Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fairytale Ideals of Libertarianism

Of late, I have decided to turtle out of my beloved self imposed exile of Rothbardian style anarchocapitalism and see (really read) the world.  Oh my, there are a lot of folks that have not a clue about libertarianism.  For now, as is my usual practice, I use the term libertarianism to refer to the Misean/Rothbardian school of anarchocapitalism encapsulated and blossomed by the likes of Lew Rockwell, Hans H Hoppe, Stephan Kinsella, David Gordon, Tom Woods, and Robert P Murphy. I have read through and studied other schools of libertarian thought, and while I have picked up some views here and there, I have mainly returned to the Rothbardian approach.  Well, the use of purely Rothbardian may be somewhat nostalgic for me since I have such great admiration for Rothbard--I have of recent years taken on a more Hoppean approach.  Mind you this is still firmly Rothbardian, as Hoppe was Rothbard's pupil and Rothbard himself saw Hoppe as his successor, and I do consider Hoppe the perfect extension of Rothbardian thought.

I recently was reading a wonderful site, Social Matter, and came across this article: State-Society. Now, granted almost all people outside of libertarianism get at least some part of libertarian theory wrong, heck even some libertarians get some things wrong.  However, rarely does an author stumble over so much so deeply all the while claiming some key knowledge on the topic of criticism.

Right out of the gate the author, David Grant, stumbles and stumbles badly. 

  "Libertarians lay claim to being morally superior to, well, everyone else on account of their refusal to legislate morality. "

Let us be clear, it is not likely for a libertarian to claim for himself a position of moral superiority based upon what someone else may or may not do.  A libertarian is strictly and solely concerned with the proper use of aggression within the frameworks of property rights.  This is it.  The author is mistaken in claiming that a libertarian would base his moral view of anyone else founded upon the tenets of libertarianism.  He may lay claim to moral superiority but this would not come from libertarian tenets but from his own moral framework.  The two, morality and libertarianism, are unrelated categories.
Additional the author goes on to state:

  "Libertarians want everyone to be just like them, allowing differences of opinion and behavior only in areas that don’t matter."

No, no they don't...and most libertarians I know would not care what or who you are as long as you do not violate the non aggression principle .  Now it is true, I think libertarians in a libertarian world would self segregate into communities that would most closely approximate themselves.  It does not follow that libertarians holding vastly different social and cultural values would initiate aggression against each other or desire that others be like themselves.

  " There is a body of law—let’s call it the Constitution—that embodies libertarianism..." 

Once again, libertarianism is a political and legal philosophy that is concerned only with the proper use of aggression and property rights.  It merely defines the framework to be filled, it does not embody it.

Let's briefly touch upon the libertarian understanding of the state, government, and "society" .
The state is most assuredly not "us".  That is to say it exists as a self-perpetuating, self-interested engine separate and apart from the individuals it exercises power over.  Government, theoretically, could take on a non coercive form and thus qualify as libertarian but truly this never happens in our presently structured world. When libertarians refer in a positive sense to government they usually mean governance.  Many libertarians shun the term society and I think this is because of the preference to view issues in terms of the individual (which may or may not be a good). I think this is splitting hairs--I typically use society and community interchangeable--much to the dislike of some. 

The author then tries to combine what he calls "leftist notion that I'll call state-society" and libertarianism.  Thereafter he spends the body of the article drawing out how strange and unnecessary this "state-society" would be.  I entirely reject this; libertarians categorically reject the state in all its forms and may wholly embrace whatever society or community they voluntarily join.  The end--but no.

Libertarianism does not speak to how a community or society may be structured.  This is forbidden. Libertarians, being grounded in sound economic thought, approach the structuring and organization of society praxeologically.  That is to say human action dictates in a spontaneously ordering way how each community would self organize.  This spontaneous ordering, of course, would be based upon fundamental founding principles of the community as well as other factors.

Lastly, I will address a theme of criticism I find commonly used by many who do not understand libertarianism in its finality, that is to say when it is taken to its logical end.  This is the allegation of utopia.

  "Unfortunately, there is no good rhetorical counter to dreams of state-society. Deconstructing it and showing it to be utopian is a good plan, but even then many will support it. Utopianism, effectively expressed, will always triumph over pragmatism in the realm of words. Fortunately, speeches and majority decisions don’t actually decide things in the long run. For that you need iron and blood."

Libertarianism at its most pragmatic level understands forcing another human into conforming or performing action will ultimately result in abject failure and dystopia.  Statism necessarily ensures the ever increasing conflict among individuals over scare goods.  It is truly utopic to advance a social system based upon coercion when all empirical evidence throughout history reveals statism and coercion bring about the very opposite.  Libertarians understand the structural leviathan of statism throughout history and reject it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Building Beyond Frameworks

After fifteen years of learning libertarian and Austrian economic material, I have happily arrived at the beginning of learning. I have arrived just as the flower blooms, with foundations in the Golden Rule and the non-aggression principle it is now time to explore beyond the frameworks.

Upon starting this blog, my intent was to write copiously about this, that, and the other libertarian theory and idea. No such thing, at least for now.  Simultaneously I began reading alternative right and Neoreactionary( aka Dark Enlightment) material.  While much of the material identified as Neoreactionary is not noteworthy there does exist a significant amount of material that addresses needed unasked questions, discovers insightful connections so I'm absorbing a large amount of this material. As I have previously blogged, I have always been a traditionalist, embraced technological innovation, a capitalist, an Austrian in economics. Now I intend to go much beyond the frameworks of ancapism.

As a mere libertarian( a thinist by a thickists definition )I enjoy a certain freedom in thin libertarianism. I think libertarianism does not itself compel me to embrace a certain world outlook. Libertarianism provides a framework for building a society or more properly a community. If I can see the frameworks much as the external walls, roof, and foundation of a house then I can view
culture as the internals of that house. Truly, the internals make it a home.

Frameworks are done, lets fill the house and make it a home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lifeboats And Thriving On the Outside.

Sitting under the shaded porch of relative safety, I spy a great and terrible darkness covering what was once my childhood places of joy. But, isn't this the very thought of each aging generation as it watches the creep of wrinkles cross the hand and head? Suppose for a moment that you think of it as this---all generations weep for the brightness and clarity of the past and loath the advent of what is to come.
This, and nothing else, is the great deception put on by the greatest of the deceivers. That all is not lost, the past holds you back, change is the future of things to come, change is always beneficial. This is the deception--that you do not need lifeboats, no safe haven, no safe harbor.
The lifeboat is the family--those bound to you by given blood and by the mixture of blood. Nothing else is family. You may speak of tribe, of community, of clan--you may and these are important for imparting culture and civilization but the lifeboat is the essence, the bedrock of culture. The family is the means that builds culture from one generation to the next. The family is found across all civilizations and times and where the family is weakened or cast aside that civilization soon dies.
Build a lifeboat and thrive while those on the inside culture wither and die.