By Jack Parkos | United States
Recently, I wrote on the importance of right-wing unity. This will serve as a follow up to that piece; it is important to go into further detail about why this is essential for society to prosper.
What Is the Left?
Two main groups make up the threat of the left. First of all, there is a wave of modern Marxists. These are the groups like Antifa, who want to bring down capitalism and the social order. According to them, capitalism oppresses various groups like women, minorities, and the LGBT community. As they want to see the end of free markets, they are not friends of liberty.
The other main threat of the left is the elites. These are often crony capitalists in positions of high power and influence. These people feed the previous group of Marxists, even if they differ from them. They also tend to support wars and do shady business behind the backs of the general public. In many cases, they have a monopoly on the media and education. Both elected and appointed, elites use big government against the people. They have infected both parties. Establishment Republicans may speak against left groups like Antifa but are as pro-war as the left elites.
Together, the establishment and Marxists are a deadly weapon in politics, culture, and society. They are a threat to liberty. Antifa advocates for an ideology (communism) that opposes private property. They both are against free speech. Antifa does this via riots when conservatives speak.
It is time that libertarians adopt a strategy to stop this. Principles are dying in politics; mobs are filling the void. Trying to reason with the left will not work; they are unable to peacefully come to resolutions. We have crazy enemies in the media, establishment, left and more. The old saying goes “desperate times call for desperate measure”. But we may not need to come up with a completely new strategy, there exists already an idea that, if adapted to modern times, could serve as a solution.
Murray Rothbard was the father of both Anarcho-Capitalism and Paleo-Libertarianism. An anarchist, of course, believes in no government and consequently, no politics. But Murray Rothbard, while believing in an ideology that would end politics, paid very close attention to modern politics. Not only that: he participated in it. This would be shocking to some anarchists, but Rothbard knew this was necessary to advance the movement.
In 1992, Murray Rothbard published a controversial essay entitled “Right-Wing Populism”. Although the essay contains some horrid ideas (such as allying with white nationalists), some parts of this essay are a good guide for how to approach modern politics. It is very important that we (libertarians) condemn white nationalists. Once we remove this portion of the essay, what does it say?
Rothbard presents an interesting idea, that with a new approach, could be beneficial. He writes:
The basic right-wing populist insight is that we live in a statist country and a statist world dominated by a ruling elite, consisting of a coalition of Big Government, Big Business, and various influential special interest groups. More specifically, the old America of individual liberty, private property, and minimal government has been replaced by a coalition of politicians and bureaucrats allied with, and even dominated by, powerful corporate and Old Money financial elites (e.g., the Rockefellers, the Trilateralists); and the New Class of technocrats and intellectuals, including Ivy League academics and media elites, who constitute the opinion-moulding class in society.
Rothbard described the right-wing populist movement as an “old right” that opposes big government and corporate unity. Many of the things he talks about apply to problems we face today. We are under a crony capitalist system that elites run without care for the people, and this must cease.
Allies of the Right
Cultural Marxists and elites work towards similar goals that lead to the weakening of society. Given this, it becomes abundantly clear that libertarians need allies, even if they are not pure lovers of liberty. Given the modern state of politics, this is absolutely necessary. Rothbard supported the idea of allies. But who do we choose? Rothbard makes a great point in his essay:
Libertarians have long been puzzled about whom, about which groups, to reach out to. The simple answer: everyone, is not enough, because to be relevant politically, we must concentrate strategically on those groups who are most oppressed and who also have the most social leverage.
So, who opposes the left and elite and has the leverage to help us win? Donald Trump’s populist movement. Before throwing away this idea, it is important to look at it deeply. It is nearly obvious that Rothbard would have liked this idea. Rothbard supported Pat Buchanan, someone who is not a 100% pure libertarian. If he were around in the 2016 election, it is extremely likely he would have supported Trump.
A Voice Against the Establishment
Trump did run an anti-establishment campaign, calling out the coalition of bureaucrats and politicians that Rothbard also criticized. Take a look at these proposals below. Who does this sound like?
l. Slash Taxes. All taxes, sales, business, property, etc., but especially the most oppressive politically and personally: the income tax. We must work toward repeal of the income tax and abolition of the IRS.
2. Slash Welfare. Get rid of underclass rule by abolishing the welfare system, or, short of abolition, severely cutting and restricting it.
3. Abolish Racial or Group Privileges. Abolish affirmative action, set aside racial quotas, etc., and point out that the root of such quotas is the entire “civil rights” structure, which tramples on the property rights of every American.
4. Take Back the Streets: Crush Criminals. And by this I mean, of course, not “white collar criminals” or “inside traders” but violent street criminals – robbers, muggers, rapists, murderers. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error.
5. Take Back the Streets: Get Rid of the Bums. Again: unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? Hopefully, they will disappear, that is, move from the ranks of the petted and cosseted bum class to the ranks of the productive members of society.
6. Abolish the Fed; Attack the Banksters. Money and banking are recondite issues. But the realities can be made vivid: the Fed is an organized cartel of banksters, who are creating inflation, ripping off the public, destroying the savings of the average American. The hundreds of billions of taxpayer handouts to S&L banksters will be chicken-feed compared to the coming collapse of the commercial banks.
7. America First. A key point, and not meant to be seventh in priority. The American economy is not only in recession; it is stagnating. The average family is worse off now than it was two decades ago. Come home America…
8. Defend Family Values. Which means, get the State out of the family, and replace State control with parental control. In the long run, this means ending public schools, and replacing them with private schools. But we must realize that voucher and even tax credit schemes are not, despite Milton Friedman, transitional demands on the path to privatized education; instead, they will make matters worse by fastening government control more totally upon the private schools. Within the sound alternative is decentralization, and back to local, community neighborhood control of the schools.
These are all Rothbard’s points, but some show considerable overlap with Trump.
Rothbard further details some similarities below:
So far: every one of these right-wing populist programs is totally consistent with a hard-core libertarian position. But all real-world politics is coalition politics, and there are other areas where libertarians might well compromise with their paleo or traditionalist or other partners in a populist coalition. For example, on family values, take such vexed problems as pornography, prostitution, or abortion. Here, pro-legalization and pro-choice libertarians should be willing to compromise on a decentralist stance; that is, to end the tyranny of the federal courts, and to leave these problems up to states and better yet, localities and neighborhoods, that is, to “community standards.”
A Coalition of the Right
If the father of anarcho-capitalism was open to the idea of working with “non-libertarians”, it cannot be against anarchist principles to do so. Of course, we do not have to support every idea on the list or change our principles. However, the Trump Populist Movement is a good “target” to ally with. They also could become future libertarians, as many current libertarians come from this camp. We need to put aside our differences and unite with populists. We need to find common ground and defeat our common enemy: the left.
If this alliance weakens elitism and stops the left, then there is no real reason not to consider it. Along with this, we must call out when Trump is right as well as when he is wrong. But, we need to appear friendly. Trump likes this, and if he likes us, he may ally with us and lean towards libertarian positions. Without supporting every bill or abandoning principle, we can take this new strategy. Rothbard’s thoughts on the matter are not perfect, but lay the framework for a move towards true liberty.
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