another show, but only when the issue is raised again by a caller.
There’s a bunch of people out there that are calling me a hypocrite … because Israel doesn’t allow open immigration. … It’s built a wall, and Mexicans are invading America so — I mean, that’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. Israel is defending itself against a constant military threat from people who wanna wipe it out. They wanna use weapons to kill every Jew in Israel. They say this; they announce it publicly; they do it whenever they have an opportunity. It’s fought multiple wars against armies that have invaded it from these borders, against at least six different Arab-Muslim countries. … [But] Mexicans are coming over the border to get a job … to try to make their lives better lives … how can we be against that? It drives me nuts.
As I’m sure Brook knows, these days there are such things as aeroplanes which can transport people to Israel from countries who are not hostile to it, people who might just want to improve their lives by settling in Israel and contributing to its economy. (Such people might include, for instance, recent non-Jewish African migrants to Israel, who were expelled and resettled in Canada.) How can he be against that? Notice also how Brook raises an altruistic consideration in defence of Mexican immigration, which should carry no weight with an objectivist since they subscribe to an ethics of selfishness. Why should an American objectivist care about a Mexican’s quality of life?
Interestingly, the ARI has a branch in Israel. Though the immigration issue features as a major topic on the U.S. ARI website, this writer, armed with a translator program to translate the Hebrew, could not find any mention of it on the Israeli website, which focuses on more anodyne economic topics about capitalism versus statism.
The Ayn Rand Institute’s Israel advocacy goes well beyond the immigration issue. Under Brook’s and Peikoff’s leadership, the ARI has advanced an agenda barely distinguishable from that of neoconservatism. It has defended the War on Terror, torture, and Israel’s right to ‘exist’ (i.e., expand), and it has called for U.S. military action against Iran. (In fact, Brook has criticized neoconservatism, but his main complaint is that it’s too soft: his line is that the US should dispense with the altruistic nation-building and democracy promotion stuff and just unapologetically pursue its ‘self-interest’ and smash ‘threats to America.’) This agenda, and the hypocrisy implicit in it coming from objectivists, has been meticulously documented by the website ARI Watch. Similar agendas can also be found in other objectivist institutions like The Atlas Society and The Objective Standard, which were founded by people associated with or expelled from the ARI.
Objectivism, then, is led by Jews with a strong sense of Jewish identity and mission. We can therefore conclude with some confidence that the objectivist movement is a Jewish intellectual movement á la MacDonald, though it might not have started out as one. For Brook and his colleagues, objectivism is for thee but not for me. Principles of individualism, liberty and selfishness are selectively applied to accord with Jewish interests. When Israel is considered, suddenly the evaluative frame of reference changes: Israel might violate libertarian and objectivist principles by being statist, socialist, collectivist, having conscription, initiating aggression and so on, but it must be defended because it’s still so much better than what the Arab ‘savages’ (as Rand once called them) have created there. I know of no evidence whatsoever that Brook is still working for Israeli intelligence in some capacity, but it is interesting that his behavior is entirely consistent with this hypothesis.
- The Mises-Rothbard strand
Next let’s consider the much more popular Mises-Rothbard strand of libertarianism. Murray Rothbard, the student and follower of Mises, is greatly respected in the libertarian movement, and Walter Block has said he is the closest thing you could find to a guru figure in libertarianism besides Ayn Rand. However, the characters of both were opposite in many respects. In contrast to the austere, intense, authoritarian and haughty Rand, Rothbard was by all accounts affable, gregarious, humorous and down-to-earth. Ideologically he also differed from Rand by advocating the more radical anarcho-capitalist version of libertarianism, which sees no need for government whatsoever, in contrast to objectivism which holds a minimalist theory of the state.
