This presidential election cycle has been absolutely bonkers. But because people are so hesitant to support the two major party candidates, there has been a glaring opportunity to advance other philosophies.
The Libertarian Party went the more moderate, name-recognition route in electing Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. However, even with such a great opportunity, they missed out on the debates; and it is also highly unlikely that Johnson will capture a noticeable percentage of the popular vote. Johnson was supposed to unite libertarians and convert waves of people to the philosophy, but he’s done everything but. Many libertarians have been reluctant to support Johnson, and it is for a legitimate reason. Though this election cycle may not receive the intended results, libertarians can still learn from it. One of those lessons: Stop attempting to disenfranchise anarcho-capitalists.
I am personally not a supporter of Gary Johnson in 2016, though I supported his run in 2012. This isn’t because I am a non-voting anarchist; I am not an agorist. It is solely because I feel as if he is a bad messenger and takes anti-libertarian stances on subject matters that do not require him to be. And when pressed to stick to the principles of libertarianism, he is hesitant as if he is ashamed to be a libertarian. But it seems as if the die-hard Libertarian Party supporters automatically label one as a purist or claim that you are not pragmatic when one doesn’t support Johnson. There’s this wrongful assumption that one expects Johnson to run on an abolish-all-things (though, that would be great) platform. People would be more inclined to support him if he was a better messenger and representative; or at the very least, they wouldn’t be as loud with the criticism. For example, Ron Paul didn’t run a strictly anarcho-capitalist campaign, yet we weren’t having these same conversations during his runs.
It’s a bit pathetic that some people are more upset with the fact that the ‘purists’ won’t support Johnson, than they are with his anti-libertarian stances. Rather than admit and be critical of these stances, they’d much rather use the “well, he’s not perfect”-card as if someone ever expected him to be. It is quite the performative contradiction to chew-out someone for criticizing another’s anti-libertarian stance. And, of course, they expect us to bite the bullet and support him because they think this sets up the scene for a more principled candidate in the years to come. These are nothing but deflection tactics. When you don’t fall in line, they act as if it is your fault that libertarianism isn’t advancing. Due to these frustrations, individuals are popping up trying to discredit anarcho-capitalists.
But, truth be told, you need ancaps. They are a shining example libertarianism extended to the logical conclusion.
You don’t have to be a historian to acknowledge ancaps’ contributions to the growth of not only libertarianism, but the Libertarian Party. The most notable contributor is obviously Murray Rothbard. No matter how sour you are at the idea that an ancap happens to be one of the most influential libertarian figures ever to have lived, it is what it is. This does not place him at a God-like status, free of criticism, but we can’t really deny that he was crucial to the development of modern libertarianism and Austrian economics. Ron Paul referenced Rothbard’s work, saying that he turned him around and is to credit in regards to his views on the Great Depression and the Federal Reserve. He is responsible for some great literature that breaks down the nature of the State, and he influenced those that have been great messengers for liberty; from Ron Paul to Lew Rockwell and Tom Woods.
To be fair, not every libertarian wants to distance themselves from ancaps. But there are those that are desperate to slide into leadership spots. And in order to do that, they feel as if they have to knock ancaps. On the other hand, there are those that are simply looking to blame someone for the ‘failure’ in electing libertarian officials. But trying to distance yourselves from ancaps isn’t going to accomplish the goal of spreading libertarianism.
Anarcho-capitalism is libertarianism personified: self-ownership, private property rights and non-aggression. Because the existence of the State has to violate these core principles in order to exist, ancaps are against the State. But it is also a segment of libertarianism that is home for critical thinkers who extend things to their rational and logical conclusions. It is also a sector that is diverse enough for those that are completely fed up with politics. It is not a coincidence as to why so many people became ancaps after Ron Paul’s campaign efforts. It is the home of the many that have answered the question of “if I recognize that the free market can better provide the needs of the people than that of the government, why is law and order the exception?” You cannot make the case for “minimal government” without making the case for no State. Going forward, it is best that you embrace the wing rather than run from it.
This does not mean that we cannot have the discussions of minarchism vs. anarcho-capitalism. These are great discussions to have. But this is what makes libertarianism such a beautiful thing. And, of course, there are nutjobs that exist within each wing and there are those that claim to be libertarian, yet they act like the very opposite. But it makes no sense to condemn the sector that is the logical conclusion of modern libertarianism. At the least, you can expect that the ancaps will keep those who go too far into statism, in check.
If you feel as if they are that detrimental to the philosophy, go ahead and make your attempts to disenfranchise them. But that doesn’t mean you’ve gotten an inch closer to advancing liberty.
This post was written by Eric July.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.
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