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Discussion List For Liberty Minded Paleos

This is to announce the creation of a Google Groups discussion list for the many of us who have discovered that modeling the best from the Paleo Principle seems to appeal in large measure to the many variations of what I’ll [very] loosely refer to and emphasize as small-L libertarians. I wish to make that distinction for the primary reason that I consider the Libertarian Party to be a disgrace and an embarrassment; essentially, a contradiction in terms. One does not achieve liberty through force.

So, with that said, here’s how founder Toban Wiebe describes the group.

Please join the group and help to further paleo-libertarian integration. The purpose of this group is to provide a place for paleo-libertarians to gather and work together to promote said integration. Ideally, this group will be a spark for bigger and better things by enabling us to organize.

The connection between paleo health and libertarianism is quite robust: paleos see how the government has corrupted the science and caused untold damage to human bodies around the world; libertarians see the government as the destroyer of all things, so it’s not a very big leap to see that government has poisoned the scientific process in the field of health and nutrition (just like it did with economics and climate science). While the connection between the ideas is very strong, there are many people to educate. Spread the word!

Why not consider joining to participate or lurk?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

34 Comments

  1. Diana Hsieh on December 8, 2009 at 10:50

    Richard,

    I’d like to join — particularly since the OEvolve list has been such a useful resource for me. (For those not familiar, that’s a mailing list for Objectivists interested in evolutionary-based approaches to diet and health; others are welcome to lurk. It has 133 members at present. See ).

    I’m very leery of the term “libertarian,” as it often includes positions diametrically opposed to mine, including anarchism. However, I thought I might just lurk on your new list. But then I saw your description of libertarianism as “anti-government” in the Google Group description. I’m not that — not by a long shot — nor is anyone else who believes in government limited to the functions of protecting rights. Basically, you’ve got a paleo-anarchist list.

    Of course, you’re welcome to do whatever you please: I understand that represents your views. But wow, that’s precisely the problem with the term “libertarian.” You just can’t lump together your political views (anarchist) and mine (Objectivist) in any way that makes sense.

    I don’t mean to be unfriendly here: I’m friends with lots of anarchists, but I just don’t regard them as political allies. I won’t be joining the list, but I do wish you success with it.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 8, 2009 at 10:58

      Thanks Diana. And I’m certainly glad we can be friends, as always. You and Monica are fantastic and I’ve never felt like my anarchism (which to me simply means I do not value government, like I don’t value religious belief — not that I’m intent on destroying either; I’m simply willing to take my chances) was an impediment to friendship with either of you and I get tons of value from you both.

      Oevolve is a FANTASTIC list and I read every post. And, I absolutely agree with Objectivists when they say that Ayn Rand gets to decide what Objectivism is, since she invented it. And this is why I respect the posting rules, though I suspect there are — or were at the beginning — some who don’t.

      So glad the SVS is working out for you.



  2. Toban on December 8, 2009 at 14:14

    Richard, thanks for the plug, that will really help with assembling the community.

    Just to be clear, this is a list for all liberty-minded people: anarchists, minarchists, Objectivists, and anyone who leans freedom-wise in general. Yes, I’m a libertarian anarchist, but right now the paleo-libertarian connection is too weak and obscure to be picky about membership—we’re big tent. So don’t hesitate to join, I just created the group and we need all the minds we can get.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 8, 2009 at 15:37

      I have joined and will look forward to participating as time permits.



  3. Dave on December 8, 2009 at 10:21

    Excellent. The philosophies seem to dovetail nicely: both are based on (a) what happens when you don’t meddle with things and (b) what works best.

  4. Diana Hsieh on December 8, 2009 at 10:56

    Oh wait, I see that you’re not the creator of the list. Sorry for the confusion. The problems remain the same though: I do not regard “the government as the destroyer of all things,” as Wiebe says.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 8, 2009 at 11:04

      FWIW, I never say that. While I believe it’s a net disvalue — as currently constructed — I believe it _could_ be a “net” value, though “net” would require the breaking of _some_ eggs.



