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Masturbatory Autarchism

Quite often my essays result with nigh-endless webmail threads, more often than not with strangers or persons I wish were strangers. A flood followed my recent Disarm Thy Neighbor piece, with a bag full of rocks indignant over my belief that western Libertarianism is essentially reaching for the same ideals as America’s Confederacy of old, and inferring that Libertarian systems in general invariably end with Feudalism.

Which is undeniably true.

Libertarians are worse than anarchists in wanting to read more meaning into their ideology than has ever been present before. Anarchy is definitive lawlessness, so that the term hyphenated with any other term is missing the fucking point. Equally, self-professed Libertarians have the tendency to ascribe all manner of additional beliefs and nuances to Libertarianism which simply don’t exist. False idols are easy to pick out from a line-up because their followers try all the harder to white-wash their chosen master into being an idealized human. But like I wrote in that previously-mentioned essay, political partisanship is religious zealotry is brand loyalty, meaning that such idolization carries over similarly from state to church to industry. It remains easy to see the false idols, because it is easier for individuals to take the inevitable fall, deserved or not, than it is the cause or set of ideals they purport to endorse. False idols are atrocious, without exception, but false ideologues are infinitely worse. Ideas are the only things on this planet that truly live, after all.

One of the excruciatingly few strands of thought which most Libertarians share is the idea of smaller government, specifically of state governments allotted more self-determination than the federal government. Which, like with Democracy, sounds great on paper. In reality, in practice, diminished and weakened regulations does not allow all participants equal footing, but rather it enables the bullies to take the upper hand in any matters unopposed, free of checks and balances. Many Libertarians seem to quietly believe that any person unwilling to kill for their property deserves whatever said bullies care to dish out. As if there were simply no other means in all of existence of settling differences. If regulatory ideals are cut for the sake of everyone pursuing their dreams at the expense of everybody else, then where is the emphasis for anyone to look out for anybody else, to safeguard and protect those who cannot do for themselves? Where is the profit in that, man? Even today, the mass of peoples seem far more eager to defend their idols than their neighbors or co-workers.

With this in mind, the notion of Libertarian politics paving the way for Feudalism is blatant. The concept of Bastard Feudalism may as well already be in effect with the gradual conjoining of the larger political parties rightward over recent years, what with the accumulated plethora of wholly unnecessary middlemen at every societal turn. From state to church to industry, middlemen outnumber all others. The concept of privatized governance is not at all alien to many a Libertarian pundit, and as Martha K. Huggins wrote in 2000, “A primary characteristic of neofeudalism is that individuals’ public lives are increasingly governed by business corporations.”

We are all at our individual best when we are doing for others. Even with the highly praised cult-leaders such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Peter Thiel, adamantly esteemed for self-serving entrepreneurship as they usually are, their less frequent philanthropic endeavors are more widely held in higher regard than their consistently conniving billions in tax breaks and subsides from diverse federal and state governments. Buried deep down in what remains of our hearts, we know self-pursuit is wrong. People working against each other are counter-productive. Yet Libertarians insist on seeing only the illusory ideals they cast over their own politics, refusing to accept how their ambitions ultimately, categorically, will do far more harm than good to the world around them. Being an alternative ideology to conservatism or liberalism does not make an ideology a good thing unto itself. It’s just another flavor of poison. There is clearly room for all manner of evils in this world.

The high and mighty Alphabet corporation, created post-natally as a parent to the Google behemoth, recently announced the intent to build a new, private city from the ground up, a digitally-interconnected metropolis where Joe Q. Citizen will probably not be quite welcome unless able to conform entirely to the business plan. If it were the federal government announcing such an agenda as this reverse ghetto, there would be achingly validated cries aplenty of fascism on the web. Instead, such projects are often viewed as a model for other cities to follow for allowing powers outside the federal government to toy around with problem-solving, like a Libertarian ideal. And as with other Libertarian ideals, the adherents are all too often wholly uninterested in considering any negative directions said ideal will lead.

On the same page as the Google power trust is evidently the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which also announced the intent of constructing, for a mere half a trillion bucks, a new mega-city, one defined by the desire to operate fully outside their existing governmental framework. And yet who might possibly have ever imagined that a body long-credited with being the largest purchaser of arms on the planet as additionally being Libertarian by any stretch? Again, there are likely too many Libertarian pundits who will happily acknowledge this as Saudi princes finally getting their humanitarian act together, rather than remotely consider any Libertarian mindset opening the doors wide for pure Feudalism.

