Tag: community

An Ultra-Conservative Libertarian is No Libertarian at All

By James Sweet III | United States

The libertarian movement is one that encompasses a wide variety of ideologies. Whether you believe in communal ownership of property or the virtue of selfishness, you can still advocate for the center of governance to be more local than it currently is. Yet, a select group of libertarians refuses to believe this, seeing libertarianism as an “inherently” right-wing ideology. This group often holds traditionalist values and sees any left-leaning libertarian as a walking contradiction. They may also see these “hypocrites” as degenerate due to not emphasizing morals and values over the will of humans. How can one claim to be a libertarian when their primary goal is not to free the people, but to encase them in a narrow mindset with no respect for opposing cultures and views?

What’s an Ultra-Conservative Libertarian?

An ultra-conservative “libertarian” differs from a libertarian with a conservative lifestyle in the aspect that an ultra-conservative “libertarian” sees their morals and policies as one and the same. A libertarian with a conservative lifestyle believes their lifestyle is preferable to others but does not allow it to get in the way of furthering the movement of letting an individual decide their own life. For example, an ultra-conservative “libertarian” sees drugs and pornography as degenerative and that a libertarian society could not exist without these things being discouraged. A libertarian with a conservative lifestyle would refrain from engaging in this degenerative society but sees a libertarian society possible if some of their fellow individuals still decide to engage in this behavior. This distinction is essential, as I see myself as a libertarian with a traditionalist-leaning lifestyle. In no way do I see morality as a negative thing to hold close. Rather, having a strong set of morals is a good way to define one’s self.

Does Left-Wing Libertarianism Exist?

A prominent criticism of organizations like the Libertarian Party is that they allow libertarian socialists to be a part of the party. Ultra-conservative “libertarians” criticize the existence of this group, seeing them as detrimental to the existence of both the party and the liberty movement as a whole. They criticize the “degenerative” aspects of libertarian socialism, despite these “degenerative” tendencies actually being rooted in immature behavior or the lack of formality. This can exist in any person and is not reserved for libertarian socialists. The stripping of James Weeks on the stage of the Libertarian Party National Convention is often cited as an example of this “degenerative libertarian socialist behavior.”

One can be a libertarian socialist, but to understand how, one must look beyond the ideological label. If one believes in the use of government force as a way to achieve libertarian socialism, then the likelihood of them truly being a libertarian has hit the floor. If one is a disciple of Noam Chomsky or other like-minded individuals and sees the tyranny of both the state and corporations as something that should be thrown away, then it is likely that you are a libertarian socialist. Noam Chomsky sees the views of Adam Smith as more egalitarian than what the typical American libertarian would believe. According to his interpretation of Adam Smith’s works (like The Wealth of Nations), a man should not subjugate himself to unjust authority in the form of the government and the corporations that exploit the value of a human. He argues that equality could exist under completely free markets and absolute liberty, but yet he differs from the typical laissez-faire capitalist. Chomsky argues that modern-day corporations go against libertarian values, as those in charge will hold on to their wealth and power similar to the way corrupt politicians do.

There is much more to libertarian socialism than what I just described, and I will admit that I have not read libertarian socialist literature. Yet, from what Noam Chomsky has said, it is rational to infer that the difference between a libertarian socialist and a right-wing libertarian is the enemy they see in society. A right-wing libertarian sees the state as the most corrupt institution that exists and should be restrained as much as possible in an attempt to minimize its influence in the lives of the individual. A libertarian socialist might agree with this but believes the state is not alone in its faults. A libertarian socialist, for the reason stated previously, believes that the 21st-century corporation is at fault for many problems as well and that they should not be spared from criticism. Yet, both libertarian socialists and right-wing libertarians want to reduce the power of the state, and they split when it comes to what they do once the state is reduced or abolished. Do they rely on corporations, or do they rely on voluntary, communal sharing of goods under a free and equal market that is unobstructed by the corruption of suits and ties?

Libertarian socialists, like Noam Chomsky himself, can still oppose engaging in unnecessary foreign conflicts, as well as call for the end of the Federal Reserve, War on Drugs, and market regulations. They can even call themselves conservative, as Chomsky himself did. So why do ultra-conservative “libertarians” deny the legitimacy of this group despite not having an ideological split with them until far down the road, when the government is heavily reduced or flat out abolished?

