Jeffrey A. Tucker: An Aesthetic of Liberty

Liberty-minded people are doing a lot of soul-searching these days. It’s probably needed.

In case you haven’t heard, many academic and media observers are on a hunt to discover the origin of the bizarre and violent alt-right (Klan, Nazi, and so on) marchers and protesters who appeared in Charlottesville, Virginia, shouting genocidal slogans. Every day new stories appear. To the horror of many dedicated intellectuals and activists in the liberty space, some journalists have tried to link this movement backward in time to the libertarian political movement as it developed over the last decade.

Some of the most prominent alt-right voices in Charlottesville once identified as libertarians. 

It should be obvious that, in theory and contrary to what the socialist left has long claimed, there is no connection whatsoever between what we call libertarianism and any species of rightist totalitarian ideology. One negates the other. As Leonard Read wrote in 1956, “Liberty has no horizontal relationship to authoritarianism. Libertarianism’s relationship to authoritarianism is vertical; it is up from the muck of men enslaving man…”

And yet today, there does indeed appear to be a social, institutional, and even intellectual connection, and migration, between what is called the liberty movement and the alt-right. Some of the most prominent alt-right voices in Charlottesville once identified as libertarians. This fact has been widely covered. It’s a fair question to ask: did these individuals ever really believe in a liberal worldview? Were they trolling all along? Were they just deeply confused?

Brutalism

I’ve been interviewed many times on these questions. How did this come to be? The answer is complex.

The rhetoric at the extremes approaches nihilism.

It was more than three years ago that my article “Against Libertarian Brutalism” raised a conjecture: a libertarianism, rendered simply as nothing more than a “leave me alone” outlook, with no larger aspiration for the good life, could find itself divorced from a historical conception of what the advent of liberty has meant to human life and society as a whole. Without that, we fail to develop good instincts for interpreting the world around us. We are even reduced to syllogistic slogans and memes which can be deeply misleading and feed even illiberal bias.

And where does this bias end up? Where are the limits? I see them daily online. In the name of fighting the left, many have turned the other direction to embrace restrictions on trade, migration, essential civil liberties, and even toyed with the freedom of the press and the rights of private enterprise, in the name of humiliating and eliminating the enemy. Some go further to celebrate anything they believe the left hates, including even odious causes from the authoritarian past.

The rhetoric at the extremes approaches nihilism. The press isn’t really free so why not impose restrictions and censorship? The borders aren’t private so why not prohibit all entry? Some speech doesn’t support freedom so why permit it the rights that freedom entails? Social media companies aren’t really private enterprises, so why not force them to carry and promote some accounts that I like?

Small Mistakes, Big Results

It takes a special kind of circuitous sophistry to justify, in the name of liberty, collectivistic animus and state violence. 

The gradual evolution of language has unleashed all kinds of confusion. Activists denounce “the establishment” without a clear distinction between government and influential media voices. They will decry “globalism” without bothering to distinguish the World Bank from an importer of Chinese fireworks. They promote identitarianism and racial collectivism without the slightest understanding of the illiberal origins and uses of these ideologies in 20th-century history. After all, they say, there is nothing “inherently un-libertarian” about casting down an entire people, religion, gender, language, or race, so long as you don’t directly use violence.

It takes a special kind of circuitous sophistry to justify, in the name of liberty, collectivistic animus and state violence against voluntary association. But the history of politics shows people are capable of making huge mental leaps in service of ideological goals. All it takes is small steps, little excuses, tweaks of principle here and there, seemingly minor compromises, some element of confirmation bias, and you are good to go, ready to make as much sense as the old communist slogan that you have to break eggs to make omelets.

Public and Private

Here is an example of what I mean. I’ve heard many libertarians postulate that public spaces ought to be managed in the same way private spaces are. So, for example, if you can reasonably suppose that a private country club can exclude people based on gender, race, and religion – and they certainly have that correct – then it is not unreasonable to suppose that towns, cities, or states, which would be private in absence of government, should be permitted to do the same.

In fact, it has been claimed, the best kind of statesmen are those who manage their realm the same way a CEO manages a corporation or the head of a family runs a household.

What is wrong with this thinking? It is perhaps not obvious at first. But consider where you end up if you keep pursuing this: there are no more limits on the state at all. If a state can do anything that a private home, a house of worship, a country club, or a shopping center can do, any state can impose arbitrary rules, conditions of inclusion, or codes of speech, dress, and belief, including every manner of mandate and prohibition, the same as any private entity does. Such a position essentially belittles 500 years of struggle to restrain the state with general rules, from Magna Carta to the latest rollbacks in the war on drugs.

