Sunday, May 19, 2024

Edgelords and Snowflakes: Searching for a Radical Libertarian Movement in an Age of Liberal Hysteria

 "Libertarianism is a people's movement and a liberation movement. it seeks the sort of open, non-coercive society in which the people, the living, free, distinct people may voluntarily associate, dis-associate and, as they see fit, participate in the decisions affecting their lives. This means a truly free market in everything from ideas to idiosyncrasies. It means people free collectively to organize the resources of their immediate community or individualistically to organize them; it means the freedom to have a community-based and supported judiciary where wanted, none where not, or private arbitration services where that is seen as most desirable. The same with police. The same with schools, hospitals, factories, farms, laboratories, parks, and pensions. Liberty means the right to shape your own institutions. It opposes the right of those institutions to shape you simply because of accreted power or gerontological status."

-Karl Hess

"As far as I’m concerned, ‘liberal’ is the most meaningless word in the dictionary. History has shown me that as long as some white middle-class people can live high on the hog, take vacations to Europe, send their children to private schools, and reap the benefits of their white skin privilege, then they are ‘liberal’. But when times get hard and money gets tight, they pull off that liberal mask and you think you’re talking to Adolf Hitler."

-Assata Shakur

I didn't exactly go looking to become a libertarian. I spent most of my life as a very pissed off Marxist looking to get even with a system that seemed to crush the weak just for kicks. Being trans in rural Pennsylvania during the nineties, I had no fucking idea I was trans. I didn't even know what that word meant. All I knew is that I was different, and I didn't want to be normal. Normal people ran the schools that molested me, the prisons they were modeled on, and the wars that kept everyone around me too distracted and stupid to care. So, I looked to third world outsiders like Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and Frantz Fanon for advice and that advice seemed to fit until I finally found out what trans was.

Discovering my Queer tribal heritage changed everything. I still hated the schools, prisons, and wars, but now I was part of a minority that traced its roots back to pagan third gender antiquity and I wasn't particularly interested in giving my long-lost heritage up for some kind of mono-class struggle that painted the entire rainbow the same shade of red. I began to understand what Mikhail Bakunin was talking about when he waxed philosophic about the tyranny of the "people's stick."

So, I turned to anarchism, but I was shocked and a bit revolted to discover that so-called free market anarchists like Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, and Samuel Edward Konkin III made the most sense to a freak like me. Radical libertarianism, with its focus on strictly voluntary societies and absolute local autonomy felt like the most viable option for a minority who actually wanted to remain a minority without being crushed by the majority. Voluntaryism felt like Malcolm X for weird people, and it felt good.

Ironically, my devotion to Queer autonomy seemed to put me at odds with a lot of leftists who claimed to be my allies, with the culture war they fought in my name forming the widest ideological divide. I felt like I was more than sufficiently "woke" but it also felt illogical for me to empower the state to enforce my beliefs on others, especially when this same state always seems to find new excuses to use its powers against minorities like mine. 

So, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of defending the rights of QAnon vaxxers and gay bashing bakers in the name of liberty because liberty is either for everybody or nobody and I clocked in more than enough hours during my childhood as nobody to ever be willing to risk that fate again. Besides, when it all came down to it, the so-called leftists who put the most stock into actually enforcing their hip wokeness seemed to be just another bunch of straight white liberals talking out of their ass to justify giving fangs to a system designed by straight white liberal ass-talkers, for straight white liberal ass-talkers.

Unsurprisingly, this take has been met with great enthusiasm by many libertarians tired of being called bigots just for being consistent and I was tempted to believe that maybe, just maybe, this radical genderfuck heretic had found a second place where she could belong among them. Sadly, it didn't take long for me to be disappointed, and nothing has made it more painfully obvious that I was wrong about the modern American libertarian movement than their response to the current uprisings on campuses across the country demanding an end to American facilitated genocide in Gaza.

These are predominantly peaceful protestors occupying public property to protest their tuition being used to sell bombs to an openly fascist state and they are getting mauled by local cops in combat drag under the directives of the Department of Homeland Security, all in the name of social order and protecting the feelings of pompous rich kids who can't tell the difference between opposing apartheid and antisemitism. 

If there was ever an obvious cause for libertarians to get behind it's this one. But somehow ninety percent of the noise coming from the libertarian movement on our government's open war on college dissent amounts to excuses in defense of the universities. Apparently, since these occupations are occurring on university property then universities have every right to govern it with fire as they see fit. My only question is what fucking planet do you people live on? Because it clearly isn't in this galaxy and the drugs there must be fantastic.

