First of all, I want to thank Anarchist Notebook for the civil response. It has however left me entirely underwhelmed.
I should note in advance that my opinion is nothing personally aimed at any one particular individual, but at all those with whom the shoe fits. If you know that what I write does not apply to you, it is not you that I am aiming at. You will know if you look in the mirror and are not deluding yourself.
“A writer over at the Individualist responds to my analysis of Jeff Deist’s “blood and soil libertarianism” speech:
What Jeff Deist did, was give perhaps the most important speech in the last decade from someone who wants to depict libertarianism as a mere subcategory of conservatism.
This is what Deist said: (bold emphasis added)
“In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.”
That is not a lecture or promoting libertarianism as conservatism – it is a warning, similar to what Vox Day was getting at in his response to my analysis of his 16 Points of the Alt. Right.
It is quite simple, really. You can be a libertarian and love gay sex and ‘muh weed and hate the nuclear family all you want and think a stateless society would be full of free love parties and somehow borders wouldn’t exist.
You don’t have to like the idea of blood and soil. You don’t have to believe in God. You don’t have to like the concept of nations.
But if you want to be relevant to the political discussion going on worldwide at the moment, then you have to acknowledge that these things matter to people and be able to explain how libertarianism fits within the context of their concerns and priorities, not yours.”
Everything written above, can easily be written word for word, after replacing all the right-wing and conservative elements with left-wing and progressive elements.
While there may be a political discussion going on, it begs the question that it is going on “worldwide” and it certainly begs the question whom is winning the discussion. I have already noted that the politically correct have won most elections in the West (and that wherever they didn’t, the right-wing victory was hardly impressive). Clearly, the majority of societies in the West still prefer the status quo, politically correct and progressive-minded politicians over the nationalist and populist ones.
So why is it we as libertarians ought to listen to the loser?
There have *always* been non-libertarians with non-libertarian concerns that libertarians need to take into consideration if they are to see their ideals take any kind of root. There is absolutely nothing special about the current trends of somewhat growing nationalist sentiment (which I have already explained should not be exaggerated). The same can be said every single time there would be a progressive trend. Would Jeff Deist, in a similar vein, also call upon libertarians to take progressive concerns into consideration, or ignore them at the risk of irrelevancy? As a matter of fact, right now there are still more progressive-oriented people throughout much of West (as you can tell by election results) and about half of the U.S. population still is. Yet when do we see the same conservative-minded libertarians call upon the movement to take progressive people into consideration? When do we see the likes of Deist, Bionic Mosquito, Christopher Cantwell, Stefan Molyneux, Libertarians for Trump and other clearly right-wing libertarians call upon the movement to ignore progressives only at the risk of irrelevancy? I think I can make a substantial bet that we don’t ever have to expect them to do so. They clearly believe we as libertarians ought to cater to the right, and not bother ever doing so with the left. No matter the political trends. This is hypocrisy.
When a faction of “bleeding heart libertarians”, or Cathy Reisenwitz and their ilk, some of the PC squad at Reason or Cato, or even more overt collectivist lefties calling themselves libertarian make the same claim Deist is making, stating that libertarians ignore the current trends of political correctness, thought police, LGBTBlablabla gender gobbledygook, and other progressive garbage at the risk of irrelevancy, why is it that their ‘warning’ deserves to be heeded less than the warning issued by conservatives? Why is it that we ought not cater to them equally (if that were even possible) or even more than to the alt-right?
This is what I mean when I claim that the lecture, or warning, or however you want to call it, is entirely self-serving. It is not an objective ‘warning’ but as I see it a clear attempt to try to yank libertarianism permanently into the right-wing, conservative sector of society.
And I am onto it, just as I am whenever progressives try to do the same to libertarianism for their own side of the spectrum.
In reality, as in logic, the warning serves no real practical purpose for libertarians, because as the warning can be issues by one side, it can also be issued by the other, with both stating between the lines that they have no interest in libertarianism if it does not cater to their clearly collectivist and often statist sentiments.
Guess what? If libertarians would do so, it would no longer be libertarianism. Just as the likes of Christopher Cantwell are no longer libertarian since he opted to embrace alt-right fascism, started talking about taking leftists on “helicopter rides” and claiming there is a “libertarian case” against non-aggressive “degenerates”.