How can libertarians again find our center and enliven our mission? 

The whole idea of the liberal revolution is that states must stay within strict bounds – punishing only transgressions against person and property – while private entities must be given maximum liberality in experimentation with rules. This distinction must remain if we are to keep anything that has been known as freedom since the High Middle Ages. Through long struggle, we managed to erect walls between the state and society, and the struggle to keep that wall high never ends. The notion that public actors should behave as if they are private owners is an existential threat to everything that liberalism ever sought to achieve.

This is a case that illustrates how easy it is to get off course through small intellectual confusions. As the old Scholastics said, you get one point wrong, and follow it consistently enough, next thing you know, an entire worldview unravels. Then you are vulnerable to every manner of manipulation and even corruption, even to the point of marching in parades for totalitarian causes.

This type of intellectual confusion is what enabled and encouraged the migration from libertarianism to the alt-right. It was a failure to see the big picture of what it is that human liberty is all about, and this failure, fueled by anger, opened up many people to a dark world they didn’t know or understand.

A Way Out and Forward

How can libertarians again find our center, enliven our mission, feel great about what we do, and protect ourselves from ever again being trolled by evil?

Here is my suggestion: we need a new aesthetic of liberty. This new aesthetic should replace the barren and politically malleable abstractions that have robbed libertarianism of its bigger and larger vision and made people unable to see when a movement turns in an illiberal direction.

We need to form in our minds a beautiful vision of the society and world we want to inhabit, not in its detailed operation like the central planners, and not as an end state like the socialist utopians, but in its ever-evolving institutions that serve human well being above all else. We need to sense it, see it, get to know it in our minds, love it and long for it, and help others see it too, just as our greatest writers and intellectuals in the past have done.

This must begin with rethinking who we are in light of where we’ve been in past ages and form ideological personalities that resist being manipulated by the political actions and reactions around us.

This liberty aesthetic consists of five main parts.

First, we need a bright outlook on human progress. The big picture is that before the age of liberalism, humanity slogged around for some 150,000 years without hope, improvement in living standards, or better or longer lives. Then freedom came. Hope was born. In your own life, you could manage to create improvement. You could live better. You could cause the world around you to adapt to new conditions. You could improve the lives of others. To be volitional meant something for the first time. You could travel. You could earn money and buy things. You could invest, and hope for a better life for your children. To have hope in this world, and not just the next, was the great gift of liberalism to the world.

Formal alliances between libertarians and others have been the source of great mischief for decades.

We cannot and should not give this up. Anger, bitterness, resentment, and hate are just not good substitutes. On the contrary, they are corrosive of the heart and soul. In the days since Charlottesville, I’ve had many discussions with people who are shaking off an alt-right phase. The number one thing they have told me: “I was consumed and blinded by anger. It caused me to lose sight of the beauty of liberty.” This leads me to believe that avoiding this cast of mind could provide some immunization against illiberal thought.

Second, we need to stop believing that the enemy of our enemy is our friend. Formal alliances between libertarians and others have been the source of great mischief for decades. There is nothing wrong with cooperating with people from many sides of the political spectrum for the good of liberty. And there is not much point in regarding libertarians as some kind of hermetically sealed group, protected from outside influence. Formal alliances are another matter. These can tempt people to distort priorities, bury principles, and embrace insidious ideas, all in the interest of preserving the alliance.

This is a particular problem in the area of politics. You hate candidate A and don’t particularly like candidate B. But your loathing of A is so strong that you come to back, even passionately, candidate B. Once having backed B, you continue to confirm your bias by cheering everything he or she does following the election. This tendency can rot the brain and debase one’s principles to the point that you no longer remember what it is you actually believe.

A general preference for peace over violence is not put into some algorithmic theorem that is set apart from real human experience.

Third, we should hope for more peace and less violence. The liberal revolution began with an insight: the costs of religious wars are too high. How about we just let everyone believe what they want to believe providing he or she does not impinge on the rights of others to do the same. And guess what? It worked. This set up a general curiosity toward the uses of peace or violence. Next came freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of trade, freedom of movement. It was beautiful and amazing.

Reflecting on this history, F.A. Hayek sought to sum up the libertarian spirit as a preference for peace over violence, whether that violence is from private actors or the state. This is why libertarians have a high regard for the commercial sector of life. So long as there are clean lines of ownership and the possibility of trade, people are in a position to get a bite to eat and put clothes on their backs without having to kill each other. This makes for a better society.

