Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature

Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature

Leave it or take it. You are reading Rothbard. You reached the frontier of freedom.

After Rothbard? Nothing. No one.

Prior Rothbard? An undifferentiated multitude of socialists and compromisers.

… Just kidding... 🙄

OK. Probably not his most famous book, this is a collection of Rothbard's essays. Since you may have already encountered some passages in The Libertarian Manifesto, I will focus here on those which reflect the title of this book best.

The main message is extremely simple, clear, and logical:

Nature made us unequal, different. Therefore, the struggle for equality is a revolt against nature.

With this message Rothbard attacks head on the “Egalitarian” ideal usually advanced by the Left. Leftists pretend to be the benefactors of the human species but they are actually "anti-humans" (funny, isn't it?). Being truly human is to be unequal, different, he attacks! Therefore those who advocate equality must be anti-human.

That nature made us unequal doesn’t mean it has pre-determined the course of our life. It’s not the Platonic idea that nature made someone apt to be kings, others to be warriors, and the rest of us just citizens or slaves.

It rather means that each of us is unique in that we live in different places, have access to different services and opportunities, have different skills and different desires. Each of us is irreplaceable. And we will always face unequal challenges, start from different conditions, and get different outcomes.

His is the interpretation of how the universe together with individual freedom works. Since we are free to pursue different goals, we will make different choices, and we'll achieve different outcomes.

The Left and Equality

Rothbard doesn’t really explain Why the Left wants equality. He doesn’t deal with “equality of opportunities,” “equality of outcomes,” or the concept of “leveling the playing field.”

He probably sees all these definitions as pretexts, fuzzy and appealing goals that the Left uses to justify equality in the eyes of people. Rothbard is lucid enough to identify and dismantle that at the core of this "pleasant" desire of equality, is concealed the hatred of individual diversity.

They want equality because they hate individualism. They reject the idea that someone may want something different, do things differently, and therefore achieve different goals. And when they see someone succeeding, they automatically connect that success with inequality of starting point, a somehow privileged position.

Equality and egalitarianism seem appealing, reasonable, fair claims. But be careful! Beacause,

"It is in the name of equality that the Left seeks all manner of measures, from progressive taxation to the ultimate stage of communism."

Rousseau: The Hero

Leftists' hatred of individualism, he continues, explains why Rousseau is their hero. Rousseau’s “noble savage” reflects rejection of reason and Enlightenment. It is the appraisal of primitivism.

The "noble savage": Who wouldn't be like them?

The desire for primitivism represents a refusal of the accomplishments of human intellect and the progress individuals made using reason. The willingness to go back indicates a disdain for the current state of affairs and the conditions resulting from these advancements.

And what we've achieved to these days is the product of how different individuals have applied their reason and what they have got form it. There has never been a "communal" or "social" reason and achievement, because the society or the community are not entities able to think, reason, or achieve goals.

Libertarianism and Equality

There is one thing we are all equal in, according to Rothbard.

Equality of liberty.

The only thing we are all equal by nature – and we are entitled to be equal in – is liberty. This is the only equality that is compatible with man's nature. Equality of liberty is not determined by where you are born but it’s a prerogative of the human condition.

For example, being born as slave doesn't mean nature wanted you to be one. Your condition is not pre-determined by where you happen to be born naturally. Instead, it means there is someone who is stealing your liberty and making you slave. Therefore, you are entitled to do what is required to take your liberty back.

There must be no difference between a king and a slave in liberty. They must have equal liberty. According to Libertarians, there is no justification for one to be a king and for another to be a slave. Exactly the same reason why there is no justification for one to be a tax-payer (a fiscal slave, a slave of the State) and for another a tax-consumer (a recipient of taxes, a king).

My Take Today

I really wanted to say something remotely interesting. But I've just stumbled upon these funny memes on government and taxes...



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