    • Dave on December 8, 2009 at 11:14

      And that’s why I’m opposed. “Breaking some eggs” is violating some rights.



  5. Dave on December 8, 2009 at 10:56

    Wow. Anarchism, libertarianism, and objectivism don’t seem pretty similar to you? All believe in liberty, for one thing. In today’s world that’s rare enough to be a uniting principle. Tell ya what: As an anarchist, I’ll support your objectives of limited government. Then, if we ever get there in our lifetimes, we can fight over whether to eliminate the last bit.

    • Diana Hsieh on December 8, 2009 at 11:31

      Dave — Here’s what wrong with thinking that all those views are similar:



    • Richard Nikoley on December 8, 2009 at 15:19

      I agree with very nearly all — if not all — of what Greg wrote. Defining what an “anarchist” actually holds is analogous to defining what a Christian or “capitalist” holds and this is a problem.

      One thing Objectivists ought to be commended for rather than criticized for as they often are, is in viciously maintaining what it _means_ to be an Objectivist. They ought never to back off on that.

      More later. I’m thinking of a series of posts. This sort of thing can distinguish me from other paleo bloggers as nothing else can, and it’s relevant to the whole sphere.



    • Ross on December 9, 2009 at 13:15

      I consider myself a “l”ibertarian, and the essential difference between my beliefs and “L”ibertarians is exactly what’s described in that link. I am for pragmatically maximizing liberty “under the curve” and even though anarchy achieves a momentarily maximum liberty, it does not last long enough to be useful, and what replaces anarchy within a few minutes/hours/days is inevitably much worse than a well-founded and periodically restored government. What the US needs is the renewal of a principled government free from corporatist manipulation, not just a revolution.

      As for Objectivism and Objectivists, my quibble feels like it should be easy enough to reconcile but leads to significant disagreement when it comes to real world behavior and decision making. I assert that Rand’s approximation of the nature of man does not reflect real human beings, but is a paper-thin caricature of humans which assumes that obsolete economic models for human behavior really represent people. She failed to acknowledge any drive in man that is not acquisitive and selfish, and despite the appearance of significant evidence that the “man” in “man qua man” is simplistic (evidence made available through evolutionary psychology and other new sciences), modern Objectivists haven’t been willing to revisit the logical reconstruction of Objectivist ethics, provided a more complex concept of successful, natural human psychology.

      So I have figured out my own ethical system, using similar logical rigor but based on a more accurate and complex model of natural human drives and behavior, and even though it is durably objective (though incorporating quite a bit of apparent subjectivity due to the conditions surrounding each ethically significant decision), it is not “Objectivist” because that label is already taken.



    • Alfred Centauri on December 9, 2009 at 16:09

      Ross wrote “She failed to acknowledge any drive in man that is not acquisitive and selfish,”

      But Ross, she clearly identified non-selfish (selfish in the Randian sense, i.e., rational selfishness) drivers of men and exemplified such driven men as villains in her novels, e.g., Eugene Lawson.

      Further, she identified non-acquisitive (yet rationally selfish) drivers of men and exemplified such driven men as heroes in her novels, e.g., Hugh Akston.

      Evidently, your claim is prima facie false. Did you mean to write something else or have I misread you?



    • Ross on December 9, 2009 at 21:20

      You misread me. It appears from your response that the confusion is due to me writing in english while you were reading in Objectivist english. The rest of my post also uses common english meanings and not Objectivist meanings so you may need to translate on the fly if you’re going to avoid more misunderstandings.

      By “failed to acknowledge” I mean that she classified those drives as aberrant or self-destructive when modern scientific inquiry has revealed that bonding, learning, and defensive drives and actions are not aberrant but essential to healthy human beings, even when the resulting actions are apparently altruistic in nature. Your counter-example that she “acknowledged” some of those drives by making villanous characters out of them is a perfect example of the limitations of her “nature of man” model. She acknowledged that the drives *existed*, but denied that they were in the nature of man.

