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Why the State: A Response to Styx

[1]2,304 words

The basic argument we’re dealing with goes like so:

1. The primary work that the New Right has before it is social and cultural (e.g., metapolitical).

With or without the state, a society organized on New Right principles can only succeed if a sufficiently large portion of its citizenry shares the social and cultural vision of the New Right, and are willing and able to uphold its standards. We can’t use the state to force New Right principles on an unwilling population without creating an ultimately counter-productive mass rebellion, so whether the state is part of our ultimate plans or not, using it isn’t our opening move.

2. But once we’ve done the social and cultural work of building a healthy population that understands why ethnic loyalty (second to familial loyalty) is important, the state is superfluous.

If we had enough people to constitute a formidable voting bloc in favor of an New Right candidate in an election, we would have enough people to not only boycott businesses that promote subversive values, but build our own institutions for ourselves and make these superfluous, and so on and so forth. Thus, focusing on the use of these kinds of methods is at least equally as good as focusing on influencing the power of the State towards our shared goals.

3. And besides, the State is dangerous, and its power can be used against you.

A State willing to violate individual rights for the sake of what it perceives as the greater good already exists—and it got us where we are today! So how can you endorse the use of State power when the State is the biggest obstacle to the realization of your vision right now?

With respect to 1., “based” libertarians won’t oppose our efforts to create the social and cultural preconditions for change. So long as every step of the way were built completely out of voluntary pacts and agreements between individuals, they wouldn’t even oppose the creation of a 100% white ‘nation’—or one where it is mandatory to wear furry costumes when walking out in public, or one where capital punishment is prescribed for masturbation.

With respect to 3., these “based” libertarians may even genuinely care about the ways State power has been—or could be—used to further oppress us (for example, so-called “hate speech” laws that define oppositional political speech, or belief in the truth of politically incorrect facts, as “hatred”).

Libertarians deserve a respectful response. I’ve endeavored to begin sketching the outlines of an adequate response to the theoretical arguments for libertarianism in this essay [2], this essay [3], and others. However, the above line of reasoning doesn’t ask us to accept the moral superiority of the non-aggression principle as the foundational axiom of political theory, “egoism” as a superior moral theory to “altruism,” or “individualism” as a superior social ethic to “collectivism” (ill-defined as these latter two contrasts actually are). It merely asks us to recognize the tactical ineffectiveness of endorsing state power. As such, this is a practical conversation, not a philosophical one.

The short response is that rhetorically opposing the legitimacy of state power is a silly waste of time for exactly the same reason that the libertarian wants us to believe it’s poor tactics for us to endorse it: state power is already being used against us. When someone barges into your home and aims a gun to your head, it just doesn’t matter one way or another whether you support gun control. For that matter, even someone who dreams that in his ideal world guns would be wiped out of existence entirely would still be perfectly wise to pull a gun out to defend his life once he is in this scenario.

As far as tactics go, the New Righter who rejects libertarianism doesn’t suggest that political methods are always and everywhere superior to the social and cultural methods of producing change. Obviously not—we talk about metapolitics far more than we talk details of policy. But the alt-right libertarian does rule some tactical choices out on principle, regardless of whether or not he would actually be effective at helping to produce a world based on our principles. It’s one thing to enter a fight and discover that right-hand jabs work better on a given opponent than left-hand jabs. It’s another thing entirely to tie your left hand behind your back before you even enter the ring.

In a practical, everyday sense, not being a libertarian is a lot like not being a vegetarian. To ask an ethnonationalist “Yes, but why bring the state into it? Why not be libertarian?” makes as much sense as asking “Yes, but why bring animal products into the ethnostate? Why not be vegans?”

As an empirical point of fact, people become vegans because they find what they believe to be reasons to do so—but people don’t become meat-eaters; a willingness to eat meat is simply the default human behavior we see in human beings all over the world. Thus, all that it takes to remain a meat-eater is to simply not find the vegan’s reasons for veganism convincing.

In the same way, the willingness to use coercive force to establish, promote, and preserve group goals is a default human behavior we see all over the world. This isn’t a logical argument for who should bear the philosophical burden of proof, it’s a practical argument for who actually does bear the burden of proof in the real world as it is. Quite literally the entire world is covered in coercive states, and populated almost entirely by people who may wish that a given state would do this instead of that, but otherwise see no problem whatsoever with the existence of states as such. Any libertarian who thinks that the truth of libertarianism is obvious must find this situation incredibly perplexing.

And yet, ethnonationalists have no such dilemma. For nearly the entirety of recorded human history, every nation on earth has been based in ethnic kinship either de facto or de jure. The United States itself even had explicitly ethnonationalist immigration laws all the way up until the year 1965 [4]. Multiculturalism is an evolutionarily novel experiment for human beings—as are veganism and libertarianism. In contrast to all three, all our movement asks for is a return to what has been the normal state of human society throughout nearly all recorded history, and still is the norm across most of the globe even now.

Essentially, these libertarians are walking around gang-infested cities with black-and-white striped shirts on because they’ve designated themselves referees of others’ behavior even as they claim to have no stake in who wins or loses so long as everyone follows the (read: their) rules.

