Reflections on His Goofiness: William Gillis on Positive and Negative Liberty 5

Goofy Gillis has a lengthy interview podcast interview available. Listen here.

Here’s my general take on the content of this interview.

He’s not unintelligent, and much of what he is saying is not “wrong” per se. But I know enough about him to know that his idea of “freedom” amounts to the de facto compulsory universalization of the PC/SJW/Antifa/call-out culture paradigm, although perhaps enforced by extra-legal vigilante violence rather than a conventional state.

His ideology seems to be “Total positive freedom to make unlimited choices resulting in absolute diversity, except for people who might do something I don’t like, such as being ‘reactionary.'” That’s consistent with the nonsense I’ve seen in his Twitter feed.

Technology or no technology, progress or no progress, the evidence from all relevant fields shows that humans are naturally tribal in a social context, and individual values are rooted in their psychological and genetic proclivities. Where there is “freedom,” there is “diversity.” But diversity often includes the existence of polar opposites.

The Native American nations included hundreds, maybe thousands, of tribes. Look how much diversity there was among them. Greece included thousands of cities, many of which were very different from each other. Traditional China included thousands of village communities, with different villages often having their own folk religion. The “freedom of religion” idea in the 1st amendment has produced tens of thousands of religious denominations, many of which are very, very different from each other, and which often hate each other’s guts. Gillis is like someone who says, “I believe in freedom of religion….except for those Rastafarian pot heads…or…except for those ‘reactionaries’ that don’t want lesbian pastors.”

Gillis’ position seems to be “I am in favor of the right to do whatever you want and make whatever choices you want, as long as it doesn’t involve anything un-progressive.” It’s the same argument I’ve heard for decades from “right-wing conservatives” who say, “I believe in freedom…except for all of THOSE people (gays, hippies, druggies, antiwar protestors, flagburners, etc.).

One thing Gillis and I would probably agree on is that a libertarian society would need some kind of over-arching cultural foundation that upholds and legitimizes the libertarian “order.” I think there is a wide range of philosophical systems that are compatible with a generally libertarian political/legal framework. I also agree that oppression can exist outside the purely political/legal realm per se, such as monopolization of economic resources and severe economic disparities. A cultural environment can also be so oppressive that it would be hard to have freedom irrespective of the kinds of political arrangements that exist. The most obvious example from the present era is Wahhabism.

But I think there is a wide range of philosophical systems that are compatible with “freedom,” generally speaking. The Lockean-Jeffersonian classical liberal/Enlightenment tradition, utopian socialism (Fourier/Owen), classical anarchism, Green decentralism/municipalism, the Russell Kirk/Robert Nisbet version of Burkean conservatism, a Tolkienesque traditionalism, the folkish localized traditionalism of some neo-pagan types, a vast range of indigenous traditions and agrarian communal traditions, the Anabaptist-influenced traditions within Christianity, Kharijite, Sufi or other “liberal” traditions within Islam, certain forms of Buddhism, postmodern cultural relativism of the kind the Foucault-influenced sectors of the far left sometimes embrace, the De Benoist-influenced sectors of the “far-right.”

The problem is with what I call the “war tribes,” i.e. those who are inherently imperialistic and expansionist (Crusaders, jihadis for the Caliphate, Jacobins, Wilsonians, neocons, Nazis, some Marxists, etc.)

As I said, Gillis is basically religious theocratic “fundamentalist” who favors the compulsory enforcement of the PC/SJW/Antifa/call-out culture paradigm. He would probably deny that. But that’s what his ideas amount to.

He also continues to insist on framing everything within the progressive/reactionary dichotomy. By this standard, what libertarians need to be doing is going to visit the 100 or so uncontacted tribes around the world and bring them iphones and insist they become LGBTQIA activists. Like that missionary guy who was killed trying to contact the North Sentinelese, only spreading the gospel of “progress” rather than Jesus.

5 comments

  1. “Total positive freedom to make unlimited choices resulting in absolute diversity, except for people who might do something I don’t like, such as being ‘reactionary.’”

    Yep, that’s Gillis.

    • C4SS, although it’s awesome, but it’s not perfect, & William Gillis is imply just not competent with running C4SS due to his piss poor leadership. We badly need more Left-libertarian/ Mutualist/Individualist Anarchist organizations, etc. just in case William Gillis all of a sudden drags C4SS down, which would be unfortunate. Another bone I need to pick about Will Gillis is that he’s way too damn harsh on Leftwing Pro-lifers. I’m leftwing, & I’m pro-life, plus I’m not even religious, and I have autism BTW.

  2. “But I know enough about him to know that his idea of “freedom” amounts to the de facto compulsory universalization of the PC/SJW/Antifa/call-out culture paradigm, although perhaps enforced by extra-legal vigilante violence rather than a conventional state.”

    Sadly, that amounts to the vast majority of today’s American Left.
    And you are correct in pointing out the parallel with the American Right, mostly decades ago:

    “Gillis’ position seems to be “I am in favor of the right to do whatever you want and make whatever choices you want, as long as it doesn’t involve anything un-progressive.” It’s the same argument I’ve heard for decades from “right-wing conservatives” who say, “I believe in freedom…except for all of THOSE people (gays, hippies, druggies, antiwar protestors, flagburners, etc.).”

    I suppose I am a “paleo-Libertarian”, a term I first heard upon exit from prison in about 2010. I learned I was a libertarian in about 1975, at which point both the Conservatives and the Liberals were equally clueless about what ‘libertarians’ were: Conservatives confused libertarians with liberals, and liberals confused libertarians with conservatives.

    In the last 44 years, I think the conservatives have actually LEARNED something, becoming relatively sympathetic to libertarianism. Sadly, the liberals clearly haven’t learned, and are quite literally developing a ‘fascistic’ Left.

    Since 1995, when I wrote my Assassination Politics essay, https://cryptome.org/ap.htm , I have classed myself as an anarchist libertarian. But quite unlike many people who call themselves ‘anarchists’, or who are called by others ‘anarchists’, who are actually just pro-big-government leftists, I actually believe in the ‘no government’ thing. And PC and SJW utterly disgusts me.

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