Settle down, settle, down....
From an interview of Milo Yiannopoulos on the topic of the alt-right, conducted by D.D. Guttenplan, published by The Nation.
Milo apparently gained fame when Hillary Clinton referenced the “fringe” of the alt-right in a speech recently. Guttenplan decided to find out what this was all about – why was it so important to Clinton to give recognition to this (supposedly) obscure corner of the political spectrum?
Milo’s most succinct description of the alt-right, as follows:
The alt-right for me is primarily a cultural reaction to the nannying and language policing and authoritarianism of the progressive left—the stranglehold that it has on culture.
I see it as a cultural movement.
So what’s the deal about libertarians? The following exchange is the extent of it:
DG: What about the Libertarians?
MY: What about them?
DG: Are they not an acceptable alternative?
MY: No. They’re a joke.
MY: Libertarians are children. Libertarians are people who have given up looking for an answer. This whole “everybody do what they want” is code for “leave me to do what I want.” It’s selfish and childish. It’s an admission that you have given up trying to work out what a good society would look like, how the world should be ordered and instead just retreated back into selfishness. That’s why they’re so obsessed with weed, Bitcoin, and hacking.
DG: I always thought those were the most attractive things about them.
MY: Maybe so, but that’s why you can’t take them seriously. It’s all introspective and insular and selfish.
I offer two reactions to this criticism….
Milo is Right
Oh the amount of garbage published by so-called libertarians. I haven’t addressed this topic much in recent months, but I offer a somewhat dated compilation here.
· Too many so-called libertarians try to add things on to the simplicity of the non-aggression principle and label these as requirements.
· War and pre-emptive military intervention are acceptable under libertarian theory.
· Government surveillance of the mundanes is acceptable.
· We can make government more efficient.
· To be a true libertarian, one must accept and endorse and advocate for every libertine lifestyle ever devised (or yet to be devised) by man.
· Proper application of libertarian theory requires the abolition of all hierarchical arrangements.
· Parents should be licensed.
Not enough for you? How about this: libertarians should reject the non-aggression principle!
Perhaps one of the biggest jokes? It isn’t on the list, and I won’t link to my work on it. Regular readers will recall the “discussion” I had with a well-known (and in some circles, well-respected) libertarian writer about the acceptability of shooting a child as punishment for stealing an apple. He felt this was perfectly justified by the non-aggression principle. I disagreed.
I went further. If this was acceptable under libertarian theory put into practice, no libertarian society would ever survive.
So I suggest that when one reads a good amount of the work done by so-called libertarians, one might only conclude as Milo does: libertarians are children; libertarians are a joke.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of this work floating around.
Milo is Wrong
Clearly Milo has never read Rothbard or Hoppe, or if he has then it seems he has a difficult time following a consistent libertarian thread (but there are many to whom I have referred in the section above that are in the same boat).
If one considers that libertarian theory addresses one thing and one thing only, it is difficult to label it a joke. How can a theory be blamed for not addressing that which it is not designed to address?
Libertarian theory addresses one thing: the proper use of violence. It is strictly a political theory. It says nothing about culture, morals, or values beyond what can be strictly derived from a very simple statement: one cannot initiate violence.
The non-aggression principle: don’t steal and don’t hit; you may defend yourself and others if someone else initiates the stealing and the hitting.
This is quite a reasonable theory on violence and initiating aggression. As long as appendages are not added to it, as long as more isn’t expected from it than it actually intends to deliver, it is wonderful in its simplicity.
Rothbard is quite clear on this – don’t expect more from the theory than it can deliver. It is not a stretch to suggest that Rothbard single-handedly consolidated a variety of seemingly disparate ideas and concepts and created what would properly be considered libertarian theory.
Hoppe has gone further to demonstrate that culture matters if you want to achieve and maintain an NAP respecting society. Certain cultural factors are important – factors to be found outside of libertarian theory. The alt-right would feel right at home with many of these cultural factors.
Many children in the libertarian room are rather critical of Rothbard and Hoppe. What do you expect from children?
If Milo spends some time reading Rothbard and Hoppe, he might conclude that there are actually adults in the libertarian room.
Unfortunately, the jokester children aren’t going away anytime soon. This means that the Milo’s of the world will always find it easy to denigrate and discount the value of the theory – despite the significant common ground that might otherwise be shared.
Out of the myriad of libertarian or pseudo-libertarian sites, there are many I go to if I want a good laugh. There are only two on which I find it worth spending my time if I want properly applied and consistent libertarian theory and concepts – let’s call these sites the adults in the room. If you find it important to make a difference in spreading proper libertarian ideas, stop by here.