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Stefan Brakus argues that the philosophy of right-libertarianism, which prioritises profit over people, is incompatible with a truly nationalist society that values the long-term good of its citizens and emphasises the importance of public services such as education and healthcare.

Anybody who is at all familiar with political philosophy at any level will no doubt have heard of the ideology known as libertarianism. Commonly held to be a centrist ideology – skirting the boundaries between the centre-left, centre and centre-right – put simply, the core philosophy of libertarianism is the maximisation of individual autonomy and personal freedom under a government which holds minimal powers and primarily being there to provide a basic legal system, standard law enforcement and a standing military force, existing purely for the purpose of defending the nation-state from external threats. This is distinct from anarchist philosophy, which advocates the complete dismantling of the state itself in all its forms. Libertarian philosophy thus puts the concept of individualism at the forefront of its ideology – you can say and do whatever it is that you want to say or do in your personal life, as long as it is lawful and does not infringe upon another person’s individual rights and freedoms.

While this all does sound rather reasonable in theory, in practice, libertarianism carries its own fair share of problems, with the most evident one being that it is an ideology so open to interpretation that it can easily be manipulated and moulded to fit the ideals of people belonging to other ideological backgrounds on the political spectrum. From left-wing socialists to centrist liberals, from right-wing nationalists to even anarchists, libertarianism can be found in some form or another among all of these different political ideologies. However, in the interest of time and reader clarity, this article will focus on critiquing what is arguably the most common and widely known form of libertarianism in the 21st century – right-wing capitalist libertarianism.

A Brief Introduction to Right-Wing Capitalist Libertarianism

I feel that it is important to differentiate this form of libertarianism from other forms by emphasising the fact that we are discussing a specifically right-wing and capitalist form of libertarianism, as opposed to left-wing socialist libertarianism that is common among modern-day advocates of cultural Marxism, such as antifa. The need for this differentiation is largely due to libertarianism’s overall philosophical and ideological emphasis on the promotion of a strong sense of individualism, as well as the personal freedom to say and do what one wants, with minimal social and political repercussions as a result.

The most common characteristic of right-libertarian philosophy is the advocacy of concepts such as private property rights, free-market capitalism and a general criticism of the welfare state. Right-libertarianism also heavily emphasises the notion that the state – specifically “big government” – is among the most prominent threats to libertarianism and society in general, citing concerns that the more powerful a government is, the more civil rights and personal freedoms the state could potentially take away from its citizens. The nature and specifics of some of these rights and freedoms are, of course, relative to one’s own respective moral compass and ethical views, but more on this in due course.

Right-libertarians also believe strongly in the idea that a person has an absolute right to private ownership of goods and property that have been gained as a result of their own hard work and/or labour, and that the state has no right to take these away for any reason whatsoever – this includes personal wealth. Fiscally, much like with most other aspects of society in general, right-libertarians are against state intervention in economic matters, favouring an economy that is as free as possible and is run predominantly by the general population instead of the government. Right-libertarians are also generally against most forms of wealth redistribution, with most associating such a concept with left-wing ideologies, such as socialism and communism.

I stated above that while the core of right-libertarian thought involves the supporting and consolidation of the rights and liberties of the individual, the extent of these so-called rights and liberties differs significantly depending on what, ironically, the individual believes to be a valid personal right or freedom based on their own respective moral compass and set of ethics. This brings to the fore another clash of political philosophies – instead of just having libertarianism vs. statism, we also have individualism vs. collectivism. All four are political philosophies and ideals that can be found at both ends of the political spectrum and both can be described as equally valid as left-wing and right-wing ideals. Once again, it depends largely upon how one views personal liberty and freedom when their own respective sense of morality and ethics comes into question.

The reason why I am tackling right-libertarianism specifically is because, from a nationalist perspective, I personally believe that right-libertarianism – which is most prevalent in its American form and is the one which is growing the most rapidly in the West – is doing more to harm the right-wing nationalist cause than it is supporting it. This is most evident in how right-libertarianism approaches social and cultural issues, rather than just the political and economic ones.