Rothbard rebelled against the communist Jewish milieu he grew up with in New York. But did he retain a strong sense of Jewish identity, or animosity towards gentile culture? In support of this, Pert alleges that Rothbard and Mises were hostile towards Christianity. However, Mises’ attitude to Christianity softened with age, and Pert’s claim is not at all true for Rothbard. Many who knew him personally have said that while being an agnostic he greatly admired the Catholic Church. He had expertise in Church history and theology, loved Baroque Church architecture, and believed that liberalism developed from Christian ideas. Rothbard was also affiliated with the Old Right led by Senator Robert Taft in opposing the ‘welfare-warfare state.’ He criticized pillars of Jewish power like the Federal Reserve and fractional reserve banking, and had trouble getting his PhD because of this opposition. Later in his career he tried to form an alliance with paleoconservatives. He even began to sympathize with ethno-nationalist concerns and took seriously Jean Raspail’s anti-immigration novel The Camp of the Saints, though he believed that anarcho-libertarianism could accommodate those concerns.
This leads to the issue of immigration: what was Rothbard’s position on it? Initially Rothbard held the standard libertarian position. As one of his followers expresses it, ‘Libertarians, for the most part, will support immigration. There’s nothing special about the territory of a particular state. If someone is willing to hire or sponsor an immigrant that should be the end of the matter.’ In particular, by rejecting the concept of public property as an absurdity, libertarians often consider public property to be up for grabs (though there are exceptions here: Hans-Hermann Hoppe considers it the property of the taxpayers).
However, Rothbard came to change his attitude to immigration from reflecting on the ideal anarcho-capitalist state. In such a society, all land would be privately owned and therefore there would be no automatic right to enter that territory. Someone wanting to hire an immigrant would need to get the agreement of those whose land the immigrant would need to traverse to reach his business and use thereafter. Anti-immigration views will perhaps gain more traction in libertarian circles; though it’s often said that most libertarians are for open borders, three of the most respected libertarians, Rothbard, Rockwell and Hoppe, have come out against the idea.
This libertarian solution to the immigration problem would hardly be appealing to an ethno-nationalist however. The difficulty is that such restrictions would apply to everyone, not just ‘foreigners’. Without public land, nobody would have an automatic right to roam. It would be a paltry kind of freedom that can only be automatically exercised on one’s private plot. One might think that the landowners could agree to grant such rights to ‘compatriots’ and not ‘foreigners’, but this very distinction presupposes the existence of a state and state borders, which anarcho-libertarianism rejects. (Rothbard’s vision of society also shows a lack of appreciation for the value of wild land, valuable for its beauty and ecological importance.)
What the Ayn Rand Institute is to Rand, the Mises Institute, established by Rothbard’s colleague and friend Lew Rockwell, is to Mises and Rothbard. But one does not find the selective application of libertarian principles there to advance Jewish interests. Israel receives no special favors at the Mises Institute, nor at Rockwell’s website LewRockwell.com or at the ideologically similar Ron Paul Institute. Anti-war and anti-interventionist positions prevail at these forums, in contrast with the ARI.
We can thus conclude that while the Ayn Rand strand of libertarianism is a Jewish Intellectual Movement in MacDonald’s sense, the Mises-Rothbard strand is not. However, there are other strands one might consider and this article makes no claim to completeness. Milton Friedman and the Chicago School haven’t been discussed. This school ascended to become part of the Establishment, and Marco de Wit has already persuasively argued that it is a MacDonaldian Jewish Intellectual Movement. Other strands one could investigate include the Washington-based Cato Institute and the Libertarian Party, though I will leave that to other investigators.
Though many libertarians of the Mises-Rothbard stripe are sincere and principled people, in the rest of this article I will argue that, despite their valuable contributions to economic thought and to the defence of peace and freedom, their doctrine comes to grief with its inability to reckon with the Jewish Question.
- Libertarianism and tribalism
The increased Jewish involvement in the development of liberalism coincided with a radicalisation of that tradition, for libertarianism is arguably more extreme and individualistic than classical liberalism. This is partly because while classical liberalism is associated with the Harm Principle (HP)—roughly, that force can only be legitimately used against a person to prevent him from harming others, libertarianism is associated with the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP): that force can only be legitimately used against a person to prevent him from using force or threatening to use force against others or their property. And the latter seems more licentious than the former. For instance, laws against blackmail could plausibly be justified by the HP but not by the NAP. (However, matters are complicated here by the fact that libertarians typically stretch the meaning of ‘aggression’, to include things like fraud or walking through someone else’s property.) The more moderate nature of classical liberalism can also be seen in the willingness of classical liberals to make exceptions to their principles. J. S. Mill, for instance, said that an individual may be compelled by government to do certain positive acts to support the community, such as ‘to give evidence in a court of justice; to bear his fair share in the common defence, or in any other joint work necessary to the interest of the society of which he enjoys the protection; and to perform certain acts of individual beneficence, such as saving a fellow-creature’s life, or interposing to protect the defenceless against ill-usage.’ These policies cannot be derived from his Harm Principle. Libertarians, on the other hand, pride themselves on their ‘logical consistency’: their unflinchingly accepting the implications of their limited number of principles, no matter how ‘counterintuitive’ they may seem. But what they applaud as logical consistency others see as dogmatism. Libertarian rhetoric sometimes also has a revolutionary flavour, advocating black-market dealing and tax evasion, and taking or occupying public property, though typically rejecting the use of force.
