Political Correctness is the Worst Thing to Happen to Libertarianism

Once more a thickist libertarian has ventured forth to let us all know how embarrassed they are to be a part of the liberty movement because there are – gasp – people who don’t share their exact religious, moral, sexual, cultural, or gender views.

If you’re up for reading yet another juvenile “there are libertarians who don’t think exactly as I do and this makes me mad” rant, peruse this article titled “Social Conservatives are the Worst Thing to Happen to Libertarianism.

Don’t worry; if the title doesn’t make it clear what makes the writer so upset, he does in the article.

Unfortunately the influx of social conservatives has also tainted libertarianism with racism, homophobia, transphobia, religious discrimination, and other forms of bigotry. None of these are inherit in libertarianism but neither are they prevented. But when somebody outside of libertarianism sees a self-proclaimed libertarian declaring Muslims the enemy of all humanity or homosexuals sinners deserving of eternal damnation that reflects poorly on those of us who aren’t bigoted assholes. (bold font added).

Later, he then goes on to state his solution on what to do with social conservative libertarians: shun them.

Since I’m a libertarian this proposal is made with the understanding that individuals are free to ignore it without consequence. But I would like to see libertarians utilize voluntary association to disassociate with people who express bigoted ideals and loudly shout them down when they start spewing their ignorant bullshit. In other words make it well known that they’re not welcome in libertarian circles. This is the only way I see libertarianism being able to divorce itself from the filth that social conservative have infested it with.

There you have it, people. It has thus been decreed that there are social conservative libertarians – whom he doesn’t bother to name – who have said things one shouldn’t say or think – though he doesn’t bother to link to any source for these claims, and they must be purged from libertarian circles until they repent of their sin and are cleansed through the power of the Holy…..nevermind.

Nevermind that these “social conservatives” adhere to the Non-Aggression Principle, as the writer himself admits. But they think thoughts and express thoughts that make him look bad with people too ignorant to know what libertarianism is and are unable to differentiate political beliefs with religious beliefs.

Rather than criticize them for making ignorant remarks and recommend libertarian literature before they mouth off further, however, this author believes the real solution is to shun social conservatives intelligent enough to know what libertarianism is and isn’t because politically correct statists out there are too intolerant uncomfortable with the idea that a political philosophy is so inclusive religious people can belong to it as well.

As a social conservative libertarian myself, I have to give this author credit for not calling on the coercion of the state to compel us to turn from our wicked ways and instead advocate only voluntary means of disassociating and shunning pariahs like myself. It’s more than we can expect these days, I suppose.

The idea that people such as myself are the worst thing to happen to libertarianism is, of course, laughable – but it’s not so funny when you consider how much harm this politically correct attitude has brought upon the philosophy.

Political Correctness is the Worst Thing to Happen to Libertarianism

I wouldn’t make a big stink about it if this was merely one article that forgets that social conservative libertarians like Ludwig Von Mises and Murray “Enemy of the State” Rothbard doggedly promoted libertarian ideas at the expense of their academic careers when everyone else, including the progressives this author so admires, was raving about statism and reaping the benefits of the system.

But it’s not.

As Christopher Cantwell pointed out concerning a recent Students for Liberty conference, it has now spread like a bad case of measles. At the conference, Ron Paul’s speech was disrupted by a couple of self-appointed commissars who read an “open letter” denouncing him for having the audacity to openly associate with people who have uttered politically incorrect thoughts. Unlike this pro-shunning author, they named names.

Apparently it’s “insensitive” to compare statism to chattel slavery. (Nevermind whether the analogy is a logically sound one; emotional sensitivity is way more relevant than logic or reasoning).

Before this, we’ve had calls for “humanitarian libertarianism” and told that “libertarianism can’t be limited to the realm of political philosophy.”

And now we have someone openly calling for “libertarians” to disassociate with other libertarians due to their religious beliefs. But don’t worry, it’s all in the name of tolerance and being open minded. Just make sure you’re hold the right views, though.

This is why political correctness is the worst thing to happen to libertarianism. It poisons the ideology with this ridiculous notion that while libertarianism doesn’t advocate for a specific social, moral, religious, or cultural view, it should, because that’s the politically correct thing to do.