The Self-Contradictory Nature of Right-Libertarianism

Most people who are familiar with right-libertarianism may also be familiar with the most popular figures representing the ideology, specifically within the online media sphere. Outlets such as the American Daily Wire or the British Podcast of the Lotus Eaters are run predominantly by right-libertarians, yet even these groups of people, who are some of the most famous faces representing right-libertarian ideology today, differ significantly in how right-wing, libertarian and conservative they really are. This presents us with another key problem with right-libertarianism – does the ideology effectively accommodate people who hold contradictory conservative views?

The reason that I refer to “contradictory conservative views” in such a way is because modern-day conservatism in general encompasses such a huge variety of philosophical ideas, to the point where almost every person who follows some form of conservative ideology has been influenced into it via wildly different philosophical origins. For example, American Daily Wire host Matt Walsh is a self-described “theocratic fascist”. While this label is a joke used by Walsh in response to the very same label being hurled at him by one of his social media critics, Walsh is known for being strongly influenced by his Christian religion and faith in his right-libertarian and conservative views. For many other right-libertarians, however, religion might not even be a part of their philosophical influences whatsoever. In fact, many right-libertarians are secular or even atheists and/or are influenced by other factors, such as capitalist economics or social conservatism approached from a traditionalist perspective.

One of the long-term issues with right-libertarianism is that some of these philosophical backgrounds and influences could potentially lead to self-contradictions and ideological clashes within the movement itself. One of the most glaring contradictions can be discovered when one digs deeper into the very definition of libertarianism itself – do and say whatever you want as long as it does not infringe upon the personal liberties of another person. In other words, do and say whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt other people. In theory, this is a perfectly reasonable philosophy, but in practice, how far does freedom of expression and action go before it becomes morally questionable and/or manifests into something which could potentially harm society? Let us take two specific examples of common right-libertarian topics of debate and briefly analyse how these also serve as examples of how self-contradictory right-libertarianism can be as a form of conservative ideology – the sex industry and the drug trade.

Sex, Drugs & Not-So-Rock ‘n’ Roll

The sex industry is arguably one of the most exploitative, depraved and morally repugnant industries in the world, not just today but throughout history. The so-called “world’s oldest profession”, prostitution, is no more morally justified in its existence as any other act of degeneracy just because it has been around as a “profession” for thousands of years. Humans have also been killing each other and destroying each other’s homes and livelihoods for as long as humans have existed as a species, yet very few people with a common set of basic morals can consider these acts as morally good things the overwhelming majority of the time.

General libertarian attitudes towards the sex industry ultimately boil down to the basic philosophy of libertarian ideology itself – the individual’s right to partake in consenting activities with another consenting adult in private, with the added freedom of retaining bodily autonomy. Not only do libertarians believe that neither state nor general society should dictate whether or not one desires to partake in consensual adult sexual activity in private – including when payment is involved – but that the sex industry as a whole, including strip clubs and the production of pornographic media, should also be free to operate and make money as it sees fit, within the boundaries of existing laws on the industry.

Personal bodily autonomy and individual freedom within the sex industry can only go so far before general societal and legal acceptance of such activities risks making such behaviour normalised and viewed as a valid option for any woman or man to turn to for whatever reason, whether these reasons be for personal pleasure, financial gain or both. Societal acceptance and tolerance for the sex industry also risk causing significant moral and ethical damage to general society and its set of established traditional values and norms, given the obvious seedy and degenerate nature of the sex industry itself. Imagine being the parent, sibling or child of somebody who works actively within the sex industry. One would be hard-pressed to find very many such people who can confidently say that they are personally proud of their loved one(s) being actively involved in an industry where they are exposed to unspeakable manners of different potential sexual activities, including partaking in said sex acts themselves as a “performer”. Not only is it morally depraved, but again, societal acceptance of such an industry and its activities risks legitimising the industry as a valid option for people who wish to seek personal physical and/or material gains out of the industry and the very nature of it. An increased sex industry also risks attracting a most unsavoury demographic of customers and even tourists, with the infamous Red Light District in Amsterdam in the Netherlands being the biggest example. The seedy back-alleys and streets of many parts of Southeast Asia – most notably Thailand – also serve as horrific examples. People from all over the world flock to these places in order to get their sexual fantasies and thrills made reality, far away from the suspicious, prying eyes of their own respective communities back home, where prostitution and the general sex industry could even be illegal. The very existence of these sex-focused parts of a town or city also ultimately makes the very presence of the sex industry public and no longer private in nature, thus making null and void the libertarian argument of sex being a purely private affair.