In these real-world scenarios, where are the guarantees against misuse of power? Time and time again the only alternative to checks and balances is the law of the jungle, of might makes right. My theoretical checks and balances here proposed do not have to come from a federal or state government, obviously. Individuality is as important a virtue as is empathy, but left totally unchecked then the worst elements are only emblazoned to have at their own wicked ways. This need not be a matter of virtue-signaling, but a rational appeal to ethical relations, one where the hard truths of reality are necessarily observed alongside our most fanciful desires. For all participants.

Economists from the University of Michigan have declared that current Americans are retiring later than previous generations, are dying sooner and are generally sicker throughout their lives. Are their findings the result of a bloated government? Or are the results more in keeping with the constant push to one-up the neighbors, of giving oneself over to the mindless compulsion to live beyond their means even to the extent of neglecting the healthful well-being of themselves or anybody else? Instead of achieving whatever individuality that free market capitalism teases, they become slaves to middlemen who in turn live only to funnel the real fruits of labor upstream to the property-owners, to those who already wear the pants in the global village. Contrarily, the Pew Research Center asserts that 82% of current Americans feel they have achieved or are on their way to achieving the evasive American Dream. Which based on the other study apparently now consists of working harder throughout sicker, shorter lives. Privatized governance could only further this. If the only law is do what thou wilt, then free of standards, of checks and balances or ethics in general, property-owners and possessors of the means of production, specifically those both willing and able to forcefully obtain such things, could only benefit from Libertarianism empowered.

Which then becomes textbook Feudalism. Open source does not equate to public domain. Google’s own executive chairman unironically, humorlessly, just announced his shock when confronted by the idea that Google’s products have, not just conceivably but proactively, been used “to manipulate public opinion in ways that are quite inconsistent with what we think of as democracy.” As opposed to never truly serving any design other than that specific thing. The followers of course cannot conceive beyond his wording. If we, as individuals or as a society or as a society of individuals are enabled to put our trust in the wrong people, are expected to put our trust in the absolute worst kinds of people like false idols and the false ideologues they lubricate, then where in the fuck is the “liberty” to that?

What is liberating about allowing others to be victimized and pillaged? Sharing in or benefiting from any sort of collective must be countered with equal measures of responsibility for said collective. It should not be offensive to request for all participants to refrain from raping or killing anybody. It should be very offensive, on the other hand, to be alright with the subjugation of others, no matter how appealing the sales pitch or comely the shape of her ass.

At the end of the day, most people, including most Libertarians, cannot think for themselves. I believe that no less than two-thirds of the people we encounter simply have no inner monologue whatsoever, with all actions merely reactions or repetitions. Where regards Libertarian ideals, while many believe that most if not all persons would be capable of self-dependence, all of human history confirms otherwise. So instead the faithful fetish, even deify, those who manage to connive their way into wherever the public falls short. While feudalism depended on an obligation of the serfs, in modernity we see obligation on display presented as voluntary. Capitalism always begins with supply manufactured to meet demand, and always ends with demand manufactured to meet supply, so that the general public are told what to need and what to want. That older obligation of serving one’s perceived masters, of mistaking the desire to live vicariously through them with independence of any stripe, comes through today as brand loyalty, as religious zealotry and as political partisanship, with all variations totally interchangeable, and ultimately consisting of the needs/wants of the few masquerading as a zeitgeist. Anyone doubting the Libertarian propensity for hero-worshiping should take a gander at the larger online social networks well-stocked with proxy avatars eager to get into the pants of Julian Assange. Mentioning his bastard children by multiple partners may as well be desecrating the cross. Besides, social networking itself is merely the politically correct form of codependency. It is impossible to deny that without sounding like one is explaining away one’s chains.

The old colonels of the American south with their cotton plantations and shacks filled with serfs, and their zeitgeist to defend that “way of life” are totally compatible with the old English version we all know and loathe. The earliest towns and villages sprang up around these same sorts of entrepreneurs regardless of ruling political party or form of government. And our modern, technological culture only strengthens the cult of personality to make these characters seem revolutionary. It’s a Pepsi-generation patriarchy still.