Monday, September 18, 2017

On Thick Libertarians and Thin Libertarians vs. Libwaps

Dr. Walter Block emails:
Dear Bob:

You say this:

And the infiltrators can come from many directions. Southern is correct to warn of the "libertarians" who want to append "social justice" advocacy to libertarianism. These people I call libwaps.
Why libwaps? We already have a perfectly good phrase to describe these people: "thick libertarians."

Best regards,

My response:

Hi Walter,

I believe using the terminology "thick libertarian" and "thin libertarian" confuses the issue.

I am guided by Murray Rothbard on this point who wrote that libertarianism,
is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral, or aesthetic theory; it is only apolitical theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life. . . .
Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal. Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit except invade the person or property of another. What a person does with his or her life is vital and important, but is simply irrelevant to libertarianism. It should not be surprising, therefore, that there are libertarians who are indeed hedonists and devotees of alternative lifestyles, and that there are also libertarians who are firm adherents of “bourgeois” conventional or religious morality. There are libertarian libertines and there are libertarians who cleave firmly to the disciplines of natural or religious law. There are other libertarians who have no moral theory at all apart from the imperative of non-violation of rights. That is because libertarianism per se has no general or personal moral theory.
In other words, there is libertarianism but not any necessary attachments to libertarianism. Thus, it is a bit misleading to say there are "thin" libertarians. What are identified as "thin" libertarians are generally just libertarians (but see below about righty libwaps)."Thick" libertarians on the other hand, seem to want to "attach" other elements beyond the theory which simply states that everyone should be free of violent invasion.

Lefty libwaps want to attach some social justice warrior views with libertarianism. Thus, they are libwaps, that is libertarians with appendages.

Righty libwaps want to append certain traditional cultural values to libertarianism.

It is these appendages that are the problem. Both the right libwaps and the left libwaps realize they are on shaky libertarian ground when they state these appendages are "necessary" so they attempt to dance around the "necessary" claim but they seem to have a severe problem with libertarians who don't hold to their appendages.

Libertarians do not, as libertarians, have to advocate for any appendages.

Indeed, in my personal life, I can be found on different issues on different sides of these libwap appendages. I mean I can be jumping all around these lines that left and right libwaps draw.

I have been known in the wee hours to wander into all black bars in Oakland and all Asian bars or all Russian bars in San Francisco but I do not, as lefty libwaps do, support the idea that libertarians must be cosmopolitan, be pro-racial justice, etc..

I think it is goofy to discount people because of their race but I really don't care if there are others who want to avoid other races. So what? I do not believe I have to be an unpaid public relations advocate for any race, creed or color.

If people want to spend most of their time ranting about other races, I am not going to spend a lot of time with them. But as long as they are not violating the libertarian non-aggression principle why do I need to care? Am I supposed to care about everyone's view in the entire world on every issue?

On many issues, I tend to follow traditional values that righty libwaps advocate but I really don't think it is necessary that such values be demanded of anyone in a libertarian society. Again, the NAP prevails and that is it.

As I have written before, here in San Francisco I consider a visit to the Castro district something of a safari adventure for me, usually done with out of town friends every couple of years. But what goes on in the Castro is fine with me. I hold more traditional values but I don't see where I need to convince anyone of my traditional values.

And I certainly don't hold the view that I need to patrol other people's private property to see whether individuals are "approved by the state" to be on that private property which seems to be another favorite of righty libwaps.

So in my view, there is only libertarianism, not thick and thin libertarianism.

Thick libertarianism, most associated with the left-leaning, means non-libertarianism. I am being polite by identifying them as libwaps, for once there is any demanded advocacy beyond the non-aggression principle, it is not libertarianism.

And more concerning is the righty libwaps. It appears they consider themselves to be "thin" libertarians, but they are just libertarians with different appendages---again I am being polite by calling them libertarians when they advocate what they see as necessary traditional cultural appendages to libertarianism.

So for me, there are no thick and thin libertarians. There are libertarians and there are libwaps, left and right.
If someone asks me what my political views are, I tell them I am a libertarian. 

1 comment:

  1. I love Block but he appears here to be missing the important distinction between libertarians who believe that there are necessary addenda to libertarianism beyond the NAP ("thick libertarians") versus "libertarians" who believe there exist exceptions to the NAP (those you call "libwaps".)