monarchism, libertarianism, and self-serving political bias

As I’m sure anyone who’s reading this knows, neoreactionary thought has been getting some attention in the mainstream media, and a prominent feature of the body of thought is monarchism. Neoreactionary objectors of all stripes may be prone to accuse its proponents of arguing disingenuously, thinking that the resulting political order will favor them (“they probably all just think they are going to be king, hah hah!”) In particular, libertarians are beginning to come out against nrxn, probably in order to distinguish themselves, because the two share some other similarities (e.g. an emphasis on political rights of exit, emphasis on desert over egalitarianism, etc). But I find this objection about wanting to be king particularly strange coming from libertarians, seeing as how they face an analogous objection on the regs.

Take your now-standard, internet-dwelling leftish libertarian. He says that freer markets and smaller government are the way to go, for some melange of principled or moral, and related empirical, reasons. A garden-variety liberal objects to these recommendations, on the basis that she thinks a libertarian world would systematically advantage white men, who would be even less restricted than ever in their pursuit of naked self-interest, and who would be unencumbered to “give back” or fulfill the demands of social justice.

The libertarian has 2 options: deny and/or defend the distributions that would seem to result from his regime. He will deny that freer markets benefit mostly white men (complete with lots of examples of non-white and female entrepreneurs, of course). And he will defend whatever unequal distributions remain, as being earned rather than the product of crony capitalism. “Libertarianism has nothing to do with wanting advantages for oneself, we swear! In some ways, a freer market would disadvantage many white men, who’d face increased business competition due to reduced barriers to entry, for instance.”

But libertarians will also need to defend the white male advantage that libertarianism is likely to preserve to some extent, and this is especially difficult to do as a white male. Actual white guys would get a head start in the libertarian world because of how well they’re doing in the status quo, and it would persist in the climate of freer markets because there are economic advantages associated both with being white and with being male. It may be true that the welfare state harms women and minorities in the long run/on net, but that doesn’t mean that libertarianism would equalize outcomes or even opportunities.

Monarchists find themselves in much the same position with respect to the “you just want to be king” (or to occupy the top echelons of elites) objection: deny that monarchists are just imagining that they’ll be in power, or defend the fact that, under monarchism and its attendant elite, that those people really will be. But monarchists have a better reply. They should outright deny that monarchists each think they’ll be in power, because just mathematically very few people will hold significant political power under such a system – indeed, that is one of its virtues! To advocate for monarchy without realizing this would make you an idiot, so the criticism that all monarchists just think they in particular will benefit power-wise is offered in very bad faith.

Also, critically, note that this is a fair criticism of standard liberals, too. Who do you suppose will end up running and staffing the constantly-expanding crop of bureaucracies underpinning technocratic utopia? It’s the liberals: college-educated, white-collar, politically correct, culturally hegemonized, pseudo-intelligentsia + managers. They stand to benefit financially at least as much as small potatoes welfare recipients, typically much much more, with a huge status bump too.

tl;dr – of course we each harbor both self-interested and impersonal reasons for adopting most of the political beliefs that we do. Striking a balance between these is part of the exercise. There is no particular reason to think that monarchism, and monarchists, fare worse on this desiderata of a political philosophy than do libertarianism or liberalism (both of which are actually prima facie more likely to be motivated by sheer self-interest). So stfu about monarchists all wanting to be king and find something more intelligent to say.


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