Friday, May 9, 2014

L. Neil Smith Gives "Thick" Libertarians a Thick Ear

Awhile ago, we had a piece on "Thick" libertarianism by Keir Martland. You can read it HERE. Evidently the term first got popular in the UK, and now it's here. Now, to introduce Neil's piece, I'll first say that I, too, agree with the Zero Aggression Principle until it becomes suicidal. That is, I look at it as I believe I look at all philosophical principles, as being valid within certain parameters. And like a great deal of libertarian thinking, the ZAP works wonderfully well within the protective bubble of Western Civilization. Not perfectly even there, but pretty darn well. The problem comes with maintaining the bubble. The ZAP, for example, doesn't mean a damn thing in, say, Nigeria. There, the initiation of force is considered primary, as it is in a state of nature practically everywhere. The ZAP, you see, is a "social construct," a term often abused, but which does have useful application in many connections. The ZAP is an artifact of Western Civilization, derived from centuries of social evolution, from the Classical Greek thinkers through Medieval philosophers to the Founding Fathers to folks like Neil, and Keir Martland, and you, and me. That explains where I stand. I have no problem with the preemptive initiation of force in order to attain and preserve the ZAP.

But the "thick" libertarians Keir and Neil are talking about aren't just the left-wing version of me. No, they believe in the ZAP, but only insofar as it doesn't interfere with the things really important to them, like anti-racism, feminism, lots and lots of Third-World immigration, and, well, the destruction of Western Civilization. You'll note that all of these things are not to the purpose of attaining or preserving the ZAP, but are actually inimical to it.

Anti-racism, of course, is fundamental to destruction of the homogeneousness of a people. (In practice, naturally, it only applies to White people. Everybody else, from Eric Holder to La Raza can be as ethnocentric and anti-White as they like.) And if there's anything we've learned over the last few decades, it's that diversity is not a strength. The more ethnic diversity a nation has, the less public trust and voluntary cooperation there is, and consequently the more government is needed to keep order. It's almost like governments promote such diversity, both through forced integration of everybody and through opening the borders to everybody, in order to show us all how necessary the government is, and how much more money and power we must vote to give it, in order for it to protect us from the results of all this diversity.

Feminism works in the same direction, by destroying the family unit, and therefore the authority and responsibility of the family, again necessitating that the government take up the slack, and feed and baby-sit the children and do all those things that families used to do for themselves.

Open immigration I've already covered. Libertarianism is fragile enough in the West, without inviting millions of people in to exercise "freedom," which to them means government largesse and freedom to not work and to avoid criminal penalties. And to vote for more of the same.

A wise man once said that you can't make a nice clean little place for yourself in the gutter. You have to clean the whole gutter and then keep those out who would dirty it again. Now to Neil, who, I assert, is dead right within the parameters:


Thick As A Brick
by L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com


There are humorous and sad stories within the libertarian movement about Ayn Rand, who was apparently unable to distinguish between the essential elements of her philosophy, and her own personal, passing enthusiasms.

At one point, I've been told, Rand rather foolishly proclaimed that the only form of dancing truly consistent with Objectivism was tap dancing, and that the most rational dancer of them all was Fred Astaire. I always liked old Fred, myself, but not as a philosophical paragon.

Maybe it's easier to see from a distance that Objectivism is an ethical philosophy, while tap dancing is an artform, and that the two, within certain broad parameters, have nothing whatever to do with one another.

But that was then, this is now.

I have pretty much been "out of the loop" for the past month or so, while I struggle to complete two novels simultaneously. I have been relying on my wife and daughter, for the most part, to keep me in touch.

One item that has broken through my self-imposed "cone of silence" is the embarrassingly dumb pseudo-issue of "thick" versus "thin" libertarianism. It's an idea almost as stupid as "right" versus "left" libertarianism.

Read and understand this: a libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being for any reason whatever; nor will a proper libertarian advocate the initiation of force, or delegate it to anyone else.

Individuals who act consistently with this principle are genuine libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim.
I call it the "Zero Aggression Principle". Tell me: where's the "right" and "left" to that? You're either libertarian or you're not. Period.

If I understand the pushers of this new conceptoid, they believe—and insist—there must be more to libertarianism than the Zero Aggression Principle, that we must incorporate into the movement and its underlying philosophy concerns that properly belong to creatures who have dirtied the word "liberal" so badly they now call themselves "progressives".

Since I first became a conscious libertarian, 52 years ago (when you get to be my age, time flies whether you're having fun or not), and certainly since the founding of the Libertarian Party, a decade later, there have always been individuals attempting to redefine libertarianism—usually downward—to suit their own prejudices and purposes.

I recall, for example, attendees at an early CLP convention, demanding from the floor that the party platform not be so negative about the public school system. This despite the harsh reality that permitting that institution—underwritten by extortion, staffed by greedy recipients of stolen goods, populated by slaves relentlessly brain-washed with socialist propaganda—to continue existing at all is a blatant violation of the Zero Aggression Principle. They were public school teachers themselves, you see, and they just knew that everybody in the system was striving as hard as they could to make it better.

They were far from the first. Murray Rothbard, among a good many others, desperately wanted to court the Left and form a coalition of some kind with them. The trouble is that the Left doesn't stay courted. In fact, they're rather like ants, which shouldn't be too surprising. Their rank and file tend to agree with the last person who spoke to them, and their leaders will use you to advance their agenda.

All that was forty years ago.