Libertarianism, therefore, is nice, but what really matters is holding the right social views, which is why social conservative libertarians are to be shunned in order to placate politically correct statists.

As Tom Woods has remarked in the past, the biggest concern of thick libertarians isn’t being opposed to the state, but holding”politically correct” views on other matters that have nothing to do with aggression and coercion.

Some libertarians say the traditional libertarian principle of nonaggression is insufficient. That is merely “thin” libertarianism, they say. We also need to have left-liberal views on religion, sexual morality, feminism, etc., because reactionary beliefs among the public are also threats to liberty. This is “thick” libertarianism.

As a “thin” libertarian myself (or what in the past was simply called a libertarian), I reject the claims of the thickists. I see no good reason to expand the list of requirements people must meet in order to be admitted to our little group. If they support nonaggression, they are libertarians.

But if the thickists are concerned that certain cultural attitudes might be dangerous to liberty, why do I never hear them express concern that the hysteria of the cultural Left might be prejudicial to liberty? Why is it only the traditional moral ideas of the bourgeoisie that are supposed to be so threatening? Could this be yet another double standard?

What makes the pro-shunning author’s argument so ridiculous is that after advocating for the disassociation and ridicule of social conservatives, whose association within the same political philosophy he simply cannot tolerate, he concludes that we really should focus on the Non-Aggression Principle and not get distracted.

While voluntary association certainly allows bigots to be bigots that shouldn’t be the main draw. The main draw of voluntary association should be the absence of coercion.

Which is why he finds it vital that everyone hold the same politically correct views on race, gender, sexual behavior, religion to the extent that he calls for “politically correct” libertarians to shun “social conservative” libertarians – indeed, shout them down when they speak – for not holding these specific views, even though social conservative libertarians aren’t advocating the opposite. Social conservative libertarians such as myself aren’t demanding anyone subscribe to our social views or that libertarianism must get rid of anyone who does not share our values. 

This is the fundamental difference between thin libertarianism and thick libertarianism. With the thin libertarianism, atheists and free thinkers and fundamentalists and libertines and Protestants and Catholics can coexist and cooperate peacefully, united in their opposition to the state. Within thick libertarianism, however, everyone needs to adhere to the same social policy or else be shunned, and this takes precedence over opposition to the state.

Meanwhile, I won’t wait in eager anticipation for politically correct libertarians to call for shunning politically correct statists who openly brag about using the violence of the state against social conservatives.

Therein we see the hypocrisy of thickist libertarians: They whine about how social conservative libertarians make them look bad to statist with progressive social values, but never do they ever tell progressives that their use of state-violence against innocent people reflects poorly upon their social beliefs.

In other words, to a thickist libertarian it’s better to be a politically correct statist that supports a criminal entity responsible for the deaths of millions of people, over libertarians who rejects the use of aggression against other people but choose to associate with others according to values and moral principles not approved of by the thickists.

All I can say is that I don’t sleep at night over the idea that I might be shunned by thickist libertarians who think that the “transophobia” of social conservative libertarians is just as in need of rectifying as all the evils in the world committed by the state.

In fact, they’ll be doing us a favor. Instead of having to sort out the fakes from the genuine article, they’ll do it for us and save us the hassle of discerning libertarians genuinely interested in abolishing the state from those who are more interested in shunning libertarians whose views have already made them a victim of state-violence.

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14 Responses to Political Correctness is the Worst Thing to Happen to Libertarianism

  1. Pingback: Was the Open Letter to Ron Paul an Ideological Declaration of War? | The Anarchist Notebook | Libertarian Anarchy

  2. I myself am also somewhat socially conservative and a healthy and trim libertarian (ideologically speaking), but I’m open to people doing their own thing, as long as they don’t infringe on my rights, and no one is getting hurt (without consent). I’m okay with libertarians who’s political beliefs need to lose some unnecessary weight; I just view them as the typical modern PC leftist, except much better due to their belief in NAP.

