True Libertarianism: A Response to “Are You Really A Libertarian?”
By Sam Pauken
What is a libertarian? Ask anyone you meet, and you’ll probably get many different answers. If you’re one yourself, you’ll no doubt be disheartened at all the misconceptions that are out there. That’s not surprising. Libertarians are still a minority in America, and many people misunderstand beliefs that are not their own.
First, the assertion that “Nietzsche and Hitler…as [libertarianism’s] logical conclusion” is outrageous to anyone who researches libertarianism. Even many conservative thinkers find strong similarities with their thinking and libertarian thinking, including Reagan, who said, “If believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Foundational thinkers that are continuously cited are men such as Adam Smith, Bastiat, von Mises, Hayek, and even Jefferson, who stated, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.” If a philosophy is to be contended with, we cannot cite existential thinkers such as Rousseau and Nietzsche, as libertarians do not cite them as influences.
Next, we must refute the assertion that because libertarians deny human nature, “individuals are free to form themselves into whatever they choose to become.”
Although it is true that libertarians acknowledge the freedom of individuals to mold themselves as they see fit, it is false that they deny human nature. Although libertarians have disagreements on whether man is generally good or bad, they all agree that man is by nature, a free autonomous being who should make his own choices, free from the constraint of others, insofar as he does not harm others. Thus, this purported denial of nature actual results in the libertarian idea of human nature. Thus, the fact that our philosophy stops at actions that are directly injurious to others is anything but arbitrary, as it is rooted our understanding of who we are as people.
With this understanding, there is no logic in the assertion that the philosophy shared by Nietzsche and Hitler is the ultimate end of libertarianism. We believe in free individual choice, and any libertarian would recoil from any movement to such a society, as it is the very antithesis of our foundational understanding of people. It is the very fact that we do NOT make political statements on non-injurious issues that libertarians are principled and are anything but arbitrary in their ideals.
Operating under the same type of logic used in this article, libertarianism is far more moral than conservatism. Libertarians do no arrogantly believe that since they know better (or think they know better), that they have the moral right to take hold of another person’s life and mold it to what they think it should be. This will lead to a totalitarian conservative nation where every aspect of people’s lives is micromanaged for complete moral purity. Whatever the majority believes to be immoral, they will make it illegal and force everyone to conform to it, destroying the freedoms we have grown to cherish, leaving us at the mercy of a mob that thinks it knows better then we do and will control our lives to whatever end they may please.
As this conclusion is obviously absurd and a gross misrepresentation of conservatism, I hope that it is clear to the reader that the arguments detailed in the article are equally absurd and in no way accurately represent libertarian thought.