The issue of human and sex trafficking within the sex industry is in itself a topic that could provide material enough for a separate article entirely, so I won’t touch upon it here in too much detail. However, this particular issue does also bring to the fore yet another problem with right-libertarian attitudes towards the sex industry – that of the economic “benefits” of sex work. According to many right-libertarians, the legalisation of sex work would ultimately allow the state to potentially regulate and even tax the industry itself, thus making millions – or potentially even billions – from the sexual exploitation and extremely harmful environment that so many young women and even men find themselves in in times of genuine desperation. By legalising, “regulating” and taxing the sex industry, the state effectively becomes a national “pimp”. This cannot even be regarded as an exaggeration, since we already see real-life examples of such scenarios, as mentioned above with regards to Amsterdam’s Red Light District and the infamous back-alleys and brothels of Southeast Asia.

Right-libertarians also argue that the legalisation of sex work will provide a “safer” environment for the “workers”. A woman (or man, depending on the client) engaging in behaviour that will put them in the most intimate and vulnerable physical and emotional situation with a large number of total strangers almost every single day for money will never be truly safe. Neither will they be accepted in a truly moral and traditionalist society and culture due the to the sheer obscene nature of their so-called “work”. If a woman or man wishes to work honestly for a living for the good of their society and their nation, sleeping with countless other people for their income is NOT something that can ever be deemed socially acceptable or state-endorsed, lest the state itself risks becoming a sort of “pimp” through the taxation and profiting of the most vulnerable and downtrodden women and men in society.

We have not even yet touched upon one of the most obvious problems of right-libertarian attitudes towards the sex industry – the devaluing and financial exploitation of an act that should ultimately be limited to a private and intimate interaction between two people who are emotionally attached and together, married or unmarried (although, preferably married) for the sake of one of two things – physical expressions of love or for the purpose of procreating and bearing children. Right-libertarians should be mindful of all of these things whenever they step up to defend the sex industry. Right-libertarianism puts profit before people.

The problem with right-libertarian attitudes towards the recreational drugs industry can be analysed in much the same way as the sex industry can – the permitting and legalisation of socially damaging products that not only harm the individual but also national society as a whole. Right-libertarians will argue that the “war on drugs” has failed and that the ultimate solution would be to treat recreational drugs in the same way as the sex industry – regulate it and tax it. Again, as with the sex industry, legalising recreational drugs does NOT result in a healthier and drug-free society – it only allows potential consumers far easier access to these destructive substances and risks leading to long-term addiction. The pro-drug state will effectively be making a hefty profit of millions – or even billions – off of the addictions, poor health and even potential deaths of the drug users due to easy access to drugs.

The claim that crime rates drop following drug legalisation also carries with it a basic, yet fundamental, problem – once something has been legalised, of course crime rates will ultimately drop…because the very act that has been legalised will no longer count towards the respective state’s official crime statistics. To use an exaggerated example for the sake of this argument, if murder suddenly became legal – similarly to the popular action-horror film franchise The Purge – then, naturally, crime rates would also drop, because murder would no longer count as a crime, thus clearing up the official crime statistics that would instead be filled with records of other forms of crime. Again, as with the sex industry, just because it is legal, does NOT make it morally acceptable.

