One of the greatest challenges for libertarians ever since the philosophy was first conceived is is translating theory into action. In a stateless society or minarchist state these questions would be far easier to answer.
Thanks to the modern state we now have to wade through layers and layers of NAP violations trying to figure out a solution that satisfies our fundamental beliefs. Often times is an endless spider’s web to untangle. We struggle to separate social and cultural behavior that would be present in a stateless society and behaviors which only exist because of state intervention.
There is also contention between libertarians as to whether or not certain ethics or principles beyond the NAP are integral to the philosophy. For a belief to be compatible with libertarianism it must first adhere to the natural order of things. It must be something that does not require the state to exist. This also applies to social phenomena. Separating these is difficult; trying to convince others to see your viewpoint on it is tenfold challenging.
Since I first started this blog I have promoted libertarian anarchy as articulated by Gerard Casey in his book of the same name. However, as I’ve progressed in my own political Odyssey I’ve concluded that identifying primarily by political belief makes it difficult to promote the philosophy in any sensible manner while remaining logically consistent.
People identify politically, but it’s usually the direct result of other mutual identifies (religion, race, culture, etc.).
One way to solve this is through what I call libertarian barbarism, which uses a tribal mentality to apply libertarian anarchist theory.
A couple months ago I explained why libertarians must become the new barbarians. I didn’t think anything else of it at the time.Now I realize it provides a blueprint for how libertarians can navigate the post-modern state.
A libertarian barbarian is a person who adheres to NAP but their primary concerns is defending their property rights and that of their preferred people (tribe). They do not engage in coercion or aggression against others but refuse any sense of culpability when their rights are violated by the state.
This approach does away with the universalist approach to libertarianism that has plagued the movement for so long and allowed infiltrators to neuter any real threat to the state.
Barbarism narrows everything down to one question: Does it violate my property rights? All other questions are less important unless they directly or indirectly affect the answer.
A libertarian barbarian is concerned with ensuring his rights are respected as well as that of anyone else who happens to be under his authority. If his rights are respected it is a secondary matter whether or not other people’s rights are respected as well. It is not his duty to secure them.
From the perspective of a barbarian, all individuals are tasked with protecting their own property rights. People have no obligation to protect other people’s property rights; a barbarian acknowledges this. However, he may intervene if he so desires and a person requests his assistance.
As I wrote in Why Libertarians Must Become the New Barbarians:
Being a barbarian doesn’t mean doing questionable things. It means severing all ties to non-reciprocating entities and establishing new ones with those who respond in kind. You have no obligation to anyone or anything who seeks to do you ill or take advantage of you.
If that is what it means to be civilized, then be barbaric. A group or organization must look out for and promote your interests before you agree to support it.
This also goes to applying the Non-Aggression Principle. Stop trying to apply it to real-life situations in a way so that everyone benefits equally or where no one’s rights are violated, because it is impossible. Look out for your rights, because I can assure you no one else, including other libertarians, is looking out for you.
So when someone claims a stance to be the libertarian stance which all must embrace and accept, yet it results in a violation of your rights, point it out. Oppose it. Don’t worry about what others think. Openly admit your self-interests. Only the weak and pathetic don’t.
Thinking like a barbarian when applying libertarianism is also appropriate because it conveys the sort of mentality a libertarian should adopt.
Libertarian barbarians do not say “we” when he means “them.” He never uses “us” when he really means “others.” He refuses to say “mine” when it is really “theirs.”
As Jack Donovan explains this his excellent speech above, the barbarian is seen as outside of the polis, i.e. the state.
Like other libertarians the barbarian rejects the state as a legitimate entity but goes further by rejecting any moral or political responsibility to others beyond those whom he chooses. Rather than allowing the state to determine his identify he chooses it himself.
This mental point of origin becomes critical when trying to come up with solutions to problems created by the state. If a policy, law, or action does not respect he property rights, then he can effectively argue as to why he doesn’t support it and why he is justified opposing it even if it benefits another person’s rights. The barbarian is justified using violence to protect his property rights insofar as the action is necessary to achieve success and does not violate other people’s property rights.
Barbarism is necessary because attempting to universally apply the NAP is a fool’s errand. There is no scenario in which the NAP is successfully applied to everyone. Practically speaking this means that it can only be enforced selectively, and no libertarian has the authority to demand another give up his rights so that their rights are secured.
Each man is directly responsible for defending and preserving his property rights.
The consequence of this is that not every libertarian is going to agree on the same policies in certain circumstances. But because they are focused on their own property rights in some cases neither may be right or wrong.
Such an arrangement properly connects authority with responsibility. Because each man owns himself he is responsible for defending himself against the state. Any external duties must be the result of consensual agreement involving appropriate levels of reciprocity.
Another benefit of barbarism is it prevents political cuckoldry and infiltration by frauds or misguided individuals. The barbarian never accepts violations against his property rights under the guise that it’s necessary to avoid NAP violations of another person or group.
As Donovan remarked in the Becoming a Barbarian, they’re not my people so they’re not my problem.
Libertarianism is based on the NAP, not the Golden Rule.