Even though the “Libertarian Opinionizer” you’re reading right now has been debunking the virulently anti-libertarian cultural bunkum of Daily Kos, Salon, AlterNet and countless other groupthink collectivist online garbage dumps since 2008 (and defending libertarian culture at The Loose Cannon Libertarian since 2001) some people are only now discovering what has recently become known as “Cultural Libertarianism.”
Since “Cultural libertarianism” was used in a 2001 article it was not “coined” but “re-coined” by Londoner Allum Bokhari in a major article from Breitbart in August 2015, “Rise of the Cultural Libertarians.”
But is there a difference between “Libertarian Culture” and “Cultural Libertarianism?” if so, what is a Cultural Libertarian? One definition was offered by Kai Suherwan in a December 2015 article from The Eye, a Singapore American School Student Publication. “I believe in the freedom of speech. I believe in total artistic and intellectual freedom. I neither identify with the left or right as they both try to control aspects of our lives. I am cultural libertarian.”
Daniel Pryor in a Center for a Stateless Society article tried out several definitions like “resistance to ‘social justice warriors'” and opposition to “cultural authoritarianism” before concluding “cultural libertarianism might be more accurately described as anti-political correctness.”
Lauren Southern is a self-identified Cultural Libertarian. She was an active Canadian Libertarian Party candidate when she protested a feminist rally in Vancouver with a sign proclaiming “there is no rape culture in the west.” She was nearly kicked out of the party for her unacceptable politically incorrect free speech.
Southern observed in her Rebel Media video: “Libertarians who are not Cultural Libertarians would argue that the only suppression of speech and expression that is unacceptable is suppression that is perpetrated by the state.” But who are these so-called “libertarians” she’s talking about? Modern libertarians embrace the non-aggression principle (NAP) and understand that it applies to everyone, statists and non-statists alike.
Southern elaborates by saying that “some libertarians” think “So if the state isn’t involved these people are free to do as they please.” By “These People” she explicitly means “Third Wave Feminists,” “Social Justice Warriors” and “The Perpetually Offended” who continually seek coercive ways to shut down anyone who disagrees with them.
If “These People” do indeed “seek coercive ways” to shut down others then libertarians and everyone else have every right to use defensive force against them. The same is true if “These People” initiate intimidation or fraud. Otherwise “These People” have every right to speak, advocate, support, promote, demand, scream, whine or complain about anything they want, as do libertarians, but neither they nor any group of them may forcibly impose their beliefs on anyone else.
The ongoing culture wars between these “Cultural Marxists” and “Cultural Libertarians” certainly can become vocally vicious, rude and crude, but as long as they stay within the bounds of the NAP all libertarians can and should fight back.
Beyond that, the idea of a “Cultural Libertarian” isn’t new. It, like “Political Libertarian,” is just another unnecessary confusion of an otherwise easily understood concept. The term “Political Libertarian,” as an example, refers to people with little or no understanding of the overall philosophical concept of libertarianism, what Brian Doherty called the “Modern American Libertarian Movement” in his seminal history Radicals for Capitalism. (What he meant by “capitalism,” by the way, is “free markets,” not “corporatism.”)
Once a person truly understands libertarianism no hyphens (Republican-Libertarian) or adjectives (Cultural Libertarian) are needed other than to identify various aspects or applications of libertarianism. Being a libertarian should simply mean being a libertarian, period. Two subheadings in the Breitbart article read WHAT CULTURAL LIBERTARIANS BELIEVE and HOW TO SPOT A CULTURAL LIBERTARIAN. They could have left out the word CULTURAL because what they defined were simply libertarians.
If you’re a libertarian you’re a philosophical libertarian, political libertarian, cultural libertarian, social libertarian, economic libertarian and libertarian in every other way possible. So when Allum Bokhari says in his article, “cultural libertarians have found needling their foes with waspish critiques and satire highly effective” the previously identified “Libertarian Opinionizer” might have responded, “Been there, been doing that since 2001. I was a Cultural Libertarian before Cultural Libertarian was cool – or coined.”
New Libertarian cover courtesy Victor Koman, KoPubCo.com
This article also appeared on Libertarian News Examiner