Recently libertarian presidential candidate John MacAfee took the libertarian party to task for being predominantly Western white men.
Predictably, he saw this as something to be ashamed of. His assumed premise is that everyone is the same and therefore thinks the same, so libertarians should represent everyone equally. For it to be mainly homogeneous indicates malice or discrimination.
I want to divulge a little bit into the underlying factors as to why that is not the case and will never be the case.
The 2008 film Gran Torino starring Clint Eastwood offers us the compelling story about a retired Korean War vet who struggles with the challenges his Hmong immigrant neighbors provide. At one point in the film, he looks around the family room of a Hmong home during a community dinner and realizes he has more in common with them than his “spoiled-rotten family.”
For Kowalski, the observation is a bit of an epiphany: Culture matters.
Race and Culture
Coinciding with the rise of the Alternative Right and neo-reactionary movement has been the increased discussion of race. Race is without question one of the big verboten topics in the Western world. Things that would be obvious to any normal person in a Third World nation is adamantly denied by people who yet tacitly acknowledge by their behavior and lifestyle choices.
Like so many other tenets of cultural Marxism, this aspect of the ideology is inconsistent and contradictory. We pretend we’re all the same, yet somehow diversity is our strength. “We are one” and “we’re all the same underneath,” but some of us must bear moral guilt for the sins not even of the father but of someone in the past who shared the same skin color.
We’re equal, you see, but some are more equal than others.
Part of the unexpected success of the Alt. Right is that it has the audacity to examine these differences between humans. Say what you will about their conclusions or proposed solutions, but they are much like the child in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes; they point out what everyone can plainly see (the emperor has no clothes) but are terrified of saying for fear of social ostracism. Everyone pretends to believe something that they don’t really believe.
Once someone has the courage to point it out, then the farce begins to crumble.
However, one thing I’ve noticed is that race is often confused with culture. Although they are related, they are ultimately separate. It is because they are very often connected that they are easy to conflate. Yet, to do so robs us of important truths about them as separate concepts.
Libertarians are often accused by the Alt. Right of avoiding or ignoring race and culture as part of our philosophy, hence the term “libertardians” or “libertarian autists.” This accusation has some merit, I suppose. However, for some libertarians it was unintentional; for others it was not. Once this became apparent, both sides quickly diverged.
On one side you have people who realize racial and cultural differences are innate part of human nature and should be expected, while the other side believes these differences are unnatural and must be eradicated – and if the state happens to do it, oh well.
I’ll state for the record that I am very much against the idea of racial sameness. Again, this hatefact is obvious to anyone who has the intellectual honesty to admit it. Honestly, I don’t fully understand why it’s so controversial to state so.
I suspect many cringe at the idea of races being different because they confuse relativism with equality. Their knee-jerk reaction is to assume that anyone who believes races are different means some are inferior and/or superior to others therefore should be treated in accordance with their status. Except that’s not what’s being discussed. All men are created equal in that they have the same natural rights. But equality before the law is not the same as equality in other areas.
Since races are different, people more or less want to be with their own kind when it comes to social interactions. Again, this is a plainly-seen truth but, within the progressive religion it’s a veritable sin.
Now, let me go off on a tangent for a moment. While different races naturally segregate more or less according within their own group when forming societies, they will voluntarily integrate to some degree and often temporarily to take advantage of economic opportunity.
Jim Crow prevented socializing amongst whites and black, but more importantly it stymied economic interactions. Deep down I think this was the true purpose of these laws. Allowing whites and blacks to interact socially wouldn’t cause social integration as much as it would lead them to conduct business with one another for mutual benefit.
It’s unlikely they would have ever integrated other institutions such as churches and schools. Instead, freedom of association would have empowered blacks economically and financially. In other words, the fear wasn’t so much that whites and blacks would integrate socially. The concern was that whites and blacks would integrate economically.
History demonstrates why the latter was more of a concern than the former. During the Civil Rights Era and beyond, Whites in the South and elsewhere in the country stubbornly resisted efforts by the government to carry out forced integration in the form of busing and other policies. Since social segregation was the norm there was no need to mandate it.
In Norther Ireland, discrimination against Irish Catholics wasn’t intended to prevent social integration; it was meant to limit their political influence.
Other than economic opportunity, people prefer to be among those most like them.
Natural Segregation by Race and Culture
The great author and poet Rudyard Kipling was an Englishman born and raised in India. In his poem “The Stranger”, he articulated well this natural preference (which we’re taught to be ashamed of).
The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk–
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.
