Since When Is ‘Private Property’ Not Self-Explanatory?
Libertarian guru Murray Rothbard called them "modal libertarians.” They are an assemblage of leftover Marxists, 60s-70s drug users, cultural leftists, assorted members of the Arts-and-Croissant crowd, and Christian-hating atheists. They latch onto the libertarian name because, somehow, they think “libertarian” means “do-whatever-the-heck-you-want” in the name of freedom.
The recent article by Steve Kubby — of Pot-TV fame — definitely falls into this category. The modal libertarians, as a whole, do not distrust government because the imperial State won’t allow individuals to do what they want with their own body, mind, and tangible property. But rather, they dislike government because it interferes with their right to use drugs, to sell and read porn, and to engage in other unusual moral practices.
After viewing a web page peppered with marijuana this and marijuana that, one wonders if Kubby cares at all about those “quaint old libertarian ideas and principles” that he mocks me for. Or is it just the pot thing that matters?
Exclusive property rights, and therefore, the right to discriminate against others on one’s own property, is not even a part of the left-libertarian thought process. After all, these concepts go against the very ideals they support, such as gay and civil rights, utilitarianism, moral relativism, and non-rationalism. However, enjoying true freedom, without absolute control of one’s property, is not possible. And on the mass immigration issue, the modal libertarians put their devotion to multiculturalism, diversity, and PC-ness ahead of the core libertarian principle of private property.
As I stressed in a previous column, libertarianism holds as its central axiom the principle of non-aggression. That is, no one may rightfully aggress against the person or property of another. Private property rights and Kubby’s pro-mass integration stance are philosophies at odds with one another.
Mr. Kubby does not — as he says — stand for clear-cut property rights. He claims to be a supporter of this basic libertarian principle, but never once explains how the alleged right to immigrate can possibly exist in a setting where true property rights exist.
We live in a world where the existence of the State is a very real and burdensome thing. In this country, we have a massive State that tramples on all rights everywhere — including outside its own borders — and perpetuates a burgeoning welfare nation that is the destroyer of liberty and prosperity. Welfare and related State giveaways, such as the public schools, have become the largest draw for non-property owners to move to this country and deny property owners exclusive control over the management of their property. Welfare means redistributing property from the owners to the takers; it favors the have-nots at the expense of the haves; it expropriates private property in the name of the “collective good”; and it legislates away the right of protection from owners, while bestowing the right of trampling on the victimizers.
Contrary to Kubby’s jabber, it does not require an expansion of the State or the “militarization of our borders” in order to keep out the "wretched refuse of their teeming shores." What is does require is land ownership by private means everywhere, and an absence of State usurpation of that ownership.
As it stands now, without State interference, private property owners would be able to defend against intruders on either an individual basis or in a voluntary cooperative manner where defense is negotiated through private agreements and private companies. This means that individuals could freely defend their neighborhoods; landowners could forcibly remove violators; business owners could legitimately discriminate, hire, and fire; and private contractors — and not the collective police State — could provide legitimate protective and retribution services.
However, the State and its current immigration policy deny property owners the right to fend off aggression. We can no longer defend ourselves and our rights of ownership, but instead, must rely on a corrupt and incompetent police State. Even the basic right of gun ownership has been commandeered or even negated.
In addition, the State aggresses against individuals everywhere with its forced integration policies. Affirmative action laws, corrupt civil tights legislation, and anti-discrimination shams all bring about a situation where coercion and force tie the individual property owner in the noose of the State. Business owners cannot hire and fire as they choose. Property owners cannot freely discriminate within their own boundaries, neighborhood communities, co-operatives and formal associations. Rental agents cannot deny rental of their property to those they deem unsuitable. The State is everywhere at every moment in our lives.
It takes a mammoth State to promote this agenda that regulates and legislates and expropriates, and therefore, allows for private property to be overrun and trampled down. And yet the left-libertarians/utilitarians like Mr. Kubby are there to falsely claim that they are the true purveyors of liberty, while at the same time they promote the State when and where it is necessary to defend their notion of a free-for-all, modal society.
In the modal world, if the overall feel-goodism gained by society — i.e, sweeping tolerance and universal rights for non-property owners — outweighs the rights of intolerant property owners, so be it.
Mr. Kubby claims "it would be easier and more popular to reject our controversial policy of open borders, but libertarians don’t abandon basic principles of freedom, regardless of which way the political winds may blow.” Yet — while claiming the defense of absolute ownership of oneself and one’s property is on the road to statism — he uses this very basic argument, as all libertarians must do, to maintain a hardline stance on the legalization of drugs. So where does that principle go when it comes to property and immigration? It gets tossed out the door in favor of political correctness.
Surely there is a right to emigrate, as Murray Rothbard pointed out. But there is no right to trespass. This is the genuine libertarian position.
Kubby’s political wind is blowing from the Left, and yes Mr. Kubby, us theoretical libertarians that are born and bred of the old ideas and principles do not bend with the political winds, but rather, only the buttons-and-balloons and single-issues Libertarians do. So pardon my rehash of a tired old Lloyd Bentson cliché, but Mr. Kubby, you ain’t no libertarian.
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is a paleolibertarian freelance writer, graduate student in Austrian Economics, and a business professional from Michigan. She is writing her first book, which is a treatise against all things statist. See her Mises Institute archive for more online articles.