Obscurant Libertarianism and Group Ethics

I agree with Curt Doolittle that libertarianism is obscurant and dishonest. From the start libertarianism as a project intended to create a form of capitalism that was as liberal as possible. This project required the libertarians to rewrite history from the perspective of the individual, hiding group roles and responsibilities; thus the obscurant and dishonest nature of libertarianism.

Liberalism is individualism. Who has Liberty? Why, the individual, of course. There is no such thing as ‘group liberty’. If anything, membership in a group comes with concomitant obligations to that group, which would not mean ‘liberty’. Each individual has been liberated from the group. The individual is the primary unit, and all theories are built upon that solitary unit. I express this as ‘1’. Then I can express egalitarianism as ‘1=1’, and universalism as ‘1=1=1=1…’. Liberalism is individualism and it is the fundamental building block of leftist thought. Some say that egalitarianism is leftism, and individualism is liberalism. Either way, egalitarianism flows from liberalism. The idea of Liberty and the individual are inseparable. In liberalism, the individual is greater than the group.

This is the fundamental lie of the left: the concept that the individual is greater than the group. On its face it is absurd. What individual can live without the group? Almost zero domesticated humans in America would last any time at all if everyone else in the world disappeared. We owe our lives to group cooperation. Can a mother just drop a baby in the forest and expect it to live? This is where Rothbardian libertarianism breaks down. From Ethics of Liberty, ch. 14:

There remains, however, the difficult case of children. The right of self-ownership by each man has been established for adults, for natural self-owners who must use their minds to select and pursue their ends. On the other hand, it is clear that a newborn babe is in no natural sense an existing self-owner, but rather a potential self-owner.[1] But this poses a difficult problem: for when, or in what way, does a growing child acquire his natural right to liberty and self-ownership? Gradually, or all at once? At what age? And what criteria do we set forth for this shift or transition?

Clearly, a child is a member of a group. He is not a ‘self-owner’, he lives only through the host group. Rothbard does backflips in this section of the book to maintain the absurd notion of a self-owning individual, rather than a member of a group. All of his arguments revolve around self-ownership. For Rothbard, abortion is sanctioned ‘because a mother’s will is inalienable, and she cannot legitimately be enslaved into carrying and having a baby against her will.‘ But if the mother is actually not simply an individual, if she is also a member of a group, then wouldn’t the rights of the group come into play? If that group is a family, then wouldn’t the father have rights and claims on the baby as well? Isn’t every member of a group, in some way ‘enslaved‘ to that group, if he wishes to maintain membership, especially when exclusion from the group means certain death in a barbarous world? Avoiding Rothbard’s obscurant negativism and rephrasing positively: isn’t every member of the group positively obligated to act responsibly to the other members of the host group? Wouldn’t the wishes of a father in a family have a significant impact on a mother’s choice to abort her baby? Not in Rothbard’s individualistic world, the low-trust world we now seem to inhabit. Rothbard’s ethics allow individuals to soak up all the benefits that come with being allowed membership in a host group, while shirking all responsibility to that host group. Rothbardian ethics are therefore parasitic.

When I look at the Dark Enlightenment I see individualism replaced with the ‘groupism‘ or group ethics, or at least group-centered thought. Tribes and thedes are groups. HBD deals with the genetics at a population level, drawing inferences to individual behavior based on relationships to groups. Ethno-Nationalists are occupied with the survival of the ethny – the genetically related group. Traditionalists and Patriarchs study the ‘liberation’ of females from group ethics and responsibilities to the group. PUA’s descend on these ‘liberated’ females like jackals, enjoying the decline of high-trust group ethics and the necessary libertinism that follows.

It appears to me that just as libertarians re-conceptualized economics and capitalism through the lens of the individual, it should be a project of the DE to re-conceptualize them through the lens of the group and group ethics. I believe that this is what Curt Doolittle is doing with his Propertarianism. I think he is working to correct the libertarian head-fake of the individual as the primary economic actor, rebuilding economic theory with the previously hidden responsibility to the group. I believe that it is the goal of libertarianism to obscure group ethics, groupism, and to replace it with a parasitic/individualistic/liberal system of ethics. No man is an island. The individual exists only through cooperation with the group, the individual therefore owes the group something: to repay the social capital that is extended by that group.

This is not to say that individuals do not exist and that granting individuals a certain amount of ‘liberty’ is non-optimal. It appears that in the West we tend to be liberal and to grant autonomy and that this has been successful at times. There are benefits to this approach. However, there must be a balance. Certainly, group ethics should not be obscured by or subordinated to individual ethics. That is insanity. That is libertarianism.

Religion, tradition, patriarchy, and ethno-nationalism are all concerned with group-ethics, and an understanding that the liberty/rights/autonomy of any individual within a group comes with responsibilities to that host group, and that it is the survival and flourishing of the host group that is paramount.

I am not a philosopher, nor am I as erudite as many in the DE: I would be grateful for any insights as to how classical philosophers viewed group ethics and their relationship to individual ethics.

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