Saturday, November 14, 2009

libertarian censorship

An Interview with Mike Hoy,
Founder and President of Loompanics Unlimited
What is Going On Here Anyway?

Q. Is there more? [examples of private censorship]

Unfortunately, yeah, lots. One of the most widespread forms of private censorship is the forbidding of advertising. The “Libertarians” are notorious for this kind of censorship. Reason magazine for years forbade Loompanics to place any ad whatsoever – this from a publisher who claims to be devoted to “Free Minds and Free Markets” (as long as they are not too free, I guess). I remember once, shortly after they had refused one of our book ads, receiving a fund-raising letter from Reason soliciting “donations” on the grounds that they were such big-balled, two-fisted freedom fighters that they had difficulty selling ads in their magazine, and you were therefore supposed to give them something for nothing. These hypocrites refused to engage in a straight-forward honest business deal (selling us ads), instead asking for handouts (and lying about why they were doing it) – this from an outfit which opposes food stamps for poor people on the grounds that giving them something they did not earn would destroy their “incentive” to earn a living.

We used to occasionally rent the subscriber list of Liberty magazine to send its readers a sampler of our books. On these occasions, Liberty would rent their list only “on the condition that no nudity appear in the mailing piece.” Thus does the publisher of a “Libertarian” magazine protect the virgin eyes of his readers from the trauma of seeing a pen-and-ink drawing of a woman's left nipple.

Q. Why do you think that the “Libertarians” are so timid?

Well, these examples are actually more silly than they are threatening – I mean, what a bunch of fucking sissies, eh? But the fact of the matter is that no one has ever done more to discredit an ideology by espousing it than the “Libertarians.” They foghorn away about the necessity of the profit motive, but every “Libertarian” propaganda outfit is a non-profit corporation or foundation. Every one. Being themselves so incompetent that they cannot run an enterprise at a profit, they beseech the government to adopt policies forcing everybody but them to live by trade.

And since their products (books, magazines, treatises, etc.) are so worthless that they cannot support themselves by selling them, they ask the government to grant them “tax-free” status, and then ask corporations to give them “donations.” That is why they are so squeamish about accepting ads – they are afraid some corporate suckfish might be offended by actual “free minds and free markets” and shut off their handouts. And when corporations give the “Libertarians” money, the corporations are allowed to deduct these handouts as a “business expense.” Corporate donors are their real “customers” and they are scared to print anything the corporations might not like.

There has been a number of books published recently which call into question the corporate form of enterprise, especially as it is practiced by American/multinational corporations, but you won't find ads for any of them in “Libertarian” magazines. A recent piece in a “Libertarian” magazine (one devoted to “individual liberty”) warns its readers against even thinking critically about corporations and presents them with their thought-stopping mantra: “anti-corporatism.” Thus, any discussion of the true nature of corporations will be labeled by “Libertarians” as “anti-corporatism” and they will respond to the thing as if it were the label. That is, they will refuse to think about it at all.

Q. But don't these magazines have the right to exclude any content they don't approve of?

Of course, any magazine has the right to exclude any content – I am not advocating that the government pass some kind of law that every periodical be forced to carry advertising for products they don't like. What I am saying is that these “Libertarians” are full of shit. While claiming that they want “less government,” they run to the government and ask to be granted exemption from marketplace forces. Just run down the mastheads of Liberty or Reason and look at all the “editors,” “fellows,” “associates,” etc. and you will see that the majority of these “Libertarians” do not earn their livings in the private sector. The “marketplace” is the last “place” “Libertarians” want to be.

Of course, it isn't just “Libertarian” magazines who have forbidden Loompanics (and others) to advertise; the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, and Soldier of Fortune are among mags that don't want their readers to know that we exist.

Going back to the anti-free-trade nature of corporations, three excellent books on this subject are: The Divine Right of Capital, by Marjorie Kelly, When Corporations Rule the World, by David C. Korten, and Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann. Check 'em out, Homes.[...]


Markus said...

Sure enough, here's Reason magazine asking for donations:

GlenH said...

