Can "communist" be a type of libertarian?

in libertarian •  last year

I’ve always (since waking up) held the position that in a free and voluntary society, people are welcome to form their own voluntary communities based on private property and their own preferences. A single-family homestead would meet this definition. So would a community centered around a factory. Or a decentralized network online. Or a network of a company and its customers. Or an actual communist commune. As long as it’s voluntary!

I define libertarianism generally as the belief in freedom and freedom as what you have when no one is forcing their will on you in any way. This is a message of morality and ethics, (based in love) not social organization. It only prescribes the moral ground rules for social organization. Of course, if capitalism is defined as an economic system based on ownership of the means of production, it would still be capitalism to have a communist commune if it was based on legitimate owners choosing to give up certain property claims voluntarily and/or by contract.

Most philosophical communists who I’ve met with have described their ideal society as voluntary, but with a different concept of property rights that everyone buys into. I would describe this as contrary to the reality of the human condition. But imagine that suddenly everyone said, “I don’t want to claim any property outside of my body,” and voluntarily gave up all such claims. It would seem that in this scenario, we have BOTH a communist world, and a libertarian world. Now, I don’t believe that this world is possible, but if everyone else in the world went communist like this, but respected my right to own property, I couldn’t object morally, only aesthetically. (As in, I would aesthetically prefer that people own things outside of themselves because it will lead to more productivity. Which may be irrelevant soon with AI and automation anyway.)
One of the reasons I’m writing this is to bridge what I think is an important philosophical divide, and a dangerous and unnecessary one. Everyone who is an ethical person should understand that whatever your preference for social organization, you are a libertarian! So if you’re a communist, but not one who advocates violence or theft but just wants to be a part of a peaceful community that operates a certain way, you’re a libertarian! If you’re a conservative who can let “the gays” do what they want in their own home, you’re a libertarian! If you’re a liberal who wants to help people but doesn’t want to steal from others to do it, you’re a libertarian!

I’m using the most offensive ideology possible to make my point. (Yes, I know: Nazism, Klanism, Satanism, Racism, Sexism, and Scientology are all more offensive, if somewhat less relevant here.) Libertarianism is about respecting the free will of people to live and relate to each other without violent interference. It’s not a political ideology so much as an anti-political ideology. Sadly, modern politicians have lead us to confuse aesthetics and politics so that we are fooled into thinking that we need to use government to force our aesthetic preferences on others. When humanity is ready to put down the guns of government and embrace freedom, you will be free to have a liberal, conservative, socialist, communist, corporatist, artist, polygamist, Scientologist, Satanist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, secularist, nudist, escapist, or individualist community - or no community at all! What unites us is that we all love freedom. (Which means we’re all libertarians, even if some of us haven’t figured that out yet.)
I am the author of FREEDOM!, a book endorsed (I mean banned) by the US Department of “Justice.” You can get a copy here. I’m running for Not-President in 2020 on the platform of the peaceful, orderly, and responsible dissolution of the United States federal government. You can find out more here. Whoever has the top comment on this post after 24 hours can claim a free signed copy of FREEDOM! by sending me a message with their address.

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I don't think it's the best economic system, but if participation is voluntary, it's none of my business.


May I be your running mate as Not-Vice-President?

In Louisa County Virginia, close to me, there are communes. It's funny though because they warn people in advance that they had better be hard workers. They do not welcome free loafers.

Is it voluntary and did everyone involved consent? More power to them then. Leave them alone as long as they do no harm to anyone or their property.

I believe voluntary communism is fine, but the voluntary part is key. A lot of people would say it would all be voluntary, but then would their tune change once they gained power?

"The finest thing in the anarchy, what you might call libertarian communism..." The Secret Life of Salvador Dali

It's hard to see a mass murder machine as being "aesthetically unpleasing," lol that's just my emotional reaction though. I get your point, voluntary could mean just about any system.


Commies insist that "the free market" is a mass murder machine, using Nazi Germany and the US as their examples. While this is less rational than citing the Soviet Union as proof that Communism is totalitarianism inclined toward mass murder, it does indicate that people have different aesthetic preferences when it comes to the society they want, or imagine they want.


