I am going to begin by apologizing to the readers for the long delay between articles. Recently, I’ve been running on the ragged edge, sort to speak. With my job, obligations to other people and life’s ever dramatic way of introducing that cliché wrench in the works, I’ve found little time to sit and type out the next analogy on all things economic. I’m only finding time tonight to sit at the desktop computer, open a new Libre office document and write this article, because exhaustion has caused me to call in a sick day.
Without further ado, I’d like to discuss something that has stuck in my craw for some time. I’ve seen and read much on the web from all walks of political/philosophical ideologies that begin to sound much alike. Namely, what I call Keynesian Political Thinking (KPT). Specifically, making political or philosophical analysis by herding people into aggregates.
Just as the Keynesian school of economic thought considers economic activity in the aggregate and rarely at the individual level, so too have many in the blogosphere done so on matters of human action in the social hemisphere. This kind of group think is not only in error but asinine as well. Some call it tribalism or herd mentality but I just call it ignorant. Especially when it comes from either the libertarian right or left. This whole thick vs. thin, left lib vs. right lib or humanitarian vs. brutalist argument has done nothing but derail any forward movement in the advancement of individual liberty. It helps the cause, in no way, by having some who think themselves prominent in the liberty movement using names as fascist, NAZI, socialist, traitor, shill for corporatism or any other such nonsense against their fellow compatriot who desires nothing more but the same ends of a free society. Such banal attempts to defend one’s position is at best, hackneyed. It is more what you would expect from a main stream pundit than an “enlightened” libertarian.
It’s these types of inter-tribal disputes that continue to give credence to this author having little faith in his fellow man. Disappointment isn’t enough to describe the feeling when you come across a group of people who you think “gets it” and end up turning into nothing more than Republicans and Democrats or liberals and conservatives after all. Only these have adopted new names to cover their real point of view. To an outsider their bickering is no different than the left and right paradigm of traditional political science but with the added spice of marijuana. Sitting in Keene, NH and calling a top scholar like Hans-Hermann Hoppe a NAZI or fascist isn’t doing the cause for liberty any favors. Some advice, the pot isn’t really making you smarter. It only makes you believe you’re smarter. To be fair, those “brutalists” who have written that someone like Jeffrey Tucker, who has done a yeoman’s work in advancing the cause, a sell-out to the progressives, is also doing more harm than good for libertarianism.
Secondly, this whole “who a real libertarian is” debate is about as childish as a secret decoder ring in a box of Cracker Jacks. When Ron Paul was campaigning for President in 2008 and 2012, he was able to broadcast the libertarian message for freedom like no pod-caster or blogger could ever accomplish. Millions around the planet were able to hear the message of freedom, some for the fist time. Yet, these very same libertarians had the audacity to besmirch the man as a religious zealot or closet theocrat. Some advised not to contribute to his campaign. In their infinite wisdom, they declared he could never win the White House. In a word, “Duh!” Are you filled with such self righteous hubris that you think those who gave to his campaign didn’t already know that? The man was filling campus arenas and stadiums with those fresh young minds who most needed to hear the message of freedom. That was well worth the few dollars of campaign contributions. Much more so than a floundering podcast that just preaches to the choir.
Some are going to be offended at all of this. I call ’em like I see ’em. I see them from outside the libertarian movement because I don’t consider myself any participant in any political or philosophical group. I think of myself as an individual, nothing more. Some might call it anarchism. But, understanding human action in social exchanges as well as economic exchanges I am led to believe that even anarchism will never work. Human beings are not civil and most certainly they are not islands. We are social beings. Most want nothing more than to be left alone and provide for their families. But, having travelled the world, I understand that there will always be those types who will band together in order to take other people’s stuff and lord it over them. This will never change. It’s a part of man’s fallen nature. There is no political or ideological solution to this dark aspect of our nature. As long as there is scarcity on the planet, there will always be conflict. That is a fact. It isn’t because of scarcity’s sake that conflict happens, but rather, man’s desire to have stuff. Call it coveting or Marxian exploitation theory, the fact remains that people will always desire what other people have. Some will exchange peacefully for it, while others will plunder for it.
So, all of this rambling has led me to believe that, no matter what label or philosophy someone attributes to themselves, I’m of the belief that we are all just individuals seeking out our own ends. Strip away the façade of a label and you have the individual person acting to acquire their desired ends. It’s really that simple and makes it quite easy to define who really loves freedom.