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Redefining Libertarianism: Insufferable Steve Edition

Insufferable Steve Horowitz is at it again. Last time, he smeared Jeff Deist as a literal Nazi.

Now, he’s redefining libertarianism, though this is hardly the first time. He’s a thick libertarian– a libertarian who wants to add to the definition of our beloved theory, in order to add in his own preferences and passions.

This time, he claims that libertarianism rejects anti-semitism.

Part of the problem is that too many libertarians think that claiming to believe in the Non-Aggression Principle is sufficient to establish someone’s libertarian bona fides.  If this summer should teach us anything, it’s that the NAP, while a good rule of thumb and summary of an aspect of ethical teaching, is not enough. Libertarians have apologized far too often and far too long for those who claimed that their anti-Semitism or racism is compatible with their libertarianism because it’s just a “private view” and they don’t wish to enforce it with political power. That excuse making needs to end.

We’ve been over this. Many times. Libertarianism addresses the proper role of coercion, in light of our formulation of property rights, throughout society. Libertarianism seeks to answer the problem of what actions should be criminal, and which should be legal. Anything that is exterior to this specific problem is outside the realms of what the libertarian can say qua libertarianism.

But Insufferable Steve simply asserts that libertarianism ought to be more than this– it ought to, well, we aren’t sure. He offers no boundaries of what the doctrine ought to address.

Obviously, “anti-semitism,” to the extent that it does exist in the west, isn’t agreeable or endorsable. It’s intellectually flawed and without philosophical defense. But so are a lot of things. But this in and of itself require us to expand the definition of libertarianism into other fields of study. As a Christian, as a decent human being, as an individual that attempts to be as intellectually accurate as possible, I assent to the proposition that “anti-semitism” (provided it is defined properly) “is wrong.”

But this does not mean that libertarianism, a doctrine of coercion, qua libertarianism rejects it.

Published in C.Jay Engel