Enough Peacetime Libertarianism
Over the course of 2019, Conservatives have become angry they only have 2.5 branches of government. As such, they’re in “war time.” To call it cringy larping is an insult to even the most cringe of LARPers.
William Chamberlain, not to be confused with Neville Chamberlain, started this trend with his Human Events article “Against Peacetime Conservatism.” The article is about as stupid as something written by William Chamberlain. However, it should be noted he’s used the phrase before the publishing of this article. For instance, here’s how he ended his article “Platform Access Is A Civil Right.”
Conservatives should frame de-platforming as a civil rights issue – because it is one.
And Republicans in friendly state legislatures should pass laws protecting that civil right – because they can.
Conservative objections to this plan are “peacetime” objections.
And we are not at peace.
Here’s how he explains peacetime vs. wartime conservatism:
Peacetime conservatives complain that their colleagues have abandoned their principles. Wartime conservatives refuse to adhere to self-defeating principles.
Peacetime conservatives worry about setting precedents that Democrats could exploit in the future. Wartime conservatives recognize that Democrats do unprecedented things all the time.
Peacetime conservatives renounce government power and rely on invisible hand mechanisms. Wartime conservatives don’t hesitate to use government power to achieve conservative ends.
Peacetime conservatives insist that facts don’t care about your feelings. Wartime conservatives know that the scoreboard doesn’t care about your facts.
Peacetime conservatives think college students should pay off their college debts. Wartime conservatives think odious college debt is a good excuse to seize university endowments.
Peacetime conservatives think that social media companies should enjoy the blessings of liberty. Wartime conservatives think that platform access is a civil right.
Peacetime conservatives voted for Hillary Clinton, Evan McMullin, or stayed home. Wartime conservatives voted for Donald Trump.
Wartime conservatives have no principles. (Bonus Points if you’ve ever said Democrats being against immigration restriction is about power)
Wartime conservatives are for whatever’s good at the moment. (Bonus Points if you’ve complained about hedonism)
Wartime conservatives are authoritarian. (Bonus Points if you tweet 24/7 about how the Left are the real fascists)
Wartime conservatives don’t care about facts. (Bonus Points if you complain about how moral relativism is ruining our society)
Wartime conservatives are bitter. (Bonus Points if you regularly post happiness studies proving that people are best off being Republicans for the same reason they’re better off taking the pills from Brave New World)
Wartime conservatives are idiots. (I don’t have a bonus points for this one, it’s just kind of funny)
Wartime conservatives are so oppressed yet there are at least 62,984,828 of them. (If you guys are the counter culture, how do you guys have the Presidency?)
There’s a reason why I don’t like them. A good chunk of the article is also spent attacking libertarianism. Here’s one really dumb example:
The libertarian embrace of open borders position is one obvious example of a self-defeating principle. Libertarians argue that people should be free to live where they want and cross whatever national borders they choose, so long as they don’t violate the NAP. The end result: a massive influx of voters who want socialism, and get it.
Which is why the United States became a socialist country in the early 20th century. Of course, these people also love Theodore Roosevelt, because they’re just idiots.
Also, I love the idea that when libertarians bring government down to its nuts and bolts, that will somehow lead to socialism. This is more a flaw with representative Democracy than with immigration. To quote Shane Killian “How do you vote in an anarchy?”
The Case For Wartime Libertarianism
The only even mild nugget of something worth wild in Chamberlain's whiny excuse for an article, is this:
The peacetime approach, . . . is to assume that your opponents, like you, are just seeking out the good; and that you can collaborate with your opponents in a Hegelian dialectic to reach a policy synthesis that will benefit everyone.
The wartime approach is to assume that your opponents want to destroy you, are not interested in compromise, and have no scruples about misleading you and the rest of the public to achieve their political goals.
At the beginning of my last Freedom First article, I opened by saying the following:
One of the biggest arguments made by people who say libertarians should have a Day of the Ropes on the same Twitter accounts where they try to appeal to us is that libertarians should be the most worried about mass amounts of immigration.
I started with that for a reason. As, I feel that’s how any statist arguments that “we should support this or that,” should be framed. The right wants us to have a Day of the Ropes and the left wants us in the Gulag. It is honestly so obvious that I cannot believe any libertarian is failing for it. And no, this is not poisoning the well. That would imply what I’m saying is false. This is no different than describing Bernie Sanders as a “self described Democratic Socialist.”
To put it simply: The NAZI’s threw us in the camps right next to the Communists and Stalin threw us into the Gulag right next to the NAZI's.
And before you tell me “my conservative/liberal friend is different,” that’s only during what they think is peacetime. Screaming that we’re fascists or degenerates but one or two of us are the exception should hold about as much weight to us as saying Mexico “aren’t sending there best,” but “some, I’m sure, are good people.”