      In my experience, “man qua ‘Objectivist man'” works great in stories where the synthetic reality is equally simplistic, but fails to to provide more than transient benefit in the complexities of the real world. But that is neither here nor there. The science of psychology was painfully limited while Rand was alive and she did the best she could with what she knew.

      My real frustration is with the continued failure of Objectivists to allow any change to Rand’s definition of “natural man” even while science provides increasing illumination on the very topics foundational to Objectivist thought. The more complex reality revealed by science leaves modern Objectivism resembling little more than a religious group clinging doggedly to the dogma of their deceased prophet. The behavior reminds me nothing so much as American creationists. Again, don’t misunderstand me, Ayn Rand did the world a favor when she showed that it was possible to rationally derive a consistent ethical model from a description of human nature. But her starting point, her very description of human nature, failed to capture the complexity of actual human nature and her inheritors refuse to make any changes to Rand’s Canon.

      By the way, I’m not trying to convince you, only to provide some insight into the background behind my own objectively determined philosophy, largely because you asked so nicely. I would find it extremely interesting and exciting if I convinced an Objectivist True Believer to accept the complexities of reality as described by the process of scientific inquiry, but I’m not going to put money on it happening in this discussion. (I hope the ribbing doesn’t annoy too much. I’ve been in too many unsatisfying conversations with Objectivist True Believers through the years and am now quite cynical about the utility. I discuss for the others who come and read later.)



    • Alfred Centauri on December 10, 2009 at 07:21

      Ross, I certainly agree with your observation that Objectivists understand the meaning of words such as selfishness and altruism differently from, shall we say, the mainstream.

      And, while I’m open to the proposition that I misread you, your own rejoinder argues that you misspoke.

      You write “By “failed to acknowledge” I mean that she classified those drives as aberrant or self-destructive…”

      Is this an example of the common english meaning of “failed to acknowledge”?

      A couple of sentences later, you write “She acknowledged that the drives *existed*, but denied that they were in the nature of man.”

      Let’s compare that with your original statement: “She failed to acknowledge any drive in man that is not acquisitive and selfish,”

      Neither of these statements are particularly complex and I think it is reasonable of me to believe that most non-objectivist speaking persons would conclude that the former is not implied by the latter.

      And no, the ribbing is not annoying in the least!

      And since you have been such a good sport humoring this Objectivist, I do hope my annoying tendency to offer specific examples for my arguments doesn’t annoy too much.



    • Ross on December 10, 2009 at 15:33

      I did indeed mean “acknowledgement” to mean acnowledgement of being essential, mostly positive, and healthy aspects of the nature of man (though, along with acquisitiveness, capable of being corrupted into something destructive). The implication seems clear enough, but I can follow your logic as to why you became confused.

      This whole tangent is a salient exemplar of my big complaint with Objectivists and why, even when I still thought Rand was right, I still didn’t call myself an Objectivist. Objectivists aren’t just difficult people to be around. Almost to a person, Objectivists take great relish at being difficult people to be around. At the end of the day, I have too many other things that I enjoy doing (basically, being with my 15 month old daughter, and looking forward to a son on the way) and all of my Objectivist friends and acquaintances have long since faded away.



    • Alfred Centauri on December 11, 2009 at 07:33

      Ross, do go enjoy some time with your daughter and be happy.

      After all, why else would one develop their own ethical system with logical rigour based on an accurate and complex model of natural human drives and behavior?



    • Richard Nikoley on December 8, 2009 at 11:02

      Dave:

      Just because some super-important values are shared does not mean that differences or opposite values in other areas are any less important.

      Objectivists value government as a rights protector, and that’s just that. I do not because I simply don’t believe that can be accomplished without initiating force, and I would just rather take my own chances.

      Similarly, I canot value religion in any context because I see it as impossible to do without allowing mind-created “realities” to corrupt thinking.



    • Dave on December 8, 2009 at 11:17

      But in this case the values the three have in common are more important.

      I look at it this way: We stand on a vast plain of possible worlds. The one I want, the one libertarians want, and the one objectivists want are all very far away, and in almost the same direction. We can travel together.

      When it’s time to part ways, we can.



