With our cities erupting in protests (occasionally riots) and the economy in shambles, many libertarians (both small-l and big-L) are turning away from the very principles which held us together. It’s sad to watch, as the events transpiring are events which, at their core, are a libertarian response to an authoritarian threat. The police are the government and, per usual, the government gets to act in whatever manner they want without consequences, forcing liability and risk onto the taxpayers, while leaving us with no real recourse to rectify injustice. It isn’t right, yet here many of you are, defending the very institutions you used to decry.
These recent events have exposed a gaping hole in the philosophical base for so many people whom we used to call friends and allies. To combat the uprising which they don’t understand, they have suddenly decided to side with the security state, abandoning every little thing they’ve said over years or even decades. But, like we are inclined to do, libertarians just puff out their chest, claim some moral high ground, yap about property rights, and troll the rest of us.
Well, aren’t they a bunch of winners?
What about Sandra Bland’s property rights within her car? Did she have the right to smoke a cigarette in her own car? The cop didn’t think so, dragged her out, and she ended up dead.
What about Breonna Taylor? Did she not have property rights while she was sleeping peacefully in her bed?
Eric Garner died because of excessive taxation. Have we forgotten about him?
Sadly, many libertarians have taken the convenient route when it comes to life and death, and the vitality of entire communities. Beyond their keyboards, they’ll happily tell people that they’re thieves for sending kids to public school, that they are “cucks” for supporting any minority movement, and that they’re “lolbertarians” or whatever dumb term the trolls have decided to coalesce around this week. When confronted with the reality of appearing to defend the left by speaking out against Trump’s economic policies, they choose to troll the left rather than showing their genuine self, which is a far better person than their internet persona.
Part of the problem is that so many people refuse to call our country’s system what it is: welfare capitalism. Since we can’t be intellectually honest about that – given that most people are simpletons who call everything they don’t like “socialism” – we can’t actually message correctly as to what we are facing and how we would go about solving it. If we just call it “welfare capitalism”, we can have a very strong conversation about corporate monopolization of wealth through interest rates, and how the average person is raked over the coals and given peanuts while the most powerful can literally steal and rape without consequence.
We can talk about the war machine and how it is used to propel global commerce at the expense of the American people. We can talk about how police are really only there to defend the rich, the institutions of government, and their own fraternal order. Yet, here we are with the perfect moment, and we decide to act Trump-lite.
We are facing down something which is far more evil than anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Over the last few months, we’ve seen Donald Trump and those around him propose suspending the election, curbing resources to successfully conduct the election, and implementing martial law should he lose the election. None of these are lies. This is the truth. These fascist ideas have literally been spoken by Trump and his handlers. So, when people like me become very vocal about what we are facing down, only to be dismissed by the masses. It’s very disconcerting. We have a culture that feeds on fake sources and doctored videos. Yet, for whatever reason, when someone says something that should chill us to the bone, live and without editing, we find a way to dismiss it. We take that as an opportunity to troll those who take these words seriously. When all we have been warning about is at the doorstep, some libertarians are applauding it because of who the guns are pointed at.
As we digest all that is happening, it’s clear to see it has created a divide in the libertarian world. One side is saying the same things we have said for 50 years and holding the line, while, unfortunately, the other side has decided the buildings are more important than justice. They’ve determined that some batshit George Soros conspiracy is obviously more logical than the idea that hundreds of years of awful policies and violence have finally pushed people to the edge. Your fear is the same as the irrational worry which caused white flight in the mid-20th century and created the suburban sprawl we live in today. And as these white “conservatives” keep migrating and destroying small town culture like locusts feasting on crops, those of us who have watched as they brought big government to our little world see through their bullshit. They don’t want small government. They want big government because they want to run it. They want to focus on their pet projects and their idea of society by digging into the pockets of longstanding residents who were perfectly content with the world around them.
You will support them, though. Why? Because they hate Barack Obama? Because they believe in God? Because they’re white?
So, keep being intellectually dishonest. See the world through a five year prism instead of a prism of centuries that acknowledges the weight of historical harm. Deny that literally burning black wealth in Tulsa didn’t stifle black advancement. Deny that the Drug War is disproportionately targeted at people of color. Refuse to accept that the government has worked very hard for many years to take as many strong black men from their communities as legal precedent would allow. Then, put that all together, and steadfastly refuse that this gathering weight could not disrupt and destroy entire communities.
Here’s the tough thing about being a libertarian: We have to take really unpopular positions. We must be the ones who have the guts to say that Randy Weaver didn’t deserve to die, even though he was a white nationalist, while also saying that Fred Hampton didn’t deserve to die, even though he was a communist. These were men with families, one of which decided to get away from it all and live a quiet life, and the other who decided to stay at home, keep fighting, and keep uniting.
Once this nuance is lost, the whole thing goes up in smoke and you’re left with taking an emotional stance which virtue signals to the people who you find yourself most aligned with in times of crisis. You find yourself defending Nazis who unload paintball rounds on others from a moving vehicle. You’re put into the position where you feel you have to defend death just because of political views. It’s not good.
What we are facing down is frightening. Whether it is just a bump in the road of the republic or the catalyst to its collapse, remains to be seen. I just know that many of you literally cheered on fascism when it came to our door. You have to live with that.
And I hope you don’t have to really live with it. I hope it’s not you and your friends who are pulled from your homes for being a threat to the new order. I hope that you aren’t lined up on the side of a road with your hands above your heads, as the thin blue line puts some big thick lead in your skulls.
But we shall see.
Matt “DiGi” DiGiallonardo
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