Libertarianism is the politics of unabashed selfishness

Just as its adherents once held communism to be a blueprint for the betterment of humanity through collectivism, so, too, do those of libertarianism hold their ideology to be the ultimate panacea for a better life through individualism.

Their simple answer to the complications of the world and of life is the canon of each man for himself with little or no input from government.

In fact they range from “minarchists” who want to strip government of most of its powers to meddle in the affairs of individuals, leaving only the police and military to defend their rights and the country’s borders, to “anarcho-capitalists” who want to get rid of government altogether, leaving it up to the free market to provide law and order and border security (private armies to protect the interests of the masters and keep the slaves in their place).

Under a new libertarian order there would be no personal or property taxes, no regulations, no permits, no licensing, no zoning, and no labor laws. Individual liberty would be sacrosanct, never to be sacrificed on the altars of compassion, justice, civic responsibility, honesty, decency, humility, or respect.

Altruism has no place in libertarian philosophy, the view being that the poor, the weak and the vulnerable are parasites, as exemplified by the late Russian-born novelist and atheist Ayn Rand, a fractious, overbearing cult leader who in her writing holds that by responding to the plea of a poor man for help, a rich man actually debases himself.

In Rand’s view there are only two kinds of people: creators and parasites. And the former, the drivers of personal wealth, are entitled to anything and everything they desire without regard for the latter, the nobodies, who deserve nothing.

And that is pretty much the view of libertarians today, the ones who openly revere Ayn Rand.

Of course they try to hide the ugliness of their libertarian philosophy behind euphemistic terminology laced with sprinklings of truths, half-truths and deceitful omissions; and many, particularly among the young, find the idea of living virtually free of restrictions of any kind appealing.

But in reality there would indeed be restrictions — covered by the libertarian doctrine of do as you please so long as you don’t harm anyone else — tailored to suit the interests of the new masters, and enforced by their private police and military.

The restrictions would be applied incrementally — like the coils of a python which do not crush but simply tighten a notch each time the victim exhales — until the masters have an established order to their liking.

But, hey, none of this is ever going to happen. The very idea that extreme libertarians, or any kind of libertarians, could ever impose their will on the majority of Americans is preposterous.