Ritual shunning and cults

What is the greatest, most ultimate aim of the libertarian movement? I imagine it means many things to many people, but a single word can sum up all of those disparate ideas: freedom. Freedom of conscience, freedom of action, freedom to agree, freedom to disagree, freedom to think, say or do whatever you please, in any manner you please, so long as you aren’t infringing upon the rights of another.

It happens to be true that I’m a left-libertarian; specifically a geolibertarian. I believe in a fourth natural right, that of an equal share to the common resources that nobody worked to create. I’m sure that is quite a contentious statement; I know that many fervently agree and disagree with it. That’s not the point. Through it, I can accept various actions of the government that imperfectly reflect that fourth right out of the pragmatic conviction that a steady movement towards liberty as I conceive it is better than no forward march at all. Out of these convictions, earnestly held, I at various times supported the Libertarian Party, the Libertarian Reform Caucus, and now the Democratic Freedom Caucus and the President they support, Barack Obama.

I know full well of Obama’s problems. He would not have been my first choice, certainly. But it is my belief, as a libertarian and a pragmatist, that on the whole he has made this country a better place than he found it. I realize full well that that too is a contentious statement, but for just about my entire adult life I have been a part of a political movement that welcomed and embraced contention, as we were all marching towards the same goal – liberty.

What I have seen now is that several friends that I have stuck steadfastly by, even when the rest of the movement had deserted them, are now abandoning me because I do not meet some right-libertarian purity standard. Certainly, that’s their right – freedom means the ability to cut ties with those who you wish to cut ties with, for any reason or for no reason at all. But when some of these people were with me in the Libertarian Reform Caucus, advocating openness and inclusion in our movement politic in the face of dogmatism and absolutism, it does seem a little odd.

It certainly isn’t the first time that the liberty movement has seen such outbursts in what I can only describe as ritual shunning. Ayn Rand’s Objectivist cult, so well satirized in Rothbard’s Mozart Was A Red, operated along the same lines – either agree with the party line or get shown the door.

I always figured that such rigid, unfree thinking was the exclusive province of our opponents. Today, I’ve learned for good that it was not.

posted by Stuart Richards
  • Captainenema95

    I still say you’d be better off going with a goatse.

    • http://stephenvandyke.com/ Stephen VanDyke

      The hell?

  • http://stephenvandyke.com/ Stephen VanDyke

    You sure like to beat around the bush don’t you? If you’re going to start a drama thread up in here at least give everyone the juicy juicy details.

    Here, I’ll do the heavy lifting that your oh so many words didn’t quite accomplish:

    1) I decided to clean out my facebook friend’s list of people who like Obama (since his re-election kicked off today, for all intents and purposes that is an endorsement of his re-election). Yes, this was my choice, but I did give polite messages to everyone.

    2) Notifications were sent, warning of impending *doom* (also, I assumed people clicked I LIKE BARACK OBAMA on accidental terms or by prank).

    3) Reception was genuinely supportive, even from a legit old acquaintance who I have now learned could be Obama’s CTO for the re-election. I really don’t want to rub elbows with Hopey McChange kool-aid drinkers, even important ones.

    4) Rebels vs Empire… choose your side or be a pariah in no-man’s land. The battle lines are being drawn, even if you don’t want to acknowledge them.

    • Stu

      So shun Obama, but shunning his supporters is ridiculous and just shows the world that our ideology is a narrow-minded cult.

      • http://stephenvandyke.com/ Stephen VanDyke

        Obama’s ideology is the one that is unacceptable, preying on fear and indecision. I will go ahead and lump people who support him and his ideology into the useful fools category because they hold onto the Hope that “dear god, please make it so we didn’t get scammed hard again.”

        If you can’t see that the answer is yes, this is a charade *by now*, then really… that’s your shit to deal with, and I’m telling you the apologist arguments are all ringing hollow. Even Bush had the 30% die hard apologists (morons) until the end, as he helped loot and crash the economy and pass the baton of corporate despotism to Obama.

  • Stu

    There really is more to life than politics. There’s friendship and dignity, just to name two. I didn’t name names because I wasn’t looking to milk this for anything. But I suppose if I have to choose a side, I’ll take the side that’s not forcing me to choose.

    • http://stephenvandyke.com/ Stephen VanDyke

      Hahaha, Politics4Life… Stu, I would never force you to do anything, I think you are conflating the issue just a tad here.

  • Leeland

    Being a left leaning libertarian myself, I would enjoy hearing you maintain your contention that we are better off with Obama, please elaborate.

  • Frankania

    Stu, Even if sharing the benefits of nature (or anything else) is a valid goal, the clear fact is that govts do an inefficient and generally bad (with unintended consequences) job of it.
    One of the most influential books I ever read, was about some few hundred people on Long Island who were, by some outerspace alien errant ray gun, completely isolated from the rest of humankind.
    The gist of it was how they got together and made rules and selected leaders from their ranks. A completely new start, and a new society–fair and practical. That has been my basic desire for a good govt, ever since.

    The problem is, I cannot even remember the title or the author of this book from the early 60′s!!

  • Justin Brown

    Enjoy the entire article.