The Bigotry of Anti-Bigotry

by Dan Sanchez

The Bigotry of Anti-Bigotry

Left-libertarians who espouse “thick libertarianism” especially like to lump anti-“bigotry” (I’ll explain the scare quotes later) into libertarianism: e.g., anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, etc. The more principled ones are careful to insert the proviso that “libertarian” efforts to combat bigotry must never violate the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP); e.g., laws against “hate speech,” business discrimination, etc, are out of the question. Instead, they favor non-state, non-coercive social harassment, including especially what they call “BOP,” which stands for “Boycott, Ostracize, Protest.”

One of the chief reasons left-thick-libertarians think anti-“bigotry” should be subsumed within libertarianism has to do with what is called “strategic thickness.” They argue that “bigotry” favors statism, and a more bigoted population will tend to be more statist. Therefore a good libertarian should combat bigotry as part of his war against statism.

There are three big dangers with this position.

The first one is a danger with “thick thinking” in general (which I discuss at length in “The Perils of Thick Thinking”). Even though more principled left-thick-libertarians cleave to the NAP proviso themselves, broadening “libertarianism” to include commitments that are potential rivals to the NAP linguistically makes it easier for other less-principled folk to sacrifice the NAP for those ends, and still call oneself a “libertarian.”

The second big danger with this position is how easy it is for the State to take advantage of it.

Left-leaning libertarians dismiss critics of “political correctness” and see PC anti-“bigotry” as a benign sign that society has “progressed,” and that “BOP”-ing the unreconstructed “bigoted” remnant on their figurative heads is just a matter of completing the happy cultural revolution and insuring against retrogression.

Yet, in many ways, society is not “progressing” at all, especially on the racial front. Through subjecting every person to an entire childhood of public school PC homilies, and every university graduate to at least four years of Marxoid identity politics, the State and its establishment has inculcated the population into a shallow and hypocritical, yet ostentatious and hysterical, anti-“bigotry.” This hollow morality, this river of received wisdom, hardly ever seems to flow into any anti-statist, or otherwise positive direction. Public anti-racism poses no real threat to the racism-sheltered-and-fueled War on Drugs/Crime (“criminal” being synonymous with “black” in the minds of many cops, prosecutors, and judges) or War on “Terror” (“terrorist” being synonymous with “hajji” in the minds of many soldiers).

Instead, the State and its pet establishment (especially the media) always seems to be able to channel PC hysteria into self-serving directions. One way it does so is by using such a divisive preoccupation to Divide, Distract, and Conquer, as I discuss at length toward the end of my essay “Identity Politics and Warfare Sociology”.

An even more broadly-pernicious way it does this, is by using anti-“bigotry” and “official minority”-pandering to foster statism more directly; for example, in the cases of Great Society welfare programs, doubling-down on public schooling, and the minority-housing policies that contributed to the calamitous housing bubble of the 2000s. What is particularly pernicious about these policies is that their alleged “beneficiaries” are generally their greatest victims. As Thomas Sowell has said:

“The black family which survived slavery, discrimination, poverty, wars and depressions began to come apart as the federal government moved in with its well-financed programs to help.”

Again, society is hardly “progressing,” especially with regard to the plight of the black man, who is now under a double burden. The public’s inculcated anti-“bigotry” fosters and shelters the “soft bigotry” of the debilitating and degrading welfare state (including especially the monstrous inner city public schools) which only serves him up to more likely be victimized by the “hard bigotry” of the War on Drugs/Crime, which the “anti-racist” part of the civic religion does almost nothing to counter. And what is the result of all this? Sure, it may be more culturally unacceptable to speak crossly about a black man. But there are more black, male slaves (which is what prison inmates are) now than in 1850. And yet the present state of affairs is alleged to be “progress,” given us by the PC cultural revolution.

Finally, even if the civic religion of anti-“bigotry” wasn’t such an artificial creation and tool of the State, still there would be a huge problem with the left-thick-libertarians’ espousal of BOP (again, Boycott, Ostracize, Protest) activism. The problem is that anti-“bigotry” BOP-activism is not an instance of what thick libertarians call “strategic thickness;” that is, it is not conducive to anti-statism. Rather, it is actually inherently conducive to statism.