  6. Jim on December 8, 2009 at 11:11

    Richard,

    I have been thinking this for a long time, and have even commented on twitter as to how they dovetail nicely. The lines to start to blur and the patterns become kind of obvious after a while. I am very interested to see how this progresses.

    I don’t want to get off-topic but I am confused about your capital L libertarian party saying that they can’t achieve liberty through force. Naturally I agree with you, but Ron Paul, as an example, is against us using our force overseas. Just an honest question, and again, I don’t to get to far afield of the topic. Thanks for the great posts.

    Jim

    • Richard Nikoley on December 8, 2009 at 11:24

      Jim:

      Yea, I’m not to much into arguing these points as I’ve come to see the world differently in terms of political outcomes. I highly recommend the books “Fooled by Randomness” and “The Black Swan” by Nicholas Nassim Taleb to challenge the notion that where we are today is as easy to understand as we may think in terms of analyzing philosophies and history. These are good books for learning to view skeptically the quality of your own knowledge.

      As any rate, I decided sometime ago to focus on what I seem to have a knack for in terms of advancing liberty, which is the evolutionary food & fitness path. In terms of politics, I will be satisfied if people learn to think for themselves and value freedom & liberty in more of a natural sense (Rand’s ethics are 100% derived from the natural state of man qua animal, so far as I can tell).

      In fact, that’s one reason I call my blog “Free the Animal.” There’s an ethical element to it.

      And I will leave the politics to Dina and others. While not allies as Diana says, I am really not out to explicitly undermine the efforts of herself or any other Objectivists. Hell, I will be happy if they achieve progress because perfection should not be the enemy of the good enough for now and hopefully getting better all the time.

      I’m generally not in favor of the war either, but that’s mostly because I don’t see it addressing the root problem, which is more a moral one than a political one.



  7. Jim on December 8, 2009 at 11:34

    Thanks Richard. I read The Black Swan, excellent book. I will recommend to you, and to anyone that I come across, to listen to the talk that Charles Calomiris gives on econtalk.org. It’s very easy to find. If folks would listen to that, they would have a better understanding of the crisis and how it was caused by government intervention. You might find it interesting.

    In the meantime, getting back to what you do best, I can’t wait to see how it unfolds. I have made some of your sauces, and I think that they are fantastic. I have been making stock as well, I turned it into a glaze and froze cubes to save space…have a ziploc baggy of frozen cubes and they are great for broths, just add water.

    I truly enjoy the blog, and I think that you do a great job. Please don’t be afraid to post a little Ted Nugent again!

    Jim

  8. Mojo Yugen on December 8, 2009 at 13:17

    While I agree with many ideas of the Libertarian party I always come back to the question of “what entity(s) fill the vacuum left by a substantially reduced federal government? My answer (or fear) to that is an expansion of corporate power.
    While I think the federal government does a crappy job of keeping corporations in check I don’t see how greatly reducing it would help matters. Indeed I can only see it making matters worse in most ways.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 8, 2009 at 15:34

      “what entity(s) fill the vacuum left by a substantially reduced federal government”

      I suppose if you care….

      To the extent that such entities can only exist through forceful extraction of values owned and produced by individuals and through systematic “message sending” by chewing up producers and innocent people to keep you in fear & check, then I don’t care other than to fantasize about applauding their demise.

      As to corporate power, hell, I deal with a dozen or more corps per day in one for or another and nearly all of them are pleasant transactions and on the rare case when I have a problem, I almost always get it resolved, and if I don’t, I take my business elsewhere.

      I have never a single time in my life had an experience with government that was anything but an imposition and drain on my life and values.

      Government is of no value to me whatsoever. I understand that I owe a whole lot of my life, prosperity, comfort to what government does — indirectly to my personal dealings with them. But that’s only because they have chewed up, killed, maimed, and ruined hundreds of millions of people so that I can be lulled and fooled into to thinking they’re indispensable. No thanks. My conscience tells me to just take my chances.

      Finally, BIG corporations are merely and extension of the state, with the general antagonism designed to keep you worried about the outcome of the conflict, when in reality they are the bedfellows that replaced the church-srtate bedfellows of old.



