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Libertarian Warning: Don’t Get Punked by Authoritarians

Updated on March 3, 2018
Garry Reed profile image

Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career and a passion for all things libertarian to become The Libertarian Opinionizer.

Commentary From Your Libertarian Opinionizer

Wikipedia’s article on “Authoritarianism” appropriately begins with a definition:

“Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms. Individual freedoms are subordinate to the state and there is no constitutional accountability under an authoritarian regime.”

No particular argument there from libertarians – the opposite of authoritarians. This definition is of course limited to political authoritarianism while ignoring all of its other forms in virtually every area of human life from family to workplace to religion to arts to education to medicine and ad infinitum.

But that’s okay because the focus of this article is on the various forms of political authoritarianism that applies to political systems, governments and nation-states.

Book Break: Your Libertarian Opinionizer’s Pick

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Of Pinker’s recently-released book (February 13, 2018) a Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote “Pinker defends progressive ideals” in order to demonstrate “how far humanity has come since the Enlightenment” yet in a video Pinker chides modern American progressivism by describing political correctness as the “decadent phase” of a once legitimate movement.

In another video he states “Capitalist societies are better than communist ones” but rejects anarcho-capitalism.

So is Pinker progressive or libertarian? In a 2009 NYTimes Magazine article he claims a test showed he was “neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian” and also revealed “I have a libertarian temperament.”

Clearly Pinker, his ideas and his book, require enlightened libertarian minds, not dogma.

 

Pick Your Despotic Poison

The Wikipedia entry goes on to offer four “qualities” that characterize authoritarian political systems, but here they’re followed by a libertarian example of each:

Limited political pluralism: For example, a One Party System divided into two “sides” called Republican and Democratic to give the illusion of choice.

Legitimacy based on emotion: This should sound equally familiar to the feelings-based progressive left and the faith-based patriotic right.

Minimal social mobilization: Long a strategy of the class warfare manipulators who divvy up people into variously defined social classes and play one against the other.

Informally defined executive power: The very definition of leftism’s Social Contract and its vague open-ended undefined "Convenient Fiction" of catchphrase “social justice,” and the right’s vague open-ended undefined usage of “Americanism.”

Now that we have a good working idea of exactly what authoritarianism is – as opposed to its opposite, libertarianism remember – we can review some of the most prominent “justifications” for imposing despotic rule on the masses of people.

Below are some of the best known historical examples of grandiose mantras of religious and religious-like proportions created by the ruling classes to get the masses to follow along and even actively support their ruler’s desires for power, control, self-glorification and incredibly opulent lifestyles that the hoi poli could never ever possibly imagine.

Royal Blood and the Divine Right of Kings

Kings and Popes

This refers to the “right” to be an absolute ruler over others based on a human type of honey bee secretion coursing through a person’s blood veins (royal jelly) combined with a specific sperm-and-egg recipe (heredity).

The idea started in the pagan world in which would-be leaders presented themselves either as godlike humans or humanlike gods and conned – or threatened to kill – the peasantry into going along with it. Conquering neighbors and passing the loot around also helped these homo deus (“man god”) beings get and keep their power, wealth and swollen egos.

In the Western world popes became King-makers and kings became pope-makers under one of the world’s longest long cons that kings came from special bloodlines defined as divine by those who possessed the godliest God Gene, aka the Pope. This cozy contrivance made both fabulously powerful, rich and narcissistically arrogant.

These attitudes continue to linger today. Many conservatives see government as an extension of God (“For God and Country”) while many liberals see government as a replacement for God (“Democratic Socialist Republic”).

The Divine Right of Governments

Manifest Destiny

This was a unique American belief that European-descended white males (Authoritarian Aryans) were destined by guess who – God – to rule the North American continent from ocean to ocean and as far beyond as possible. While never an official government policy Manifest Destiny was a perfectly acceptable justification for killing everything that stood in the way of national expansion – tribal people, Mexicans, buffalo – by any and every means possible.

