Let’s back this train allll the way up in honor of Being Libertarian’s dribble about how if you’re a libertarian and you don’t like Rand Paul, then you’re the problem, and take a moment to explain to “Being Libertarian” what it actually means to be libertarian. One would think they’d know this before grabbing such a domain name, but we all make bad decisions.
I think the most basic definition of “libertarian” that everyone would agree to is “one who believes liberty should be maximized.” This obviously has a problem, though, and is why I’m an anarchist and not a libertarian. The state’s very existence curtails liberty, so “libertarian” is actually a bit of a self-contradiction. Any libertarian who carries the ideas to their completion becomes an anarchist, but we’ll get more into this in a moment. First, we must ask: “What is liberty, then?”
Liberty is a more nuanced term. Strictly speaking, we could say that it is the condition when natural rights are respected by others. This, of course, leads to the next question: What are rights? As it happens, I’ve addressed this before: a right is anything that one could do on a deserted island. What does it mean when someone violates your rights? It means that they have prevented you from doing something that you have a right to do. How can they prevent you from doing something?
Why, the only way they can prevent you from doing something is by using force, violence, and/or coercion.
Libertarian –> liberty should be maximized
Liberty –> rights are respected
Rights –> anything one can do on a deserted island
Violation of rights –> Force, violence, and/or coercion
Libertarian –> someone who condemns the violation of another person’s ability to do anything they would be able to do on a deserted island by using force, violence, and coercion against them.
That really wasn’t so hard was it? We can simplify it more, of course. A Libertarian is someone who condemns the initiation of force, violence, and coercion. This is an obvious corollary, because one can’t initiate force, violence, and coercion against people on a deserted island, because there are no other people upon whom one can use violence. Ergo, one does not have the right to use violence. One does have the right to not have force, violence, and coercion used against them on a deserted island, because there is no one to use it against one. Ipso facto, anyone who uses force, violence, and coercion is violating another person’s rights, and the Libertarian obviously rejects this.
One could take the time to dispute my assertion that rights are anything one can do on a deserted island, but not easily. It’s true that the idea of respecting an animal’s natural rights is a human one, and doesn’t actually exist anywhere in nature. Nature, however, is bloody horrific. Did you know one specie of wasp paralyzes worms and drags them back to the nest, where the worm has an egg laid in it and is eaten alive from the inside out? That’s nature. Yeah. Let’s keep nature away from our civilized behavior, right?
I’m not going to take the time to go into an explanation of natural rights, or why it makes sense to support the notion, because I shouldn’t have to in the United States–a nation that was literally built on the classical liberal ideology that was literally built from Locke and Smith’s works on government, which themselves were literally built on the ideas of natural rights. The concept of natural rights should be ingrained enough in our society that it warrants no explanation and is taken as a given: free speech, free thought, free association… These are rights because they’re rights because they’re rights. It’s true that some of these rights have come under fire in recent years, but not from libertarians, classical liberals, or even liberty-leaning conservatives. In other words, no one who actually likes anything the Anarchist Shemale has to say would take umbrage with the idea of natural rights.
So what does all this have to do with Rand Paul and “Being Libertarian?”
Well, as I explained above, “libertarian” isn’t a matter of degree. It’s boolean. It’s either/or. It’s a dichotomy: one either is a libertarian, or one is not. One can have “some positions in common with libertarians,” and one can even lean toward libertarian solutions as the preferred answers to problems, but one can’t be more libertarian or less libertarian than anyone else, because one either is libertarian, or one isn’t. Why? Simply put, because one either condemns the use of force, violence, and coercion, or one does not condemn the use of force, violence, and coercion.
It is here that I have to reiterate: this would be understood if, instead of teaching twelve fucking years of language courses, American schools dedicated just a single semester to learning the Logical Absolutes. When people say that Rand Paul is the “most Libertarian person in the Senate,” that isn’t what they really mean; as demonstrated above, it can’t be what they really mean, because “most Libertarian” doesn’t make sense.
“I condemn the use of force, violence, and coercion more than anyone else!”
“I condemn the use of force, violence, and coercion, too! Just… not as much as that guy!”
Obviously, those statements don’t make any sense at all.
“Very well!” someone might be saying. “But it remains a fact that Rand Paul happens to share more positions with libertarianism than anyone else in the Senate!”
This is true.
It is also a Lesser of Evils argument.