    • Ross on December 9, 2009 at 13:30

      I see corporate influence as the biggest problem with our government, and the governments of most (all?) developed countries. Without an effective rule of law, there is no incentive for ethical behavior by corporations, and historical examples abound of simple profit motive leading to horrific abuses by corporate organizations. Even with the rule of law, corporate influence has been successful in blunting most of the consequences of corporate malfeasance until there essentially are no consequences.

      In my opinion, granting corporations access to the legal status of “person” without most of the possible consequences that human beings have in the same status (imprisonment, loss of rights, etc.), is one of the biggest mistakes that we as a society continue to make. Failing to make a separate category for non-human legal creations so that the consequences and responsibilities match up with the rights and privileges leads to the worst separations of intentions from actual results. In aggregate, when tasked with profit maximization, and separated from the consequences of their decisions, the people in charge of corporations consistently behave in a way that would only be classified as psychotic were they to carry on their personal affairs in the same way.

      Sony rootkits thousands or tens of thousands of computers and there is no actual legal consequence. If I was to publish a program that did the same thing to even one machine and it was tied back to me, I would likely be in jail for multiple years. Similar discrepancies on the consequences of corporate vs. individual behavior abound and collectively represent a category of problems that I lay at the feet of corporate influence on government. IMHO, there’s very little wrong with government that can’t be fixed by actually restoring it’s responsibility to act “for the (human) people”.



    • Richard Nikoley on December 9, 2009 at 16:50

      Ross:

      Point taken on special privileges for corps, especially limited liability. That is, they get a status individuals can’t get unless they file for that status, pay the fees, and operate by the statutes (and to take in public investment, you need to operate at $30 mil gross to even get in the game). The benefit is that in most cases — and certainly the bigger the better — they can operate in a way individuals would be very loath to do, and this even goes to civil liability where if a bank or vendor doesn’t require a personal guarantee, they have only the corp to go after upon default.

      Yes, I operate as a corp. Given the climate, it would be foolish to do otherwise. That said, I’d happily operate as a proprietor, with personal liability for everything, if everyone else had to as well.

      I’m interested to know what you might think of my analogy concerning the big-corp government bedfellow status as compared to the church-state bedfellow situation of old. Surely you’ve read and understood enough history to know that they both needed each other, and that even Kings had to make sure the blessings of the church — however obtained — were part of the public conscience. It was convenient: we can destroy you easily with our armies and subjugate all, but you can help us and benefit. How about you find ways to bless the diktats of the state, by whatever theological machinations, revelation, encyclicals you need, and we can scratch each other’s backs and keep the populace scared, guilty and subservient.

      Who had the real might? The state could have crushed the church but cleverness dictated a path that was perceived as better for all. I doubt it was a tough sell.

      So, now the government doesn’t really need the blessing of any state church, but why? Did the church get more powerful. Did the state? Sure, the state is now even more powerful, albeit wiser in its use of power. But what really changed things in my view is the idea that the state and the church should be separate.

      So, what if the state and business were separate? I say business rather than “corporations,” because if separate, there would be no such thing as corporations and al liability would flow to the founders/owners of the business.



    • Ross on December 9, 2009 at 21:49

      I fully agree with your position that large corporations are essentially the same as the state, though I believe the power relationship is reversed (a distinction that is somewhat irrelevant when the players are that big).

      I think that the underlying dynamic of the power behind government has shifted at least two times. First, religion has been losing influence for 500 years and second, corporations have gained enormous power during the 20th century.

      As to your last paragraph, I don’t believe that owners being personally liable for the misdeeds of their businesses is sufficient to correct the current imbalances, though I am not sufficiently informed to speculate on all of the cascading consequences of such an enormous legal shift. If businesses also stopped having rights distinct from the rights of their employees and owners, I suspect that we would be heading in the right direction but that it would still take decades to straighten out.

      I have also incorporated. As you said, it conveys some significant benefits and at some point, it’s silly not to claim those benefits when others are already doing so.