Other expansionist conquests throughout history, from Alexander the Great to Mongol hordes to the Roman Empire to Rule, Britannia to the Soviet Union have all had their explicit or unspoken versions of Manifest Destiny, typically centered on expanding the power, wealth and desires of the ruling class.

White Man's burden

This was a self-serving "moral obligation" of superior Eurocentric peoples to conquer, colonize and enslave poor "coloured peoples" and take their natural resources while forcing a white Jesus on them in order to "better" the inferior peoples whether they wanted to be "bettered" or not.

It was the imperialist Brit poet Rude-Yard Kipling who incited the Americans to tromp and stomp upon un-white peoples around the globe for the sake of the un-white in his poetical “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and the Philippine Islands.”

International US power-grubbers, tromping and stomping upon the silly idea that “All men are created equal,” eagerly used the popular poem to justify waging war upon the quickly identified un-equality of Filipino folks and taking them – along with Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Guamanians – into “protective custody,” i.e., “empire.”

The Philippine-American War lasted three years, killed over 4,200 Americans, over 20,000 Filipino combatants and killed some 200,000 Filipino civilians through violence, famine, and disease.

The White Man’s Burden successfully protected them to death.

The Divine Right of Might

Consent of the Governed

This is a myth perpetrated against common people to make them think that they can "choose" their own masters by marking ballots for candidates after their masters have agreed to eliminate all candidates not agreeable to the masters.

The trick is to convince people that a manipulated, fraudulent, artificially contrived or coercively enforced “consent” is the same as a mutually or voluntarily given consent.

This works only if most inmates (aka “citizens”) pretend that reality isn’t happening: That lots and lots of people such as politically-connected cronies, multimillionaires, really big corporatists, really big banksters, really big lobbyists, and uncountable swarms of special interest toadies are slipping FRNs into politicians’ pockets who will eagerly “consent” to vote the way they’ve been paid to vote.

Or, as a self-identified “Former lawyer/author” on Quora put it so succinctly: “It means nothing. Government is aggression. Consent of the governed is only writing on a piece of paper.”

From Each According to His Abilities, to Each According to His Needs

This is essentially the Marxist idea of "Social Justice" in which the ruling class decides how they can best maintain their power and wealth by manipulating the abilities and dictating the needs of the ruled.

As a French communist put it in 1755, “Every citizen will make his particular contribution to the activities of the community according to his capacity, his talent and his age; it is on this basis that his duties will be determined, in conformity with the distributive laws.”

Get it? Will make. Duties. Conformity. Distributive Laws, i.e., forced redistribution from makers to takers. This is how all are forced to become “equal.” It’s Egalitarianism for everyone except for the ruling elites, of course, who make all the rules, impose all their decisions, but never surrender their own power, their own wealth, or their own bloated self-importance.

Nuff said about that scam.

The Divine Right of Mythology

Social Justice and the Social Contract

This is just as contrived as all the others.

Social justice is a tribal shibboleth of the unthinking emotion-based modern American left-liberal-progressive true believers programmed by their rulers to believe that everyone in some shifting "good” (politically correct) group of people can live at the expense of those in some “bad” (productively creative) group of people without telling them that the ruling class suckers them all.

While the idea of “social justice” has been pecked at, played with and kicked around over the centuries it was a Jesuit Priest named Luigi Taparelli who apparently coined the actual term in 1840. Eventually American progressives and democratic socialists rediscovered it and picked it up as a trendy, zeitgeisty way to convince Millennials to surrender their personal autonomy and become blindly obedient SJWs.

The “Social Contract” is a collection of vague open-ended undefined catchphrases that encompass the vague open-ended undefined group chant of "Social Justice" designed to keep the powerful and wealthy in power and wealth even as its True Believers deny it does so.

Ask a hundred social justice warriors to define what they mean by social justice and there will be a hundred different vague open-ended undefined definitions. Even they don’t understand what they mean by it even as they loudly demand it.

