Reactionary Libertarianism

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Not to be confused with Reactionary Liberalism

"Forgetting the medieval institutions that made a stateless civilization possible, liberals became intellectual hostages to the belief that faith in force needs to be institutionalized in the State, if the world is to be held together. They fell prey to the illusion that they could preserve liberty by taming the State or even control and use it to liberate and empower individuals."[1]

Reactionary Libertarianism, or Reactbert, for short is an economically far-right, Libertarian, and Reactionary ideology inspired on the Belgian political philosopher, Frank Van Dun, who, in the article "The 'Reactionary' Libertarianism of Frank Van Dun", written by Richard Storey, is described as a "Reactionary Libertarian". The article shows extracts from Frank's correspondence with him outlining the case that the feudal system was stateless and that the church was, in fact, and contrary to most people's beliefs, the greatest limiter to the rise of states in Europe.


Reactionary libertarianism, as a political ideology, argues that the traditional feudal regimes and the catholic church were systems opposed to the development of statism, and were so for centuries.

One of the libertarian thinkers that best exemplifies this position is Frank Van Dun. He argues that political centralization, which ultimately culminated with the development of the modern state, was brought about by the English system, from the Norman Conquest onward, centralization which was impossible to achieve in the continent. However, because royal absolutism did not last as long in England, and its fall coincided with the rise of absolutism in the continent, “English freedom” became the model to follow in the 18th century and onward.

He also criticizes the enlightenment, which (as so much of later Progressive ideology) had a vital interest in obliterating everything that was associated with the "stateless order of medieval Europe" and the role of the church in formal education during the same period.

These beliefs led him to criticize Rothbardianism remaining virtually silent on the statelessness of the medieval system, besides some very few mentions, while actively presupposing some form of (what he called) " Lutheran individualism", upon which is superimposed a structure of property and contract relations but which does not pay much, if any, attention to questions of responsibility and justificatory arguments.

The Origin of the State

This ideology takes a specific approach on the explanation of what is the state and how it evolved until its modern version.
‘State’ derives from the Latin ‘status’. In the 15th century, however, it began to be used in Italian principalities and cities to refer to their “political economy” (the realm considered as a single household). However, even today there remains an ambiguity: the state as a single economy (now usually called ‘a society’) and the state as the apparatus of rule and government within society (which puts every inhabitant of a country inside or outside the state apparatus).

Frank, though, believes that the term has been overly (mis)used in the modern times, calling any system of rule a state, whether or not the rulers even claimed to have the right to govern anything but their household and whether or not they ruled by customary prerogative or governed by “the rights of conquest” (the former excluding, the latter including the “rights” to legislate and to tax at will).

It is also important to define statism, which Frank defines as the 'idea that the ruler should have not only the power to rule (as supreme commander in times of war, as diplomat, and as judge in some but not necessarily all disputes among his subjects) but also the power to govern.' He says that medieval kings ruled their realm but did not govern anything within it besides his own household. "Government (as distinct from rule) was a matter of private housekeeping."

Frank Van Dun believes the state (in the west) was rather a gradual transition from medieval rule to the modern political government, the latter reaching its full expression from the 16th century onwards (After the disasters and wars of the 14th century and the wars of the 15th century) when some major medieval kings became absolute monarchs and the idea that the monarch's power to govern extended as far as imperium became common.

This, then, lead to the formal organization of regular departments of government and their bureaucratization, that is, the separation of the purely administrative aspects of government from the purely political aspects, previously intertwined. Thus the previous conceived idea that kings were first among equals with special prerogatives but no superior rights, was as good as dead.

Statelessness of the medieval system

Frank raised the case of medieval political system as being libertarian. Being not only anarchistic in the sense that it was situated in a stateless environment but also in the sense that it was intended to be anti-state. And in arguing this, he stresses the political relevance of the church.

In the words of Frank Van Dun, the church was not only a protector of “private law systems” but rather the great protector of them. Without the church these systems wouldn't have been able to develop. Frank says that in medieval times, free cities, universities, mercantile associations, large estates, etc... developed their own systems of “private law-keeping” or, in other words, private systems of governance. These were more or less closed (private) economies (households or associations of households).

The Church insisted on their support for natural law, which kept those “private systems” compatible with each other as to what basic principles refer, preventing them from turning into separate collections of special-interest privileges.

In simpler terms, the Church oversaw the integrity of the system without interfering in the internal ordering of individual households or associations of households, unless they threatened to take over by forcefully eliminating the independence of other households.

Not having an army of its own, the Church relied on the good will of others, i.e. on their moral and theological prestige and authority (its intellectual capital). By decreasing the Church’s authority, and by robbing it of much wealth and income (and by implication, bargaining power), the Protestant crisis certainly undermined the major pillar of support for these medieval “private systems of governance.”

How to draw

Flag of Reactionary Libertarianism
  1. Draw a ball
  2. Fill it with violet-blue
  3. Draw a golden snake with green grass below it
  4. Add golden text saying "DONT TREAD ON ME"
  5. Draw eyes
  6. (Optional) Draw a knight helmet with a red plume

You're done!

Color Name HEX RGB
Violet-blue #131237 19, 18, 55
Gold #FFE74C 255, 231, 76
Grass Green #104311 16, 67, 17





  • Reactionary Socialism - Just... how?
  • Anarcho-Communism - Yes, I'm a neo-feudal and..?
  • Absolute Monarchism - You statist centralist scum!
  • Enlightened Absolutism - Authoritarianism?! The enlightenment?! Absolute monarchism?! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!
  • World Federalism - Your "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" are more like "animal rights" which often conflicting with each other and many of these "rights" are only valid insofar as legislation of the government is not contradicting it, also it is fundamentally different to fundamental rights such as life, liberty and property!

Further Information