For the Libertarians

A few run-ins with these guys in my youth soured me on Libertarianism forever, but the Z Man still likes batting them around a bit.  As Libertarianism attracts mainly college kids, who don’t know what they don’t know, I present the following as a public service:

This “non-aggression principle” you keep going on about…. that’s been covered.  As always, a Dead White Male got there first.

Thomas Hobbes said the first Law of Nature — the very first one, and please note the capitals — is: “seek peace.”  Problem is, no individual man is powerful enough to guarantee peace for himself against all the other people he’s forced to interact with.  So we form covenants — what comes to be known as the famous “social contract” — in order to secure peace for ourselves and our posterity.  Hobbes spends the rest of a fairly long book exploring the consequences of this social contract.

That book is Leviathan, and it ends with the most absolute monarch that ever could be.  Hobbes’s reasoning is irrefutable if you grant his premises.  It’s worth reading.  Our forefathers thought so, at least, since all that “by the people, for the people” stuff — Locke, Montesquieu, the whole schmear — is an attempt to wrestle with Hobbes’s premises without arriving at his conclusion.  They used to teach this stuff in Humanities 101, I swear.

It’s not your fault you didn’t get this in college — we gotta fit Jay-Z, Ru Paul, and Andrea Dworkin in the curriculum somewhere — but you can find a copy in every used bookstore in the land.  Give it a skim, then get back to me on the moral basis of Libertarianism.

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10 thoughts on “For the Libertarians

  1. Nate Winchester

    Considering that their political power is basically zilch and they are at least on our side about the big problem is too much government, not too little, I’m not sure I see the productiveness of these debates.

    One gets the feelings Zman is less about getting his way and more just enjoys complaining.

  2. Recusant

    Nate, you’re right, I suppose, but they are so annoying and pointless: Whigs with the adolescence turned to Max and no experience.

    Is it actually possible to be a Libertarian and have children?

    1. Nate Winchester

      Is it actually possible to be a Libertarian and have children?

      Not for long. 😉

      But I’d be much happier voting between a libertarian and a conservative on a ticket than… well the guys we have usually.

  3. al from da Nort

    To me the serious business is to derive a coherent body of political thought for the ‘instinctive right’. While it is necessary to reject the mindless, nihilistic, soft Marxism that runs our universities and media today, that is clearly not enough. We have to be able to have a ready answer to those who say, “OK, I get it that PC is stupid and destructive, so what’s your answer_? And, more importantly, why is yours the right answer_?”

    So-called American Conservatives have objectively failed to conserve anything much at all politically, morally and economically. They appear to be fine with the slow-motion destruction of America V1.1 that we see right before our eyes. In 2016 we were almost at a situation of crony socialism not so different from Latin America or Mussolini’s Italy before its disastrous alliance with Hitler’s Germany. They seemed basically OK with this picture so long s they didn’t have soil themselves with unfashionable rhetoric.

    Libertarianism has been put forward by some as the better answer, and it is a superficially attractive one. But it’s actual historical performance under Prog pressure leads me to believe that they will not hold the line for freedom either so long as they have easy access to weed. So it’s important to know why that is so as to avoid their mistakes.

  4. Severian

    I honestly don’t care much about the Libertarians per se. As Nate notes, they’re political nonentities; influence-wise, it’s like getting worked up about the Flat Earth Society.

    But man oh manischewitz do I get tired of college kids taking the one book they managed to read in six years of undergrad and turning it into a religion. It’s been said before, boys — it has all been said before. “Non-aggression principle?” Ninja, puh-leeze. This is either cut-rate Kant (the “categorical imperative”) or half-assed Hobbes (the first Law of Nature), and while those men certainly had their flaws, “inability to think through the obvious consequences of their positions” wasn’t one of them.

    I had to spend all 2016 explaining to smug, self-righteous college kids why Bernie Sanders’s new hotness was actually old and busted shit recycled from Eugene V. Debs; I don’t want to have to spend 2018 explaining that “non-aggression principle” is just a spergy way of saying “do unto others.” Hence this post.

  5. al from da Nort

    I take it that Hobbes was a man of the Enlightenment. That is, he was a materialist who flew a Diest flag-of-convenience (so as to not run afoul of the Lords Sectarian). IOW, he wished have things both ways, pushing out religious in favor of naturalist explanations of everything, yet retaining a Christianity-based moral code. IOW, to your point, this is the same as Libertarians wish to do whether they admit it or not.

    Thing is, Christianity is pretty clear about the doctrine of human depravity.* It is emphatically *not* compatible with all men ‘seeking peace’ with each other, although Christians *are* exhorted to conduct themselves in that way. IOW, only a converted and truly regenerate man has any hope of living in the way Hobbes and Libertarians would like to assume all humans do as a first principle.

    In Hobbe’s place and time the frank ethnography’s of peoples around the world who actually *did* live much closer to ‘the state of nature’ were largely yet to be written by European colonial officers or were inaccessible because they were the work of a few eccentric Catholic Priests. So he has some excuse.

    What they do show is neither a situation of ‘war of all against all’ nor of ‘man seeking peace with man’. Tl:dr; War is for those outside your tribe and peace is for those inside your tribe enforced through social control or focused violence if and when necessary.

    So now we don’t have the excuse of ignorance of how the actual ‘state of nature’ works yet we persist in assuming not just blank-slatism but *benevolent* blank-slatism: Utterly amazing.

    * The doctrine of human depravity is the *one* Christian doctrine with the most historical evidence of any. It ought not need any faith whatsoever to accept. Yet Prog.s and Libertarians reject it: More evidence of the fact that Progressivism is a religion.

  6. Tim of the North

    S: Do you find any college kids at all interested in this stuff? Do any of them care about reading, are any of them capable of being challenged? Tim

    1. Severian

      Not really. With kids these days, if they don’t already know it, it’s by definition not worth knowing. But there is stereotypical college character, The Libertarian, that every prof runs into every other semester. You see this kid — black duster coat, fedora, “ironic” video game t-shirt — and you know you’re in for one loooooong semester.

      As for challenging students, fuhgettaboudit. Ask them “what is the purpose of government?” and they start rattling off all the “rights” we all have — free sex changes etc. If you tell them this stuff has a history, you get the blankest of blank stares. They exist in an endless, contextless, selfie-filled present, and that’s why the Left wins.

  7. Jay Carter

    College  . . . Smollege!

    According to scripture, it was Solome who said: “Bring me the head of John The Baptist.”

    I say: “Bring me the head of a millennial who knows how to replace a spark plug.”

  8. Pingback: What Do College Kids Know? | Rotten Chestnuts

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