In my post about the neoreactionary, I critiqued not their beliefs but their solutions that rely on the state to achieve. I believe this to be the wrong direction, but it is not enough to leave it at that. Neoreactionaries, like others, need a libertarian-based solution on how to achieve their desired cultural and social aims.
A few years ago I was contemplating the possibility of an economic collapse. If one were to happen, who would I be able to rely on, to trust? Who would I congregate with?
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t really my family that came to mind. It was a loose collection of friends with whom I spent time with together. Although we had separate backgrounds, upbringing, careers and so such, we had several critical common traits; we were all self-reliant; we shared the same general political attitudes toward the state; we all owned firearms and loved shooting them; we shared the same values, same traditions, and same culture. We were, in a sense, a small community.
I thought of this again while contemplating recently where the liberty movement goes from here. While the Free State Project, particularly in New Hampshire, was an admirable first attempt at creating a free society, it overlooked one of the most important truths; culture supersedes everything.
This isn’t pleasant for me to say as a libertarian, but culture, especially combined with religious beliefs, is a higher preference for most people than any other possible common dominator. Put differently, most people would prefer to live in a society where everyone shared the same culture before they shared the same political views. I think most people would prefer to live under a state that used coercion to enforce their culture than a society where no coercion was used but social norms promoted the opposite of what they believed on everything except for the state. This isn’t a criticism of libertarianism but an observation of human action and priority rankings which we have to confront and work around rather than manipulate or try to change.
This is something the Free State Projects never seriously took into consideration. The people might all be libertarians, but what else do they have in common? Same religion? Same culture? Same values? Same tradition? Same social norms?
Again, culture is everything.
This has incredible implications moving forward if we are to advance the libertarian cause. It cannot just rely on the political philosophy to unite common allies.
One thing I’ve realized is that a libertarian cannot just talk strictly about the NAP. They must hold and defend beliefs that encourage and foster the philosophy and actively oppose ideas that will eventually lead to support for state intervention.
As Gerard Casey remarked in Libertarian Anarchy, a libertarian society is merely the bare minimum requirement we seek. For example, how are children to be educated? Some might think collective, but how do you educate children when their parents have diagrammatically opposed social, moral and religious convictions?
Roissy at Chateau Heartiste has a very unpleasant but very true mantra: Diversity + Proximity = War, though I’d change the last part to read “conflict.”
Diversity (and I use this word literally, as opposed to our society’s “anything not straight white male” definition) can be beneficial, but not when it is significant enough to threaten or destabilize the existing culture. If you have a large numbers of white atheists join a free society of white Christians, there is going to be conflict that would otherwise not be there because it is now more diverse, even though they’re the same ethnic group.
The Clan Model
One possible solution I propose is what I call the “Clan Model.” And no, for the uneducated and ignorant possibly reading this, that is “clan,” as in a Scottish clan, not “klan” as in the ones who dressed like Casper the Friendly Ghost and murdered free slaves for voting Republican.
The idea is that people form clans centered around not just libertarianism, but mutual culture. This means they celebrate the same holidays, share the same traditions, cherish the same values, and adhere to the same social norms. These clans provide community for the members and their families. They could possibly create institutions akin to fraternal lodges to finance medical care or other financial support.
Contrary to the progressive cultural Marxist propaganda, this model calls for as little diversity as possible. The less diverse it is, the stronger the clan’s ties will be, as it will be more cohesive and less vulnerable to internal divisions arising from disputes due to differences over the issues mentioned above.
There are several palpable benefits to this arrangement. A clan allows people to operate outside of the state-controlled society. Marriages don’t require licenses and the vows are enforced by the community at large. Children are raised by those within the clan, not by state-run schools. The clan sets up its own social norms, accepts or rejects members based on their personal conduct, and creates and implements its own rules and hierarchies. It can discriminate all it wants.
And none of it is violating the Non-Aggression Principle.
This would eliminate another schism within libertarian circles regarding the debate over inclusiveness. Here, is isn’t about who is allowed to be a libertarian, but which libertarians you wish to associate with. You are free to allow anyone into your clan, but because it goes beyond libertarianism and concerns a community, the qualifications to join aren’t just adhering to the NAP. You’re removing a barrier against filtering out harmful or detrimental individuals to the vision we see of our micro-society.
