Their view: What libertarianism is not

Dmitry Chernikov

One can get what one wants from another person through one of the following three ways: force, trade or love. Libertarianism, as a political ideology, is unconcerned with love or charity as such. Insofar as the arguments that support it are utilitarian (e.g., freedom leads to the greatest good for the greatest number), disinterested benevolence is assumed. But the third way, that of love, is far beyond its competence. What it does do, however, is elevate human beings from the first way, which is slavery, to the second way, which is self-interest. Libertarianism therefore uplifts mankind, if not into a mystical ecstasy, then at least into the dignity of a free servant. No longer are there masters and slaves but equal before the law parties who benefit from exchanges together. In the free market, no one needs to bow to anyone in order to receive his due. Libertarianism does not say: Take these personal loving relationships and “commercialize” them. It says: Let my people go.

A huge deal of misery would have been avoided if people had not confused serfdom to the state, forced egalitarianism, and destruction of individuality with charity. Even now, people think that the Soviet communists had noble goals. No, they didn’t. They wanted to enslave humanity and kill everyone who resisted. And they succeeded, for decades. (NB: God, Who is the Author of charity, is certainly not an egalitarian: “star differs from star in glory.” (1 Cor 15:41))

Libertarianism is not libertinism. We do not seek to further the cause of liberty so that we could engage in “free love” or enjoy heroin or play violent video games. But vices are not crimes in libertarian understanding.

For example, it is the socialists from Plato onward who have wanted to destroy the family. A regime of liberty and private property is fully compatible with the institution of monogamous family; in fact, it reinforces it.

Libertarianism does not favor the rich, support the vested interests or the friends of the political regime in power. They favor mostly unregulated free enterprise which permits a fluid society where the sky is the limit in terms of opportunity and where anyone can challenge any billionaire in providing better or cheaper goods and services to the public.

Libertarians are not isolationist. In condemning wars, libertarians are being non-interventionist, something very different. Thus, on the contrary, they want to engage the entire world into social cooperation under division of labor. They want all barriers to trade and free movement of capital and labor to disappear. They want international travel to be as hassle-free as possible. They support the gold standard, in order to unify the world by making gold and/or silver the single international currency not subject to manipulation by political elites in every country in the world. It is our acts of war that isolate us and make the rest of the world hate us.

Libertarianism does not consider people to be mere things to be used and exploited for the benefit of the political class. Confiscation and redistribution of wealth, whether to the rich, the middle class or the poor, constitute using and manipulating people through deception or violence without any regard for their rights, consent and welfare. Statism violates the great moral law which requires us to love people and use things.

Dmitry Chernikov is a graduate student in philosophy and president of College Libertarians. Contact him at [email protected].