The Socialist Hiding Behind the Curtain

It seems like there’s a socialist hiding behind almost every libertarian. If you prod most libertarians enough you’ll eventually find that one hot topic where they’re willing to put a bullet in the head of individualism and hang its corpse for all to see. For a lot of these libertarians that topic is international socialism. While they claim to be against socialism in all forms they will gladly join the ranks of the national socialists if they’re fighting international socialists. Another one of these topics that’s starting to creep up is universal basic income. A few libertarians have fallen for the automation scare and are using that as justification for why society must implement universal basic income.

Interestingly enough, this tendency of self-proclaimed anti-socialists to have very strong socialists sentiments isn’t isolated to libertarians:

I’ve critiqued that idea elsewhere, but what I find interesting about it is that for all these years, Murray wasn’t really an opponent of big government or the welfare state. He was just looking for a more effective way to administer it. So his legacy as a critic of welfare is in danger of being eclipsed by his advocacy for universal welfare.

You could make similar observations about how it was the Heritage Foundation that cooked up the “individual mandate” at the center of Obamacare, how “cap-and-trade” global warming regulations were dreamed up under the Reagan administration and pushed as a “free-market” solution, and how it was Milton Friedman who helped develop income-tax withholding.

I believe one of the reasons socialism has enjoyed such great success in spreading (even though it has been an abysmal failure when implemented) is because it has been able to infiltrate its opposition. Even people who consider themselves ardent anti-socialists have been infected with socialist thinking.

How could socialism become so pervasive in society? I attribute it to statism. Individualism is the antithesis of statism. That being the case, believers in the State have to believe in at least some amount of collectivism. If a person claims to be an anti-statist but advocates some amount of statism they have already established the cognitive dissonance in their head that allows them to claim to be individualists while promoting socialist ideas. Statists then push their belief onto children through the public education socialist indoctrination system. After all, it’s always good to them while they’re young! The children who were subjected to the indoctrination system then grown up, become teachers, and being the vicious cycle anew. Within a few generations the idea that individualism can even exist is almost completely removed from society.

Libertarianism can’t hope to win the fight against socialism if its biggest supporters are advocating socialist ideas.

8 thoughts on “The Socialist Hiding Behind the Curtain”

  1. I don’t know if belief in the State is necessarily bad. There are many ways that a State can manifest, but they aren’t the same. Dictatorships are usually awful. Collectivist States are also likely to be awful, but its hard to be sure, because most communist and socialist states are actually republics. North Korea is approaching a Collectivist State. Constitutional Mixed Government Republics, like Canada and the U.S.A. are significantly better than other States, but are far from perfect. They’re main failing is the coercive enforcement of law and taxes. This type of State may new the best chance to evolve into an Autarchic State, but it requires the State to relinquish almost all power, and requires more responsible citizens. Autarchy isn’t Anarchy, as it requires a legal code, and therefore, a State. In an Autarchy, the government is the people, all of them.

    The main feature of a State is a recognized legal code. This provides a structure upon which society may be built. Anarchy sounds good, but it is unstable. At best, it is a transitive state between total chaos and a legal state. More likely, it is a transitive condition between failed State and total chaos, which likely spawns Despotism.

    1. The main feature of a State is a recognized legal code.

      I would argue that the main feature of the State is that it necessarily establishes two classes of people (I’m using class to denote groups with different legal privileges). At the very least the people who in a government enjoy extra legal privileges over the people outside of a government. History has shown that the extra legal privileges granted to members of a government attract people who are interested in exploiting those privileges for personal gain at the expense of the people outside of the government.

      This is where I find a contradiction in classical liberalism. Classical liberalism tends to advocate for equality under the law, a principle I entirely agree with. But classical liberalism also tends to advocate for the existence of a government, which necessarily creates inequality under the law. This system of inequality under the law is probably my biggest gripe with statism.

  2. ‘Violence solves nothing.’ How often have you heard that or any paraphrase of that? Yet we can turn to history to find many examples proving that saying to be false. The birth of our own country is a good example.

    So why do I talk of violence? Simply put it is because nothing else works to enact change. And change is what is the heart of the matter. It is not the false BS of Odummy and others, they merely co-opted the desire of the people to serve their narrow agenda.

    We see socialism now crept into our society. There is no place for socialism here so it must be banished. Yet words are ineffective, behavior, short of violence, yields at best a temporary stay.

    I advocate for violence in banishing socialism precisely because the consequences are so great.

    1. I advocate for violence in banishing socialism precisely because the consequences are so great.

      If one wishes to wield violence then they should have a strategy in mind that will lead them to victory.

      Libertarians are a minority here in the United States. The national and international socialists are both larger in number. It would be foolish for libertarians to take either group head on. But it would be equally foolish to combine forces with one group to eliminate the other group because once the other major group is eliminated the remaining group will turn to eliminating their ally of convenience.

      There is wisdom in allowing the two groups to duke it out and weaken each other. It might even be possible for libertarians to take out the surviving group if it is sufficiently weakened. However, history has shown that smaller forces have to be more creative when fighting larger forces.

      Finland during the Winter War, for example, employed hit and run tactics to whittle Soviet forces down over time. In the end Finland lost the war but they faired better in the long run than their neighbors who capitulated with the Soviet Union. The Kurds in the Middle East have been in the crosshairs of ISIS, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq for ages. They’ve managed to survive by utilizing creative tactics instead of head on confrontations. The Romani people have been persecuted by every government in Europe and have managed to continue existing by being mobile. There is also the agorist strategy of economic warfare that libertarians can exploit.

      There are many options to deal with larger opponents. Allying with one of them has historically been a bad choice in the long run.

  3. I am stridently opposed to zero tolerance policies when enacted by the state. Here I propose zero tolerance enacted by the people.

  4. The State doesn’t necessarily create two (or more) classes of people, but I do agree that people corrupt the State, using its power in ways that are contrary to the law, but then hiding behind the law and the bureaucracy when discovered.

    This is why law needs to be simple and universal, and why government must be seen as an honor and a duty, and not a career option. Finally, those who abuse government power should be shunned, shamed, and rejected, if not directly brought to justice.

    1. The State doesn’t necessarily create two (or more) classes of people, but I do agree that people corrupt the State, using its power in ways that are contrary to the law, but then hiding behind the law and the bureaucracy when discovered.

      The State grants for itself a monopoly on the law. It reserves for itself the right to create and enforce law. This necessarily creates a system with at least two classes: the class that can create and enforce laws and the class that is subject to those laws.

      It is possible for a government to pass a law subjecting itself to the very laws it creates, which might create the appearance of equality amongst the rulers and ruled. However, unlike the ruled, the rulers can change even that law. Furthermore, since the government has a monopoly on enforcing the law there is no guarantee that it would enforce such a law against itself in any uniform fashion.

      Polycentric legal systems have historically been far more peaceful and just systems than the monopolistic legal systems most people are subjected to today. This is in part due to the existence of competition. Legal systems that are seen as unjust are abandoned in favor of legal systems that are just, which makes it more difficult for an individual or group of individuals to use a legal system for nefarious purposes.

  5. Polycentric legal systems must have a basic set of protocols for interacting with their competitors. These agreements or protocols create a de facto state with the same multi-class system. The elites of each legal system will negotiate agreements between the various systems.

    Autarchy is the only way to solve this. Everyone has equal status and equal power in a universal state. The legal code must be agreed upon by a vast, statistically valid majority, and then only those laws that are based in natural rights and NAP can be valid.

    This might be compatible with polycentric legal systems, so long as the state neither recognizes any state outside its borders nor projects any power beyond its own borders.

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