Against Libertarian Postmodernism

by Bulbasaur

So, yesterday FEE published an article by Jeffrey Tucker.  It was awful.

I am of the opinion that Mr. Tucker wears his bow tie much too tightly these days; it seems to be cutting off circulation to his brain.  Or perhaps it’s all the Rentseekerwitzfarts he’s been sniffing?

Whatever the reason, Tucker’s progressive softening of the mind has led him to embark on a campaign not only against his ideological fellow travelers, but against reality itself.


Jeff Tucker’s Libertarianism as a pastel Frankenstein

Tucker’s article divides libertarianism into two camps, two choices: humanitarians or brutalists.  Real fair names there, Jeff.  You might as well have named the camps “JeffersonianAwesomeSmarts” and “NaziBullyDumbs.”

Why the divide, why the demand that we choose? Because Tucker has finally come to realize that libertarianism is sharply cleaving between those who would compromise liberty for that which will destroy it, and those who wouldn’t.

To his credit, Tucker dresses his compromised liberty well (TRIGGER WARNING: JEFFREY TUCKER):

The humanitarians are drawn to reasons such as the following. Liberty allows peaceful human cooperation. It inspires the creative service of others. It keeps violence at bay. It allows for capital formation and prosperity. It protects human rights of all against invasion. It allows human associations of all sorts to flourish on their own terms. It socializes people with rewards toward getting along rather than tearing each other apart, and leads to a world in which people are valued as ends in themselves rather than fodder in the central plan.

TL;DR “humanitarian” libertarians are drawn to an idea whereby they reap all of the benefits and accept none of the responsibilities.  They are protected…  By who? Violence is kept at bay…  By who? What if associations and their flourishing terms conflict? Pavlov only works with domesticated animals: what of humans who don’t accept the humanitarian’s treats/rewards? Blank-out. Also, this overview has an uncomfortable resemblance to a central plan…  Funny, that.

With utopia thus framed, Tucker follows by offering an objective and reasonable description of the inhumanitarians, the brutalists:

There is a segment of the population of self-described libertarians—described here as brutalists—who find all the above rather boring, broad, and excessively humanitarian. To them, what’s impressive about liberty is that it allows people to assert their individual preferences, to form homogeneous tribes, to work out their biases in action, to ostracize people based on “politically incorrect” standards, to hate to their heart’s content so long as no violence is used as a means, to shout down people based on their demographics or political opinions, to be openly racist and sexist, to exclude and isolate and be generally malcontented with modernity, and to reject civil standards of values and etiquette in favor of antisocial norms.

TL;DR “brutalist” libertarians exist to have blame shifted upon.  To be all the bad results of Tucker’s claimed ideology.

“Human associations” become “ostracism” if the libertarian in question doesn’t much cotton to accommodating rent-seeking, man-jawed feminists.  It is racist and sexist to recognize that white males as a demographic tend to have lower time preference and more agency than people of color and women.  It is malcontent and antisocial to understand that a libertarian society would be largely dominated by humans with European ancestry and a penis.  According to Tucker, the only libertarians who actually apply present and historical data to predict the structure of a libertarian society are hate-driven monsters.

I happen to think “humanitarian” is a rather silly name for this libertarian camp, that it would be better to stick with the theme of architecture.  To me no architectural style better reflects Tucker and new friends than Postmodernism.

What is Postmodernist architecture? Starting in the 50s and gaining steam in the 70s, it is a style whereby functional and formalized shapes and spaces of the modernist style are replaced by “diverse” aesthetics.  Styles collide, form is adopted for its own sake (damn convention and preference), and new (excessive) ways of viewing familiar styles and space abound.  Perhaps most obviously, forms and elements that had been discarded in the past are embraced and applied.

Meaning that Pomo architecture is a Frankenstein.


Postmodernism in architecture was an affectation, one that emerged from a theory robbed of context.  It was form for form’s sake, style for style’s sake.  Ignoring what was discarded and for what reason, it amounts to aesthetics without the input of man.  It becomes an end unto itself, and in so doing bombastically declares that it has no identity.