It is not surprising that members of an ethnic minority like the Jews would be attracted to libertarianism, since its radically individualist philosophy undermines the ethnocentrism of the ethnic majority and thus lowers the drawbridge, so to speak, into that society for outsiders. But is this not a double-edged sword? Wouldn’t an individualistic libertarian order prohibit or at least undermine Jewish ethnocentrism just as much as gentile ethnocentrism?
This question was addressed, at least obliquely, in a recent book by Alan Krinsky that argues for the compatibility of traditional Judaism and libertarianism. Judaism is the polar opposite of a system of thought like libertarianism in many ways, for instance it is extremely non-individualistic or ‘collectivist’. It is difficult to think of a statement more at odds with the libertarian spirit then one from a leading Rabbi quoted by Krinsky, which affirms that the Jewish community is ‘not just an assembly of people who work together for their mutual benefit, but a metaphysical entity, an individuality; I might say, a living whole,’ or a ‘juridic metaphysical person.’ Nevertheless, Krinsky argues that this strange kind of entity would be accepted in a libertarian society, because it is ultimately a ‘voluntary association’ and in libertarianism everyone has the right to form such associations as they see fit. Libertarianism has nothing against community, he says, so long as it’s not held together by force.
There is a naivety, however, in conceptualizing Judaism, or the Jewish community more generally, as a mere voluntary association, as if to put it on the level of a local board-game or toastmasters club. Society is not just a site of mutually beneficial interactions but is also an arena of competition for power and resources, and Jews compete in this arena as a group (the existence of a vast, integrated and international network of Jewish advocacy and campaigning groups puts this beyond question.) Their commitment to ‘work[ing] together for their mutual benefit’ manifests itself, for instance, in covertly practiced ethnic nepotism and tactics of collusion and exclusion used in the spheres of business, politics and culture, which non-Jews see as discrimination and unfair competition, just as collusion between players in a poker game is regarded as unfair and is prohibited. But such collectivist tactics are allowable in a libertarian order since they don’t involve using force or the threat of force. They are in accordance with the letter, though not with the individualistic spirit, of libertarianism. This can then lead to a collectivist ‘arms race’, where non-Jews band together as a self-defensive response, which would ultimately destabilize a libertarian system. Interestingly, Krinsky expresses some doubts about libertarianism’s sanguine attitude towards voluntary associations, since they could include ‘discriminatory associations’ like ‘sexist and racist groups.’ But he seems to lack the introspective powers necessary to realize that his own Judaism might also be such a discriminatory association.
The sanguine attitude of libertarians towards ‘metaphysical entities’ like the Jewish community points to a fatal weakness with their doctrine. Misguided political ideologies usually end up dashed against the rock of human nature, and libertarianism is no different from Marxism in this respect. But whereas Marxism ignored our ‘selfish’ nature, our tendency to be motivated primarily by personal profit, libertarianism ignores our ‘tribal’ nature, our tendency to identify with and collude in groups. Tribalism runs counter to the individualism that is a key part of libertarianism, and an excess of it would destabilize a libertarian society. Libertarians will, no doubt, acknowledge the existence of tribalism, but then why are they so unworried by it?