This goes back to what Gerard Casey said in Libertarian Anarchy:
A society built solely on libertarian principles would be just but there can be few libertarians who would see the libertarian principle as the end of a complete human life and not just as the minimal preconditions for such a life.
This proposal will no doubt drive the leftist/progressive libertarians out of their minds, as they love to infiltrate genuine libertarian circles, take them over from within, and either emasculate it so the members pose no real threat to the state, or make them useful idiots. A clan model squashes this from the outset and exposes the charades, because it doesn’t claim to be inclusive and thus doesn’t permit the argument to even be raised. It strives for the exact opposite, so the model can’t be attacked as “bigoted” or “prejudiced” when its members refuse to admit “libertarians” who think there’s a rape culture, white males have privilege with using a digital currency, business owners who practice their religion should be boycotted, or think everyone should embrace the latest trendy sexual lifestyle.
Clans Can Provide A Culture of Resistance
The clan can also protects its own from state violence, and this is where the culture of resistance Christopher Cantwell has articulated can successfully arise.
At what point do you initiate violence against the state and state agents? Cantwell has provided one, as have I, on drafting women into the military, but even then it can be considered vague if we want to get into it. If someone else’s daughter or sister or wife is drafted, but not yours, are you really going to fight? Probably not. But if they try to take women from your clan, you have a much stronger moral case to use violence as opposed to fighting on behalf of some random woman. It also sends state agents a very clear message: Commit a crime against anyone in our clan, and we’ll retaliate. Simple and easy to understand by all sides involved.
Clans Protect Against Misinformation, Agent Provocateurs, Informants
I don’t need to tell you about how we’re immersed in modern propaganda. In addition to the mainstream media, government spies and informers could be anywhere. It can go deep. How many libertarian activists are actually paid spies? How many commenters online are undercover FBI agents?
You can never know for sure until it counts, and you need to know before that.
Let’s say that you read on an alternative news site that the president had issued an executive order confiscating guns. It might be right, or wrong. How do you know until they’re at your front door?
Or what if there’s a showdown like at Bunkersville, Nevada between government agents and “patriots”? What if shooting starts and they call for rebellion? How do you know it’s actually happening like that? Personally, I’m too cynical and skeptical to believe what I read online or see on TV to make that kind of a decision, so if something were to begin in New York, short of a blatant act of tyranny I wouldn’t act on it.
Back in 1775, it was harder for the British to create a misinformation campaign. Today, it is effortless. Most of the information we get is online. We don’t verify it in real life. But if violence is needed, most of us need to be damn sure it’s legit before we put a bullet into someone’s head. Once that Rubicon is crossed, there is nothing going back. We have to know for sure.
How does a clan solve this?
Because when a member of your clan, someone you vetted, trust and have voluntarily chosen to allow into your closest of circles, says something is going down, you’ll know it is not propaganda but the truth.
Not that the film was historically accurate, nevertheless Braveheart showed how a revolt can begin, with just one person, one clan, one village, fighting against tyranny. They didn’t need to verify it with others. They saw it with their own eyes.
Lastly, we must remember that we are not trying to take over the state. We are trying to break free of its aggression and coercion. Successful resistance is all that’s required.
There are admittedly a few major flaws to this concept, which I will note here based on my own experience with my circle of friends. Unfortunately, I don’t have any specific solutions to them.
One is the ability to maintain clan cohesion due to the fluidity of social circles. Single people like myself easily congregate, but when they marry and have kids things change. They’ll want to associate with other married couples. Different people at different states in life don’t have as much in common.
Also, our world is not like our grandfathers, where they worked the same job for 40 years before retiring and getting the gold watch. We are often constantly on the move seeking new jobs as the market changes, traveling from region to region to take advantage of opportunities. It is unfeasible to expect an entire clan to move along with every member or to expect the members to turn down opportunities in life for the sake of the clan. Such a clan can easily fall apart within a year or two due to such factors.
I don’t have the exact answer for how to solve the world’s problems or this particular problem. But I do know that if we’re to be effective we will need to move toward this kind of model sooner or later. Trying to have all libertarians gather together in one spot is only going to lead to conflict over differences in culture and unnecessarily send people into other ideologies that keep the state alive.
I would point toward the Pilgrims as an example of how this could be done. In spite of all obvious flaws, imperfections and even religious diversity (not all of them were English separatists) they came from the same country, same culture, same heritage. Their commonality united them.
The same will need to be done with us.