See? It’s a perfect description of Jeff Tucker’s camp.

Fact of the matter is, Tucker’s entire article and false choice amounts to a projection of his shitty taste in friends.  Feminism, hedonism, egalitarianism can not be accommodated by a philosophy that seeks meritocracy and stable social hierarchy, period.

Jeff attempts to spin libertarians compromising to degenerates and parasites as being civil and socially appropriate.  TRS asks: civil, appropriate… to what society? Fact of the matter is, decency and civility is today is framed by a very indecent and uncivil civilization.  I’m pretty sure Jeff Tucker has made this exact observation about society in the past.

What is really “antisocial” and detrimental to liberty is trying to spin the degeneration of your own beliefs to accommodate shrill feminists and parasites as being moral and rational.  Liberty is not considered decent or civil by this world; you of all people should know this.  You knew this once upon a time.

It is a shame to see that you have given up on an idea that brought so many people out of modernity’s doldrums.  It is especially poignant to see that a man once so well-associated with the Mises Institute…  Is today nothing more than an eloquent progressive.

7 responses to “Against Libertarian Postmodernism

  1. Very good critique, well-reasoned. But would or could you identify the two buildings that illustrate your piece, especially the bizarre silver thing? Was that one photoshopped? I can’t imagine anyone working in it without eventually becoming a candidate for the rubber room.

  2. There has clearly been a collapse in taste – not just in architecture, but also in painting, sculpture, music, even dress.

    Why this is so (and if there is a political link) I do not know.

    From a libertarian point of view we believe that people have a right to buy what they like with their own money (including buildings). Although, as human beings, we may deplore their lack of taste.

    Full disclosure – I am not a cultured man myself. I admire culture – but I am not a cultured man.

    • Agreed — most buildings, especially government buildings, are just plain ugly these days.

      Back when I worked in construction, I worked on a house for a prominent mobster (theoretically owner of a gas company, but he had been indicted for murder as part of the Civella crime family at one time and was rumored to be the big drug kahuna in that part of the country). Four floors, six guest suites, 14 guest bedrooms, indoor/outdoor pool, indoor firing range, 30-car underground parking garage, helicopter pad, you name it.

      The damn thing looked like a bank. And I don’t mean in any kind of romantic sense of a temple of worship for money. I mean like one of those giant mis-shapen piles of green glass that characterized midwestern US banks for a decade or two for some reason.

      Bugged the hell out of me to see so much money going into something so ugly. His OTHER house was a beautiful mansion atop a cliff overlooking a river, but this one was an eyesore.

  3. Thomas – Mr Capone was supposed to be quite a cultured man. At least according to a friend of mine whose grandfather talked to Mr Capone about Opera (the report was that he was knowledgeable and polite).

    Although it would have been shameful for an Italian of his generation (even one from poverty) to be culturally ignorant.

    Frank Johnson (a British journalist – dead now) used to write about working class tastes back in the 1930s (his own background) and according to him cultural knowledge was quite high.

    My own father (East End of London 1930s) knew far more about clothing and so on than I do.

    “We only dressed badly when we did not have any money – modern people dress badly because they do not know any better”.

    Ditto architecture and everything else.

  4. Julie near Chicago

    Once again…it began in the late ’60’s. Does anyone remember the TV show Policewoman? Starring the gorgeous Miss Angie Dickenson as Policewoman Pepper Anderson. Highly popular, and at the time was considered by some of the police departments as THE best cop show ever. There might be some episodes on UT. Of course, it seems dated now–no f-bombs, and even Michael Douglas managed to keep his pants on (just barely).

    The point is, the first season or two, Pepper wore something attractive and well-fitting. Very sexy! Then came the title shot for the next season, in which she had on some kind of orange dress, and in place of the cap the “PD” had put a commode on her head. Looks sort of like a soldier’s helmet, only bigger and heavier and uglier, and far more uncomfortable–but white, and definitely looked like some sort of ceramic.

  5. Julie near Chicago

    Sorry. :(

  6. I do remember “Policewoman” (but only vaguely). I can not remember the costume change – but I do not deny it took place.