Libertarianism Is Only a Theory of Law
By Rik Storey
21st November 2016
I am tired of both libertarians and their critics misrepresenting my beloved libertarianism by insisting that I am party to some sort of cult which teaches that some unspecified deity has written the non-aggression principle on tablets of stone. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to parrot the most notable libertarian scholars – libertarianism is just a theory of law, not an entire ethical system, complete with cultural mores, which must be imposed on everyone. As Lew Rockwell put it, ‘Libertarianism is concerned with the use of violence in society. That is all. It is not anything else. It is not feminism. It is not egalitarianism… It has nothing to say about aesthetics. It has nothing to say about religion or race or nationality or sexual orientation.’
So when people dismiss libertarianism because some libertarians are cultural Marxists, they do so out of ignorance. Libertarianism has a deontological attitude towards law; that is, in order for there to be certainty and security of private property rights, there must be the rule of law and not the rule of legislators, i.e. no man must be above the law. The only sense libertarians are egalitarian is that they think the law should apply equally to all in a given group.
This is the great Western heritage, not originating with the Anglo-Saxons or the ancient Greeks but the libertarian and egalitarian aristocracies of the Indo-Europeans from whom all the European civilizations are descended. Of course we recognise that not every civilization had to establish the rule of law or the NAP to function or avoid a plague of locusts. Rather, libertarianism and the rule of law is part and parcel with the uniqueness of Western Law and, therefore, the uniqueness of Western civilization. But what is that law?
The unique Western attitude to law and its overwhelming success, according to Sinha, make it the fundamental and central trait of the West. The reason for making the law the king of kings lay in the higher degree of rationalism in the West; if a law has to apply to all people in all situations, which social norms can we determine do just that? The only such ‘right’ we can determine is the negative right to be left alone in your person and property – private property rights. The nature of law, then, demands that it rule or else we must submit to the unreliable whim of an individual or group being legislated and imposed on us, as if by divine power.
Naturally, the libertarian and egalitarian aristocracies of the Indo-Europeans produced civilizations which already acknowledged this, as the king could not violate the private property rights of another free man for fear of retribution from other powerful lords and the loss of honour, glory and respect from one’s kinsmen. Therefore, this rational and ruling law was not just discovered but studied and refined in it’s natural environment – the West.
So, the next time you think of dismissing libertarianism because you are repulsed by some open borders supporter, some cucked feminist or someone who insists the world must fall before the NAP, remember that you can simply dismiss them as ignorant without dismissing libertarianism. What’s more, if you understand that there is a difference between law and morality (the customs of a culture) and you love Western civilization and the rule of law, you are a libertarian!