Note that this general preference for peace over violence is not put into some algorithmic theorem that is set apart from real human experience. Nor does it enable some ivory-tower theorist’s perfect insight to solve every human problem. The manner in which the rule of thumb applies needs to be tested according to the circumstances of time and place, and the results judged by a market test.

We will win the day because we have the arguments.

Fourth, we should be wary of mass hysterias and populist agitation. Liberty has been vexed as much by public frenzy – against the greedy bankers, the weird religion, the foreign enemy – as by dictators. Much of the time they work together to curb the liberties of the people, as demagogues use mass movements (or insiders use ambitious leaders) to obtain power. When you see mobs of people gathered and screaming, and some leader behind a microphone yelling, and the anger reaches a fevered pitch, you can have a sense that it is not liberalism at work here.

Ludwig von Mises in 1927 noted this at the end of his great work on the free commonwealth. He said that liberalism can be recognized not by flags, songs, marches, and uniforms but by its reasoning. We will win the day because we have the arguments. I’ve put my faith in the belief that he is right, and only add that Mises himself was never more convincing than when he described in beautiful prose the glorious achievements of freedom in the past and its marvelous potential for the future. 

Fifth, we need a central theme that is beautiful and inspiring. What is the central theme of the aesthetic of liberty? It is this: emancipation. This has been our great contribution to humanity. It was the libertarian idea that brought about emancipation from rule by dynasty, from feudalism, from mercantilism, from theocracy, from slavery, from institutional misogyny, from censorship, from war, from all forms of state control.

The world desperately needs a new and conscious movement that is devoted to a classical form of liberalism.

And what are we working toward? What has been the point of all this progress made toward liberty in the past? It is about the aspiration for universal human dignity. That’s the theme and the test. Does what I believe ennoble human life? Does it create conditions for greater dignity and opportunity for all? Does it make life better for others and myself? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves about everything we believe and do in the name of liberty.

If we get this straight, prefer peace to violence, adhere to principle, and rely on argument and not on noise to win the day, the rest will take care of itself.

A New Enlightenment 

Why does it matter? People are being misled. They believe that the alternative to the left is the right, forgetting that both paradigms emerged from the same anti-libertarian framework that opposes the greatest transformation in the history of the human race.

Actually it’s worse than that: our generation is not entirely aware of what they are buying when they rally uncritically (but understandably) around anti-leftist causes without asking what these causes are actually for. They rally around fashionable memes and follow articulate leaders and, one day, find themselves carrying ethnostate flags and screaming blood-thirsty slogans. Further, they come to imagine that freedom can be achieved through statist means. It has never been so!

None of this has to be. What the world desperately needs a new and conscious movement that is devoted to a classical form of liberalism, applied in the 21st century. This movement (however informal and focused more on ideas than organizing) should be enlivened by ideals. It should optimistically celebrate free enterprise, trade, and peace and recognize that the magic of freedom is revealed most profoundly in its capacity to create harmony out of diversity, strong cultural ties out of spontaneous association, and prosperity from the creative actions of individuals in an open-ended social order. It needs to recognize that liberty is about building a good society in which everyone can thrive in peace.

Such a movement needs to detach itself from the war between right and left, eschew the hatreds and revenge fantasies fueled by today’s political struggles, and instead embrace a liberty aesthetic as a path that transcends modern politics and offers pure light in an otherwise dark world. Let the soul searching begin, and then let us proceed forth to building a better, freer world. 

Jeffrey A. Tucker


Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, economics adviser to FreeSociety.com, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books, most recently Right-Wing Collectivism: The Other Threat to Liberty, with a preface by Deirdre McCloskey (FEE 2017). He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

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46 Responses to Jeffrey A. Tucker: An Aesthetic of Liberty

  1. Benedict Arnold

    A breath of fresh air.

  2. Rafe

    Second, we need to stop believing that the enemy of our enemy is our friend.

    Acton: At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare and its triumphs have been due to minorities that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objectives often differed from their own; and this association which is always dangerous has sometimes been disastrous by giving its opponents just grounds for opposition.

    Heading the appendix Why I am not a conservative attached to The Constitution of Liberty.

  3. Rafe

    Tucker drew a distinction between cooperation and formal alliances. I suppose cooperation is like giving preferences to the Coalition at an election as the lesser of evils as distinct from a formal alliance where we are obliged to pretend that we like their policies.

  4. jupes

    Note that this general preference for peace over violence is not put into some algorithmic theorem that is set apart from real human experience …

    And yet libertarians still want to import Muslims into western countries.

    … The manner in which the rule of thumb applies needs to be tested according to the circumstances of time and place, and the results judged by a market test.

