What do I mean by “libertarian order”? A society that respects private property and the non-aggression principle. As there is much more to life, the rest will be filled-in by individuals, communities, churches, etc. Libertarian theory has nothing to say about any of this.
While there are many different variants, it seems to me that the most reasonable path to achieve a libertarian order is through education. It strikes me as self-evident that the biggest growth in the movement came via Ron Paul and supported by the foundation built by Lew Rockwell at the Mises Institute and LRC. But I won’t argue if you work through different means toward the same ends – the more, the merrier.
How is a libertarian order to be maintained? There is the rub, there is where culture comes in – and it is here where I believe the commonly labeled “left” and “right” part ways, and where I maintain that the “right” has it….
Despite the fairy-tales floated by certain left-libertarians, in a world populated by humans there will always be prejudices, biases, and preferences. Further, it is an inherent characteristic of private property that it is exclusionary, and the owner has the right to “exclude” on any basis he chooses – call this “discrimination” if you like. For a private property order to mean anything, the property owner’s right to discriminate must be respected.
In other words, in order to maintain a libertarian order, it must be recognized that humans are…human. To act on the basis that humans will ever be anything else is to ensure future conflict – the surest path to maintaining support for state solutions.
Despite the fairy-tales floated by certain left-libertarians, in a world populated by humans there will always be hierarchy and there will always be governance – , not (as that term is understood today).
There will never arise a human-populated world of a flat organizational structure – people will join organizations voluntarily, and those same people will voluntarily submit to the authority in these organizations.
Who – or what – provides the governance is the only question: will it be a monopoly provider, or will it be a decentralized and varied combination of countless voluntarily-joined, hierarchical entities? In a libertarian order, there is only one acceptable answer.
The most ubiquitous governance-providing institution is the market. The market provides governance – there is discipline necessary to effectively deliver service to customers, with pressure to improve coming from all sides. Merely look around you every day – the order in a grocery store, the effectiveness of a bank transaction; consider the governance required to deliver such service.
The most important foundation for governance is the family – the government knows this, which is why they work constantly to destroy it. There is no theoretical possibility of a world of 7 billion separately governing entities, but perhaps 1.5 billion (or however many households there are in this world).
Family as an organized governance structure is as old as recorded human history, and until it can be demonstrated that something even more decentralized can function reasonably well, this is as far down the decentralization path that I believe is feasible – in theory and in practice.
Beyond this is the community, the church, various volunteer groups, insurance companies, etc. Each providing governance in different ways, in different spheres.
So what does this have to do with ? Culture is another institution that provides governance…….
Libertarian theory is thin. How to achieve and maintain a libertarian order? Culture matters. And I believe this is why libertarians associated with the right defend ideas of culture.
It isn’t an issue of right vs. left. It is an issue of moving toward vs. away from a libertarian order; it is an issue of reducing the influence of the state.
Is it an appropriate objective to reduce the role of the state in society? On the importance of culture, the so-called (and inappropriately labeled, for the reasons outlined above) right libertarians are right.
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