The Tyranny of the Mind

The mind of a human is one’s greatest ally but can also serve as the silent, unknown enemy. We think with our mind, and our decisions arise from there. Ultra-conservative “libertarians”, whether knowingly or not, want to control the minds of others. This form of tyranny is worse than both the state and the corporations combined, as they wish to change the course of an individual’s life that was already chosen by themselves. The higher authority, the Big Brother, is not a man or woman, but rather the ideas that the ultra-conservative relies upon. By influencing the morality and attempting to control the actions of a conscious, is one not engaging in tyranny? Can one truly consent to have their beliefs and opinions changed by another man’s personal principles? Listening and deciding to change your ways through civil discussion is not what I am describing here. The constant ridicule and discrediting of opposing ideas by ultra-conservative “libertarians” is what I am arguing against, as breaking down another man’s brain and building it up with your own beliefs is not freedom. It is the most dangerous form of tyranny that has existed on this planet. A libertarian does not enforce their ideas on another person, whether through the state, corporations, or the breakdown of the mind.


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Does Capitalism Unite or Divide People?

Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Capitalism is an economic system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. More specifically, capitalism is the free and voluntary exchange of goods and services.

Before the implementation of money, the differences between people was a matter of Nature or God. Some, by their own free will or by location, had more than others and created more than others. Some are stronger, some are smarter, some are more intelligent, some are better looking, some need less, some utilize what they have better, etc. It is the very nature of being human that we have differences between us before ever even initiating money or property, i.e. capital, into the equation. This is most likely why Marx and Engles do not provide an origin of ‘property’ or ‘property rights’ because to take away what is someone else’s is unjust and immoral, as well as least pragmatic or least utilitarian.

Prior to the introduction of capitalism in the world, much fewer people had wealth, and all struggled to get by aside from those wealthy few. A world GINI coefficient would clearly show a lopsided distribution of wealth, in the words of Communists and Socialists, and provide evidence of the daily struggles once suffered while unknown in most parts of the world today.

We live far better lives today thanks to capitalism. Abject poverty since the implementation of capitalism in the world, especially after 1980, is nearing its very end. Prior to capitalism, people had to work longer hours, work harder, children worked more, and people married for practical reasons more than for love. It can be easily and confidently declared that capitalism made way for more love and individualism, simultaneously, more than any other approach prior.

Actual Capitalism does not infringe on the rights of others, because the philosophy of it is based on free and voluntary exchange. Typically, this also implies that there is a legal system that ensures the negative Liberties, Natural Rights, of everyone. Some economists and philosophers differ on the need of a State in order for capitalism to exist.

What most people criticize as being ‘capitalism’ today, as many Communists and Socialists have espoused, is in fact NOT CAPITALISM. A State that allows the infringement of rights while protecting a company that wishes to exploit is CRONYISM, or CRONY CAPITALISM, not capitalism itself.

Remember, government, by its definition, has the sole monopoly on coercion and initiation of force. A coercive monopoly, crony capitalism, coercion through labor unions, involuntary redistribution, taxes, etc. are only continually possible through a government, not a free and voluntary market.

Envy, jealousy, theft, coerced redistribution schemes through government, etc. are what keep people apart by force. Capitalism betters the lives of everyone in the end, generally speaking. In fact, this principle of capitalism that encourages free trade, as in laissez-faire capitalism, is one point that more economists agree on than anything else, no matter the economist’s political affiliation.

  • Isn’t it ironic that Communists and Socialists always complain about so-called “bourgeoisie” living easy lives while exploiting the “proletariat,” but Communists and Socialists want everyone to live like the “bourgeoisie” by forcefully stealing with threat of murdering the “bourgeoisie?”

Capitalism has done more to unite people than divide them. The fact that we can sit here reading and writing on the internet in the middle of the day rather than hunting, farming, collecting water, or making things to live day-to-day, etc. attests to the benefits brought by capitalism. The fact that a writer such as Marx could have existed while freely and voluntarily living off the dime of Engels, a “bourgeoisie,” is further proof that capitalism has done more to unite us than divide us. Without capitalism, our focus and worry is more on the immediate rather than the philosophy brought on by leisure for the masses which is only a result of capitalism.

When people begin making copious amounts of money more than others, sure their status and quality of life differs than the layman, but the wealthy must still spend or store their money somewhere that benefits those in lesser positions. This is a key principle, as living in a wealthier society is far superior to that of living in one where only a few are wealthy. But if everyone is forced to be the same, nothing has the same worth as it does now. When everyone has the same wealth, the cost of things becomes more expensive, subjectively and comparably speaking. If all we looked at was the GINI of two countries in order to compare wealth distribution, we could compare Morocco and the US. I am confident that more people would rather live in the US than in Morocco, aside from political and social differences, and simply based on economic reasons for equality and unity. Nevertheless, the two countries have pretty similar distributions of income as seen below:

Or we can compare the US with the Czech Republic, where the average person makes more like that of their neighbor than in the US.

