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No Market for Liberty πŸ”— 1546576355  

The true concerns of the great intellectual and political movements are quite straightforward to discern when judging actions. In general, political movements are straightforward to figure out; their ideology is little more than "say and do anything to gain power". They do like to disguise themselves with one intellectual movement or the other, which generally is leftist or reactionary (the right).

Frankly, when one speaks of intellectual movements in the last century, there really isn't one aside from leftism to speak of until quite recently. While the varieties of leftist moderate to revolutionary thought have many disagreements, there is a shared tone upon which the difference is simply in intensity. This fundamentally is all tied up in the emotional need for external validation.

All forms of collectivization, democracy, concern about "alienation" and other forms of consensus decisionmaking are from a practical point of view neither necessary or desirable. Ipso facto, the aggregate result of all individual actions, if free of coercive modification will tend towards satisfying the ends of as many of the individuals as possible. However, the best average individual outcomes does not necessarily mean general approval of the actions of any given individual; indeed many successful individuals would in fact be more or less generally disliked, as they are now.

This is further complicated by market success to some extent actually requiring a degree of consensus. Many times commercial projects fail not because the project fails to meet the needs of said consumer, but because they simply did not feel their concerns were listened to. Much of the art of succesful projects is convincing stakeholders that good ideas from the team actually were the stakeholder's idea. Buy-In is very important to people; unfortunately more so than rational evaluation as to the given utility of the goods and services in which they partake.

This, I think explains the popularity of the "mixed economy", as people are rational in wildly varying levels about various subjects. Most irrationally desire unnecessary validation, but only so much. Validation is, after all, at a higher tier of Maslow's hierarchy -- starving people don't give a damn about what you think of them. This would also explain why revolutionary agitation happens not at the low point of penury, but when things turn south for rising bourgouise.

This leads me to the recent developments in reactionary intellectual tradidition; previously there wasn't much of one other than "don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg". E.G. concerns from a lower level of economic coordination and maslow's hierarchy. This is why much of the support for reactionary dictatorship tends to be populist, as the poorest classes get their opinions where they get their corn pone. Similarly, the concerns of long-term wealth is mostly tied up in capital preservation, making elite alliances with the forces of reaction the obvious choice.

In any case, Libertarianism and the "dark enlightenment" (AKA the "alt-right") is the recent development I speak of. Both have their detractors on the reactionary right as these philosophies are a sort of synthesis born of liberal ideas. Nevertheless, they are both rooted in a more rational approach to the subject rather than the fundamentally emotional need for validation dominating leftism.

This in large part explains the demographic split amongst the various factions now:

  • The peasants have no ideology beyond getting today's corn pone. They can be counted upon siding with whatever pays best.
  • The irrational middle class consider themselves socialists or "liberal" of one stripe or another.
  • The rational middle class overwhelmingly are radicalized into either outright authoritarianism or anarchism. Mostly of the leftist flavor.
  • Old money can be counted upon to care for little beyond capital preservation. Like the poor, their primary aim is not being poor, and tend reactionary.
  • New Money can be counted upon to care for little beyond capital accumulation. They are opportunistic backers of authoritarianism and the attendant cronyism.
The middle class in particular is of the most concern. In particular the irrational are self-defeating; their quest for acceptance almost always leads to economic over-extension (pursuit of veblen goods). This tendency aggravates their susceptibility to revolutionary sentiment when times get tough. The same impatience to rise above their station leads to willingness to use violence as a shortcut (Revolution).

Unfortunately, the rational ones among them are little better. Rationality does not imply being well-informed. As such, self-defeating consensus philosophy tends to take root, as it has wide appeal amongst their less rational peers. This infection of design by committe, while quite validating, produces substandard outcomes. As such "True Leftism/Socialism/Communism" as advocated by these types is unerringly defeated by authoritarians of one stripe or another when push comes to shove.

Right and left authoritarians don't seem to have any particular advantage over each other when opposed. The amount of men and material able to be secured for war seems to be the deciding factor in which wins. That said, neither type are likely to emerge as a significant force unless conditions are bad enough for either a revolution and attendant counterrevolution in the first place.

Which brings me back to the mixed economy. It tends to keep the irrational just happy enough to not revolt, and conditions are not so bad that the rational, while radicalized, are cowed by the power afforded the authorities by the support of the irrational. This reminds me of the Saxon law code, which concerned itself not with justice, but minimization of conflict.

It is entirely possible that despite a libertarian social order being in fact the best way to improve material standards of living, it is doomed to create conflict due to the irrational ninnies out there. Civil conflict is a far worse problem to have than the deadweight loss inherent in the mixed economy. Like Ben Stone said repeatedly, there isn't a market for liberty. I think this is why that's true for both the left and right.

Most of the uninformed arguments (thought terminating cliches really) by the middle class against libertarian (and other) anarchy are in this vein of conflict. The traditional counter-arguments here don't exactly help defuse their concerns either:

  1. Wouldn't warlords take over??? (Like that isn't the case right now -- they just kill foriegners, not you yet)
  2. Without theft how would Y good or service be provisioned??? (Maybe it shouldn't be provisioned to that extent)
  3. Yeah, but who ultimately decides a conflict??? (As if it isn't one of the two combatants now, though intermediated by gowned clowns)
In each response we focus on the wrong thing. Emphasizing how our way both validates and minimizes conflict better than consensus (tragedy of the commons) approaches would be more persuasive to the irrationally inclined.

Ultimately, this is the root of the split between left and right libertarians. Unfortunately, the leftist libertarians have yet to have figured out how to spread their message as effectively as the right. I suspect this is due to the ideological vacuum on the reactionary right making grounds ripe. By comparison, the left is already chock full of nuts; at best they will simply further splinter an already hopelessly fractured left.

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