What’s the agenda?
Recently on the social media circuits a short video of individuals smashing solar panels has been shared with much eagerness. The narrative quoted above the video has ranged from a condemnation of Islam, the third world, low IQ demographics and Africa in general. The video comes from India. It is a short clip depicting indignant Indians vandalising the property of company that had not paid and or compensated them in some time. Despite information about the event being quickly found, the true story behind the footage does not matter. The intention is to bolster a world view based upon cultural supremacy despite any smug and glaring ignorance displayed in doing so.
This is a microcosm of wider elements, just one clip that has been hijacked by supremacists and racialists to exhibit just how backwards and demented the ‘lesser humans’ are. A modern day human zoo, showcasing the barbarity of the uncivilised, the non Western. It is nothing new and is to be expected from certain hate groups and divisive elements that seek to blame others for their own woes or for the peril of a wider, even a more perfect society. But it is becoming more widespread, especially among many who claim to hold up the flames of individualism and liberty.
Libertarianism and its many related forms is supposed to be based upon a non aggression principle, many, whether left or right or simply principled, are supposedly wary of hierarchies, collectives and most of all coercion. This is a common hallmark of many of those adhering to such philosophies, with deviations and scale relating to property and role of government if any, in supporting the individuals rights being the most contentious aspects. Yet many on social media who commented and shared this video along with its progressive narrative were claimed libertarians. Some of which adopting the handles of Rothbard and words such as “liberty” prevalent in their profiles. These individuals are to many the face in some way to a wider philosophy, a philosophy that tends to confuse its detractors as much as its supposed followers.
No ideology is perfect, it is made up of imperfect human beings. Yet individualism and the acceptance that we are all different as individuals seems obvious, it is apparent in our every day interactions and yet those who claim to understand this and to embrace it fall back to a vile need to relegate so many others into a clunky defined collective. This is nothing new. It is in fact crucial to most movements, to blame and demonise the outsider to suggest an impeccable supremacy of ones own pure identity only to have it defiled by the outsider and their toxic influences. The liberty movement often irritates those outside its fold because it is meant to be above this, its righteousness is in its nuanced values for circumstance and individuals.
In recent times libertarians have attached themselves at the hilt with right wing blowhards and nationalists, granting them passes so long as both can gang up on the left and celebrate in “capitalism” and western civilised exceptionalism. It is in many ways a form of “white man’s burden” to spread the virtues of “free markets”, and for some the rule of limited law. To the right it is merely rhetoric as always but to their buddy libertarians it is a utopia that they hold dear, so long as they keep swinging right. Often both can unite in a desire to close borders or to extend the militaries reach into distant lands, security and murder is the religion of the modern right. That seems to be ok with their comrade libertarians, so long as its brown and poor people. The above mentioned video is one in many, that only illustrates the eagerness to ignore or omit facts so long as it helps push a crude agenda.
It is with little obvious regard for the poor and the down trodden that often harms many inside the liberty movement. It is where the left tends to find a foothold among the truly poor. As economically illiterate as the left and its socialist solutions may continue to be shown through history, distant and recent there at least lingers the intent and language of compassion. A benevolence that is missing from many inside the liberty movement who seem to concern themselves with their own wealth and often nationalism which often is in opposition with liberty. It is no longer with the adherence to charity and consideration for those who for what ever reason is not as “ blessed” as others, instead an ideological view has arisen by which to blame the people in the dirt. To ignore police, governance, war, exploitation, history and geography simply to spit at the suffering and point at them smugly through a computer screen declaring they are the fault for it all.
Many inside the liberty movement can agree that truly free market capitalism has not existed. The capitalism that they imagine, that they champion is often not the capitalism that the left or many of the poor have experienced. The reality is that the word capitalism is a leftist term, it is embraced by many inside the libertarian and anarchist movement with little appreciation that the word has many meanings. It is an ignorance of history and those men and women who helped to conjure and define economic and philosophical thought. Neither “side” will truly come to an agreement so long as the other champions a word that is to many others a slander. So instead the left use capitalism as a derogatory slur referring to hierarchies, exploitation, cronyism and so on while many ancaps and libertarians hug onto this slur proudly, never truly defining or proving otherwise the benefits of the FREE MARKET, as opposed to capitalism.
For those in places of consequence and poverty capitalism tends to mean corruption, exploitation, cronyism, mercantilism and colonialism it is the oppressors ideology. The notion of free markets and entrepreneurship is denied and often squashed, capitalism for some is widespread. Communism is now synonymous with genocide. Communist regimes have murdered millions upon millions of innocent beings, but genocide is not limited to such coercive regimes or the political-economic ideology. Genocide and democide for that matter transcends communism. Just as those on the right claim that real capitalism has never existed, many who are from the left and define themselves as communist will often claim, like their capitalist brothers that “true” communism has never been realised. And they would most likely be correct. Like free market capitalism, no real form of utopian socialism has existed and likely nor can it. That does not mean that those ardent believers in it can not strive and hope for a Star Trek fictional society to someday manifest itself.