Once you realize who Chamberlain is truly talking about (even without realizing it), the article becomes much better.
In the article, Chamberlain creates three rules that I think we can learn from. I’ll break them down and modify them to something not idiotic:
The first rule of wartime conservatism: principles that prevent you from winning are probably bad principles.
The first rule of wartime libertarianism: groups that ask you to change principles are bad groups.
No man has hurt us more than Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Especially through his book Democracy: The God That Failed. While he is right that Democracy is bad, Hoppe’s idle society is still among one of the most evil things ever written.
He writes that:
There would be little or no 'tolerance' and 'openmindedness' so dear to left-libertarians. Instead, one would be on the right path toward restoring the freedom of association and exclusion implied in the institution of private property
And that there would be signs outside of towns that say "no beggars, bums, or homeless, but also no homosexuals, drug users, Jews, Moslems [sic], Germans, or Zulus".
All of this led to this quote, which sounds more like something from NAZI Germany than a book by a libertarian:
In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one's own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They – the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism – will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.
I only spend so much time mentioning this because so many culture warriors have told me they’re inspired by good old HHH.
Take Michelle Catlin as an example (who I’ll talk about more next week).Over on Medium, she wrote a post called “A Summary of My Political Views.” Here’s what she said in the FAQ section:
Q: Are you an anarcho-capitalist?
A: Nope. Even back when I was more libertarian I was never an ancap despite taking inspiration from Hans Hermann Hoppe. Unlike ancaps who regard forms of governments like the state as being the product of organized occupation of property I see any form of governance as a natural outgrowth of human societies organizing. I also think ancaps rely far too much on a very black/white few of state property being entirely the product of theft. The formation of states and land ownership are actually a lot more complex as states have been formed through purchases, treaties and revolutions so it raises the question at what point does it actually become involuntary for an organization like a state to own land.
Catlin is also a bit of a Rand Paul fan. For those who don’t remember, Rand Paul said this:
I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin or their religion, but I would have to take into account where they’ve been traveling, and perhaps you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders, but it wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense we should be going after; they should be deported or put in prison.
I don’t think I need to explain the problem with this.
This is the true cost of peacetime libertarianism. HHH and Rand Paul are conservatives trying to make conservatism more libertarian. This does not work. All it does it make people who start out as libertarians become conservative overtime. And as we learned when many former libertarians became alt-right, all that does is make us look like them.
And it can happen the other way. Just ask Gary Johnson, the man who most libertarians didn’t like for his stance of Jack Philips and mandatory vaccinations. This did not turn more liberals libertarian, it just turns people who the mainstream media connects with libertarianism more liberal.
Basically, is it any surprise many Johnson supporters have been seen with Bernie Sanders bumper stickers or at ANTIFA rallies?
The second rule of wartime conservatism: assume your adversaries are acting in bad faith.
This one does not need adjusted. Instead, I’ll give you one more example.
In early 2018, a fellow named Ryan Girdusky wrote an article for Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative calling Donald Trump “The Most Libertarian President Since Silent Cal.” Here’s how Girdusky writes about libertarians on Twitter:
Start w/ the GOP. Paul Ryan is a shill for corporations that want cheap labor and open borders... even worse though he believes in this idiotic libertarian notion that all people in their heart want less government... it's not true- 3/14/2019
Yes, that is why Donald Trump is Republican... notice how many voters are economically libertarian and socially liberal (answer... not that many)-4/5/2019
And because of Cato's hard work for mass immigration, California is the most libertarian state in the country... wait-1/8/2019
In other words, he’s a big advocate of mass immigration and open borders. He’s truly a libertarian.-12/14/2018
Stupid libertarian statements for 800 Alex-6/29/2017
GOP brand damaged after Sam Brownback adopted libertarian tax policy that nearly bankrupted the state and caused a huge blowback-1/4/2019
Brilliant article by Pat Buchanan... ideas most of my liberal & libertarian friends cant understand-5/23/2014
If he cares about us, so does Jeff Flake!
The third rule of wartime conservatism: don’t just point out your opponent’s absurdities when you can use those absurdities against them.
Never forget how the state caused everything wrong with the wold.
Take for example, the college debt crisis. Never stop mentioning who cheap college was before the government brought us student loan programs. Just like you should never stop mentioning that Healthcare was extremely cheap before the government created Medicare and Medicaid.
If we can do this, we can educate the American public into how it is the state that is making them so miserable, hopefully leading to the awakening we need.
And also, never stop fighting the war.
To Be Clear
Wartime libertarianism does not mean not associating with statists or using violence, in fact, it means the opposite. This means arguing in a civil manner with statists of the left and right, and never once compromising your principles until you’ve convinced people to be on your side.
Just as Nero’s biggest enemies were Christians happily being eaten by lions, the biggest enemy to the state is a mature, intelligent, charming, law-abiding, and pleasant libertarian.