A Post-Libertarian Non-Manifesto

Post-libertarianism, while sounding like another bullshit ideological thoroughfare for minoritarian social media communities to trawl, is really only the recognition that libertarianism should be stripped back and seen as part of the wider landscape of options for exit. Political engagement by libertarians has largely been a failure (while laughably admirable) from the dizzying heights of Ron Paul to Gary Johnson and libertarians for Trump. In a world of increasing volatility and fragmentation, the fact libertarians look mostly moronic is evidence of libertarianism never shifting the Overton window nor becoming hegemonic[1].

Thus post-libertarianism is the simple act of depoliticising libertarian goals, working instead within the cornucopia of movements and contradictory ideologies that look to push power downwards and outwards, away from central entities. It means treating principles like self-ownership and the NAP as variable and largely patterned according to the networks of power and control they exist within[2]. These principles are simply purposeful and potential mirages in the wider inky black sea of experimental nothingness. It also means questioning the innate enemies that libertarianism has attempted to cultivate. The outright opposition to war, states and taxation represent a purposeful blinding of possibilities that are present within these institutional matrices. Things like fourth-generation warfare as a grounds for producing resilient, impactful communities that move power in a turbulent direction. Red markets here are just as much hives of decentralised, non-state activity as are black and grey markets, with many intersecting and co-existing. The ability for mini-states and municipal bureaucracies to produce successful socio-economic organisation as evidence for decentral power and treating systems as flows rather than blocks. The capacity for taxation to be decentralised and its coercive element moved into more non-state directions, as in moving taxation onto blockchain technologies and digital registries. These are areas of technological and organisational investigation/experimentation that are already occurring, leaving many libertarians behind.

The topic of my recent talk followed similar lines[3], yet even here audience members were sceptical of a process of ideological-stripping, preferring principles to constant action and movement. Yet libertarians are not in a position to do this, instead floundering in their own zealotry as they perfect a supposedly perfect system. Libertarianism to have any affect cannot become another manifesto of iron-clad principles that are never actioned. Why would you want to become the new communists.

Our wider position should be a-central, focusing on providing the means for constant experimentation that liquefy and fragment systems of governance, neutralising their centralised core. It means working within and through other ideologies and systems, looking for means to constantly unsettle and decentralise. The political entrepreneurship of southern Chinese municipal leaders and the networks of Mafioso and Yakuza already show signs of this decentral direction, yet in this case is very much reliant on coercion. Should libertarians simply dismiss this as imperfect or wrong, or instead see such manifestations as part of wider networks of non-state and anti-state power.

For me, post-libertarianism is the capacity for libertarians to bask in the experimentation and flows before our very eyes, from the human capital factories of modern bureaucracies to the coercive networks of red markets and criminal organisations. To see states as potentially modular and not monolithic. To see system, as the foundation of government, as mouldable rather than static.

[1] https://thelibertarianideal.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/libertarians-are-becoming-worse-than-useless/

[2] https://thelibertarianideal.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/the-nap-is-a-social-construct-and-nothing-more/

[3] https://thelibertarianideal.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/the-libertarian-moment-libertarianisms-place-in-modern-politics/


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