I call myself a libertarian, but boy do libertarians get on my nerves.
The freedom philosophy used to be about trashing government aggression and poking fun at statism. But thanks to the rise of left-libertarian organizations, the philosophy has been infiltrated by ignorant hacks. Libertarianism is now chock-full of whiners who want smaller government for the wrong ends.
My friend Julie Borowski clued me in on one such specimen. His name is Nick Ford and he is a tad different from your run-of-the-mill leftist-libertarian. Ford backs a novel cause: abolishing work. From what I can determine, he detests working in a typical office setting and finds it stifling to his creative genius, or something.
So what exactly is Ford trying to achieve by railing against work? On his website, he defines work as “production enforced by economic or political means, by the carrot or the stick.” Labor is oppressive because it gets in the way of happily frolicking through an idyllic field of daisies. He and his anti-work compatriots fight “against the notion that people should be structurally limited and optioned out of a better and more peaceful and playful life by the powers that be.”
Ford advocates a number of solutions to achieve his (non)worker’s paradise. He praises “off-the-grid” living and communal arrangements as viable alternatives to the corporate life. In a recent missive, he champions the failed idea of open office spaces because they contribute to low productivity. A 2011 study by organizational psychologist Matthew Davis determined such spaces are detrimental to worker “attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.” Thus, Ford is all for wide-open working space if it contributes to the stagnation of diabolical corporations.
Some radical. Ford’s anti-work campaign sounds ludicrous but it’s part and parcel with the whole breadth of lefty-libertarianism and its anti-business ethos. Ford contributes to the home of these commie sympathizers, the Center for a Stateless Society (which happens to be co-founded by an admitted child molester). The site’s blog is brimming with tirades on sexism, racism, and practically every “ism” ever invented by languid minds. The language C4SS (the cool kids’ acronym for the org) employs is no different from the musings of gender studies college majors who vote Democrat. Here’s one excerpt from a post apologizing for the behavior of the group’s prurient founder: “Heterosexism not only polices non-normative sexualities but also reproduces normative gender roles and identities that reinforce the logic of patriarchy and male privilege.”
That sounds more like Salon than LewRockwell.com. And it’s what passes for libertarianism nowadays. No wonder the philosophy is ridiculed in circles of power. What statesman takes seriously a bunch of oafs arguing over how light skin color and penises are offensive?
The whole sexual patriarchy thing is grating enough when liberals scream about it. The same goes for crying about wage servitude and corporate overlords. Everyone gets it: having a boss sucks. If we could all work for ourselves, then maybe communism could work, at least in an abstract sense. But land and capital are expensive. Someone has to be their steward and manage employees. Traditional libertarians understand this dynamic. They learned it from Adam Smith.
Left-libertarians have adopted progressive tactics and want to die on the hill Marx built. Here, I believe, is where Ford’s anti-work campaign stems from. Living in mommy’s basement and trolling the internet all day isn’t about sheer indolence. It’s about smashing the capitalist order. Ford is an enemy of American ingenuity. My guess is that his end goal involves tearing down Walmarts and replacing them with flea markets composed of Turkish rug salesmen.
Like progressivism, the leftist strand of libertarian emanates from an adolescent state of mind. Basically, these lefties don’t want to work for anything other than their own leisure. They don’t want the usual demands of life because those require responsibility. And there’s nothing more frightening to a progressive than personal responsibility.
Ford epitomizes slacker culture. According to his Twitter feed, he enjoys video games and crappy music. I imagine sometime in his life, Ford went through rite of passage for all American teenagers: a low-wage job. Perhaps he flipped burgers at McDonald’s. Maybe he stocked shelves at Target. Eventually his boss was fed up with his disgruntled attitude. He was likely canned and now spends his days authoring polemics for C4SS. That’s my theory, anyway.
And therein lies the contradiction in the anti-work campaign. If you don’t want to slave away for the man, then sit in bed all day. Don’t get up. Don’t write essays for a website. Don’t eat food, dress yourself, or even go outside. All of that is called something: work. It’s toiling away for your own benefit. Standing against work is like standing against your own survival. The only other option is to shrink away and die. Work is the building block of all of society’s achievements. If Nick Fords ran the country, the U.S. would look like North Korea without a portly sociopath in charge.
Ford’s crusade is insignificant in the scheme of things, but it’s symptomatic of the greater contradictions within the left-libertarian movement. Having a pedophile as the founder of your braintrust is one thing. It’s another to have a slew of shysters, hypocrites, and warmongers as your foot soldiers. Ford is innocuous compared to Stacy Litz, the former C4SS staffer who snitched on her fellow junkies. He’s not nearly as snide as lefties that want to purge Ron Paul but pose for a picture with the former congressman, cheesy smiles and all. Then of course you have capitalist-hating libertarians charging poor college students for swag at a recent millennial conference.
The only silver lining in all this is very few people see left-libertarianism as a serious force. That goes doubly for Mr. Ford’s anti-work campaign. Normal folks are too busy busting their ass to pay the mortgage to care what an overgrown child has to say about the tyranny of sweat. In the meantime, thanks to Ford and his social justice comrades, libertarianism will continue to be associated with Marxist rants on heteronormative, white, genital-enforced hierarchy. It almost makes me want to ditch the libertarian label and just call myself a conservative.
Then again, that sounds like too much work.