Canada – Armed Libertarianism Not A Welcome Export – The Rise Of The Freeman Movement – 29 December 2012

Oh, great, another thing to worry about. Now armed libertarian extremists are coming to Canada, and even Alberta newspapers think it’s a problem.

I don’t have a problem with the whole “free man” (or, let’s join the 21st Century while in progress, and say “free person”) concept…but it ought to come with the Stan Lee corollary: with great power comes great responsibility. Freedom for you isn’t consistent with subjugation for everyone else. Responsibility means balancing out your substantive freedoms with those of others, not just coming up with procedural reasons why only you get any benefit from a freedom you laughingly suggest is the right of all.

If you want to blow off the law, great, but then you’re responsible for doing what the law does better than the law does it, so this doesn’t create substantive injustices. The people in this “Freeman” group think they’re somehow doing the world a favour by blowing off all authorities, but seem blithely unconcerned about what, if anything, the authorities do for people. This crowd claims the mantle of “environmentalism, anti-capitalism, anti-globalization”. but I guarantee you, threats to the environment, from big capitalists and to localisation of political power…they all get worse when everyone gets to skip out on common rules collectively observed. Show me how you get environmentalism, anti-capitalism or anti-globalisation without the state regulating stuff and you’ll have a convert. But I won’t be holding my breath until then. People who buy into this crap really are willing to see all sorts of unholy crap happen to the environment, the economy or their society – the only thing they really care about is not being bossed around – even by someone who may actually know better than them.

The only observation this article makes that seems to me likely to be accurate is the one about “far-right racism” characterising this movement. A world where the Freeman types get where they want is one where blacks don’t get served at restaurants because people felt racist this morning when they got out of bed, and to compel them to be anything else would violate their “rights”.

“Last year, RCMP officials in B.C. issued a bulletin to officers urging them to be cautious when dealing with suspected Freemen,” notes this article, “because of their belief in the right to use force in defence of their land, property and family.” I guess they threw “family” in there to kind of humanise the whole business. But we know what this is really about. This is a movement for people who have stuff not to have to live in a world where they are expected to share stuff, and they’re willing to kill rather than accept otherwise.

Unfortunately, left-wingers continue to provide intellectual cover for this sort of movement, which is at its core a right-wing defense of the status quo. If there’s one thing I’d like to see change in 2013, it would be the Left finally dissociating itself from these kinds of purveyors of narrow liberties-for-the-few-at-the-expense-of-the-many. The state, whatever one can justly lay at its feet, is not nearly as bad as movements like these are.

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