“Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.”
“…we must always remember, we must never forget, we must put in the dock and hang higher than Haman those who, in modern times, opened the Pandora’s Box of genocide and the extermination of civilians: Sherman, Grant, and Lincoln. Perhaps, some day, their statues, like Lenin’s in Russia will be toppled and melted down; their insignias and battle flags will be desecrated, their war songs tossed into the fire.”
-Murray Rothbard, Libertarian theoretician basically saying the black slaves weren’t people and didn’t matter, and defending the institution of chattel slavery and mourning over the slaveowner’s loss.
“‘Freedom’ is a grand word, but under the banner of freedom for industry the most predatory wars were waged, under the banner of freedom of labour, the working people were robbed.”
“[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using…. What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.”
-Ayn Rand, Formulator of the Objectivist variant of libertarianism/anarcho-capitalism, again drawing the line between which humans can be considered humans, and freedom to be alive isn’t for those who don’t follow Rand’s morals. Who is more authoritarian, “statists” or these genocide-justifying racists?
Libertarians of all shapes and sizes just love to talk all things liberty. They grasp hard onto this vague ideal as if it’s some new gospel inspired by some god that apparently looks a hell of a lot like those dreaming of him. They use the words “freedom” and “liberty” in such an abstract way that it is on level with the imaginary “terrorist” of the Bush administration. It is a “right” seemingly above material reality. It is a deity whose will its servants must impose upon the realm of realism. Science and logic are fallacies of the material world, while true righteousness rests in this immaterial abstract – the guarantee of “personal liberty” and the “rightful” rulership of some “Ubermensch” or another.
Much like the deities and practices of various religions, the freedom-god of libertarianism is always changing according to material conditions, despite claiming to be a constant, a faith outside of time and space. This opiate is always changing its components to match the needs of the believers. Libertarianism, being so vague and idealistic, sounds slightly different depending on the environment and life of the libertarian you are speaking to. But one thing remains an all-encompassing characteristic of the general libertarian ideology, “freedom” should be imposed at all costs – and as Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard point out in the above quotes, even genocide and slavery are “justified” in this forceful implementation of whatever it is they consider “freedom”.
This common characteristic is evident, not because I claim to have spoken to every libertarian of history or alive today, but because I have heard and read enough from the libertarian camp(having been one myself in my naive years as a teenager) to recognize the web of thought and action that binds them together so loosely. When I say that libertarians want to enforce their ideology of “freedom” on even unwilling peoples, it isn’t hyperbole, this is something the libertarian camp seems to share, with maybe a handful of ignorant exceptions.
Here are some things one can learn from the libertarian freeedumb-brigade(each I have heard said more than once):
-Socialists and “savages” are not people, and thus are not applicable to the supposed “universal freedom” of ancap Utopia.
-[Franco, Dollfuss, Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, etc.] were heroes/not that bad/misunderstood.
-The state is evil, but only when it goes after slaveowners, capitalists, white supremacists, or, most importantly, myself. The state is “rightful” in its attacks against immigrants, women’s rights, non-christians, “savages”, minorities, and, most importantly, those who disagree with libertarian dogma.
-The Civil Rights movement was “oppressive” towards white people because it forced them to intermingle with “savages”.
-Slavery should not have been forcefully abolished.(Yes, the libertarian doctrine of “liberty” defends forced slavery!)
These are examples of what many libertarians openly proclaim. Both the “laity” of the movement and its theoretical giants speak in favor of and act upon these ideologies of oppression, all the while shouting their empty slogans of “Freedom! Opportunity! Guns for Everyone!”
It should now be crystal clear, if the reader has ever come in contact with a loud-mouthed libertarian, that this ideology, which hides under the banner of “liberty”, is not at all one which promotes the well-being of or “equality of freedom” among the masses. How could an ideology formulated by ideologues who proclaimed the abolition of slavery a “crime”, who used words to “justify” the genocide of Native Americans, who pitied the slaveowner before the slave, the capitalist before the wage worker, the oppressor before the oppressed, ever be rationally deemed as an ideology of freedom or liberation? Calling Franco a “national hero” of Spain because he killed “the reds”. Attempting to “rationalize” Mises’ position as economic adviser to Englebert Dollfuss, the fascist dictator of Austria. With all of this sympathizing with the most reactionary aspects of bourgeois society, all of this apologism for fascist tyrants, all of this state-determinist scapegoating, it is not at all a far reach to call libertarianism fascism with American colors. After all, the libertarian ideology has a large fan-base in the white supremacist community(i.e. the KKK, Stormfront, etc.), and seems to not be shy in admitting its close resemblance to the policies of Mussolini and Pinochet.
