Introduction to 'Reactionary Liberty: The Libertarian Counter-Revolution'

Reactionary Liberty: The Libertarian Counter-Revolution is finally published and now available through Amazon on Kindle and Paperback! I really put my heart and soul (and all of 2016) into this project, and I couldn't be happier with the results. 

I wanted to post the introduction to the book here because I think it does a great job of explaining the general themes and arguments that I hope to convey (and my own personal philosophical journey between a radical libertarianism and a counter-revolutionary traditionalism). Here it is:

For libertarians like myself, Dr. Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential runs were an absolute revelation. During the debates and in his media appearances, we saw a humble and decent man tirelessly seek out the Remnant of liberty in our dark age of perpetual war and unlimited state power. With uncompromising courage, Paul introduced millions of people to libertarianism.

Witnessing Paul openly denounce the Iraq War, central banking, and the entire premise of global empire launched my own personal philosophical journey. The works of Frederic Bastiat, Henry Hazlitt, and Friedrich Hayek began overflowing my bookshelves. And when I eventually began reading as much Murray Rothbard as I possibly could, I was hooked.

Rothbard, like his mentor Ludwig von Mises, in addition to Old Right figures like H.L. Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, and Garet Garrett, wrote beautifully in defense of liberty and private property while paying homage to the traditions of Western civilization that had birthed libertarianism. In their manners, customs, dress, and cultural attitudes, they were bourgeois men of the Right. While Rothbard flirted with the Left when he was young, he eventually concluded that they were irredeemable; his last years were spent writing scathing critiques of egalitarianism. Paul, too, represented this traditionalism; Paul is married to his high school sweetheart, admits that he never touched drugs, and always conducted himself like a Christian gentleman.

Up until the end of Paul’s last presidential run and his retirement from public office in 2014, libertarianism fell on the Right side of the political spectrum by default. Its biggest proponents and advocates rarely spoke too loudly on cultural issues, but whenever they did, they were unmistakably un-Leftist.

Fast forward just two years after Paul retired, and the libertarian movement is now a shell of what it used to be. Its major party candidate in 2016, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, exemplifies this direction that libertarianism has taken ever since. Johnson, who displayed little intellectual curiosity and even rejected the key tenets of libertarianism (the non-aggression principle and free association), never missed a chance to advertise his politically correct, Leftist positions on marijuana, gay marriage, and abortion. Johnson even bragged that he is politically quite similar to fellow 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a not too subtle attempt to appeal to young liberals.

What in the world happened? How did libertarianism evolve from a highly disciplined and radical study of economics, rights, and the use of force in society (that also understood the necessity and desirability of hierarchy and tradition), into the milquetoast branding of  “low-tax liberalism” and “fiscally conservative and socially liberal?”

There is no such thing as a free lunch. But in order to create and maintain a libertarian social order, there will be free helicopter rides.

At the 2015 Students for Liberty Conference, ideological shots were fired. Several Leftists calling themselves libertarians intentionally interrupted Ron Paul’s speech and publicly read their “open letter” to Paul. In the letter, they lauded a “second wave libertarianism” that would replace the “racism, sexism, and homophobia” of the old guard (meaning real) libertarians, which included the Mises Institute, Lew Rockwell, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Gary North, Walter Block, and Paul himself.

Thanks to the Leftism that had accomplished a slow but steady coup of libertarianism, the man who had done more than anyone in history to spread libertarianism around the world was being denounced with language reserved for Bolsheviks. Under the new Libertarian Thought Police, lip service was paid to free markets and limited government, but the majority of the energy was spent attacking traditional Western social norms, denouncing patriarchal oppression, promoting feminism, and adopting the language and attitudes of Marxists.  Libertarianism, Inc. was now completely on board with the Left’s culture of political correctness and cultural Marxism, and anyone even remotely on the Right was to be shunned and purged from the movement.

