Libertarianism, immigration, race, cultural roots and collective identity

There are many rooms in the libertarian  ideological house.  That fact often derails rational discussion of libertarian issues, but it need not be a problem in this instance because the question being asked is most  efficiently  examined   by testing  it against  the flintiest wing of libertarian thought. If  that pristine, uncompromising  form of libertarianism is incompatible with  the maintenance of cultural roots and collective identity, then  all other shades of libertarianism will be incompatible  to some degree.

The pristine libertarian has no truck with  any form of government, believing that  personal relations  between individuals  will adequately order society no matter how  large or complex the society,  and that  such ordering will arise naturally if  only the artificially constraints on human behaviour such as governments  and laws are removed.   Such a society  would supposedly  work along these lines.    If  the society is threatened by an invader,  individuals will join together to defend it  out of a sense of self-preservation.  To   those who cannot work for reasons of sickness,  injury, age or innate infirmity,  compassion and a sense of duty will ensure  that private charity is  extended  to relieve the need. If  public works such as roads and railways are required,  self-interest and reason will drive individuals to join to together to build  them.   Matters such as education may be  safely  left to parents and such  charitable provision as arises.   Above all the individual is king and personal choice is only circumscribed if a choice involves the imposition of one  individual’s will on another.   You get  the idea. The consequence is a vision of  a society not  a million miles away from  Rightist  forms of anarchism.

This concentration on the individual makes for a fissile  society. If each person  is to follow his  or her  own way  without any requirement to believe anything  other than to respect the conditions necessary to realise libertarian ends , that  in itself  would definitely weaken  collective identity and probably affect  cultural unity.  Nonetheless in a truly  homogeneous society, especially if it was small, the probability is that  cultural weakening would not be great and the absence of a conscious collective  identity would not present a difficulty provided the society was not subject to  a serious threat from outside.

Serious problems  for  the pristine libertarian  arise where the  society is heterogeneous,  because  then there is a loss of collective unity. If  the heterogeneity comes from class,  the  cultural roots may  be largely untouched  or at least develop in a way  which  ensures that there is still much cultural  uniformity  and that uniformity is  clearly an extension of  past cultural  traits. It is also true that in a racially and ethnically homogeneous society,  a sense of collective unity will be easily rekindled if the society comes under  external threat.

The most difficult society for libertarians to deal with is  one which is ethnically divided, especially if the ethnic divide includes  racial difference. There a society becomes not so much a society but a series  of competing racial and ethnic enclaves.  In such a situation,  it is inevitable that both  cultural unity and collective identity is  undermined because there is no  shared general cultural experience and this plus racial difference makes a collective  identity not merely impossible but absurd even in concept.

The brings us to the most obvious threat presented by pristine  libertarians to the maintenance  of cultural roots and collective identity. That  is the idea that national boundaries  should be irrelevant with people travelling  and settling wherever they choose.  This  presumes human beings are essentially interchangeable and in this respect it  echoes  multiculturalism.  The consequence of such a belief is to  greatly increase the heterogeneity of a society through the mass immigration of  those who are radically different from the native population.  We do not need to guess what the result of  such immigration is because it  has  happened throughout the western world in our own time. More specifically, it  has happened in those  countries whose populations which are most naturally sympathetic  to libertarian ideas: those which may broadly  be described as Anglo-Saxon; countries such as Britain, the USA and what used  to be known as  the old white  dominions.

The influx of millions of people who  see themselves as separate from the native  populations of the countries to which they had migrated has resulted in the  Anglo-Saxon states gradually destroying their tradition of freedom. Driven by a  mixture of liberal internationalist ideology and fear, their  elites have severely restricted by laws and  their control of the media  and public  institutions  what may be said publicly  about immigration and its consequences.  In Britain it is now possible to be brought to court simply for saying  to someone from an ethnic minority “go home”, while any allegation of racist behaviour  – which may be no more than failing to invite  someone from an ethnic minority  to an  office party – against a public servant will result at best in a long inquiry  and at worst with dismissal.  Nor, in  practice, is application of the law or the  witch-hunts  directed equally  against everyone for it is overwhelmingly native Britons who are targeted. At the same time as native Britons are being silenced and  intimidated, an incessant tide of pro-immigrant and multiculturalist  propaganda is pumped out by government, the public  organisations they control such as the civil service and state schools and the  mass media , which is overwhelmingly signed up to the liberal internationalist
way of thinking.  The teaching of history  has been made a non-compulsory subject in British schools after the age of 14  and such history as  is taught  is next to worthless in promoting a sense of  collective unity,  both because it fails  to give any chronological context to what is put before the pupils  because it concentrates on “themes”  rather than periods and because the amount of  British history that is contained within  the syllabus is tiny, often consisting of the Tudors and little  else.  The consequence is that the young  of the native British population are left with both a sense that their own  culture is in some strange way to be valued less than that of the various  immigrant groups and the lack of any knowledge about their country’s past.

