There’s already plenty of articles about how libertarians shouldn’t be as divided as we are and how the infighting will prevent us from making progress, but there’s a specific item that I wanted to address in regards to this division between different factions of libertarians.
It has been highlighted to me most recently by the current dispute between some Anarchyball editor, and Jared Howe, and recent debates between anarchists and minarchists. These debates always seem to be end in hurt feelings, or plain ad hominem attacks.
Open borders supporters call closed border supporters fascists, while the latter calls the former communists. Anarchists claim that minarchists need to open their eyes and stop being sheep, while minarchists claim that anarchists are idealists with no real answers.
These are great topics for debate, but libertarians can’t let these differences in ideas stop them from the ultimate goal: liberty that consists of individualism, natural rights and property rights.
So, allow me to ask some questions:
Is society at the point yet where it matters if our ideologies lean towards some form of state, or none at all?
Is the welfare state small enough where debating between open or closed borders is relevant?
Are property rights even remotely existent in today’s society?
By asking these questions, I am not saying that libertarians shouldn’t be having these debates, but it shouldn’t become a point of division. Discussions in the theoretical realm of each person’s perfect libertarian society can assist in bettering the ideals and maybe converting some to other factions within libertarianism, but the butthurt and shunning needs to cease.
The goals of liberty lovers are so overlapping at this point, because of the massive, intrusive government currently in place, that we should be working together to strip away the power of the state in general.
An anarchist society, minarchist society, or a constitutionalist society will not happen overnight. Libertarians need to think of the long-game, which currently should be about decreasing the amount of regulations, eliminating victimless crime laws, and chipping away at the statist mindset of the general population.
So, let’s all fight to end silly regulations within our communities. Let’s fight to have marijuana legalized nationwide. Let’s fight to create or fund alternatives to government services to demonstrate the inefficiency of the state.
Let us fight for these things and not fight with each other. Until the time comes when it truly matters to debate the amount of government society should have, we should unite.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend,” and while I may sincerely disagree with anarchists, classical liberals and conservatarians, I still consider each of these liberty-minded individuals a companion and a comrade (and not in the Stalin sense).
The end goal is liberty, and while everyone is going to have a different definition of it, the current predicament in the country should be enough for libertarians to put their differences aside to make some change.
* Luke Henderson is a composer, economics enthusiast and educator in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a budding Libertarian, joining the party in 2016, and has contributed to Being Libertarian and The Libertarian Vindicator, in addition to being an editor for the Libertarian Coalition.