Tactical Libertarianism and the Porn Question

Measured by organic support, libertarian philosophy appeals to almost no one. It nevertheless exerts an outsized influence in politics because it is a useful weapon for a hypocritical ruling class, that wields it selectively and in bad faith.

Whenever someone questions the tech companies’ right to censor right-wing opinions, for instance, liberals suddenly turn into Murray Rothbard, proclaiming that a private company can do whatever it wants with its own property. It does not bother these people that this same argument was sharpened most effectively through white resistance to the Civil Rights Act, in defense of business owners’ right to exclude blacks from their property. Unlike libertarian autists, the liberals who invoke these principles don’t really believe them, and feel no need to apply them consistently. They are simply weapons to use against their enemies, free to be discarded whenever new weapons may be found that work better. And of course, libertarian arguments that would seriously challenge the ruling class—not only in opposition to the Civil Rights Act but even on more innocuous issues like constitutionalism, states’ rights, a peaceful foreign policy, or an end to business subsidies— do not get the same treatment. They are totally ignored, ridiculed, and driven into conservative ghettos like Breitbart.

The now-familiar dialectic of “tactical libertarianism” has reemerged once again in the debate over banning porn, which rages on right-wing Twitter. In any healthy society, there should really be no debate that the type of hardcore pornography found online should be banned. Everyone knows it is disgusting; none but the most deranged leftists and cumbrains try to defend it as valuable in itself.  (Who after all, could seriously defend the merits of a film showing close up anal penetration, or 15 furries masturbating?). Everyone knows also that it is addictive, that it drives an alienating wedge between the sexes, creating false expectations on the nature of sex and incentivizing young men to spend their most virile years masturbating at home instead of interacting with women on healthy terms in the real world. Its long-term effects can be summarized from the fact that, even as all aspects of society have been entirely sexualized, more and more men in their twenties are suffering erectile dysfunction. Lastly, the pornography industry is notoriously cruel and exploitative to its own workers, even to the point of child sex trafficking,

The libertarian’s role is to effectively frustrate the normal human desire to ban such an awful thing, by reframing the debate to a narrow argument over procedure. Any time that someone proposes against this clear moral and public-health menace…in swoops the libertarian, to somberly inform us that doing so is simply impossible. That would be tyranny and violate our most cherished values, don’t you see?

Often, this is accompanied by a pseudo-masculine posturing. If you want government action, the libertarian adult-in-the-room[1] tells us, that’s really just a sign of your inadequacy, that you can’t control your own urges or protect your own children without help from Big Daddy Government.

Of course, there is nothing masculine about letting the world degrade around you just because you think that you personally can survive it. The purpose of life should not be to set up a series of hurdles that only the strongest can pass. People are flawed and sometimes need help. If the government can shape the law to make their lives easier, then it should do so. Why let a bad system persist, just because the stronger citizens are able to overcome it?

All of this should be common sense. Indeed, it would be common sense for most of American history. It is libertarianism, by contrast—with its demands for total government inaction as a categorical imperative—that is the outlier and demands some explanation. Does anyone seriously believe that societies are duty-bound to watch themselves decay, just because of some abstract idea of liberty?

The answer, of course, is no, they don’t. Outside a few ideological cliques, no one really believes in libertarianism. The people most loudly defending porn online today—people like the gay twenty-year-old atheist “conservative” Brad Polumbo—should be considered less as offering political “opinions” and more as the mouthpieces of a rich and well-connected ruling class, which benefits financially from the porn industry and—more indirectly—from the general sexualization of culture, with its corresponding atomization. If Polumbo lost his job as a conservative mouthpiece, his donors would easily find another college student to ply with money, adopt their positions, and play the same role. These positions do not need to be rigorous or even intellectually defensible. They just have to lay out the party line that conservatives, libertarians, and others on the right are required to take.

 Whether Polumbo actually believes this line of reasoning is also inconsequential. His handlers—for whom porn is a lucrative business and a great way to keep young men distracted and pacified—certainly don’t believe it. The whole show is a big put-on in the hopes that you, white man, will be stupid enough to believe it, and that through a decontextualized focus on rules, fair play, and procedure, you will come to believe that, dang it all, it turns out we just can’t address important social problems after all. What is most galling about this whole charade is the enforced passivity. It is built around the fundamental lie that we are not really the masters of our destiny, and that we must be chained to outmoded rules, even at the expense of a diminished quality of life, out of some kind of principles.

Ideological principles should serve people; people were not made to serve ideology. If your ideology no longer addresses the important issues, then you should reject it. The State can be whatever we want it to be. Yes, that means we can use it crush bad things and promote good things. Libertarianism is useful to the ruling class because it tells the masses that we have to accept the situation we have now, and can never use hard power to make it better.

That line of thought only becomes powerful if we let it. The true right should just ignore libertarians or treat them with contempt, and then go about fulfilling our obligations to society. We have nothing to lose but our chains!


[1] While not known for their sense of humor, the libertarian attempt to play the adult is genuinely hilarious. Murray Rothbard once suggested that, while zoning laws are ipso facto a violation of libertarian principle, a homeowner need not worry because he could achieve the same result if he bought all his neighbors’ homes! (See here, at page 18.) Or consider Michael Malice’s claim that  that drug addicts “in fact make highly rational decisions though ones geared toward a very short timeframe.” It is also libertarian dogma that blackmail should be legal, and that public roads and the U.S. Post Office represent the gravest tyranny. But when it comes to defending child sexual exploitation, these same people suddenly morph into serious adults…who take the very adult pro-exploitation side.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Spooky N says:

    You had me up until “fulfilling our obligations to society”. What society? If you mean this one right now, there is effectively no reason for banning porn because there is no legislative institution nor group of collective busybodies that control Congress or have any power that can do so without invoking the wrath of (((civil rights groups))) with deep pockets. Even then, laws can be ignored and unenforced and we would be no step closer to getting rid of a multi-billion dollar industry on our terms. Also, you’re an absolute clown if you think anything about this society deserves anything but our scorn and contempt, while we should instead focus on getting people out of that filth rather than wasting our time on power plays that can only exist in our heads.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CVLR says:

    The purpose of ideology is to dazzle the sheeple.

