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?