CJay Engel

October 23, 2019

A festering nihilistic libertarianism

I wanted to have a this quotation of my recent article on Left and Right published over here as well, for future reference. Here it is:With regard to libertarianism in our time, there is a developing crises at play wherein the individuals that make up what was once an exciting movement a mere seven years ago at the height of Ron Paul’s influence, are now so concerned about political theory narrowly speaking, that there is no attention being paid to broader cultural, sociological, historical, or epochal issues.

The modern libertarian operates in an abstract silo and what weighs him down is not that he holds to libertarianism, but that he doesn’t know where it fits in the world; for his world is simply political theory alone– the authoritarian state is his only enemy– and he makes this mistake because he has fallen for the narrative of the modern zeitgeist: that all must be interpreted in terms of the political.The crises, which this author predicts will only worsen, is a failure not of libertarianism as a theory, but of the libertarian as a person. He is the political theory version of a generation that has abandoned studying the world in exchange for shallow and disconnected ideas.On this latter point, therefore, to say (as many contemporary libertarians do) that libertarians are connected to one another simply on the basis of their libertarian ideology is to abandon the importance of social criticism and to leave unresolved the problems created by the implementation of our modern political society.

However, this presents a different and tremendously important problem, which is the basis for the coming crises in libertarianism: there is a rising impulse in the libertarian world to completely and consciously reject extra-libertarian social moods. This nihilistic libertarianism alters that old phrase of fascism to say: All within libertarianism, nothing outside libertarianism, nothing against libertarianism. By making libertarianism into a worldview, they not only distort its purpose as a political theory, but they also advocate for a certain social emptiness that libertarianism cannot, by the boundaries of its own subject matter, cannot fill.

About the author

C.Jay Engel is the founder and publisher of Bastion Magazine. He has written for, LRC, David Stockman, and related. He owns several consulting business, actively works on the magazine, and lives in Northern CA.

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