Pay no attention to that gun to your head
August 1, 2014 § 22 Comments
Contracts are always definitely consensual. Contracts are never completely consensual. One who has not grasped this essential political fact will remain one of liberalism’s useful idiots, waking up each morning still trapped in a dystopian liberal Groundhog Day. And it is impossible for a positivist, who confuses definiteness with completeness, to grasp this essential fact.
Libertarians and libertarian-sympathetic reactionaries are ultimately just enablers of liberalism, because they have not fully grasped that making freedom a political priority necessarily leads right back around to liberalism. In order to escape the mind trap of liberalism it is not enough to unequivocally reject equality as a political priority. You must also unequivocally reject freedom as a political priority.
If a lot of people happen to be free, it means that a lot of people are actually able to choose what they wish to be able to choose. That is a consequence of either:
- their wills being conformed to what is good in a good society; or
- their wills being conformed to wickedness in a wicked society.
Treating freedom or equality as political priorities at all involves a basic misapprehension: it involves deliberately taking our eyes off of what is good and adopting a pose of neutrality. And because political neutrality is actually impossible, this in effect makes wickedness the goal.
So treating freedom and/or equality as a political priority is just political support of wickedness, simpliciter.
No matter how many times it is dealt with, the objection that libertarianism does insist that people face the consequences of their own free choices pops up like a game of whack-a-mole. Libertarianism represents a genuinely consensual politics because, while it is true that contracts are considered binding once freely entered, only consensual contracts are permitted.
But this is just the same old question-begging blindness to metaphysical baggage all over again. Contracts and other choices take place in a context, and the context is not itself a consensually entered contract. As a simple example, who ‘owns’ what, and what ‘ownership’ does and does not entail in specific situations, is the tip of the iceberg of the non-consensual context in which every contract is entered, and in the shadow of which it is bargained.
If you happen to find a given nonconsensual context pleasing for ideological or personal reasons it is more likely to be invisible to you. But even then it isn’t something you created by giving consent.
So libertarianism or even residual libertarian sympathies in reaction just end up back in the same old circular trap. We can have whatever politics we want as long as everyone else gets to have whatever politics they want. You can have any political system you want — as long as it is liberalism.
 If folks understood how political philosophy has developed it would be obvious why such manifestly question-begging errant nonsense as social contract theory and government by consent of the governed was considered necessary. In order to justify authoritative discrimination in favor of liberal governance on its own terms liberalism has to pretend that authority is ‘consensual contract’ turtles all the way down.