    Like

  3. Wilson says:

    Sounds like a debate for losers, powerless rightists mostly deplatformed by censorship desperately clinging onto the illusion that they are still persons by offering their 2 cents about what should be censored next. But hate speech will be a criminal offense before porn is, there will be time to write letters to the editor of the New York Times denouncing porn from jail

    Like

    1. R. Landry - Editor says:

      Any submission on what to do is welcome. I assume fedposting would be the follow up comment.

      Like

  4. Bob Roddis says:

    Libertarianism would allow private communities to ban porn, people who watch porn and internet and other connections to porn. Violence remains the major problem for human beings. There are plenty of non-violent private solutions to non-traditional behavior. Non-libertarians are generally stupid and dishonest people who cannot think abstractly and are unable to logically apply libertarian and Austrian principles past their noses.

    Further, “zoning” issues disappear with private roads, streets and sidewalks and those types of decisions can and could be determined by private community bylaws and the preferences of the owners of the roads.

    Like

    1. Aldon says:

      I too am proud of my half-Black grandson and Tranny nephew.

      >here are plenty of non-violent private solutions to non-traditional behavior

      Funny enough, it’s the violent ones (or at least ones with a veiled threat of such) that seem to work going from how societies like Timor Leste and Pakistan keep their women doing what they’re supposed to instead of hording cats and becoming Daisy Ridley.

      Also, Negroes were much better behaved when they were banned from owning firearms and banned from intruding on Whitey and otherwise had boots on their necks.

      Like

  5. Cornelius van Kloon says:

    This article is very simplistic. You don’t have to be an sperg, ancap, or libertarian cultist to see some nuance in the porn question. Articles like this are profoundly lazy and just declare that “everyone” shares the author’s biases, a statement that is obviously false, and remarkably myopic coming from someone writing on a dissident right blog. Libertarian philosophy recognizes the existence of different preferences and passions, which are a part of reality and a primary basis of political conflict. You don’t have to agree with the libertarian stance, but to have something intelligent to say about regulation of any vice (porn is just one vice among many) one should engage with reasonable libertarian objections instead of just dismissing them.

    If we all adopt this kind of pigheaded stance where we want to JUST BAN the things that particularly bother us, we quickly end up with more and more unnecessary conflict (hundreds of years of religious wars, anyone?). That’s because, despite the author’s claims, not even close to “everyone” agrees on what should be banned. For example, online “hate speech”. Maybe in the author’s dictatorial fantasies he doesn’t have to worry about his enemies using his own advocated methods against him. In the real world, there are many millions of people (with plenty in high places) inclined to banning the kind of discussions of race and ethnicity found on americansun. Probably a lot more of them than agree with the author about porn, actually. Advocating banning of porn in the current environment is profoundly tactically stupid for the dissident right, as it would normalize a principle that would almost surely be applied to dissident right political speech. Here:

    “In any healthy society, there should really be no debate that the type of racist and anti-semitic hate speech found online should be banned. Everyone knows it is disgusting; none but the most deranged neo-nazis and conspiracy theorists try to defend it as valuable in itself. (Who after all, could seriously defend the merits of jokes about Nazi ovens, or racist “Sambo” caricature cartoons?). Everyone knows also that what starts out as jokes leads to ever more dangerous extremism and radicalism, that it drives an alienating wedge between people of different races, spreads false and offensive stereotypes about vulnerable minorities, and incites young men to engage in antisocial and hateful behavior instead of trying to interact with and come to understand people of other races and cultures in the real world. Its long-term effects can be summarized from the fact that, even as we have largely purged explicit racism from our institutions, more and more men in their twenties are getting sucked into this reactionary alt-right cult. Lastly, online hate speech (found an sites like 4chan, vdare, and americansun) is notoriously associated with terrorism, as we have seen with recent anti-semitic and white nationalist attacks in Christchurch and San Diego.”

    Like

    1. Aidan Castile says:

      The left will ban hate speech as soon as they get the chance. Whether we set a “precedent” by banning porn first has nothing to do with it. Unlike libertarians, they realize that it is good to use the government to pursue what you think is good.

      Like

      1. Aldon says:

        And by above I meant the cuckservative defending porn.

        Like

    2. Aldon says:

      The above poster thinks multiculturalism works without threat of official ultraviolence.

      Like

  6. Aldon says:

    Prostitution should be legal yet the women who do so be branded. It’s really the best option here.

    (White) Men have enough of a sense of shame that they won’t engage with prostitutes since even today they’re seen as shameful. Porn is dysfunctional by nature since it’s ultimately mass cuckoldry (you are watching another man claim a woman you are drawn to) or mass autogynephilia (you are identfying with a woman’s pleasure or body). It exploits the man’s way of being and ruins him.

    Recognized and branded prostitution is necessary since it recognizes it’s the only way to ensure that enough men see themselves as having access to decent women (thin or at least only fat in the right places, appealing faces regardless of their own prospects for marriage) for them to have a stake in society when they’re most virile.

    Like

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