The Ends Reflect the Means

There has been an upsurge in what I like to call libertarian nationalism. I’m sure you’re aware of the type of individual I’m talking about. They usually claim to be libertarians but also claim that the only way to fight the “leftists” is through tactics that look, walk, and talk like fascism. They remind me of a quote from Ludwig von Mises’s Omnipotent Government:

Omnipotent Government is Mises’s chronicling of the rise of the Nazi Party and it’s a valuable read for anybody who believes that totalitarian tactics can be used to fight totalitarianism. Those who are unfamiliar with the history of the Nazi Party might not be aware that before it decided to fight Jews it fought the Bolsheviks. The Nazi Party, which was a national socialist party, and the Bolsheviks, who were international socialists, were both fighting for control of Germany. The Nazi Party used totalitarian tactics to fight totalitarians and the result, not surprisingly, was totalitarianism.

Libertarian nationalists subscribe to the idea that the ends justify the means (which is also the idea that communists tend to subscribe to). However, the ends always reflect the means. If you use totalitarian means you will get totalitarian ends. On the other hand, as Mises pointed out, if you use the unconditional principles of freedom then you will get freedom in the end.