Video: Wayne Root Running For LP “Chief Salesman”, Not 2012 Presidential Nominee

From an article today at CalFreedom.net:

2008 LP Vice Presidential Candidate Wayne Root opened and closed his LPCA convention lunchtime banquet remarks on Sunday with this message:  “What this Party is missing, what it needs is a chief salesman, a chief spokesman, a chief rainmaker, and that’s why I’ve announced I’m running for national chairman of the Libertarian Party.”

[Root also said:] “People ask me: ‘You’re running for national Chair, will you run for President in 2012?’ Let me give you an honest answer: I think this party right now is too disorganized to ever do well in a presidential election. And I don’t think, until I can get elected chairman and build it and organize it and be CEO of this party for a few years, I don’t think it’s worth it running for president, or senator, or anything else — you’ll get 1% of the vote. I want to seriously run for president, after I’ve been national Chair, in 2016, after I’ve built this party, and we really are structured and organized, and I have a chance to actually get 5, 10, 15 million votes.  And if luck happens, and we catch fire, and we catch lightning in a bottle, and maybe even win. That’s my current game plan.”

See the article for 50 minutes of video of Root’s lunch banquet talk. See this earlier CalFreedom article for coverage of Chair candidates Mark Hinkle and Ernest Hancock, as well as Vice Chair candidate Carolyn Marbry and Treasurer candidate Aaron Starr. An audio recording of these other candidate’s presentations seems to be trapped in this reporter’s iPhone and can’t get out.

58 thoughts on “Video: Wayne Root Running For LP “Chief Salesman”, Not 2012 Presidential Nominee

  1. AroundtheblockAFT

    Without judgement regarding Mr. Root’s ability to fill the job, the description sounds about right.
    Let the ExecDirector be the administrator of the LNC. We’ve had relatively colorless mba types as Chair in the past – maybe it’s time to change?

  2. Brian Holtz Post author

    Here’s my current two cents on the Chair race.

    I love George’s centrist libertarianism, and I like a lot of George’s ideas about focusing resources on practical politics, but his over-the-top criticisms of other LP leaders (and Ron Paul) have made him a divisive figure — and not even on ideological grounds.

    Mark is more radical than I, but he’s a big-tent inclusivist who seems to have little interest in re-opening the ideology/platform wars. I love his description of the LPUS as a service organization, that should cater to more than one type of Libertarian customer.

    Wayne is libertarian enough for me if you pick the best passages from his book, and I would love to see him be the LP’s chief salesman for a more balanced/centrist libertarianism a la Phillies. Whether the LP should use him as a chief salesman for “Reagan libertarianism” basically depends on how ideologically well-grounded you think the LP is. I know of only one person (Rothbard) who was ever able to personally move the LP’s ideology, and Root is no Rothbard. I think the LP’s ideology can easily survive Root, but I do worry that he doesn’t correctly brand libertarianism as an alternative to both liberalism and conservatism. Also, I worry that he lacks the LP-internal experience to handle the administrative and mediating responsibilities of Chair.

    The good that Hancock does for the movement is best done the way he’s been doing it, through Freedom’s Phoenix. As Chair he would be ideologically and factionally divisive, and there’s little reason to think that he could (or should) turn the LP into another Freedom’s Phoenix operation.

    So my ideal Chair would have Root selling Phillies-style centrist libertarianism while channeling many of Phillies’ practical proposals through a Hinkle avatar with Mark’s administrative and mediating experience. 🙂

    But no such candidate is running. So I wonder: can Root be trained to position the LP brand appropriately, and can the LNC/HQ function effectively with him as Chair? People worry about whether Root is using the LP, but I don’t worry about that very much at all. Libertarians of all people should recognize that voluntary association is positive-sum. We should blatantly “use” Root as long as we think he is a net positive for LP outreach and branding, and if he stops being so, then we should not hesitate to disca — I mean, disassociate from him. 🙂

    I also wonder: why can’t Wayne be chief salesman as a Vice Chair? He’s already making an impressively prodigious sales effort with no LNC portfolio whatsoever. Hinkle would be much more able than Phillies or Hancock to use Root for LP outreach, and Hinkle would be the least divisive choice for Chair — and a safe choice as an administrator.

    Root was very smart to effectively renounce a 2012 presidential run. If he can improve his antennae about Libertarian branding, and convince us that he can run the LNC/LPHQ, then he will be unstoppable for Chair, and deservedly so. As it stands now, it seems like a toss-up between Root and Hinkle.

  3. NewFederalist

    I wonder if Wayne just might change his mind should he win the race for party boss in 2010 as 2012 approaches? Hmm… certainly not ’cause he promised!

  4. Brian Holtz Post author

    If he could plausibly claim that he’d made more progress than expected in getting the LP ready to support the kind of race he wants to run, then resigning as Chair to run for the nomination wouldn’t break any promise quoted above. But running for the nomination while still Chair would be a very bad idea, and not just because of the LP’s scars from somewhat similar situations with Harry Browne.

  5. Jake

    Hi,

    I am not a LP member, but I believe Root could possibly help the LP in one way that none of the other chairman candidates can.

    Let us imagine, my home state’s LP wanted to host a fundraiser/event at like a hotel facility or library. None of those candidates if invited could A) Bring Media Attention B) Have the experience at selling.

    Root can do both. I think the LP has two great candidates in Root & Phillies.

