Note: The following is an article by TVP host, Kyle Rearden, published on his blog, The Last Bastille.
Today’s article is a redux of Rayo’s “Libertarians & Coercivists,” which was originally published in the third issue of Eleutherian Forum on January 16th of 1967. It has been mirrored since then, but upon re-reading it for an upcoming episode of The Vonu Podcast, I realized that it really should’ve been rewritten (and it now makes sense to me as to why Jon Fisher did not include it in Vonu: The Search for Personal Freedom).
A libertarian is one who advocates for a general exemption from coercion. Such an individual enjoys an anti-political philosophy whereby he adheres himself to the non-aggression principle and the self-ownership axiom. The non-aggression principle (NAP) absolutely forbids all coercion and initiatory force; yet, self-defense, including the defense of innocent third parties, is in accordance with the NAP. Self-ownership justifies the existence of the free market by upholding the private property ethic.
Argumentation ethics is a logical proof that demonstrates the performative contradictions within all political arguments except those for private property. It upholds the validity of both the NAP and self-ownership by showing that individuals who argue with each other have not only foresworn coercion (that is, initiatory force), but also that they have affirmed property rights by the very act of arguing itself within the moment. Fundamentally, argumentation ethics insists upon integrity by steadfastly opposing hypocrisy.
The polar opposite of a libertarian is an authoritarian, which is a generic term for individuals who inflict, or advocate for, coercion. Authoritarians are hypocrites right out of the gate because in their very advocacy for coercion, they must exercise self-ownership within the very moment of said argumentation, thereby engaging in a performative contradiction – as such, libertarians are not required to offer rebuttals, since the performative contradictions already did it for them, although libertarians are of course free to point this out to the authoritarian or any passersby for educational purposes.
Two main types of authoritarians can be said to be:
- Criminals, who personally coerce others, and thus are at least honest enough to shoulder the responsibility for punishment if they are caught; and
- Statists, who advocate for organized coercion by the State, and thus are disingenuous because they demand that the responsibility for carrying out said coercion be done by government agents instead of themselves.
Most political ideologies violate argumentation ethics, and thus are typically different flavors of statism. Truth be told, statists are essentially “rival gangs of looters” who bicker with each other as to which of them enjoys sovereignty (that is, the “right” to rule) and for what purposes coercion may be inflicted. These include the following:
- Socialists, who advocate for government ownership of businesses;
- Fascists, who advocate for government regulation and taxation of businesses;
- Progressives, who advocate for economic “equality” through coercion;
- Conservatives, who advocate for government regulation in accordance with “tradition”;
- Globalists, who advocate for coercive control of the entire planet by a single government;
- Nationalists, who advocate for coercion that increases the prestige of a particular nation-state government above that of other nation-state governments;
- Eugenicists, who advocate for the coercive extermination of certain humans they’ve deemed “undesirables”;
- Racists, who advocate for the coercive subjugation of certain races below that of their arbitrarily “favored” ones;
- Decentralists, who advocate for partitionment of larger governments into many geographically smaller ones, thereby culminating in a world of thousands of independent Greco-Roman city-states – these “states’ rights” advocates prefer coercion by softer, cuddlier versions of the State.
- Minarchists (“minarchy” = minimal statism), who advocate for restoring a hypothetically “limited” government, and who are little different from decentralists. Such a “restoration” supposedly occurs by way of inexplicably forcing a government to obey its own constitution; ironically, this usually entails civil disobedience or civil defiance, since such unlimited governments don’t really value the limitations placed upon them as enumerated in their respective constitutions.
These categories are by no means mutually exclusive; to the contrary, as you can no doubt tell, there is quite a significant overlap. For instance, it could be said that progressives are little different from socialists, and that both of them are virtually indistinguishable from globalists; by the same token, it could also be said that conservatives are little different from fascists, and that both of them are virtually indistinguishable from nationalists. Of course, this would further imply that eugenicists are themselves largely a trifecta of globalist/socialist/progressives in much the same way that racists are a trifecta of nationalist/fascist/conservatives.
Thus, it could be said that the republican form of American governance might be described as predominately fascist-progressive-nationalist. Generally speaking, what such a “limited” government has brought us are those authoritarians who advocate for government regulation and taxation of businesses alongside coercive economic “equality,” not to mention coercion that increases the prestige of the American nation-state central (“federal”) government above that of other nation-state governments, hence the importance of the welfare–warfare state as a complete package to authoritarians.
Most governments make a determined effort to forcibly indoctrinate their citizens (and especially their hapless children) to support the current “public policy” (according to the winds of political expediency, which may change at any given moment) through direct and indirect control of “public” education, “public” libraries, and corporate infotainment. So, until very recently, almost all persons have been authoritarians, and differed with those who falsely imagine themselves to be our rulers (if at all) only insofar as petty grievances were concerned. This has been the case not only in mercantilist Russia and communist China, but in Amerika as well; these American governments have truly become pioneers in socialized “education” and mass propaganda.
