During Mises University this year, Jeff Deist gave a speech over Skype to a foreign libertarian conference. In that Speech, Jeff Deist called for Libertarians to focus on decentralization and less on the one size fits all approach to liberty by making everything into a federal issue. He also called for libertarians to support, rather than attack the traditional institutions of family and religion, as those are the bulwarks against the State and are those are the things that most people actually care about. Within that speech, he used the phrase “blood and soil” in describing what many people care about. Not too long after that, many people in the libertarian community came out and condemned Jeff Deist for “virtue-signaling” to white nationalists. One such person is the Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, Nicholas J. Sarwark.
Mr. Sarwark has come out and attacked both Jeff Deist and the Ludwig von Mises Institute as being Nationalist. He has also recently shared an article attacking “Blood and Soil Libertarianism.” The author of the article didn’t take long in printing an outright lie, for he begins the piece with one. He wrote, “Jeff Deist, president of the Mises Institute, gave a talk this week, pushing libertarians into alt-right nationalism.” Not only is this not the case, it is the opposite of the case. Jeff Deist has explicitly called for an approach that Nationalists have abandoned for the most part a long time ago, and that is decentralization. The Alt-Right preaches economic protectionism, whereas Deist argues for Free Markets.
He then went on and claimed that Deist had dissed technology.
“First, he sets up the necessity for political action by attacking technology development as a means of liberation. He says technology doesn’t advance liberty on balance. According to Jeff, only political power can result in libertarianism. Peaceful development of technology, and its voluntary adoption, is politically useless, because it will end up being used by governments to oppress people.”
Not only is this not true, but is the exact opposite of the truth. Jeff explicitly praised technological advances but also notes that libertarians should not put all our chips into one bag and should not fall into the utopian trap and pretend that technology alone will free us from the grips of the State. Below is Jeff’s actual words.
“Sometimes libertarians do fall into a trap of needing something new, what we might call a modernity trap. It has become trendy to imagine that technology creates a new paradigm, a new “third way” that will make government obsolete without the need for an intellectual shift. The digital age is so flat, so democratic, and so decentralized that it will prove impossible for inherently hierarchical states to control us. The free flow of information will make inevitable the free flow of goods and services, while unmasking tyrannies that can no longer keep the truth from their citizens.
While I certainly hope this is true, I’m not so sure….And while we all benefit from the marvels of technological progress, and we especially welcome technology that makes it harder for the state to govern us — for example bitcoin or Uber or encryption — we should remember that advances in technology also make it easier for governments to spy on, control, and even kill the people under their control.”
Also, far from arguing that the solution is a political solution, Jeff has stated elsewhere in previous speeches similar to this one, that the solution is outside of politics. Decentralization is about removing the State (and thus politics) from various matters. It is exactly those people who want seek a one size fits all federal approach to libertarian policy are the ones who see a political solution as the savior.
Finally, the author goes through a series of straw man arguments by “translating into plain English” things Jeff had said. One of the most absurd one on the list is his claim that Jeff is for centralized planning.
“”liberty as a deeply pragmatic approach to organizing society’
Translation: Society needs to be “organized” (centrally planned). We need to be “pragmatic”, not principled, meaning we should use state power to achieve our desired ends.”
What makes this accusation the most laughable of all the accusations in there, is the fact that the entire speech is arguing for decentralization, the exact opposite of centralized planning. The author seems to make the same mistake the Statists do in believing the only way to organize society is through the the point of a gun and a centralized institutional monopoly over society. Rather, as Jeff Deist, echoing Hayek and others have stated, society is organized organically through individuals pursuing their self interest.
“The choice between organizing human affairs by economic means or political means was not undone by the printing press, or the industrial revolution, or electricity, or any number of enormous technological advancements. So we can’t assume liberation via the digital revolution.”
