Sunday, October 19, 2008

Libertarians Unmasked (Again)

I have previously (1, 2) commented on libertarianism, including recommending Peter Schwartz’s article as the best thing to read on the topic. But I must admit that the first time I read it, it didn’t have as great an impact on me as it does now. One of the reasons for this I think is that I didn’t have enough first hand material as evidence. So for the (few) potentially mistaken libertarian supporters out there, I try to pass on additional evidence whenever I happen to run across it

In that vein, here’s something I stumbled on the other day. If the title isn’t enough to give it away, consider Rockwell’s treatment of immigration. Now anyone who’s to claim the title of liberty’s defender must take a principled stand on immigration as it is clearly an application of rights and freedom. But libertarians see it differently. Essentially the libertarian has no position on this crucial issue -- if the government takes a stance, they simply take the opposite one:
Another example of a more complicated topic concerns immigration. Throughout modern history, the state has used immigrants as a tool to ratchet up power for itself. This takes the form of requiring tax-funded services like public schools and medical services, or in browbeating the citizens while enforcing anti-discrimination law. Nor are citizens under these conditions permitted to notice the rise in crime that accompanies some immigration or the demographic upheavals that people resent. The result of immigration waves is to diminish liberty for American citizens.

At the same time, anti-immigrationist sentiment can also be used by the state to expand its power. In the name of a crackdown, the state invades the rights of business and demands documentation of every employee. It sends its bureaucrats all over the country and works toward a national ID card. It makes it virtually impossible for corporations to hire people, even temporary workers, from other countries, all in the name of national security or stopping immigration. The state is happy to whip up nativist frenzy in the name of loving the homeland in order to enhance its power. This harms productivity and makes us all less free.

So you see the problem here. The state uses both pro- and anti-immigration sentiment in its favor. So to battle this problem, the libertarian will be sympathetic with one point of view in one political context and another point of view in a different context. It really depends on what kind of rhetorical apparatus the state is using at the moment. The groups that deserve support are those that are resisting the state. It is not unusual to see those very groups won over by the state at a later stage of development of statism, in which case libertarian sympathies have to change.
This is no accident, it is inherent in not standing for anything positive, but of simply being anti-state.

So to reiterate, libertarians must be opposed first and foremost because they are nihilists, but secondarily because by so muddying the waters for the uninformed, they render the job of defending man and his freedom much more difficult for those of us who would truly do so.

4 Comments:

Blogger Renee Katz said...

Interesting fact about the term "libertarian": It was coined and popularized by anarchists and communists in the late 1800's.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Thanks Renee, I didn't know that.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Philosophical Mortician said...

Good job stickin it to the anarchists.

3:39 PM  
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