A Critique of "Against Libertarian Brutalism"

by Paul Bonneau
Strike The Root

Jeffrey Tucker writes a thoughtful (if not concise) article in his Against Libertarian Brutalism, but at the end, one is left unsatisfied. It has the flavor of one big straw man argument, as well as looking like a bit of “divide and conquer,” splitting libertarians unnecessarily into two distinct camps (as if we did not have enough camps already).

Toward the end, Tucker asks, "It all comes down to the fundamental motivation behind the support of liberty itself. What is its overarching purpose?"

That is indeed the question.

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Comments Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Nickel's 2bits

Posted: Mar 17 2014, 2:34 PM

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7147 Part of the problem, I think, is that he mis-identifies his groups.

What he terms the "humanitarian libertarians" I see as the true inheritors of the libertarian movement, the ones seeking a better life for EVERYONE in liberty.

What he terms the "brutal libertarians" I see as being more properly called "anarchists". They demand their right to do everything he lists (allow me to repeat): "[...] to form homogeneous tribes, to work out their biases in action, to ostracize people based on 'politically incorrect' standards, to hate to their heart’s content so long as no violence is used as a means, to shout down people based on their demographics or political opinions, to be openly racist and sexist, to exclude and isolate and be generally malcontented [sic] with modernity, and to reject civil standards of values and etiquette in favor of antisocial norms."

But none of the items on that list can be done without forcible oppression; cannot be done without the use of emotional abuse, bullying, authoritarian fiat, assault, theft, murder, and other harms as day-to-day tools. The "brutal" freedoms that Mr. Tucker lists and that his brutal libertarians would hope to obtain are all, ultimately, only obtained through violence.

Let's take the first example on the list: "to form homogenous tribes." That cannot be done without excluding individuals who are "inappropriate" for the tribe; by force if necessary. Take the man a while back who was determined to create an "all-white" town in South Dakota: Suppose a black man comes to town, just driving through: Would they allow him to pass through? Or order him by authoritarian fiat to deviate from his freely chosen path and, should he refuse, use physical violence to drive him away? Freedom, libertarians are told, allows us to do whatever we want so long as we don't hurt someone else: By that definition, the black man is oppressed.

The brutal libertarians cannot have these freedoms without using violence, but if told they could not do all the things Mr. Tucker listed, they would claim, "We are oppressed." Whether they admit it to themselves or not, they are opposed to libertarian ideals which, offering as little interference as practical to maintain peace, would nevertheless find it necessary to interfere with their activities.

Which is why I say that Mr. Tucker's so-called "brutal libertarians" are really anarchists. Because, in the end, they would not accept even those limited demands imposed by a true libertarian system. It is "too much government" for them.


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