Libertarians and Black Lives Matter
In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to write about something that bothers me with the libertarian movement in general, a view that our ideas only draw in white men to the exclusion of black people. Libertarian philosophy is inherently inclusive of all, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, etc. We don’t want to force any one to do anything on any basis except in self-defense. I want to show that libertarian philosophy is completely compatible with the ideals of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In terms of issues that disproportionately affect black people, the war on drugs is the top of the list. The war on drugs has been used to target poor, black communities and imprison young, black males, and increasingly females. Communities are not able to be kept together. Police are seen as the enemy instead of as protectors.
Income Inequality is another issue affecting black people more than other groups. We should all be taking a long, hard look at our taxes, and the amount of money getting taken out of our paychecks. This money is taken out in the name of the greater good. It goes to places like corporate welfare, wars halfway around the world, and increasing the capacity of the police to infringe on our rights, which just goes back to the war on drugs and the problems there.
Civil asset forfeiture allows police to arbitrarily steal from citizens. This is the opposite of protecting us. Police only need to suspect property of being used in a crime to confiscate it. They don’t need to charge the person with anything. They just take his stuff. For example, when a man was traveling through Arkansas with $20,000, police there confiscated it under civil asset forfeiture laws saying, “Nobody – Nobody carries their money like that but one person. Ok? People that deal with drugs, and deliver drugs. That’s it. Nobody else. Nobody.” No drugs were found on the victim. He was planning on buying a truck with cash. When a police force disproportionately targets people in black communities, they also become more likely to be targeted by immoral laws such as these.
Slavery was an institution brought forth by governments. Owning human beings was legal. But we are expected to think that it is also a great savior when it implements civil rights fixes. It’s like a criminal holding up a convenience store, and then expecting a parade when he is pressured by his community to give the money back. The root of the problem is a government that legally allows people to “own” others. Government should only exist to protect people, all people, and black lives do indeed matter.
With that being said, I thought it would be a good idea to go through the Black Lives Matter Guiding Principles and discuss how libertarians and black people can work together on those principles.
We are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.
The whole point of libertarianism is the acknowledgement of a diversity of ideas. We understand that what works for me does not necessarily work for you. The world, the United, States, and even Georgia are made up of a huge number of differing cultures with a wide array of differing values that need to be respected. The only way to truly respect that diversity of values is to insure we aren’t imposing ours onto others. Libertarians seek to acknowledge and respect those differences, and leave the celebrating to the individual.
We are committed to collectively, lovingly and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.
Libertarians support an end to all laws that are enforced to stop victimless crimes. Laws like the prohibition of cannabis which are enforced disproportionately on black communities, and used to tear those communities apart. Instead, we believe in voluntarism and people helping their fellow people, through choice, which binds communities together.
We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.
Libertarians aren’t asking anyone to apologize for immutable characteristics. We want freedom and justice, equally, for all.
We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world
Libertarians also see ourselves as part of a global family. Natural rights come to us by virtue of our existing, not the protections afforded to us because we were born in the United States. The Constitution is a protection for those rights, not the source.
We are guided by the fact all Black lives, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location
Libertarians don’t believe immutable characteristics have any bearing on your freedom as a human being. Whether you are white, black, hispanic, homosexual, transgender, cisgender, it doesn’t matter. You have the same rights as the next person. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone, you have a right to exist in any way you already do.
We are committed to embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
As mentioned before, everyone deserves the same rights, and if there are certain groups who are seeing antagonistic behavior from other groups, that’s wrong. We’re all in this together.
We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male‐centeredness.
We in the libertarian movement are absolute feminists. We believe freedom of sexism, misogyny, and male-centeredness are social issues that should be handled by private citizens. The government will always overstep it’s bounds in trying to control us through social engineering. We, as a people, are responsible for creating social changes.
We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
Everyone should attempt to practice empathy. And, when we can’t, it’s our job to understand that we are not being empathetic. There are too many different types of people in the world. It’s not our job to understand everyone. In fact, that is impossible. We can, however, create a world where that matters less. Where I am unable to be empathetic, I also understand that there are cultures or ideas that I might not understand. And, in those instances, I should leave people to live their lives on their own as long as they aren’t hurting others.
We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.
A huge problem with keeping families together in black communities is the states insistence on tearing families apart due to non-violent drug offenses. Drug prohibition is a huge problem in tearing families apart. Young, black males are targeted in our misguided war on drugs and put into a cage. Then we wonder what’s going on and why families are being torn about. The United States is tearing those families apart with a misguided war on drugs.
We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.
In a libertarian society, we don’t believe in the government telling anyone how to live their lives. If someone values the “nuclear family”, and wants a wife or husband with 2.5 kids, then that’s fine. If someone wants to raise their children in a village, that’s fine too, as long as it’s voluntary. We don’t believe in incentives for such things either. I shouldn’t get special privileges for living how the government wants me to. We should just live the way we want and the positives and negatives will come from our choices instead from laws created by our government trying to socially engineer us.
We are committed to fostering a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.
This issue should remain in the social realm and not in politics. The government should not be in the business of telling anyone their worldview. I am in agreement that we shouldn’t make assumptions about people based on immutable characteristics. It goes back to acknowledging a diversity of culture. There are so many different types of people in the world, assumptions cannot be made based on color, gender, or anything else like that.
We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.
This is exactly the goal of libertarians. We believe in peaceful, voluntary interactions between people.
We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, shows up with capacity to lead and learn.
Similar to what has been said throughout this article. Libertarians do not want the government to be able to discriminate at all, for any reason. Our message is inclusive of all ages. Live and let live.
Also published on Medium.