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What is Paleolibertarianism?

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Paleolibertarian Don't Tread On Me.
The avatar of Callum (A.K.A Paleo Angloism)
Written by Callum

5 min read

A Beginners Guide to Libertarianism for Right-Wingers

 

So, you want to know what paleolibertarianism is? Well seeing as I am this project’s resident right-wing anarchist, I guess it is up to me to explain it to all of those reading with a particular love for liberty & individual freedom. 

Paleolibertarianism didn’t begin as an ideology in and of itself, but rather as a libertarian political activism strategy developed by the late anarcho-capitalist founding father Murray Rothbard and one of his peers, Mises Institute founder & chairman Lew Rockwell. Murray and Lew in the late ’80s to early '90s realized that their message wasn’t reaching the masses and that they needed a new strategy to bring their ideology into the mainstream. Between them, the two anarcho-capitalists came up with the idea of building an alliance with an ideological group more mainstream than themselves with some overlapping policy positions so that they may mutually promote those ideas while bringing new eyes to their movement. They both thought it was a great idea and work began on finding such a movement. 

To take us even further back in time for a moment, Murray Rothbard did have some history of alliances. In the ’60s and ’70s, Murray tried to ally his anti-statist anarcho-capitalist movement with the anti-statist movements of the left, such as the anarcho-communists. However, over time it became clear to Murray that these movements were far more communist than anarchist and such alliances with the left fell apart, as such it was only natural that Rothbard and Rockwell would search elsewhere for their new alliances. Surprisingly enough, they found what they were looking for in the form of the traditionalist right, with the paleoconservative movement. The paleoconservatives believe in things like non-interventionist foreign policy, property rights and liberty, though perhaps not to such the extreme as libertarians in the latter case. This made them better than most as far as alliances go. 

In 1989 Murray Rothbard and paleoconservative Thomas Fleming set up the John Randolph Club, run by the conservative think-tank the Rockford Institute. This alliance was solidified through the mutual support of paleoconservative politician Pat Buchanan for President of the United States during the 1992 election cycle. The end goal of this alliance was the creation of an anti-war & anti-welfare alternative to the neoconservative establishment leftover from the cold war era, under Ronald Reagan. 

Unfortunately, this alliance was not to last. Rothbard later accused Buchanan of favouring central planning and state power too much which led paleolibertarians to no longer support the man. The John Randolph Club would be disbanded in 1995 due to non-overlapping ideas between paleolibertarians and paleoconservatives leading to incompatibility between the two factions. After that, the “Paleo Movement” largely fell apart and whatever right-wing resistance there was to the neoconservative establishment fell away until the election of Donald Trump in 2016, whom some paleolibertarians did tacitly support despite some policy differences.

However, this still hasn’t answered the question, what is paleolibertarianism? 

Well, between the fall of the “Paleo Movement” and the present day the former libertarian political strategy has since formed into an ideology. Taking elements from Rothbardian and Hoppean anarcho-capitalism and paleoconservatism to form a composite ideology that seeks a free society based on faith, natural law, and of course property rights. Paleolibertarianism isn’t necessarily inherently anarchist in nature, but most who subscribe to the ideology, me included, are also anarcho-capitalists in part due to all the major libertarian influences for the ideology themselves being so. This has led many paleolibertarians to have found paleolibertarianism through anarcho-capitalism. 

The paleo variant of libertarianism has been gaining traction in recent years due to beltway libertarianism (libertarianism as expressed by establishment insiders & shills) having lost its appeal to a lot of former libertarian party voters, greater interest in libertarian literature among self-identifying libertarians, greater scepticism of progressivism and the Mises Caucus of the US Libertarian Party along with several online and media personalities adopting elements of the “Paleo Movement” in their libertarian activism. 

In an age where the political centre is losing popularity, libertarianism is seemingly being forced to pick a side on social and cultural matters and the right has naturally been libertarianism’s go-to since the left has categorically rejected libertarianism as being part of its umbrella. As such Paleolibertarianism is stepping up to the plate to show disaffected libertarians the way.

Okay, so what positions do paleolibertarians hold then?

Paleolibertarianism is an inherently right-wing ideology. Being culturally & socially conservative, economically free-market and civically libertarian. Unlike base libertarianism, paleolibertarianism posits that there is an inherent incompatibility between cultural egalitarianism, progressivism & multiculturalism and the idea of liberty and believes in the Hoppean idea that to maintain a libertarian social order, there can be no tolerance for democrats (proponents of democracy, not supporters of the American Democratic Party) and communists. 

As with all libertarians, paleolibertarians advocate for a free-market economy. Paleolibertarians oppose all forms of state intervention in the economy, believing individuals are best served in the economy when it has no outside influences at all. On top of that, paleolibertarians also oppose interventionism in foreign policy, believing that property owners should only aggress against those who have aggressed against them first and that defence should be left up to private property owners. Minarchist (small state) paleolibertarians may support the existence of a standing army but maintain the non-interventionist stance. 

On social issues, paleolibertarians tend to believe in maintaining social order using natural law, religious faith, and the moral framework derived from those metaphysical belief systems. We believe it is needed that for a libertarian social order to be maintained, those in the community must protect its core social values from outsiders, lest the social fabric will break down and take liberty with it. Paleolibertarians also tend to be very anti-globalist, though not necessarily nationalist either. Paleolibertarians preach individualism but have a strong belief in regionalism & localism also, wanting local and recognisable administration by private property owners. While paleolibertarians don’t mind international free trade, they are very much against any kind of “international law” and supernational administration like the United Nations or European Union. 

Overall, paleolibertarianism is libertarianism exclusively for the right. Influenced by everyone from Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Hans Hermann-Hoppe & Lew Rockwell, to Thomas Fleming and Pat Buchanan. If you believe in liberty, but don’t wish to see a world without morality and order then this might be the ideology for you. 

 

 

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