What is the One Founding Principle of Universal Libertarianism?
Universal Libertarianism is not a completely new ideology.
Nor is it merely a revival, renewal, reformation or correction of any existing ideology.
Rather, it is an attempt to sweep away millennia of tyranny and barbarism, by establishing a key first principle on which everything else depends.
Of course, it might be argued that this is fundamentally question-begging; why ought there to be just one single foundation?
And yet, I have found that in all the ideologies of the world, even the relatively progressive ones (such as liberalism and socialism in their most enlightened forms), there is a founding error or ‘original sin.’
What is this one error that has morally debilitated every single worldview up to now; and as far as I know, without a single exception?
It is this.
Whenever any ideology has made any progress towards affirming the wellbeing of the individual, and of the individual alone, there has always been some kind of ‘compromise’ or ‘counterweight’ built into the particular ideology at issue.
Christianity taught emancipation from the ethnos, the gens, the people; but not from the religious ‘community.’
Islam taught emancipation from the tribe, but not from the Caliphate.
Buddhism taught emancipation from the ways of the this world, but not from the Sangha.
And what of political ideologies?
Liberalism, despite its 1001 different forms and manifestations, has generally been one of the most individualistic ideologies on earth; secularism, the rule of law, universal suffrage, women’s rights, LGBT equality.
And yet, in recent times, the tyranny of authoritarian identity politics has threatened to overwhelm any truly authentic liberal and individualistic approach towards ensuring the liberty and equality of individuals from minority demographics.
Socialism, too, has weaponized the working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat as disciplinary bludgeons against dissent.
The single thread running through all these cases (a truly selective and brief array of historical tragedies) is this:
Whenever individualistic emancipation from an existing relationship of subordination is promised, this act of liberation is counterbalanced by a new relationship of subordination to an imaginary and ideal ‘collective interest.’
Thus it is that the explicit and crude nationalism of the Nazis is rejected, but the often insidious and subtle ethnocentrisms of continental and civilization nationalism replace it.
Or if not this, then loyalty to an abstract ‘Humanity in general.’
Similarly, the nationalism of Mussolini or of the National Front is not very politically correct; but a Marxist internationalism, liberal globalism or bourgeois cosmopolitanism is seen as the panacea, rather than as a merely mystified form of nationalism.
Surveying the territory covered up to now, it seems that there has never been a consistently individualistic ideology up to now.
If this is so, then several consequences would appear to follow:
- Anyone who truly believes in an uncompromising individualism must not rely too heavily on existing ideologies, as these are all compromised by a ‘compensatory collectivism.’ I.e. all existing ideologies either strongly reject individualism, or water it down substantially.
- If individualism is not reducible to any one existing ideology, then much of the historical ‘baggage’ with which individualism has been entangled is actually a matter of mere historical coincidence, in terms of what was plausible at the time.
- It is thus important to recognize that much of what is called individualism has a purely contingent relationship with individualism, and is not necessarily strictly derivable from the single principle that “only individuals have interests,” alternatively phraseable as “only individuals have wellbeing.”
- The project of Universal Libertarianism must treat with due skepticism all that has been considered as ‘individualism’ up to now. For example, it is by no means certain a priori that a Thatcherite, Reaganite, Randian or Von Misean ideology of anti-interventionism or ‘laissez-faire’ in the economic sphere is a logically valid deduction from the principle of individualism. Universal Libertarians must begin from the first principle of universal libertarianism, rather than from the secondary apparatus of liberal and libertarian thought throughout the ages.
We have more than one person already who is interested in writing for us. As for my own articles, here is what I intend to write in the near future (at least):
I.e., what ideas are incorrectly deduced from the founding principle; or at least, are inconclusively deducible, and so require further reflection and discussion?
For example, humanitarian interventionism is an obvious case of a collectivist deviation in liberalism; for reasons I can elaborate on upon later on. It may be a liberal idea, but universal libertarianism isn’t liberalism, because UniLib rejects the collectivist counterweights and compensations and compromises of liberalism; just as it would for any ideology.
Misconceptions about the Founding Principle Itself
Isn’t Universal Libertarianism just another ideology of egotism and selfishness?
Doesn’t Universal Libertarianism deny the natural human desire and natural social need for sharing and co-operating with others?
Isn’t having a single principle a form of moral universalism, and thus imperialistic?
SPOILER: Yes and no. (Yes to being morally universalistic in character, i.e. legitimate for all times and places; no to being a one-size-fits-all ideological straightjacket. Also no to being something to be imposed on others by the barrel of a gun.
The journal ‘Universal Libertarianism’ will involve a ‘hard jacket’ of strongly committed writers, but will welcome occasional contributions; we may also conduct interviews with others. Please contact email@example.com
Later, it is expected that there will be a book. If you wish to fund me as the editor of this journal and of any future book please see my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/onetonguejohnny
Part of the money received will be for my living costs or savings; part of it will go towards our pot of money, which provides minor remuneration for article contributions (we will have news soon on how this will work).
If you found this article thought-provoking, please hit the heart button, and maybe even follow my account!
Apart from my Medium account and Medium journals, you can find One Tongue Johnny on Facebook and Twitter.
I also have a Patreon account.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t underestimate my articles, because…