Labels and Libertarianism

Michael Anissimov has put out the 5 premises of neoreaction with which a someone must totally agree to be a neoreactionary. He argues that “anyone who disagrees with any one of them is almost certainly not a reactionary.”

I agree fully with all the points except possibly #4, which got me thinking about the rather petty problem of self-labelling. Particularly the fact that my self-descriptive label on my about page has been “reactionary libertarian” since I last updated it months ago.

I hold to a form of libertarianism, anarcho-monarchism, as the optimal form of government for English people, something which I just commented on that a couple weeks back. If asked I’d describe myself as a reactionary anarcho-monarchist.

But then again, I don’t “make personal freedom axiomatic“; rather I hold to the principal of subsidiarity. I do not “refuse to consider the negative externalities of that freedom to traditional structures” but rather I believe these structures are best preserved by distributing power primarily to the individual, family, and the community to best “foster community, family, and social cohesion”.

I definitely do hold to the “socialism” of “family and friends helping each other of their own free will.” (I wouldn’t call it socialism though).

Rather than not caring “if a libertarian society would leave many out in the cold” I have thought of the problem of natural slaves, although, simply having strong community values and mores from birth would probably take care of the problem.

I don’t think any who have read my blog are overly concerned about me being “excessively materialistic” in my outlook.

It would seem his criticisms of libertarianism do not apply to me or my thinking.

So, maybe I fall into the category of “theoretically compatible with libertarianism, but is not compatible with the mood and spirit of libertarianism”?

Or am I simply an unwitting entryist?

Could it be possible I’m “lonely and want friends to debate politics with, or [am] intrigued by the personalities of reactionaries, though they are not one”?

Or maybe by rejecting the axiom of a natural right to freedom, I am simply not a libertarian, whatever the similarities?

Maybe it’s time to retire the libertarian label.

I’ve worn it for many a year, but maybe I’m in the ideological territory of post-libertarianism and the label no longer fits.

33 responses to “Labels and Libertarianism

  • Will S.

    Frankly, I don’t get how ‘transhumanists’ and ‘futurists’ can see themselves as reactionaries, for that matter.

    There are many in reaction who think things must be nailed down, concrete; that one must subscribe to whatever Mencius Moldbug says reactionaries believe, in order to be considered a reactionary.

    I reject such narrow definitions.

  • Red

    All this talk of definitions is about creating a tribe, something akin to a Chinese school of thought. Are people actually sure that’s the best idea?

    I’d prefer that we spread truth natural leaders without creating a defined movement. Let the those natural leaders build their own political movements and synthetic tribes.

  • Ton

    Reactionaries are into government to a much larger extent then I could ever support and all seem like another set of big government liberals to me

  • Will S.

    @ Ton: It goes even deeper than that; many of them lament the Protestant Reformation, are angry it displaced the political power of the Catholic Church in society (in the West, and in time, Eastern Orthodox Churches in the East), and want to see a return to primacy of place for the institutional church, above kings. So, all-powerful church, with all-powerful state; no liberal democracy…

    Count me out. I must be a ‘libertarian’ too, though I have never thought of myself as one…

  • Ton

    I believe in things like kinism, tribalism etc. Rule by family for family.

    Libertarians like their own version of big government ideals and refuse to do anything that benefits kin. They are equally useless

  • Orthodox

    Libertarians, like white nationalists, are superfluous to neoreaction.

  • Will S.

    I’m a paleoconservative by inclination, so I guess that might make me a paleoreactionary, having gone a step beyond conservatism into reaction. I don’t fit the ‘neoreaction’ profile / mold, so I wouldn’t classify myself as such.

    But I do have some paleolibertarian tendencies, still.

  • Tim

    While it may seem unnecessary to some, actually using the correct word as its definition means it is more important than people think.

    I’ve moved from conservative to libertarian, to anarcho-capitalst.

    I also wonder if I might be an extrovert who doesn’t like (most) people.

  • Ton

    Ps, I agree there is a strong current of anti Protestantism in some. More then some. The RCC is not a fan of competition for tithes and titles and power

  • Tim

    Book sent, let me know if you don’t get it.

  • Alan J. Perrick

    Yes, “Ton” has the right idea…

  • Alan J. Perrick

    Can’t get my comments to post any more…

  • Jibola

    If you originally believed yourself to be Libertarian hitherto and nothing has truly happened to change that, then I see no reason to drop “the label”.

