One wise Randian once implored me to closely examine the word “environment.” What does it refer to, he asked? …What it really means, he said, is: “anything but man.” He was right. A perfect environment would be a world without people.
When it comes to the modern left, one can consider virtually all of their views on all issues to mean “anything but man.” Certainly “man” as a human being, as created, as a being with a purpose.
Against the Left: A Rothbardian Libertarianism, Lew Rockwell
Rockwell points out that the Randians are the only ones who continue to hold to what was the Christian position on the environment until only a few short decades ago: man occupies the highest spot on the totem pole of being. He cites St. Augustine accordingly: if “thou shalt not kill” extends to animals, why not plants and bugs? Further, it would be good to see human habitation spread to all parts of the world.
Global warming – one of many inventions designed to strip us of our liberty – is on the skids. First, it is getting cooler, not warmer; second, there is the falsity of the science – highlighted, but not limited to, the email scandal from ten years ago – that demonstrates the lie.
The left has thrown so much into this issue, all-the-while watching the world become “Nazified.” Even the continuous wars could not move the left from its focus on its environmental crusade. Where has the left been? “Worrying about my barbecue grill out back.”
What of the drive toward economic egalitarianism? Once again, nothing more than an agenda for control – stripping man of what it means to be human. Such an idea as equality didn’t exist before the mid-eighteenth century, according to Rothbard – corresponding to the emergence of Enlightenment thought (I say).
To achieve such a state of egalitarianism, one would have to start at the root – the family. Children are born into unequal conditions, receiving an unequal upbringing – “privilege” is the word thrown at those who have worked hard to create a healthy environment for their family. When Hillary Clinton writes “It Takes a Village,” keep this in mind – it will be the village raising your children, not you, ensuring that your children are no better off than the lowest common denominator.
Let me repeat: the only “privilege” that matters to a libertarian qua libertarian is the kind that comes from the barrel of the state’s gun.
And what is equality? It is as equally undefinable as it is unachievable. It is, instead, a recipe for permanent revolution – as there will always be something “unequal” to complain about and try to correct. One can only consider such a concept under totalitarianism. I think about the pigs: when someone says “all are created equal,” just remember that he is thinking that he is more equal than you are.
Rockwell closes with a chapter entitled Left Libertarianism. Libertarianism, despite the wishes of many, concerns itself with one thing and one thing only: the proper use of physical force. It is not concerned with all forms of (so-called) oppression, hierarchies, toleration (in the worst sense of the word), and the like.
All of these additional claims are a distraction from the central principle: if you oppose the initiation of physical force, you are a libertarian. Period. Now how hard was that?
This, of course, does not preclude a libertarian from holding to other values; it is just that these additional values are grounded in something beyond or outside of the non-aggression principle. Further, as I have written often, it does not preclude introducing some common sense when it comes to understanding what makes for a society approaching liberty. And, as Rothbard has noted, sadly too many libertarians are devoid of such common sense.
Rockwell closes with a look at a possible objection to his book: you are writing against the left and left-libertarians, why not utilize equal fervor against the right? But this objection misses the point:
We are not trying to add to libertarianism. …We are defending libertarianism as intended by Mises and Rothbard from those who want to undermine it.
Rockwell is not at all suggesting that the state be used to enforce anti-egalitarian positions, anymore than he has written against state enforcement of egalitarian positions. However, he does understand what will come if people are left free to define and establish their own cultural norms:
Our contention is that, left alone, people will naturally be pro-family, devoted to Western culture, and unequal in all significant respects.
In sum, you don’t have to accept conservative values to be a libertarian, but it helps.
I agree with this, but will humbly take it a step further (and ask Rockwell’s forgiveness at the same time): while this is true for libertarianism, I don’t see that it is sufficient for liberty. If one is after liberty, a conservative tradition built on the best of Western culture is necessary.
But this is not the point of Rockwell’s book. He is after defending proper libertarianism, and proper libertarianism has a substantial role to play if we are after liberty. For this reason, it must be defended.