The most  and sinister consequence of  post-war immigration and the British elite’s  response to it  is the development within  Britain of  a substantial number of Muslims  who not only do not have any sense of belonging to the broader society in which  they live, but who are actively hostile to  Britain and its values.  But if  this is the most dramatic example of the fracturing  of British society, it is merely symptomatic  of the separatist attitude of  ethnic  minorities in Britain generally, especially those from radically alien cultures  allied to racial difference.

All of these developments are antithetical to pristine  libertarian ideals,  both because they  undermine  shared values and because they  result in actions to control friction between competing racial and ethnic groups which in themselves undermine the conditions  in which libertarian ideals  flourish.  That libertarians so often subscribe to the  ideal of open borders despite the overwhelming evidence of  its counter-productive effects for  libertarian ends is indicative of the blinkered nature of much libertarian  thinking.

The fundamental weakness of pristine  libertarianism is its complete  failure to take  account of  human psychology  and the way  humans behave as groups.  This is  unsurprising  because of the central  position given to the individual.  But by  doing this pristine  libertarians  ignore the central fact of being human: we are  a social animal. Being  a social animal  entails two defining behaviours: all social animals  produce hierarchies  and   all  social animals place limits to the group.  Homo sapiens is no exception.

Because hierarchies in the human context arise not only from  the personal efforts, qualities and talents of each individual, as is the case  with animals,  but from the  position  each individual occupies through the accident of birth, this raises two  difficulties for libertarians.  The first  is there is not a level playing field and without that the pristine  libertarian ideal of society organising  itself through freely  entered into  relationships is severely distorted because it is clearly absurd to say that a man born poor is freely entering into a master-servant relationship with a man  born rich when the poor man needs money simply to feed himself.  The second difficulty is that the very  existence of an hierarchy,  whether or  not it is based on merit, undermines the notion of free choice because once it  is established different power relationships exist.

The question of hierarchy becomes more complex as the  heterogeneity of a society grows whether that be ever deeper division into  classes or increasing ethnic and racial diversity . All social animals have to  have boundaries  to  know where the group begins and ends.  This is  because a social animal must operate  within a hierarchy and a hierarchy can only exist where  there are  boundaries.   No boundaries,  no hierarchy, because  no  individual could  ever  know what the dominance/submission  situation  was  within their species or at least within those
members of the species with whom they interact.

The need to define the group is particularly important for  libertarians.   Above all libertarianism requires  trust. In the pristine libertarian society  this means each individual believing that other people will keep their word and  generally behave honestly. But as we all know only too well  people cannot  be trusted to observe societal norms and a society which is fractured by class, race or  ethnicity  is the least likely of all to have a shared  sense of what is right.  Therefore,  libertarians need to recognise that however  much they would like to believe that each human being is an individual who may  go where he or she pleases and do what he or she pleases, the sociological  reality precludes  this and that the only  sane ideological course for a libertarian is to advocate closed borders and the  preservation of the homogeneity of  those  societies which are most favourable to libertarian ideals not because the  society  consciously espouses them,  but because the  society has evolved in a way which includes  libertarian traits.

There will be libertarians who find it immensely difficult going on impossible to accept that the individual must in some respects be  subordinated to the group.  They will  imagine, as liberal internationalists do, that human nature can be changed,  although in the case of libertarians the change will come not from re-education  but the creation of circumstances propitious for libertarian behaviour to  emerge.  Let me explain why this is  impossible because of the innate differences between  human beings and the effects of cultural  imprinting.

Because Man is differentiated profoundly by culture, the widely accepted definition  of a species – a population of freely  interbreeding organisms sharing a common gene pool –   is unsatisfactory,  for  clearly Man is  more than  a brute   animal  responding   to   simple  biological   triggers.  When  behavioural differences  are  perceived as belonging to a particular group by  that group  as differentiating  members of the group from other  men,  they perform the same role as  organic differences for  they  divide Man  into cultural species.

A strong  analogy with computers can be made. As hardware,  a particular model of  computer is  practically identical to every other computer which  is classified as  the same model.  But the  software available to every computer of the same model is not  identical.   They may run  different operating systems, either completely different or different versions of the same program. The  software  which runs under the operating system is different  with different versions of the same program being used.  The data which is input to the computer varies and this in turn affects the capabilities of the computer.