Your average state university is a glorified Ponzi scheme kept thriving by the federally facilitated shakedown of its student's debt. Everything these corporatist institutions own is the product of theft and is thus legally classified as public property. Students aka the public are using that property peacefully to oppose state facilitated mass murder and you're seriously going to sit there and call yourself a libertarian while making excuses for government agents who open fire on them with tear gas and rubber bullets?

What we are seeing on campus is the very worst of what big government has to offer and naturally, it's sock puppets on the Hill want to make it much worse. The House has already passed the so-called Antisemitism Awareness Act, which essentially makes the use of any speech critical of a single foreign government an act of discrimination that a university can be penalized for failing to silence. There are also laws being thrown around Washington suggesting that protestors be deported, placed on no-fly lists, or even shipped straight to the killing fields of Gaza, and where is the libertarian outrage?

After years of these people rightfully raging against the machine in defense of the rights of vaccine conspiracy theorists and fag-bashing comedians, the only ones who have anything to say about this tax assisted gestapo cosplay are either my friends on the fringe of the movement (you know who you are) or the people tacitly defending the powerful. Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party website continues to excuse the holocaust in Gaza because "Hamas is using civilians as human shields" while recognizing "Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas aggression." As a member of the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party, I'm disgusted, but as a Queer anarchist, I am not particularly shocked.

I'm not particularly shocked for two reasons. The first is that these self-proclaimed libertarians have displayed their cowardice before very recently by failing to mount any meaningful opposition to the GOP's war on trans people like me. Over 550 anti-trans bills have been pushed in 42 states in 2024 already, breaking records for the fourth consecutive year in a row before it's even halfway over. 330 of these bills remain active and they advocate using the full weight of the government to do pretty much whatever the fuck they want. 

They advocate prohibiting any form of public gender expression that local judges deem to be "male or female impersonation", they advocate charging librarians with misdemeanors for providing minors with materials that certain Baptists deem harmful, they advocate carefully regulating classroom discussions and forcing administrators to violate student privacy rights by requiring them to out their pupils to their parents, they advocate banning the use of gender affirming healthcare supported by every major medical association on earth for minors and even some adults... and this list literally goes on for miles.

All of this big government social engineering is done in the name of "antiwoke" and most of it has provoked nary a yawn from libertarians. That is because your average libertarian now considers themselves to be antiwoke and your average antiwoke libertarian is really just a different species of white liberal ass-talker. I call it liberalism with an Austrian accent and it's the other reason why the movement's collective decision to sell out the campus free Palestine protests fails to shock me. 

Over the last several years the Libertarian Party has been subject to a civil war. On one side is the party's jaundiced and moribund old guard who have devoted most of their attention to failing to win elections by running flunked Republican dope smokers like Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, and on the other side is the insurgent Mises Caucus, whose answer to the rise of Republican Lite is to court alt-right shocktavists with edgy memes and politically incorrect humor.

The result is a party full of snowflakes and edgelords, either too scared to piss off Never Trumpers still diluted by the influence of the Israel lobby or too busy trying to look tough to MAGA folk by telling naughty jokes about minorities. Neither side has the fucking balls for ideological consistency and all of these pussies are missing out on the opportunity to turn-on minorities like mine who are fleeing what passes for the left in this country in droves for letting us down with their own liberal bullshit.

What we really need is a truly radical libertarian movement divorced from Randian propertarianism and based on the principles that the original libertarian movement was founded on. Both Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner were rabid abolitionists who considered themselves to be socialists as well as free market individualists. Murray Rothbard was a member of the Peace and Freedom Party before he sold out to the Buchanan wing of the GOP and Karl Hess died a goddamn Wobbly.

This movement has never had a thing to do with white liberal ass-talkers, regardless of whether they call their statist social engineering schemes woke or antiwoke. It is about building a truly voluntary society where everyone is a minority, and every minority has power. It is about a stateless community that puts the individual before the tyranny of schools, prisons, and wars because that's what we all deserve. 

I may be a genderqueer, post-left, social justice apostate but that still makes me at least twice the fucking libertarian as any Zionist snowflake or Mises edgelord and I want my fucking movement back. Please, please, please fucking tell me that I'm not the only one.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding by Elvis Costello

* You Learn by Alanis Morrissette

* Cherub Rock by Smashing Pumpkins

* Anything But Me by MUNA

* Guerrilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine

* I've Been Tired by the Pixies

* Best of You by Foo Fighters

* Tell Em by Sleigh Bells

* You're So Vain by Carly Simon

* Freedom by Rage Against the Machine

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