The ethos of libertarian thought lies solely, and resolutely in the idea that the freedom of the individual must be an absolute, as long as no harm is brought to others. This is by no means a new concept, but one that has been shared by all great libertarian thinkers, from Friedman to Rand. Yet the decrepit state of current intellectual strains of libertarian-ism has passed into an age of obscurity.
The pillar of libertarian thought, as made obvious by the rich scholarship that has been made available to us to this day, is the rejection of the coercive powers of state, and its regulation of our lives. Although recent media frenzy has made it is mission to somehow group libertarians within one whole category, and also associate them with asinine and non-issue causes such as the legalization of substances, the true moral and ideological objectives of this train of thought lies in the belief that all individuals have a sense of responsibility, and should be allowed to do whatever they wish as long as they do not cause physical harm to others. It is therefore obvious that within this falls the all too salient factor of private ownership.
Although the issue of private ownership is imperative, so is the idea that any attributes that factor in social, class, racial, ethnic, cultural, sex, gender, able-bodied etc. are wholly irrelevant within the libertarian mindset. Regardless of who you are, there is only one absolute certainty which guides your status: merit. Within the framework of a capitalist system, it is your merit which is built up through your work and your achievements that matter. This lies at the heart of Objectivism, the philosophy propagated by Ayn Rand. This strain of thought therefore is a rejection of state coercion, racism, sexism, patriarchy, xenophobia or any other forms of discrimination. It holds that the values of an individual are solely categorized by her/his achievements.
There has been, in recent years, a resurgence both on the left and right of acrimony towards libertarian thought, yet the question that must be posed to both factions, perhaps better put, conglomerates: Why is it that the plethora of human suffering has resulted from their way of thinking? The belief that the coercion of society, and its individuals will in fact lead to the most stable associations of its members, has interminably resulted in the deaths of millions.
There is very little difference, except in function, between the realities of fascism and communism. Both, simply put, use force and coercion, and both lead to human misery and destruction. Therein lies the reality, which the ideologues of our age forget to point out. Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and the numerous other examples have been saturated in dialectics, albeit to no avail as the left/right seem to find themselves in the ever-present delusion that they do not share any ideological axioms with any of those examples.
It must be said that the libertarian thinker, or an individual who posits himself/herself within that framework, denies the belief that there is an interminable difference between communism and fascism, or any positions on the spectrum of ideology. Both use force, coercion, and the ‘collectivization’ of minds, and matter. Both are, in the words of all libertarian philosophers, the harbingers of evil.
When a state, or powerful entity must enforce, as a result of its paternalistic objectives, or the paternalism of a few often delusional individuals, it is then that power becomes unchecked, and corrupted. When the call from those in positions of power is too consider “the good of all,” “the benefit of the people,” or “the good of the people,” nothing but absolute tyranny arises. Therein lies the rhetoric of those who seek to control the masses, and to deprive the individual of her/his freedoms.
The absolute challenge of any libertarian intellectual today is rooted in the need to explain not only the feasibility of the libertarian ethos, but in fact make its inherent functionality apparent The aim is to always draw from the few instances in human history where increased individual liberty did result in positive change, whereas the opposite always resulted in mitigating misery.
Rand’s Objevtivism, in simple words, holds that the core of Metaphysics is the acceptance of Reality. That, in turn can only be explained within Epistemology through human Reason and Objectivity. The ethical system holds therefore that the Happiness of the individual is the most important factor, as well as the propagation of Virtue. The politics within Objectivism argues for Capitalism, and the belief that all human interaction must be Voluntary and never forced.
The often misconstrued ideal of rational self-interest, which has been argued extensively by Rand in her The Virtue of Selfishness, posits that the happiness of the individual is the most important axiom of a well integrated society. That does not mean selfishness at the expense of others, which would entail stealing, coercion, and other egregious actions, but the belief that Forced Altruism is in fact evil, while voluntary charity is always encouraged. The key phrase is always: individual consent.
I have only touched on the basics of libertarian thought. However, I believe there is more to it than the neo-liberalism of Friedman, or the genius of Randian philosophy. The proclivities of these ideas, although have been essential to the foundations of Libertarianism, it has become rather clear in the last few decades that a new strain of Libertarian intellectual discourse must be fashioned.
There is an inherent dichotomy – a black and white thinking that is at the center of libertarian philosophy that in itself contradicts the Reality of Objectivism. The practical nature of actually providing such consummate liberties to individuals, cannot be immediate, nor can they be formulated in one totality overnight. Rand, Friedman and other thinkers have made this clear. The reality is that the complexity of the societies which inhabit this world, require an approach that has never been existent in any ideological stance: the education of the individual, by his/her voluntary choice of the foundations of liberty.
The foundation of libertarianism must be placed by multifaceted means and in an evolutionary way. There can be no revolution, nor can there be a strike, there cannot be a forced institution as that in itself would go against the objectives of the ideology itself. Practical libertarian policies can only arise by voluntary-means, and never by collective or state coercion. Anything but that would be a practice of hypocrisy, and would immediately place libertarianism within the same categories of the right and the left. Of course all of this is: Anarcho-Capitalism.
The fact that individuals always seek power is also a reality which cannot escape even the most astute of libertarian thinkers. How do we reconcile with this most basic, historically evident, attribute of human nature? The issue of power is inescapable, and has placed innumerable quandaries on anarcho-capitalism. Is it not evident that people will always try to subvert society, collectivize the minds of people, and finally gain power by doing so?
New foundations that are practical must be constructed, anything but that would only lead to the simplification of this ideology and thus its perversion by inherently collectivist groups such as the “Tea Party,” and many others. There is a great deal more to consider in the actual practical institution of Libertarianism, Anarcho-Capitalism and I believe it lies in a teleological solution. Also I believe it lies in the acceptance of Reality, which must first be posited in Absolute Free Speech.
In the United States today, we see the rise of new political candidates who represent perfect examples of coercion both on the right and the left. Donald Trump on the right, wishes to enforce Orwellian measures of control, security, and propagate the military-industrial complex. On the left, Bernie Sanders wishes to enforce increased taxation, regulation, and state coercion on individuals. Interestingly, they both claim that they want to preserve freedoms and liberty through their perverse views of what a ‘democracy’ is. They, although you are not inclined to believe so, are one and the same. They will use their powers to control American society as they wish. One will lead the country towards enraged Nationalism, while the other to Socialism- both which at their core, yet in different ways, propagate collectivism. Both use the complexities of identity politics to instill in the masses deluded false hopes, and more importantly both are a retraction from Reality.
All power politics become possible through the masses. Libertarianism seeks to end the concept of the ‘masses,’ and promote that of the ‘individual.’ It promotes the concept of critical thinking for each individual. It demands that they should not to be moved by their emotional whims at the sound of “Lets Make America Great Again,” or “Free College for Everyone,” but to employ reason, and rationality. With that in mind, it is a cardinal axiom that an individual is allowed to think, and say whatever they wish.