The men of my own stock,
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wanted to,
They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy or sell.
The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control–
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.
The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.
This was my father’s belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf–
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children’s teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.
And one of the reasons people want to be around those who look like them (race) is because in normal circumstances they also act like them (culture). The two aren’t strictly intertwined but they are closely related.
As author Robert Ringer notes:
Human beings are tribal by nature. They don’t want to live side by side with people who do not share their culture — which includes, above all, their values.
Note that I used the word culture rather than race….a person’s cultural beliefs are an entirely different matter.
An overlying central cultural value can tie together various related but distinct ethnicities. In the 1930s Poles, Italians and Irish could live in the same community peacefully despite their differences because they all had a common Catholic heritage (Catholicism is a religion but is as much a culture and a perspective of life as it is a theology).
Personally, I think Gran Torino did a commendable job of separating race and culture and showing how they’re different. Although Kowalski feels alienated from his family, he gets along just fine with his drinking buddies and other white people in his neighborhood because they also share his culture. He gradually warms to the Hmong but he never sees himself as one of them or ever fits in with them. He will never be like them or be a part of their culture.
His epiphany that I discussed at the beginning of this post is that ultimately culture is what unites and divides people. He’s spending his birthday with people from an entirely separate race and culture because he has even less in common with his own family at that point. It doesn’t speak to similarities he has with Hmong or their culture as it does to the disconnect culturally he has with people from his own family.
Kowalski’s situation is decidedly unnatural, and it’s during his epiphany he realizes the cause of it.
It’s because people’s priorities for association generally occur as follows:
Culture (Religion) → Race → Politics
Don’t misunderstand my point here. I’m not saying people can’t or won’t agree with others on these things. I’m saying that when it comes to who they decide to associate with socially, they will typically do so in this order. It often gets confusing because they overlap (religion influences culture and vice versa) and people will also choose not to associate at all if enough commonality doesn’t exist.
Association is not an “either/or” situation.
How Libertarians Must Address Race and Culture
The distinction between race and culture is important because libertarians need to account for these in the modern political discussion. While I believe all men are created with equal rights, the same cannot be said for culture.
To quote Paul Joseph Watson, clearly some cultures are better than others (warning; some language).
To go further, some cultures are better suited for libertarianism than others. Combine this with the fact that people will ultimately prefer culture over politics, and you have major implications for libertarianism that simply cannot be ignored or sidestepped.
Back to MacAfee’s remarks; what he and so many others like him fail to grasp is that libertarianism is a product of Western Culture. Therefore the philosophy appeals most to those who are a part of that culture. It has little to no appeal to those who have zero ties to Western Civilization and no historical connection.There are always going to be outliers and exceptions but they’re called that for a reason.
Those of Western descent are going to be more open to it than someone else, and within the West it will be authentically embraced by those whose beliefs conform to the natural order and do not require an artificial entity like the state to maintain it.
It also means that libertarianism cannot and will not be embraced by those who are a part of cultures with values and beliefs fundamentally at odds with libertarian principles. A culture that emphasizes conformity and the collective above independence and individualism will never buy into the concept of self-ownership.
Put simply, the idea that libertarianism appeals equally to all cultures is just as much a pipe dream as George W. Bush’s vision of turning a tribal-based country such as Iraq into a Western democracy immediately following a dictatorship. We shouldn’t be shocked when libertarianism fails to attract people from certain cultures any more than we were “shocked” when democracy failed to blossom in the Middle East.
Discrepancies in the demographic makeup of the libertarian movement isn’t the result of racism, xenophobia, bigotry or a failure to adequately explain it others. It’s the inevitable consequence of innate differences in culture and how races associate accordingly.
No matter how many times we sing “It’s a Small World After All,” people will violently cling to their cultures and even wage wars to preserve them at the expense of others.
For many of them, accepting libertarianism would require they give up their culture first and along with it their natural desire to associate with like-minded people.
Trying to mold the philosophy into a culture will only lead to the same unmitigated disaster as outreach to the Left turned out to be.
It also means that libertarianism’s survival is primarily contingent upon the survival of Western Culture; this places high value on the remnant that will maintain Western Culture and perpetuate it. These are the people who only need be offered the libertarian red pill.
Libertarians would do well to target these people for recruitment rather than wasting resources and time catering to others who are disinterested entirely. Libertarians themselves should also not be shamed for associating according to their culture nor be expected to associate with others merely because their politics are aligned yet nothing else matches.
If libertarian is an exclusive philosophy, it is only because people who rejected it voluntarily chose to make it de facto exclusive.