One reason is that they seem to treat tribalism not as a deep feature of human nature but as more like superstition: an archaic, irrational tendency that man will grow out of in civilized society. We are left to infer this, at any rate, from their nonchalant attitude towards the immigration of very illiberal tribes into liberal countries, which betrays a naïve confidence that they will give up their old ways of thinking and become good liberal individualists in short order. The point is doubtful, however, as there seems to be no inverse relationship between intelligence/educatedness and tribalism. Jews and North East Asians, for instance, are known for their high IQ and high ethnocentrism.
There is also a strong Rousseauian trend in libertarianism that might explain its attitude towards tribalism. Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that men were naturally good and lived contentedly until society corrupted them. Life in the State of Nature, Rousseau imagined, was not solitary, nasty, brutish and short as Thomas Hobbes believed. It was solitary, yes, but it was also a state of contented independence living off nature’s bounty, comparable perhaps to how orangutans live, the semi-solitary apes. Libertarians, especially anarcho-libertarians, also hold romantic notions about the State of Nature, imagining it as characterised by harmonious interactions. Man then became corrupted, not so much by society as Rousseau believed but by government. Indeed, there is intellectual pressure on those who believe government to be the root of all evil to have a rosy-eyed view of the State of Nature, since the alleged horrors of the State of Nature have been the main justification for government in much of Western political philosophy. Tribalism, then, could be seen by libertarians as part of this corruption, something artificial that is stirred up and reinforced by the state to further its own agenda, and not as something native to man when left alone.
Implicit in the Rousseauian and libertarian view is the idea that sociality and hence tribalism is not natural or instinctive to man. Men lived naturally solitary lives, and then decided and made a rational calculation (indeed, a miscalculation in Rousseau’s view) to live together under a leader and in a hierarchy. Thus man’s sociality is derived from reason rather than instinct.
Serious reflection on human nature will, however, lead to the conclusion that sociality and tribalism are instinctual and ineradicable. Tribalism may be partly based on the rational calculation that it is better to band together with others to survive and compete, but it is also positively reinforced by elemental feelings like love and affection, pride, attachment to one’s own kind, the desire for recognition, approval and connection, as well being negatively reinforced by feelings of loneliness and insecurity. Further, for most people, living for their own private pleasure like a Randian egoist, however heroically, is not sufficient to give their lives meaning. Most people need to identify with something greater than themselves, and the libertarian individualist is in danger of becoming a shallow libertine. There is little reason to think that humans ever had a solitary way of life that they made a rational decision to leave. If we evolved from apes as the evolutionists say then we likely evolved from social apes, so that man has always lived in social and hierarchical groups and has a nature geared to that mode of existence. The chimpanzee is, after all, our closest relative, not the orangutan.
Libertarianism condemns ethnocentrism and downplays its importance in social life, but ethnocentrism is like weaponry: it would perhaps be nice to live in a world without it, but so long as one group refuses to give it up it would be foolish for others to do so. The libertarian individualist is one who by renouncing tribalism has, as Fredrick Nietzsche might say, ‘strayed most dangerously from [his] instincts.’
1] Lote, S. 2011. Libertarianism: Ideals and reality. The Occidental Quarterly 11(1), pp. 45-50. Pert, T. 2011. Austro-libertarianism, Catholicism, and Judaism. The Occidental Quarterly 11(1), pp. 69-86.
 Horwitz, S. Libertarianism rejects anti-Semitism. Foundation for Economic Education. https://fee.org/articles/libertarianism-rejects-anti-semitism/
 Block, W. 2017. Are All Jews Socialists, Progressives, Communists, Left-Liberals, Bernie and Hillary Supporters, Democrats? No! Lewrockwell.com. https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/jews-socialists-progressives-communists-left-liberals-bernie-hillary-supporters-democrats-no/
 E.g., Friedman, M. 1972. Capitalism and the Jews. https://www.law.uchicago.edu/recordings/milton-friedman-capitalism-and-jews. Block, W. 2018. Is it permissible to criticize Jews? Lewrockwell.com. https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/permissible-criticize-jews/
 Lindsay, R. 2015. Jews created libertarianism. https://beyondhighbrow.com/2015/09/30/jews-created-libertarianism/
 von Mises, L. 1974. Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War. Liberty Fund, p. 209.
 Cofnas, N. 2018. Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy: A critical analysis of Kevin MacDonald’s theory. Human Nature, 29, p. 138.
