The issue of diversity in libertarianism has reached a fevered pitch over the last 6 months. I suppose this debate has been going on in the “liberty movement” for awhile, but every so often there is a flare up, and this seems to be one of those times. I’d like to think I’m partially responsible for that, it’s dividing “the movement”, and I’m glad that it is. That said, while raising what I think to be some important points and accomplishing the very important goal of exposing charlatans, I don’t think I’ve yet written a very detailed article on the subject yet, so here goes.
Libertarianism does not address race, gender, religion, sexuality, or any other class the left would like to see protected from offense. Nor should it. Libertarianism makes the radical assertion that these subjects are irrelevant outside of our own personal preferences, and that our own personal preferences are not how the whole of human society should be organized. So the short answer to libertarian diversity is, I don’t care, and neither should you.
Within the boundary of libertarianism, you are welcome to all the personal preferences you like. If you don’t want to go to the movies unless you have an equal number of men, women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, native Americans, Jews, and Muslims, fine, organize your life in that way. Personally, I don’t think I want to be your friend if you think that much about race and gender. If you prefer to only associate with bald white Protestant men, then you are free to do that as well, but again, we’re probably not going to be friends. Anyone who says libertarianism means something else, is either ignorant or dishonest. There really isn’t any legitimate debate about that subject, which is why I’m so dismissive of “left libertarians” or “thick libertarians”. What they are talking about isn’t libertarianism.
What Is Libertarianism?
Libertarianism addresses one thing, and one thing only. Force. Libertarianism claims to do nothing other than answer the question of when violence is permissible. The answer to the question, is in defense of person or property. This is what is known as the non-aggression principle. Initiatory force or fraud against person or property is impermissible, anything else, is permissible, including racism, sexism, homophobia, rape jokes, and all manner of other things leftists freak out about. Anyone who says otherwise, is either ignorant or dishonest, because there is absolutely zero legitimate debate about this.
If your philosophy includes something other than this, you’re more than welcome to that philosophy, just call it something else. Please stop trying to further undermine our efforts by inserting nonsense interpretations into our philosophy, because they have no place here.
This is not to say libertarianism is in any way incomplete as a body of thought, quite the contrary. People have been using violence to accomplish their ends for so long, that you really need to go into great detail describing how society can function without a giant killing machine known as the State ordering everyone around at gunpoint. In our efforts to rid society of violence, we’ve had to answer pretty much every question imaginable, because every time you fail to provide an answer, the State answers with violence.
So why isn’t there more diversity in libertarianism?
Like it or not, the short answer is, many members of these groups you want to attract, just plain won’t listen to reason. We’re making logical arguments, and certain segments of the population are responsive, while others prefer their comforting lies. If I say 2+2=4, and a bunch of people say something else, it’s not really my responsibility to teach them remedial math. If most of those people have blonde hair, I don’t say “Oh, those poor blondes are too stupid to understand addition, they need special treatment”.
Mind you who we’re competing with here, the State. We are competing with politicians who give away stolen money and tell people whatever they want to hear.
Even when we’re competing for the minds of white men, we have to convince them that our way is better than joining the military where they will get a “free education”, preference for job opportunities when they come home, social status, women, medical care, and everything else that comes with it. We have to convince them not to be politicians. Not to give into white guilt and support welfare and affirmative action. Not to be IRS agents, or cops, or any number of other statist things that just love to give white people money.
Many blacks have been convinced by decades of propaganda (which “left libertarians” shamelessly help perpetuate) that the white man is responsible for their problems, and a government made up of white men is somehow going to solve them. In 2012 less than 18% of the population of the US was black, and in 2014, 39.8% of welfare recipients are black. They are offered housing, education, transportation, food, and even cellular phones, by the State. If you tend to associate with black people, even if you yourself are not receiving any of these benefits, you tend to know someone who is. When people talk about taking these benefits away, recipients and people who care about the recipients feel like you are taking food off of their table, and to say the least, they react with hostility.
Usually when we bring up the subject of black people and welfare, liberals go into a tail spin trying to explain how race has nothing to do with welfare. I actually agree with them, too bad leftists don’t realize in other matters that demographics and racism are totally separate issues. So hopefully you’re actually reading this article and not off copying and pasting something from ThinkProgress in my comment section. This is a simple discussion about demographics. You are complaining that a disproportionate number of libertarians are white men, and I am telling you that a disproportionate number of black people are paid to not like libertarianism. This problem is not unique to libertarianism, blacks tend to identify as Democrats over Republicans as well, because of the nature of left wing politics, they pay off minorities for votes.
Black people also make up a disproportionate percentage of active duty military personnel. So the whole anti-war thing could be turning off a lot of them.
Women have been told one of two different lies, either that they can depend on men to carry them, or that men are oppressing them. If men will carry them, then they have no need for libertarianism, because politics, philosophy, and economics are none of their concern. If they believe that men are oppressing them, then they have also been told that the government is going to set them free. The government will make sure they get paid more, the government will make sure they get jobs, the government will give them birth control, medical care, and lots of other goodies. This problem isn’t unique to libertarianism, women voters tend to identify as Democrat over Republican, thanks to the nature of left wing politics, and the statist propaganda that “left libertarians” help to perpetuate.
White men on the other hand have been told, in large part, that they are not only on their own, but must carry others. We are the top income earners, which makes us the top tax payers, and we’re sick of having our money stolen. We see laws like affirmative action, we perceive that as being racially discriminant against us, and so we shun the State. We see government threatening to regulate wages so that women will make as much as we do even if they don’t perform as well, and so we shun the State. Independence is in our best interests, and so we embrace libertarianism.
