Let ‘em get together, buy a compound, admit like-minded people to their group and do their thing. God bless ’em. The Libertarian will not bother them. He won’t tax ‘em, regulate ‘em or attempt to control them in any way whatsoever. He will respect their right to choose their way of life, even if it means handing over control of their lives to an individual “leader” or “representatives” of the (supposed) will of “the people.”
But none of them are capable of leaving a Libertarian in peace.
All of the political ideologies except Libertarianism are defined by their refusal to take “no, thanks” as an answer. Their unwillingness to leave others alone. Their utter rejection of the principle that government (like any contract) is only legitimate if freely consented to.
If you do not agree with a communist, a fascist, a Republican or a Democrat, he will insist. If you resist, he will use whatever violent means are necessary to compel your obedience. If it comes down to it, he will have you killed.
Chairman Mao – one of history’s greatest mass murderers – was absolutely right when he observed that political power flows from the barrel of a gun.
This goes for Republicans and Democrats, too. They are just less honest with themselves about it than Chairman Mao. They patty-cake talk in euphemisms about the violence that is the foundation of their ideologies. But euphemisms don’t alter the fact that violence is, indeed, the foundation of their ideologies – as much as it was the foundation of Mao’s.
We are talking differences of degree, not kind.
Only Libertarians offer the latter.
You can deride us as “selfish” – a commonly hurled insult – but whatever you may think about us, we aren’t the ones pointing guns at people. We may ask for your cooperation, attempt to persuade you that “x” or “y” is a good idea and worth your support. But we stop there. If you tell us, “no thanks – I’m not interested” we will accept your decision and leave you be. We might be disappointed, but we won’t insist.
That is the nature of our “selfishness.”
We don’t claim you “owe” money for things you never bought and don’t want. We figure it’s up to you to decide what you want and buy it if you want to. We only ask that you use your own money – not ours.
We figure, if you’re not hurting someone by whatever it is you’re doing, we haven’t got any right to interfere with what you’re doing. We may think you’re weird, even foolish. But we will leave you alone unless you aren’t leaving others alone.
Can a Republican or Democrat say the same?
They differ (and bicker) only logistically. Who will get what taken from whom. They both agree (unanimously) on the taking – and the controlling.
And here’s the thing: Inevitably, the taking and controlling wax rather than wane. Attempting to “limit” it is as hopeless as trying to keep a puddle of gasoline from igniting by only putting a match to a corner of the puddle.
This is a bit of obviousness that escapes, in particular, “conservatives.” I was one myself, once upon a time. So I get the etiology of the delusion that there can be such a thing as a “limited” variety of authoritarian collectivism – and that’s what we are talking about here, regardless of the label on the bottle.
Either you are an authoritarian collectivist – to whatever degree. Or you are not – to any degree.
There is no middle way.
If you are an authoritarian collectivist, particularly a “conservative” Republican one, you have condemned yourself to an endless, hopeless battle about what “works” – as you see it – vs. what “works” as others see it. You will argue over particulars, never principles.
Hence, you can never win more than the occasional temporary tactical victory for your collective. This is what elections in a democracy are all about. What Mencken apty called the “advance auction of stolen goods.”
Never whether anyone’s goods ought to be stolen in the first place.
“Conservatives” tend to be startled by the Libertarian’s moral political position because “conservatives” (in air quotes because it is difficult to ascertain with any precision what it is, exactly, they are hoping to “conserve”) regard themselves as morally superior to those loosey-goosey “liberals.”
But the two have much more in common with each other than with Libertarians.
Nether the “conservative” nor the “liberal” object in principle (or practice) to theft, for example. Or to involuntary servitude (to varying degrees) nor to forcibly imposing their “values” on others, who’ve done them no harm. They are equivocators, quibblers and dissemblers.
You can never get a straight answer out of either.
Only the Libertarian objects in principle and practice to taking anyone’s things, because they aren’t his things. To controlling anyone else’s life, because it’s not his life; to forcibly insisting that others live their lives the way he thinks life ought to be lived… because he has no interest in a master-slave relationship.
The “conservative” (and “good Republican” – which amounts to the same thing) is perpetually demoralized by the fact that his is a rearguard battle, a constant retreat. He never seems to get much traction securing the “limited government” he says he wants.
Perhaps it is because he does not really want it.
Or because he does not understand it. That such a thing is impossible.
Having agreed in principle with the “liberal” Democrat – his avowed political enemy – he doesn’t grok why the trend is always toward more rather than less government. He doesn’t grok that it’s useless to complain about “taxes that are too high” without criticizing the idea of taxes (theft) as such. Pointless to bitch about “intrusive government” when one refuses to discuss the legitimacy of government.
Here’s an idea: How about we each agree to abide by this “consent of the governed” business they talk up in school? If you want to live in a commune, gather together like-minded people and go for it. But leave those not interested out of it. Same goes for “conservatives” and their “limited” government schtick. Let them who want it, have it – but leave the rest of us free to opt out. You’ve heard of Go Fund Me? How about Go Fund Yourself.
Yes, I know. I am “selfish” for wanting to be left in peace – and eager to extend the same courtesy to you in return.
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