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Russell_Kirk

Reference: Monday the 13th Post.

Kirk's distrust of libertarianism seems to stem exclusively from its demonic individualist strain, that of Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand. Those, ahem, challenging women's personalities, aggressive prose, and egos drove him away . . . and rightly so. (I once dealt with an unpleasant German immigrant woman in Grand Rapids, who I described to my client as "Ayn Rand without the charm and grace." He immediately understood what I was dealing with.)

I, too, find the ego-driving individualism of libertarianism distasteful. But the thing is, that's not why I'm a libertarian. I'm a libertarian because I want to see people come together: trade together in commerce without Washington squelching it in the name of interstate commerce, work with others without fearing sanctions from the State if they decide not to work with that person later, form social groups without fear that the State will force them to admit people they don't want later (and yes, I would even let bigots form whites-only groups . . . I wouldn't join, but I'd prefer to let such organizations exist than for the State to restrict in any fashion how we associate with others for non-criminal purposes).

The State is what atomizes society, not liberty. If the State tries to meet all of society's needs, we don't need society any more. It's that simple. If the State provides a huge safety net, the white trash can cast a huge middle finger at society, knowing they don't need anyone or anything . . . they're entitled to federal government benefits. If the State provides for the poor, we don't need people to come together in charitable organizations like the Salvation Army to alleviate their condition. The more the State does, the less people need each other . . . and society weakens, until it absolutely crumbles, like it did in Soviet Russia.

So, though I hate to say it, Kirk was wrong. Simply 180 degrees wrong. He was right to distance himself from the ego (and, let's be honest, hateful) libertarianism of Ayn Rand, but any power given to the State, even if for "conservative principles," ultimately weakens society and increases individualism. In the name of creating a society that is open to the other, we need to shrink the State that kills it.

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