By Jim Sterling
If there is one concept every lover of liberty ought to abhor, it’s collectivism. By collectivizing people, we strip them of their individualism and attempt to label all people of any particular group as one. Liberty is possessed not by groups, but by individuals possessing the right to pursue their happiness and be free of government restraint in their lives, so long as they respect the rights and lives of others.
Yet, the media and the left are quick to link libertarianism and capitalism with racism. It is true, some confused individuals who claim to love liberty seem wooed by the demagoguery of the alt-right and other bigots when it comes to national politics. But as a whole, the ideas of liberty are incompatible with racism, as the core of libertarianism is individualism.
On racism, Ayn Rand wrote:
“Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.”
The left will say that defending capitalism is defending racism, but this type of thinking shows a misunderstanding of economics and of history. It was government, not private business, which imported slaves, that institutionalized racism, that enforced segregation, and that used water cannons and attack dogs against peaceful civil rights demonstrators. It was the government that ruled a black man was akin to a briefcase, to be owned and disposed of as his owner wished.
Private enterprise has allowed minorities economic opportunity. And while some business owners will undoubtedly have intolerant beliefs, the market allows you to not patronize those establishments or to even organize boycotts. When it comes to racism, the government’s track record speaks for itself, yet the left will hold up the state as the saviors of humanity.
Individual liberty and free markets are naturally opposed to bigotry and racism. The former is rooted in an ideological rejection of all collectivism and the latter puts power in the hands of anyone willing to work hard to better their circumstances. As Ayn Rand said, “Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.”