    The results of Muslim immigration are clear to Blind Freddy yet you still want to bring them here.

    We will win the day because we have the arguments.

    No. Muslims will win because they have the will.

  5. struth

    what we call libertarianism and any species of rightist totalitarian ideology.

    Please quote examples of right wing totalitarian ideology.
    You fucking goose.
    You are so much a part of the problem.

    Official libertarians are some confused whack jobs, that’s for sure.

    Trying to stick everyone in boxes and gleefully grabbing hold of left wing names like “alt right”

    This bloke is a fucking wally.

    what we call libertarianism and any species of rightist totalitarian ideology.

    There is no such thing as rightist totalitarian ideology.

    Full stop.

    Listen, you stupid academic.
    The left are using racism against whites.
    People that react to it and fight back on race issues, or are indeed racist themselves, are not right wing.

    The Klu Klux Klan were democrats.

    The Nazis were socialist.

    The branding of such groups as right wing is moronic and plays into the left’s false propaganda, and then you find yourself doing all sorts of mental gymnastics.

    It’s not that hard.
    They are fighting the racism of the left, by stupid tribalism, and racism as well.
    They try to align themselves with those trying to fight anti white racism.
    It doesn’t make right wing politics totalitarian.
    There is no such animal.
    It is an oxymoron.
    Radical right wing politics leads to anarchy, not totalitarianism.

  6. Senile Old Guy

    I prefer to live in the real world; the world where there are enemies of freedom.

    And where does this bias end up? Where are the limits? I see them daily online. In the name of fighting the left, many have turned the other direction to embrace restrictions on trade, migration, essential civil liberties, and even toyed with the freedom of the press and the rights of private enterprise, in the name of humiliating and eliminating the enemy. Some go further to celebrate anything they believe the left hates, including even odious causes from the authoritarian past.

    Another open borders loon.

    The rhetoric at the extremes approaches nihilism. The press isn’t really free so why not impose restrictions and censorship? The borders aren’t private so why not prohibit all entry? Some speech doesn’t support freedom so why permit it the rights that freedom entails? Social media companies aren’t really private enterprises, so why not force them to carry and promote some accounts that I like?

    And this is supposed to be an argument for liberatianism? We do not prohibit all entry; we regulate entry to ensure that it is consistent with our national interest.

    Let the soul searching begin, and then let us proceed forth to building a better, freer world.

    Alas, some believers in a certain religion would like nothing better than freeing your soul from its earthly confines.

    Jeffrey A. Tucker blogs at a site called “Beautiful Anarchy“.

  7. Benedict Arnold

    There is no such thing as racist totalitarian ideology.
    Interesting. What about fascism?
    “One common definition of the term focuses on three concepts: the fascist negations (anti-liberalism, anti-communism and anti-conservatism); nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence and promotion of masculinity, youth and charismatic leadership.[28][29][30] According to many scholars, fascism—especially once in power—has historically attacked communism, conservatism and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the far-right.[31]

  8. Arky

    Look up cuck in the dictionary.
    This guy’s photo is there.
    Having national borders isn’t right wing
    Up until the elites decided they wanted to ape Victorian gentry and give themselves a servant class, borders were mainstream.

  9. Zatara

    if you can reasonably suppose that a private country club can exclude people based on gender, race, and religion – and they certainly have that correct

    What century is it in your world?

  10. struth

    IF it wears a bow tie when it doesn’t have to, give it a wide berth.

  11. jupes

    Look up cuck in the dictionary.
    This guy’s photo is there.

    Does it have the extreme head tilt?

  12. thefrolickingmole

    The whole idea of the liberal revolution is that states must stay within strict bounds

    Hows that working out for you so far mate?

    We already have public policing of private companies (facebook etc) all too eager to curry favor with the regulators by banning, informing, demoneterising and disenfranchising people who are engaged in debate and discourse on public forums.
    Show me a modern example of a state restricting its overreach and shrinking its powers over the individual.

    Id love a “leave me alone” world, but one side has actively grown the state till its the only game in town, the wars over, they are just going round bayoneting the wounded now.

  13. bollux

    Another load of soft left codswallop. All good comments that I don’t want to duplicate, but I’m going to use “they are just going round bayoneting the wounded now.” forever. With permission of course.

  14. DrBeauGan

    Mr. Tucker, you are a muddle headed nincompoop. You only think you can think. Give it up, you aren’t any good at it.

    Also, you give bow-tie wearers a bad name.

  15. Driftforge

    He’s a funny chap this one. It’s like he’s got this sense of deep, engulfing horror that Libertarianism has failed, and doubled down anyway.

