Last week, Austin Petersen caused a rift among libertarians when he took to Facebook to make statements about globalism in context to libertarianism.
Petersen stated that globalism’s ideas – open borders, in particular – are a quintessential libertarian ideology. He also criticized nationalism, referring to the practice as “fealty to the nation state.” It’s no secret that national borders are one of the subjects that divide libertarians, with one side favoring open borders and the other side favoring an improved immigration reform, such as the Swiss system of administering a quota of residency permits per year. Austin Petersen is a supporter of open borders, deeming enforced borders arbitrary.
He also made comments about the need for a New World Order, which was not taken quietly among his supporters.
On Sunday, he released a video on YouTube about the topic of a globalist New World Order. Libertarianism is supposed to be synonymous and fundamentally based on the ideas of less government intervention and the abolition of unconstitutional practices. So why are borders such a splitting issue between libertarians? Petersen brought up the commanding point that our rights do not exist because we are American, but because we are human. “We don’t create governments just so we can have a government. We create government to secure individual rights.” Petersen’s premise is that nationalism has no use if it does not advance freedom.
When you take the idea that freedom is a fundamental human right, is the fight for liberty over if the United States becomes a libertarian government? What about China, Russia, North Korea – what about tyranny and authoritarianism? The New World Order is the ideology that the world can unite to promote and enforce these fundamental rights of humanity and freedom. Ron Paul said that freedom is a young idea, and Petersen stands by it, that we shouldn’t want an “Old” World Order, referencing the past, when women couldn’t vote or black people were enslaved. We should want a “New” World Order, and it should include the hundreds of countries in the world under a decentralized, global government, not an authoritarian government, but one that upholds individual sovereignties, allowing free trade, free market economics, and free movement. That is libertarianism. That is globalism. “Decentralization itself isn’t libertarian, but decentralization is the path towards libertarianism.”
The problem, in this case, is with semantics; words that have been taken over by statist institutions; words like globalism and liberalism. The liberalism of the modern world is not the same as true, classic liberalism. 100 years ago, true liberals advocated civil liberty and political freedom, whereas current 20th-century liberals are people who endorse government’s need to be involved in economic and social issues. In other words, what was once an interchangeable platform for liberty is now a movement advocating statism. Should libertarians despise the idea of globalism? No, they should not. One might even consider the automated reaction of many libertarians to the world globalist to be a result of fear-mongering within our own party, the hesitation and negative connotations placed on words without ever examining the need to discuss what they truly mean. Until now.
In the words of Petersen: “Don’t surrender the language.”
* Nicholas Machado is a Brazilian-American who loves liberty. He is a student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
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