I can still confidently say that more people would rather live in the US than in the Czech Republic. Not only does this suggest that there is more to living a good life than the balanced distribution of wealth, but also that when we get closer to actual capitalism we live better lives.

I will admit that Socialism and Communism in their truest forms have never been successfully attempted. Likewise, Capitalism in its purest form has never been successfully attempted. However, the near-Capitalism has done more to help unify and better humankind more than near-Socialism or near-Communism. While, near-Communism and near-Socialism have done more to destroy and divide people than any other system, records that suggest close to 100,000,000 (one hundred million) deaths from the two.

Capitalism provides solutions for people, as there is an incentive to provide these solutions in the market, and working with the marketplace. Such things as technology, medicine, art, transportation, architecture, clothing, food, etc. all help to better our lives and unify us, while more competition drives down costs of production and makes things better for most if not all, in the immediate. Capitalism does more to unify us rather than divide us, while other systems, such as Communism or Socialism, do more to divide us.


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This Danish Anarchist Community Believes Freedom Works

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Without government, who will build the roads? How will society prevent an influx of crime and pollution? Can civilization as we know it truly exist at all? Many people may think that an anarchist society has never really been tried, especially in the modern era. However, a Danish community, after it left the influence of the state, has truly thrived.

Freetown Christiania: An Anarchist Paradise

It may be easy to miss the small, oddly shaped territory. But sitting in the middle of Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania is not trying to hide from anyone. In fact, since its dawn in 1971, the Danish anarchist community has grown into the third largest tourist attraction in the nation’s capital. Or, to be more technical, surrounded by the nation’s capital.

The Freetown Christiania project began, as mentioned, in 1971, at an abandoned military base. Many of the initial squatters moved to the new settlement because of a lack of affordable housing in the city. In the coming years, the society grew in population, and now, is home to up to 1,000 people.

Law in Freetown Christiania is quite simple. As no governing body exists in the region, the rules that they set do not have binding power. However, seeing as they own the property, the community does have the right to remove those in egregious violation of their principles of peace and order. In fact, all of their community guidelines are printed on big signs which stand in public areas. Some of the rules refer to the principles of nonviolence, and others are simply community desires and values. The anarchist community, for example, prohibits all violence, as well as weapons, hard drugs, and cars.

Rules sign in Freetown Christiania
Rules in Freetown Christiania are simple and prohibit only a few actions, such as violence and selling fireworks.

The Green Light District

Throughout the settlement’s history, it has had a fairly large involvement in the drug market. Pusher Street, the main drag in Freetown Christiania, has a major part in Copenhagen’s marijuana industry. Though the anarchist community does not tolerate hard drugs, it is much more open to the use and sale of marijuana.

As a result, many vendors opened up on Pusher Street, also known as the Green Light District. Community members and tourists alike can buy and sell at their will in one of the freest markets in the world today. Altogether, the market has an estimated annual value of $96.2 million.

In Denmark, the use of drugs is not explicitly illegal. However, both possession and sales of any type of drug carry a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment for small amounts. For harder drugs and higher quantities, the sentence can be as long as 16 years.

Despite this, for much of Freetown Christiania’s history, Danish police have entirely ignored the area’s drug trade. Though recently, there have been a few altercations between the anarchist citizens and Danish authorities. Although in the worst incident, three people were shot, violence, even in the drug industry, seldom occurs.

Just What Kind of Anarchists are They?

Interestingly, Freetown Christiania does not follow the ideology of any particular anarchist sector. As stated above, there is a massive, multi-million dollar drug market, which represents a free market. All transactions in the market occur entirely voluntarily and without taxes of the threat of force. The people also created their own currency, and use it for various purchases around the district, including a variety of local and imported foods in cafes and restaurants.

On the contrary, the anarchist community takes a very critical stance on property ownership. Their official website, for instance, remarks that anyone has the right to use, but not own, the land. And after purchasing it from the Danish government in 2012, community leaders made sure that the collective, rather than any individual, owned the land. As a guiding principle, they do not believe in land ownership. Freetown Christiania also emphasizes the importance of the community, and most citizens work for the benefit of the community as a whole. Breaking from modern capitalist tradition, some may work as community launderers, cooks, or trash collectors as a favor for their continued residence.

