James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Left-Libertarian Old Right Radical

The following is probably my first, or at least fullest explanation, of "where I'm coming from" and the general purpose and direction of this blog.

My stand on political issues are based on advancing these four goals:

1. Individual autonomy
2. Free markets
3. Non-intervention
4. Decentralization of political power

The question is the means to these ends. It seems to me that the opposite of individual freedom is global dictatorship. To me, then, decentralization is the priority. It is the means to roll back the American Empire and to defeat the neo-liberal globalists. My political priorities are therefore ordered like so:

1. The national over global
2. The local over the national
3. The individual over the local

It is natural for believers in individual liberty to be frustrated by backward or prejudiced local laws and practices. They assume that the remedy is in appealing to a higher authority, such as the federal courts. Likewise, advocates of free markets are inclined to support international trade treaties and agreements as a means to lower tariffs. And many are even tempted to use the military to liberate oppressed people around the world.

In each case, we are asked to rely on a power - a government - to do something good. But if we trust government to protect our freedom, we might as well trust it to cure poverty, ignorance, and disease. Government is the problem, not the solution. A higher level of government can not be expected to fix the problem of a lower level of government. When it appears that government is advancing rather than restricting freedom, we can be sure that either a bad precedent has been set, there are ulterior motives, or both.

Federal courts intervene in local conflicts over, say, prayer in schools, but then uphold federal laws that abridge freedom of political speech. "Free trade" agreements lower tariffs in some areas, but never seem to actually simplify international trade. Rather, they are filled with political favors for certain industries over others, which ultimately hurts workers and consumers. Foreign interventions never actually liberate foreign peoples, but they do create huge profits for defense contractors.

The more powers we give to "higher" and more distant governments, the less they will actually use those powers to protect our freedom and interests. They will be used instead to benefit entrenched special interests. And if genuine humanitarians with good intentions were in charge, the results would be even more disastrous. Imposing change from above for a utopian project, even one as noble as individual rights and liberty, will lead to clashes with homegrown values and traditional cultures. Often, the people we are trying to rescue from oppression resent the help. Peace, order, and stability should not be sacrificed for abstract ideals. Individuals must fight for their own liberty; they shouldn't expect others to fight for them, nor should they take it upon themselves to fight for others.

That is why I oppose the tendency to nationalize and then globalize everyday problems and conflicts. I oppose surrendering trade and security policy to multi--national organizations. I oppose "entangling alliances." Further, I oppose nationalizing matters once left to states and communities, such as crime control and education. I oppose these for the same reason I oppose local interference in individual affairs such as gun ownership and drug use I oppose government intervening in affairs in which it has no legitimate business.

I therefore defend American sovereignty vigorously. Not because I love the federal government, but because the alternative in today's political environment is to cede authority to even more distant organizations. Americans should set American trade, immigration, environmental and security policies. Moreover, Americans should not solve problems in or between other countries. Even if I disagree with nationalists on certain issues relating to, say, immigration or trade, these disagreements are minor compared to the long-term threat of losing control of the country to elite and foreign interests. That is why I often find myself in alliance with the Pat Buchanans of the Right on many issues, as well as with the anti-globalist, anti-war Left.

Likewise, I side with "federalists,"those who believe that the Constitution means what it says. I believe in limited national government and in a vigorous defense of states' rights under the Tenth Amendment. I often find myself in agreement with the Constitution Party and various patriot groups that some may call "extreme," such as the John Birch Society. These are people who, on matters of genuinely national concern, may be in agreement with Pat Buchanan, but in domestic policy are in agreement with Congessman Ron Paul (who, it seems to me, is a constitutionalist and Austrian economist, but not a philosophical libertarian per se.)

Yet, I am less of a modern "federalist" than I am an anti-federalist. Anti-federalists tend to think that the Constitution itself was unnecessary, and that the Articles of Confederation which predates it is superior. Further, anti-federalists believe that secession (preferably peaceful secession) is not only a Constitutional right, it is a natural right. A people should be free to break away from a distant and domineering government for a closer one that better suits its interests.

And, while secession in the modern context is usually thought of in terms of our existing states, I'd go further. Most state governments are themselves too big and too authoritarian. They have no business, for example, micromanaging schools with "standards" and certifications. To the extent government is needed at all, it is best at a very local level, with minimal taxes - preferably based on land values.

Which brings us back to the individual. From homeschooling to smoking to sex to drugs to guns to wages and working conditions to eminent domain, I favor individual choice and responsibility to government coercion, even if the government is local. But these are issues that must be defended and pursued door to door, person to person, not imposed by federal courts or the National Guard. If one town is too oppressive and its City Hall just can't be beat, one might move to another, or enjoy freedom where it matters most, in the mind and heart, in how one thinks, feels, and acts.

I therefore support many on the so-called "extreme" Right, and also some on the so-called "extreme" left, who call for radical decentralization. My goals are libertarian, my social attitudes have veered sharply left, but I still consider myself in solidarity with "Old Right" paleoconservatives. If you believe in preserving national sovereignty, and you believe that the federal government is just way, way too big, then I believe we are essentially on the same side.


  1. the world is a circle - the far right and the far left stand side by side opposite of mainstream lemming amerika. hopefully the weight of shifting will make an oval, then an oblong sphere and finally a horizontal line with our political systems. you've done a fine job of creating a miniarchy philosophy.
    BTW, Pat Buchanan is not just the simple goof-ball that acts out the conservative wet-dream on Crossfire. his role in slaying the reform party was played honestly and with no mal intent, but the effect was to bring in politics ot the as usual sort, repub small op style, w no prisoners. Counter him with John Hagelin at Maharishi U (and what the bleep do we know) and you'll see the strength that bent the bars to undo ross perot's legacy. no party of the people, time for the party party.

  2. I only believe in national sovereignity as a bulwark against globalism. But really, we need to move in much smaller units, if we need any at all.

  3. I'm scratching my head because I see no daylight between our positions but I always describe myself "Libertarian-Right".

    The GOP dominates my country's politics. The Dems control my state. And now I learn that Im a leftist...

    Next thing you know, geocentrism will be disproven and I'll have to enter a hermitage...