This book, then, is dedicated to what I call reactionary liberty: the defense of radical libertarianism and an unapologetic cultural traditionalism that rejects, root and branch, both state power and cultural Marxism. While libertarianism as a political philosophy concerns itself only with the question of political force, I argue that the libertarian ethic of non-aggression and private property necessitates a rejection of egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and diversity. “Private property capitalism and egalitarian multiculturalism are as unlikely a combination as socialism and cultural conservatism...libertarians must be radical and uncompromising conservatives,” argues Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

Without this reactionary element, libertarianism can never be a serious movement because it will always fall victim to John O’Sullivan’s Law: that any movement, entity, or institution that is not explicitly right-wing will eventually turn left-wing. While libertarians may believe that they are “above” or “beyond” Left and Right, the Leftist infiltration of libertarianism (combined with the evolutionary psychology of r/K selection theory) proves that libertarians cannot be neutral.  

Thus, the reactionary libertarian prefers the conservative Edmund Burke to the revolutionary Jacobins of the French Revolution. “Burke argued for the traditional liberties of the English against the ‘abstract’ Rights of Man advocated by the revolutionaries, predicting correctly that such abstract rights, with no force of custom behind them, would perish in a reign of terror,” notes Joseph Sobran. “The revolutionaries, he said, were so obsessed with man’s rights that they had forgotten man’s nature.”

This nature is avoidable, and we cannot wish it away. Humans are largely tribal, and they place tremendous importance on the blood and soil of family, religion, tradition, culture, and private, non-state social institutions—civil society—over the soulless, atomization of the individual. Libertarians should not run from this. Civil society is not only how we organize society without the state, but represents the strongest bulwark there is against the encroachment of the state. “Liberty should offer the binding glue of cooperation, not some unnatural hyper-individualism, divorced from human experience,” urges Jeff Deist.

This is why civil society is always attacked by the Left; destroy the culture, and the state can begin to grow. Since the French Revolution and Robespierre’s guillotines, Leftism has been the ideology of destruction: social engineering at the barrel of a gun—perpetual revolution, carried out via coercion.

With floating abstractions and ever-changing goal posts, the Left seeks to expand state power and will use any means at their disposal in order to do so. After political Marxism and communism were proven to be economic disasters—creating famines, starvation, gulags, and piling up millions of corpses—their focus shifted on subverting traditional Western culture. Karl Marx’s disciples quickly became cultural Marxists, creating the weaponized language of political correctness as a virus to attack Western civilization’s anti-communist, traditionalist immune system.

For the reactionary libertarian, this requires an uncompromising opposition to this cultural Marxism—a counter-revolution against the perpetual revolution of Leftism. Individuals are different from another, and not equal; we live in an unavoidably tribal world; men and are not women and women are not men; freedom is both a responsibility and a right; democracy must be de-legitimized, but if we are to live in a democratic society, then the franchise should be severely limited. These insights into the human condition—including a complete rejection of egalitarianism—form the foundation for a consistent, coherent, and forceful philosophy of liberty.

The first five chapters of this book will defend the logical, philosophical, ethical, and historical case for libertarianism and a refutation of both political and cultural Marxism. Chapters six through ten offer a thorough critique of Leviathan—the large, bureaucratic state that tramples our rights, fights useless wars, commits horrific atrocities, cripples the free market, and degrades the culture. The last five chapters of the book are dedicated to how we can actually advance liberty in this continual dark age of perpetual war, perpetual expropriation, and perpetual revolution. This includes the use of technological advancements to increase privacy, Bitcoin, the withdrawal of consent, secession, nullification, and decentralization to both shrink the state and the restore traditional Western culture, the case against open borders, and a devastating critique of democracy.

The Italian traditionalist Julius Evola wore the term “reactionary” on his sleeve proudly, calling it “the true test of courage.” With this book, I look to blend this Evolian courage with a radical libertarianism to forge a coherent and forceful philosophy of liberty—reactionary means for libertarian ends.