Liberty versus Licence revisited

The separation of liberty and licence is an extremely useful distinction which sheds light on a number of things which have consistently been plagued by the conflation of liberty and licence. One of the most egregious examples in dialogue linked to Moldbug is the continual promotion of libertarianism as anything other than an objectionable political platform which should be transcended as swiftly as possible through the adoption of an ethical system and a conception of governance and society which is not based on Whig degeneracy and stupidity. There are too many people who mistake sovcorp and the idea of formalism as an attempt to bake licence into the cake.

The liberal concept, of which libertarianism is a derivative, is based on an ethical system which MacIntyre has labeled the ‘goods of effective cooperation’ which ultimately is a system of ethics promoted by the Sophists. This ethical system is very much that promoted by the liberal state, and basically boils down to licence. If there is no single conception of the good, then allowing everyone to pursue their own good is pure licence. You have no overall standard by which to measure the actions and character of those in society, and are therefore unable to make a judgement as to what action can, and should be proscribed. It is no surprise that the terminus of the liberal system is the “forbidden to forbid” advocacy of the modern era.

For an ethical system to have any meaning, it must act within a society in which goods are specifically ordered. This essay has done a fantastic job of analyzing the inherent fraud of a state promoting rejection of the ordering of goods:

The evolution of Liberalism into the ideology of Social Progress proves that this lack of compromise, this refusal to “surrender any portion of its field,” is in fact a characteristic of the state per se. The statement which Gentile presents as normative is in fact positive….The conclusion is simple: the nature of the state is that sovereignty is conserved. Due to its role as the central sovereign power, the state – or rather, the people who make it up – must develop a common set of normative values in order to operate. Because the state cannot brook opposition to its legitimacy to rule, it must therefore promote and inculcate these values in the population. Liberalism’s distinguishing feature – that it imposes no common good on its citizens – is revealed as a sham. Secularism is not neutrality; it is how the state defends the faith of Social Progress against its more mystical competitors.

This is a point which finds echo in Macintyre as he writes in ‘Whose Justice?, Which Rationality?’:

Thus, to exhibit a particular pattern of emotions and desires, to treat them as appropriate or inappropriate in one type of situation rather than another, is always to reveal a commitment to one set of justifying norms rather than another.

You just cannot have a non-ordering of the goods. The result of the refutation of this logical point is that scum are not only given licence, they are assisted in their emancipation. If Licence is promoted, then liberty is gone. Liberty being the freedom of action for the good to do good in line with the ordering to the goods of a civilized and ethical state. This is something Gentile was grasping at imperfectly when he writes in ‘The Doctrine of Fascism’:

And if liberty is to he the attribute of living men and not of abstract dummies invented by individualistic liberalism, then Fascism stands for liberty, and for the only liberty worth having, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State

Liberalism promotes licence, not liberty, and Gentile did not go far enough on this point. Any promotion or indulgence of licence drives all liberty out. It is just a shame that those within the libertarian tradition who have shown signs of getting to this point have not made this leap.

 

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