Chesterton’s Ghost at the Right Stuff discusses a distinct perspective on libertarianism known as paleolibertarianism which is intended to place the philosophy within context by acknowledging external elements.

As he describes it (emphasis added):

The libertarian movement is in a state of crisis. If we are to survive as a serious movement, if we are to continue to have any relevance, we must begin to advocate what Sean Gabb calls “grown-up libertarianism.” I prefer Rothbard and Rockwell’s term “paleolibertarianism.” What is a paleolibertarian?

A paleolibertarian is someone who believes in the rights to life, liberty, and property, but who is also mindful of the kind of environment required for libertarian philosophy to be fully realised. This environment is a homogenous society where the degree of time preference is low, and self-restraint high.

This is something that often gets overlooked or ignored in the discussion over libertarianism and a free society. In theory it is inclusive but in practice it is exclusive to that which does not require the state to exist or survive. There are many beliefs and ideas that theoretically do not require the state, but because they do not conform to the natural order of things, at some point they require coercion and aggression to remain.

Libertarians need to be cognizant of this. A liberty movement has to be centered around that which does not require the state and would be positively affected by its absence. Certain types of behavior, hobbies, preferences and lifestyles, although not prohibited by the NAP, would not last long in a free society. It can afford libertines and nihilists to an extent, but they would be minor aspects, not the centerpiece, of such a community.

Simply ask yourself: If there was no government how would (fill in the blank) be impacted? If negatively, it is something that we shouldn’t prohibit outright, but we shouldn’t celebrate or highlight as a way to attract prospective newcomers.

It’s why I advocated for a tribal mentality, focusing on creating relationships in an organic community. And if civilization is the absence of the state, the nuclear family is the bedrock of civilization, the greatest example of true anarchy in action. No free society can exist without it.

I also agree about the state of the libertarian movement. That’s why I’ve said that it cannot survive on its own. It needs to be cradled within the right ideologies that, while going beyond the NAP, foster the type of culture necessary to preserve it. People do not need to embrace these ideologies to be libertarians, but if they want libertarianism to survive, these are the ones which are most likely to keep it alive beyond the next 20 years.

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2 Responses to Paleolibertarianism

  1. D says:

    Could you give examples?


    • The Question says:

      One example I would give is the traditional nuclear family. This is really where it has to start. The current “family” model is a total disaster maintained and perpetuated only by direct and indirect state intervention. Legally speaking, the state has established itself as the head of the household.

      The traditional nuclear family is the greatest threat to the state there is, which is why it has been actively trying to destroy it for the last two generations and why in every tyrannical government from the Nazis to the Communists children were ripped from their homes and placed in state-run schools to be taught state-approved values.

      I want to give other examples but without acknowledging the role the family plays, any libertarian-style movement will fall apart just as many sects did in American in the 1800s.

      On a site note, this is what infuriates me so much with social conservatives who sit there and bemoan same-sex marriage but then rationalize no-fault divorce and the divorce/family courts, where some of the most egregious injustices are carried out. They’re worried about two people in a consensual relationship but then will vehemently defend the power of one person to engage in coercion and aggression against their innocent spouse and their property.

      Liked by 2 people

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