Libertarians (Wrongly) Presuppose Common Values

Over at the Orthosphere, writer Kristor levels a criticism of libertarianism that it presupposes the absence of any common culture (don’t misunderstand his use of the word “cult”).

Libertarianism is ever the precursor to tyranny. For, it proposes the maximum proliferation of disparate cults, that – precisely because they are compelling cults respecting First Things – cannot but condemn and abjure each other, and wish each other deleted, and so sooner or later find themselves at hot war. Tyranny then is needed, to maintain social order.

A similar charge was leveled against libertarianism by Jack Donovan years ago (his website makes it impossible to find old essays now) in which he argued that individualism is only possible through a large, powerful state. In its absence, people turn to tribes or collective groups to find identity.

I really don’t care to argue with Kristor or Donovan as much as I’m piggybacking off his remarks, because this isn’t really a critique of libertarianism philosophy as it is against the presumed values of the rank-and-file adherent, whether they be a DC-Beltway libertine or a culturally conservative small town Evangelical.

Libertarianism is only concerned with coercion and aggression; it is an incomplete moral theory and does not claim or attempt to address other issues. Thus, there is nothing un-libertarian about people forming collective associations in the form of nations, societies, or cultures. The idea that your next door neighbor should be just as likely to have nothing in common with you that matters as they actually do, is a product of modern Western shibboleth on multiculturalism and “diversity.”

The fact that many libertarians have their own peculiar Utopian vision of how the world would function without these entities is undeniable – and laughable.

I’ve come to pick on fellow libertarians lately because they tend to get so many critical areas just as wrong as non-libertarians, and in some ways it’s much worse.

We’re always going to have some form of a coercive government; I defy anyone to say this isn’t going to be the case. So for someone to hold that states or governments have some duties or obligations to fulfill in certain areas of life, since they will always exist and hold power over those services, is logical and easy for me to overlook.

However, it is absolutely inexcusable for libertarians to think that every single person on this planet is some sort of atomized individual with no collective identity whatsoever, that they are hypothetically just as bit a libertarian as they themselves are, and that this has no bearing whatsoever when they migrate en masse from one political territory to another. Further, they hold that libertarians are morally bound to not observe these obvious patterns of behavior and pretend that it is impossible to make sound judgement accordingly. They presuppose everyone else shares their beliefs and infer that libertarianism cannot be realized until every single person the planet has converted to the Cause.

This mentality and attitude only enables and give moral support to horrendous policies affected on a national and global level that is sure to bring about the very chaos and conflict that our detractors claim, and as Kristor points out, this leads to the very tyranny we libertarians claim to oppose so dearly.

Whatever we want to think of Chris Cantwell’s current political trajectory, he was right when he said that libertarianism isn’t a suicide pact; sadly, I’ve come to find that while the philosophy itself is anything but, much of the movement that bears its name is fully determined to make it so.

People kvetched when Jeff Deist said blood and soil still matter to people and we libertarians ignore it at our own risk, but he was more right than perhaps he knows. Ignoring these things has only relegated many libertarians to the corner of the room and irrelevant to the larger discussion.

Or worse, they become useful idiots to the people they think they’re actually opposing.

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