Did you “really” have to add “real” to libertarian?
The site needed a name and so…
- Before the 1970s birthed pro-state and minarchist strands of “right” libertarians (including the Libertarian Party) there was a libertarianism of another sort, the original libertarians that had no left/right prefix, and they were called “anarchists” or “libertarians.” These terms were synonymous since the 1850s (see 150 years of Libertarian).
- “Real” makes a statement about the name-game situation of “real” libertarians (anarchists/left libertarians) vs. right-wing libertarians (and The Libertarian Party), not to mention voluntarism. The co-opted libertarian designation now needs a prefix to distinguish left from right, or just what someone means when they say “libertarian.” The right-libs typically embrace (laissez-faire) “capitalism” and politics/government (albeit minimal), but real libertarians embrace the anarcho-socialist tradition.
- In essence, adding real is like adding left in front of libertarian, both are redundant, but attempt to be descriptive. The term “right-wing libertarian” is an oxymoron like the term anarcho-capitalism (depending on how you define capitalism).
- Adding “real” to libertarian won’t change minds, as it seems the right and left prefix for libertarianism is here to stay, for now. Perhaps we can change that. The right and left strands do share a few ideals, but what’s proper? Who is real? Will “the real Slim Shady please stand up?” Or should I say Thin Shady?
- What else could we call right-libertarians? “Republitarians”? (Ayn) Randians? Randroids? Minarchists?
- Using “real” is not meant to be a play of the “one-drop” libertarian card as the right prefix will suffice to separate the wheat from the chaff.
- Some would argue that NAP and self-ownership are the crux of libertarianism, but this is questionable. If anarchism flourished would NAP and self-ownership (and “voluntaryism” for that matter) be rendered meaningless? Should ‘libertarians’ ascribe to the non-aggression principle/NAP? To the point of being vegan? Is it NA as P, or NA on P. Is this an axiom, or a branch on the tree trunk which is anarchism (to tweak a phrase from David Schmidtz). Like NAP, the idea of “self-ownership” is quite contentious. Self-ownership is not a valid principle, and NAP is close behind, as it’s dictum isn’t necessarily self-evident.
- Why libertarianism, or real liberatarianism? Because self-ownership and NAP aside, libertarianism is the means and ends to real freedom of thought and action, i.e. liberty, not the window dressing of many democracies, but freedom from the bondage of monopolies in power, whether they be at home, the workplace, among friends, or under the umbrella of the State. In other words, freedom as choice, not a right granted, and freedom as anti-capitalism to escape theft (interest, rent, and profit).
- If Re:AL had an acronym it might be: Rational Egalitarian Anarcho-Libertarianism– as if we need to add another name to add to the long list of redundant and hyphenated anarcho-adjectives.
- Rationalism, in the “philosophical” sense of reasoning, and in the “political” sense are relevant to libertarianism/anarchism. Although, just what is “rational” is not apparent if we play the post structural card, though I’m not sure post structuralism is a valid, or coherent, world view.
- What exactly is implied by “egalitarian” varies among libertarians. My view: egalitarianism is not the economic sense of equal pay or rewards for all, but equal access to “power.” Not Power, as in Hierarchy/Authority, but equal power in a person’s (or animal’s) freedom of choice in making decisions (economic or other), and equal power to bypass suffering the consequences or collateral damage of the choices made by others. The difference in needs and abilities of people and non-human animals is real, and not very egalitarian, but how we act and address those differences can make a world of difference in just how ‘egalitarian’ society becomes. Respecting the sovereignty of all quickly levels the playing field of ‘power’ and will go a long way to ensuring the best of all possible worlds despite our differences.
- I’m not a big fan of logos, thanks to Naomi Klien, but the anarchy/peace/arrow logo and anarcho-fractals represent One vision– Anarchy as Order– with many paths to that “end” (the different arrows, or the multiple A/O symbols) — both individualist and collectivist. In this way, the order is derived from the chaos of many paths, paths with beginning/Alpha/A and end/Omega/O, built from A and O, and and perhaps “without origin” or end as well (ἀρχός archos, ruler, is related to αρχή arkhē, “beginning, origin”). Are rulers the end of beginnings?