Imagine if the "Uber is a good start" guy turned out to be a crazy racist homophobe
Or don't, because he is
Earlier this week, I described the most terrifying moment of my visit to the FreedomFest libertarian conference.
It came during a panel about “hacking the state” where a publisher named Jeffrey Tucker described his vision for a world where technology has disrupted away all regulations and laws. Uber, argued Tucker, was a good “first step” down that road, but was held back by Travis Kalanick’s insistence on regulating the behavior of his drivers.
Tucker also said that the only victims he felt sorry for were those who had been jailed for creating libertarian trading platforms for drugs and other illegal products and services:
“I cry about… my friend [Silk Road founder] Ross Ulbricht…. There is so much injustice in the world… If any of you want to minister to prisoners, now is a good time.”
As I wrote, Tucker came across as a fully-fledged sociopath; someone who would see the world burn and call it progress. I suggested that Tucker represents a new breed of modern tech-savvy libertarians, the old racist guard of libertarians having withered away.
It turns out I was wrong. Not about Tucker being a fucking nut -- in fact, as you’ll see, he’s far more crazy than I could possibly have imagined -- but rather about him being a new breed.
In fact, Tucker allegedly had a starring role in the most vile, most racist, most infamous episode in the previous incarnation of libertarianism: Ron Paul’s racist newsletters.
You’ll likely already know the newsletters I’m referring to. They were sent to Ron Paul supporters in the early 90s and, as the New Republic put it:
What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing--but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.
Mark Ames has a classic example here on Pando, in which African Americans were described as “terrorists,” "animals" and worse:
I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in [major U.S. cities] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal...
What can you do? More and more Americans are carrying a gun in the car. An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example.).
I frankly don’t know what to make of such advice; but even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.
When the newsletters came to light during Ron Paul’s last unsuccessful presidential run, the libertarian hero was quick to insist that he hadn’t actually written the words attributed to him. Instead, he and his defenders said, the newsletters were mostly written by unnamed ghosts on his staff.
According to none other than Reason Magazine -- the house publication of modern libertarianism -- one of those ghosts was… Jeff[rey] Tucker:
Timothy Wirkman Virkkala, formerly the managing editor of the libertarian magazine Liberty, told Reason that the names behind the Political Report were widely known in his magazine's offices as well, because Liberty's late editor-in-chief, Bill Bradford, had discussed the newsletters with the principals, and then with his staff.
"I understood that Burton S. Blumert was the moneybags that got all this started, that he was the publisher," Virkkala said. "Lew Rockwell, editor and chief writer; Jeff Tucker, assistant, probably a writer; Murray Rothbard, cheering from the sidelines, probably ghosting now and then." (Virkkala has offered his own reaction to the controversy at his Web site.) Blumert,Paul's 1988 campaign chairman and a private supporter this year, did not respond to a request for an interview; Rothbard died in 1995. We reached Tucker, now editorial vice president of Rockwell's Mises.org, at his office, and were told: "I just really am not going to make a statement, I'm sorry. I'll take all responsibility for being the editor of Mises.org, OK?”
It gets worse. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Tucker is a full-on neo-Confederate:
Both [Lew] Rockwell [the other alleged author of the racist Ron Paul newsletters] and institute research director Jeffrey Tucker are listed on the racist League of the South's Web page as founding members — and both men deny their membership. Tucker has written for League publications, and many League members have taught at the institute's seminars and given presentations at its conferences.
If Tucker denies his membership then, of course, we have to take him at his word. Hopefully Tucker was able to clear up the misunderstanding when he co-hosted a session at the Young Americans for Liberty conference with former League of the South chairman (and Ron Paul staffer) Jack “Southern Avenger” Hunter.
Meanwhile there's no shortage of writing that we know for certain was produced by Jeffrey Tucker, because he actually had the, uh, courage to put his name on it.
For example, this essay about hate crime against gay Americans called “The Love That Never Shuts Up” in which he argued that gay people should not be protected by anti-hate crime laws:
[I]ncluding gays among those protected by hate-crime laws is a way of granting a statutory privilege that non-gays do not enjoy. It codifies the experience of victimhood and provides an aura of sanctity that the present political culture grants to official victims. A law that presumes that gays are constantly threatened with violence makes them martyrs to a cause even before they experience martyrdom.
In that same essay, Tucker also argues against teaching school children about AIDS, calling these lessons “pro gay”:
As for pro-gay lectures in school that purport to be "Aids education" one can only marvel that parents and teachers put up with it at all. When told about these incidents, parents are likely to recall the words from the Gospels: "But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
It is the gay lobby that is attempting to impose its will on bourgeois America by robbing them of their schools, their taxes, and their rights in order to subsidize a sexual preference. And they wonder why they are disliked by ordinary Americans!
And that’s just the stuff readily available online. If the Ron Paul newsletters taught us anything -- and, boy, did they -- it’s that to find the really dark, disgusting shit you have to look back to before the Internet taught people like Tucker that you’re smarter not to put some things in writing.
Take, for example, the 1995 “Letter From Alabama” (embedded below) in which Tucker expressed dismay that fifteen year old black children are ineligible for the death penalty:
Apparently, it's considered too sensitive a subject when a black boy (who is too young to be eligible for the death penalty) kills three older white women. People might get upset. Three days after the triple murder, even the local newspaper stopped reporting the details.
Receiving extensive coverage instead, thanks to roving reporters from the Associated Press, were the latest goings on in Wedowee, Alabama. A former high school principal accused of being impolite to a mixed-race girl was hired for an administrative job by the school district, over the objections of outsiders demanding ever more minority "rights."
Or the follow-up article, a year later, in which Tucker was still furious that the boy -- who, he apparently had since discovered was in fact fourteen - was still alive:
The jurors who tried the 14-year-old black boy who shot and killed three wid- ows last year, one of them my own dear neighbor, found him guilty and gave him several life terms. By law, he got the maximum. He is too young for the death penalty. It is beyond me. If you are old enough to murder, you are old enough to pay the ultimate price.
Still, absent the electric chair or perhaps the noose, Tucker, who you will remember calls himself a "Chief Liberty Officer" and told the audience at FreedomFest that “I cry a little bit about the prisoners” has another idea for punishing the poor and the black: A return to chain gangs.
Instead of lounging around prison, criminals clean up the roads, linked with thick and unbreakable cords. It keeps the highways clean, provides proximate social restitution, and the humiliating sight itself deters future criminals. What's wrong with that? Right on cue, liberals denounced it as cruel, reactionary, unworkable, and all the rest. But according to real people in Alabama, serious crime deserves a swift and serious response.
Meet the new libertarians. Literally the same as the old.