Definition of Libertarianism and its Incompatibility with Partisan Politics

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I wasn’t entirely sure how to start off this article. I have been absent in politics for a little over a year now, with the last article I wrote and had published here was in September of 2017. I haven’t necessarily cared about politics, nothing has changed, people have doubled down on identity politics and general tribalism, and as these elections are coming up I’ve seen very clearly that nothing has changed.

In this last year, I’ve done nothing but work and schooling. It has helped me incredibly and has made me tremendously happy. Before this, I spent a good three to four years, maybe five, shoulders deep in political campaigns and political science.

As politics goes, I loved it and hated every single minute of it and I was good. I wouldn’t just get into an argument or a campaign or anything if I didn’t believe in it and I did my research. I only did what I felt was correct, I used logic and reason, and came to my conclusions to solidify my beliefs, but I wouldn’t let my mind be closed to new ideas. Each bit of new information kept me on my toes and always had me in constant philosophical and existential conundrums. To me, those who stop learning are always the most ignorant and the easiest to control.

As I worked and went to school over this last year I’ve paid less and less attention to politics and because of it, I became happier and happier with life. The less politics in my life the more I could actually enjoy life. I even swore to my friends and family that I’d never get into politics again, and it’s something I still believe and won’t go back on. I’ve written this article not for politics necessarily but for economics. Before you say it, yes, economics and politics go hand in hand, however, economics only requires a little bit of politics, the bit that enables the ability for free trade.

Social consequences or any of that other shit, it’s not politics, it’s manufactured, nonstop social engineering. Socialism and communism is just a bunch of children whining about injustices that they themselves have contributed to and have no real intention of doing anything about; police brutality, racism etc. Those things existed because they were just as complacent for it as anyone else. The only time they decided to care was when it was broadcasted to the world, it always existed and they’ve always voted for it because that’s what modern politics consists of: voting for which of the two masters gets to whip you or shoot you.

Earlier when I said I loved and hated politics I didn’t mean it was for the thrill of it and the regret of it. I’m not sure how people will take it, but I said it because I loved learning about how people think, how people have thought and how people are. I loved learning in general about the ideas people have put forth; the failures and successes and ultimately what makes people believe in things bigger than us. What I hated and still hate was finding out just how flawed we really are. Humans are gullible and stubborn, we’re open-minded and ignorant, selfless and selfish, and in the end the deeper we become involved in politics the madder at the world we can get, and we end up losing the very thing that makes us human.

It’s taken me a few paragraphs but finally, I’ll get to the purpose of the article: my definition of libertarianism.

I say my definition of libertarianism because as any “libertarian” will tell you, we’re a giant clusterfuck of individuality that occasionally pokes our heads into a circle jerk of similar ideas. In the end, we leave with what we thought it was in the first place. I don’t believe in libertarianism as a political ideology essentially just because I think we are too individualistic and we can be just as stubborn as any other partisan person. By extension, the entire notion that we can be a political party in the first place is asinine, and the Libertarian Party (LP) itself is the best example of this.

The LP is, at the end of the day, a consortium of wannabe like-minded individuals who claim to be individuals. Everyone argues with no true Scotsman fallacies and yet there’s still a hierarchy of “correct” views of what libertarianism is. Nicholas Sarwark’s row against the Ludwig von Mises Institute and Tom Woods are prime examples of this. Libertarianism in my view is an ideology based on the economic principles and the overall social and moral principles of individualism and all that encompasses; from free trade and private property to the non-aggression principle.

It is in my best interest to be able to do business with whomever I please, it is also in my best interest to hold and maintain my own property. It is not in my best interest to have my neighbors be hungry, sick, or mistreated, so if I can I will try to help provide them with food, medicine, and protection, but I won’t force others to do so. I do it out of my own free will because it is morally right to feed others when they cannot, treat them because they cannot, and protect them because they cannot. It is right socially because I volunteer to do so but I refuse to force others to do so as well. It is right economically because my neighbors won’t steal from me, harm me, or threaten me because I am willing to help them.

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” If my neighbor does steal, harm, or threaten me even after I’ve helped them than it is in my best interest and my right to defend myself. After all, one can only do so much to help someone and if they don’t learn to help themselves than all you’re doing is enabling their bad decisions and lifestyle.

I’ll live with this definition of libertarianism. I’m not interested in whether you think I’m right or wrong. Throw hate or love my way I don’t care; not in a nihilistic way though. I just generally don’t give a shit cause we all have our own definition of what it is to be an individual and that is in fact what makes us individuals.

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Jarod Goodwin is an archaeology student in his mid-twenties. He’s worked in the grassroots movement for the election of Jim Webb in 2016, and in informing foreigners and locals alike to the different political sides of things like Brexit, the Dutch election, French election, Canadian, Swedish, and Brazilian politics.