Libertarianism has always been marginal, precisely because the majority likes coercion of others to get the type of society they prefer. They do not have the creativity nor the morality to find peaceful ways to achieve a society they feel comfortable in. The solution to this for libertarians, is not to join them if you can’t beat them. What you do is to stick to your principles and realize you are better than them, because maybe that is the only thing left to do, aside from hoping that enough people wise up by themselves, or see that their wretched belief in aggression is simply going to be the downfall of society as a whole. The latter is the real current trend. No matter if the scumbag in charge is a lefty or righty, society keeps going further into the toilet, because aggression is a morally corrupting virus. As some supposed “libertarians” prove.
If libertarians don’t have principles, they have nothing. They would be no more than a bunch of unreliable loudmouths that suck up to whomever seems to be the current most popular guy in the schoolyard. But in general: you don’t listen to suck-ups; suck-ups listen to you. Statists who want to be catered to will not budge an inch, it will end up being the libertarians that do all the budging. If you don’t believe that, see The Libertarian Party as a prime example.
Sure, libertarians ought to try and convince the right that their view of society can fit within libertarian principles. But this is no different from a need to convince the left of the same thing. There is nothing special about the right in this regard. But their values need to fit within those principles; the principles should not adapt to collectivist and statist demands or expectations.
Yes, libertarians can smoke ‘muh weed’ (nice way of revealing your own viewpoint on the matter, Anarchist Notebook), visit whores, and dream naively about borderless nations full of shiny happy people, and they can also dream about boring sex for the purpose of procreation because God, about having 18 children, keeping brownies out of their country, and calling gay people ‘faggots’. Once again, it swings both ways.
The problem is, both sides think libertarianism ought to exclude the other. And by thinking this, they simply do not *get* libertarian principles, or simply reject them.
“The fact that these values matter not to you is both true and beside the point. No one is required to care about what you believe.”
That is true. It is also entirely beside the point for libertarians, because there is no point to libertarianism whatsoever if it ought to adapt to what is not libertarian. So in that case, the proper answer would be to go on and not care. Libertarian principles are not malleable to popular trends. It is not an appeal to popularity. It is a philosophy of liberty. If you don’t like this philosophy, even after knowing what it stands for, fine. Go fuck yourself then. You mean nothing to me. You are my moral enemy. I will hope society crushes your spirit just like you’d like it to crush mine and continue to use aggression against me. I’ll be eating popcorn as society goes into the toilet around all of you, governments keeps robbing you blind, the left keeps imposing more and more Orwellian linguistic insanity on you through their power over the institutions, and dependent or dangerous immigrants keep flooding in without you having the right to apply private property rights against them. Because that is the real trend in the world right now.
Us genuine libertarians may ultimately be powerless, but this is nothing we haven’t already been used to. We already know what’s coming, ultimate, if people don’t embrace non-aggression. And we have the conviction that only libertarianism is the solution. We have been willing, and continue to be willing, to explain why, and those that are interested in reason-based dialogues about it are welcome. Those who reject our views or simply ignore them, and demand we cater to their clearly non-libertarian views on society, are not our friends. Not on the left, and not on the right.
“This is a classic example of the market in practice. People want a certain product. Will libertarians provide what is demanded, or will they continue to fruitlessly push a product that only they themselves want, consumer demand be damned?”
It is an entirely non-applicable example. In the market-place, customer is king. You adapt your product to customer demand. If this were to be done with libertarianism, it would no longer be libertarianism. It would be something else, and the whole point of trying to sell libertarianism would be moot. If people want fascism, will we provide it? Obviously not. If people want socialism, will we provide it? Obviously not. If people want totalitarianism, will we provide it? Obviously not. This is not a consumer item like an apple or slab of meat. It is a goddamn moral philosophy. Those who cannot tell the difference, should be ashamed of themselves.
Aside from that, even if we were to assume it is similar to market exchange, it would behoove the producer to take into consideration what the customer indeed wants most. So what is it, that would attract the customer most, do you think? Here is the list:
- Extreme right-wing, conservative, nationalist ideology.
- Extreme left-wing, communist, politically correct ideology.
- Something much more moderate and status quo, with proper obedience and respect for state power, that will attempt to cater to the majority of ‘reasonable’ people.
If your answer is either A or B, you would be dead wrong. Both A and B are minority, fringe factions, and C still forms the large majority. By the market example given by Anarchist Notebook, libertarianism thus ought to cater most to C, which would turn libertarianism into, well, what we already have in spades and are actually fighting against. So what would be the point?
