Individualists Must Act as a Collective and Other Political Inconsistencies

Libertarianism, at least here in the United States, is a strongly individualist philosophy. The core of libertarianism is built on the idea that we are each individuals who interact with one another. But according to libertarianism each individual has their own dreams, hopes, and aspirations that they are uniquely qualified to fulfill. Collectivism is the opposite point of view that see individuals as mere components in the real idea of importance: society. Where libertarianism asks what is best for the individual collectivism asks what is best for society. Which one is correct? I side with individualism but that doesn’t mean you have to. However if you subscribe to an ideology I feel that it’s important to be consistent.

Consistency is a problem many libertarians have when it comes to politics. One of the heated debates raging in libertarian circles at the moment is whether or not Rand Paul is good enough to deserve the support of libertarianism. This debate has lead to some real ideological inconsistencies such as this one:

Libertarians need a similar model to help decide which candidates they can support and which they can’t. Without these distinctions, it’s all too easy to reject a candidate who is wrong about an opinion-level issue even though he’s awesome on all “dogma” issues. Or libertarians might support a candidate who got a 90% on simple purity tests—but the 10% he got wrong was a “dogma” vital to liberty.

Concentric circles of politics give us a more dynamic rubric to help libertarians make logical, consistent voting choices without letting media spin, or—I’m gonna say it—the emotional fact that a candidate isn’t his dad get in the way.

So for libertarians who haven’t ordered their political opinions in a concentric circles model, your reason for hating Rand Paul pretty much (logically) sucks.

Libertarians as a whole need a model to decide which candidates they can support and which they can’t? That sentence screams of collectivism, which is ideologically opposed to libertarianism (at least as defined in the United States). Instead of demanding all libertarians adopt the same model for deciding politicians anybody who claims to be a libertarian should defer to each individual.

Who can decide whether or not Rand Paul is a candidate worth supporting? You can. In fact only you can. Based on my beliefs I cannot support Rand Paul. That doesn’t mean you can’t. We are all individuals and must choose our own paths based on our own beliefs.

Political battles are won by getting enough people to agree with your opinion, which makes politics necessarily collectivist (which is probably why socialist ideologies fare better in politics than libertarian ideologies). As an individualist I have found myself unable to remain ideologically consistent while participating in politics. That is part of the reason I have chosen to route of agorism instead.

There are a lot of libertarians who claim that “we” need to stand behind Rand Paul even if we don’t agree with him in order to win politically. Any victory that requires me to go against my most valued beliefs is no victory. Demanding that I do so and arguing that any reasons I have for not doing so are stupid is also a claim that you know better than I do, which you don’t because you’re not me. Claiming that you know what is best for me is, in my opinion, ideologically inconsistent with libertarianism. Therefore I find demands by so-called libertarians that “we” support Rand Paul to be doubly inconsistent with libertarianism itself as it relies on political strategy and requires the person making that demand to believe he knows what is best for everybody else.