The “Lesser of Evils” argument is absolute bullshit, and half of the Libertarians now trying to use it have rejected it in the past. I wonder if Being Libertarian is aware that Rand Paul just made sweeping statements about how leakers should be persecuted and prosecuted? Yeah, that’s a real friend of libertarianism right there! “Protect state secrets! Protect the spies! Protect the liars! Protect the military industrial complex! Liberty! Prosecute anyone who spills the truth to the public!”
Sure, Rand does a few good things every once in a while.
So did Hitler.
So did Charles Manson.
While Rand Paul is certainly no Hitler or Charles Manson, the point remains that it’s futile, stupid, and fallacious to attempt to stack a person’s bad actions against their good actions, but Being Libertarian and other Rand supporters don’t even go that far, do they? No, they just completely gloss over and ignore his bad actions. No freaking libertarian in their right mind can have any love for a senator who wants to aggressively chase down and prosecute leakers. We love leaks! The government should not have secrets from us; we’re the ones paying the freaking bills! And let’s not get started on his signing Tim Cotton’s letter. Woohoo, though. Rand is fighting Ryancare.
That doesn’t make him more or less libertarian than anyone else. In fact, it makes him a bit worse, because we have literally no idea what criteria Rand uses to determine when to take a liberty-leaning position and when to take a Full Blown Statist position. He’s all over the fucking place. One day he could pass for Ron Paul, the next day he could pass for John McCain. But at least John McCain is predictable. We know what McCain will say about this issue or that issue. Who in the hell knows what Rand will say? Principles matter, and we simply don’t know what guiding principles Rand Paul uses.
But we do know this: his guiding principle is not the condemnation of the initiation of force, violence, and coercion.
Ergo, he’s not a libertarian.
There’s no “most” or “least” to it.
I’m willing to not give libertarians, classical liberals, and minarchists a hard time about being self-contradictory. Some people don’t agree with the NAP and arrive at the same ideological positions via different principles–much as Rand Paul arrives at “Fuck Ryancare,” but doesn’t arrive at that idea through the libertarian principle that is the NAP. Still others just aren’t ready to take the next step–because it is a big one–from libertarian to anarchist. But I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to support a statist who openly professes to not being a libertarian leeway because he shares a few positions with libertarians.
If you want to know the problem with Libertarianism, that’s where it lies: people are allowed to call themselves libertarians, and people treat liberty-leaning conservatives as libertarians, in full disregard of what the word actually means and what the ideology is actually built from. This is called “corrupting the ideology,” in fact, and is precisely what is harming the party. It’s how we ended up with Gary Johnson and Bill Freaking Weld. The problem is that party heads and figures were clearly willing to allow a little corruption if they could trade principles for a little popularity, and it snowballed to the point where every principle has been traded off and it’s no longer about how one reaches a position; it’s just about the position one reaches. And that’s wrong. It’s mistaken.
Moreover, “He may not be perfect, but he’s the best out of this group of people” is precisely how we ended up with President Donald Trump. Settling for politicians because they’re “not quite as bad” as other politicians has done fuck all to slow the march of the leviathan state.
No compromise. No backing down.
“Excuse me, darling, could I get a dollop of liberty on the side to go with my fascism, please?” isn’t acceptable.
Liberty or death.
No, I’m not the problem because I refuse to compromise my goddamned freedom, my rights as a human being. And if you think I’m the problem because I refuse to just give up my liberty dinner because some statist is kind enough to let me have a small taste, then you are absolutely the problem.
“Who is that, papa?” asked the little Jewish boy as he pointed and his father lowered him from the train that had brought them to Auschwitz.
The father turned and beamed with pride. “That’s Ol’ Henrick, my boy! He’s the best SS soldier in all of Germany! Why, he’s only gassed fourteen Jews!”
“Oh, wonderful, papa! That’s… Wait. But that means he’s killed fourteen Jews,” the boy said.
“He’s the best of the whole lot! How dare you criticize him?” the father roared. “At least he’s trying! He’s making an effort! He actually succeeded in getting into the SS, even though he doesn’t really care for the extermination of the Jews! That’s more than any of those people protesting the Holocaust have accomplished, isn’t it? ALL HAIL OL’ HENRICK, SAVIOR OF THE JEWS.”
I’m sorry for that. It’s really hard not to go way out there when criticizing this absurdly fallacious reasoning that Being Libertarian is offering up. Again, Rand is no Nazi. And he’s gassed no Jews. But he has participated in a lot of state-sanctioned murder, and this is the reasoning that Being Libertarian is offering up.
“You’re the problem! Fucking purist! You won’t accept anyone except someone who is just totally against the extermination of the Jews, will you? Purist! You should take what you can get!”