    I would take this argument further and say I consider all peaceful stateless societies in the same club. Anarcho-whatever is good by me, as long as NAP is respected, because I think the libertarian model will rise to the top in a peaceful competitive way. People would be drawn to the success and innovation of areas with greater concentrations of libertarians. Does that sound conceited? Lol

    You ever participate in discussions at C4SS.org? You’ll find all manner of anarchists there. It is very interesting to hear their views on voluntary direct democracy, which somehow isn’t a state, and which somehow will decide things while requiring unanimous consent on every issue. I love throwing around the term anarcho-capitalist there because traditional lefty anarchists hate that word (capitalism) and view the capitalist strain of anarchists as a blight on their perfect Utopian paradise. The economically savvy ones call themselves market anarchists instead, which to me, is a bit cowardly and deceptive.

    Like the husky libertarians, the lefty anarchists plan to abolish vertically structured organizations by shunning and ridiculing them into submission, while us open minded anarchists are more than willing to patronize an organization however it is structured as long as its product is desirable. They see a workers paradise with no bosses. Sounds enticing, but I don’t think they appreciate exactly what a capitalist brings to the table in the traditional employer / employee relationship. In fact, I think many of the problems that some of the great anarchist thinkers, like Proudhon, had with the capitalism stem from their confusion of it with the Mercantilist economy of their time and misconceptions about voluntary associations.

    I could be wrong though. I’m certainly not well read on traditional anarchy, however, I think there is a similar mindset between the left anarchist and the thick libertarian and perhaps often they are the same politically speaking. Both have that same social engineering mindset, that most statists have, which is a bit troubling, but they seem fairly serious about abolishing the state, so it’s something to work with. I guess that is the point of my rambling.


    • That has been my experience as well. Right or “thin” libertarians are not interested in trying to coerce, intimidate, or pressure left libertarians into subscribing to their specific cultural, moral, or social beliefs. All they ask is to be left alone. But for “thick” libertarians, holding politically correct views is a core principle; indeed, sometimes it seems to take precedent over their opposition to the state, which is why they are constantly hounding right libertarians. I am skeptical when they say they are against the state but insist everyone hold to social views which require the state to implement, such as egalitarianism, (which is why progressives hold those views as well) or they speak out against capitalism as properly understood to be the free exchange of goods and services. There are just too many irrational and contradictory beliefs for me take them at their word.

      The confusion many left libertarians seem to have over what capitalism is about is another reason why the language and the meaning of words matter so much to me. It’s hard to have a dialogue with someone if we use the same words but they mean something different to each of us.


  3. Yes it seems that tediously and repetitively defining all important terms is the only solution to the problem. I don’t like to think of myself as a “follower” of Rothbard, but since I agree with him, or have been convinced by his arguments, on the vast majority of topics I’ve encountered, sometimes it helps to just label myself as a Rothbardian. I see it as having two advantages: 1) to identify most of my positions immediately for those familiar with Murray’s work, or 2) to arouse curiosity in others if they are not familiar.

    Drawing attention to Rothbard is always a goal of mine when discussing libertarianism, because if you call yourself a libertarian, and you’ve never heard of the man, you might not be a libertarian. Conversely, if you reject libertarianism, and you’ve never heard of Rothbard, you might be a libertarian (at least after reading a few of his books). I changed my political identity embarrassingly fast from a minarchist (Friedmanite) conservative to an anarchist libertarian after reading For a New Liberty and the Ethics of Liberty a couple of years ago. Since then I’ve read most of his works and collections of essays, apart from Conceived in Liberty (though I own it). What can I say, that fat little Jewish guy just gets me. Wish he was still around.


  4. As a centrist libertarian no one pisses me off more than a libertarian that tries to give the philosophy either a conservative or progressive slant. Personal values have nothing to do with a philosophy of non-violence, but that doesn’t stop some conservatives and increasingly more progressives from making the contrary claim.
    But as the article stated in so many words: which do you think is more worthy of contempt? Bigots who don’t like coercion and just use their freedom of speech? Or statists who are politically correct but worship the state and its use of violence. ANYONE who prefers the latter over the former, or worry about the opinion of the latter, has his priorities wrong and cannot be trusted to be genuine. At best they are bandwagon hoppers trying to be part of a trend; at worst they are hijackers trying to taint the popularity and credibility of the libertarian philosophy.


