Race & Groups: The Libertarian Blind Spot

By John "Birdman" Bryant


John Donne could never have been a libertarian because he believed that "No man is an island", while libertarians seem to prefer a sort of reverse philosophy which holds that every man is an island. In particular, libertarians are so busy celebrating "the individual" that they give little or no attention to a phenomenon which is at least as important as individuals on the political landscape, namely, groups. It is true, of course, that groups can be regarded as collections of individuals, but it would be foolish to try to discuss politics purely on the basis of the behavior of individuals and without reference to groups, just as it would be foolish to try to describe the operation of a computer purely on the basis of the behavior of individual molecules and without reference to such important molecular groups as chips, wires, cards and hard disks.

In a way, libertarianism's greatest success is in dealing with a very important group -- government -- by pointing out that social happiness is generally proportional to the extent to which the government keeps its nose out of the business of the citizens. But libertarians virtually ignore the political impact of all other groups, and in particular have failed to heed Lord Acton's injunction that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". And altho I am certainly no fan of the Left, it is clear that the Left has a far better grip on reality than the libertarians with respect to Acton's observation, since the Left long ago recognized the danger which corporations pose to the body politic.

So what then are the groups on the political landscape which libertarians ignore? They include groups with a financial interest in politics (corporations, labor unions), groups with a racial, ethnic, sexual or similar interest (blacks, Jews, homosexuals) and those with other specialized interests (gun control, gun rights, anti-censorship, anti-porn, medical freedom, etc). Such groups are not limited to lobbying organizations, but include any type of organization that has political clout.

Actually, it is not quite right to say that libertarians ignore these groups, since libertarians probably do direct mail solicitations to many of them. But what libertarians fail to appreciate is that it makes far more sense to view the political game as having these groups as the players, rather than the vaunted "individual" with which libertarians are so enamored. The problem, however, is not just that libertarians organize their political perceptions poorly. Rather it is that their focus on the individual keeps them from seeing how the political process works, and thus prevents them from being an effective part of it, and in addition has caused them to embrace propositions which directly contradict basic libertarian principles.

To explain, we begin by noting that the essence of the American political process -- at least as it involves legislative activity -- is not what the Founders conceived it to be (and what most libertarians seem to think it is), namely, the reflective consideration of what constitutes the greatest good for the greatest number. Instead, the political process may be summarized in one simple phrase: paying off the (few very wealthy) individuals who supply substantial money and the constituencies who supply both substantial money and substantial votes. And who are the constituencies? Very simply, they are the groups which libertarians ignore, and which constitute the major players in the political process. And what is more, such groups are the driving forces behind the types of legislation that libertarians hate: Welfare is driven by the black block vote; the largest recipient of foreign aid is Israel, driven by the notoriously-powerful Israeli lobby; laws hindering business are driven by labor unions; dumbed-down federalized education is driven by teachers' unions; restrictions on alternative medicine are driven by medical organizations and drug manufacturers; affirmative action is driven by large companies seeking to hurt their smaller competition for whom such programs are a greater proportional burden; drug laws are driven by anti-freedom groups and the enforcement bureaucracies, and so on.

But even more important than the libertarian blind spot on groups is the fact mentioned above that ignoring groups has caused libertarians to violate fundamental libertarian principles. To explain, we note that libertarians are enthusiastic advocates of private property, and apparently have no objection to multiple-owner property such as condominiums or stockholder-owned corporations. So logically it would seem they would agree with the notion that countries are owned by their citizens, and may rightfully be defended by force from invaders and other trespassers. And yet we hear no end of libertarians who sing the praises of "open borders" and unlimited immigration.

Which, to put it kindly, is illogical. And also insane.

The insanity springs from what in philosophy is known as reductionism, ie, the belief that the whole is just the simple sum of its parts. The reductionist, then, holds that a country is just a bunch of disconnected individuals, hopefully libertarians.

