12 December 2013

The Heart of Libertarianism


I’ve addressed the heart of conservatism and the heart of progressivism prior on this blog.  Consequently, I think it worthwhile to address the heart of libertarianism.  Perhaps I will continue this series by looking at the group identities of other political movements, but I think with conservatism, progressivism, and libertarianism, I’ve pretty much covered the bulk of political identities that express human personality.

While the heart of progressivism is the seeking of novelty and the heart of conservatism is the avoidance of change, the heart of libertarianism is a dissatisfaction with authority.  There are two senses in which this is true, though it must be remembered that every libertarian is a special snowflake who simply cannot be pigeonholed into any one belief system, for all libertarians are independent free-thinkers, each of whom always devise their own a priori principles from which they each build their particular philosophy of freedom.  Yes, libertarians are arrogant little fucks.

Anyway, to the point at hand, the two main types of libertarians are a) those who hate authority in general and those who b) who authority in specific.

The former hate authority because they are rebellious little punks who don’t like being controlled or being told what to do.  They wish to bow down to their basest, destructive desires, but they are simply too cowardly to do so.  The only reason they don’t go about doing drugs and violating property rights is because they don’t want to go to jail.  They are rational decision makers but wish they didn’t have to be.  This is, to be sure, a fairly extreme description, but nonetheless the general mindset of rebelling against all authority fits.  This describes the left-leaning anarchists and atheists wings of the libertarian movement as the former hates all types of hierarchy whereas the latter merely hates most types of hierarchy. Basically, anarchists are emotionally stunted adolescents who are still stuck in their teenage rebelliousness.

The latter only hate specific authorities, mostly because they believe said authorities are corrupt.  There are libertarians like Tom Woods and Tom DiLorenzo who basically take the approach that the American constitution establishes good principles for a goof government, but these principles have been betrayed, in these days, by morally corrupt men.  In essence, they would complain about a king, not necessarily the monarchy.  Basically, Libertarians are humble middle-aged men who have a long history of behaving responsibly and having no desire to lead others.

The reason why libertarianism can never gain any political traction stems from two problems.  First, most people don’t want liberty.  Second, those who do want liberty are at odds with each other on the most foundational principle:  should liberty be established through the proper authorities?  The anarchist says no, the Libertarian says yes, and they can never really establish a coalition.  Also, libertarians like signal status by nonconformity and commitment to principle, so the practical consequence of everyone trying to be unyieldingly different precludes any sort of solidarity.

Anarchism is an intellectual and social dead end because it appeals to its own authority to call for an end to all authority.  It has no method for establishing its principles, and must appeal to superstition.  The emotional and moral validations for rebellion are simply intellectual window dressing.  It cannot build society, for it denies any form of hierarchy, and hierarchy is essential to social growth.  Anarchists cannot be trusted with power for if they accept it and put it to use, they will eventually become fascists.

Libertarianism, though, can lead to social wealth and prosperity, though it does not actually cause it, and therefore is not guaranteed to do so.  Libertarianism can balance the Progressive need for change with the conservative need for stasis, though it is rare to actually see this happen for any long period of time.  Libertarians can be trusted with power, and it is usually wise to let them have it.  However, their general lack of desire to control others tends to preclude them from being invested in political minutiae, so they always get overrun by those who are more meddlesome, like Progressives and Conservatives.  Though they can be trusted with power, they can never be trusted for long because they are too laissez-faire to make preparation for the future.  They are managers more than leaders.