    Keeping your frame of reference inward is a rule of thumb to never forget, IMHO.

  • Will S.

    The anti-Protestant flavour of reaction comes in basically two varieties:

    (a) sour grapes RCs and EOs, upset that the Reformation happened, and blame everything bad that ever happened since on it, and
    (b) more secular-minded neoreactionaries who, a la Moldbug, see progs as basically secularized Puritans – and while there is much truth in that, IMO, they tend to take it one step further, and blame Prots for their secular offspring. That’s as stupid as blaming parents who tried hard to bring up their kids right, who nevertheless had one of their kids run away, for their runaway child’s actions.

  • Free Northerner

    @ Will: Hence the neo.If neoreaction doesn’t define itself its enemies will.

    The state does not need to be all powerful, only the monarch. I’d prefer a system of personal allegiances (oaths of loyalty to the king) rather than a state.

    Some of the religious reactionaries do seem to have a hate-on against prots, but I’ve met many prots who have deep hate towards Catholics (but oddly enough, rarely Orthodox). We have so many enemies among the secularists and the liberal churches, we shouldn’t be fighting each other. The status of Mary, the filioque, and transubstantiation are far less important than the ongoing moral and religious implosion in our society. If it’s not something that will damn people, we should ignore it and work together.

    @ Red: People form tribes; its only natural. It will happen whether its a good idea or not. Better to guide the process than to just fall into it accidentally; but organic growth would be better.

    @ Ton: Some reactionaries do not seem to get that government is what’s killing traditional values.

    @ Orthodox: Probably, but post-libertarians are the bulk of reactionaries, so defining the delineation between the two is necessary.

    @ Tim: Exactly; defining things correctly makes discussion easier.

    I got the book; thanks. I’ll review it here when I have the time.

    @ Alan: Your posts got stuck in the spam filter; I pulled them out.

    @ Jib: I’m not particularly attached to the label; I just want an accurate self-descriptor. One thing I do like about it is it is functionally close to my beliefs and most normal people more or less understand it, while nobody has any idea what neoreaction or anarcho-monarchism are.

  • Will S.

    @ FN: Agreed re: the monarch; I’ve always been a monarchist, and always will be one. But like you, I see that as entirely compatible with having a government that interferes little in the day to day lives of its subjects; Hans-Hermann Hoppe has said the same thing…

    Certainly, there are Prots out there who have such negative sentiments towards Catholics, but I haven’t met any within reactionary circles; I usually find our kind in reaction have greater generosity of spirit than others exhibit. That said, I do agree it is pointless to bicker over issues that divide, rather than focus on what we have in common; I hope that reactionaries will increasingly choose that path, rather than pointless bickering over secondary matters / finger-pointing/blaming.

  • Will S.

    I just visited the post, and I see that, according to Orthodox Reaction, I’m a Heretic, because I don’t concur with point #5. I still believe in a liberal democratic constitutional monarchy; I believe liberal democracy needs much fixing, but I do not believe it is irredeemably flawed.

    So, according to one of the transhumanist, futurist neoreactionaries, I’m not a reactionary.

    No. I’m sure as hell not a slavish, Must Obey All Five Points (isn’t that cute; just like Calvinism, which both secular neoreactionaries and hyperpartisan RCs/EOs hate) neoreactionary – but I nevertheless am still a reactionary, regardless of what L’Academie Neo-Reactionaise has to say about it.

  • Will S.

    BTW, it’s not that I think opposition to democracy is fascist; it’s just that I think that democracy is still the system that produces the maximum happiness for the greatest number, and that any other system can be quite tyrannical.

  • Ton

    Governments main jobs are to perpetuate its self, steal wealth and transfer that wealth go those who run the government. Often it does that with “the greater good” as cover.

    I prefer honest outlawery like biker gangs to the government. In part because of the honesty issue and in part because I can dissuade a group of gangbangers, but not the government

    I am anti catholic at every level as it is easy to watch the action of the RCC & determine it is hostile to my kin and our traditional ways. I reckon shooting Catholics will have to be on the agenda if my progeny will ever be free again

  • Alan J. Perrick

    A monarch may indeed be required to break the stupor caused by low-information voters. But, a new class of royal bureaucrats isn’t wanted…

    Also, if a neo-reactionary push manages, God forbid, to go spectacularly wrong the whole mess might slide into communist totalitarianism.


