THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 577, July 4, 2010
"He pissed me off."
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
Some people in the freedom movement talk about a big umbrella, about a big tent, about including people instead of excluding them, and about working together for a common cause. Some of the prominent people now talking in this way include J. Neil Schulman, who would like to assure you that Glenn Beck is a libertarian, and Wayne Root, who would like to assure you that Wayne Root, the running mate of Bob Barr, is a libertarian. I think Bill Redpath still wants you to be convinced that Barr is a libertarian, since he had him paid the big bucks to be keynote speaker for this year's LP convention, I gather. Though Barr has not paid his ghost writer for the 2008 book, nor Angelia O'Dell for her work as a paid staffer in West Virginia.
All this talk about people with authoritarian backgrounds becoming libertarian sounds very nice. Barr, for example, used to be a drug war prosecutor for the feral gummint. Sadly, even after becoming the LP nominee, he went on national television with drug war rhetoric. So it might be useful to develop some touchstones for authoritarians.
If your philosophy is not entirely libertarian, you are going to be criticised by libertarians. If you expect to be inconsistent about liberty and never be criticised by people who pride themselves on being willing to exercise their freedom of expression, you are nuts.
With many thanks to Jeff Foxworthy for his routine "You might be a redneck," I hereby present my thoughts on authoritarians.
If your world view allows you to make endless exceptions for Israel's national police to bash heads, erect walls, and turn the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp, you might be an authoritarian.
If your world view allows you to make exceptions for the USA to invade other countries, militarily occupy Texas, Germany, Japan, and Korea, among many other countries, for decades, you might be an authoritarian.
If your world view calls for religious bigotry, or racism, or sexism, or xenophobia, or homophobia, or wars on drugs, terror, freedom, and people in other countries, you might be an authoritarian.
If your moral philosophy holds that it is evil for gay people to be married because the word marriage is special to you and God, you might be an authoritarian.
If your personal philosophy exempts the state for erecting a new Berlin Wall to keep some people out of your country, or to keep some people and their ideas and capital in your country, you might be an authoritarian.
If a state licence to practice your profession seems okay to you, or if a patent or copyright issued by the state is essential to your prosperity, you might be an authoritarian.
And if you are an authoritarian, then you aren't especially libertarian. And neither is Glenn Beck.
You can still be freedom-oriented, you can still believe in self-defence, you can still stand up for the oppressed once in a while. But you cannot reasonably expect not to be criticised by authentic, principled, consistent libertarians.
And if you are tired of weakening the libertarian movement by continuing to be an authoritarian and continuing to claim that you aren't, why not stop pretending?