 Von Mises, L. 1985. Liberalism in the Classical Tradition. Trans: R. Raico. Foundation for Economic Education, pp. 105-6.
 Barnett, R. 2015. The making of a libertarian, contrarian, non-observant, but self-identified Jew. Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 1330.
 Rothbard, M. The sociology of the Ayn Rand cult. https://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/murray-n-rothbard/understanding-ayn-randianism/.
 See Ibid. Also see Block, W. 2000. Libertarianism vs objectivism: A response to Peter Schwartz. Reason Papers 26.
 Rand quoted in Branden, B. 1987. The Passion of Ayn Rand. Anchor Books, p. 72. Also see p. 6.
 Rand, A. and Branden, N. 1961. The Virtue of Selfishness. Signet.
 Burns, J. 2009. The Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. Oxford University Press, p. 266.
 Arfa, O. 2007. ‘You don’t fight a tactic’. Jerusalem Post.
 The Yaron Brook Show, episode 62. Brexit: What’s on the horizon?
 See Katsman, H. Why Israeli farmers are struggling – and government policies aren’t helping. Stroum Center for Jewish Studies. https://jewishstudies.washington.edu/israel-hebrew/israeli-agriculture-farming-government-policies-tariffs/
 The Yaron Brook Show, episode 65. Live from FreedomFest ask me anything.
 See Brook, Y. and Epstein, A. 2007. Neoconservative foreign policy: An autopsy. The Objective Standard. The difference between Brook’s approach and the neoconservative one might be smaller than this suggests. Brook either fails to or pretends not to appreciate that the neoconservatives are Straussians who believe in the ‘noble lie’. Was the high-sounding talk of spreading freedom and democracy merely for public consumption? One should not dismiss such possibilities when dealing with neoconservatives.
 See video clip, ‘Ayn Rand on Israel and the Middle East.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uHSv1asFvU
 Libertarianism versus objectivism, p. 45.
 Pert, p. 71.
 See Hülsmann, J.G. Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism. Mises Institute, pp. 982-986 & pp. 437-443.
 See Rockwell, L (ed). 1995. Murray N. Rothbard: In Memoriam. Mises Institute.
 Rothbard in Memoriam, p. 80.
 Rothbard in Memoriam. p. 65.
 Rothbard, M. N. 1994. Nations by consent: Decomposing the nation-state. Journal of Libertarian Studies, 11, pp. 1-10.
 Casey, G. 2012. Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State. Continuum. p. 8.
 Rothbard. Nations by consent. pp. 1-10.
 See Halbrook, S. P. 1981. The alienation of a homeland: How Palestine became Israel. The Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 5, pp. 357-374. Rothbard, M. N. 2016. ‘Little’ Israel. https://mises.org/library/never-dull-moment/html/c/467.
 Marco de Wit. 2021. Did Milton Friedman’s Libertarianism Seek to Advance Jewish Interests? Occidental Observer.
 Some libertarians claim that their entire system is based on the NAP, while others believe it is just one of a number of principles informing libertarian thinking (see Zwolinski, M. 2016. The libertarian nonaggression Principle. Social Philosophy and Policy, 32(2), pp. 62-90.
 See Casey, p. 47. This does not mean libertarianism condones blackmail (libertarianism is not a complete theory of morality).
 Mill, J. S. 2003. On Liberty. Yale University Press. p. 82.
 E.g., K. MacDonald. 2011. Introduction to the special issue: libertarianism and white racial nationalism. The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 11(1), p. 12.
 Krinsky, A. D. 2020. Running in Good Faith? Observant Judaism and Libertarian Politics. Academic Studies Press.
 Joseph B. Soloveitchik, quoted in Krinsky, 2020. p. 155.
 It should be noted that libertarians often engage in crude black and white thinking about force. To promote community life and consciousness, for instance, governments have more options at their disposal then using force, such as various sorts of carrot or stick incentives and disincentives, but libertarians often classify such tools as the use of force (e.g., ‘No third road is possible here; one must choose compulsion or liberty’ (Casey, p. 54)).
 This process is described by MacDonald in Separation and its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (2004).
 Krinsky, p. 171.
 See Casey, p. 32.
 Nietzsche, F. The Antichrist. §14.