  5. Pingback: Mainstream Conservatism a Product of State Meddling | The Anarchist Notebook | Libertarian Anarchy

  6. Ricky says:

    Actually, it’s the Constitutionalists who muddy everything up. Their worship of a radical republican crypto-Socialist post-Christian secular cult of constitutions and all that other leftist bullshit is irritating, it’s as bad as fucking Marxists. And their infatuation with the military makes me want to hit them in the cock with a hammer, NAP be damned.


    • The Question says:

      Ironically, they would be shocked if they read what the Founders had to say about a standing army, or Washington’s warning in his farewell address to stay out of meddling alliances or foreign interventions.


      • Ricky says:

        I would be astonished if these lumpenconservatives could read anything above 7th grade level. Reading the kind of juvenile faux-history that Jonah Goldberg writes I am pretty sure that every literate conservative has either become a libertarian or moved to the former Soviet Union.
        Seriously, have them read Robert Nisbet and see how long it takes them to accuse him of being an America-hating defeatist.
        You’re right about the Founding Fuckheads, but they were still a bunch of east-coast banksters pulling a leftist revolution in order to trade foreign power for the ability to enforce their cultist ideology on the masses. The Constitution is often credited with American success, but I’d say that difficulties of enforcement and heterogeneity contributed far more than some Anglo-Roman pie-in-the-sky promises.
        I recently had a run in with a Conservative who was adamant about how much we owed the military, it is becoming more effor than it’s worth not to beat these people up.


      • The Question says:

        Jonah Goldberg is a cuckservative. I think little else needs to be said.

        I’ve written on the obsessive fixation of honoring the troops which might be of help as you discuss these matters with them in the future. Because I used to be one of them I am intimately familiar with why they think the way they do, and while I’m sympathetic with their reasons for doing so it doesn’t justify continuing what has only been a disaster for this country and for those in the military who have suffered the most from our foreign misadventures.


  7. Pingback: Social Justice Warriors Are Abusive Parents | The Anarchist Notebook

  8. Jay says:

    Isn’t one of the thorniest issues for libetarians the issue of abortion? The non aggression principle by itself doesn’t really help because regardless of how you come down on the issue, your probably violating it to some extent. If your prochoice your violating the right to life of the unborn child. If your prolife, you have to force a woman to remain pregnant against her will and provide her body as life support. The only thing that somewhat makes sense is to recognize the right to life of the unborn child in law but offer a woman a defense to homocide if she has an abortion to protect her bodily integrity. She may also have a self defense argument if her life or health is in some way threatened. A doctor may be able to offer the defense of protecting the woman’s life or health, but can’t assert bodily integrity because that defense would only be applicable to the woman.


    • The Question says:

      The only thing that somewhat makes sense is to recognize the right to life of the unborn child in law but offer a woman a defense to homocide if she has an abortion to protect her bodily integrity.

      I’ve have spent a lot of time thinking about this one, and to be honest my primary interest is getting the state to stop subsidizing it and destabilizing marriage so that women will have less abortions. In other words, because I am pro-life I am first and foremost looking to see as few abortions performed as possible, regardless of whether it’s legal or not. Banning it or prohibiting it may seem like a good idea but I believe social ramifications could do a better job discouraging it. I did research for a project on it a long time ago and while I don’t have the stats handy, the percentage of abortions performed as a form of birth control or for non-medical reasons was around 90 percent. Very, very few are used to save a woman’s life.

      However, what really bothers me is when people act like we’re not dealing with a human life when science has all but shown otherwise. Even abortionists have admitted the unborn are human, albeit they didn’t realize they were being recorded when they said it. The reality is we can’t prevent them all, so let’s turn to solutions that doesn’t involve the state. The trouble with this goal of mine is not shared by other libertarians, who see abortion as a women’s rights issue and thus something that all libertarians have to embrace. They want libertarianism to protect abortion, whereas I see it as something to be technically permitted but do everything possible to stop without violating the NAP.


  9. Pingback: The End of the Liberty Movement (For Me) | The Anarchist Notebook

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