Individualism has a bad name today and the term has come to be connected with egotism and selfishness. But the individualism of which we speak in contrast to socialism and all other forms of collectivism has no necessary connection with these
Friedrich August von Hayek. The Road To Serfdom.
In a recent article titled La Ley, solo la ley, toda la ley, the author of Regreso al patrón oro, Juan Manuel López Zafra, begun in elegantly simple way writing “I am libertarian”, right, I am paleo.
I would like to explain along the following lines why are paleolibertarianism postulates those with I identify myself more both ideologically and philosophically.
First, we have to discuss the basic difference between a classical liberal and a libertarian, something in which I have thought about many times, but perhaps not enough still. From my standpoint it’s basically the way to see the State: a libertarian considers it as something negative, because it’s an entity of compulsory joining, based on violence (you can only stop belonging to the State if you leave its territory, that considers as its property; and it’s sustained by individuals thanks to their property, by means like taxes, expropriation and fees, under violent threat, because disobedience is a cause of a penal or administrative punishment) whereas a classical liberal appreciates the State as something positive providing that its weight is too small (that’s a minarchist principle that implies this entity must be only limited to a minimal of competences).
Once that difference has been outlined, we must affirm that although it’s true there is an heterogeneous thinking among libertarians, the “mainstream” of that ideology matches in moral issues to left-wing, regarding moral values and social institutions, among other concepts.
A proof of that heterogeneity is there is a branch known as “paleolibertarianism”, whose founders were Lew Rockwell and Murray N. Rothbard, both libertarian theorists of whom I will talk about later on.
Below, I will explain the differences of this branch with respect to which we can consider “mainstream”.
Natural Authorities before State’s Authoritarianism
Frequently some libertarians confuse the battle against the authority of State with the battle against the natural authority. Paleolibertarianism only questions the first due to the fact that it’s a result of monopolistic exercise of violence. Additionally, it recognises the natural authority to which individuals subjects voluntarily. God’s for Christians, businessman’s for employees, teacher’s for their pupils, … each one of them without leaving what Lew Rockwell denominated “its sphere of authority”. Indeed, many times they restrict the State’s action over “its sphere of authority” (besides, all this gives reasons why sometimes individual rebels against State’s action).
State’s propaganda and some laws based on which Hans-Hermann Hoppe considered as “socialism of social engineering” are means by which State can attack without too difficulty against these authorities and natural institutions to impose such moral. Thus it’s simple and logical a collective that defends a moral authority to which it subjects voluntarily decides to rise up against the State for that reason.
Now then, it should be noted that not few libertarians applause the “dirty war” against natural and traditional institution that respond to spontaneous order such as the Church, the family, the business, the community of owners. Instead paleolibertarians understand, according to The case of paleo-libertarianism, an article written by Rockwell, these natural institutions are precisely which guarantee the order as in therefore freedom and respect towards private property.
Defence of traditional values
As it’s been said at the beginning, some sections of libertarian movement discount traditional values (this could have been considered irrelevant if they had not made it to become a libertarian flag). They practise a reject to these in basis to a strategy of purism, that is, considering that so they will be more libertarian. However, it’s absurd because libertarian movement must be only based on the defence of freedom and right to property, although some libertarians support without claiming for any coercion some values and traditions.
While there are sectors that consider the opposition towards those values and traditions as an act of rebelliousness, there are some other libertarians that as a consequence of a confusion of individualism with egoism reject some values, also traditional, such as solidarity and empathy among others. These came from “objectivism”, a theory of Russian-American philosopher Ayn Rand, who despite of being a great philosopher and her very notable contributions to libertarian cause, it’s created a wide breach in the bosom of libertarianism, that is, a big problem).
Shifting apart Rational Egoism
Paleolibertarianism also distances from rational egoism. Some terms of that philosophic theory you can read in novels like Ayn Rand’s The Atlas Shrugged are plausible; and we can consider the following examples: constant fight for achieving vital objectives of one’s self, the enrichment as something positive, … But others such as the reject to solidarity are completely contradictory with Jew-Christian moral, which is the basis of Western civilisation and something many defenders of freedom and right to property consider fundamental in our lives. In relation to this, paleolibertarians consider that moral as right to lay the foundation of the basis of our civilisation, though following libertarian principles we don’t wish to impose them to the rest of citizens.
Additionally I have to specify that willingness is intrinsic to solidarity. That’s why, as libertarians, we consider it cannot exist a solidarity based on coercion by a third person.