    The imposition of Liberty by fiat. Works well under very specific conditions, yet acts to destroy the very conditions that made it viable, and furthermore to destroy the institutions that created those conditions.

    Libertarianism is the grave, not of empires, but of civilisations. Cast off all restraint. Engorge yourself on the heritage of those generations gone before. Inherently his call is one to complete the process of the destruction of Western Civilisation, just as the very forces necessary for it’s restoration begin to emerge from their long slumber.

    If I’m being generous, he seems to be suffering from the assumption that simply because there are points in history where sufficient culture has been accumulated that, for some short few generations, restraint can be cast off, that such a condition is optimal in all times and places.

    It isn’t optimal now, and arguably hasn’t been for some number of generations. Its now to the point where our culture is visibly breaking down at a rate such that it is clear to enough to rouse those few that remain.

  16. struth

    He said “rightist” totalitarian society, not racist totalitarian society benedict Arnold.

    Fascism is left wing.

    It was allied to the socialist Hitler, who was a SOCIALIST.

    Socialists and communists and fascists are all left wing totalitarians.
    Fascism is Italian in origin.
    And Mussolini was not allied to the USA, he was allied to Hitler.

    That they fight each other is to be expected as well, as do muslims.
    One Sunni fighting a shi-ite doesn’t make him a catholic.

  17. 2dogs

    a libertarianism, rendered simply as nothing more than a “leave me alone” outlook, with no larger aspiration for the good life, could find itself divorced from a historical conception of what the advent of liberty has meant to human life and society as a whole. Without that, we fail to develop good instincts for interpreting the world around us.

    The outlook should not be “leave me alone”, but rather, “a space for all ideas”.

  18. Tel

    The borders aren’t private so why not prohibit all entry?

    Firstly, no one is nor has suggested prohibiting all entry. There’s no value in BS exaggeration.

    Secondly, if you want to compare modern Western democracies to just about any other nation on Earth you will find bulk people coming and going… so take your straw man argument and I won’t say but you know what you can do with it. I think you would also find that more people move around more easily now than just about any stage of history, but I’m happy for someone to prove me wrong on that. Partly that’s from technology (it’s easier to do), partly that’s the Welfare State (there’s huge incentive) and partly that’s because the absolutely normal thing all through history was for groups of people to be highly cautious about who they allowed inside their castle walls, because violence was commonplace.

    Thirdly, if the borders really were private, then without a doubt the private owners would be a lot more careful regarding their responsibility and duty of care to others, and restrictions would be much tighter. It’s government that forces artificially open borders, and government that takes away individual’s natural ability to control who they associate with.

    Ever tried to wander into the main office of Apple or Microsoft and just decide to take up residence there? How far do you think you would get?

    Ever considered turning up at a major league football game and decided for yourself, “Hey I feel like kicking the ball around with these guys for a while?” Do you think they are going to be all “open” with your attempt to get involved? I don’t think so.

    Just a quick count on how many times you have left the front door of your private house wide open with an invitation for anyone and everyone to make themselves at home? Once? Twice? Ever? Doesn’t happen too often… hmmm.

  19. Tel

    There is no such thing as rightist totalitarian ideology.

    Full stop.

    Monarchy?

  20. Defender of the faith

    Struth: Mussolini was not at all socialist. He was fundamentally corporatist and his Fascists were given to strong rhetoric in support of market based economies.
    Interesting how many comments seem defensive in response to what is a fairly unremarkable assertion of liberty. I particularly enjoyed the yelps about race and religion. A bit close to the bone for some folk?

  21. thefrolickingmole

    Kipling had him worked out.
    https://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/city_of_brass.html

    Swiftly these pulled down the walls that their fathers had made them –
    The impregnable ramparts of old, they razed and relaid them
    As playgrounds of pleasure and leisure, with limitless entries,
    And havens of rest for the wastrels where once walked the sentries;
    And because there was need of more pay for the shouters and marchers,
    They disbanded in face of their foemen their yeomen and archers.
    They replied to their well-wishers’ fears – to their enemies laughter,
    Saying: “Peace! We have fashioned a God Which shall save us hereafter.
    We ascribe all dominion to man in his factions conferring,
    And have given to numbers the Name of the Wisdom unerring.”

