BIG LEAGUE POLITICS: Being a preeminent paleolibertarian thinker today, how would you define paleolibertarianism and how does it differ from standard paleoconservatism?
ILANA MERCER: First, let’s define libertarianism. libertarianism is concerned with the ethics of the use of force. Nothing more. This, and this alone, is the ambit of libertarian law.
All libertarians must respect the non-aggression axiom. It means that libertarians don’t initiate aggression against non-aggressors, not even if it’s “for their own good,” as neoconservatives like to cast America’s recreational wars of choice. If someone claims to be a libertarian and also supports the proxy bombing of Yemen, or supported the war in Iraq; he is not a libertarian, plain and simple.
As to paleolibertarianism, in particular, and this is my take, so some will disagree. It’s how I’ve applied certain principles week-in, week-out, for almost two decades. In my definition, a paleolibertarian grasps that ordered liberty has a civilizational dimension, stripped of which the just-mentioned libertarian non-aggression principle, by which all decent people should live, will crumble. It won’t endure.
Ironically, paleoconservatives have no issue grasping the cultural and civilizational dimensions of ordered liberty—namely that the libertarian non-aggression principle is peculiar to the West and won’t survive once western civilization is no more. Which is why, for paleoconservatives, immigration restrictionism is a no-brainer.
By the way, the statement is not meant to be culturally chauvinistic. There are indigenous tribal people (say, in Brazil) who’re peaceful and pastoral. I mourn their culture’s near-extinction, as well. Where such extinction has been brought about by the West’s chauvinism—it must be condemned.
In any event, paleoconservatives would typically grasp that libertarian principles would not endure in certain cultures. Libertarians, on the other hand, have had a hard time linking civilizational issues with the libertarian axiom of non-aggression. What do I mean? Libertarians will chant, “Free markets, free minds, the free movement of people.” Let’s have ‘em all.
They don’t always explain how these principles are to endure once Western societies are overrun by individuals from cultures which don’t uphold these principles. (From the fact that our own societies are turning out liberty hating individuals—it doesn’t follow we should import more.)
On the other hand, paleoconservatives are far less focused on the state as an evil actor and often appear more concerned with culture wars: gay marriage, cannabis, pornography, abortion. The paleolibertarian rejects any attempts by the state to legislate around the issues of:
Abortion: Completely defund it is our position.
Gay marriage: Solemnize your marriage in private churches, please.
Drugs: Legalize them and stop the hemispheric Drug War.
Wage walls, not wars.
As a creedal paleolibertarian, I see the road to freedom, primarily, in beating back The State, so that individuals can regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire, and, generally, associate at will.
Foreign policy—specifically, no meddling in the affairs of other countries!—is the be all and end all of both paleoconservatism and paleolibertarianism. Don’t let any of the radio or TV personalities fool you. If he or she liked, justified or rationalized Bush’s Middle-Eastern wars or Trump’s dabbling in Niger—he or she is no paleolibertarian. (Tucker Carlson is a fabulous paleoconservative.)
Both variants are for small government and big society. Again, more so than the paleoconservative, the paleolibertarian is radical in his anti-state position, sometimes even advocating a stateless society.
BIG LEAGUE POLITICS: In what ways does your political thought differ from CATO institute libertarianism? …
… READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN IS “Wage Walls, Not Wars.” The interview is now on WND and the Unz Review. It was conducted by correspondent Seth Segal for Big League Politics. A version was published on Nov. 23, 2018.