Here, we finally arrive at the reason why I’ve been using “bigotry” in scare quotes, with reference to the PC project. I don’t think it’s fair to call someone a “bigot” solely based on their personal views and how they choose to arrange their own personal and commercial affairs. To me, true bigotry is antagonizing someone based on how they differ from you: whether it is a difference in background and biology or beliefs and preferences. And it is bigotry in that sense that is truly conducive to statism. (Also of course, when the State is wielded against someone over some difference, that State oppression itself is antagonization, and is therefore bigotry as well.)

Again, the State rules by dividing and conquering: by pitting its subjects against each other as mutual antagonists, and taking a cut of the loot when such antagonism escalates to mutual coercion and plunder. And, so antagonization of any kind is inherently conducive to the State.

Bigotry is not politely declining to cater a gay wedding, or relating racial opinions and misgivings to your girlfriend; neither involves active antagonization. Bigotry does include both wielding the State against gays, blacks, etc (like Jim Crow laws, etc), and such non-State antagonization as protesting a gay wedding or funeral, as do the Westboro Baptist Church bigots, or hostilely belittling a black man by addressing him as “boy” or some other epithet.

But bigotry also includes boycott organizers trying to destroy the business of religious bakers, feminists trying to get a disc jockey fired for playing the song “Blurred Lines,” and thought police publicly hounding elderly men over coarse things they get caught saying in private or merely politically incorrect or poorly phrased things they state in public.

The BOP strategy, when directed at people over their personal views and how they arrange their personal and commercial affairs, is predicated on antagonization over a difference in thought and behavior, and it is therefore bigotry. What else can you call even non-violent campaigns against people’s very livelihoods and against their welcome in society itself, over their different personal beliefs and unobtrusive practices?

Even after the State is abolished, would it really be conducive to liberty to move on to ferret out every tiny little Amish or Muslim community, and relentlessly BOP them, making their lives miserable, until they submit to reeducation? Which, after all, do you think will more likely resort to aggression and the State: a quiet, introverted, culturally stratified religious sect, or an activist movement of secular egalitarian puritanical busybodies. This is not to assert any kind of superiority of stratification and religion over egalitarianism and secularism. It is only to point out that, even if you favor the latter, whatever good traits those commitments may have will be swamped by the statist inclination inherent in antagonistic activism.

Now, this isn’t to say BOP is never to be resorted to. Not all opposition is antagonization; only the initiation of opposition is: that is, the creation of an enemy relationship where one did not already exist. Defensive or retaliatory opposition can be warranted and beneficial, since its prospect will tend to fend off antagonization.

Thus, the distinction between opposition-in-general and antagonization is analogous to that between force-in-general and aggression. It would be conducive to smooth, harmonious co-existence, and to the avoidance of possible escalation to violence, to as much as possible abstain from antagonization, and to only undertake campaigns of opposition against those who have already antagonized you: like boycotting Westboro, or protesting against “our enemy, the state” and its bigotry-fueled policies.

I will not call this a “Non-Antagonization Principle,” so as not to incur the risk that thick libertarians bring on when they linguistically make it easier to have other commitments take precedence over the Non-Aggression Principle. “Principle” means “first thing;” and when it comes to life in society, only the NAP comes first. Instead, I will follow Captain Barbossa when he said that the pirate code “is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” Thus, let’s call it the “Non-Antagonization Guideline.” This results in what is perhaps an unfortunate acronym: NAG. However, it does, at least provide a reminder what not to do to people with different cultural values than you who are minding their own business. Don’t nag them; don’t BOP them.

If there is a “liberal” ethos beyond liberalism/libertarianism itself, and which fosters libertarianism itself, it is not “treat everyone exactly the same,” but “live and let live.” It is not egalitarianism, but tolerance.


  1. Bigotry – a prejudice that’s different from yours. I’d rather be a bigot than PC!As long as children are looked after and happy,that should be more than enough.

  2. The position of the “thick libertarians” is exactly wrong.

    It is, in fact, the idea that people should not be allowed to be unpleasant that leads to statism.

    It is the attitude (make-people-decent) that led not only to the Puritan regime in Massachusetts in the 17th century, but also to the “enlightened” “tolerant” statism of the 19th century and later.

    H. Mann (the “father of American Public Education”) wanted to educate children to get them away from the “bigotry” of the schools of the various different Churches. The state was the “non bigoted” alternative.

    In this he (H. Mann) was following the example of the “tolerant” Frederick the Great in the 18th century.

    Remember the words of Gladstone.

    Of one thing I am certain – it is not the state that we should look to for moral improvement.

