Pragmatic Libertarianism, Autonomous War Machines and International Relations: Part IV

Pragmatic Libertarianism and Pessimistic Agorism

“Transitions from one system of social organization to another, in the real world, are piecemeal and partial, with a considerable variety of subjective visions and motives among those involved. So Murray Rothbard’s vision of a stable majority of an entire society converted to the nonaggression principle, operating according to essentially the same libertarian law code, and with some set of model libertarian institutions, is probably as close to the literal meaning of ‘utopia’—nowhere—as we could imagine”[1].

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Pragmatic Libertarianism, Autonomous War Machines and International Relations: Part III

Decentralisation and Transversality

In taking a structural-materialist analysis that takes context as a primary variable for the formation of international orders (second anarchies), a libertarian ideology or commercial sovereignty must exist within the prevailing context of international relations, both shaping and being shaped by it. As previously noted, the autonomous forces of commerce and/or war are partial actants in their own right, with any ethical foundation only being achieved through the combination of forces to produce a stable order. Any order is only relative, and is only contingent, reliant on the maintenance of forces that may degrade and parts of assemblages that may dislocate. As Deleuze & Guattari noted with the war machine, the state apparatus’s co-optation of it creates instability, as the forces of war, that violence entrepreneurism, reshape and disperse the capabilities to control it. In contrast to Deudney, the developments of order from disorder do not developmentally scale upward to the ultimate second anarchy, a world federation or integrated international governance structure that finds itself with no established enemy, no periphery to which violence is externalised. Indeed, the actualisation of such a proposition would inevitably create instability, as the very forces of war contained within such a vast structure would turn inward, degrading it and causing it to decentralise and dissipate into its constituent elements. The development of order is thus cyclical and temporary.

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Pragmatic Libertarianism, Autonomous War Machines and International Relations: Part II

The War Machine

War is an ever-present feature of the international/geopolitical landscape, and as van de Haar noted, is not something that a classical liberal IR would attempt to entirely eliminate as it evolves from the complex interaction of human passions and ideological clashes. Looking at a libertarian IR theory as one premised around the sublimation of war to the peaceful systems of market exchange and limited government, war itself cannot be reasonably opposed lest it fall into a utopianism that is counterproductive to the extensions of libertarian aims in the sphere of governance. In recognising this, the perspective of a libertarian IR or commercial sovereignty is in variable tension with warfare as its own autonomous force. The capacity for commercial sovereignty can only grow in the contingencies of more powerful structures, whether that be patchwork systems of governance as in feudal Europe, the Westphalian system of anarchic state competition or the liberal system of international relations (Pax Americana).

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Pragmatic Libertarianism, Autonomous War Machines and International Relations: Part I

Defining Libertarianism and a Libertarian IR Theory

In determining the contours of a libertarian theory of international relations and how it engages with sovereign states and the liberal system of international governance, the axioms of libertarianism should first be outlined and understood. “The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else”[1]. According to this central axiom, the non-aggression principle, is the primary determinant of libertarian ethics and as a result a significant constraint on the extent to which any system of governance can control or dictate the actions of the individual.

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