THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 842, October 11, 2015
Twenty Years Online!
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Recently I have noticed that there is something that may cause division in the Libertarian movement if we don't nip it in the bud right away. There has always been somewhat of a division between the limited government libertarians, also known as miniarchists and anarchic libertarians. Usually the arguments start when an anarchic libertarian accuses a miniarchists of not being a true libertarian and even going as far as calling him a statist. Basically it's part of the whole "No True Scotsman Fallacy", where someone will say that no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge, which is a fallacy because it has no actual bearing on whether a person was born or raised in Scotland.
Personally, I don't know where I fall on the libertarian scale these days. Years ago I would have told you that I was staunchly limited government and thought that the anarchist side was nothing more than a silly pipedream. Now, I am not so sure, since I have seen the government in action one too many times and they can't seem to do the most rudimentary of tasks. That being said, I think the anarchist libertarians should cut the miniarchists some slack because in the end none of us know for sure, which way is the right way to go.
Though I will say that the anarchist and miniarchist divide ills in comparison to the social justice warriors that have been slowly creeping into our movement. This is a problem that libertarian activist Christopher Cantwell has pointed out on several occasions. He feels that there are many in the libertarian movement, who are so desperate to expand their numbers that they are willing to court the social justice warriors of the left. I certainly don't agree with everything this man says, since Cantwell is renowned for his blunt and sometimes crude personality. At one point he had promoted himself on his website as the three A's. Atheist, anarchist and asshole. That being said, I am in complete agreement with his observation.
I am all for trying to reach people on different sides of the political spectrum, but not if it requires compromising our principles. What good is it to increase our numbers, if we no longer have the principles that our movement is based on. Cantwell has pointed out instances where libertarian conventions have allowed certain groups to sell anti-capitalist books at these events, which makes no sense because these people are supposed to be our opponents, not our allies.
Cantwell on several occasions has also mentioned the attacks on Canadian Libertarian candidate, Lauren Southern by the social justice warriors in the party because she dared to say that "rape culture" didn't exist. For those of you not familiar with modern feminist lingo, rape culture is where rape is condoned or ignored by society. Don't look at me, I have no comprehension of why anyone would believe that such a thing exists. Apparently there were people in the party who believed in it so strongly that they tried to boot Southern from her position. When their efforts failed, they left the party with their tails between their legs and some even joined the Green Party. Sounds like a true Scotsmen to me.
I have also been disappointed with fellow libertarians that were jumping for joy when the CEO of Mozilla was forced to resign for the unforgiveable sin of donating money for supporting Proposition 8, which at the time banned same sex marriage in the state of California. I want to point that all private companies are free to fire anybody for any reason, but I don't know if I really want to celebrate the firing of a person for holding a position that is apparently unpopular now. I remember this one man on Stossel (I can't remember his name) who claimed to be a libertarian, but was happy that anybody could be ousted from his job for having views that are "bigoted." What this man doesn't seem to realize is that if a man can be easily forced from his job for holding an opinion that was until recently the majority opinion of the people living in the state, then just imagine how easy it would be for somebody with libertarian views to find himself kicked to the curb. So excuse me if I am not too eager to break out the Champagne.
My biggest disappoint was when my favorite magician / comedian / atheist / libertarian, Penn Jellette actually belittled Christian businesses that didn't want to participate in gay weddings. He said that while he didn't like the idea of having more government interference, he seemed to believe that the government was right in forcing businesses to cater to gay weddings. He said "It's not like they're forcing you to participate in gay sex." Penn, my brother, I am sorry, but as much as I love you, you have completely missed the point. As a libertarian you shouldn't be willing to throw freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of association under the bus, just to keep a gay couple from getting their feelings hurt. Sorry, Penn, but freedom should always come first.
There is also an organization known as the Bleeding Heart Libertarians who like to take it upon themselves to show that despite what the detractors keep claiming, libertarians are compassionate about the poor and disadvantaged. They call themselves libertarian social justice warriors. I don't have a problem with a group showing the benefits that the little guy will receive once we have more freedom, I just worry about the closet Marxist and the radical feminists who may end up poisoning the well, just like I have seen with the secular movements.
I remember that there was this radical feminist atheist named Rebecca Watson, who managed to cause a divide in the movement when she went on a tangent about her experiences at a skeptic convention that involved a man from the bar that she had been drinking in at 4:00 am. While they were in the elevator the man asked her if she wanted to go up to his room for coffee. Most rational human beings who weren't interested would have just said "No thanks", and left it at that. Instead Watson had to go on and on about how she was sexualized, which led to a call for having some code of conduct that forbid sexual harassment at these skeptic conventions. The people who rightfully thought that Watson overreacted were immediately given the label of misogynists by other radical feminists in the movement.
I am afraid that the same thing could just as easily happen to the freedom movement if we are not careful. As a libertarian it's okay to be compassionate to the poor and disadvantaged, just as long as you don't compromise your principles in the process. It's also good to remember that the principles of freedom have probably done more to help the disadvantaged then anything created by a social justice movement.
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