From a most wonderful comment to the post Borders, Culture, and Decentralization:
Nomad Soul April 11, 2016 at 1:40 PM
I really like this line of inquiry you have been pursuing lately. The evolution of the argument beyond theory is a very important and long-neglected aspect of realizing the NAP.
Attempting to apply libertarian theory in today’s world (which is, at minimum, complicated on the issue of open borders and immigration) without recognizing that the world is populated by humans is rather pointless. But this isn’t the most wonderful part of the comment; I just wanted to take the pat on the back.
If not shared culture, then how shall people organize themselves?
Forgive the generalizations, but I have addressed in the past (sometimes more than once) each of the following types:
Left-libertarians, at least of the left-anarchist type, believe no means of organization is necessary – the world will consist of 7 billion equally sovereign individuals; under the authority of no one, in any sense. Not only involuntarily (the monopoly state) but voluntarily – no boss, no customers, no landlord. Even the role of the family has come into question. Further, culture is not merely ignored – it is gleefully mocked.
Never, anywhere on earth, has this fantasy come to reality (maybe a hermit on a mountaintop, if you like that sort of thing).
Center (or thin) libertarians believe nothing is necessary for a peaceful world beyond the NAP; culture doesn’t matter, governance – even voluntarily chosen – is not necessary. To introduce culture is to introduce some form of statism. But if not cultural norms, then what (or who) will govern? Don’t you wonder why the state works so hard to destroy culture – an alternative (and reasonably voluntary) governance mechanism?
Returning to the comment:
Forcing the anti-culture people to answer this will reveal the underpinnings of their argument, which is Statism (top down control) and force without consent dictated by a ruling class.
Without a generally accepted culture, how will people organize themselves? For the left, absent governance via hierarchy of some sort…well, there is no such thing and never has such a thing been demonstrated; family and kin is a far preferred method to any alternative since devised. For the center, the NAP does not apply itself and cannot answer every question between and amongst humans.
People will demand that something fills the voids left by lack of hierarchy and lack of clearly defined and accepted terms. That something is statism – not liberty.
What of the remaining “right” libertarians? Let the leftists have whatever “culture” they choose – as long as they stay in their own sandbox. They will kill themselves off soon enough. The “anything goes” libertine lifestyle – while presenting no violation of the NAP – has never sustained, let alone advanced, civilization. That they cannot understand this demonstrates the futility of their future: they have none.
The only concern (and it is not a small one) is that they drag the rest of society down with them. The other concern is that they destroy interest in libertarianism.
As to a future for center – or so-called “thin” – libertarians? There is none. The non-aggression principle is not the answer to every question.
The libertarian right understands that culture matters, and a certain culture.
Libertarian theory is thin – it is the non-aggression principle. Thin leaves the most room in the tent, making room for the most people to join. When it comes to writing about and defending libertarian theory, I will put my “thin” credentials next to anyone. But libertarian theory is not everything.
Application of libertarian theory in this world requires taking into account human realities. Achieving and then sustaining a libertarian future (or even moving in that direction) requires the same.