Libertarianism as Ambivalence and Critique

The libertarian political goal is dead. The achievement of a small state, so small that you could drown it in the bath, is never going to be achieved in pluralistic democracies that favour particular groups of lobbyists, tribes or social movements. Each of these groups will increasingly desire patronage and a seat at the table, increasing the complexity of decision-making and the distribution of resources which in turn increases the scope of the state and its organisational nexus. A small state then is impossible unless coercive structures are in place to limit its growth, thus making the ideal of a small state redundant.

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State Theory and Critiques of the Libertarian View: Podcast with Frederic Voltaire Bastiat

The Libertarian Ideal (with Chris Shaw): a podcast I did with Frederic Voltaire Bastiat discussing critiques of libertarianism and my ideas of post-libertarianism.

In this podcast I discuss theories of state formation, critiquing the conquest theory of the state that is proffered by Rothbard, Oppenheimer and Nock. I propose that state formation is instead more complex, incorporating cooperative as well as coercive methods which are facilitated by increasing socio-political complexity. I further note that states have facilitated technological development and created infrastructure for economic structures that libertarians see as anti or non-state (i.e. markets, money, innovation, etc.) and that states cannot be viewed as unitary forms, but are instead heterogeneous structures that are part of wider societal assemblages that combine and conflict along contextual lines. Continue reading

The Libertarian Ideal Part 2: Voice, Exit and Post-Libertarianism

My original essay[1] defining delineations that make up and inform the libertarian ideal as I see it set out critiques of the libertarian position on markets in relation to modern capitalism. I noted that libertarians played a paradoxical game similar to socialist claims of real socialism never existing. In this case, libertarianism wanted to claim the benefits of modern capitalism (technological development, increasing life expectancy, better choices in marketplaces, etc.) while removing any statist baggage that sullied the waters. Thus capitalism and the progenation of markets were placed in an ideological vacuum that removed them from historical context. I further critiqued the libertarian reliance on abstract axioms, primarily the non-aggression and self-ownership principles, which further removed economic exchange and political development from historical reality. Continue reading

A Post-Libertarian Non-Manifesto

Post-libertarianism, while sounding like another bullshit ideological thoroughfare for minoritarian social media communities to trawl, is really only the recognition that libertarianism should be stripped back and seen as part of the wider landscape of options for exit. Political engagement by libertarians has largely been a failure (while laughably admirable) from the dizzying heights of Ron Paul to Gary Johnson and libertarians for Trump. In a world of increasing volatility and fragmentation, the fact libertarians look mostly moronic is evidence of libertarianism never shifting the Overton window nor becoming hegemonic[1]. Continue reading