Serves Us Right!

The more I read libertarian literature the more I’m convinced that self-guilt is one of the most unspoken yet evident causes for the way in which some will rationalize their positions as libertarian in spite of all the evidence presented that it is nothing of the sort. What makes it so insidious and vexing is that they will not actually outright declare it, or they will do so an ambiguous manner.

Baffled by this behavior, other libertarians and those on the Alt. Right have dubbed this “libertarian autism” or “autist libertarianism.”

Unfortunately, I’ve concluded that it is not autism. The disorder causing this behavior is an extreme case of collective self-guilt.

If you look at the totality of their stances and look for consistent patterns, rather than what they say, you perceive the underlying argument isn’t that we’re wrong when we say that terrible things will happen if you have open borders with a welfare state and a balkanized country. They won’t contest that current immigration trends will allow gun control advocates to finally make inroads. It’s not that they can’t comprehend what we’re saying. For a lot (obviously not all) of these people, the implied reasoning is that we deserve to have all these bad things happen because “we” have done bad things and deserve to be punished. We did terrible things, you see, and we also prospered, so ipso facto our prosperity must have been the result of the terrible things we did, so if people from those regions come here and do terrible things to us and take advantage of the prosperity we achieved through their suffering, well than that is just poetic justice. It’s payback for our privilege. Serves “us” right for bombing their nations. It’s a guilt complex, which is why the obsession with open borders applies only to European nations. No one is whining about Japan’s highly homogenous population and highly restrictive immigration policy.

I don’t like saying this, because it sounds so awful, and ridiculous, but that is the argument they’re making once you strip everything else away. Ironically, this collectivist guilt is the most un-libertarian kind of thinking you can imagine.

This isn’t to argue that the United States government is innocent or has clean hands. I won’t argue against that for a moment. But the idea that it’s acceptable to permit or tolerate aggression and coercion against certain people based on their race, ethnicity or nationality because of what their government has done is to argue that citizens are ultimately responsible for their government’s action as much as the state agents who actually commit the acts. This is a common line of reasoning terrorists use to justify bombing civilians, by assigning responsibility for their government’s directly onto them.  It’s the same argument used to justify dropping atomic bombs on Japan, which murdered tens of thousands of civilians. Serves them right for letting their government bomb Pearl Harbor and carry out the Bataan Death March and the Rape of Nanking! That’ll teach ’em!

Sure, most of the self-guilt crowd aren’t going to be arguing this, but that is the inevitable conclusion of their logic.

Just look at the people making this argument. Are they proud of what they are, or are they consumed with guilt? Do they express pride in their culture, values, and traditions, or are they constantly apologizing for it to others, especially those who are just as guilty of aggression and coercion? Do they stand up for Western values, or do they excuse actions against it with the “serves us right for doing (fill in the blank injustice)” line and appease outsiders?

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4 Responses to Serves Us Right!

  1. First i would say, these people are obviously not libertarians if their thought process is shaped in the form of “we” or “us”. So once we can come to this conclusion with some kind of evidence, we can start safely ignoring these imbeciles. It is after all a waste of time and energy to worry about infiltrators who call themselves libertarians. They’re probably not going away.

    Second: do they express pride in their culture and/or traditions?
    Are we talking about libertarianism, or about conservatism?
    Can you specifically name the cultural aspects and traditions that libertarians ought to be proud of? I assume it is not the religious persecution by the church when it had political power, nor the imperialism and colonialism, nor the mercantilist economics, nor the slavery or butchery of Indians, nor the politics involved with anything.
    So, speaking from the libertarian rather than the conservative point of view, what specific parts of their own culture and traditions should they be proud of?

    This is a legitimate question. Not a rhetorical one.

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    • Interestingly, by the way, in a discussion about pride in Western Civilization, is that it is not only good philosophies like libertarianism that are born in it, but also bad ones like Nazism, fascism and communism. The whole German philosophical school is responsible for some of the most despicable ideologies in human existence (including the post-modernism, irrationalism and moralism evident in the modern left).
      Another thing that seems to be inherently “Western” is, ironically, self-loathing. You don’t see cultural self-loathing among many non-Western cultures, if any at all. So while cultural pride is quite obviously not “western” (because all cultures have pride), a case can be made that self-loathing is much more so. Why be proud of a culture that has also spawned cultural self-loathing?
      By the way, the great Murray Rothbard noted that the roots of libertarianism lie not in the West but in the East. Chinese philosophers (such as Lao Tsu and Zhuangzi) had libertarian thoughts as early as the time of Confucius). That collectivism ended up winning in the East that does detract from this. It has currently the upper hand in the West as well.
      At this point i feel it is utterly pointless to have some kind of “western pride” as a libertarian. The fact that not only good things like anarchism grew in the west, but wretched things as well, indicates that there is nothing inherently “western” about them. Or that they are at least equally western. Boastfulness of the West is the equally irrational opposite of Western self-loathing and self-destruction. The latter is progressive, the former conservative or reactionary. I see nothing specifically libertarian in EITHER.

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      • The Question says:

        Another thing that seems to be inherently “Western” is, ironically, self-loathing. You don’t see cultural self-loathing among many non-Western cultures, if any at all. So while cultural pride is quite obviously not “western” (because all cultures have pride), a case can be made that self-loathing is much more so. Why be proud of a culture that has also spawned cultural self-loathing?

        That is very true, and I also think this is a cancer among the culture and needs to be eradicated if it is going to survive. But I also think it is a sign of the freedom of thought that is allowed in Western culture, as well, at least when you compare it to other cultures that don’t allow for self-loathing. The same freedom of though that permits self-loathing also allows for ingenuity and innovation. Societies that stifle self-loathing culturally also stifle innovation. My hope is that Western culture doesn’t throw out freedom of thought in order to remove the self-loathing, but history doesn’t indicate this will be the case.

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    • The Question says:

      First i would say, these people are obviously not libertarians if their thought process is shaped in the form of “we” or “us”.

      What gets confusing is when people are very libertarian on a lot of other issues but on borders turn to a collectivist mentality, part of which I think is due to the guilt complex that doesn’t effect their opinion on other topics.

      Are we talking about libertarianism, or about conservatism?

      I’m talking about anyone who has a “open borders (in Western countries) matter what consequences” mentality. People who want their country’s borders open, not just allow it out of conviction. Conservatives have less of a guilt complex here but they show it in other areas, but a lot of libertarians who want open borders ignore the ramifications.

      Can you specifically name the cultural aspects and traditions that libertarians ought to be proud of?

      Libertarians should be free to take pride in the good parts of their respective culture without having to embrace the bad parts. Mexican libertarians should take pride in Mexican culture and Japanese libertarians take pride in their culture. I have zero issue with the Japanese, in spite of the atrocities of World War II, trying to preserve their culture. I think it is admirable that the Pakistani’s are trying to preserve their language.

      No one really debates this until you say Western libertarians should preserve Western culture.

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