The false left-right paradigm is, unfortunately, not very radical. This alleged dichotomy has reflected not so much a genuine desire for liberty (that is, the condition of a general exemption from coercion), but rather, the importance of class special interests. While many individuals on both the so-called “Right” and “Left” assert they want freedom (that is, the condition of an absence of coercion), their advocacy, such as it is, is only partial and inconsistent. Thus, the allegedly “radical Left” tends to oppose censorship and militarism, but endorses the welfare state; similarly, the “radical Right” opposes the income tax and gun control, but demands tougher laws against pornography (interestingly enough, both of them oppose prostitution and Muslims, but for allegedly different reasons; I think this suggests that despite the superficial “differences” between the Left and the Right, the truth of their statism lies in their proven similarities).
As an anti-political philosophy, libertarianism takes the best aspirations from both the Left and the Right by going far beyond both authoritarian ideologies to a consistent advocacy of freedom, which necessarily entails the total separation of the State from the Market, the latter of which is the sum of all voluntary human action. Given that only the libertarian is genuinely radical (in a positive sense), then only the libertarian truly seeks liberty, and therefore, only the libertarian can provide a durable and effective opposition to the welfare-warfare state, which neither progressives nor conservatives are a position to do with any serious credibility, quite frankly, due to their repeated violations of argumentation ethics.
Much like the free market itself, there is a market selection of libertarians themselves who focus and specialize on different things in their pursuit and advocacy for achieving and preserving liberty. Amongst the various flavors of libertarians, there are:
- Panarchists, who advocate for voluntary governance;
- Anarchists, who advocate for the abolition of the State;
- Voluntaryists, who advocate for private property without the State;
- Syndicalists/insurrectionists, who advocate for the establishment of “radical trade unions,” but for whatever strange reason, prefer to use the Black Bloc tactic in order to smash store windows and burn police cars;
- Mutualists, who advocate for cooperatives to replace statist corporations in order to better facilitate market activity;
- Crypto-anarchists, who advocate for the use of technology (especially digital technology) in order to liberate the individual from the State;
- Primitivists, who advocate for a return to nature (“rewilding”) because they believe that the State created technology to enslave us; and
- National Anarchists, who advocate for racial separatism as a form of maintaining the peace between races.
Many libertarians favor multiple approaches to liberation (the process of achieving a general exemption from coercion). Since a durable completely-free society has not yet existed on earth, there is little proof that any of these hypothesized libertarian societies of one flavor or another can be established and endure; however, existing governments (especially the larger nation-states) are so utterly immoral and rampantly destructive that fear of unforeseen consequences could hardly deter one from seeking freedom. States have been by far the biggest thieves and most brutal murderers throughout history. Besides the murder of millions of Catholics, homosexuals, and gypsies by the German National Socialists, the democide of kulaks by the Communist Russians, and the unjustified killing of millions of innocent civilians in Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki by the democratically republican American government, the most depraved of private criminals (and even organized syndicates!) pale in significance.
Most of the economic and technological development has been result of free enterprise; notable private inventions include the steam engine, the cotton gin, the electric generator, the telephone, the internal combustion engine, the airplane, antibiotics, typewriters, computers, and even the World Wide Web. The history of governments is a chronicle of democide; their most notable “inventions” have been the cross, the rack, the guillotine, the gas chamber, the atomic bomb, tanks, prisons, UAV drones, and genetically engineered pathogenic bioweapons!
Every major government has used the threat of “foreign” governments to distract the attention of its hapless subjects from its own violence that it wields domestically; this is a statist con game as old as recorded history. Thus, the American rulership tries to justify domestic totalitarianism as a “defense against Islamic fundamentalism” even as they aid Islamist governments in the enslavement of their own people, and even as the these theocracies, in turn, exhort their subjects with fears of “American imperialism.” But when, as in the present case, governments are merely quarreling over who shall rule the slaves, it is seldom worthwhile to aid or abet either side; rather, one should regard both as mortal enemies and develop means of personal defense.
What is truly needed in any serious strategy for libertarian victory of any kind is a Second Realm, one where libertarians have their own infrastructure and culture so that self-sufficiency is a reality, not a buzzphrase. Currently, there are two libertarian strategies that initially seem promising for transitioning us away from statism and towards a Second Realm where the Market is free from coercion:
- Agorists, who advocate for growing the grey and black markets despite the State;
- Vonuists, who advocate for an invulnerability to coercion from both statists and private criminals.
While there is certainly quite a bit of crossover, these two libertarian strategies are in truth, a duality of each other. Kinda like Mommy and Daddy, vonuism and agorism play defense and offense, respectively; vonu is more concerned about developing and maintaining hearth and home (in a manner of speaking), whereas the agora is more concerned about outcompeting the State, particularly in the context of starving the State and then smashing it once it’s been sufficiently weakened enough.
For those considering becoming libertarians of any stripe, I would first suggest you go on a circuit of political fieldtrips in order to ascertain for yourself what your own relationship with government actually is, in reality. Should you then decide that government is not for you, then please feel free to begin engaging in whatever forms of strategic withdrawal appeals to you individually; I would suggest you take a look at canceling your voter registration as a legal remedy during your exploration. After that point, all you really can do is begin practicing whatever types of direct action enables you to enjoy more freedom now, without asking for permission. And, have fun doing it.