From: John Lind
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 5:03 AM
Subject: Question about: The right to discriminate vs an act of war
Dear Walter Block
I have a question regarding the right to discriminate against others in trade based on collective ethnic background, such as blacks, whites, Jews, etc., and the individual’s right to participate in the free market and not be subjected to aggression.
Ron Paul is very clear that he is against collective sanctions against countries like Iran, he believes that this is an act of war on the country’s population, (its individuals) and instead wants to demand free trade between nations instead. See link.
Ron Paul: Iran Sanctions = Act of War
Shouldn’t the same analysis apply when individuals / companies have collective trade sanctions against collective groups in society? Should not this also be seen as an act of war against these groups? Is it not precisely free trade that creates peace in a society?
How can one purely pragmatically and philosophically defend that we allow collectivist behaviors that threaten accessibility in the free market?
How can it be pragmatically and philosophically defensible that the only tool one allows as a defense is to do the same thing back against those who discriminate? , namely to discriminate and boycott them as well, which we know is an act of war and against peace according to Ron Paul. Then we also participate in a behavior that encourages war and reduces the individual’s freedom on the market, which is a prerequisite for peace.
My main question is, should not the freedom of the individual to participate peacefully in trade take precedence over the right of people to commit aggressive acts against collectives that threaten the accessibility of the free market to the individual, which is fundamental to maintaining peace?
How can aggressive behavior such as sanctions in trade that can lead to violence and war override the individual’s right to participate in free trade that is a prerequisite for peace. Should we not defend peace and counter aggressive behavior that is an act of war? Is not an act of war one of the greatest threats to peace and individualism and free market, no matter who does it? And if so, should we not have the right to defend ourselves against this like any violent act, with methods that work pragmatically and that strive to use as little force as possible?
Den tors 1 okt. 2020 kl 05:54 skrev Walter Block <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
I think there is a disanalogy floating around somewhere in all this.
It is one thing for a government to declare sanctions against another. The first government is willing to use violence against anyone who ignores their requirements. I think Ron Paul is exactly correct in opposing such acts. They are in effect an act of war. If govt A blockades govt B, that is a violent act.
But personal discrimination against “blacks, whites, Jews” or gays, straights, bald people, the blind, whoever, is an entirely different matter. There is no initiatory violence or threat thereof going on here. By the way, male gays discriminate against women and bed partners, love interests, lesbians do the same against men, straight males do so against other men, ditto for straight women. The only ones who do no such thing are the bi-sexuals. Must all libertarians adopt bisexuality? Of course not. Libertarianism is predicated on free association, and a synonym for that is discrimination.
From: John Lind
Sent: Friday, October 02, 2020 5:38 AM
To: Walter Block <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Question about: The right to discriminate vs an act of war
Hello again Walter.
I would also like to add an answer to your argument that there is a difference when governments impose sanctions on other countries in order to force them to agree to something, as opposed to a company discriminating against customers collectively based on ethnicity. I think this is the cornerstone of your argument when I think about it.
That statement presupposes that racism has no political agenda behind it. But, of course, it has political implications to exclude groups of people from certain parts of the economy, which are not beneficial to these groups in terms of their economic survival if these sanctions are successful. Can you not see that there is a collective political agenda behind it that tries to make people of a different skin color have less power and thus the opportunity to control them with their economic power if you choose to discriminate against them in the market? And in what way is it different from a country imposing sanctions on another country, both of which are based on using the market in order to subjugate a group of people.
Thank you for your answer, but with all due respect I do not think you are explaining why it would make a difference in terms of threatening consequences, if a group of people based on race is blocked in trade by other people, or a country with a group of people is blocked in trade, by another country with a group of people.
To block someone from trade is to limit a person’s living conditions and survival and the intentions with it are obviously that these people should not be allowed to share the benefits of the economy of which the holders of the blockade are a part. Being able to participate in a part of the economy determines what you can afford in terms of safety and health care, which thus threatens your survival if you can’t afford it. If people feel threatened, they resort to violence. Should we not exercise the right to participate in trade to prevent this? Why should we support anti-trade?
What do you mean is the difference? I do not understand how you can first say that discrimination is the same whether it is the choice of sex partner or trading partner, but at the same time you can say that blocking people from trade between two different groups is not the same thing if a country does it vs that ethnic groups do this trade block against each other.
Why do you differentiate between these two examples, both consisting of groups that block trade for another group of people and thus stop their ability to participate in free trade which we all know is the peaceful alternative to violence, robbery and war. Have you not seen how angry and aggressive people become if they are blocked from shopping somewhere because of their skin color? Do you deny the danger of conflict if this occurs within the borders of a country, but accept the dangers of these conflicts if it occurs between ethnic groups where there is a border between them? Do you reason in the same way if trade blockades occur across state borders in the United States? If so, what is the difference between that and a white ethnic area blocking trade with black ethnic areas in the United States?
How can you have such a broad definition of discrimination that goes for both personal preferences and trade, but when someone makes a trade block, you can easily make a difference between a trade block and a trade block based on who does it?
In my view, discriminating against racial groups is impotent to hurt them. Jews and Chinese were discriminated against, and are doing just fine.
I’ve written a book on this:
Block, Walter E. 2010. The Case for Discrimination. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; http://www.amazon.com/The-Case-Discrimination-Walter-Block/dp/1933550813/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605494&sr=1-1;
http://mises.org/store/Case-for-Discrimination-P10442.aspx; available for free here:
Also, read on this Gary Becker, Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams.
Walter3:38 am on March 26, 2021 Email Walter E. Block