Lew, I agree completely with you (and Rozeff). As detailed in posts by S.M. Oliva and Glenn Greenwald, it seems clear Amazon is just a victim of the state, and as a libertarian I make it a policy never to blame the victim. And who can blame them for capitulating any more than taxpayers are to be blamed for coughing up the dough? Amazon is skating on thin ice as it is in heroically helping people avoid sales tax. Of course it’s rational to fear the state. Thus I disagree with condemnations of Amazon by libertarians and Antiwar.com’s call for a boycott of Amazon.
Further, Amazon’s managers have an obligation to the shareholders; they have no right to risk or waste shareholder money for political grandstanding. It’s not their money they would be risking. I also think that in addition to the anti-war libertarian activists who are up in arms about Amazon’s pursuit of profits instead of activism, a number of left-libertarians are using this as an excuse to pile on Amazon because it’s big, a corporation, and profitable.
And I, like you, have always disliked boycotts. That said, libertarians can disagree on this tactical issue; and I of course regard antiwar.com as heroic. Thus, to bolster my dislike of boycotting, and even though I disagree with antiwar.com’s stance on Amazon and their intentional rejection of Amazon revenues, I’ve just donated $100 to Antiwar.com (and $200 to LRC).
Clarification: In some of my online writings about the Amazon boycott, I’ve apparently given an impression to some that I do not wish to give. Some of my comments have been construed as more than just friendly disagreement. Let me be crystal clear: I am a strong supporter of antiwar.com. They are one of the most heroic libertarian institutions on the planet, and I greatly respect, admire and appreciate everyone who works for and supports it. I love what they do and remain a strong supporter.
Our fellow blogger and friend Vijay Boyapati is running 26 miles for the cause of Austrian Economics and Libertarianism. He will match up to $13,000 from the donors (you can donate 5, 10 or 15 dollars an up and he will match your donation) for a total of $26,000 to be donated to the Ludwig von Mises Institute. That is $1000 per mile. The Ludwig von Mises Institute was surprised by Vijay’s spontaneous initiative and so are the rest of us. The donations amount to $7,500 at this time, so to our readers I say “join the campaign!”
Thanks to Rob Love of Texans for Accountable Government, we have video of the event. It has officially been posted on Youtube, and we hope you will assist us in making this go viral. We need people to understand the gravity of this kind of restriction upon our individual property rights. It’s not just about students needing to protect themselves, it’s about grasping the limits of government power.
Here’s the Youtube playlist, I know it’s a long series (8 parts!) but at least try to catch some of it. Know the facts!
Although I find Kenyon’s analysis of the radical socialists interesting, ultimately I disagree with his categorization of libertarianism’s 3 options:
Libertarians can allow themselves to be absorbed into the Republican Party and work to expand the Liberty caucus.
Libertarians can abandon the Republican Party to work exclusively through the Libertarian Party.
Libertarians can jettison electoral politics altogether and refuse to be governed by majoritarianism and statism.
The first one will happen to the Tea Party movement. The second one is not workable, as the author admits. Nothing can be done about either. As for the truly radical approach, we are not violent revolutionaries and are never going to be.
What’s missing from that article is something fundamental — people get the government they deserve. We need to make this country deserve better. If a choir chants “we” in chorus, it is still the individuals speaking. Unless libertarians actively change individuals, society will not budge.
“Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. My estimate is seven to ten years. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors-totally illegal.”
–Pete Shields, July 1976, President of National Coalition to Control Handguns (which later became Handgun Control Inc. and then the Brady Campaign)
“It is settled law. If I were taking a law school exam today, I would say, yes, you have got an individual right to have a gun in your home for self-defense.”
– Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign, June 28, 2010