Lost in the wilderness of the mundane and beyond the exchanges of memes, academic conversations and political bluster millions of human beings live their lives with little ability to steer their own, let alone combined destinies. The luxuries of terms like capitalist and communist, whether praise or slur is distant to them. They only know the consequences to the worse of both, whether the real or imagined definitions. The agendas of many inside the relative luxuriant regions of the Earth is to use them as props or as labour. In any case the ease by which the dirt poor are exploited is terrible.
The smart devices that are taken for granted exist thanks to the precious earth often ripped from the poorest peoples soil, they mine for it and then when those obsolete or out of trend devices return to their continent they are expected to recycle them with great risk to health and little reward so that those aristocrats of geopolitics may wait in lines for the newest and best device, even if it differs little from the previous ones. The technology may be different but the imbalances between those who suffer and those who do not is not. While intellects like Matt Ridley can propose that the world is better than it ever was with a general truth, such optimism is relevant to where one is. To those doomed to war zones, prison states and who only serve at best to labour for regimes or corporations such optimism is not rational, it is a luxury they do not have.
For the libertarians those who are from the right, those who took a left term and helped to manufacture it into almost solely being a “right” one seem to be often mute on the really poor. They view them with disdain or simply declare that the market will take care of them, that some how with one ideological stroke of a wand that all of the impoverished ills of this world can simply be fixed. That some how if only the poor people embraced Austrian economics and free market principles then they will be free of their poverty. It is a child like and religious perspective that even those who could consider themselves as being political atheist seem to hold dear. Many inside the third world survive because they understand economics and the market place better in actual practice than any Chicago, Austrian or Keynesian trained professor except for them it is often a black market that they need operate because their usually Western and IMF supported government inhibits their instincts for free enterprise and business.
Unlike the meme factories on social media who are likely recipients of welfare and student loans, tenured academics who live on state or college funding despite any ability to survive in the market place or those who work for government or corporation because it offers a safe income while they profess liberty and free markets. Those who are poor simply survive as best as they may. Their ideology is necessity and not a choice to be lifted and dropped according to the trends and what persuasive guest appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast or triggered SJWs in an interview. The perspectives are and shall for a long time be drastically different.
The battle for liberty is not a national one. It never has been. It is an individual one. A fight for ones own intellectual and moral principle despite the incursions of simplistic narratives. It is not a crusade, just as it is not a jihad but it is a fight and salvation riled into one. For those who claim to be libertarian, anarchist or what have you, those who boastfully chant “liberty” absent of compassion for the circumstances of others should rest alongside their own self-interest. It is not a compassion bred into socialist welfare programmes but one that considers that the world is different for those inside the “shithole” countries not because they want it to be that way but because often they are denied the very things many of us take for granted. These are the victims of war and coercion that should be aided to fight back against the State, not ridiculed and “bombed” into ash.
The poor are not simply poor because they are dumb, or suffer a low race based IQ status, despite attempts by pro Trump libertarian celebrities to push. They are not poor because of any Marxian class theory either, but there are rich and poor. And until many realise that they are wealthy so long as they have access to shelter, running water and can buy food daily compared to the millions who have none of these aristocratic privileges, then a common appreciation for what is most important in life can seem lost. To be free of bombs, sanctions, concentration camps and where one is expected to surrender their labour for so little so that those already with so much can enjoy cheaper commodities. The imbalance does exist. Those suffering can find a way out but only in being freed up and convinced that freedom is the answer through examples of liberty and not exploitation in the apparent name of it..
Liberty belongs to everyone. It is not something that we can make happen overnight. It is also not something that we should dare to deny others, whether directly or indirectly. Sanctioning, even through rhetoric the misery of millions simply because it serves a national interest or embracing racialist theories because it helps a nationalist to sleep better at night, assuming others bring about their own suffering thanks to a natural backwardness is terrible but simplistic. Liberty has its own agenda, it can not afford to embrace other ones. It can not afford to defile itself with a celebration of injustice and coercion simply because it seems easier to do so. Liberty only needs its own message. The right, the left and all the rest need liberty, even when they claim otherwise. The only difference between “us” and them, is that “we” seek liberty for everyone, not just for ourselves. So, what is your agenda? If not liberty.
Kym Robinson, Feb 2018