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The Libertarian’s Utopia

November 2, 2009

Onward, now, to the third of our ideological dream-worlds. (We’ve already visited The Leftist’s Utopia and The Conservative’s Utopia.) Libertarians are fond of liberty, of course, but they’re even fonder of celebrating their own superiority to the huddled masses. Let’s see what their Utopia would look like (with a little poetic license for satirical exaggeration at their expense)…

The Libertarian’s Utopia.

Let’s suppose we took the notion of individual liberty to its reasonable limit. Everyone  in this experimental society is free to adopt healthy habits or indulge potentially fatal ones, free to thrive or stumble, free to succeed mightily or fail miserably. In fact, there seems to be hardly any middle ground. It’s strictly a winner-take-all world now, because the libertarians are in charge.

The Libertarian’s Utopia imposes no limits on the upside and provides no safety nets on the downside: you create your own fortune, for good or ill. You’ll have a head start on success if you’re smart, energetic, driven, practical, well-connected and more than a little crafty. But you’ll be in the minority — a minuscule minority — and you like it that way.

You relish your success, all the more because so many of your countrymen are hopelessly poor and clueless. You almost consider them a separate and inferior species, those lumpy Darwinian rejects. It didn’t take a village to help you rise and prosper; you did it all by yourself. (Well, of course you had dozens of those lumpy Darwinian rejects supporting your efforts at coolie wages… but the vision was YOURS and yours alone; they just did the actual work.)

In the Libertarian’s Utopia, the winners enjoy having more choices than the losers. They fear no deity, government or manmade law. They’re free to carouse and couple at will, without those silly antiquated moral restrictions on lust. They’re free to take recreational drugs without fear of incarceration. They’re free to be obnoxious to their inferiors without fear of recrimination. They enjoy owning things:  real estate, trendy art, Internet domains, exotic pets, human slaves.

They especially enjoy their freedom from the need to replicate themselves. After all, raising children is absurdly labor-intensive and a tiresome imposition on personal liberty. Those few libertarians who feel an overwhelming need to reproduce simply pay a surrogate mother to deliver the goods and a nanny to manage them.

Because they hesitate to procreate, libertarians are an even more minuscule minority than their top-of-the-pyramid status would indicate. To protect themselves from the needy and envious rabble, they live in gated enclaves and socialize exclusively with their peers. They enjoy frequent mate-swapping, hoard prestigious wines in their thermostatically controlled cellars, dress unconventionally but expensively, and frequently own vacation villas in Third World outposts like Costa Rica and Michigan. (All the better to lord it over the locals.) Devout libertarians love to rack up success points as proof of their favored genes.

Ayn Rand is the author of choice; most libertarians can quote chapter and verse. The more mischievous among them prefer H. L. Mencken; those too lazy to read gravitate toward Bill Maher, who has his own cable channel (all Maher, all the time).  If any of them could penetrate the writings of Nietzsche, they’d be quoting him, too. After all, the superman is their deity. Unfettered, unabashed free-market capitalism is their one true religion and the unbridled ego is their ticket to salvation. 

But here’s the rub: these self-styled mavericks share a surprisingly dogmatic body of beliefs. Minimal government. Capitalism as the means to power. Unlimited self-fulfillment for the superior. Inevitable floundering for the “sheep.”

But don’t ever tell those libertarians that their ideas might be elitist or, worse yet, unoriginal. Safe inside their guarded communities, immune from fears of a watchful and wrathful God, secure in their position atop the squirming masses of humanity, they’re proud embodiments of the Darwinian Dream: the most absurdly successful representatives of the most absurdly successful species ever to inhabit the planet Earth. They’re the fit, the elect, the fortunate, the saved. At least until the peasants find a way to spill through the gates.

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