The split between left-leaning and right-leaning libertarians has reached a fever pitch after Jeff Deist, Director of the Mises Institute, gave an iconic speech during his annual Mises University event about “blood and soil” libertarianism, an idea encompassing cultural conservatism as a barricade against state power.
“It is reasonable to believe that a more libertarian society would be less libertine and more culturally conservative — for the simple reason that as the state shrinks in importance and power, the long-suppressed institutions of civil society grow in importance and power,” Deist said.
“And in a more libertarian society, it’s harder to impose the costs of one’s lifestyle choices on others. If you rely on the family or church or charity to help you, they may well impose some conditions on that help.”
While these sentiments may seem benign in nature, they were immediately picked up upon by frenzied analysts at the Cato Institute as inherently racist–filled with dog-whistles that appeal to the alt-right bogeymen that they have imagined is lurking around every corner.
“If you keep saying things like “heil Trump” and “blood and soil” and putting slightly-modified Nazi flags in the backdrop of your [social media picture], you really, REALLY need to stop complaining about the way people react,” Cato analyst Adam Bates wrote on social media in an attempt to equate Deist and his supporters to racists. “Quit pretending you’re being misunderstood. You’re not that smart, and the rest of us aren’t that dumb.”
Fringe academic Steve Horwitz, also connected to Cato, first implied that Deist was a Nazi before launching a bizarre rant bemoaning Ron Paul’s success in growing the libertarian movement.
Comparing Deist’s words to that of Holocaust deniers or sympathizers, Horwitz said, “I await the new [Mises Institute] lecture on how entrepreneurship and personal responsibility help spread liberty, which will surely be titled ‘Work Will Set You Free.'” ‘Work Will Set You Free’ was the slogan posted by the Nazis at Auschwitz and other concentration camps.
Although Horwitz compares “blood and soil” libertarianism to Nazism, he has no problem standing for “blood and soil” when it comes to the state of Israel. Horwitz is an avid Zionist, and sees no hypocrisy in his reflexive defense of nationalism and ethnic pride when defending his beloved Jewish state.
Horwitz followed his Nazi hysteria with a condemnation of Ron Paul saying, “I have no love or admiration for Ron Paul. I think his contributions to building a sustainable libertarian movement are overrated and his role in attracting folks who found the alt right attractive has been damaging.”
This rift within the libertarian movement has been festering for decades, and shows no signs of slowing down. When it is all said and done, libertarians will need to decide whether they are going to choose leaders who want to form common bonds with ordinary people or leaders who want to collect paychecks in Washington D.C. and promote degeneracy. The choice should not be very difficult.