    They said: “Who has hate in his soul? Who has envied his neighbour?
    Let him arise and control both that man and his labour.”
    They said: “Who is eaten by sloth? Whose unthrift has destroyed him?
    He shall levy a tribute from all because none have employed him.”
    They said: “Who hath toiled, who hath striven, and gathered possession?
    Let him be spoiled. He hath given full proof of transgression.”
    They said: “Who is irked by the Law? Though we may not remove it.
    If he lend us his aid in this raid, we will set him above it!
    So the robber did judgment again upon such as displeased him,
    The slayer, too, boasted his slain, and the judges released him.

  22. Fisky

    This is why libertarians have a high regard for the commercial sector of life.

    Hardly any libertarians actually work in the private sector.

  23. pbw

    …a libertarianism, rendered simply as nothing more than a “leave me alone” outlook, with no larger aspiration for the good life, could find itself divorced from a historical conception of what the advent of liberty has meant to human life and society as a whole.

    I thought that a “leave me alone” outlook was a good working definition of libertarianism.

    identitarianism and racial collectivism…origins and uses of these ideologies in 20th-century history.

    These go all the way back to prehistory. As contemporary reactions, they have their origins in late 20th century liberalism.

    It takes a special kind of circuitous sophistry to justify, in the name of liberty, collectivistic animus and state violence against voluntary association.

    Voluntary associations like identarians and racial collectivists?

    But the history of politics shows people are capable of making huge mental leaps in service of ideological goals.

    Tell me about it, Jeffrey.

    The big picture is that before the age of liberalism…

    everything was awful. Or to put it another way, before the Leviathan…

    there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.

    And that is only the beginning of Jeffrey’s tale.

  24. Great rant, Struth. Awesome stuff.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a fence sitter on any subject, but writing a wordy diatribe about it with a bowtie just screams ‘needy’ from the rooftops.

  25. C.L.

    Fifth, we need a central theme that is beautiful and inspiring.

    We have one…

    What is the central theme of the aesthetic of liberty?

    Christianity.

  26. H B Bear

    Hard to think that Snic isn’t simply posting this bow tie spinning poindexter as clickbait.

  27. C.L.

    Fourth, we should be wary of mass hysterias and populist agitation.

    When I think of “mass hysterias and populist agitation” it is hard to go beyond – nay, unnecessary to go beyond – ‘climate change’ and gay ‘marriage.’

    Both are heavily, dogmatically supported by faux-libertarian.

    Some of us have been around here long enough to recall the emergence of the carbon dioxide tax and how Soonians zealously embraced this ‘market’ ‘solution’ to the ‘crisis’ of ‘climate change.’

    Good call, sausage jockeys.

  28. James In Footscray

    Which members of the alt-right once identified as libertarians? Just curious – none of the Cato or reason.com type libertarians would have anything to do with right-wing authoritarianism.

  29. Simon/other

    The world desperately needs a new and conscious movement that is devoted to a classical form of liberalism.

    I am confused…does he mean we should be progressive conservatives or conservative progressives?

    It needs to recognize that liberty is about building a good society in which everyone can thrive in peace.

    Yeah but liberty is the reason most things don’t get built in the modern world (heard of unions or conservationists). Of course if you just define lots of irrational feelings as Liberties you get the problem this whole piece was supposed to resolve.

    Maybe what is needed is a well defined hierarchy of liberties that aren’t negotiable forcing a degree of conformity that always allows individual freedom of expression and thought. Some people could call it common decency and others could make it something to worship. If only there was place we could purchase this product, somebody could even tell the head of state to shop there.

  30. manalive

    … the aim, therefore, of patriots, was to set limits to the power which the ruler should be suffered to exercise over the community; and this limitation was what they meant by liberty …

    Mill’s On Liberty IMO is the best essay on the essence of ‘liberty’ and its practical application.
    Neo-nazis ridiculously calling themselves ‘libertarians’ in the US reminded me of John Bennett who in the ‘70s was an outspoken defender of the National Socialist Party of Australia.
    The work of Bennet’s organisation the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties was generally highly praised by the CPA’s Tribune for defending free speech but the case of the NSPA was “unworthy’.
    Apparently everyone wants to be a ‘libertarian’, when it suits.

  31. Art Vandelay

    Tucker has been hyperventilating about the threat posed by ‘neo-Nazis’ for the last few months in spite of the fact that they are so popular they could hold their meetings in a phonebox.

    Meanwhile, the authoritarian Left control the media, universities, the boards of many companies, the bureaucracy and most major political parties (both left and right) the world over.

  32. Empire GTHO Phase III

    Struth: Mussolini was not at all socialist. He was fundamentally corporatist and his Fascists were given to strong rhetoric in support of market based economies.

    More boilerplate lefistry.