So nice try on the market argument, but no cigar.
“The latter is precisely what left libertarians have been doing, and exactly what Deist critiqued in his speech: They want people to conform to their “thick” worldview on all social, cultural, religious and moral matters, and only then can they truly embrace libertarianism.”
It is also precisely what the right-wing “libertarians” are doing, including Deist. Except that instead of wanting people to conform to “thick” libertarianism, they want people to conform to their own narrow, conservative, nationalistic view of the world. And only then can they truly embrace libertarianism. After all, was it not Anarchist Notebook itself/himself that stated that true libertarianism is conservative libertarianism?
“I would add that if anyone has been lecturing anybody in the libertarian movement, it’s been the leftist infiltrators and frauds who denounced good, decent men such as Ron Paul with their pathetic open letters, declarations that white men are a “rightfully dying demographic” that needed to be pushed aside in the movement, and smearing the reputations of men such as Deist by explicitly accusing his speech as a call to systematically murder millions of people.”
False choice argument. The left consisting of sermonizing, lecturing assholes is no evidence that such types cannot equally occupy the right, perhaps sans the smearing. It is happening right now, every time a libertarian claims that true libertarianism is conservative, and that while libertarianism ought not cater to the left, it ought very much so to cater to the right.
The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. And most on the left are surely my moral enemy. That does not make the likes of Deist my friend. It should be noted here that the very much respectable and decent Ron Paul, is not at all the racist, nationalist, and God-fearing sermonizer that many in the alt-right are. Ron Paul actually manages to show respect and appreciation for certain people on the left, rather than claiming they are all pinko commies, all deserve “helicopter rides”, or that they should be ignored entirely and that only nationalists, “race realists”, creationists and conservatives should be catered to. While Ron Paul may have his own personal moral beliefs, I have not found him to lecture them to society on much of any occasion. Not once have I heard him call weed-smokers, hedonists, or gay people “degenerates”.
It is disrespectful to even attempt to place Ron Paul in the same camp that Deist wants us to cater to.
“There has been no equivalent conduct by any member of the Mises Institute. The contrast in behavior could not be more clear.”
The equivalent conduct is to be found in the sector of society that Deist wants libertarians to cater to. Since we are not asked to cater merely to Mises Institute members, the above argument is irrelevant.
“As I said recently, Deist’s speech may well be remembered as a turning point in which libertarianism was rescued from decades of irrelevance.
Time will only tell if libertarians, regardless of their own personal feelings on these issues, will heed his warning.”
Libertarians who heed Deist’s warning, are not libertarians, but the equivalence of used-car salesmen who have no principles and are interested merely in the number of customers they can get in the door. Relevancy in this particular case is determined by moral correctness and principles, not popularity. If libertarians want to be popular, all they have to do is support mainstream Republicans or mainstream Democrats, and they could safely ignore the left-wing and right-wing fringe. If libertarians want to be “relevant” at the cost of moral principle, the solution would lie at the RNC or DNC, and at worshiping the state.
And, once again, I would like to see Anarchist Notebook, Jeff Deist and other like-minded people, issue the same warning if socialism would be on the up and up and libertarians would ignore them at the risk of irrelevancy. Something tells me we ought not to expect any call upon libertarians to show understanding of socialists’ belief in Marxism and the abolition of private property. Will they tell us otherwise?
This warning is a self-interested one from conservatives who see a populist opportunity to corrupt and sell-out libertarian principle in the name of spreading their own belief in God, ‘blood and soil’, and the nation. You don’t want libertarianism. Not really. It is no more than a vehicle for you; a means to a conservative end. You don’t cherish liberty. Not really. It is no more than a means to a conservative end. Not an end in itself. Not a value in itself. Would be that the state gave you exactly the conservative society you clamor for, you would worship the state.
Come out of the closet already.
Update: in light of all that i have written above, maybe the conservative ‘libertarian’ faction would care to shed light on this news. Are they now ready to urge libertarians to ignore this trend at the risk of irrelevancy? Are they ready to urge libertarians to get on board with a backlash against Trump where ever it may be and to appeal to Democrats where ever this may be the case? Is the “market in practice” example in effect when the customer demands an anti-Trump backlash?
If the conservative libertarian faction does not apply its arguments equally to any potential growing trend against the conservative, nationalist right, then it would be abundantly clear they are being hypocrites, and that Deist’s entire speech is a sham.