For those observers of the libertarian world, it would have been hard to miss the thick/thin debate. Among the “thickies” includes one annoying and dogmatic (leftist-“libertarian”) Cathy Reisenwitz who, among other things, has taken the time to claim to all her readers that “Hoppe, Rockwell, Block [are continually] spewing racism.” Later, she issued an apology for making such baseless claims.
Reisenwitz is a real social progressivist, a dangerous proponent of her distorted understanding of libertarianism. She is what I might consider a perfect example of the need to stay firm on the definitions and foundations of a given philosophy. She has associated all kinds of sexual deviation and immorality as necessary to the meaning of libertarianism. To call her a political libertarian is to take aim at the very meaning of libertarianism.
But her racism accusations speak volumes into the real danger behind the mentality of those cultural leftists who have a desire to redefine the meaning of libertarianism. The debate between thick and thin is over the sine qua non of the libertarian; that is, what constitutes a libertarian and what is the connecting point between all kinds of people with differing views on a variety of different personal issues. What is it that connect me, a Reformed Christian, with Murray Rothbard, an agnostic, on the issue of a free society. The connecting point, for those in the “thin camp” is that we are both unified by assent to the following proposition: “no one shall initiate or threaten to initiate physical force against others and their property.”
For the thickists, more is required in order to be categorically placed in the libertarian world. What is the more? At this point, it is not very specific. However, generally, there is a want from the leftists to hold to a more “approving” mentality on social issues including sex, drugs, gender roles, and the like. To be clear, this conversation has exceeded the boundaries of politics to issues of culture and personal habit. The thinnists consider this ridiculous; for libertarianism is a political philosophy, which means that libertarianism properly address the role of the use of physical aggression by the State in society. But to go outside of these boundaries makes one a thickist.
Then the question became, thanks to Sheldon Richman, whether a libertarian could still be considered as such if he was a racist. The thinnists say: “it is certainly conceivable” (for the non-aggression principle is the one necessary component). The thickists say: “such a position on race would be contradictory to the foundations of libertarianism.” Of course, this assumes that libertarianism as a political philosophy requires a single foundation. And moreover, this assumes that one cannot be considered a libertarian if he holds to contradictions. Now, contradictions are certainly bad and I think one should seriously reconsider his worldview if he sees contradiction, but there is no entry test to libertarianism to ensure that one has a proper worldview.
But there is more beyond this current debate on the nature of libertarianism. It is this: the cultural leftists have a different understanding of racism than the cultural rightists do. Forget politics for a moment. Think about culture. Fred Reed is hated by the left because he does not think that forced integration of the races is healthy for anybody. He does not believe in forced segregation, but he does believe that, especially in big cities where the racial wars are the most heated, State-enforcement of multiculturalism is detrimental. Some call this racist. Other don’t think so.
If Cathy Reisnewitz has the racism one-up card on the tip of her tongue as most cultural leftists do, then we ought to realize that this debate has just as much to do with Social Themes as it does the definition of libertarianism. The desire among so many in the thick camp to take up the same agenda as the “Therapeutic State,” to mommy our society into a people so soft a newborn could be swaddled in it, is just as destructive to liberty as the all-powerful State. Yes, I said it. The State is not our only enemy. The people themselves are so addicted to comfort and coddling that they wouldn’t know what to do without the State and its “gooberish Mommyknowsbestism.” A free people must prefer freedom over security. Over niceness. The 19th century “Wild West” was free, not kind. No one was there with a tissue at every feeling (my teacher used to call them “feelerz”) hurt.
And yet, those who hold to a Biblical understanding of the nature of marriage and sexuality are dismissed as bigoted monsters, backwards thinkers in a progressive world. (Now perhaps I am backwards, but forwards these days is absurd and immoral.) In a world where “gay is the new black,” Biblical Christians are the new Klansmen. Reisenwitz is quick to throw out the racism charges precisely because she belongs so well in the Progressive mindset. All who are not Protestant white males are victims and oppressed. When the libertarians who love their cultural leftism bring up the issue of racism, I see this as catering to a mentality that I reject at the forefront. Not every observation of statistical disparity between races is racism. It is not bad that men make more money than women any more than it is bad that there are more black NBA players than white ones. It is called the division of labor. Different people are better and different things.
To jump on the bandwagon of the Dominant Social Themes, of viewing “Old White Males,” The “Patriarchy,” Racism, Sexism, Ageism, Religion, Tradition, and The Rich, as the problems of our time is social Marxism, not libertarianism.
These people like Reisenwitz not only deceive by calling themselves libertarians, they also hypocritically deride others for “judging” when they act like Thought Police of the libertarian world. And if “Hoppe, Rockwell, Block” (see Hoppe on the thought police here) said something that was politically incorrect, a deadly sin to the cultural progressives, then how much more will we Reformed Christians be lambasted for our worldview?
Conservative Christians will one day be purged from the libertarian movement. This world is not our home.