Update: The original article used a quote from Christopher Cantwell, who the author had not previously heard of, and upon further research is not a person that should be quoted on libertarianism and minorities. The quote has been replaced.
Due to feedback on the preferred labels for GSM libertarians, that has also been edited.
Continuing my articles addressing criticisms of libertarian Philosophy, this week I’ll be tackling the argument that Libertarian ideology would not be good for minorities, the Gender & Sexual Minority (GSM) community and women.
This is the second part of this criticism, which will focus on minorities. In my first part on women, I had an introduction that explained some of the general arguments that I was going to make and expand upon from my previous articles in the Criticisms series to avoid repeating myself too much.
I encourage my readers to read that intro here to refresh themselves.
There’s many reasons for minorities to feel critical of libertarian ideas thanks to many media outlets painting us as white supremacists and because of people like Milo Yiannopoulos (who calls himself a cultural libertarian) who are deemed Nazis by the Left.
Libertarians are often linked with being cruel to minorities because of our beliefs in the right of a business to freely associate with whomever they please and a desire to eliminate the welfare state. Government cannot dictate morality by infringing on one’s property rights.
Keli Goff claims because of Rand Paul’s questioning of parts of parts of the Civil Rights Act and her experiences with callers on her radio show being unable to make a convincing argument for libertarianism being able to serve “most Americans” including blacks, that libertarian ideals will not appeal to them.
She explains in her article for the Daily Beast “This is why as disillusioned as some African Americans, including myself, are with both Republicans and Democrats, we are unlikely to feel at home among libertarians. As long as leaving America’s most vulnerable unprotected remains a core piece of libertarianism, it is unlikely that the libertarian movement will find many allies in communities of color.”
While I understand where these critics are coming from, as minorities seem to be continuously at mercy of predatory business and policing practices, libertarian ideas would be immensely beneficial to minorities because of our desire to eliminate many laws and regulations that negatively affect them.
To begin, a libertarian society would allow one to organize their life and associates in a degree that is preferable to them. This would include not associating with people of certain views, religions and even race as long as someone is not being harmed. Ayn Rand explained it bluntly that “Freedom of association includes freedom to not associate.”
With this in mind, collectivism of this nature is appalling to libertarians. People should be respected as individuals with unique personalities, stories and tastes and those who wish to demean others because of certain traits do exemplify libertarianism. With this power of association, a libertarian society would shun those that seek to discriminate.
These ideals would also be beneficial to minorities because of a libertarian’s desire to shrink the size of the government and eliminate overreach (in respectful opposition to Keli Goff’s view).
The majority of victims arrested due to the war on drugs are blacks and Latinos. Regardless of one’s reason for believing why this statistic occurs, the libertarian position of allowing people to put whatever they want into their bodies as long as they aren’t harming others would be beneficial to these groups by removing ways for cops to illegitimately arrest minorities.
Ron Paul supported releasing non-violent drug offenders stating “if someone is in prison for non-violent drug use, [and] has never committed a crime, yes they should be pardoned.”
Civil asset forfeiture, which majorly affects poor neighborhoods, is another practice that libertarians would want to cease. Not only is it a violation of the 4th amendment, but a study from the Civil Liberties Union found that “almost half of the seizures by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in California involve people with Latino surnames […].”
Finally, reversing our current welfare state would also be immensely beneficial to minorities according to authors like Larry Elder, who explains in his interview that Dave Rubin how “we’ve economically incentivized women to marry the government and we’ve allowed men to abandon their financial and moral responsibility.” Within the interview, Elder also explains how the amount of children born out of wedlock has increased dramatically since the “War on Poverty” in the 1960’s, and black children born out of wedlock have increased the most.
While libertarians may not seem to care about minority issues due to not supporting government welfare and intervention programs, it simply is not the case. Libertarians want to take the power away from the state to continue to arrest and seize the property of minorities, keeping them in cycles of poverty and unable to advance in life.
Minorities are not just their skin color and stereotypes, but individuals who are constantly fighting systems within the state that disproportionally affect them and libertarian ideas completely support getting rid of these programs that prevent them from reaching their potential.
To read the rest of the series on Criticisms of Libertarianism click the links below: