Comments from two recent posts have me thinking….
From my post on the lack-of-real-discussion-or-presentation-about-Freedom Fest, from a thread begun by Michael Petrovich January 1, 2017 at 10:06 AM: there was some pushback about the number of speakers at this festival that are actually libertarian (I say the ratio of libertarians to something not-really-libertarian is rather small) – in other words, I shouldn’t make fun of this wanna-be Trekkie convention for finally admitting what they want to be: a Trekkie convention.
Also, from my post on the supposedly biggest winners and losers in the liberty movement for 2016, a comment from Unhappy Conservative (2.0) January 1, 2017 at 5:10 PM in which he challenges me on my view that I do not consider Alex Jones a libertarian.
It will go without saying that it is fundamental that one accepts the non-aggression principle; of course, I accept that application is difficult at times so we need not always agree on application. You will find that I can also find common ground with many who do not fully accept the NAP (frankly, I find many such people more agreeable than I find many libertarians); I just won’t call them “libertarian.”
The Base of the Pyramid: The “Deficiency” Needs
What do I view as the bare minimum requirement?
Identify the state as everywhere and always the enemy.
What do I mean by “the state”? An entity with a monopoly on defining law, establishing punishment, and responsibility for administration of these over a given geographic region; an entity with no limits on what it decides is or isn’t within their purview to control; in other words, virtually every “government” on earth today.
Now I know this excludes pretty much all of the mainstream libertarian organizations; I know this is too high a hurdle for most. I also know that I can found much common ground with individuals who do not feel the same way about the state as I do. But, hey…I can have non-libertarian compatriots, can’t I?
I recognize my basic requirement greatly limits my “libertarian” circle. While it is the base of my pyramid, I can accept that others accept a broader definition – call it minarchist or whatever. What I cannot accept as libertarian is acceptance, let alone silence, on each of the following:
- Foreign wars and overseas adventurism
- Central planning of money and credit
- Government involvement in education
The first one inherently is the precise opposite of all things libertarian; in wars will be found every violation of the non-aggression principle. The second and third enable the entire apparatus of the state to function as it does; remove one or the other, and the entire structure as it exists today will come crashing down.
I offered these in my response to the feedback questioning my criticism of the speakers and content in the lack-of-freedom-fest. I also offered that if I was wrong, and in fact the bulk of the conference was devoted to these topics (and advocating the end of each), I will eat my words.
I will walk a path with a minarchist who dives headlong into these three topics and tears these down. A great example of such an individual is Gary North: he writes against each of these topics. I can even walk a path with someone who attacks even one of these topics. Pat Buchanan is a great example on the topic of ending foreign wars and overseas adventurism.
I find each of these two gentlemen more libertarian than most of the speakers at a conference like only-the-acceptable-freedom-fest. It is difficult to imagine the possibility of true freedom while these three are still acceptable.
The (newest) top of the pyramid. Culture – and a culture of a certain type; the type would be described a traditional, conservative, patriarchal. Given that I (and likely many of my readers) live in a Western country, in my case a culture that builds on traditional western civilization Christian foundations. Perhaps because it has taken me longest to come to understand this, I am most lenient on this topic when it comes to others.
I know some would say this is the most fundamental requirement to achieve a libertarian society. I have a regular dialogue with an individual, the aforementioned Unhappy Conservative, who is moving me more and more to this view; in fact, he might say I have my pyramid exactly upside down. Maybe so. But I will take a society opposed to foreign wars with no other gains toward liberty and feel satisfied enough in my lifetime.
When I find someone engaged on this topic of culture, it tells me that they understand the importance of culture – and culture of a certain type – toward achieving and maintaining a libertarian society, or as close to a libertarian society as humans will ever achieve.
When I find a libertarian who pooh-poohs this, or who believes just because something can be done under the NAP that we must therefore celebrate the idea that it should be done…well, let’s just say some never get past NAP 101.
Along with knowing that the enemy is the state, along with advocating against war, central banking and public funding of education, an individual who understands the importance of culture gets the gold star…
…for whatever a gold star from bionic mosquito is worth!