When Should Libertarians Attach Themselves to Political Causes?

In a hyperpoliticized 2020, libertarian support for Trump this election has probably been the greatest for a Republican candidate other than Ron Paul. It may not be out of an admiration for Trump, but rather to vote against the socialism and violence characterized by the modern American left. The Right at least believes in some degree of property rights and that the government does not have the answers to all of our problems, but are Trump and his followers so much better that we must hitch our wagon to theirs?

In 2006, Lew Rockwell wrote that

The problem with American conservatism is that it hates the left more than the state, loves the past more than liberty, feels a greater attachment to nationalism than to the idea of self-determination, believes brute force is the answer to all social problems, and thinks it is better to impose truth rather than risk losing one’s soul to heresy. It has never understood the idea of freedom as a self-ordering principle of society. It has never seen the state as the enemy of what conservatives purport to favor. It has always looked to presidential power as the saving grace of what is right and true about America.

Economics in One Lesso... Hazlitt, Henry Best Price: $2.43 Buy New $7.43 (as of 12:35 UTC - Details) This summation is unfortunately sounding like an increasing number of libertarians, and if we attach ourselves to the conservative movement and focus on hating the Left more than we do the state, we will fail just as they have at losing ground to the Left, and the state will continue to grow.

Whether Trump has been deceitful or unable to make much progress against the deep state, the promises that libertarians could get behind have not been fulfilled. US troops are still littered across the globe and the wars wage on. The Swamp has not been drained. Gun rights have not improved. Bump stocks, a firearm novelty, have been banned by the ATF under his administration (something even Obama did not do). Let us also not forget that socialism has expanded under Trump in the previous year through increased unemployment benefits and stimulus checks.[*] There is no evidence that four more years of Trump would yield different results.

Certainly, there have been some bright spots during the Trump era that should be championed, such as a number of pardons and commutations for nonviolent drug offenders, tax cuts early in his presidency, and the removal of the Obamacare mandate, but these are drops in a bucket.

Perhaps the support for a second term is not about the aforementioned but about being on the right side of the culture war (pun intended), but does voting with the Trump crowd advance the libertarian cause? With the “God, guns, and family” comes much baggage. Look at any Trump rally or boat parade and it will be filled with thin blue line flags, a symbol that should make anyone who knows the evils of the state shudder. These are people who unabashedly support the strong arm of the state, the goons that enforce any number of unconstitutional and immoral laws. They do not want to do away with having masters; they just want a better master. Our Enemy, the State Albert Jay Nock Best Price: $9.84 Buy New $9.95 (as of 03:20 UTC - Details)

This is not to say we should not align with the Right when applicable, but our focus cannot devolve into a war against the Left as conservatives have erred in doing. Fighting against the Left and their path to the destruction of Western civilization is absolutely necessary, but it is still only a means. The end is the restoration of absolute property rights through the abolition of the state. Participating in the democratic process and therefore legitimizing mob rule does not help this process.

As I am writing, the media has called the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden, despite evidence of mass voter fraud. Biden may well be installed illegitimately. This is outraging, of course, as the pretenses of fairness are being dropped, but the truth is that all elections are illegitimate. No man has the right to rule over another no matter how many check a box next to their name. This should be the focus. Instead, many libertarians have decided to use a sacred tool of the state to support a cause that is not profreedom.

So what can be done instead? Unfortunately, there is no immediate solution to stopping the expansion of the state, but ideological battles are fought by playing the long game. The Left has gained immense power, but it took decades of indoctrinating the youth. Against the State: An ... Rockwell Jr., Llewelly... Best Price: $5.02 Buy New $5.52 (as of 11:35 UTC - Details)

We must find ways to spread our ideas. If education is key, then removing our children from government schools is foundational. We must also encourage those with questioning minds to explore libertarian works. The Mises Institute is currently offering free copies of Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson to do just that. This book may not question the legitimacy of the state, but it gets the reader to think about unseen economic costs—something so basic and yet overlooked in the mainstream. This may be the first domino to fall for many who read it.

We must also be prepared to respond to the violence waged against us by the state, whether from the left or the right. This means being well armed and well trained. More than anything, we must not forget that the state is the problem. The Left is a problem because of their adoration of the state and their willingness to use violence to see that their ends are met. The Right is problematic for the very same reasons, just watered down. Danger may be imminent, and it is appealing to pick the better of two sides. But if we lose sight of what is actually the problem, we fail the many great men before us who have encouraged so many of us to be enemies of the state.

[*] This is not to say that it is problematic to take back money that has been stolen from you, but this was not the reason the money was issued.