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"Against Libertarian Brutalism"

Will libertarianism be brutalist or humanitarian? Everyone needs to decide.

By Jeffrey Tucker | FEE | March 12, 2014

Why should we favor human liberty over a social order ruled by power? In providing the answer, I would suggest that libertarians can generally be divided into two camps: humanitarians and brutalists.

The humanitarians are drawn to reasons such as the following. Liberty allows peaceful human cooperation. It inspires the creative service of others. It keeps violence at bay. It allows for capital formation and prosperity. It protects human rights of all against invasion. It allows human associations of all sorts to flourish on their own terms. It socializes people with rewards toward getting along rather than tearing each other apart, and leads to a world in which people are valued as ends in themselves rather than fodder in the central plan.

We know all of this from history and experience. These are all great reasons to love liberty.

But they are not the only reasons that people support liberty. There is a segment of the population of self-described libertarians—described here as brutalists—who find all the above rather boring, broad, and excessively humanitarian. To them, what’s impressive about liberty is that it allows people to assert their individual preferences, to form homogeneous tribes, to work out their biases in action, to ostracize people based on “politically incorrect” standards, to hate to their heart’s content so long as no violence is used as a means, to shout down people based on their demographics or political opinions, to be openly racist and sexist, to exclude and isolate and be generally malcontented with modernity, and to reject civil standards of values and etiquette in favor of antisocial norms.

These two impulses are radically different. The first values the social peace that emerges from freedom, while the second values the freedom to reject cooperation in favor of gut-level prejudice. The first wants to reduce the role of power and privilege in the world, while the second wants the freedom to assert power and privilege within the strict confines of private property rights and the freedom to disassociate.

To be sure, liberty does allow both the humanitarian and the brutalist perspective, as implausible as that might seem. Liberty is large and expansive and asserts no particular social end as the one and only way. Within the framework of liberty, there is the freedom to love and to hate. At the same time, they constitute very different ways of looking at the world—one liberal in the classical sense and one illiberal in every sense—and it is good to consider that before you, as a libertarian, find yourself allied with people who are missing the main point of the liberal idea.

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The comment under the article that sums up my thoughts best

Was this one:

"What a steaming pile of horseshit"

http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/against-libertarian-br...

Do you think I'm being a tad brutal?

A distinction without a difference

The freedom to choose 'nice' things involves the freedom to choose 'nasty' things. Otherwise there is no real freedom.

There is no fundamental difference between the two arguments. Indeed, I love peace and harmony, but I am aware that there are nasty people in the world...and I can accept that libertarianism will never change that.

I dispute that there is a 'brutalist' argument of any serious note that argues to "reject civil standards of values and etiquette in favor of antisocial norms." Oh, there are nutjobs anywhere you go, under every banner created, so, yes, you will find self-described 'libertarians' who advocate all kinds of belligerent ideas, but let's not give them more importance in the libertarian movement than they deserve. They are a tiny, tiny minority. And, yes, libertarianism DOES accommodate their biases, but libertarianism is not defined by their biases.

The article is a bit contrived, if you ask me.

I thought liberty meant

People are free to have values and motives with which others do not approve. As long as coercion is not used, what difference does it make?

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those that put people into two categories and those that don't.

Should "brutalists" be forced to associate with "humanitarians?" Is that liberty? Should "brutalists" be policed and not allowed to associate with anyone? Should they be censored? Is that "humanitarian?"

How does policing the alleged values and motives of others advance liberty? Do only the pure at heart deserve liberty? Who is to hold the scale to measure that purity?

As long as people don't aggress against the rights of others, their values and motives are nobody's business but their own.

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson

Divisive tactics

I wonder why Tucker is being unnecessarily divisive.

There is a segment of the population of self-described libertarians—described here as brutalists — who...to them... it allows people to assert their individual preferences, to form homogeneous tribes, to work out their biases in action, to ostracize people based on “politically incorrect” standards, to hate to their heart’s content so long as no violence is used as a means, to shout down people based on their demographics or political opinions, to be openly racist and sexist, to exclude and isolate and be generally malcontented with modernity, and to reject civil standards of values and etiquette in favor of antisocial norms.