    Born in 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, Forlì, Italy, Benito Mussolini was an ardent socialist as a youth, following in his father’s political footsteps, but was expelled by the party for his support of World War I.

    https://www.biography.com/people/benito-mussolini-9419443

    Marx himself postulated a capitalist corporatism phase would be necessary to bring about the collectivist utopia.

    It was western communist intellectuals who invented and propagated the lie that the totalitarian ideologies of Mussolini and Hitler were “right wing”.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2011/09/01/obama-hitler-and-exploding-the-biggest-lie-in-history/?s=trending#55cd9cf11365I'm

  33. Defender of the faith

    Empire: you are ignoring all if the relevant facts. But do keep smoking whatever it is

  34. Yohan

    on a hunt to discover the origin of the bizarre and violent alt-right (Klan, Nazi, and so on) marchers and protesters who appeared in Charlottesville

    There certainly were various white nationalist groups at Charlottesville, but there were absolutely no Klansmen or Nazi’s. Its a dishonest slur to call the alt-right this.

    The US media took a picture of a KKK rally from 3 months earlier, and used that pic in articles pretending it was from this rally. The media also used a picture of one solitary person walking around with a Nazi flag, and plastered it on all over the media pretending. That one person, who no-one knows, has been spotted in photos of leftist marches and is obviously a leftist plant.

  35. Empire GTHO Phase III

    Empire: you are ignoring all if the relevant facts. But do keep smoking whatever it is

    Seriously, is that all you’ve got?

    I really can’t figure out if you’re a liar or a retard.

  36. Tel

    Struth: Mussolini was not at all socialist. He was fundamentally corporatist and his Fascists were given to strong rhetoric in support of market based economies.

    Hmmm, have you considered the writings of this guy?

    Political And Social Doctrine

    1. Origins of the Doctrine.

    When, in the now distant March of 1919, I summoned a meeting at Milan, through the columns of the Popolo d’Italia, of those who had supported and endured the war and who had followed me since the constitution of the fasci or Revolutionary Action in January 1915, there was no specific doctrinal plan in my mind. I had the experience of one only doctrine—that of Socialism from 1903-04 to the winter of 1914 about a decade—but I made it first in the ranks and later as a leader and it was never an experience in theory. My doctrine, even during that period, was a doctrine of action. A universally accepted doctrine of Socialism had not existed since 1915 when the revisionist movement started in Germany, under the leadership of Bernstein. Against this, in the swing of tendencies, a left revolutionary movement began to take shape, but in Italy it never went further than the “field of phrases,” whereas in Russian Socialistic circles it became the prelude of Bolscevism. “Reformism,” “revolutionarism,” “centrism,” this is a terminology of which even the echoes are now spent—but in the great river of Fascism are currents which flowed from Sorel, from Peguy, from Lagardelle and the “Mouvement Socialiste,” from Italian syndicalists which were legion between 1904 and 1914, and sounded a new note in Italian Socialist circles (weakened then by the betrayal of Giolitti) through Olivetti’s Pagine Libere, Orano’s La Lupa and Enrico Leone’s Divenire Sociale.

    After the War, in 1919, Socialism was already dead as a doctrine: it existed only as a grudge. In Italy especially, it had one only possibility of action: reprisals against those who had wanted the War and must now pay its penalty. The Popolo d’Italia carried as sub-title “daily of ex-service men and producers,” and the word producers was already then the expression of a turn of mind. Fascism was not the nursling of a doctrine previously worked out at a desk; it was born of the need for action and it was action. It was not a party, in fact during the first two years, it was an anti-party and a movement.

    The name I gave the organisation fixed its character. Yet whoever should read the now crumpled sheets with the minutes of the meeting at which the Italian “Fasci di Combattimento” were constituted, would fail to discover a doctrine, but would find a series of ideas, of anticipations, of hints which, liberated from the inevitable strangleholds of contingencies, were destined after some years to develop into doctrinal conceptions. Through them Fascism became a political doctrine to itself, different, by comparison, to all others whether contemporary or of the past.

    I said then, “If the bourgeoisie think we are ready to act as lightning-conductors, they are mistaken. We must go towards labour. We wish to train the working classes to directive functions. We wish to convince them that it is not easy to manage Industry or Trade: we shall fight the technique and the spirit of the rearguard. When the succession of the regime is open, we must not lack the fighting spirit. We must rush and if the present regime be overcome, it is we who must fill its place. The claim to succession belongs to us, because it was we who forced the country into War and we who led her to victory. The present political representation cannot suffice: we must have a direct representation of all interest. Against this programme one might say it is a return to corporations. But that does not matter. Therefore I should like this assembly to accept the claims put in by national syndicalism from an economic standpoint….”

