or: Alternatives to the Pyramid Scheme
The idea of Libertarianism in our time — in North America anyway — seems to be pretty much owned by the far Right.
If you google for “Libertarianism” the hits will tilt perceptibly rightward. If you start collecting websites claiming to be Libertarian, to be advocates for Libertarianism, Liberty, etc., you will eventually find yourself out on the fringes among people who want to abolish government as fiercely as the Black Bloc does.
Nevertheless, I call myself a libertarian. I also call myself a socialist. Sometimes, just for a conversation-tickler, I call myself a Menshevik or an anarcho-syndicalist. But mostly, if asked to pick a label, I say I’m a libertarian socialist, or a socialist libertarian. Most people in North America today think that’s some kind of a joke, an oxymoron. They think I’m kidding.
But I’m quite serious. I think it makes perfect sense.
The core value of libertarianism is individual freedom. The core sins in a libertarian canon are Force and Fraud, otherwise known as violence and lies. I can definitely get behind all of that. And that’s what makes me a socialist.
Here’s my reasoning. Say you have a human community — or, since many right-wing libertarians don’t believe in the concept of community, let’s just say you have a group of humans. And among that group of humans, some have managed to get control of an essential resource needed for survival and comfort. To keep it simple, let’s say food. So some people have got control of the food, and have easy access to food, and other people don’t have access to food.
That’s called inequity. And it destroys liberty, because the people who have access to the food are in a good position to dictate terms to the people who don’t. They are in a good position to say, “If you don’t obey me and kiss my ass, you won’t eat.” The people who don’t have access to the food don’t have liberty. They are quite likely to be enslaved by the food-controllers.
In the fantasy world of right-wing libertarians, there’s an infinite supply of food. All the…