The similarities between right-libertarian attitudes towards the sex industry and the drug trade can further be made when one looks at how they assume that legalising such things would lower organised crime within those industries. This is most notable within the drug trade. Right-libertarian thought assumes that by legalising recreational drugs, organised crime groups – such as street gangs, drug cartels, the mafia, etc. – would be all but eradicated. This is false. Firstly, the state would effectively be doing the job for such gangs, and this would also mean that the drugs are still being sold and distributed – but on an official and legal level – to the general public; secondly, such violent gangs do not just work with drugs exclusively. They also partake in human and sex trafficking, weapon smuggling and even function as hitmen that can be hired by virtually anybody, among various other trades and services. Legalising recreational drugs will NOT eradicate violent and/or organised crime.

Granted, there is one argument that right-libertarians express that can be considered justified, and that is that genuine victims of the sex industry (unwilling and trafficked “workers”) and drug addicts should not be prosecuted as criminals but rather provided with the necessary healthcare and rehabilitation in order to turn them back into productive, healthy and law-abiding members of society and the nation.

Of course, the fundamentals remain the same between the sex industry and the drug trade – both are morally reprehensible and physically and psychologically damaging industries that exploit the most vulnerable in society for, ironically, the state’s selfish, financial gain and risk normalising such destructive behaviour when the state should instead be encouraging healthy, traditional moral values. The reason I use the word ironically above is because the irony stems from right-libertarians desiring the state to regulate and tax these respective industries when state intervention in the economy and taxation are two key things that right-libertarians are fundamentally opposed to. This is yet another contradiction within right-libertarian thought. Right-libertarianism puts profit before people.

The “Welfare State”: Individualism vs. Collectivism

As nationalists, it is not the state (government) that is the most important entity in our respective homelands, but rather the concept of the organic nation itself, the land and the native people that inhabit it. Because it is the homeland that we are ultimately loyal to, this sense of loyalty and devotion should also be enacted upon through a cohesive regime of national collectivism. The term collectivism will make many automatically think of communism and socialist states, but collectivism simply means the prioritisation of the group over the individual. One could even claim that the society that was ancient Sparta was a collectivist society – the group was more important than the individual. This is not to say that the individual is not important. Far from it. Rather that the individual has a natural and moral responsibility to be a valuable and productive member of society, contributing his own personal skills for the long-term good of his society and nation, whatever those skills may be. Every single person is deemed important in such a nationalist collectivist society.

One of the fundamental problems with right-libertarian thinking, however, is that individualism supersedes collectivism in most forms – that the individual and his personal rights will always be more important than the collectivist sense of community and social cohesion. This is where the materialistic and capitalist nature of right-libertarianism rears its ugly head.

When most people hear the words welfare state, they – especially in the West – assume that this consistently means the providing of state handouts to virtually anybody who wants more money, more luxurious housing and/or other social benefits and positions within societal establishments, such as educational facilities or the workplace, etc. This is not so. Part of what makes a nationalist collectivist society function is that institutions such as schools and hospitals have a moral obligation to provide their vital services for the good of the nation. For schools, it is the education of future generations; for hospitals, it is the medical care for the sick, the injured and the old. Right-libertarians, however, would often prefer such crucial institutions be privatised and effectively turned into corporate businesses in the long-term, seeking to trade such services for vast sums of money.

Despite the inevitable protests from capitalist right-libertarians, this way of thinking especially does not value small, family businesses in the long-term. In a capitalist society, it will always be the large international corporations that will take over the town centres and marketplaces, often driving smaller, local businesses out. McDonald’s and Starbucks, for example, will almost always be far more profitable for the common town/city consumer than a good old traditional and independent family business. Capitalists talk about so-called “healthy competition”, but there is nothing healthy about globalist corporations driving local and domestic services out of business, leaving smaller business owners unable to compete with the internationalist companies that often provide lower-quality services and goods for much higher prices, as opposed to higher-quality services and goods for more decent prices that go toward supporting local and domestic businesses and entrepreneurs.