    Seeing making people nicer (more tolerant – less bigoted) as a political matter (part of libertarian political philosophy) is (I repeat) exactly wrong.

    It leads to statism – not away from statism.

  3. Dan Sanchez is also correct about the nature of “protest”.

    For example as long as an Amish community allows people to leave, their “intolerance” and “bigotry” is nothing to do with anyone else – “protests” are actually forms of aggression (imagine someone standing outside your house, just the other side of the property line, shouting about your “intolerance” and “bigotry” all day).

    Anyone who knows the history of people such as the “Rev” Al Sharpton and the “Rev” Jessie Jackson knows that “protest campaigns” are really extortion. As they are with “ACORN” (trained by the man who now sits in the Oval Office) and other Saul Alinsky type groups.

    “Give us money – or we will make your lives a misery, picketing your office, picketing your home, shouting abuse, organising boycotts… and on and on”.

    The “Chicago Way” is not the libertarian way.

  4. I agree with the article and comments. Anything else I were to say would only reiterate points already made, except to add that I consider this to be a “Non-Interference Principle”. If other persons are going about their lawful business, they should not be interfered with, even if one finds them objectionable. The alternative is atheists picketing churches, temperance puritans picketing saloons, vegeterians picketing butchers and on and on and on in endless threat and thuggery.

  5. On reflection, there is one further point to be made I think.

    This is that we still have not perhaps properly learned a lesson that we should all hold dear; if a movement, group or social formation- any such group- does not actively exclude those who we variously call things like Progressives (or Proggies), Cultural Marxists, GramscoFabiaNazis, The Enemy, etc, they will colonise and subvert it and, ultimately destroy it as it originally was.

    They will arrive with a list of boilerplate complaints and demands. They will demand a shift of focus. They will call those who disagree with them bigots and claim that unless the group addresses their “PC” issues it means it is full of discriminators and they are being excluded and they will keep nagging until they get their way. This is true whether it is an overtly political grouping like Libertarians, or a non-political group like (for instance, a recent focus) video gaming, or a civic organisation like the Scouts and Guides.

    It is a mixture of Trotskyist entryism and the evangelical zeal of the Puritans. It is in their DNA. It is the only way they know how to behave, and they do it so automatically that they barely recognise that they even do it; for them, to promote their “values” and “social justice” and so on defines their existence.

    To argue with them is a waste of time. To try to accomodate them is a grievous error. The only thing that one must do is learn to identify them, and push them out before they get a beachhead, or toehold, or some other metaphor, in your group. You cannot pacify them. You cannot bring them to reason. You cannot compromise and expect them to be happy and then remain silent. They will not stop until your group has been transformed into another head of their hydra, or destroyed.

      • Entryism is exactly what at least some of the so-called “left”-libertarians are conducting, whether purposely or not.

        And even if one takes the position that “entryism” signifies deliberate subversion and deliberate hijacking of the group or the label so as to give an attractive veneer to a project that is in fact enslavement, the word “subversion” does not automatically imply that subverters do it purposely or intentionally.

        All sorts of people are now calling themselves “libertarians,” and some are–for some value of “libertarian”–and some aren’t. I include so-called “right-wingers” and conservatives in that…the social-safety-net crowd among them for instance. (These folks also exist in their millions amongst the libruls and lefties, of course. The Social Safety Net in fact is their calling card.)

        It can be argued, though I don’t, that a libertarian might support the Social Safety Net so as not to frighten frighten the horses when they think they might be in the company of a libertarian…that would be a tactic, although a terrible one from the truly-libertarian POV because it’s dishonest. (Not from the Left POV. In fact, that’s exactly what they do, and it works for them because they don’t mind pretending that that’s ALL they have in mind, and besides they believe it mostly–I suppose–so for them it’s not even dishonest.)

    • Ian, effectively this is what I just said in reply to Sean–but anyway you are absolutely right in this comment. Well said.

    • Maybe we should make that “Don’t Let Liberals In” an official slogan with a tee-shirt and stuff.

      Except, I don’t like the word “liberal”. I am aware of its utter subversion in the USA, but in the true sense of the word I consider myself a liberal, and I want the word back. Which is why I prefer to use terms like “Proggies”. These people are a lot of things, but liberal they ain’t.

      But anyway, it would be a good slogan to keep people alert to entryism.

