Liberate! Deracinate?

I notice, belatedly, that the Libertarian Alliance is offering a £1000 prize for the winning essay on the topic “Would a libertarian society deprive individuals of cultural roots and collective identity?” The deadline is October 25th, so hurry scurry. Details here.

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16 Responses to Liberate! Deracinate?

  1. b-psycho October 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    I could use the money, but since my essay would consist entirely of “No, why would it?”, I don’t see the point. Good luck to everyone else though.

    • T Barrett October 4, 2010 at 7:57 pm #


      Maybe that is the point… could be the easiest 1582 USD you ever made.

      • Roderick October 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

        But of course the right answer is “yes, to the extent that those things are bad, and no, to the extent that those things are good.” 🙂

        But seriously, I think the actual right answer is “liberty has a tendency to work against those things to the extent that they’re bad, and a tendency to support them to the extent that they’re good, but the tendency isn’t infallible, so we need purposeful and coordinated activism as well.”

  2. RWW October 4, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    Here’s my entry:

    I hope so.

    • scineram October 5, 2010 at 4:46 am #

      Yes, let’s create the New Libertarian Übermensch!

  3. Anon73 October 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    I’m curious Roderick, do you know why some lobbyists are indicted on bribery charges and others are not? I read about such an event in the newspaper, but am confused. Isn’t the whole point of special-interest politics to give politicians favors and cash in exchange for regulations allowing or disallowing something?

    • Mr Civil Libertarian October 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

      Can’t make it too obvious now, can we?

      • Roderick October 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

        There are legislative hoops you have to jump through in order to engage in bribery without fear of persecution. People sometimes get lazy.

  4. Aster October 6, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    My answer:

    No. And so much the worse for libertarianism.

    “Cultural roots” and “collective identity” represent the prison of the young, the creative, and the philosophical within the cage of inherited convention. Libertarianism was the love child of a mind and times which understood this, but has since evolved an internal culture suspicious of transcendence and the cosmopolitan. Absent the modern social state, families and churches would again swell in power to fill the vacuum of its departure, and their tyranny may easily be more arbitrary, total, and intrusive than that of a secular government. For the most popular and influential segment of the libertarian movement, that’s largely the point.

    • JOR October 6, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

      Cultural roots and collective identity are as much the result of young and creative people’s youthful and creative actions as anything else. (Actual traditionalists and conservatives don’t understand this any better than you do: one generation’s tradition was another’s curious novelty or innovation.)

      Of course, not everything youthful or creative or philosophical people do is particularly liberal or liberating. The Nazis were creative and philosophical in their own way, and had a youth cult of their own. Often what the philosophical and creative find most stifling is the quaint notion that they shouldn’t go rounding people up, enslaving them, and disposing of them for their ever so special and ever so novel creative and philosophical ideals.

      • Nathan Byrd October 6, 2010 at 11:30 pm #

        You celebrate Festivus the way you want, and we’ll celebrate it the way we want.

        Let the airing of grievances begin!

    • Sergio Méndez October 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm #


      I think you see tradition and colective identity with to much mistrust. Humans could not even exist without colective identity, since the most basic tools that make us rational (articulated language, concepts, ideas), are collective and cultural enterprises by definition. In general terms traditions and identity are not something evil or wrong. There are certain evil traditions and there are certain evil ways to affirm collective identity (like forced identity), which is different. I agree with roderick: Liebratrianism will help keep the good ones and change the bad ones, but this is not infallible: it depends on us ultimately.

      • Aster October 7, 2010 at 6:55 pm #


        Could you please not address me as ‘Lady’. I dropped it years ago (and ‘Aster’, for that matter).


        As above, and may I kindly asked to be removed from your blogroll? I do not wish to be in any way associated with libertarianism.


        I don’t respect you as a reasoning being, either. I assure you that I will spend the rest of my life ensuring that those who hold your sort of ideas are as unwelcome in my social circles as your friends have made those who hold mine. I was lucky enough to have other places to go. Some former friends of mine were not.

        Incidentally, I do not support ‘enslaving’ and ‘disposing’ of people. I just think that substantive freedom and human flourishing require both something more and something other than libertarianism offers. Libertarianism merely releases people to fend for themselves in a classist and sexist shark tank. I’ve seen your kind of world and I sure as Hell don’t want to see the entire planet run by your rules. I’m big on surviving like that.

  5. dennis October 6, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Kick was a fantastic album, wasn’t it?

  6. Roderick October 7, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    Check out Gary’s entry.

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