I have always thought, and I believe that history backs me up in this, that it was a serious mistake to try to establish an Objectivist aesthetic. Aesthetics are purely arbitrary, a matter of whatever we've become accustomed to. Look at the way the idealized feminine form has changed (driven, some say, by the economics of feast and famine) from the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens to the images of Lesley "Twiggy" Lawson. Or, over a much shorter span, from Jayne Mansfield to Mia Farrow.

The purveyors of "thick" libertarianism are making a mistake as obvious and pathetically foolish as Rand's. They want to take a 987 Porsche Boxster—the sleek, slim Zero Aggression Principle—glue cardboard shoeboxes, empty coffee cans, and dead cats on it at random, and herald it as something new and wonderful. But new and wonderful it ain't.

It's the same old crap.

A short term for "thick" libertarians is "liberals".

I gather that these wimps and losers can't take being members of a minority that just happens to be right about every social, economic, and political issue of the day. It makes them uncomfortable to stand alone. They want libertarians—as such—to have a more "positive" image, to become tree huggers, to wring our hands over the plight of the poor, to take Algore's side on globular warming, and to save the whales.

I don't want to save the whales, I want to eat them.

These specimens know so little of their own philosophy they don't realize (or have forgotten) that under libertarianism, you'll be free to hug your own damn tree; that, poverty being a product of taxation and regulation, under libertarianism there will be no poor; that environmentalism is a euphemism for fascism; and that animals are property.

Don't take the bait by saying "thin" and "thick" libertarianism. That simply hands them the argument. Say "clean" and "cluttered" libertarianism, instead. Remember the K.I.S.S. principle and keep it wholly.

Make it K.I.S.S.S.S.—keep it short, sweet, and simple, stupid. Remember Occam's Razor: don't multiply variables, or platform planks, unnecessarily.

Possibly worst of all, these weenies want us to be libertarians for the "correct" reasons, implying that only utilitarian or altruistic motives are morally acceptable. One of the reasons I became libertarian in the first place was thanks to Ayn Rand (whom most of these people hate, loathe, and despise) who said, "I do not recognize any man's claim to one minute of my life," and "Your need does not constitute a mortgage on my existence." Heady—and badly needed—stuff for a kid going to high school in the suffocatingly religious South.

All the more necessary now, under Obamunism.

Even kindly old Bob LeFevre horrified middle class housewives in his audience by saying that if a five-year-old came scratching at your door during a blizzard, you have no moral obligation to take it in. (Folks may not like you for it, but you would be within your rights.) For me, it was like feeling the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders.

Motives. Andrew Carnegie was a dirt poor Scottish immigrant to America who, over a lifetime of work, amassed what would amount to billions of dollars today. This is the guy every libertarian's hero, Scrooge McDuck, was based on. When he retired, he built a network of public libraries all over this country which have enabled millions of individuals to obtain an education they couldn't otherwise have afforded.

The left has spent many decades trying to tear Carnegie down by questioning his motives for building all those libraries. I don't give a rodent's derriere why he did it. Neither should you. If a tremendous gift you receive is spoiled by your estimate of the giver's reason for giving it, the solution you need to seek is neither economic nor political.

It's psychiatric.

If Zefram Cochrane invents the warp drive "only" because he wants a tropical island filled with naked dancing girls, I say give him the island.

And invite the girls.

On the other hand, motivations can be important in other contexts. What I'm looking at here, in this "thin" and "thick" nonsense—and I have long suspected it of "left" libertarians, as well—seems like nothing more than a sorry, sophomoric attempt by the libertarian movement's nerds, geeks, dorks, and goobers to get laid by progressive chicks.

Probably because libertarian women won't have them.

Lotsa luck, guys.
-------
Quibcag: I couldn't find an anime picture of that 987 Porsche Boxster, and I certainly didn't want to use a picture of a dead cat, so instead here we have "The Professor" from Nichijou (日常), with her live cat, Sakamoto.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting that an ultra-thick libertarian ("libertarianism = the non-aggression principle plus a state big enough to guarantee that my ignorant ethnic prejudices never have to acknowledge reality") would publish this piece.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really good post! I learned stuff and laughed out loud - a good combination.............

    But here's the deal with libertarianism (whether thick or thin, or left or right, or up or down), as brilliant as it would be if it ever existed, it can never exist because it does not take account of the presence of a hostile organised group focused on taking over and enslaving the populace.........

    The way I see it, the mind disease that all Libertarians suffer from is the belief that Liberals are just a result of our fucked up system and that they are simply mislead, naive, insane, deranged etc.....

    While this may be true for your typical 'ground level' liberal (the kind we end up arguing with on forums and in real life), nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to who is actually behind liberalism, who is promoting liberalism - ie the owners of the media and the federal reserve .....

    These people know exactly what they are doing: they know liberalism is poison, they know mass third world immigration is poison, they know feminism is poison, they know core curriculum is poison - that's the point, they're at war with us - they are trying to destroy us

    And that's why Libertarianism is useless as a system - there's just no way of identifying a common enemy and defending against it - and if there's one thing that history has taught us it's that there is ALWAYS a common enemy.....

    When it comes down to it, history is genocide, we are currently being genocided, we need a system that helps us fight back and then that ensures that we are protected from another attack in the future - libertarianism will never ever be the answer......

    Just like liberalism, libertarianism simply does not reflect reality, nature and the human condition - it is therefore doomed to fail in the battle field and all the energy being put into it is a waste.........

    ReplyDelete