“Civil society provides the very mechanisms we need to organize society without the state. And in keeping with Rothbard’s point about liberty and human nature, civil society organizes itself organically, without force. ”
“Yet civil society is by definition the very means by which we organize human affairs without the state. And do we really not understand that family is the first, last, and most important line of defense for the individual against government?” – from The 2016 Election’s Silver Lining speech given at a Mises Circle event in 2016.
The them of the rest of the strawmanning is to make Jeff out to be a supporter of White Nationalism. Culminating with noting that the Nazis used the phrase “Blood and Soil” and that Jeff’s use of it was then a call to white nationalists and to link it to libertairnism.
“This one takes the cake. Jeff goes with an unambiguous Nazi reference “Blood and Soil” (“Blut und Boden”) to describe his new libertarian values.”
Of course, the problem with this assessment is that it is the exact opposite of what Jeff Deist has said. The sentence in which Deist uses these words in is one in which he describes what people care about (including non-white people). And the context was one in which it was talking about people willing to die for their family and members of their community over strangers far away that they have never met or over a piece of metal that has a motor in it.
“I asked him the same hypothetical question I have for you: what would you fight for?…
’m sure all of us would fight for our physical persons if we were attacked, or for our families if they were attacked. We might fight for close friends too. And perhaps even our neighbors. In fact we might like to think we would physically defend a total stranger in some circumstances, for example an old woman being attacked and robbed.
And we probably would fight for our towns and communities if they were physically invaded by an outside force, even though we don’t personally know all of the people in our towns and communities.
We might fight for property too, maybe not as fiercely. We certainly would protect our homes, but that’s because of the people inside. How about cars? Would you physically tangle with an armed robber who was driving away in your car? Or would you let him go, and not risk death or injury, just to save your car? How about your wallet? How about someone stealing 40% of your income, as many governments do? Would you take up arms to prevent this?
We probably wouldn’t fight for bitcoin, or net neutrality, or a capital gains tax hike, by the way.
How about an abstraction, like fighting for “your country” or freedom or your religion? This is where things get more tenuous. Many people have and will fight for such abstractions. But if you ask soldiers they’ll tell you that in the heat of battle they’re really fighting for their mates, to protect the men in their units–and to fulfill a personal sense of duty.
In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.”
He isn’t saying that Libertarians ought to be nationalists or ought to be religions. He isn’t saying we ought to fight for abstractions. What he is saying is that we ought to realize that these are issues that people do concern themselves with, and if we want to see liberty in our lifetime, then we ought to tell people how liberty benefits them, their family, their community, and even their faith. Deist doesn’t claim that Liberty is only for White Americans and Europeans, quite the opposite, he is saying that liberty answers different sets of questions for people in Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Somalia, and China than it does for people in England, France, Spain, and the United States. This is true, by virtue of the fact that the communities in these respective geographical locations have different value systems and different norms. It is pointless to sell liberty to Egyptians by demanding that they adopt Anglo-Saxon norms. Not only is this a pointless exercise, but it is literally a racist exercise and a display of white superiority, which the author and left libertarians claim to condemn.
In closing, I will push for Blood and Soil Libertarianism. Libertarians, should embrace a love and respect for the Family unit, and should honor culture mores whatever they are. The Family unit is exactly the bed rock of civilization and the first line of defense against the State. It is the very thing that the State seeks to destroy and to control in order to maintain power. We support the Family by calling for the abolition of State sanctioned kidnapping by the hands of the CPS. We support the family unit by getting the State out of the issue of marriage all together. We support the family by calling for the abolition of a tax code and a welfare system that causes loving couples to divorce each each other, enslaving entire generations in the cycle of poverty and to the State. We support the family by ending a drug war that rips fathers apart from their sons and daughters, leaving kids with no male role model outside of thugs and criminals to look up to. We honor Social and Cultural mores for the simple reason that it is these mores that are an alternative to a police state and legal enactments by a gang of thieves writ large!
Individuals build families, families build societies governed by social norms and cultural mores. Liberty allows for all of this to happen and for different cultures and civilizations to live in peace. Instead of Nationalization, we should decentralize. Instead of Legislate, debate!