Philosopher David Hume is recorded as having called the social contract “a convenient fiction.” Libertarians would call it an “inconvenient illusion.”

Democratic Socialism

But wait! There’s more! If you act right now you get two mythologies for the price of one! No matter how stridently they insist otherwise or how strenuously they try to defend it democracy comes down to nothing more than mob rule. It’s just another form of authoritarianism consisting at any given moment a victorious 51 percent of a mob imposing its will on the defeated 49 percent of the mob.

Socialism, while its theorists will never define it as a utopian myth, is the utopian myth that everyone can live at the expense of everyone else. By combining the myth of democratic voting (the fictional “consent” of the governed) with socialism (social justice and the social contract) everyone becomes a winner or a loser at any given moment while the inevitable ruling class (someone has to count the votes in a democracy remember) never lose and always win.

As Margaret Thatcher pointed out: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”

The Individual’s Right of Self Rule

Self-Ownership in a Free Society

Yes, no matter where we turn there are always people dictating to us how we must live our lives in order to benefit themselves at our expense. Fortunately, The Modern American Libertarian Movement offers an alternative to these dictatorial groupthink cultural manipulators.

The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is the libertarian moral/ethical alternative that rejects all attempts to justify, rationalize or excuse coercion, intimidation and fraud as legitimate means of social interaction, thereby empowering individuals rather than playing groups against groups for the benefit of a ruling class. A free, voluntary society requires both a moral and a rational commitment to treating all humans as humans, not as simply means to someone else’s ends.

The only argument against libertarianism is authoritarianism. No one can “explain” it to you; as a moral, ethical and rational being it’s up to you to learn, to understand and to embrace the difference for yourself. You either own yourself or someone owns you. No amount of word-parsing or philosophical hair-splitting will ever change that reality.

It is reality that determines our nature as humans, and as Francis Bacon observed, “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

Ayn Rand expanded on this when she wrote, “Nature does not decide—it merely is; man does not decide, in issues of knowledge, he merely observes that which is. When it comes to applying his knowledge, man decides what he chooses to do, according to what he has learned, remembering that the basic principle of rational action in all aspects of human existence, is: “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” This means that man does not create reality and can achieve his values only by making his decisions consonant with the facts of reality.”

References and Links

All Government Powers Are Based on Mystical Justifications
“It is one of the great political mysteries: the success of governments in ruling over societies with little popular resistance, even when those governments have been brutal tyrannies.”

Looking beneath the Superficial Politics of Libertarianism
Sharon Presley explains how authoritarian relationships on the person-to-person level affect a free society. A Powerful Article on personal libertarian morality.

Introduction to the voluntaryist Post-Statist society
Post-Statism is a forward-looking belief system that discards The State in favor of consumer-controlled governance, on self-ownership and the Zero Aggression Principle.

Ayn Rand explains why “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”
The concept of objectivity contains the reason why the question “Who decides what is right or wrong?” is wrong. Nobody “decides.”

Francis Bacon, for those who reject Ayn Rand’s Objectivism
Reality Is Absolute: The Primacy of Existence – Francis Bacon knew that in order to command nature, one must act according to its rules and identity.

Video View: Your Libertarian Opinionizer’s Pick:

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    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 2 months ago

      It is only going to get worse as long as humans continue to overpopulate. The more people there are, the more population there will be for authoritarians to control. As long as society was tribal, the individual counted. I've lived long enough to see a real change in attitudes from the 1950s until today. I don't like being pessimistic, but I'm afraid we've passed the point of no return.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 2 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      You have done really great work here, and I hope you just keep hammering at it.

      I'm also a fan of Ayn Rand, I've read 3 of her 4 novels, and have another of her books which is more philosophical, and not fiction.

      I personally don't like being called a 'conservative' because that implies some of the authoritarian things. I'm much more into voluntarism.

      I do get into conflicts with pure libertarianism for things like open borders. I believe in nations and boundaries.

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