Anarchist Community Unity

Thus, it seems that the anarchist community adopts ideas from many schools of thought. This suggests that anarchist unity, rather than division, leads to success. The residents, after all, some third generation, appear highly proud of their tight-knit community.

Without a doubt, community engagement and pride have led to the ongoing success. The peaceful group lives under the Freetown Christiania flag, a red banner with three yellow dots. Debate still exists over whether the dots represent the three “I’s” of Christiania or the O’s in the song “Love, Love, Love”. Despite this disagreement, the community continues to live on as one of the world’s longest-standing examples of peaceful society without a state.

Performers under the Freetown Christiania flag.
Singers perform under the Freetown Christiania flag.

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The Bane of Hyper-Individualism

By K. Tymon Zhou | United States

Individualism is a cherished American virtue. It conjures images of self-reliance and freedom.  However, it has evolved into something sinister: hyper-individualism. Individualism, with its passionate dreams, recognizes certain boundaries.  These dreams were tempered by an equally powerful sense of community.  Far from hampering self-expression, communities empower individuals to live productive lives. Hyper-individualism has lost sight of this truth. In pursuit of self-expression, society has neglected religion and marriage with potentially disastrous results.

Religions, by their very nature, create communities. Dr. Raj Chetty, a leading expert on income inequality, argues that religions create social capital, a support structure.  He specifically cites Salt Lake City’s LDS community as an area with strong social capital and upward mobility.  Religions can provide networks of support for the disadvantaged. This provides greater opportunity for low-income families and individuals to become more self-reliant.

Hyper-individualism with its disdain for community has eroded such opportunities.  According to the Pew Research Center, about 36% of Americans attend religious services weekly.  This indicates a decline in religious communities. This decline has occurred across generations. 51% of the Silent Generation ( 1928-1945) attend religious services weekly.  This stands in sharp contrast to the 27% of young adults who do the same ( 1981-1989).  The social stability that religious communities provide is fading.

Alongside religion, marriage is declining.  Currently, 50% of adult Americans are married compared to the 72% who were in 1960. Similarly, less children are born to married couples. 40% of children are born out of wedlock. In earlier generation, couples in such situations, guided by a sense of responsibility , would marry. Today’s couples are less likely to do so.

The Institute for Family Studies reports that “43% of unwed pregnancies resulted in a shotgun marriage in the early 1960s; this is down to 9% today. ” From a purely sociological point of view, this is highly concerning.  Marriage provides critical social capital.  Without this capital, families suffer. The Heritage Foundation reports that 70.8% of poor families are unmarried. In debates over income inequality, many causes are cited. The breakdown of marriage is not typically one. Yet, it condemns far too many to heartbreaking poverty.

Religion and marriage are pillars of a community. Sadly, they are becoming increasingly marginalized. Outside of religion and marriage, there may be freedom from commitment. To pursue one’s own dreams is a noble thing.  What is forgotten is that it must be tempered by a sense of community. Through commitments, individuals can soar.  Without them, they can fall.


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An Honest Plan for the Future of Our Liberty

Michael McFarland | United States

Libertarians must become leaders in business, in politics, in education, and in science. More importantly, we must become leaders in our community, for it is in taking up that responsibility that we demonstrate how the philosophy of peace and prosperity is vastly superior to the authoritarian alternatives. That is how we win.

From the pothole filling anarchists who take it upon themselves to repair damaged roads, to the volunteers at the rec centers, and community gardens, we can see everyday examples of liberty in action.

You don’t have to wait for the election of a candidate to public office, or the passing of particular legislation to make a real impact. These things aren’t what truly matter.

Instead, I’d like for you to take a look around your community, and look for ways you can help improve it. I want you to look for actions you can take to improve the quality of life in your immediate area.

Is there trash you could pick up?

In addition, could your neighbors use some help with their yard or their home?

Also, how are the schools? After school activities? Your local religious institutions?

These are just a few examples.

The more we show how well taking responsibility for your own community works, and the more responsibility the community has for itself, then the less likely it is that the community will want to relinquish that responsibility to government bureaucrats and their goons.

Let’s not wait for the government to relinquish control. Let’s take it back by taking back our communities one neighborhood at a time. It’s time to show that government action is not necessary.

That’s how we win. That’s how we ease the fears of accepting responsibility for one’s own life, and that’s how we see more libertarian ideas penetrate this authoritarian system of control and subjugation.

#Rise #TakeHumanAction #GoldRush2018

***Michael McFarland is a guest contributor and he is currently running for Arizona State House. For more information, please visit his website at https://mcfarlandforaz.com/