BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
It would seem that the penny has finally dropped on the Left that calling Brexiteers and conservatives “far right” has not worked for them. Their Chief Trolls, Barmy Burgon and Loudmouth Lammy, are denuded and reduced to caricatures – their identity politics have been seen through. One lives in hope that those other daft insults of “racist”, “thick” and “gammon” will cease soon too, as ever-increasing numbers of Lefties Google the word projection.
The current favourite lambaste of our leftie chums – which won’t last long as, crucially, it takes up too many characters of their beloved tweets – is “right wing libertarian”.
Right Wing Libertarian is a most curious insult. It makes one wonder whether the Left’s barrel is in a state beyond scraping.
Firstly, it’s curious because – for the most part in fact – it’s a charming compliment and Leftist trolls NEVER offer their opponents charm or compliments. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with supporting capitalist property rights and defending market distribution of natural resources and private property? Who would want to disassociate from supporting civil liberties, natural law, negative rights and a reform of the clunky modern welfare state? Who wouldn’t emphasise the self-regulating nature and mechanisms of the market, portraying government intervention and attempts to redistribute wealth as invariably unnecessary and counter-productive?
Secondly, it’s curious because most Brexiteers and conservatives (small c) are far more minarchist than anarcho-capitalist – the latter is the element of right-wing libertarianism which the leftists are trying in vain to weaponise as smear but can’t find any prominent Boris or Brexiteer anarcho-capitalists. There aren’t any. Right wing libertarian minarchists are reasonable souls and recognise the need for a minimal state – one to handle defence, the court system and the police amongst other examples. Those Brexiteers who do not support the Tories (former Blairites and Brownites included) might better be described as influenced by some classical liberal thought – refusing to give priority to liberty over order and certainly not exhibiting the hostility to the state which is the defining feature of libertarianism. Fellow Thinking Thatcherites would never describe themselves as libertarian, as we give far too much support to central banks and monetarist policies to be libertarian, while extending chapeau to the libertarians’ stress on individualism. Worse, the word libertarian is tainted by its origins (libertarian was a term coined by the French libertarian communist Joseph Déjacque to classify a form of left-wing politics. Libertarian has been frequently used to refer to libertarian socialism and anarchism – careful conservatives tend to remember these associations and steer a wide berth.)
Thirdly, it’s curious because there has long been a debate amongst actual right-wing libertarians as to whether or not the state is legitimate. Brexiteers are pro nation state and a return of sovereignty to the UK – by definition that makes them state legitimisers, at least night-watchmen. Meanwhile, Boris and his team – to which the right-wing libertarian moniker is most often attached – seem to be willingly occupying the great offices of state and, Coronavirus excuse cards played, have hardly curbed either their governmental or revenue-generating power.
Finally, true right-wing libertarians see taxation as a violation of their rights. While the Brexit crowd – like all rational people – dislike taxation, don’t the Left make them out to be supporters of an extra £350M of public funds a week (tax revenues) for the NHS, as writ large on the side of the Brexit bus? Meanwhile even axe-man Cummings’ triptych of policies includes increased spending on the NHS. Right wing libertarianism is a somewhat square peg for a round hole, is it not?
Let’s face facts. These days the Left is bandying around some daft terminology. Still reeling from the fact they voted for Jeremy Corbyn in last year’s General Election? Some would say it serves them right – karma for pinching words like liberal and progressive. Anyone can see that terminology like Fully Automated Luxury Communism will only ever work for the few (Maduro) and certainly not the many (poor, starving Venezuelans) – another term smacking of absurdity that will never gain any mass traction. And so “Right Wing Libertarian” as a term needs to return to their drawing board at 61 Petty France – it’s just another risible boomerang and has as much penetration power with our country’s sound electorate as open borders and rent controls. Dead Fabians will be turning in their graves at their living successors. Never in the field of political smearing has so little been bestowed on so few.
Dominic Wightman is Editor of Country Squire Magazine.