  • Martel

    @ Will: To me an essential component of any governmental system needs to be separation of powers. Too much aggregation in any one segment of government is akin to too much government itself. There need to be competing interests holding each other in check.

    Most of what’s gone wrong with American democracy is that the origninal balance of powers was thrown out of whack when we started directly electing Senators. Without going through all the steps as to how this happened, in some ways we’re too democratic (the Senate should be representatives of state government, SCOTUS grants too much deference to the other branches at the expense of the Constitution), in other ways we’re not democratic enough (Congressional districts are too large, & good luck voting out the EPA).

    The “will of the people” is but one flawed competing interest that can hopefully keep the other interests in check, as those interests do the same to it.

  • Will S.

    @ Martel: I do agree overall with your assessment of the American situation.

    I, however, like Free Northerner, am Canadian. We have a Crown; we are not a republic. And I think our system can be made to balance powers well, dividing them properly between the Crown and the elected governments (and the judiciary, of course); I’m not convinced it needs to be thrown out; I think it’s fixable.

    I guess one of my issues with Anissimov in essence proclaiming ‘this is it; you have to hold to these, or we consider you anathema’, is the very American-context-centric-ness (ick, not a word, but you get my meaning) of it. The American democratic republic is but one model of governance; the Commonwealth democratic constitutional monarchy model is another, and I don’t think just because one democratic model may be found faulty, doesn’t mean they are all invalidated.

    But this is merely a symptom of my main complaint – is it necessary to subscribe to five rigid principles, so that people who self-identify as reactionary, such as Free Northerner and I, who ostensibly fail to meet all five of these qualifications, are considered to “probably do not have much to contribute to reactionary discussions”?

    He’s probably right, though, in one sense; I surely have little to contribute to discussions with people like him.

  • Martel

    @ will: I see your complaint about the 5 rigid categories, but I’m not a reactionary so I’ve no dog in that fight. I’ve spent several hours reading reactionary stuff, and it forever feels like there’s another link to go to where my questions will finally be addressed.

    So I remain a conservative libertarian realist, and if reactionaries (or anybody else) for that matter want me on their side, then they should make it a bit easier for my questions to be addressed.

    That said, I respect some of the intellectual heft of the reactionaries (esp anarcho papist), but I’ve spent plenty of time investigating already.

  • Ton

    The elites of the early republic went to work defrauding the common man on day one. Taxes, land speculation, goofy money schemes for paying off what where in affect war bonds….

    Folks do love their illusions though

  • Alan J. Perrick

    “Free Northerner”

    Here is an article giving a Kinist perspective regarding the stance on libertarianism.

  • Ton

    Good link Alan

    Libertarians are liberal on many issues chief among them how importantly family and ethnic ties matter to the world. All over the world, people strive to have their own nations based on blood and soil, yet libertarians, like ‘ll liberal, think such things can be over come such basic human instinct

  • Martel

    Wow. That article actually extrapolates on Ton’s views in a way that’s coherent.

    Nonetheless, he misunderstands capitalism (Haiti has a free market?) and merely would like for the leftist superstate to impose a different set of values. He doesn’t refute libertarianism but does a great job at ripping its caricature to shreds. Libertariasm need not depend on any sort of pollyannish notions of human nature. Quite to the contrary, my brand of libertarianism discounts “the natural nobility of man” entirely.

    I’m partly in accord with the values he supports but have every reason to believe his strategies would backfire.

    But at least he doesn’t just call people names.

  • Alan J. Perrick

    My understanding is that kinists are against seperation of Church and State while libertarians are for it.

  • Alan J. Perrick


    Glad that people liked the article.

  • Ton

    As I understand it, a kinist state and church is the family,extended family. If the family clan is…. Ana Babipist that is what the family is. The government is the family/ clan system. What denomination you are is also interwoven

    Libertarians should own their liberalism. That way they look a lot less like clueless fools.

  • Free Northerner

    Kinism, eh? I had a friend who was kinist; it was an interesting philosophy. I tend to like the religious and clannish nature of the philosophy, but the problem is the state is what destroys bonds of kinship. Using the state to promote family is counterproductive.

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