I’ve noticed a lot of commentary over the past few years about those who left the libertarian movement, most recently this which gives an interesting insight into the movement by a former participant. My sympathies with the movement were mostly intellectual and confined to an online presence. I know very few people in my personal sphere that are sympathetic to it and even strong conservatives I know, seem to have abandoned the idea of limited government altogether.
It isn’t something that is merely demographic either as while political sympathies with limited-government are largely found among white men, it is still a relatively small group of white men that have these sympathies.
The reality seems to be that arguments are not enough and while employing rhetoric can be helpful, most people are (not unreasonably) concerned and mostly unconsciously with what they perceive to be their own interest. It is simply not in the interest of much of the population to vote for less government. And telling them that this is not sensible in the long term won’t help. Women are observably unsympathetic as well as are immigrant populations almost no matter their background.
With this reality it is not hard to see why people are abandoning the movement and why it has been co-opted by people Milo describes as being exclusively concerned with “weed and hacking.” He’s not wrong either.
Even Stefan Molyneux, someone I respect for their honesty and consistency seems to have become just a tad more authoritarian in response to these realities.
There are many ways you can respond to this reality. One way is to go full fash like many in the alt-right seem to have done. Another, is to remain sympathetic to the ideal but see that the idea alone is not enough to protect the liberty that was won and is now fast being eroded. I think Mr. Molyneux fits somewhat into the latter though I’m sure he’d explain it more succinctly than I could.
Yet another would be to remain with the increasingly cultist and degenerate libertarians. As the writer in the link at the top, suggests, this movement has largely been co-opted and filled with people largely unconcerned with the very important economic side of the movement. The latter is what attracted me, not the libertine nature of many libertarians.
Which brings me to another problem which requires a small tangent. Have you ever been in an old car where the needle on the tachometer generally gives consistent readings but sometimes jumps around a bit before falling back into place? Long sentence but that’s a good metaphor for my own politics. I have been all over the place but generally maintained the same instincts which have been subtlety changed with learning and experience.
I remain an instinctively “live and let live” person and I generally act this way dealing with people on a one to one basis. I was previously happy to extend this society wide. You know the standard argument that if a man wants to snort cocaine off a dead goat while wearing a dress and being sodomised by a cucumber, he should be allowed to do it; “as long as he isn’t hurting anyone”. The immediate problem I’ve come to realise is that despite how much the man in question may enjoy this; he is in fact hurting himself in ways he’s unable to fathom. The next problem is the question of whether or not he should be able to share and celebrate and even perform this hobby in public.
Like John C. Wright I would have to give a big no to all of the above. The next thing to realise is that people who bathe in filth seldom want to do it alone. They want people to join them and those who live more morally upright lives hold a metaphorical mirror to their sins that they can’t stand. So they will try to break all the mirrors they see or at least splash them with enough filth that they can’t see their reflections in them.
Similar to corruption, the more people you make dirty, the less people are able to do anything about it. That is the problem. I say to my enemies, “live and let live” but they don’t say the same back to me. So while I remain sympathetic to people living their own lives, there own way, I realise that enough people have to not only agree but live similarly upright lives for this to work. This is not the world we live in; this is not reality.
There are other problems with libertarianism such as their complete incoherence on free movement and trade. This stems from a focus on human as economic units and ignores the much more powerful forces of religion, culture and genetics. I can’t fault the Austrian economic outlook but when you have enough people among you that don’t understand or simply don’t care, you will lose no matter how sensible these ideas.
I suppose I will have more to write on this at a later date but this is where I am and why I have become more sympathetic to a government acting more authoritatively for the good of its people. If the government isn’t acting in your interest, it’s acting for someone else’s. This is what makes a homogeneous state with the explicit and unapologetic task of serving the interests of its people more appealing. This is more appealing than the white degenerates and rainbow fantasies that represent libertarians today.