Sirjamesthegood has written what I consider to be one of the best explanations of how the libertarian movement fell apart and why so many of the normal Western men said “screw it” and joined the Alt. Right.
The writer blames the collapse on things ranging from embracing socially liberal values as “the” libertarian stance to leftist women and feminists taking advantage of the desperation many libertarian men have for female company.
There are some lessons to be learned here.
Libertarianism is not and can never be a true movement as we might think of the conservative or progressive movement. Libertarianism is only concerned with the use of coercion and aggression. The problem with this, is that any movement with exclusively political core values will eventually adopt nonpolitical ones or it will collapse.
I think this was the root cause of the entire “thick/thin” libertarian bickering fest.CJay Engel at Reformed Libertarian goes through the history of the libertarian split. It is worth reading in its entirety.
A lot of left libertarians wanted to use the liberty movement to promote values not shared by others. Following their human nature, they then wanted to make the tent too small to include socially conservative libertarians.
At the same time, others (on the right) insisted libertarianism was inclusive or “thin.” However, it’s fairly safe to say they preferred the company of those with culturally similar views despite political differences over fellow libertarians whose social goals were diametrically opposed.
The natural order dictates that humans associate by race/culture and religion before they will on the basis of politics.This is just how it works.
When people today identify as Republican or Democrat they aren’t just referring to their politics but also their stance on social and cultural values. Pro-choice and pro-gay marriage Republicans have to identify as such because Republicans are typically known for being pro-life and support state-run marriages between a man and a woman. And of course there are no pro-life or pro-“traditional marriage” Democrats. If you’re Democrat, you’re in favor of legalized abortion and letting two men obtain a state marriage license. Both are social issues.
This does not mean people will not associate with those who have similar political beliefs, but their priorities will be first and foremost other, non-political values. When these priorities collide, people who align politically will naturally segregate themselves accordingly.
Keep in mind that libertarianism initially managed to act like a movement because it was a small collection of highly like-minded individuals. When the average member thought and acted like Murray Rothbard and Ludwig Von Mises, you had a cohesive group unofficially united by common values apart from the “official” doctrine. This is why there was the split between Rothbard and the “respectable” libertarians who, ever since, have advocated the tired old trope of being “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.”
The phenomenon I described above played out in the aftermath of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in 2007 and 2012 when the movement gained momentum and the number of self-described libertarians swelled. We didn’t see it happen immediately because the impacts were delayed.
Some newcomers like me bore close semblance to the lifestyles and attitudes of men like Tom Woods and Lew Rockwell. But others imported values antithetical to both socially conservative libertarians and a healthy, free society. They also held these values above libertarianism, so the movement became less about reducing the power of the state and move about combating racism (as defined by the Left) and promoting vice and sexual deviancy.
In reality, it was a (ultimately successful) coup by leftists to hijack the libertarian label and repackage it as an alternative lifestyle. What could have been a potent source of resistance to the state became a neo-hippie commune more interested in polyamory and the “liberation” of porn actresses than helping men escape state intrusion into their marriages. They’re totally uninterested in abolishing no-fault divorce, one of the worst acts of state intrusion in the Western world.
Libertarianism is a philosophy, but on its own it will never be a movement. Any “libertarian” movement claiming to be so will be “thick” in the sense that it will consist of tacit core values outside of the political. Or, they will be outright “thickists” and make it clear that those values are mandatory. The open letter written by leftists to Ron Paul was more or less a declaration of intent to do just that within the libertarian movement. Of course, libertarians can and do differentiate between what is moral and what is legal, but I’m talking about actual movements that involve strong, cohesive associations and alliances.
Libertarianism can never be a movement on its because it will fall victim to Sullivan’s Law: any entity that is not expressively right-wing will eventually turn left-wing.
This is why so many men like myself left the Liberty Movement. Its goals are no longer aligned with ours. The way of the future for libertarians looking to preserve Western culture is through modern barbarism and tribalism in order to build communities and bonds between like-minded individuals.
Photo credit: Wiki Commons.