One of the other core arguments of right-libertarians with regards to the so-called “welfare state” is that the state should not serve as a “nanny” to the people. This is not the case. The state would not be acting as a “nanny” to the people in this case, but instead it is simply carrying out one of the state’s most basic and fundamental roles – the providing of important public services to its citizens. Without access to necessities such as the aforementioned education and healthcare, how can a state expect its people to flourish as well as their potential could allow them? By seeking profit over the well-being of the people, capitalist right-libertarians attempt to establish a system of “every man for himself” and prioritise those who have the vast sums of money first and foremost with regards to access to society’s most fundamental institutions. The United States of America serves as a sobering reminder of where a right-libertarian and capitalist economy could take other nations – extortionate costs for education and healthcare, where people can be denied the right to an education and even life-saving medical treatment if they do not have literally thousands of dollars to spare. A society such as this, where the state puts financial gain over the well-being of its own people, will never be able to truly unite the people under one banner, one flag, one national ideal. Any attempt to voice opposition to such a materialistic society often leads to one being accused of being a Marxist, communist, socialist, etc., all for wanting to emphasise the importance of looking after your own kinsmen in the same way as our ancestors have done for thousands of years before us. The philosophies of capitalist right-libertarianism are incompatible with a truly nationalist society. Right-libertarianism puts profit over people.

Conclusion

I feel that it would be appropriate to conclude this article by referring to an argument made by the late American philosopher of the liberal tradition John Rawls in his 1985 essay “Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical”, in which he argued that the concept of social contracts – the legitimacy of state power over the individual – is justifiable in its “violating” of individual liberties if the state in question carries out certain actions and policies in order to create a society that would ultimately be most beneficial for the long-term good of the general populace and the nation. One can indeed make the argument in turn that this philosophy is collectivist in nature, not individualistic, but in a truly nationalistic society, surely nationalist collectivism in the form of nationalist politics, as opposed to Marxist socialist collectivism, is something that all patriotic members of a nation should strive for? Collectivism not in the sense of serving as drones in a Marxist socialist state, but rather as strong, productive and independent members of a society and nation where every single person can be a valuable contributor to the long-term good of his/her nation and people. Not cogs in a machine but something more akin to life-sustaining organs in a living, breathing body – the nation.

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Stefan Brakus

Stefan Brakus was born in London in 1993 to a Serbian family. He speaks Serbo-Croatian and English. His negative experiences in a multicultural environment led him to shift his political views to ethnic nationalism, rooted in his love of nation-states and European cultures. He studied War Studies and International Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent. He joined the Serbian Radical Party in 2017 but now supports the Oathkeepers. Stefan currently lives alone in a small town in Serbia and commutes between there and the UK, where his family lives. He works as a writer and editor for Europa Terra Nostra and was elected a board member in 2021.

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Kerry Bolton
Member
Kerry Bolton
2 months ago

Well stated. Ideally, there should not even be the need to refer to a ‘right-libertarianism’. The Right has been both subverted by libertarians and misidentified by media and academia so as to become meaningless as a doctrinal description.

By the time Christopher Lasch, having rejected the Left, sought out American conservativism, all he could find was Buckley-type libertarianism, and he perceived that both the Left and this pseudo-Right were animical to the restoration of a national community.

Marx supported free trade as subversive from a dialectical perspective, yet it is regarded as the economic doctrine of the ‘Right’.

Many parties assumed to be ‘Right’ are libertarian, merely opposing Islamic immigration as a threat to Western liberal Enlightenmernt doctrines, and usually advocating market economics.

I suggest that the dichotomy is actually that of Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft.

Alexander Reynor
Member
Alexander Reynor
2 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Bolton

A book that helped cured me, along with many of libertarians, of my libertarianism, ironically, was the work of Hans Hermann-Hoppe and his book ‘Democracy the God that Failed’. It speaks to libertarians in terms they understand and leads them out of Plato’s cave.

In regards to immigration, while libertarians are partly right that removing state subsidization of immigration would reduce it, immigration is still being fueled by an unrestrained market. The market is the engine driving mass immigration.

Alexander Reynor
Member
Alexander Reynor
2 months ago

Libertarians need to ask themselves this question: do the people work for the market or does the market work for the people?

If they answer the latter, then they have to come to the realization that injustices that exist in the market that harm the people in some way must be dealt with.

In order to do that, they must also abandon these liberal myths of a stateless society and a politically neutral state. Neither exists in reality.

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