Libertarians: Stuck in the Middle

Neoconservatives and Liberals both hate each other. It makes it rather funny for the libertarian because he sees little difference between the two. Sure the neoconservative might hate the welfare state and the progressive liberal might pretend to hate war (except when it’s a democrat waging war), but really both want to expand the power of the State far beyond that which the libertarian views as a reasonable (and the anarchist like myself wishes to do away with the state all together). It comes down to the fact that either side is completely entrenched in Statism. They cannot imagine anyone but the State to perform the basic functions that keep society rolling. They do not disagree on this point, only in which way the State should direct the social behavior of its citizens.

One cannot deny that most of these people have the best of intentions in what they advocate for. They care about preserving freedom and their way of life. Unfortunately they go about protecting “their way of life” by initiating aggression against another group of people because they might attack them someday (because goat herders in a third world country are the biggest threat to our freedom, not the dregs in Washington). The libertarian sees this as an unjust use of force because the libertarian believes the only just use is in self defense. The other type of Statist believes in helping the poor. A noble cause for sure, but they unfortunately advocate for instituted plunder and redistribution of wealth in order to help the poor. The libertarian also disagrees with this on the basis that one cannot initiate violence against another person and their property and no noble cause makes an immoral act moral. Stealing is still stealing even if you intend to do good with the stolen property.

This puts the libertarian at odds with the modern neoconservative and liberal. They point out the logical inconsistencies in the neoconservative’s positions. Namely, fiscal conservationism in domestic policy and reckless abandon in foreign policy. “How can you call yourself fiscally conservative,” says the libertarian “and at the same time advocate for war which destroys the the division of labor and halts progress economically in order to divert resources and labor to destructive ends? Not only that, but war is one of the least fiscally conservative endeavors man can pursue!”

The neoconservative, in response to such criticism, only has slander to respond with. “Unpatriotic” is a common accusation. As if sending your neighbor to die for corporatism and government sponsors is some how “patriotic”. Likewise, when the modern liberal is criticized for their advocacy for instituted plunder, the libertarian is accused of classicism or “hating the poor”. This is contrary to what the libertarian stands for. The liberal is concerned with various people groups and their well being, but the libertarian is only concerned with the good of the whole. What is good for everyone not just group “x”? The idea that “America is a light to the world, a shining light of freedom,” is something to be scoffed at. America is not great because America makes war. America is not great because America is America. America was great because at one point it adopted pro-free market economic policy as well as respect for a person as an individual with rights that are inherent to being human and not government privileges. These things are things that are simply just, right, and moral. You do not get extra credit for doing what you should do or what is expected of you.

This is why the libertarian is closer to reality than the neoconservative or the modern liberal. The libertarian sees the warmongering in the name of peace by the neoconservative as counter intuitive to peace. The libertarian sees the instituted method of plunder and wealth distribution for what it is, namely plunder. To quote F.A. Hayek: “The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualists ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule.”

The libertarian does not create a moral vacuum for government in which, that which is immoral for the individual is somehow moral for the collective. This is something the statists that compose the neoconservatives and the liberals cannot understand. It’s something they may never understand. In the meantime, the libertarian will continue to be caught between the two and slandered for not falling for statism like they have.

2 thoughts on “Libertarians: Stuck in the Middle

  1. There's a difference between what "libertaian" means in the US and how it's definded in the rest of the world. Libertarian doesn't mean the same thing it did as it does now. Anarchists such as Emma Goldman and her peers called themselves Libertarian, and many others, like Chomsky for instance (calls himself a libertarian Socialist), call themselves this today. As an anarchist I consider myself a libertarian but I am careful to clarify it to people, as the association with the Right wing is predominate in US thinking.


  2. Yes I agree. I have talked with people from the left about topics and they instantly assume that I am republican. I have to clarify that I am not, I disagree with them just as much as the modern left. I don't think these other people understand the core principle of libertarianism. They don't understand the non-aggression principle. There is no way to be a libertarian socialist. Socialism always aims to violate private property and by doing so, violates the non-aggression principle. I think the confusion over terms simply occurs because these people don't even understand their own positions themselves.


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