A Libertarian Critique of Libertarianism

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have” — Thomas Jefferson

Two events happened over the last week that made me question libertarianism: Jo Jorgensen’s — the Libertarian Party candidate for the President of the USA — tweets and the Friedman 8 liberty conference.

I call myself a libertarian mainly because of my economic beliefs. If you speak to me about social issues, I come across as a conservative (for the most part).

As for the definition of libertarianism: “Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property—rights that people possess naturally, before governments are instituted. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force—actions such as murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud” — David Boaz, The Libertarian Mind

Social Justice and Ideology

Many libertarians take the Left’s view socially — “social justice”, LGBTQIAWTF+ “rights”, gender and racial equality, etc., the usual leftwing talking points that drive me crazy. Unfortunately this leads to an ideological view of the world, which Jorgensen’s tweet shows.

Jorgensen is caught up in a philosophy based on critical race theory, an ideological lens through which the world is viewed, inherited from the Frankfurt School’s critical theory. Other real life — and topical — examples of critical race theory include Robin DiAngelo‘s “White Fragility”, which DiAngelo uses to guilt white people into believing they’re racist during her corporate indoctrination sessions.

I’ve met a number of libertarians who think that everyone’s “gender identity” is valid. How anyone can view the world through this ideological lens is beyond me, but it’s a problem that I’ve seen over and over in libertarian circles.

“Victimless Crimes”

One session at the Friedman 8 conference was about victimless crimes, mainly focusing on many libertarians’ obsession with drugs… not a great image for the movement, in my humble opinion. Yes, the freedom to take drugs is not exactly high on my list of issues about which I care.

I see drug taking as an abdication of personal responsibility; when libertarian values of personal responsibility and freedom to take drugs clash — which I believe they do — I choose personal responsibility. One cannot take personal responsibility for oneself when one is a drugged up loser. Yes, I’m sure that you can take drugs responsibility, but we’re assessing this policy against the real world in which many people do not act responsibility. Libertarians’ rugged individualism does not scale.

I find the argument for “harmless” drugs such as marijuana unconvincing. Once the door is open, the flood will begin, as it did with abortion (I’m pro life), “hate speech” laws, and government intervention economically. This is the natural cadence of such laws, about which I’ve written in the past.

The argument, “but we allow alcohol!”, is an argument in my favour, given the harm alcohol does in society. We do not want to open the door to drugs.

The main claim by libertarians is that each person can put into their body whatever they choose; some libertarians view this claim through the lens of their body being their private property — which I find strange given similar arguments were made to justify slavery — and other libertarians view the claim purely in terms of the government not telling them what they can put into their bodies. I’m partial to this argument. I want to believe.

However, we live in the real world, and for a theory to work, it needs to work in practice. The theory breaks down very quickly when talking about parents who have children. Do we want to allow parents easy access to drugs when they’re raising children? Are children not the victims of drugged up loser parents who have abdicated their personal responsibility? Won’t this theory push more children into government care programmes? Of course the answer is obviously yes.

(Yes, I’m aware of various other arguments and Portugal; however, I’m not covering everything in this post.)

Open Borders

I don’t really have a lot to say about open borders, except what a ridiculously stupid idea it is:

  • Unskilled immigrants drive down salaries for the worst off in society. Supply and demand.
  • All cultures are not equal. Do libertarians really think that unskilled immigrants will vote for their policies? Or rather a social security state? Do you even care about women?
  • Open borders and social security cannot co-exist, as Milton Friedman pointed out.

Such policies are not popular with the average voter (see: Brexit), and hence libertarians should ditch open borders.

Actually, leftwing ideological madness, the freedom to take drugs, and open borders are not popular with the average voter. Libertarians need to be less radical to be taken seriously.