On Spencer v. Sargon, Collectivism and the Limits of Liberalism and Libertarianism

Sargon of Akkad’s recent live stream appearance with Richard Spencer was a watershed moment not just for the so-called YouTube Skeptic Community, but for classical liberalism and libertarianism alike. Specifically, it has called into question the viability of the classical liberal assumption of the primacy of individualism over collectivism. So much so, that Sargon has renounced his perch of smug detachment and hoisted the banner of “liberalist” in hopes of revitalizing a philosophy that has long been considered the pinnacle of Western secular thought but has since fallen into disrepute with the ascendancy of progressivism and postmodern neo-Marxism. 

What’s at issue is the classical liberal and libertarian claim that all political collective action initiated under the banner of either multicultural neo-Marxism or white nationalist identitarianism is a pathway to tyranny. Conservatives have long argued that liberalism leads to atomized individuals with no larger concerns for community or country. And in the case of the alt-right, loyalty to race. Further, the idea that rights come with responsibilities and duties has given way to a either a sense of petulant entitlement or a false pretense of morality. Take for example, the progressive argument for single payer healthcare. Classical liberals (including many conservatives) and libertarians argue that legislation which expropriates the individual in order confer material goods or services through force of law violates individual rights. State compulsion deployed in order to forcibly impose a transfer of wealth from one group to another or to fulfill a broad notion of “public good” is merely a form of legalized plunder. While it may be tempting to take the standard libertarian tack of apolitical detachment and principled rationalism, That Guy T argues a point with which any serious liberty minded person must contend. 

Humanity is wired for collectivism. Society can neither be built or maintained with a mass of atomized individuals. People’s moral instincts favor group welfare over appeals to individualism. No matter how tight your argument against redistribution may be, you’re fighting what amounts to a religious belief in the sanctity of group welfare. In the mind of the progressive, the fulfillment of a moral imperative which redresses entrenched inequalities and structural barriers to upward economic mobility completely trounces any appeal to individual liberty. 

However, I believe the critical distinction is over what form collectivism will take and where it goes wrong.

The State is an institution of collectivized force. Politics is both the art of the possible and the socially sanctioned application of institutionalised violence. When any form of collective action enters the political sphere, it is in essence, an attempt to impose a widely shared moral imperative through the force of law. The progressive left has built a completely politicized moral system atop longstanding Marxist templates of oppression. The reason they have monopolized every institution which shapes values and perception is because the leftist ideology can only be upheld and maintained through aggressive propaganda and an atomized population whose cultural and familial bonds are weak or broken.  

Sargon argued that the alt-right are simply the other end of the identity politics Horseshoe Theory. Ergo, they’re no different from the SJWs. The alt-right quest for an ethnostate will require all manners of state oppression, thought policing and perhaps even blood testing. The alt-right, however, are arguing that ethnic and racial homogeneity is perfectly in accord with human nature and legislating a collective consensus is easier to justify when you’re providing for your own people and there are more deeply rooted bonds of family and community. The alt-right contends that racially homogeneous societies produce higher levels of trust and cohesion. Even if you don’t buy the argument for racial homogeneity, the libertarian argument for decentralization and smaller units of political power lends itself to creating a more manageable social order. T argues that libertarians can be liberty “consultants” for collectivism. 

That Guy T is also correct to concede that libertarianism risks becoming an irrelevant clique of sanctimonious nerds. Pretensions of intellectual and moral superiority, postures of neutral detachment nor ideological votes for doomed candidacies are likely to win the day or build the kind of future libertarians seek. Libertarians must face the possibility that all the arguments in the world won’t mean anything when people will use the political apparatus without hesitation to promote what they believe to be in the best interests of their preferred group. I have previously suggested that the libertarian pursuit of pure principles and free competition of ideas has the best chance of planting the deepest roots. This was perhaps an overly charitable appraisal. Perhaps the most uncomfortable truth which must be considered is that a marketplace of ideas doesn’t stand a chance unless there’s a culture which values a marketplace of ideas in the first place. 