We see these people walking around the city turning themselves purple blowing their whistles every time they see someone pull out a weapon or shoot someone in another gang—but no one cares. The simple fact is that even if ending gang conflict is possible, this is never going to be the way it comes to an end. The only way to get anyone to care when or why you blow your whistle is if you actually form a competing gang, make a physical effort to enforce your norms and rules, and then do so more effectively than the crips and bloods. In some cities, this is essentially what police-work is.

And it is precisely where libertarianism has proved itself a failure in practice, both historically and in the present day. The tenets of libertarianism are simply not enough to bind a meaningful community together out of the people who adhere to them, and its vision of the future simply doesn’t inspire people to put flesh and blood at stake in order to fight for its actualization out in the real world. This is by design, and it is easy to see why it happens: libertarianism attempts to be a universal philosophy that could be adopted by everyone. In doing so, it strips itself of any particular human content, and tries to focus solely on “how” people act while holding little or no interest in “why” or ”to what ends?”

But in the real world, people only care about “how” once they have a “why.” In other words, you have to give them an actual vision of a future they want to fight for—and people who share their values to fight for it with—before they care about tactics. And once you reach this point, it is very unlikely that libertarianism will look like the best tactic. Especially not once they realize there are other people around who have competing visions who couldn’t give a rats ass about libertarianism either.

“Slippery slope” arguments are the most compelling purely tactical arguments for libertarianism. This form of argument doesn’t ask you to accept that the libertarian ethic is the one and only morally correct ethic, it merely points out that if your enemies outnumber you, then empowering the state is handing your enemy a weapon that could later be turned against you. That’s reasonable.

But the New Right already understands this reasoning. In recent discussions of Trump’s attempt to overturn one of Obama’s executive orders, the people I saw discussing this realized that it would be better for us if Trump’s efforts were denied than if they were granted. Establishing the precedent that a President can’t overturn a previous President’s executive orders would mean that Trump has several more years to establish executive orders that subsequent Presidents won’t be able to overturn either. Overturning one Obama executive order just means we overturn a single executive order, and are then left at the mercy of whoever happens to come next.

But the deeper problem with this argument when it is used to try to argue against ever employing state policy as a means to achieve a goal rather than advise against a specific action in a specific context is that in this deeper sense, all of us are on the slippery slope. There’s really no way off of it.

Anarcho-capitalists who want capitalist agencies to take over law, policework, the military and everything else love to argue against “minarchists” who prefer a minimal state by pointing out that there has never been a state in human history that hasn’t expanded and become something that libertarians would oppose. This is true. But by that same reasoning, there has literally never been a state of “anarchy” (or anything close to it) that hasn’t eventually expanded into a state that libertarians would oppose, either. When it becomes too broad in its scope, this form of reasoning simply becomes a kind of post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Even if we became libertarians, we would still be surrounded by people who oppose us and would be willing to use coercive force to shut us down. Clearly, there has never in human history been anything stopping people from creating states to employ coercive force when none existed previously. So while we may have no punchy answer to employ in the format of a debate as to how we would prevent multicultural leftists from co-opting the state power we would create, the libertarians really don’t have one, either.

First of all, we’re at a point where people running institutions like Google, YouTube, and GoFundMe really can be every bit as coercive and controlling to modern life as it is lived today as someone holding a government office. And yet, we still support the existence of search engines, video-sharing, and crowd-funding websites. How could we? Aren’t we being hypocrites, since these websites as they exist now are oppressing us?! Well, the problem with these institutions really is the values of the particular people running them, and not the institutions themselves. It would obviously be stupid to think we have to call for their wholesale abolition in order to make sure this could never happen again.

But second, and more importantly, the libertarian really can’t give us any concrete promises that his minarchist arrangement would give our enemies fewer opportunities to regain control over us again than we would by taking responsible control of state power. The minarchist can’t guarantee on principle that multicultural leftists couldn’t get in control and expand state power to promote multiculturalism any more than we can guarantee that they couldn’t subvert already-existing state power to promote their ends. It isn’t even clear on principle that expanding state power where none existed previously would really be more difficult for these multicultural leftists than co-opting an existing structure. If there is actually any real reason to think so, the libertarian bears the burden of providing arguments to that effect—and it is already obvious that he faces a serious dearth of historical examples to draw from if he hopes to make this case. Why shouldn’t a society with strong institutions be able to do a better job of preventing these people from subverting them than one with weak institutions (which can always be expanded)? By the same logic the libertarian uses to say that libertarianism would currently be a good tactical choice for us because in theory it would allow us to work and organize without being crushed by state power in the meantime, wouldn’t this also be a preferable arrangement to having their plans for society suppressed by the state for leftists as well?

Meanwhile, the anarcho-capitalist has precisely zero real-world examples of how purely contract-based armies would work out in the first place—nevermind taking into account the demographics of those who have the most financial resources to employ in a money-driven arrangement like this. How can the anarcho-capitalist guarantee that (((George Soros))) wouldn’t simply buy off our entire army? He can’t.