Libertarianism is an Effect, Not a Cause
There’s been a lot of ink spilled lately – far too much ink, in my view, given the gallons of blood that are about to be tipped over – over the conflict between Libertarian principles and the spirited energy of the Alt Right. The former reject the nationalism advocated by the latter; the focus on ethnic homogeneity, on foundational cultural values, and the importance of ethos, and of having a national direction. The latter respond mostly with ridicule, pointing out that Libertarians have repeatedly failed to achieve their goal. You can hardly call this a robust argument – but as observations go, it’s damning. Within the halls of Academia, you can expect to receive partial credit for an argument well argued, even if the conclusion is false; but outside of those airy towers, failure is death. As Robert A. Heinlein once observed, what good is a moral philosophy which leads to extinction? After all, an extinct animal has no moral behaviour.
This repeated failure demands an explanation. It is particularly worrisome given how self-evident Libertarianism seems to be. Free markets lead to a rising tide which lifts all boats, and they are more effective at resisting monopoly than governments which fall prey to regulatory capture. The recognition of human rights, and principles such as non-aggression, are likewise self-evident; respecting another man’s property and right to free thought takes nothing away from any sane and ordered individual, and provide much better security in return than that offered by any police officer or Stasi agent. The accomplishments of the free market harnessing human potential are nearly incredible – even something as mundane as a fully-stocked grocery store is a wonder to behold, a logistical accomplishment that puts army quartermasters to shame – and compared to the breadlines and mass-starvation of central planners, there’s no contest at all.
Libertarianism offers wealth, peace, and freedom; all that we have to give up is dependence, war, and slavery. Even the lowliest are granted the ability to own and maintain their own home, free of coercion or threat, whether it be through inflated currencies or seizure by state agents. All that the managed economy offers is an ever-growing population living in the projects. Libertarianism is a no-brainer for people at all levels of society.
So why does it consistently fail?
To answer this question, let’s take a step back. While Libertarianism is an obviously superior system, it also involves some radical proposals. Asking “…but who will build the roads?” is a bit of a joke in Libertarian circles, one which results in frustrated ideologues and extensive lecturing, but nonetheless it is one of the many intellectual barriers for those who are new to the movement. So instead of taking the whole grand work of the Libertarian edifice in one go, let’s start with a smaller question.
War: what is it good for?
Military conflict has always an expensive activity. It requires a massed number of people, operating abroad, using the latest and greatest technology that society has to offer. Think of the expense that companies go to for annual conferences – and then multiply that tenfold. Reuters estimates that the war in Iraq has cost over $1.7 billion, and what do we have to show for it? Burned out cities and dead bodies. War is the anti-economy; it burns up a lot of money for the sake of destroying wealth.
War is distinct from other necessary evils that all societies must provide for – fire departments, for instance. Firemen produce nothing of value, and yet they’re an expense that must be paid to mitigate the damage done when fire inevitably breaks out. Courts, lawyers, and police officers are similarly unproductive, and yet equally necessary. Even on the individual level, we pay for insurance, we stock up for lean times, and we maintain a basic level of security on our homes, even though none of these create benefit – all they do is mitigate risk.
But war is something different.
500 years ago you could have made a case for it; once upon a time, there was some profit to be found in it. The infrastructure was less sensitive, and easier to rebuild. The disparities of wealth allowed for substantial loot and plunder. Installing your own tribe as the new rulers was a distinct possibility, with concrete benefits. Granted, very few wars proved to be profitable for anybody, even back then – but at least there was a argument to be made for those pursuing rational self-interest.
That is no longer the case today.
War has not been profitable for anybody, for several centuries at least. Borders have barely changed because of it, political advantages have been temporary at best, and no matter how decisive the victory, the victors have come out of it in worse shape than when they entered. All victories are Pyrrhic victories in the modern world, and almost everybody knows this – and yet war still remains.
It is senseless, destructive, it benefits no-one, and we’d all be better off if we stopped waging it – and yet war still remains.
Let’s get smaller still. The challenges of international diplomacy are – much like the arguments for Libertarianism – rather esoteric. Despite most people acknowledging the senseless destruction of war, there are no obvious solutions forthcoming – there remains a sense that, even if war is destructive, the alternative is even worse. So instead of looking at the world stage, where we fight against the unknown Other – lets us consider something closer to home:
Race riots where protesters destroy their own communities.
