Libertarians are NOT Utopians
It’s not and never was about ‘perfection’.
Libertarianism is about individual freedom & responsibility rooted in a line of consistent & congruent values, that are as closely representative of natural law as possible.
This idea that libertarianism is some sort of utopian ideal is completely false.
Utopianism is a statist or collectivist ideal in which people are arrogant enough to believe the definition of perfection (a) exists, and (b) can be applied across all of society and it’s individual participants as if they’re just numbers on a spreadsheet, ie; completely ignoring the differences and nuances present in all humans.
Libertarians, at least those worth their salt, abhor this notion of a Utopia.
True libertarians are realists, and I hope this short first-principles primer on libertarian values and the concept of structuring society starting at the level of the individual, helps set the record straight.
I’ll try to keep it short. It was inspired by a short interaction on Twitter with a Bitcoiner, who asked some questions that I’m sure many others have too.
Let’s start here:
Masks…yeah yeah yeah.
You’ve heard me bang on about this for a while now, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about here.
What I want to mention is the note about how Western societies work.
Unfortunately, our friend here is a bit confused, because what actually propelled western society was the idea that the individual is sovereign and able to make a choice, as a free person, because he or she was most able to know what was best for them.
This is actually echoed in Eastern teachings such as the tao te ching by Lao Tzu, which was unfortunately forced out of and censored in China thanks in large part to the more collectivist and power-oriented philosophy of the confucionists.
Gru is right in one sense — this is no longer how “western society’ works, which is a big part of why it is decaying. In fact, this decay is rooted in the rapid rise (particularly over the past 200yrs) of collectivism in the form of the “public” society, alongside the erosion of private property and the individual.
What we’re seeing around the world now is the peak of this stupid experiment, where:
- Imaginary “groups” take precedence over the real individual
- Entitlement comes before responsibility
- Socially constructed ideologies supersede biological or evolutionary facts
So yeah. Maybe here he’s right — it’s not how Western Society works any longer, but it for damn sure deviates from the original premise.
Once again, I disagree with this notion of it being a theoretical idea incompatible with reality.
It’s actually the idea that’s most compatible with reality and without it, the US would not have gone from a newly settled land to the greatest economic power in the world within 100yrs, LONG before the statists or federalists took over.
In fact, the original libertarian ideas of the USA, that can still be found in the American Constitution, are representative of that, and the inertia they gave that part of the world has continued to give it an edge, despite all the damage done by the “democratic republic” and the collectivists over the past 200yrs.
Why we deviated from that is a topic of a much larger discussion, but suffice it say Davidson & Rees-Mogg explain it extremely well in The Sovereign Individual, via the lens of Mega-politics and the associated returns to violence.
In short, the advent of industrial technology and advantages of centralisation at scale ensured the public “state” was the most effective way of seizing and accruing power, especially with the threat of mass violence.
The most violent ‘leaders’ were able to form monopolies, “voted in by the people”, and ever since, humanity has been living through a strange and evolutionarily deviant experiment where all systems, processes, natural environments, lifestyles, diets, information, and opinions are being homogenised, standardised, sterilised and made as devoid of any variance or life as possible.
But alas (at least for the collectivists), nature is far older than humans, and life far too complex for our tiny minds to comprehend, that all of this centralisation and globalisation will only lead to an unravelling in the opposite direction.
Why? Because life is messy (remove mess, you remove life), it’s impossible to fight entropy, it’s impossible to manage or predict complexity, and it’s impossible to fight reality.
I’m getting carried away here…
I don’t know about you, but voluntary means that you can choose to do so, or not to do so. It’s not a one-way function, so this statement is false.
So despite some paying taxes because they think it’s a good idea (not sure what drugs they’re on), it’s by definition not a voluntary act.
And here we get to where I jumped into the conversation.
My reply is below, but I have added to it so it’s a little more well explained than a few tweets:
Yes but libertarianism is not about a utopia. It’s about being realistic and knowing that violence exists and that the person who knows best for you is you, not some faceless, nameless, soulless “state” that thinks it can apply blanket rules to everyone as if they’re numbers on a spreadsheet.
That’s not how reality works. The democratic republic (which is what you’re referring to as a ‘society’, and not there are many variations of what a society is) is an experiment that’s going very wrong. It erodes personal agency over time and transforms people into blind drones & numbers who believe that some omnipresent authority knows how to best allocate resources for everyone, and what rules (ie; laws) should blanket apply to everybody regardless of their individual differences and preferences.
Life is supposed to be messy. There is no “one rule” for everyone. You can’t assume a few people know what’s best for everyone & that they know how to efficiently run everything. This is naive to think and it’s further invalidated when you enquire into how this idea can be effectively or practically implemented across large populations.
That’s why this shit doesn’t work.
Libertarianism is not a utopia. It suggests that you should take care of your own stuff first, come together with others who share similar values, take personal responsibility for your decisions and actions, and with this basis we can build a more voluntary, functional and robust “society.”
This is effectively how we evolved LONG before the notion or creation of the modern “state” or democratic republic.
I hope the above makes sense.
