Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ducks Through Thick and thin

We had a blog post on thick and thin libertarianism before HERE, and now we have a piece on the same subject by Tom Woods. I find it interesting that the first examples of "thick" libertarianism is of the left-wing variety, which to me... well, let me back off and talk about this in general terms:

The bare bones of libertarianism is the NAP or ZAP, i. e., the non-aggression principle, or the zero aggression principle. Essentially, it means that people are, or ought to be, free to do anything at all provided that they do not aggress, or initiate force, against others.  The trick, of course, is to apply this to the real world after you've accepted it.

Tom Woods discusses the "thick" libertarians who think that to implement such a system, one must first make sure that everyone has liberal, or, as I like to put it, "hippy-dippy" views on social matters. They feel that any kind of conservative, or traditional values makes the ZAP impossible. They are dead wrong. The opposite is the case.  Liberal hippy-dippy values are exactly what makes a libertarian society impossible. This is because liberal values promote the dissolution of social norms and traditional values, and at the same time encourage any and all self-destructive behavior that anybody can dream up, from sexual promiscuity to economic profligacy. And when people are rendered incapable of self-reliance and individualism, they become dependent sheep, and there goes any hope of a libertarian society.

Now, as Bob Wallace puts it, libertarians with liberal values are liberals for all practical purposes, and their professed libertarianism is bogus.  But, no, I'll be kinder than that. Some of them really are libertarians, but they really don't grasp the principle above, that liberalism destroys the very things that make a libertarian society possible. They're like pacifists, who believe that if they don't fight, nobody will fight them. In other words, they're unrealistic, and don't understand how the world works.

So I'm a "thick" libertarian, but one from the other side, who believes that without social norms and constraints that encourage people to behave in a healthy, responsible manner, the state will always fill the gap as society deteriorates.  Indeed, a state that wants to grow in power will encourage self-destructive behavior on the part of its subjects so that they'll call on the state for assistance at every point, as they sit there in their jammies with their hot chocolate.

Thanks to Kier Martland for sending this in.
From Tom Woods' blog:


Tom Woods  

I am in haste, as I always am these days because of the time I’m spending creating course material for the Ron Paul homeschool curriculum, but a quick note about Duck Dynasty. My wife really likes the show. I myself haven’t been able to get into it. I just find it boring. I realize I’m in the minority.
Having said that, I thought the whole matter of Phil Robertson brought up an interesting issue for libertarians. Some libertarians say the traditional libertarian principle of nonaggression is insufficient. That is merely “thin” libertarianism, they say. We also need to have left-liberal views on religion, sexual morality, feminism, etc., because reactionary beliefs among the public are also threats to liberty. This is “thick” libertarianism.
As a “thin” libertarian myself (or what in the past was simply called a libertarian), I reject the claims of the thickists. I see no good reason to expand the list of requirements people must meet in order to be admitted to our little group. If they support nonaggression, they are libertarians.
But if the thickists are concerned that certain cultural attitudes might be dangerous to liberty, why do I never hear them express concern that the hysteria of the cultural Left might be prejudicial to liberty? Why is it only the traditional moral ideas of the bourgeoisie that are supposed to be so threatening? Could this be yet another double standard?
Everyone in American society now knows there are certain things they must never say, lest they be banished from polite society by the opinion police. The opinion police do not believe competing views have a right to exist. Yes, yes, in theory they do. But in practice they seek out and destroy anyone who does not accept fashionable opinion on a range of questions. Couple this with thought-control organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which conflates “hate” with unconventional views — having condemned such purveyors of violence and hate as Judge Napolitano and Ron Paul (note to the brain-dead: that is sarcasm) — and which actually collaborates with law enforcement, and isn’t the result far more dangerous to liberty than the fact that lots of people dissent from the new orthodoxy on sex?
Yet I haven’t come across a thickist who seems concerned about this. Maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough. I doubt it.


  1. Hey, surprised to see someone with similar view points who also ends with anime pics. Nice.

  2. It is a violation of the ZAP to delegate the use of force to the state for the purpose of compelling obedience to a particular mind set. It is just as much a violation of the ZAP to use the state to silence criticism of "the gay lifestyle" as it is to use the power of the state to deny homosexuals their rights. "You use that word a lot but I don't think you know what it means," is the best way to describe the use of the name libertarian by "thick libertarians."

  3. I'd comment on the upper article, but I dont see the comment box, anyway what is your general view on libertarianism, namely to me it seems pretty neutered in that a lot of its followers rely on its presumed 'obviousness' and will do shit to actually promote it.

  4. I never use the term "Nonaggression principle" cause what constitutes Aggression can to easily be made subjective.

    What makes a Libertarian to me is believing in Individual rights. In that area the "left" agrees with us far more often then the "right" does. Gun Control is the main issue.