Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Libertarian Party is a Culture War Play-fight WWE Arena

I’m not a Libertarian Party member, so I don’t get any say in what they do. But, apparently, what is going on in the party is a “culture war” showdown between something called the Mises Caucus (apparently, “paleolibertarian” types with views like those of the Mises Institute) and leftist-libertarians like the Center for a Stateless Society and/or centrist libertarians like the Gary Johnson types. At least that’s the surface-level impression I get from all this.

May be an image of map and text that says 'WA MT OR MN SD WY ME NV CA UT NE NY co KS oH MO DE NM KY VA OK MD DC TN AR NC AK SC TX MS AL GA 一 Status of State Affiliate: Full Mises PAC Control (Takeover Complete) Mises PAC Control (Takeove Progress) Free States Created'

Of all the theory and analysis that myself and others here at ATS have produced over the past 20 years, it would appear that most of it has been largely correct: the relationship between social class and the populist-right, the relationship between social class and political correctness, the relationship between geography and cultural demographics, the “ten core” demographics as potential actors, the emergence of totalitarian humanism as the ideological superstructure of the ruling class, the decline of US hegemony due to overreach, the rise of Eastern powers in opposition to US hegemony, the proliferation of fourth-generation warfare, the orientation toward lumpenproletarianism, the viability of the pan-secessionist meta-strategy, the reproletarianization of labor, the Weimarization of the culture wars, the failures of the left and its co-option by digital capitalism, the populist right’s potential challenge to fusionism, the tribal fragmentation of the domestic US, and a range of other things.

One of the first articles I ever wrote for ATS was a critique of supposed “limited government conservatism” of the kind that was en vogue during the Reagan-Gingrich years. The article offered a rather negative view of the conventional right-wing, but also contained the following assessment of liberal civil libertarianism, left-anarchism, and right-libertarianism:

Because liberalism, socialism, and leftism have become nearly universally identified with statism, it should not be surprising that many contemporary opponents of the state regard themselves as “conservative”. However, the historical meaning of conservatism is not individual liberty and greater freedom from government but an emphasis on maintaining a static hierarchical, stratified order, tradition-based collectivism, subservience of the individual to elite privilege, theocracy, and nationalistic statism. This was the conservatism of Edmund Burke, the Tories, John C. Calhoun and other apologists for slavery, Otto von Bismarck, and the Buckleyite CIA conservatives of the Cold War era. This is the conservatism that drips out of the pages of the writings of contemporary reactionaries like Russell Kirk, Robert Bork, Irving Kristol, William Bennett, and others of their ilk. This is the conservatism that motivated Calhoun to describe the decentralized slavocracy of the antebellum South as a libertarian regime. This is the “Christian libertarianism” of the neo-theocrats R. J. Rushdooney and Gary North, who correctly identify true conservatism with the Old Order of the pre-Enlightenment medieval era. This is the conservatism of the white nationalist Samuel Francis, who longs for the good old days of the sixteenth century, when workers, poor people, women, and ethnic minorities dutifully served their masters while the naturally superior classes of aristocrats and intellectuals wrote sonnets, sculpted statues, and engaged in scientific experiments.

What sincere and honest opponents of the state need to do is not to align themselves with all things reactionary in the name of a vague, inconsistent “anti-state” conservatism but to resurrect and revive the genuinely libertarian traditions of classical liberalism and its grandchild, libertarian socialism. Of course, such an effort poses some difficulties. Intellectually competent and morally courageous opposition to the state is a rather rare phenomenon these days. Most so-called “civil libertarians” of the ACLU variety are state socialists who don’t want government interfering in their sex lives. Most “free-market” libertarians of the Cato Institute/Reason Magazine type are Republican-friendly economic conservatives who don’t want income taxes impeding their upward mobility but who don’t want to go to jail for sniffing coke either. Most contemporary left-anarchists are, in the words of Jason Schwalm, “pathetic leftist trash, dopeheads, shitheads, teenagers angry at their parents, and assorted miscreants who are easily diverted into liberal pet projects”, who, I might add, couldn’t give a coherent definition of anarchism to save their lives.

It seems that my general assessment of the entire range of the US political spectrum from 20 years ago has largely been proven to be correct and that moving past all of this will require a great deal more cultural and intellectual evolution.

Most of the theoretical analysis generated by ATS has been vindicated by subsequent experience. The strategic framework suggested by ATS has proven to be potentially viable as well and is now finding its way into the mainstream. At present, I lean toward the view that the next thing that needs to happen is the emergence of a political/cultural/intellectual vanguard that takes the ideas we have formulated at ATS and dumbs them down into a few basic principles that are accessible to both normies and untermenschen. The ideas outlined in Adam Knott’s “Principles of Panarchism” are mostly the same as those of ATS, only simplified and lacking all of the abstract theory and volumes of peripheral commentary. Knott likens the ideas of panarchist anarchism to the concept of church/state separation, which I think is an appropriate analogy and one that most people can understand. But not only do we need a vanguard of advocates for this position, but we also need a platform, and the ideas involved need to be presented in a strategically competent manner. This means that the panarchist vanguard must be 100% “anti-culture war” and, to the greatest degree possible, value-neutral on controversial topical issues of a conventional nature. In the past, I have even speculated that largely non-political audiences might be the best form of outreach with these kinds of ideas.


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