Now, I know very well that free markets solve the problems of these groups of people you so desperately want to join our little club. I realize that regulatory entry barriers to business are the fault of the State. I know that welfare breeds dependency and doesn’t help minorities. I know that women can fend for themselves in the workplace. The problem is that the State feeds them this propaganda, and “left libertarians” whether out of blatant ignorance or for purposeful disinformation, repeat it ad nauseam.
To summarize, the reason there is not more diversity in libertarianism is State propaganda, and “left libertarians” who repeat it.
Additionally, I know very few women or ethnic minorities who wish to spend a great deal of time talking about their oppressed role in society. Most of my female/gay/black/Hispanic/Muslim friends just want to be treated like normal people, otherwise I wouldn’t be friends with them. That’s what eliminating “bigotry” is, treating people, like people. Leftists don’t do this. They want to treat protected classes differently, and since leftists seem to have all the main stream media contacts, they aren’t doing us any favors. They either feed into the State propaganda that keeps these groups dependent, or they turn off the independent minded ones who would join us if only we would treat them like normal human beings.
How can we bring more diversity to libertarianism?
I don’t care about the racial makeup of my peers. If they are all white, fine, if I’m the only white guy in the room, also fine. I am not interested in race, and the only reason I can think of why leftists would be so obsessed with it, is because they are the racists in this equation. Would it be nice to have more women at libertarian gatherings? Sure, so long as they are actually libertarians, and not leftist charlatans, that would be great. But that’s only because I want greater numbers, and because I might want to fuck some of them. It is not because it makes a shit bit of difference to the validity of my philosophy whether or not adherents to said philosophy sit down to pee. It surely is not because I think it’s going to help my philosophy gain any more traction than an equal number of white males. I want more people to be libertarians, but I’m not willing to, nor are any of us capable of, changing libertarianism to facilitate that.
If I say that 2+2=4, and most of the people who agree with me are white males, the answer is still 4. If Jewish men say the answer is 3, and black women say the answer is 5, and they decide to buy weapons and kill each other over their disagreement, my options are fairly limited. Perhaps, the best thing I can hope for is that they kill each other off and then a smaller percentage of the population will be mathematically illiterate fools.
Short of that, I can try to make easier to understand propaganda. I can make coloring books where two and two meet four while walking down the street. I can hire black and female actors to make YouTube videos explaining that 2+2=4. I can write songs about 2+2=4. Cartoons, books, whatever to get more education into their hands. Libertarianism is already doing all of this, just not on the scale of the public education system, main stream media, and political propaganda of the State.
What I don’t do, is tell them “Hey everybody, it doesn’t matter if you think 2+2=4 or 3, or 5, we’re all one big happy group, join us!”. 2+2=4. End of list. If I accept your bullshit answer to get you on my team, then we have completely defeated the purpose.
When “left/thick libertarians” start repeating statist race propaganda, they dilute, not improve, libertarianism.
They also promote initiatory violence. Take this segment from Cathy Reisenwitz on Center for a Stateless Society.
The position thick libertarians take on the non-aggression principle is that it’s a starting place, not a place to end. The trouble with it is that there are multiple ways to define aggression. As Jason Brennan points out, “What counts as aggression depends upon what rights people have.”
This is sort of important to understand before she starts backpedaling. As I mentioned earlier, libertarianism only describes the proper application of force as in defense of person or property. That’s what the non-aggression principle is. If you just change the meaning of aggression to be a violation of whatever rights you perceive you have, then you can forcefully “defend yourself” against paying rent, you can forcefully “defend yourself” against poverty by stealing from the rich, you can forcefully “defend yourself” against racism by assaulting people who say things you don’t like. Here’s a great example from the same article,
I would argue that denying someone goods or services on the basis of their sex, gender, orientation, religion, etc. is a curtailment of their liberty, at the very least to enjoy those goods and services.
What “left libertarians” fail to comprehend is, it isn’t up to them who does what or why. Remember, these people are basically just Democrats who gave up on politics. They aren’t libertarians, they just couldn’t gain any traction in left wing electoral politics. This is an antipropertarian perspective. Nobody has the “liberty” to use my goods or services. That’s my property, that’s my labor, and whether I want to deny them to you because you’re a dishonest liberal snob, or because I don’t like the color of your skin is entirely up to me. I have the liberty to choose who I provide goods or services to, and if you redefine aggression to include this choice, then we’re on the verge of a violent conflict. Now before you accuse me of taking her out of context, she goes on to say,
That does not justify legally forcing someone to stop discriminating. However, it does justify calling out the pernicious effects of discrimination. That, in essence, is thick libertarianism. It’s concerned with both kinds of threats to freedom, government-created and cultural. And it proposes voluntary solutions, like education, or reality television show suspensions, to those threats.
There’s a number of problems here though. First of all, leftists are perpetually dishonest, so there’s no reason to believe a word they say. There’s a reason this article is posted on C4SS, it’s an anticapitalist blog.
She openly promotes initiatory violence by redefining aggression, then defines a situation where a person who is acting perfectly within their property rights “curtails the liberty” to someone else’s property over a reason she doesn’t agree with. She can come back around and call that voluntary if she wants, but she’s talking out of both sides of her mouth, like liberals always do.
If “what counts as aggression depends upon what rights people have”, that question is already answered by libertarianism. You have the right to defend your person and property against force and fraud, end of list. The non-aggression principle is libertarianism, if you think you have other rights, then that’s not libertarianism. If you think you have rights other than the right to be left alone, then you subscribe to a different philosophy, and then your options are to say that there is no right of self defense, in which case you’ve given initiatory violence free reign, or you are an advocate of initiatory violence. No amount of dishonest liberal doublespeak changes that.