In the middle of the tweets, I was hit with this one:
To which I answered:
But there are dumb people all over the place that buy into ideas without understanding them deeply. That’s a given. And the NATURAL corrective mechanism in life for poor judgment & understanding is generally poor results (notwithstanding existence of the fools of randomness who got lucky).
The core libertarian values though, suggest that instead of just passing the cost of that persons’ poor judgement to everyone else in society, that person should bear it. This is how they get better & can correct course. Else you further erode personal agency & the individual’s capacity to act or think for themselves.
This is the path to dependency and the welfare or communist state, where the incentive to be a productive member of society continues to diminish, whilst the expectation that someone else will give you shit for nothing, because of your “entitlements,” continues to increase.
Again — this sort of society fails, and luckily (for us at least) we’ve had a chance to see evidence of this in the Soviet Union and more recently Venezuela (not to mention the countless other failed collectivist states).
I then got a strange reply:
I don’t know how he got there, but I hope my comment clarified.
And I think it’s an important point to make.
Consequences are the natural corrective mechanism of life!
And because the individual is the atomic (and only real) constituent of a society, they cannot correct themselves if they are immune to consequences.
Furthermore, there is no immunity to consequences in the real world!
Every action has a reaction and the only thing one can do is push the consequences of an action onto another to bear.
What the democratic republic or state does in that sense, is SHARE the consequences of the actions of others, with everyone else.
This is a clusterfuck. If I have learnt not to put my hand in the fire, or jump off a bridge or step infront of a bus, WHY should I have to perpetually experience the partial consequences of other’s poor decision-making for the rest of my life?
It makes absolutely no sense. But that’s what happens when the individual is disregarded and replaced with an imaginary collective.
Now..let’s finish this up with the last comment I think is relevant and my answer to it, which I hope helps put the libertarian values into better context.
The idea that we invariably end up “where we are now” is patently false.
I replied with the following, which I’ll extrapolate on briefly below:
The current incarnation of the “nation state” is a modern experiment. The idea of public property managed by elected officials with NO skin in the game is a modern concoction and will tear itself apart because it is UNLIKE anything else in the natural world.
It worked as a method of gaining power over the last 2 centuries because the advantages of scale & mass, in particular with respect to violence. That advantage is no longer as strong as it was, and will keep deteriorating as tech & sound money fragment centralised power.
People who think the status quo is the “way it’s always been” or “way it will always be” generally have a time horizon that’s too short.
Centralised, homogenised and conformist institutions (whether government, empires, monarchies, et al) are a historical aberration. They are anomalies that happen now and again, but fail every time, especially with the degree of centralisation & scale, because the larger they are, the more fragile & unable to adapt to change (ie; real world / real life) they become.
This is an axiomatic fact.
What becomes too large and centralised will tomorrow fracture and become smaller and decentralised.
In fact, small and decentralised is actually how nature has survived, evolved and adapted over billions of years. We humans just seem to be arrogant enough to think that we are separate from nature and can bend reality to our will without experiencing the consequences on the back end.
Anyway…I proceeded to explain that this statist experiment is only 200yrs old on a 150,000yr time span, and is thus but a small deviation, as is the 150,000 year history of homo-sapiens on the multiple million year evolutionary progression that the primate has been in existence, and experimenting with models and systems of social interaction.
Primates have tried everything.
We know enough now in the anthropological & scientific literature and can state as biological fact that “social order” is only found in primate groups via tyranny or territory.
And therein lies the basis of private property as a biological imperative — not a man-made social construct.
I am currently writing a much longer piece on this (sorry you’re going to have to wait for it), but the fact of the matter is territory (private property) is nature’s balancing mechanism and is found not only amongst primates, but amongst all species who exhibit any form of social cohesion.
And as mentioned above, if it’s not territory, it’s tyranny (example; Baboons).
Humans, ie; homo-sapiens, despite our arrogance, are territorial species with natural instincts and inclinations that have evolved over hundreds of millions if not billions of years (depending how far back we want to assume our evolution started).
We managed to survive because we evolved alongside this territorial imperative, and developed more complex methods of implementing it into the societies we formed over time. We are today, once again, experimenting with tyranny as a model for social cohesion. I suspect that once again, it’s not going to end well, not just because it’s antithetical to a “good life” but because it falls apart at scale.
If you lengthen your time horizon, and you understand how natural law functions, you’ll begin to realise that the ‘Libertarian way’ is actually the only practical mechanism for humans to organise themselves by because it most resembles nature, and furthermore; it’s the least utopian because it assumes that there are morons and aggressors out there which you will need to protect yourself from (ie; those who want to transgress or trespass on your territory).
In stark contrast, the idea of a democratic nation-state is not only ethically and morally inconsistent, but it is a biological and anthropological deviation.
It is unlike nature or natural law, and is thus doomed to fail.
One final note on Utopia’s:
They always turn into Dystopias
The collectivists, statists and pro-democracy mafias that believe in imaginary Utopian ideals are those who wind up forcing them on others.
Some examples include:
And we have MORE than our fair share of modern one’s too, ie; Clinton, Obama, Bush, Xi, Maduro, Lagarde and every other statist out there.
I hope you enjoyed this.
If you did, give it the claps & share it around.
The link to the original tweets is here:
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