libertarian versus authoritarian

It’s difficult to look at the media, whether social or mainstream, and not see that there is a lot of confusion and projection going on. There is a social and ideological shift happening, and no, it isn’t the rise of fascism.

We’re still being encouraged to think in terms of left versus right, and our social commentators can’t understand what’s happening. The youngsters fed by baby boomer academia and media are panicking, because they’re swallowing the narrative that has ossified into respectability since the 60s.  If it’s not Left, it must be Right. If it’s Right Wing, then it’s fascism. If it’s “liberal” it must be Left Wing, otherwise it’s Liberal, and that is Right Wing. Identity politics must be good, because it is for “rights” and left-wing causes. If you are against identity politics, then you must be wanting to take away people’s freedoms. A lot of it in effect has become about what kind of person you are. Cowboy or Indian. Jane Fonda or Hitler. Righteous or irredeemable.

The broad mass of people, while they are certainly manipulable and capable of mob sentiment, have a lot more wisdom than is fashionable to acknowledge. It’s the insight of people who don’t have power, and who aren’t going to care about the etiquette and fear of falling which elites live under, in order to maintain their status and comfort. This doesn’t come from mass feeling, so much as shared individual experience, and there is a difference. Especially when their opinions have no official validation. And I think a broad mass of people in the West have noticed that things don’t add up, that they’re not listened to, and the world as officially presented doesn’t make too much sense. Moreover, the world view that has been imposed on them increasingly is being imposed, through a kind of culture of shame, and a culture of neglect. Political correctness, selective “hate” crime, cyber “violence”, “positive discrimination”, and the vilification of the old working class, and of men in general, have mounted to the point, not where they engineer the change that their architects intend, but where people notice they are being pushed and made to pay for what doesn’t benefit them. And people don’t like being pushed, especially when they know they have done nothing wrong.

If we just moved away from the tired old trope of Left versus Right, and instead took a look at things in terms of libertarian versus authoritarian, freedom and responsibility versus dependence, censure, control and shame, then I think we would see more clearly what is going on, and what the word “liberal” really means.

The responses of the Left to the changes taking place really just seem to reflect any other millennialist type of philosophy. The end of the world is threatened. I think you can expect this to repeat periodically, just like it does for some evangelicals, as the Left shrinks. But the demise of the authoritarian, collectivist Left doesn’t mean the rise of the far right. Unless that is the only option people feel will listen to their concerns. And that suits the Left, as it justifies their existence. Which is why they will keep pushing their failed ideas, and scream their narrative ever more hysterically. They’ll double down, and people really should ignore that, and just make up their own minds.

I would choose freedom and responsibility myself, which precludes both the Left (as it is right now) and the far Right.

What I wouldn’t choose is authoritarianism.


Façana del Centre Social Ocupat Autogestionat (CSOA) La Carboneria al Carrer Urgell de Barcelona By Dvdgmz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons



    • yes, quite so. The thing with the left-right dichotomy is that it makes being “left” or “right” the definitive things, failing to acknowledge the similarity of authoritarianisms. If you take liberty and authoritarianism to be the things, it allows different kinds of analysis, and a different engagement with the ideologies being peddled, and more importantly, with the results for people on the ground in life

  1. That whole “if you’re against the left then you must want to take away our freedoms” schtick? I’m ashamed to say that I fell right into that when I was a teenager, back when I oscillated between left-liberal and anarchist, before I decided I was more of a libertarian.

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