Black Lives Matter has been terrorizing the nation for three years at this point, and they have utterly failed to advance the cause of Black America. Their primary effect has been to gut the inner cities, destroying the very businesses that Blacks rely upon, and engender militancy in the police forces nation-wide. The secondary effect – which they will soon come to regret, should it occur – will be the nationalization of police forces, turning them into an impersonal bureaucracy, rather than a representative local group which is capable of community outreach.
And yet, despite all of this, belief in the movement remains high: according to Pew Research, 65% of Blacks support the movement, with only 12% opposing it.
There are many reasons for this, of course; Black Lives Matter is hardly occurring in a vacuum. George Soros’ Open Society Institute has funded the movement to the tune of $670,000; the corrupt media establishment has misrepresented the situation, exaggerating and outright manufacturing the supposed racism of various police departments, while covering up the senseless destruction being waged; the Democrats have been very effective in keeping Blacks on the reservation, denying them political agency through the “Gimmedat!” and “Spread the wealth around!” culture; and finally, there’s the fact that your average Black American scores lower on IQ tests, and has a higher time preference than their White counterparts.
All of this is true; and yet, it’s also completely irrelevant when we consider the obvious solution to the problems that exist.
Q: What could Blacks do to improve their lot in life, and their standing in America?
A: Stop slinging drugs, having children out of wedlock, and burning down local businesses.
The biggest problem in the Black community is the degenerated culture; and the number one solution is to rebuild that culture. The results, if such actions were taken – stable families, employment, home ownership, entrepreneurship – these start to look like the ideal society that Libertarians talk about – they’re certainly a step in the right direction – and yet, Libertarianism has nothing to do with creating this solution; focusing on individual morality, and community direction, are the tools through which Black success could be achieved. Talking about voluntarism and the Non Aggression Principle will do nothing but get you mugged.
When we zoom out from the particular, and look at Western Civilization in general, the solution stays the same. Yes, there are hostile forces out there who seek the degradation and enslavement of Western peoples, and their primary tool of coercion is state bureaucracies, but a tool is all it is – and it’s just one tool among many. Abolishing the state would take that particular tool away from them, but there are plenty of others, and our people would remain just as vulnerable, if not more, to the weapons at their disposal.
This presents us with a dilemma. On the one hand, government is the problem. Socialism preys upon broken people by incentivizing their bad behaviour,thus producing more broken people to serve. At the same time, government is necessary; when your society is full of broken people, only a monopoly of force can keep their negative behaviour in check. In the ideal, realized world of Libertarianism, the negative fallout from exploitative businesses and broken individuals would be minimal, and swiftly corrected, but in the interim we’re left with questions of practicality and realistic policy – and when it comes to Libertarian proposals, which ones are going to be adopted first?
Consider the Libertarian stance on drugs: that whatever their negative effects might be, they’re not so great an evil as the state-run apparatus which interdicts them. On this question, many will agree; the War on Drugs has been an abysmal failure. But outside of political conjecture, is drug legalization a high priority? Is it a sensible policy to introduce when heroin overdoses have quadrupled since the turn of the century? Will legalizing drugs move us closer to, or further away from, the free society that Libertarians hope to achieve?
Now consider the fact that drug legalization has become one of the few topics which active Libertarians are able to agree upon – the other being their celebration of pornography, and sodomy in general.
The Merchant sells, and the Goyim buys. The problems in our civilization aren’t caused by a lack of liberty; rather, the erosion of liberty is a result of the problems with the general population. There is a statement from John Adams, Founding Father and second President of the United States, which many of you have heard in snippet, that is worth quoting in full:
While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation, while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candour, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world. Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
This spirit is present in the Alt Right; it may not be understood in its full philosophical glory, but nonetheless there is a realization that freedom without community is nothing more than atomization, leading to tyranny. Freedom is a desirable state of affairs, but it is an end, not a means. At present, the demands for more freedom will only be granted in cases where greater freedom will harm us. Freedom from responsibility; freedom from consequences; freedom from hard work – these are all being made readily available, and they just so happen to be the types of freedom which the bulk of Libertarians most vociferously demand.
What the Alt Right demands is community. What they desire is leadership. What they celebrate are the heroic virtues which purify not only the individual – but the society as a whole.
To achieve liberty, we must first return to discipline; we must embrace the social norms which are decried by the Globalists. We must rediscover our faith, we must rediscover our soil, and we must rediscover the blood pumping through our veins. Libertarianism offers a hospice; pleasing distractions during the inevitable decline. The Alt Right offers toil, sweat, blood, tears…
…and hope for a better tomorrow.