Are certain online communities an example of the failure open immigration? A defense of Hoppe.

In arguing in favor of Hoppe’s notion of a completely privatized society I’ve come across a lot of derision as well as a lot of acceptance among libertarians.

Recently, I had a chat with Stephen Kinsella by proxy of another person, on this very subject. I think his position was a little weak when he reduced the argument away from the philosophical merits and devolved the argument into consequentialism. There are of course, numerous counter examples being evident to disprove him in Europe at the moment. That being said I recognize anecdotal evidence does not disprove a theory but I can say with some certainty these examples in Europe are, by and large, the norm. We can also say the examples listed are relevant and some of the only ones we really have. That’s where this conversation stems from.

I think we can look at reddit (an online social community based around direct democracy) and specifically /r/libertarian as a good example of the problems of immigration. Let me explain.

When /r/libertarian began it looked a lot like most libertarian communities, good discussions, well thought out posts, and very a very libertarian vibe overall. Lately, I don’t think anyone can deny the /r/libertarian subreddit has been overrun by non-libertarians. (let’s posit that as a fact so we’re not arguing trivialities here) Who or what they support is irrelevant and I’d like to keep this article clear of that kind of discussion as well.

When this topic is broached, a lot, if not most of these non-libertarians say they visit the subreddit for discussion because/r/politics (the established political discussion subreddit) and other subs are mostly echo chambers revolving around liberal attitudes and opinions. When moderation is asked for, the argument for a style of “open borders” is put forward in order to prevent hard language or seemingly hypocritical behaviour.This isn’t really the point I’m getting at and I’m not calling out said moderators at all, in fact, they’re all quite nice people to talk with.

Before anyone proposes that I’m “free to leave”, realize you’re about to use the same argumentas those that say “If u don like ‘merica git owet” and also that this discussion is limited to the scope of reddit. While others have their communities to discuss their ideas and develop them they have effectively not only ruled over their own communities but seemingly public ones like /r/politics and now want to move on to our community. This is effectively entryism but that’s a different topic for a later date. Anyway, I don’t think the “you can always leave” argument is in anyway valid when we are talking about private entities, at least until we can colonize and expand into the infinity of space as the planet is 99% covered by states.

What I am getting at is that /r/libertarian seems to be another limited example of how a democratic system (their voting system) forces people associate to extraordinarily destructive ends. Without private property and control of said property it thus ends up completely devolving communities as Hoppe, Rothbard, and Rockwell proposed would probably happen. This is essence turns an otherwise private community into a common space.

Not always overtly, but covertly. While the subreddit’s primary posts contain libertarian view points, the discussion sections are anything but libertarian a lot of the time. I think this is a pretty good example of how even a largely libertarian society can develop enclaves of anti-libertarian sentiment and help grow that sentiment from within using what is thought of as libertarianism against libertarians. (open immigration and shame) This should not be possible if libertarian theory is sound in my opinion. Libertarian theory should not be self destructive or it can not be correct and should be re-evaluated. That’s where I think Hoppe has it completely correct that disassociation from these communities and people is absolutely libertarian and absolutely necessary to maintain a libertarian social order.

In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and removed from society.

That may sound horrible to someone out of context but in the context of this discussion it makes perfect sense. Should a troll or a subversive non-libertarian be allowed to subvert the ideas of libertarianism and grow an enclave of anti-libertarian sentiment in a private community devoted to the ideas of libertarianism, toward the goal of a non-libertarian society that will no doubt be based on abject force? Of course not! That’s like someone moving into your home and teaching your kids communism, you have every right to physically remove them, so to speak.

From this, I think we can draw the conclusion that discussion in an open forum is at the consent of both parties and the lack of moderation (border control) in /r/libertarian is tantamount to an agreement the moderators made with others, without the subscribers consent, a social contract of no authority. In this, I think we can see exactly what libertarian theorists have been probing at for some time, that forcing communities to associate without consent can only lead to their inevitable destruction.

I find this trend pervasive online lately, not just on reddit. Twitter and facebook are other examples of where seemingly positive online libertarian communities have been over run by the anti intellectual right and left wing.

I’ll leave with the caveat that obviously online communities neither face the troubles associated with normal migration nor the opportunity costs, but I do think this is a fair observation of a microcosm of potential libertarian and non-libertarian communities interacting.

If Hoppe isn’t right, he sure has a funny way of showing it.