Libertarian as Ethnicity

The past few months have been busy, to say the least. The Obama administration announced a series of executive actions regarding immigration and that has taken up most of my time. Meanwhile in my day job as a graduate student I’ve been overwhelmed with midterms and finals; I am sure my fellows in NoL can sympathize with this. The few moments of peace I have enjoyed have gone towards pondering one question: Who is an American? 

The question is not isolated. By asking who an American is, I’m really asking what ethnicity, and other social groups, really are. The best answer to my question was an old Cato blog post appropriately titled, What is an American? In it Edward Hudgins discusses what makes an American. It is not, as some believe, a common language, creed, or ancestry. What makes an American is his love for liberty. It is in his closing remarks that Hudgins hits on something amazing, there is no meaningful thing as ‘American’.

Unfortunately, the American spirit has eroded. Our forebears would look with sadness at the servile and envious character of many of our citizens and policymakers. But the good news is that there are millions of Americans around the world, living in every country. Many of them will never make it here to the United States. But they are Americans, just as my grandpop was an American before he ever left Italy.

There exists those individuals who can prefix themselves as Americans, but at best this only tells us that they are somehow affiliated with the American continent. There exists a group of people who yearn for liberty and are willing to fight for it, but many of them were neither born or live in the United States. Likewise there are those who were born and live in the United States who are no friends of liberty. And so my initial question has lead me to a new one. Why not promote being a libertarian as an ethnicity? Why not introduce ourselves as ‘Libertarios’ instead of Americans, Germans, or Turks?

At first my proposal may sound strange to some. Would it not be silly to define an ethnicity by political views? I don’t think so. Few ethnic groups have a concrete basis in reality and are based more on fiction than anything else. I was born in Mexico, raised in the United States, and am directly descended from Germans, Jews, and Cubans. I feel little fraternity to these latter groups though. Why should I? I didn’t elect to have Jewish or Mexican ancestry, but I did elect to be a libertarian. Anyone who proclaims to be a libertarian automatically has my sympathy and support, even if I know nothing else about them. As this is the case I would prefer to be identified as a Libertario than any other ethnic group.

I am sure that there are those who would prefer not to be identified by any collective label at all. For those of you who fall into this category I would offer a pragmatic case for identify as Libertario.

I hope it can be taken for granted that, as libertarians, we wish there to be more libertarians. In the best scenario more libertarians in the world might lead to better public policy. In the worst scenario we at least have more potential friends. By promoting our existence as an ethnic group we would encourage more people to remain as libertarians. I have often found people who have libertarian political views, but who withdraw from participation if they become discouraged about the hope for change in their lifetimes. If we were an ethnic group though these individuals would continue to promote liberty, if only to signal their membership in the group. An ethnic group therefore not only encourages members to remain active, but produces positive externalities to promote the group’s message.

For comparison consider the Mormon people. Many Mormons spend time advocating on behalf on their religion, with several even going abroad on missionary work. From anecdotal experience I’ve noticed that many of them are ill treated when they perform their advocacy. Why do they bother to do so then? Because, as I’ve noted above, it signals their membership in the Mormon community. The average Mormon may not particularly enjoy being harassed for their beliefs, but they do it anyway to tell other Mormons a simple message, “I’m one of you.”

It goes without saying that there must be a benefit to belonging to a given group for this to work.

Additionally the existence of an ethnic libertario community would make raising children to be libertarians much easier. I side with Bryan Caplan in the belief that a relatively easy way to grow the movement is by simply having more children than the general population. It doesn’t matter if you believe children’s political beliefs, and by extension their ethics and other characteristics, are shaped by genetics or their nurturing, a libertario community would help with producing children. If you believe in the genetic argument, then an ethnic community reduces the cost of finding a spouse who shares your political beliefs. If you believe in the nurture argument, then surely a child raised among libertarians is more likely to end up being one himself.

Thoughts? Am I just crazy? Or do you have a counter proposal to ‘Libertario’ as our ethnic label? Comment below.

El grave error del libertarianismo guatemalteco en el juicio contra el ex-dictador Efraín Ríos Montt


El presente artículo busca conversar con un grupo específico de personas: libertarios y/o simpatizantes con las ideas libertarias que han tomado una postura pública en defensa de los generales Efraín Ríos Montt y José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, acusados de los delitos de genocidio y crímenes de lesa humanidad durante los años 1982-83 en Guatemala quienes no han dicho, también, y con el mismo peso en sus artículos impresos, entrevistas y demás presentaciones públicas que exigen se haga justicia por los crímenes de lesa humanidad cometidos contra civiles durante el gobierno de facto de estos militares y por los crímenes cometidos durante los 36 años de conflicto armado por el ejército y la guerrilla. Continue reading

Sobre genocidio, filosofía y diálogos

Pido-castigoDurante las últimas semanas, muchas de las discusiones intelectuales en Guatemala han girado en torno al juicio en contra del ex Presidente de facto, General Retirado del Ejército y ex Presidente del Congreso de Guatemala José Efraín Ríos Montt.  Ríos Montt enfrenta un juicio por los  delitos de genocidio y crímenes de lesa humanidad.  Este juicio y su resolución tendrá una relevancia de alto impacto en la lucha que realizan movimientos progresistas (conocidos también como liberales en EE.UU., liberales de izquierda, y/o como seguidores del social liberalismo) en la búsqueda por resolver conflictos históricos que armonicen el funcionamiento de un mercado regulado con una participación del Estado en la garantización de igualdad de  competencia y la corrección de desigualdades heredadas del período colonial y/o desigualdades que resultaron de la institucionalización política o social de prácticas racistas, clasistas, machistas, entre otras.

El juicio contra Ríos Montt, que podría convertirse en el “Juicio del siglo” de los intereses ideológicos progresistas latinoamericanos, tomó vuelo luego de que el 19 de marzo de 2013, una jueza guatemalteca abriese formalmente juicio contra el exdictador, acusándolo de genocidio contra miles indígenas durante su régimen de gobierno (1982-1983).  El genocidio es un delito internacional que comprende “cualquiera de los actos perpetrados con la intención de destruir, total o parcialmente, a un grupo nacional, étnico, racial o religioso como tal; estos actos comprenden la matanza de miembros del grupo, lesión grave a la integridad física o mental de los miembros del grupo, sometimiento intencional del grupo a condiciones de existencia que hayan de acarrear su destrucción física, total o parcial, medidas destinadas a impedir nacimientos en el seno del grupo, traslado por la fuerza de niños del grupo a otro grupo.” (via: Estatuto de Roma de la Corte Penal Internacional, 1998-2002 y la Convención para la Prevención y la Sanción del Delito de Genocidio de 1948).  La legislación guatemalteca incluye pena de prisión de 30 a 50 años para los culpables de estos delitos. Continue reading