Are these the Nazis, Walter?

While doing some research for my previous post, I came across a website called Come and Hear: An Educational Forum for the Examination of Religious Truth and Religious Tolerance. Sounds pretty innocuous, no? And if you glance through the website a bit, it seems like an objective resource on the Talmud. But in reality, it is an extremely subtle attempt at anti-Semitic propaganda. Even I was initially fooled, and I'm intimately familiar with the topic. The authors frequently quote the Talmud out of context, attempt to mislead the reader, and generally try to make Jews and Judaism look as bad as possible. In a sense, this is easy to do, because the Talmud is far from politically correct by today's standards, and because it does not present a single author's view, but is a compilation of various Rabbinic sages' arguments over many years.

Rather than get into any specific details about why the site is anti-Semitic propaganda, I simply refer the reader to the links page, which points to Public Action, "Carol Valentine's [the alleged author of Come-And-Hear] other web site." Public Action is filled with a multitude of conspiracy theories, some of which are anti-Semitic, some of which are loony in other ways. As an indication of just how extreme this "Carol Valentine" truly is, she takes Justin Raimando to task for not being quite vehement enough in his opposition to the war (Justin Raimando!) (of all people!), as demonstrated by his failure to believe in conspiracy theories alleging that it was the Jews, not Osama bin Laden, who were responsible for September 11. No matter how much I may disagree with Raimando's abrasive tone (if not his actual policy conclusions), it is to his credit that he never fell in with this bunch.

At the bottom of the page are links to various Holocaust denial, white-power, and neo-Nazi websites. One might think that if Carol Valentine wanted people to fall for her subtle attempt at deception, it wasn't a very good idea to link directly from her innocuous-looking Come-And-Hear website to her anti-Semitic ravings on Public Action. But then, racists are usually not the sharpest tools in the shed.

It's important for libertarians to recognize and reject these attempts, as anti-Semites, white nationalists, and other racist loonies have been trying to ingratiate themselves with the libertarian movement, especially online and especially recently. Websites like LibertyForum have already been overrun by this garbage, and others like are not too far behind (although, to be fair, the folks at Anti-State don't seem to take these guys as seriously as the folks at LibertyForum do). I suspect this is partly because libertarians are strong supporters of free speech (even when the censorship is not a result of state action) and because libertarians are generally more tolerant of politically incorrect speech than people of other political persuasions. In addition, libertarian support for freedom of association may also attract racists, who feel that libertarianism is the closest ideology to their own (it isn't) and that they will be more welcome within the broad libertarian movement than they would with other political groups.

William F. Buckley Jr. went to great lengths to purge anti-Semites and other racists from the conservative movement. It is high time that libertarians do the same.

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Many of the regular posters

Many of the regular posters at are also regular posters at various white supremacist sites around the web that I've read in my past days (of which I'm now quite ashamed of now needless to say). I won't name names outright but some quick Googling will tell all.

Yes, I'm quite aware of the

Yes, I'm quite aware of the LF regulars' sordid pasts (or is it "sordid presents"?). Many of them don't even bother trying to hide their affiliations, using the same screenname on both forums and linking directly to those websites in their signatures and as support for their arguments.

Looks like.

Looks like.

OK. I have no idea who these

OK. I have no idea who these people are and don't want to defend them.

However, be careful in your purge. Buckley's example--most notably the purge of Joe Sobran went far overboard.

Steer clear of the real troublemakers, of course. We should make sure that people don't confuse libertarianism with racism. However, that does not necessarily mean one cannot be both. Just don't go too far or start some kind of purity war. The last thing libertarians need is a war over who is a "real libertarian".

Mike, Sobran is a difficult


Sobran is a difficult case. Prior to Buckley's purge, a reasonable argument could be made for Sobran's innocence, with the claim that he may have been politically incorrect and offensive, but not intentionally anti-Semitic. Even Buckley seemed to have trouble condeming Sobran as out-and-out racist in his book, In Search of Anti-Semitism. But post-purge, his willingness to affiliate with Holocaust deniers - or should I say Holocaust "revisionists" as they like to call themselves - certainly doesn't help his case.

And while it is true that, ideologically speaking, it is possible to be both a libertarian and a racist at the same time, that doesn't mean that right-thinking libertarians should knowingly associate with racists of any kind.

Anyone who is familar with my style knows that I am against ideological "purges and schisms." I'm of the "why-can't-we-all-just-get-along" variety of libertarians, and I've never seen the point of the bitter squabbles between Objectivists, Austrians, anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, and so on and so forth.

But, there is a difference between purging people on account of differences over ideology, when the term "libertarian" is broad enough to cover multiple strands, and purging people on account of being racists. The first kind of purge is wrong because, as you said, there is little need to define who is a real libertarian. But the second kind of purge has nothing to do with definitions - it is simply common sense to disassociate oneself with those who hate their fellow humans on account of uncontrollable aspects.

It is better than a me-too

It is better than a me-too post, I guess. I have a hard time getting people to accept that I can be a libertarian without being libertine. I think that crackheads are deplorable, disgusting people -- but I don't think that we should slap them in jail. A lot of people can't make that distinction.

And as far as Raimando goes, he's got emotional problems, man. I mean, beyond pacifism.

One question - is denial of

One question - is denial of the Jewish Holocaust worse than the denial of the Christian Holocaust (in Anatolia in 1915 by the Ottoman Turks)? The reason I ask this is because many historians have been proven to have taken money from the Turkish government over the years (Bernard Lewis to name a famous one and others too numerous to mention) to deny that Holocaust. If so, why?

Personally I utterly detest both groups.

toshiro, I'm not familiar


I'm not familiar with organized groups of people whose sole purpose is to deny the Christian Holocaust. But I don't think a comparison between evils is desireable or necessary - both are wrong.

As to 'libertarian' purity,

As to 'libertarian' purity, I think the root question is whether the difference in degree between an 'average LP'er', say, and a 'racist libertarian' is in fact a difference in kind. Where does gray become black? It seems similar to the perennial talk-talk about "Who was worse: CSA or USA?". From my anarchist perspective, neither are exactly desireable, however one or the other may be more tolerable to me. One or the other may also be more presentable to one's intended audience. I personally consider clarity of thought more important than presentability. The term "libertarian" has just about been hulled and sunk, much like "liberal", so respectability isn't high on my list of priorities.

If either the LP or ever gained political power, I don't doubt that they would gleefully use the State to further their ends. Would one or the other be "worse"? Likely, but I'm far too cynical to take odds on which one it would be.

Buckley's purge helped to

Buckley's purge helped to pave the way for Gingrich and Co. in the mid-90's. Purges and expulsions leave the door open for all manner of monstrosities to evolve.