Realism and libertarianism on the surface, are philosophically opposed. But there is a lot of valuable insights that a libertarian can gain from the realist framework, for example, understanding that the classical liberal sense of freedom does not drive men, but selfish instinct drives men and sometimes even to their detriment. The pessimism of the realist worldview is needed to remind everybody of any political ideology that the perfectibility of man is a myth and dreaming about a utopia is a foolish endeavor that only leads to tragedies.
Understanding the State
In recent times, I came to view the state as an institution that exists out of necessity and one of its goals and functions is the prohibition of external forces (national defense), provide an enforceable framework for markets, and further its interest in the Machiavellian game of geopolitics. In most cases, libertarian-anarchists are correct to assert that the state is a “territorial monopolist of violence over a geographical area” and achieves its wealth through taxation, military expansionism, and other forms of expropriation. Where libertarians go wrong with their critique of the state is that they rely on moralism such as the self-ownership axiom and how it is wrong to initiate coercion, but these arguments are often insufficient and fall flat on empirical testing. For example, self-ownership is partly true but cannot always be demonstrated, little children do not exhibit volition, they are very dependent on the parent and often need permission to act. From a realist perspective, the state exists not because they want to punish the productive members of our society, but to get out of the state of nature (Hobbesian). Moreover, throughout the history of states, they all seem to trend to the Nietzschean will to power. To be sovereign, is to be the master of its determination and self-sustaining.
The Realist-Libertarian Synthesis
Libertarians want to lower (or outright eliminate) the demand for the state. What libertarians have to understand is that men are driven by their selfish instinct and at times to their own peril. That men are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to achieve their goals and thus the demand for an extractive state will increase(Russia, Turkey, China, etc.). The realist’s pessimistic views on humanity should guide the libertarian to construct a theory of politics and possibly form a polity. Moreover, rationalist libertarians should abandon the non-aggression axiom because it is insufficient to build a polity or social organization. Since the non-aggression axiom(prohibition of physical violence) does not allow any construction of social norms and societal institutions. The trick is to make coercion as expensive as possible to attain a “conservative-libertarian” polity. Adding to “civilizing process” or building up social capital is very long and often brutal due to its implicit eugenic undertone. Since we are in a society and due to mankind’s profoundly flawed nature, there is no exact solution for any social and economic issues but only trade-offs to reach the most sustainable outcome or the most tolerable imperfections.
An Introduction to International Relations and Defensive Realism
Unfortunately, libertarians losing issue is foreign policy. They rely on petty moralism, use deeply flawed sources, and often negate geopolitical realities. To remedy this, I will explain the defensive realist theory of international politics. In the defensive realist worldview, they view international order to be anarchic and not hierarchical. And views that the state is required to have minimal security for survival and regards good international policy as that which is structured to discourage war. From this perspective, they perceive the state to be susceptible to the balance of power and if any state goes rogue, a coalition will form to crush them. For example, Nazi Germany was defeated by a coalition of nations and the Napoleonic empire was crushed by an alliance of states.
The realist perspective of the world can be very refreshing and allow political ideologues to re-consider there beliefs and worldview. As a result, they may change their goals to something more practical and not operate in an abstract world. My current belief that libertarians fall into the trap of utopian rationalism or naively believe that if everybody understands libertarianism and the goals they hope to achieve, everybody will eventually become libertarians. But this just not the case, it is time to stop operating in an abstract world.
The Proper Role Of the State(with Klaus Moller): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSUql9c5UT0&t=1122s
John J. Mearsheimer, "the Case For Restraint": YaleUniversity - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsonzzAW3Mk&t=858s
Theory Of International Politics by Kenneth Waltz - Waveland Press - 2010
A Conflict Of Visions: Ideological Origins Of Political Struggles by Thomas Sowell - Basic Books - 2007