Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Myth of the “Saintly” Libertarian

Like most intellectuals, the libertarians have a contempt for the common folk. They believe that their libertarianism bestows on them some kind of “saintliness”. Their thinking, as reflected in their articles and books, is—I am a libertarian and so I am virtuous and correct; if you question my theories, then you must be ignorant or evil.

The concerns that drive the political choices of normal human beings are “trivial” for the libertarians—their political writing is full of ideas that are monumental, majestic, and sensational. (The truth is that they mostly sound clueless.) Even if 10% of the libertarian political predictions had come true, our civilization would have ended in a giant fireball 20 years ago. But we are still living—and the libertarians are still ranting.

In their writings, libertarians tend to demand instant gratification. They want instant transformation of politics and economy—instant gold standard, instant reform of law & order machinery, instant open borders, instant deregulation of the entire economy, instant abolishment of the entire government or of the superfluous sections of the government.

But the real world does not work on an “instant” basis. The libertarians don’t understand that if any government made such “instant” reforms, it will risk a counter-coup. People have become used to living in a bureaucratized society in the last 200 years, and if they are suddenly given total freedom, they will become confused and disoriented and they might even participate in a socialist revolution. That is why reforms must always be conducted at a pace that does not lead to any drastic and sudden transformations in the nation’s way of life.

The libertarians claim that they are too good to be involved in politics. But they are always hinting that they can run the country in a much better way than the “morons” who are in office. They condemn all politicians, and often call for abolishment of the entire government machinery, but they are themselves not averse to enjoying the perks of political power. In several countries, the Libertarian Parties have been contesting elections (and winning less than 1% of the votes)—they contest elections even though they claim that they stand for abolishing the system of government and establishing an “anarchist utopia.”

The libertarians cannot make a serious dent in politics as long as they regard themselves as saints. Politics is the job of normal human beings, and not of saints. Only a normal human being can empathize with the problems that other human beings are facing—but from the self-proclaimed saints of libertarianism, you can’t expect any understanding.

The Libertarian Political Parties cannot succeed until libertarianism is free of its “saintly” connotations. The word “libertarianism” must become a dirty word. By dirty word, I mean “non-saintly,” or a part of the corporeal world. You cannot win an electoral battle in any advanced democracy unless you are ready to wrestle in the mud. Political battles are fought in the real world and not in some saintly utopia.

I hope that one day there will be the rise of a libertarian politician who is a total scoundrel. It will take a scoundrel to rescue libertarianism from the libertarians who have become convinced that they are saints.

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