Tuesday, 1 May 2012

What is the harm of libertarianism?


Given that it has zero chance of attaining power or introducing its favoured policies - what is the harm of principled libertarianism?

Simply that it is destructive. It helps to destroy the traditional order, it helps to destroy hierarchy, it helps to destroy existing sources of countervailing power.

So, libertarians supply arguments which are used or exploited by Leftists with which to atomise society - to break down professions, guilds, unions, protections, privileges insofar as they help maintain the traditional (existing) order.

Libertarians want freedom of the individual from all forms of authority, but the only authorities they are actually allowed to subvert and usurp are those forms of authority which the Left dislikes. A one-sided liberation, always tending to assist socialism.

Libertarians help create the chaos and weakness which is then used by Leftists to create their statist, communist, socialist, politically correct society.

This happens because it is much, much, much easier to destroy Good than to create Good.

The libertarians (sincerely) believe that they are only destroying the Good in order to introduce something Better (better, that is, from the perspective of efficiency) but that doesn't actually happen, because libertarians are so weak.

They can accomplish the easy task of destruction, but they never accomplish the vastly more difficult task of making something better.


Note: I was a libertarian - mostly from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s; and although I considered myself standing in opposition to the Leftist and politically correct intellectual mainstream, and although I did meet up with some trouble and strife; I was remarkably tolerated, and it seemed remarkable to me at the time.

But, in fact, the tolerance was more than remarkable - it was sinister; in the literal sense that my libertarianism was being 'used' as a 'tool' of the Left that was directed and selectively deployed. When not useful to the Left, libertarianism was simply ignored or over-ruled.

However, against this background of Leftist tolerance for libertarianism (a tolerance based on self-confidence that libertarianism is helpless against the Left when it comes to power) there are periodically - at least annually - blood sacrifices of libertarians who make the mistake of applying their analysis to the politically correct taboos. 

But libertarians who steer clear of the Leftist taboos are given almost limitless tolerance - serving the Left as ideological resources and providing a self-gratifying illusion of the Left tolerating dissent. 


tenkev said...

This reminds me of what Carlyle had to say about the original liberals, the libertarians:

"All the Millenniums I ever heard of heretofore were to be preceded by a “chaining of the Devil for a thousand years,” — laying him up, tied neck and heels, and put beyond stirring, as the preliminary. You too have been taking preliminary steps, with more and more ardour, for a thirty years back; but they seem to be all in the opposite direction: a cutting asunder of straps and ties, wherever you might find them; pretty indiscriminate of choice in the matter: a general repeal of old regulations, fetters, and restrictions (restrictions on the Devil originally, I believe, for most part, but now fallen slack and ineffectual), which had become unpleasant to many of you, — with loud shouting from the multitude, as strap after strap was cut, “Glory, glory, another strap is gone!”— this, I think, has mainly been the sublime legislative industry of Parliament since it became “Reform Parliament;” victoriously successful, and thought sublime and beneficent by some.

So that now hardly any limb of the Devil has a thrum, or tatter of rope or leather left upon it: — there needs almost superhuman heroism in you to “whip” a Garotter; no Fenian taken with the reddest hand is to be meddled with, under penalties; hardly a murderer, never so detestable and hideous, but you find him “insane,” and board him at the public expense, a very peculiar British Prytaneum of these days! And in fact, THE DEVIL (he, verily, if you will consider the sense of words) is likewise become an Emancipated Gentleman; lithe of limb as in Adam and Eve’s time, and scarcely a toe or finger of him tied any more. And you, my astonishing friends, you are certainly getting into a millennium, such as never was before, — hardly even in the dreams of Bedlam. "

B322 said...

Wow. Your last four paragraphs sound almost exactly like me, with the small exception that my flirtation with libertarianism was shorter (late 90s to about 2005). Which is odd since we're not from the same country.

A couple of the soft-hearted/soft-headed whitopia leftists I've frightened with alt-right zingers have mumbled something forlorn like "I though you were more of a libertarian". To a PC leftist, a libertarian is a sort of cuddly fantasy monster, like the scarier sort of muppet. Alt-rightists are more like Hannibal Lecter.

Anyway, it's always a surprise when I find I have something in common with a stranger, a foreigner, and a person with completely different academic interests.

spandrell said...

This is very good.
I also was a libertarian in my late teens. Didn't last long, though. Most of my friends of that time still remain staunch libertarians, some even got into the media.

What took you so long, professor?

Bruce Charlton said...

@spandrell- "What took you so long, professor?"

Atheism was what delayed me.