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4 thoughts on “On Spencer v. Sargon, Collectivism and the Limits of Liberalism and Libertarianism

  1. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    This post embodies a number of concepts. Having read it several times, I am still thinking on the matters raised.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. VG Reese says:

    I feel like That Guy T and the Liberalists have a definition problem. Sargon and his group are fine with a collective being based on borders. Basically, the United States should do what is in its best interests. Berkley, as in That Guy T’s video, should do what they want. Imposing restrictions on people is where the problem comes in. Both groups agree on this.

    The thing that is rejected by the Liberalists would be the idea that government can be based on anything other than borders. Once government becomes based on race and enforces race, it becomes “collectivist” and is what is being rejected.

    The liberal experiment failed because the messaging has removed duties and sacrifice. The sanctity of the individual to do what they want isn’t wrong or the cause of that failure. Those principles in the form of rights just can’t stand alone. Evidence says it results in entitled shitheads who buy into Russian propaganda.

    Like

    • Interesting perspective.
      My basic point is that the progressives have kind of made the alt-right necessary by simultaneously weaponizing all non-white identities and turning #RACISM into a form of Ultimate Sin Against Multiculturalism. Obviously, this also holds for womyn and LGBTQTDCVHBVBGCCX p*rsxns. They have succeeded in manufacturing this consensus throughout the West.

      The alt-right are essentially arguing that white birth rates are far below both the quantity of new immigrants and immigrant birth rates and whites are heading for minority status in the decades to come. Subsequently, the task of forging any kind of classical liberal popular consensus is wishful thinking at best because the incoming population are being herded into the progressive corner right off the bat. The Democrats and the Eurocrats have made that very clear.

      As much as I want to believe that the new immigrant populations are going to absorb Western values simply by being within the borders of a Western country, there’s scant evidence that they will. If the US and the EU are essentially just opening the welcome mat, then there’s little or no incentive for immigrants to assimilate to the values of the host culture.

      We take liberal ideas for granted because that’s our cultural inheritance. But it should be self-evident that different cultures produce different civilization outcomes and it doesn’t follow that they’re all perfectly compatible or that the incoming culture is going to embrace the host culture.

      People like you and me are already a minority. Most people just don’t give a shit about any of this. Now think about some random dude from Syria who barely speaks English and has few job skills.

      Listen, I hope more people get red pilled about the state of things and I honestly don’t care if they get it from Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Dennis Prager or Stefan Molyneux.

      Trump is trying to do a very difficult task. He’s got a lot of forces arrayed against him and he’s trying to conserve a kind of multicultural civic nationalism atop the giant mental cancer of postmodernism that the progressives have been actively cultivating for decades. Not exactly an easy task.

      The progressives have made it clear that they want transnational open borders superstates. They want institutions like the UN and the EU. They’re increasingly leaning on Silicon Valley to be the eyes of Big Brother for them. Add in the Antifa goon squads and people cowed by Muslim communities and you’ve got a sufficiently robust street level intimidation network to keep people silent and compliant.

      That’s what we’re up against, dude. Obviously, I’m here because I still believe in the battle of ideas. But you can’t plant seeds in fallow soil.

      Liked by 1 person

      • VG Reese says:

        Yeah, we basically fucked ourselves by letting in a bunch of people who don’t fit in with the morals from the founding of America. We either cuck to them (fuck that) or fight back. I have no interest in living in the world the Alt-Right wants. I also have no interest in the social justice “utopia” as it stands.

        I consider myself a Liberalist, but I am 100% fine with acknowledging that we have a major issue and we need a plan of action against it. I’d love to see discussions on denying visas from nations that have had major incidence of problems or how to kick out the people that are here illegally. The Democrats have no interest in this since that is their voting base. It’s a major conflict of interest.

        I think we see the issues the same. What I want is:
        * Securing America as I see it
        * America as I see it is classically liberal

        I have a feeling you’d land very close to those goals, but are focusing on the problems that have started taking seed today. I am fine with making communists, Marxists, and post modernists very uncomfortable until the threat to American culture is gone.

        I am looking at the end goal of where society should end up. For me, that is a world much like the one I live in now, but without any of these threats of people voting in insanely harmful shit to my way of life. (or blowing me up, for that matter.)

        Like

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