    • Ed on December 8, 2009 at 19:10

      Mojo,
      I believe that any harm that corporations do is largely due to “rent-seeking” behavior, or using the force of government (thru taxation or regulation) to help one corporate entity or hinder its competition. Without a powerful government, much of the power of corporations to cause mischief evaporates. The vacuum is filled by ordinary people engaging in voluntary exchange via free markets. Cheers!



    • Alfred Centauri on December 9, 2009 at 06:33

      Mojo, you’re correct that out current government does a crappy job of “keeping corporations in check” but by that, *I* mean that the government has too much power.

      I think you might be looking at this the wrong way. Consider what would happen if the power of the government to intervene in the economy were revoked – a complete separation of economy and state.

      How many lobbyists for corporate interests would there be? How many government enforced monopolies would there be? How many interventions in the market would there be in the name of some ill defined social agenda? How many government created moral hazards would there be?

      Now consider that the proper role of government is to punish those individuals and corporations that choose to ‘trade’ by force or coercion rather than consensually. That’s not a trivial job and it’s a job our government is currently not performing well at all.

      As an Objectivist, when I speak of limiting the power of government, I specifically mean revoking the power to intervene in the market but, unlike L(l)ibertarians, I do not mean to limit the power of the government to enforce the rules of the free market, i.e., to detect, prosecute and punish those players that choose to live by the use force rather than by reason and voluntary trade.

      So, if by “expansion of corporate power”, you mean expansion of coercive corporations, the answer to your question of which entity is “an objective government described above”.



  9. Jim on December 8, 2009 at 13:38

    Mojo –

    Corporations properly incented can govern themselves. I know that we can argue all day on this, but that’s the theory. For example, you probably blame banks for the current crisis, not Barney Frank and the Community Reinvestment Act. We made it government policy to force loans out to people that didn’t deserve them, and couldn’t pay them. That was a public sector error that the private sector reacted to.

  10. Paul on December 8, 2009 at 14:50

    It reminds me of how i got into paleo eating. I was following a German objectivist blog and I still do so. One day, the author posted about Diana Hsieh, who herself just started eating like that.

    http://objektivismus.blogspot.com/2008/09/mit-der-paleo-dit-stark-wie-ein.html

    I just love liberty minded people, vice versa.

  11. Kyle Bennett on December 9, 2009 at 14:35

    I was sold as soon as I saw the first topic “Austrian Economics and Low-Carb Connections”. Well, really, I was sold before that, but still…

    I’ll mention this to my anarchist friends on the forum I frequent lately. I still call myself an objectivist, but I use the small ‘o’ out of a sense of propriety, and, frankly, to disassociate myself from the embarassment Rand became after doing all the epic and heroic work of advancing philosophy in a way that hadn’t been done for centuries. I too respect her right to decide what Objectivism is… right until the point where she contradicts herself, then all bets are off. Small-o objectivism is what fully integrated reality says it is, Rand’s disagreement notwithstanding. On the need for monopoly, “proper” government, her position was just that, a position, not a principle, and her argument for it was not reason, but justification.

  12. Clay Barham on December 9, 2009 at 09:40

    FROM FREEDOM TO SLAVERY
    In the 1858 debates with Senator Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln said; “[T]here is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” Keep in mind; Lincoln reflected the Hamilton-Clay interventionist ideals, where the central government and the “superiors” will determine the extent of federal “assistance” to infrastructure and industry in America, certainly opposite the hands-off policies of the 19th century state’s rights Democrats. The 20th century Democrat is closer to Lincoln’s policies than Jefferson’s. Modern Democrats tend to follow the ideals of Rousseau and Marx, where almost everyone, regardless of race, is inferior to the very few superior elite who must rule. Jefferson’s democrats were libertarians, and as such, figured individual freedom and a free market would establish superior and inferior by works and not by government or chains. Claysamerica.com

  13. […] be relevant for the vast majority of readers, so it'll be short; and so please bear with me. It sorta pertains to this in the sense that one reason the paleo-libertarians have come a callin' is because I was a […]

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