Matter of perspective I guess, I love how fascism is equated with a free market in those arguments. But if you compare it to the soviet union it does look pretty free in that the government does not directly set prices in the U.S. at the moment.


I agree, if a system is voluntary and everyone benefits...more power to them. I live near a lot of Amish communities. Believe it or not, it is voluntary. They reach the correct age and then they are tasked with deciding whether to stay, work hard and benefit from the group effort...or go be their own person and develop their own belief system.

Even Marx’s professed goal was the eventual end of the state. He just believed a worker’s collective would be the finest expression of inter-personal liberty and perhaps egalitarianism. As a result, I agree with you that communists can of course be libertarians, and I also agree that I wouldn’t want to be part of that commune (though I could easily respect its right to exist). One unique quirk of traditional Marxist doctrine that becomes - in my mind - a pit-fall is that the transition to communism necessitates socialism and the collectivization of all capital on the road to communism. That is, on the path to anarchy you essentially need more government. I can’t say I have read every anarcho-capitalist philosopher ever (how could I), but I have never heard an an-cap argument wherein the state needed to be maximized before being shed away like a chrysalis from a caterpillar.

That is part of the problem......power. Someone always wants it. It is the balance of being productive and being empathetic to others, with a big helping of mind your own business. That would be a good start toward the kind of person I would like to know.

Libertarianism is the opposite of collectivism. Communism is inherently collectivist and anti-individualist. A centrally-planned economy such as a communist one can never be considered libertarian.

Libertarian was originally what anarchists called themselves, but the term was outlawed in France so they used anarchist instead.
This is not your only HIStorical mistake.
I made this post with you in mind.

I was going to troll your rent post, but I thought it better to make this comment here when I read how reasonable you come across in some of your other posts.

Now we will test your character and see how you move forward in light of the new facts given to you in that post.

I thought of the idea of communism at a very local level. You could call it communitism

Can "conservative" be a type of libertarian?

I appreciate all of these thoughtful comments. I'm wondering where that inflection point exists...where people are no longer incentivized to work hard.

The deserted island/Amish community/hippie commune analogies are listed throughout the comments. What I think these populations have in common is a more intimate sense of accountability.

At what point does that accountability shift to a central authority, and away from me? That seems to be the point at which so many of the unfortunate applications of communist theory have revealed themselves across history. THANKS!

Communism is a form of government. Without government in the equation you end up with plain old voluntarism - and nobody has a problem with a group of people who just want to share everything with each other. The problem comes when that kind of system is placed on a national level and the government forces people to participate in the system with the threat of violence. Communism/socialism has been tried before early on in America - the result was that since everyone got the same rewards for varying amounts of work nobody did any work since they would get paid anyway - and similar results are found in any system where socialism or communism is introduced which is why some people in a socialist society must be forced to participate in order to provide the goods and services required by the society.

Hi @adamkokesh.. Nice post.
I have follow you, please follback n vote n comment @hadimemories. Thanks

This article helped me a lot. I have been stuck because while I agree with libertarian principles, I do not support capitalism. Furthermore, I am totally against "the state" in both capitalism AND communism/socialism. This article sort of frees me to be both. I have read about the ideal of libertarian socialism which is what I feel best describes my position. I have seen a lot about you on You Tube and feel a lot better about your message now. Thanks for posting this.

Yes, I've only once encountered a communist who both advocated for no government and also thought it was morally acceptable to take my things without permission. The rest don't seem to understand that government in its essence is force, and they recoil at the thought that they're forcing me to do something. It's only the ones who specifically want to violently appropriate the things I've worked so hard for, while claiming that there's no such thing as property or property rights, that I have a problem with. These are usually the leaders, the organizers, because this kind of thinking specifically benefits people in positions of power. Having had discussions with some of the followers, I find them to be by-and-large interesting, caring and genuine people. I choose not to subscribe to their chosen lifestyle, but that shouldn't stop me from peacefully coexisting with them.