One of my intellectual inspirations Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek wrote an essay once titled: “Why I Am Not A Conservative.” In it, he describes the reasoning for his rejecting of the label of a conservative. Hayek saw conservatism as a necessary rejection of modern liberalism at the time (the piece was written in 1960), which had become synonymous with socialism, as it still very much is today. Hayek however could not call himself a conservative due to the willingness of conservatives to use the force of government in order to resist the changes pushed by progressives, and therefore rejecting the spontaneity that is championed by modern libertarians in an economic system referred to as Austrian Economics. Hayek wrote: “This fear of trusting uncontrolled social forces is closely related to two other characteristics of conservatism: its fondness for authority and its lack of understanding of economic forces.”
As a modern libertarian, I must agree with Hayek and concede that conservatism today is still lacking in its belief in free markets, indeed in the very idea of freedom itself. The conservative claims to favor free markets, but will still champion farm bills and subsidies that result in the passage of welfare in the form of food stamps. Also, conservatism today does not believe in a free market in labor, which is the argument to be made against immigration.
Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman pointedly argued once that illegal immigration was technically superior to legal immigration. The reason was because while modern conservatives claim to fear the benefits granted to these immigrants, technically legal immigrants qualify for more benefits due to their willingness to follow the law. Illegal immigration is superior because they must pay into a system that they can not derive the same benefit from.
And Hayek was also correct in the fondness of modern conservatives for authority. It underlies everything, from their willingness to defend the NSA’s spying, to their desire to police the world and in their defense of local police forces when they abuse the civil liberties of Americans on a daily basis. Conservatives desire order over freedom. Freedom is only secondary to their desire to shape the world around them according to their own subjective preferences. Libertarians are not afraid to allow creative chaos into the world, because underlying libertarianism is the belief in the inherent goodness in man. To be a conservative is to believe that man is inherently fallen, and must be reformed.
Living in America today is to live in a nation that is bound together by traditions of classical liberalism. America is liberal in the sense that, unlike some nations, our women do not fear legal retribution for appearing in public without a veil, and unlike in Russia, our homosexuals do not have to fear violent mobs. The wonderful traditions of liberalism in America allow for the freedom of expression that is sadly lacking in many other parts of the world. But unfortunately, while the freedom of expression is nearly limitless, the modern liberal does not believe in the economic freedom that is necessary to extend those freedoms into other spheres as well.
The ability to invest one’s capital as one sees fit is an important component of the total package that is liberty. Progressivism today seeks to capture the wealth of the individual, and demand that it serve subjectively defined collective good. For instance, Obamacare. While it may seem objectively that public health is an issue of critical importance, and it is, the modern progressive today does not realize that economics is about the allocation of scarce resources. Health care is not a limitless resource. The amount of time and energy that doctors and nurses can spend treating patients is finite, even if the amount of prescriptions that could be written were enough to satisfy every disease known to man. There simply are not enough minutes in a day and doctors available to treat every single human being in need. This is why a price system is important and must be used in order to allocate scarce resources.
Consider the quandary once posed to me by libertarian scholar Tom Palmer of the Cato Institute. Palmer related to me an inherent contradiction contained within the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. In it, there is a definitive statement that all humans have a right to healthcare. And in another passage, it claims that every human has a right to leisure time. The contradiction is laid bare when one consider the fact that if a doctor has a right to time off, then how can a patient demand they be treated at the same time? The doctor’s right to leisure is in conflict with the right of the patient to be healed. These are not rights, so much as incoherent demands. Modern liberals seek to institute laws that put humans in positions to which they cannot obey, and then punishes them for not obeying.
Another reason to reject modern liberalism is its push for material egalitarianism. They push economic fallacies such as the idea of a gender wage gap, which has been thoroughly debunked and lies on the assumption that both genders want the same things, or at least they should want the same things. Liberals decry the inequality of wealth in the world, while ignoring the fact that modern capitalism has provided for even the poor to have greater wealth than at any point in history. As Grover Norquist wrote about the president’s recent state of the union address: “The grinding poverty of the Middle Ages had great income equality. Even the kings didn’t have indoor plumbing or electricity. No one had life extending health care. Mao’s China gave us another prolonged period of great income equality. The frenetic first days of the French Revolution reduced income inequality by lopping off the heads of the aristocracy — the political bosses of the day.”
Liberal hypocrisy on material equality extends further into their misguided quest to raise the minimum wage, a token gesture which has only certain beneficiaries, namely those who are already employed. Those who suffer are those who do not have a voice in the debate, the unskilled who are priced out of the marketplace due to an employers unwillingness to take a risk on someone who may not be able to provide enough value to compensate for the governments demand on their wages.
Modern liberals are not just hypocrites on wages, their rhetoric also flies in the face of their desire to help others seek happiness. Rather, they strike a puritan note on the desire for material things. Their culture is pervasive with a disdain for material possessions. They look down on the poor for enjoying the benefits of capitalism, and while the rich purveyors of this socialist philosophy sit in gilded apartments, they blithely pen song lyrics that criticize materialism while revealing their innate desire to control others. Take for instance the song “Royals” by Lorde who wrote: “we don’t care” for “gold teeth, Grey Goose,” “Cristal, Maybach,” “diamonds on your timepiece,” and “jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash. That kind of luxe just ain’t for us.” She later betrays the liberals true desires when she sings, “Let me be your ruler. You can call me Queen Bee….Let me live that fantasy.”
I will not be ruled.
As a libertarian, I declare my individual right to self-ownership, and this right is not in conflict with any other individual person’s rights. I trust that humans are good, and they also deserve to own themselves and to do as they wish, provided that they harm no one else. For this, and for many other reasons, I reject both conservatism and liberalism.
Read more at TLR: Why I Reject Both Conservatism And Liberalism | The Libertarian Republic http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/reject-conservatism-liberalism/#ixzz2tM84oCmT
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