Saturday, May 11, 2024

Of Trump and My Anarcholibertarian Predilections

Last year, I sat in front of a class of undergraduates and talked about my postapocalyptic Amish novel.  At one point, in response to a question from one of them about separatist/quietist movements, I described myself as having "anarcholibertarian predilections," which got a laugh from a couple of bearded young men at the back of the class.  

It's such a silly, self-absorbed, overwrought way to think of yourself, which makes anarcholibertarianism a perfect match for silly, self-absorbed, overwrought me.

I've dabbled with the idea that I might politically self-identify as libertarian over the years, but if I am, I'd have to be of that peculiar variety.  Every time I think I'm there, when my frustration with the rigidities of bureaucratic folderol and the clucking propaganda of twitter pharisees and apparatchiks have me considering going full Ron Swanson, libertarians disabuse me of the notion that I could ever possibly fit within that "movement."  

Not that it's a movement, not really.  It's as incoherent as the language on the AI generated image I prompted for this post.

The news about Libertarianism recently, insofar as there is ever any meaningful news about libertarianism in America, is that the Libertarian Party has invited Donald J. Trump to speak at their convention.

It's yet another reason why any libertarian worthy of the name would steer away from the American party, and a reminder of how neofascist, corporatist, and "strong man" ideologies have devoured the concept of libertarianism in America.  If your libertarianism ends up justifying the power of a despot, an oligarch, or a charlatan, it ain't libertarianism.  

It's monarchism, and honeychild, there is a difference.

My libertarianism doesn't bend the knee to anyone, including myself.  Perhaps that's because it's less a political philosophy and more a question of my theology, which seems a better place for libertarianism to hang its hat.  That is, let it be clear, not me saying it is less relevant.  It's me saying it's more central to my identity as a person, my understanding of how human beings are to live together, and our relationship with our Creator.

There's probably some pre-existing definition of the word anarcholibertarian, one that was argued and fretted over by earnest folks with Germanic surnames a century ago.  I mean, surely there is.  I don't care.  I mean, being anarcholibertarian, why would I?

My libertarianism is "anarcho" because I don't trust human beings with power.  Put the prefix "an" in front of "arch," and that's really all you're saying:  "no power."  Whatever the power structure may be, there is within it moral hazard.  The concentrations of power that manifest in political systems become self-perpetuating, as power seeks to reinforce itself.   There is no form of political system that is immune to this, because political systems are human social constructs, and humans love love love power over one another.  

Which means...because no human community can function without power...that I prefer systems that check and balance the powerful.  Oligarchies and despotisms, being the self-serving things that they are, are the enemy.  Social democracies and liberal republics are invariably frustrating, but they do a far better job of preserving the average soul's liberty than any other system.  This is precisely because they put the brakes on power, because they make the concentration of authority in a single person or group more difficult.  We've forgotten this, we Americans, as we posture and bellow at one another from our position of privilege.

Preserving the liberty of the powerful is and has always been unnecessary.  The wealthy and the social elite have their armies of lawyers...or their actual ensure that they are free to do as they please.  Rules, like the covenant of marriage or the Constitutional process for the peaceful transfer of power?  These things do not apply to them.

The more someone loves power, revels in it, glories in it?  The less one should trust them with it.