The rise of anti- globalist movements, Leftist identity politics, and Islam- critical forces have indubitably left libertarianism in a weaker position than it once was.
Which is in some respects, unfortunate. On a personal level, I find libertarian views on cigarette taxation, climate change, mass surveillance, self defence, foreign interventionism, as well as policing and economic policy (to lesser extents), largely appealing. Likewise, the basic libertarian drive to attain individual freedom from interference as reflected in John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, has similarities with my own desire for nationwide freedom from interference, via an ethnonationalist- leaning, populist brand of politics for Australia.
However, the underlying issue with libertarianism, can be traced to its hyper- individualist, culturally apathetic bent.
Libertarians often claim: “The government shouldn’t legislate morality,” which on its face seems reasonable, and to some extent true. But beyond this cliché often exists a basic code which states that as individuals are endowed with various inalienable rights, government should therefore not restrict or even discourage certain types of behaviour, or artificially promote one culture over another. So long as the harm principle remains intact, the libertarian conscience is upheld.
This philosophy is troublesome as when scattered, individual oriented folk face up to unified, mobilized forces, they lose the battle in numbers, which leads to defeat in the battle of ideas (at the ballot box). For instance, while they come in various shades, Libertarians tend to be lax on immigration. Regardless of colour, religion or nationality, libertarians want more migrants providing they are ‘hard working,’ as described by Gary Johnson in 2016.
This view is fine until it spells a death knell for Libertarian and Right of centre ideals, via demographic change. Mitt Romney alluded to this danger of an exploding, permanently dependent class of Americans in his infamous ’47 %’ remarks. But more specifically, in each Presidential election Texas moves closer to turning blue and going the way of California, as its Hispanic population increases. Since Texas voted for George. W Bush in 2004 by 23 points, it has gradually been shifting away from Republican control, with Trump winning the state in 2016 by just 9 points. At first glance, even the 2016 margin might seem safe. But based on Texas’ trajectory, it will inevitably become a Democratic voting state one day, and when this occurs, there will likely never be a Republican President again. Clearly, Republican positions on lower taxes, spending, entitlement reform and free markets are unequivocally more appealing to Libertarians than Democratic ideals. So unless Libertarians support ample restrictions on immigration, they will continue sabotaging the survival of their own political interests.
The libertarian perspective on procreation and to some extent abortion is also rooted in an individualist perspective, given the increased agency these practices give to individuals. Which again, is not a wickedly unjustified position to take. But when one focuses their entire energies into individual rights whilst others act as collectivists, society changes around them, and these changes are often detrimental to liberal values.
As abortion and casual sex has dominated among educated Westerners, birth rates have dropped across the Western world. In Australia, the national fertility rate is in dire straits (while not as marked as Europe), standing at 1.8 children per woman. This reality becomes particularly damaging, when other, less enlightened groups including Muslims, both view and act strategically towards birth rates, such that Muhammed is now more popular than Biblical names in NSW.
When adherents to a militant faith who hold unquestionably illiberal beliefs on homosexuality, free speech, apostasy and open thought grow in number, the libertarian cause of freedom is evidently damaged. Despite that libertarians ironically promote the initial causal behaviour, but oppose the later consequences which negligently (yet inevitably) arise.
This essentially amounts to a Libertarian tolerance of intolerance, which inevitably leads to the collapse of tolerance itself.
And by the time Libertarians peek outside their individual bubble and realize all of this, it may be too late.