I notice the ‘alt right’ Radix Journal offers some attacks on libertarians so I thought I ought to reply.
First off I ought to note, as my Essay on Pragmatic Libertarian suggests, my interest in libertarianism is empirical and (thus) contingent in character. However, I doubt this is atypical of those seen as having ‘libertarian’ interests. Still, I wonder if I ought to call myself a ‘libertarian.’ This could be a confusing label for some. And yet, since I advocate – for all currently existing nation-states – a very small night-watchman state with no spending on education or other welfare, I think it must be an apt label.
Radix offers, in a review of Hawley’s RIGHT-WING CRITICS OF AMERICAN CONSERVATISM, some extended criticism of libertarianism. …But before we get to this, also I ought to note, I see Hawley has a book coming out in September, MAKING SENSE OF THE ALT RIGHT, which looks like it has quite a lot of overlap with my INVESTIGATING THE ALT RIGHT: RICHARD SPENCER IN AMERICA. However, I fear there may be a bit too much credulity toward the media present in Hawley’s work, a kind of ‘we are all the Establishment’ sentiment. Sorry, Hawley – the New York Times, etc., is not an appropriate source for academic writing any longer. Then too with Hawley, I see he does some interviews with ‘alt right’ figures, which I am sure will be valuable as Hawley, all things considered, seems a smart cookie. But I do wonder how he can write an entire book about the ideology of the ‘alt right’ movement. I guess we will have to wait and see. Personally, I have found much of the story here to be, the media’s own story about AR, and then too the opportunity that people such as Richard Spencer give us, to reflect on basic questions regarding, why we engage in political activism at all, given how bizarre our culture is…. I don’t know how AR could be a sufficiently defined label to sustain a book-length, ‘political science’ treatment, as opposed to a mix with Philosophy and media studies, etc. But of course, new interviews could do much…. We will just have to wait to September.
Anyway, back to Radix. Gregory Hood writes many negative things regarding libertarianism, and to much of it I would respond – hey, buddy, perhaps we cannot get all the way to libertarian ‘pipe dreams’ but cutting spending is always progress, cutting regulations is always progress, and this is not true in the other direction, when it comes to getting real gains for meaningful socialism, etc. Libertarianism is happening all the time, and we see useless programs and regulations cut all the time. True, government does grow rather a lot, yet its growth is not unstoppable.
Hood: ‘It’s questionable whether libertarianism can ever really be a movement for itself as opposed to either a phase in a person’s ideological progression. After all, groups like Students for Liberty now proudly proclaim they don’t care about freedom of association, because homosexual rights, and fighting nationalism is the most important thing.’ A lot of libertarians are nutters. But the same is true of conservatives, far-right ‘alt right’ thinkers, etc. So what? Personally, I find things end with libertarianism much more than progress through it. However, in saying this, I would add – but this is only because politics can barely matter today, when, e.g., there is no democracy at a national level. If things were more ‘serious,’ then perhaps Hood would have more of a point. Libertarianism is not a very satisfying resolution, but then practically speaking, nothing but libertarianism with border controls is useful today. –And if so-called ‘libertarians’ deny freedom of association among citizens, then they would seem to reject a core libertarian idea. I doubt they in fact do have, very libertarian politics, whatever they call themselves.
I do not know how we can discuss a more substantial set of possibilities for political change, as they are not present. True, different empirical circumstances would argue away from libertarianism and would also be more engaging for ‘mature’ culture. But as these possibilities are not present, what is the purpose now of attacking libertarianism?
Hood goes on: ‘But as Richard Spencer argued, libertarianism itself was a kind of mask on white identity for some time. That is being abandoned as we get closer to the real thing. Those libertarians who put egalitarianism first, like Cathy Reisenwitz, eventually just become SJW’s. The majority move in our direction.’
Is libertarianism just a mask for white identity? Of course not. The free market offers jobs and liberties for people of all colours, and many of these merely think they benefit from socialism and government-based, anti-white revanchism. The same is true of many, e.g., Mexicans’ interest in open borders.
If white identity were the only interest for white libertarianism, some other position might be more attractive, e.g. State-based genocide. In any case, there are many ways to express one’s ethnic interests, and how would most white libertarians see libertarianism as the only way? And isn’t libertarianism just their calculation of what is best for their interests, taking into account they have special concerns for some others? How is it notable for politics to express national interest? That is not a ‘mask,’ that’s an assessment of what is best for groups that concern one, using reasons also endorse-able by all groups interested in utility and fairness. There’s nothing deceptive or ‘mask-like’ involved, except insofar as abstraction is always about a bit of occlusion. What is the evidence libertarians think libertarianism is best for ‘whites’ but not other groups? Today, it’s best for everyone.
Libertarianism is boring… or it can be boring. That is true, it is hard to sustain this theme. Our time is boring. Better, our world did not exist. However, in terms of real success for libertarian aims of cutting spending and regulations…. there is little impact. The ‘movement’ is powerful. It will not go away. Capital loves control through government more than generating yet more capital, true. But capital does love more capital…. Less government is a proven route to increasing growth, so long as property rights can still be protected. Capital likes libertarianism, even if it has other loves it does not talk about…. (Capital is so shy! It barely even recognises its tryst with political correctness!)