Seeing a lot of Libertarians seem to be young students living off handouts from Mum and Dad, does anyone expect different from their elders?

america's fartland said...

I'm sure this is so old I probably won't get a response, but is there a mistaken impression that libertarians are opposed to donations or something? That's the only decent excuse for an entry so poorly written I can think of.

I don't even know where to start. What are the "market forces" Reason is trying to be exempt from? Taxes?

The idea that any publication must run any ads lest it be guilty of "censorship" is absurd. I suppose there'a a bit of an argument for Reason saying they favor free minds and not allowing it, but I don't think that has anything to do with political views.

AMDGomer said...

So in this article you demean non-profit organizations that are Libertarian from accepting ads and for being non-profit because they aren't participating in the market.

Could it be that a.) Libertarian websites do not want to pay taxes into what they perceive as an immoral institution that regulates the health out of industries, redistributes income from producers of wealth to non-producers, and funds aggressive wars abroad, so they use the system against itself? Is that plausible?

Or maybe it is b.) That your understanding of free markets is not broad enough to encompass non-profits as part of the market process? Don't Libertarians say all of the time that in a purely free market society voluntary associations and private charities would flourish to supply what the Leviathan State currently dolls out, only in a more efficient and moral manner?

Perhaps you should not utilize the phrase "fucking sissies" either. Makes you seem like you're posturing to be a 'real man', unlike those sissy Libertarians.

Or maybe it is c.) that the average Libertarian has chosen his political, social and economic views due to years of frustration with other schools and political parties. This would mean that the Libertarian is probably well educated about such issues. As such, he probably doesn't want his publication or website to be cluttered with any ads, with specific types of ads, with pornography, or with your ads. Maybe his customer, the audience reading his website or publication, doesn't want those types of advertisements, so he/she is just serving their customer. Or maybe they regard donations as a purer form of "voting with your dollars".

Either way, as Robert already posted above me about an hour ago, this entry is "so poorly written".

Enough said.


Mike Huben said...

Gomer, you seem to have some serious reading comprehension issues.

"You" does not demean anything: this is an excerpt from an old interview with Ron Hoy. It says so right at the top.

Ron does not criticize "organizations that are Libertarian from [sic] accepting ads": he criticizes their hypocrisy because they will not accept ads from his company. Even though they claim they are in favor of open minds.

He does not criticize them for being non-profit: he criticizes them for hypocrisy and laziness because even non-profits can be self-funding, and compete in markets. Look at credit unions, for example.

As for being "so poorly written", get a clue. It was an interview, not an editorial.

Maybe when you learn to read we should start considering your other advice.

america's fartland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
america's fartland said...

So Reason isn't self-funding? What does it matter whether they take donations or run ads? Again, I can understand taking issue with not running them while half your motto is "free minds", but to have a qualm with the very act of taking donations is just a very peculiar complaint.

Mike Huben said...

Please read carefully, Robert. They hypocritically said they couldn't sell ads in a fund raising letter, while they were refusing to sell ad space to Loompanics.

Also, "They foghorn away about the necessity of the profit motive" while they don't adhere to it.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julien Couvreur said...

Another ridiculous attack on libertarianism.

"One of the most widespread forms of private censorship is the forbidding of advertising. The “Libertarians” are notorious for this kind of censorship. Reason magazine for years forbade Loompanics to place any ad whatsoever..."

Reason is a private magazine, yes?
Loompanics has no right to claim control over the content of the magazine, unless Reason and Loompanics enter in a voluntary contractual agreement.

As for "censorship", Reason has not aggressed Loompanics in any way.

That said, you are free to criticize Reason's choices. If you are unhappy with the way the magazine is run, feel free not to buy it or support it thru donations.
But please be clear that such criticism has nothing to do with libertarianism...

Julien Couvreur said...

"While claiming that they want “less government,” they run to the government and ask to be granted exemption from marketplace forces."

Any evidence for this assertion?

Mike Huben said...

Julien, you have some serious reading comprehension issues.

If you read the next sentence in the article, he states his evidence.

Unknown said...

Yes people, liberals are this stupid.

Their ideology is pretty much creationism.