      And thank you for the quibcag, it’s an honour 🙂

  6. Yes, in the US reclaiming the word is hopeless, so for most purposes I use “libertarian nationalist.” I’m afraid we Americans would confuse “proggies” with “preggers.” And this is the first time I’ve come across the term “entryism,” which I think I’ll find useful. And it is an honor that you take it as an honour 😉 I used the cutest illustration I could find.

      • I know, Ian. I didn’t understand then and still don’t. (You can be a dog with a bone sometimes, but I should talk!, and besides you got plenty of company).

        Of course, the archives are open. Then again, I can see why you might not wish to go there.

        • I accidentally insulted Peregrine F’Ting F’Ting Ponsonby De Havilland’s girlfriend, or wife, I still don’t know which, because apparently everyone is supposed to both know and care (a) who she is, whoever that is and (b) that she has a degree in PPE of which she, or Perry, or both, is or are inordinately proud.

          They’re all far too middle class for the likes of me, anyway.

            • LOL — I was going to point that out, but I figured you knew.
              . . .

              Oh, the PPE business. I remember now. Ridiculous. You were absolutely right. It’s somewhat like going to Harvard or Yale (or, in a pinch, Princeton) for the Political Practitioner.

              The 50’s weren’t all roses. Speaking of Harvard, they turned down my cousin’s application to the College, because he had pimples. !!!

              How crass is that! LOL I can’t remember for sure, but he might have ended up at MIT. Anyway, in due course he got his Ph.D. in physics. Even with pimples.

  7. Leftist/socialist shite-scum (of the Earth–if you are feeling grandiloquent ) would be my vote.

  8. Yes Julie – the “left libertarians” are doing what the “New Liberals” did to liberalism in Britain more than a century ago, and what was done in the United States slightly later (but in a more extreme way).

    In the United States the “new freedom” of Woodrow Wilson was actually slavery to the state (indeed this vile man even believed that the end of old slavery had been a mistake – hence his reinterpretation of the Civil War as being “really” about building a new super powerful Federal government [because that is what he, Woodrow Wilson, wished to create] – an interpretation that many libertarians have taken up without knowing who first created it, and WHY).

    By the 1920s “liberal” meant almost the exact opposite of what it had meant only few years before.

    What is Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism about in terms of economic policy? What is “then aggression principle” about in economic terms?

    Tt is about that income and wealth (in the means of production, distribution and exchange) are NOT an aggression against others – that there is a natural long term harmony between the economic interests of “rich” and “poor”, employers and employees.

    Those who play the ECONOMIC “Class War” game (supporting “land reform”, land theft, “Progressive” income taxes and Capital Gains Taxes and ever more “Public Services”) are not Classical Liberals (if this term has any meaning – perhaps it does not) and they are certainly not libertarians.

    “Ah but what if they rename the state “the people” or “the community”?

    Same thing – a savage mob out to rob-rape-murder-burn is no more libertarian than a government department.

    The only “class conflict” that libertarians are interested in is between tax payers (of any level of income and wealth) and tax “eaters” (of any level of income and wealth – and some tax eaters are rich and some tax eaters are poor).

    The down-with-the-rich mob stole the word “liberal” do not let them steal the word “libertarian” as well.

  9. Wilson -I remember reading about this liberal’s beliefs in forced segregation, forced conscription, and persecution of anti-war activists.I have often gone into tirades about the perversion of liberalism by the liberals.

  10. Quite so Mark. The book “Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of Modern Liberalism” (the title is from memory – I do not have the book to hand) springs to mind.

  11. I didn’t put in the Amazon ad. It seems that more and more, simply posting a URL triggers something coming down the pipe at you. Sometimes it’s convenient, but what if you want to post the URL for an “adult video,” say, on a “Starbucks-friendly” site without having Sally Rand sans fans plastered all over the page?

    I now return you to your regular programming.

  12. Julie-

    Yes, the internets is getting a bit too helpful. I’ve found trying to post a link to a Youtube video here (or other WordPress blogs) is determined to embed the thing, which like my earlier “picture post” I find embarrassing as I feel it makes it look like I’m trying to commandeer the thread or something.

  13. Ian,

    It’s Nurse Nan again. Oh my, you shouldn’t have to do all that copying and pasting. Here, dear, let me do that for you. Let’s use the pretty pink marker here. What? You don’t want pink? Silly thing *tolerant smile*. Never mind, dear, you go lie down with a nice cool compress and Nursey will just finish up this little chore for you. It will look so nice in pink, you’ll see.


    Well, naturally I have no idea how Sean feels about it, but I sure didn’t take it that way. :>))

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