Another quality shared between the closet-fascist libertarians and the unabashedly fascist, is in the realm of propaganda. Every fascist regime in history has glorified the history of the nation over which it ruled. The fascists constantly glamorized and praised the “national history” of this or that country. Messiah-fying every bloodthirsty warlord and worshiping the cultures of genocidalists and historical tyrants. Libertarians do this very thing in their white-washing of the “American golden days” before labor rights, women’s rights, integration. They long for the days before women could vote, before slaves were free, before regulations “oppressed” the wealthy owners of capital, before child-labor laws, before minimum wage, before underpaid workers could get one meal a day. They worship this delusional “golden age” of slavery, genocide, starvation, Great Depressions, the murder of organized workers, children in factories and mines, parents who couldn’t afford to send their children to school, segregation. The present mainstream world of politics they call “corporatism”, or “not-real-capitalism”, though they constantly praise the days from which this present state developed. They claim to hate the outcome, but they deify those who pushed for its formation. The capitalists of the 19th century, who the libertarians glamorize and glorify, wished for the power the imperialist bourgeoisie of today has. For they can now exploit labor all over the world as well as in their own country. The capitalist class, despite the “logic” of the libertarian wet-dream, has not changed in its self-interested character since the 19th century whatsoever. The small political gains of the proletariat of the US has only pushed the bourgeoisie’s racket to other countries lacking the labor laws that exist here. The only thing about this the libertarians seem to want to change is that they wish for the sweatshop system’s return to America; to back-pedal on the gains of the American working class.
Every political ideology and system has a class interest at its heart. Libertarianism, even with its claims of “difference” and change, is, in character, not different at all from any other bourgeois ideology, in that it fights 100% in the interests of the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of capital. And in its doing so, it sides with the most vile, ultra-reactionary elements of bourgeois rule, just as fascism does. It is precisely the ideology of capitalism-in-decay. In other words, it is very correct to consider the libertarian ideology and movement as a truly fascist ideology and movement.
What would fascism be without a scapegoat? In Nazi Germany, it was the Jews. In Mussolini’s Italy, it was the socialists of any and all kinds. In Franco’s Spain, it was the “modernists”. And one specific scapegoat permeated all fascist regimes and movements; the communists, above all, were and are considered the cause of all of society’s ills. In taking the people’s blame away from capital, fascism tries to point the gun directly at the ideology of the people, Communism. The libertarian’s version of communist scapegoating is in their condemnation of the state.
Much like the rest of their ideology, libertarians have a view of “the state” that is entirely separated from scientific reality and material conditions. They do not view the state as a product of the class struggle, a tool used by one class to suppress another, which is what it is – the state only came into formation when early civilization began to split into various classes due to the growing of production. No, libertarians view the state as an entity separate from anything material. As something untouched by any other aspects of life or reality. As simply the law-enforcer of very standard, semi-divine laws. As a force that has remained entirely unchanged throughout society’s many transformations. This imaginary nature of the state is their scapegoat. It is their “communism”, despite the present US government being entirely bourgeois. And, indeed, they do call anything the state does which they don’t like “communism” or “socialism”.
True, it would be difficult to set up a fascist dictatorship without a state, but libertarians do not criticize all aspects of the state. As seen above, Ayn Rand, a professed “capitalist objectivist(or, minarchist), carried no sympathy for the Natives which fell under the most brutal oppression by the US government, and libertarians are not against authority or laws. Each and every one of them believes in the existence of a privatized police force, to protect the private property of the wealthy, even having the “right” to murder thiefs and trespassers. So, they do believe in a state of their own liking, even if they wouldn’t call it such. And this libertarian state would evidently find it totally “just” to kill those who dare tamper with the economic and political power of the bourgeois elite.
When all is said and done, the seemingly popular libertarian movement is not at all unlike the fascist black-shirts of 20th century Europe. Libertarian ideology is very much closely related to the ultra-oppressive ideologies of fascism. It could be concluded that, in this era of decaying capitalism, of a capitalism growing ever more desperate, libertarianism is the extreme ideology of the most reactionary bourgeoisie. It is the tool of a frightened elite. It is the excuse for a crackdown on the socialist people’s movement. It is the ideology of the back-up plan. The fist reserved for choking the dissident workers. It is doing all it can to exploit the ideological weaknesses of revisionism within the true people’s movement. It is trying to divert the aim of the people’s cannon away from capital and towards themselves. It is fascism wrapped in the American flag and carrying a Bible, shouting empty words at the top of its lungs, “Freedom! Liberty! 1776!”
And it must be exposed for the oppressive, nationalistic fascist snake that it is.
(How’s this for “treading”?)
“It is difficult for me to imagine what ‘personal liberty’ is enjoyed by an unemployed hungry person. True freedom can only be where there is no exploitation and oppression of one person by another; where there is not unemployment, and where a person is not living in fear of losing his job, his home and his bread. Only in such a society personal and any other freedom can exist for real and not on paper.” -Joseph Stalin