I’m a libertarian. I believe in a free market, and no restrictions whatsoever on personal ownership of weapons. I believe that living in a Rothbardian anarchy should be an option for anyone who wants it. I also believe, most firmly of all, that the greatest threat to our economic liberty, our martial liberty, and other freedoms does not come from the political left. I also know, as much as I know unicorns don’t exist, that this threat isn’t posed by cultural Marxist werelizards who want to destroy Western culture.
Rather, the threat comes from within. The best “false flags” aren’t. That is, if an ideological movement is going to die it’s probably going to be from its own members’ poor behavior, doing damage the likes of which their enemies could only have dreamed. The Westboro Baptist Church (forty people total, remember) advanced our society’s acceptance of LGBT people to a degree no one but other hatemongers could have managed. When you go around saying “forsake the troops/thank God for IEDs” and say that it’s a sin to not rejoice over a tragedy, it’s going to hurt all of your other positions in the zeitgeist.
Again, I think that I should be able to legally own a machine gun. Obviously I disagree with these kids:
Yet I respect, and even admire them. This is the attitude we should have toward one another, when we’re sure someone is wrong about something: Think about why they took that position, what got them there, and where their logic is in error. In some cases, it’s going to be something like having a friend’s brains splattered across your face. Whether their remedy to mass shootings is right or wrong, I respect their initiative in doing something about it. Yet from most people who take the same extreme position I do on gun rights, I’m seeing things like this:
Score one for shifting the zeitgeist away from gun rights.
Consider also race relations: I think that the Civil Rights movement jumped the shark in 1964. It shifted away from equality under law, and began legislating morality. You can guess, with 99.9% certainly at this point, that I’m white. That’s a symptom of the greater problem, here. If government intervention isn’t the answer to irrational discrimination (race/religion/sex/etc.), we should be looking at what is. Instead, the libertarian and conservative answer has always been to whitesplain that it’s a non-problem, that it’s the business owner’s loss, that the market will sort it out (in the very long term). White people have to look hard and do some active listening to detect the racism that still exists, and to appreciate the problem that is people of a certain color having to consult a green book to know where they can get service on a road trip. Having said that, I’m now supposed to advocate the authoritarian answer, or if I’m opposed to the authoritarian answer then I’m supposed to whitesplain that racism doesn’t exist anymore…
“Oh, woe is me…” My point here is that we libertarians need to clean out our own backyard. We need to change the attitudes of those we mostly agree with, before we can expect to persuade anyone with mainstream opinions that more freedom, not less, is the answer to any given problem.