    Is it not strange that the word corporations should have been uttered at the first meeting of Piazza San Sepolcro, when one considers that, in the course of the Revolution, it came to express one of the social and legislative creations at the very foundations of the regime?

    — Benito Mussolini

    https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14058/14058-h/14058-h.htm

    Be my guest and read the whole thing. What you find is that they were very clear that the Fascist movement came out of Socialism, but their aims were in a way loftier in as much as they attempted to rebuild all of society including both the institutions and the people themselves, in order to make the whole thing subservient to the central power of the state. Corporations were convenient building blocks to be manipulated at will by authoritarian government (for their own good, of course). The Fascists invented themselves as they went along, and they were proud of it too; because they were men of action and not bookish men of theory. (ASIDE: you might notice the similarity with the quote “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out,” supposedly by Karl Rove, although he denied it).

    ================

    BTW: This guy is also worthy of deep consideration:

    You can observe a lot by just watching.

    — Yogi Berra

  37. Defender of the faith

    Empire: when you say “partly” do you mean student loans funded by taxpayers? Or do you mean actual cash from private trousers? If the latter then you are really needing another word. Like barely.
    As for ACCI I am wondering what you think it does? Aside from lobbying governments for handouts.
    Kates is a bludger. Never had a real job and had zero experience of risk or competitive living.

  38. Boambee John

    Such a position essentially belittles 500 years of struggle to restrain the state with general rules, from Magna Carta to the latest rollbacks in the war on drugs.

    Magna Carta dates back 800 years.

  39. Boambee John

    Yohan at 1805

    That one person, who no-one knows, has been spotted in photos of leftist marches and is obviously a leftist plant.

    No, no, no!

    I had an exchange with m0nty at the time. He found the idea of leftist infiltration of non-leftist groups impossible to believe. If m0nty says it can’t happen, then ???

  40. Defender of the faith

    Empire et al: you will find many populists who claim socialist identity while adopting corporatist policy Mussolini is the most obvious example.
    I don’t think you actually care about the issue. Far more concerned to maintain your unfortunate antipathy for liberty and the values of freedom.

  41. visions

    Struth – I was having a debate with someone who was very strong on KKK being extreme right wing and I informed him that Nathan Bedford Forrrest was a Democrat – response to me – why you changing the subject what has Forrrest got to with it. I swear some of these left wing advocates are stupid. I also pointed out that the NAZI’s were socialist – actually there was a really good article on this I read last month – anyway it was also lost on this person. I can away feeling they don’t care about facts getting in they way of their narratives.

  42. Empire

    Empire: when you say “partly” do you mean student loans funded by taxpayers? Or do you mean actual cash from private trousers? If the latter then you are really needing another word. Like barely.
    As for ACCI I am wondering what you think it does? Aside from lobbying governments for handouts.
    Kates is a bludger. Never had a real job and had zero experience of risk or competitive living.

    This confused statement belongs on the thread it pertains to. With such poor attention to detail, I’m leaning towards retard over liar.

  43. Empire

    Empire et al: you will find many populists who claim socialist identity while adopting corporatist policy Mussolini is the most obvious example.
    I don’t think you actually care about the issue. Far more concerned to maintain your unfortunate antipathy for liberty and the values of freedom.

    Hilarious. If you cared about the values of freedom you wouldn’t go to such great lengths to propagate the Frankfurt School lie that the non Cominetrn totalitarians of Europe were right wing.

  44. Fisky

    When I think of “mass hysterias and populist agitation” it is hard to go beyond – nay, unnecessary to go beyond – ‘climate change’ and gay ‘marriage.’

    Both are heavily, dogmatically supported by faux-libertarian.

    Some of us have been around here long enough to recall the emergence of the carbon dioxide tax and how Soonians zealously embraced this ‘market’ ‘solution’ to the ‘crisis’ of ‘climate change.’

    Good call, sausage jockeys.

    I think it may be time to dismantle libertarianism as a schema or worldview. It doesn’t achieve anything it’s supposed to, because it is consistently wrong in strategy and interpretation of events. At some point you just have to cut your losses, and start from scratch.

  45. Defender of the faith

    Empire: so Mussolini was “non Comintern”? Made him very forward thinking!

  46. True Aussie

    The alt right is a reponse to Tucker and the rest of the gutless Conservatives/Libertarians who refuse to do anything than write lots of words that achieve nothing. The alt right is the man in the arena and Tufcker, like all critics on the sidelines too afraid to do anything, can go fuck himself.

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