This week, Mises Institute President Jeff Deist gave what is probably the most important libertarian speech made in the past decade (bold emphasis added):
…libertarians have a bad tendency to fall into utopianism, into portraying liberty as something new age and evolved. In this sense they can sound a lot like progressives: liberty will work when human finally shed their stubborn old ideas about family and tribe, become purely rational freethinkers (always the opposite), reject the mythology of religion and faith, and give up their outdated ethnic or nationalist or cultural alliances for the new hyper-individualist creed. We need people to drop their old-fashioned sexual hangups and bourgeois values, except for materialism. Because above all the archetypical libertarian is presented as an almost soulless economic actor, someone who will drop everything and move to Singapore tomorrow to make $20,000 more in the gig economy.
…It scarcely needs to be said that family has always been the first line of defense against the state, and the most important source of primary loyalty — or divided loyalty, from the perspective of politicians. Our connection with ancestors, and our concern for progeny, forms a story in which the state is not the main character. Family forms our earliest and hence most formative environment — and at least as an ideal, family provides both material and emotional support. Happy families actually exist.
But government wants us atomized, lonely, broke, vulnerable, dependent, and disconnected. So of course it attempts to break down families by taking kids away from them as early as possible, indoctrinating them in state schools, using welfare as a wedge, using the tax code as a wedge, discouraging marriage and large families, in fact discouraging any kind of intimacy that is not subject to public scrutiny, encouraging divorce, etc. etc.
This may all sound like right-wing talking points, but it doesn’t make it untrue.
…Religion forms another important line of defense against the state. In fact the whole history of man cannot be understood without understanding the role of religion. Even today healthy percentages of people in the West believe in God, regardless of their actual religious observance. And believing in a deity by itself challenges the state’s omniscience and status. Again, religion stands as a potential rival for the individual’s allegiance — And it has a pesky tendency to resurface no matter how much authoritarian governments try to suppress it.
…Mecca is not Paris, an Irishman is not an Aboriginal, a Buddhist is not a Rastafarian, a soccer mom is not a Russian. Is it our goal to convince them all to become thorough Rothbardians?
….In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.
I highly recommend you read or listen to the entire speech. Libertarians everywhere would be wise to heed Deist’s counsel. He clearly understands that unless libertarians acknowledge these realities, they will be irrelevant in an age of renewed nationalism and decentralization.
Further, the myth of a “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” libertarianism is dead. A true libertarian society would be both fiscally and socially conservative. Libertinism is sustainable only by forcing a healthy, productive sector of a community to subsidize the behaviors of a few social parasites.
Blood and soil, God and nation – these are things that people value most, not cheap, imported goods or fast Internet connections and casual sex after a puff of weed. Any libertarian policy that ignores or rejects this truth is both flawed and useless to solving the very problems libertarianism claims to address.