Libertarians (specially “paleo”) before Supranational Entities and Globalism
Often, the word “globalism” is used to refer to the fact of being in favor of the consolidation of a single mundial State with its own courts, its own government and legislators, and its own army. Mundialism is reflected in organisations like the UN, although nowadays it doesn’t have a legislative capacity reclaimed by not few people (a case for that is the fact that they claim the expulsion from that entity of those that reject agreements that are adopted by a wide majority of member States, such as the Agreement of Paris).
Something similar happens regarding so-called “legislative capacity”, when “globalists” hope the resolutions of councils have “coercitive power”, as was reclaimed by El Diario in an article about the 2334 resolution of the UN Security Council against Israel. Besides, it should be noted that another globalist demand towards the UN is Blue Helmets become a real army to intervene in foreign and external countries that does not provide members for that “military squad”.
In fact, sadly, it has a little achievement regarding the judicial field: international courts like the placed in The Hague, whose purpose is look after the compliance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without real judges to apply rules based on the fundamentals of Law.
Now then, we can consider globalist have got a real achievement, thanks to supranational organisations like the European Union, with executive (European Commission), legislative (European Parliament) and judiciary (Court of Justice of the European Union). It’s being consolidated an European mega-State that sets inhabitants far from the achievement of individual sovereignty.
Indeed, it should reminded EU has a single money (Euro) managed by the European Central Bank (ECB), that continues provoking monetary inflation, still in moments a new bubble is foreseen, rather than emitting money according to some natural patterns due to its statutes (apart from counteracting the phenomena of monetary nationalism). So we are talking about another regulatory organism and moneylender as a last resort for big bans and Eurozone State members, which makes it liable to political elites.
Therefore, because of our defence of political and territorial decentralisation just like, particularly, of localism, libertarians (specially paleo) rebel against these new entities and supranational elites.
Political and Intellectual Mentors
The first to expose in detail the ideas of “paleolibertarianism” was Lew Rockwell, president of the Mises Institute and author of the article The Case of Paleolibertarianism. In this article he expressed its reject towards new libertarianism trends that had begun to prevail in American Libertarian Party, apart from beginning to constitute libertarian “mainstream”, in a way that many of them considered their views were the only in libertarian trend, which results dangerous. The reactions against Lew’s article are a proof of them.
On his behalf, Murray Rothbard wrote another article entitled Why Paleo?, in which he defended Rockwell’s ideas and made a great analysis of new drifts of libertarianism and new strategical options that presented to freedom movements before the new global political situation. In that article, he called libertarian mainstream “nihil-libertarianism” because of the ignorance of their own philosophies, even insinuating in that movement there could be many disoriented paleos.
Regarding politics, I am going to begin talking about American examples. The main example is the former member of congress Ron Paul, one of the most important libertarian politicians in that country, that has been presidential candidate of Libertarian Party and, in many occasions, congressman of Republican Party. Not few times he has criticised Libertarian Party and its leaders (the last was made during the election campaign against Johnson, because he manifested he would support the Green Party candidate, because she was considered as the more correct regarding foreign policy). Besides, he has blog where he makes analysis on national politics and, occasionally, he has both applauded both criticised the current president Donald Trump.
In Spain, maybe the main representative of these ideas is Prof. Miguel Anxo Bastos. From Libertarismo and Conservadurismo we can highlight the following quote: “(…) paleocons, between I am, paleo, old, old right,… I like the old right, not the modern right, I like paleolibertarianism and not neolibertarianism. I am paleoliberal, not neoliberal, we like the ancient (…)”. He’s also a great supporter of traditions (like the traditional languages of regions), isolationism (not intervention of State in remote conflicts) and so on.
Along the few years after my adolescence, I’ve undergone a little large political-philosophical evolution.
I began defending some ideas related to liberties for simple pragmatism, because the opposite would not work, but without non-statist principles (State against chaos). Afterwards, I endure a more radical change once I discovered the absence of State in some matters does not bring us to chaos; so I began to defend freedoms. This doesn’t provoked me a reject to the idea of coercive State, because I was still sure if State did not provide basic services, these would not be organised correctly, and would inefficient and hardly accessible.
As my economical knowledge were going deep, I began to understand the big economical inefficiencies are preceded by an intervention of the State. In other words, I considered State is usually the cause of these while the own market fixes those provoked in there.
Finally, because of a maturation in the philosophical aspect, I began not only to consider freedom as the only viable path (freedom against chaos), but that it’s the largest political end, an end in itself. That is, we must defend it not for pragmatism, but for its own value.