But this is foolish. A country is not a disconnected bunch of individuals, no matter how much libertarians think they are disconnected from everything except the Internet. It is a group of people who share a language and culture, with the result that their values are similar, and their desire to live together in the same geographic location is considerable. In Sir Walter Scott's words:

Breathes there the man with soul so dead 
Who never to himself hath said 
"This is my own, my native land"? 
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned 
As homeward his footsteps he hath turned 
From wandering on a foreign strand? 
If such there be, go mark him well: 
For him no minstrel raptures swell; 
High tho his titles, proud his name, 
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power and pelf, 
The wretch concentered all in self; 
Living, shall forfeit fair renown 
And doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust from whence he sprung, 
Unwept, unhonored and unsung. 

Love of country, like love of one's mate or one's family, is often not well-perceived until separation. But it is real and palpable, and it has driven men since the dawn of time, as it drives them today. So for that overeducated clique of highbrow deep-thinkers known as libertarians to simply toss this emotion into the intellectual wastebasket as if it were somehow irrelevant to social order is fatuity raised to the nth degree.

Love of country, like love of family, depends on one element more than any other: likeness. One's countrymen are like oneself in language and culture, just as one's family is like oneself in genetic relationship. In fact, this notion is so basic as to be rooted in our very language, and not just once, but twice: We like those whom we are like, and we are kind to those of our own kind.

And one of those elements of likeness is race. It is not the only likeness -- language and culture are also likenesses -- and it may not be crucial in all cases to regarding someone as one's countryman, but it is clearly important.

So what, then, is going to happen to a country which allows open borders (particularly coupled with the temptation of such freebies as welfare and Social Security), whose president celebrates the end of history for the white majority, and where the cult of multiculturalism is rammed down employers' throats and slipped quietly into the minds of youngsters by the New World Orderlies of the Education Establishment? What will happen is very simple: The country, along with its culture and language, and probably its race, is going to dissolve.

And that, as it turns out, does not bode well for libertarians. This is because America, more than any other place on earth, has nourished the idea of individual liberty and brought it to fruition. The culture of America is the culture of liberty. But liberty-loving libertarians seem indifferent to throwing all that away. They are so enamored with corporate profits and so indifferent to the culture which has emerged from the coordinated efforts of the white European race that they are quite happy to flush the American nation down the toilet by allowing swarms of Turd- worlders to intermingle with, and eventually replace, the core American population. And even worse, sending the American nation down the tubes may in the long run turn out not to be as profitable as believed by the calculating Economic Man which libertarians have reduced human beings to; for shipping jobs overseas when American workers are too "inefficient" means the loss of an industrial base and the skills of workers who are employed in that industrial base, a situation which leaves the nation vulnerable in times of war when "free trade" is only a memory. Yes, it is perfectly true that this may result in higher prices for labor, and thus for consumer goods, but pricey goods are a small price to pay for priceless culture. Or to put the matter another way, Do libertarians really want to sell their freedom for a filthy mess of Turd-world free-trade pottage?

Part of the open-borders/free-trade problem is that libertarians recognize that, without the temptation of government handouts, immigrants who come here would be those who want to work, and would therefore -- at least from an economic standpoint -- be good for the country. But this fact still doesn't change the culture argument against open borders, or the reality of immigration as it is now going on. Nor does it change the fact that, if the lower-status jobs which immigrants usually take cannot be filled, this will generate pressure for mechanization and automation which will have a long-term beneficial economic effect.

We spoke earlier about the libertarian blind spot about race, and it is only fair to mention that this blind spot is partly the result of the desire on the part of libertarians to be regarded as "tolerant". And while we may acknowledge this as a nobly-intentioned sentiment, the ugly fact is that we are all racists. We are racists because evolution has made it instinctive for every living thing to love its own kind -- and what is racism but the love of one's own kind? How fatuous it is to think that we are morally obligated to toss out the product of a billion years of evolution in order to keep from being guilty of a sin which was regarded as a virtue till only yesterday!

The reason evolution has made racism instinctive is that group membership helps the individual to survive. Groups give the individual members protection against other rival groups -- and if you don't believe it, just arrange for a sojurn in one of our multicultural prisons. So for libertarians to ignore man's racial nature -- to say nothing of the fact that the notion of individual liberty is a product of white European culture -- is both unscientific and -- if I may say so -- suicidal.

In conclusion, if libertarians are realistic enuf to admit -- and indeed to celebrate -- man's selfish nature, isn't it time that they admitted and celebrated his racial nature as well? Or maybe all they need to do is realize that an interest in their race is really a selfish interest.

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