What will Tucker advocate be done about these "brutalists" who believe in the NAP and in the freedom of association?

Will he shun them or ostracize them? If so, he is violating the very principle he is promoting, which is to tolerate differences of opinion.

Very sad to see Tucker do this. He's changed a lot ever since he got fired from the Mises Institute.

via urban dictionary

Shits and Johnsons

n.
The two basic types of people in the world. The Shits are self righteous hypocrites that only look out for themselves and desperately crave power, status, praise, and the right to pass judgment on everything they disapprove of.
Johnsons are decent people that generally mind their own business but are always ready to offer help to anyone who needs it without judgment or reservation.
An expression first used by Jack Black in the memoir “You Can’t Win” and later referenced in the novels of William S. Burroughs.

by William Lee January 22, 2004

I think what tucker is trying to say is that

One can be a libertarian and still be quite a shit. Don't be a shit.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

everybody

can be a shit at some time or another (we're all fallible human beings) but rarely will you see a real shit ever be a johnson (even on occasion) since it goes against their entire makeup.

Everyone needs to decide...

individually. Not everyone will say screw 'em. Not everyone will help.

Author of Shades of Thomas Paine, a common sense blog with a Libertarian slant.

http://shadesofthomaspaine.blogexec.com

Also author of Stick it to the Man!

http://www.amazon.com/Stick-Man-Richard-Moyer/dp/1484036417

"Jeffrey Tucker Reduces Core Libertarian Ideals To 'Brutalism'

In a new article, Christopher Cantwell objects to the direction he sees Jeffrey Tucker attempting to take libertarianism.

You can read the essay here.

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2014/03/jeffrey-tucker-...

Brutalists are in every society

...regardless of their ideology.

"You can only really

"You can only really appreciate the results of brutalism, however, if you have already bought into the theory and believe in it. Otherwise, absent the extremist and fundamentalist ideology, the building comes across as terrifying and threatening."

The same could be said of cubism, abstract expressionism, minimalism, futurism, suprematism, etc, etc, etc. Interesting larger comparison though. This is as good a place to see it as any.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

Crap

This is a false dichotomy. Humanitarianism is a familiar yoke strapped to the necks of men. While I know many libertarians, I've never come across these two strawmen the author describes.

Libertarians I know are fiercely independent, highly tolerant of others and have no taste for the kind of emotional blackmail and PC drivel the author describes. They are not missing the point of liberty, they embody it.

Live and let live whether you are a hippie or a hermit - if you are for liberty you are my ally.

My experience is this kind of person puffing their chest about the "welfare of others" and humanitarianism is about to make a grab for your liberty.

Ages old question...

... Are people basically good, or basically bad?

Subquestions are: can basically good people help make each other better, and can basically bad people be contained?

I do not *know* the answer, but I bet on people being good, in general; either God or Evolution have taken care of that by now...

But if I am wrong -- why do we deserve not just Liberty, but Life itself?

Paul B.

Who are you?

Who are you to judge good or bad?

Liberty has one measure.

Do you violate someone else's liberty?
Do you use force or coercion against them.

If so you are bad.
If not you are good.

Who are you...

to judge that the NAP is good or bad? Who are you to judge that aggression against others is bad for the human species in the broader scope of evolution?

The NAP and libertarianism is morality. That you should treat each other with a basic sense of goodness and fairness.

You are being hypocritical...

.
~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

I am one who asks, does evolution require harm?

If not, do no harm seems to me a fair ruler to measure action.

I am one...

who believes that a sense of personal (not governmental) responsibility to be kind and helpful to those in need and to treat each other fairly and to forgive and have mercy when appropriate is necessary for a society based on liberty to continue to exist (regardless of evolution).

Protection from violence and safety nets for basic needs is the #1 reason people cry out for govt and the state. In a libertarian society the people themselves have to do it or a critical mass of people will implement the govt they think necessary to feel secure.

NOTE: I am not taking Tucker's side. I am saying the people must make the choice to take on the personal individual responsibility or a libertarian society will collapse and disappear. A general attitude of egoism will frighten the sheep and they will ally directly against the egoists.

.
~wobbles but doesn't fall down~