It  clearly makes no  sense to say every computer of the same  model  is the same even if the  computer is loaded with the same software.  But of  course  not  all  computers  are  of  the  same  model.  They  vary tremendously  in  their  power.  The same software  will  run  at  very different  rates  because of this. Storage and  memory size  also  vary tremendously. Some computers cannot run  programmes because the programmes  are  too large.  We  may call all computers computers,  but that is to say little more  than that  all  animals are animals,  for
computers  range  from  the immensely  powerful super  computers – the homo sapiens  of  the computer  world  as it were – to the amoeba  of the  simple  chip  which controls  lights  being put on or off in a room  depending  on whether someone is in it.

Are the circumstances of computers  not akin to those of  Man?  Do  not the racially based  differences in IQ correspond to the  differences  in power  of  older  and  newer computers?  Do not different  languages  represent different operating systems? For example, think how different  must be the mentality of  a native  Chinese speaker (using  a language  which  is entirely  monosyllabic)  to that of a native English speaker  (using  a polysyllabic language)  simply because of the profound difference in the structure  of the language. A language will not merely
impose limits on what  may  be  expressed it will affect the  entire  mentality  of  the  individual,  from aesthetic appreciation  to  social expression. Is not the experiential input analogous to the holding of different data?

But the most potent of human behavioural triggers are racial  differences,  for they exercise the  strongest control over the group in a territory where different racial groups  exist. Race trumps ethnicity where the ethnic clash is one of people of the  same race but different ethnicities.  Place a significant population of a different race into a territory  where ethnicity rather than race is the cause of unrest and the ethnic factions  of the same race will tend to unite against those of a different race.

To argue that racial difference is  not important to the choice of a mate is as  absurd as arguing  that the  attractiveness of a person is irrelevant to the choice of a  mate.

In  Freakonomics  Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner  cite a study made of a  US dating site (the full story is on pp 80-84).  The site is one  of the  largest  in  the US and the data examined  covered 30,000  people equally  divided  between San Diego and Boston.  Most were  white  but there was a substantial minority of  non-white subjects.

The  questionnaire the  would-be  daters had to fill  in  included a question  choice on race as “same as mine”  and “doesn’t matter”.   The study  compared  the responses by white would-be  daters  (those from non-white were not analysed) to these  questions with the race of  the emails actually  sent soliciting a date.   The result  in Levitt  and Dubner’s words  was: “Roughly  half of the white women on the site  and  80  percent  of  the white men declared that  race  didn’t  matter to them. But the  response data tell a different story  The  white men who said that race didn’t  matter sent  90  percent of  their e-mail  queries  to  white women. The  white women who  said race  didn’t  matter sent about 97 percent of their e-mail  queries to white men.

“Is  it  possible that race really didn’t  matter  for  these  white women and men and that they simply  never  happened  to browse a non-white  date  that  interested them?” Or,  more likely, did  they say that race didn’t matter  because  they wanted to come across  especially  to potential mates of  their own race as open-minded?”

In short, around 99% of all the women and 94%  of all men in the sample were  not  willing  to  seek a  date of a  different  race. How  much stronger  will  be  the tendency to refuse to breed with a  mate  of  a  different race?

If sexual desire will not commonly override the natural  disinclination to remain racially separate nothing will.

Because the tendency to mate with those of a similar race is  so strong  and universal,  both in place and time, it is reasonable to  conclude  that the  behaviour  is innate and that cultures necessarily include  the  requirement for a member of the society to be of a certain racial type.  The  consequence of this is that someone  of a different racial type  is  effectively precluded from full integration because one of the criteria for  belonging has not been met.  That is not to say,  of course,  that many  of the habits of mind  of an alien culture may not be  adopted  by someone  of  a  different race.  What is withheld  is the  instinctive acceptance  of the alien and his or her descendants  as members of  the society. Just as no human being can decide for themselves that they are a member of this or that group, no individual can decide that they belong  to this or that nation because it is a two-way process: the other members of  the group they wish to join have to accept them as a true member of the group. (Stephen Frears the English  film  director once wryly remarked that he had known the actor Daniel Day-Lewis “before he was Irish”).

Where does this leave us? In its present form libertarianism is a most efficient  dissolver of cultural  roots and collective identity. It is this because it ignores the realities  of  Man’s social nature.  This results in the  creation of the very circumstances which are  least conducive to the realisation of libertarian ends.  If libertarians are to realise those ends, they  must recognise that the society  most  favourable to their beliefs  is one which  is homogeneous in which the shared values create the platform of trust which  must underlie libertarian behaviour.   Of course, that does not guarantee a society favourable to libertarians because  the  shared values may be antithetical to them, but it is a necessary if not  sufficient condition for libertarian ideals to flourish. To that libertarians  must add a recognition that there are profound differences between ethnic and  racial groups and identify those societies which are most worth protecting because they have the largest element of libertarian traits within them.

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