    To be honest, the RPUSA has another great chair in David Collison. I would love for the Reform Party, Green Party, Libs, and CP to each have their national leadership meet once a year. They could discuss what is working and what is not. Oh well….

  6. Tom Blanton

    I have some magic beans for sale. These are not just ordinary magic beans – these are big fat 100% all natural magic beans. I’ll even arrange for financing.

  7. Jeremy Young

    Mr. Holtz, I don’t understand why being telegenic and a good LP salesman would make one a good LP chair. In fact, I wuld argue the opposite — that if you’re a great salesman for the LP, you shouldn’t be in a job that will keep you so busy with administrative duties that you won’t have time to do what you’re best at.

    For an example, look at Bill Redpath, a telegenic and articulate guy by any lights. Redpath is also good at other things (notably fundraising), so I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to have him as chair. But there’s no denying that his being Chair over the past few years has severely hampered his ability to sell the LP. Look at his recent run for Senate, which given his abilities at self-presentation and fundraising could have been the marquee race for the LP in 2008; instead, he was so busy managing ballot access drives he barely had time to campaign. I think Root’s charisma qualifies him for a lot of things within the LP, but National Chair is one of the last.

    As for organizational ability, I think Root has proven himself to be weak in that realm. His businesses have generally been poorly run, and when they’ve succeeded it’s because he leveraged them with self-promotion, not because he was organizationally skilled. I knowledge that Phillies has no management experience, but at least he has a concrete plan for what he’s going to do, so he can be judged on that rather than on mythical abilities he may or may not have. If what you say about Hinkle is true, he’s probably the best of the lot on that score.

    As for Phillies alienating people, that’s another thing I don’t understand. I get that he’s alienated people, but Root is the champ in that department — he’s even alienated the present Executive Director, quite without cause. The difference is that Phillies has enormous integrity and won’t let personal disagreements get in the way of his management duties, while Root almost certainly will.

    I continue to believe that Root’s not a serious candidate for this position, nor is he qualified for it. The best candidates are Hinkle, if you’re a fan of the status quo, or Phillies, if you want a change. The ironic thing is that Phillies is far more like the reformers on policy issues than is Hinkle, but stylistically that’s where they fall. (I agree that Hancock is more radical and would make a poorer chair than Phillies.)

    (Disclaimer: I’m neither a libertarian nor a member of the LP. But I am a fan of third parties across the board, so I think I’m arguing in good faith.)

  8. Root's Ego

    Root always says whatever his current audience wants to hear, so they’ll give Root whatever he next wants.

    Root next wants LP Chair in 2010. If saying he probably won’t run for president in 2012 helps him attain that goal, that’s what he’ll say.

    Once he gets that goodie, he can always run for president anyway.

    Like any sleazy politician, Root knows how to phrase his words so he can appear to promise one thing, yet leave enough wiggle room to break that promise later, without technically breaking it.

    With Root, it all depends on how you define “is.”

    I also wonder: why can’t Wayne be chief salesman as a Vice Chair?

    Root can be a salesman without any title. But his Ego craves the highest available title.

  9. Robert Capozzi

    bh, yes, Root’s media savvy coupled with a Phillies-centrism-sans-alienating-tendencies could be a good thing for the LP for the next 2 years.

    Interestingly, if Root is a poor spokesperson who too often offends the idealogical mainstream of the LP, he will hurt his chances of being the 2012 Presidential nominee. Note that I’ve said I prefer him as a pundit vs. being the nominee, mostly for his tendency to make insensitive and racially tinged comments, like he did in his Reason interview and comments about SBA, as I recall. And he’s still not stabilized his foreign policy views, near as I can tell. I hope those were rookie mistakes; we DON’T need a Lester Maddox in a leading role.

    Another practical consideration for Root: Let’s say he gets the Chair position. If he goes for the Presidential nomination in 2012, would he step down or turn over the Convention to the Vice Chair?

  10. Andy

    I like Wayne Root’s speaking style, and I do think that he’s a good salesman, HOWEVER, he is not a good salesman for the Libertarian Party.

    Why? Because he presents a twisted view of what a Libertarian is as he makes it out to be a club for disgruntled Republicans/conservatives. The majority of Root’s outreach is to Republicans/conservatives and he alienates the rest of the political spectrum. Root calls himself a “Ronald Reagan Libertarian” when in reality, Ronald Reagan was not even remotely libertarian. Yeah, Ronald Reagan may have said a FEW things that sounded Libertarian, but when it came to implementing policy he did the opposite on most of those things, and in some areas Reagan NEVER even sounded anything like a libertarian (especially when it came to drug policy). Root makes it sound like Libertarians are what Republicans used to be and that Republicans are the “lesser of two evils” when in REALITY, the Republican Party has pretty much always been a party of big government (any examples to the contrary are the exception rather than the rule) and the mainstream of the Republican Party is just as evil as the Democrats.

    Harry Browne was a much better salesman for the Libertarian Party. Too bad he’s no longer around.

  11. Scott Lieberman

    Wayne Root is the carnival barker, trying to get the voters to enter the circus tent (hopefully a BIG tent 🙂 . It is not Mr. Root’s job to entertain the customers once they buy their ticket.

    It is the job of the Libertarian Party membership to make the customer’s LP experience a good one after they show up at their first local LP meeting.

    NOTHING is stopping Steve Kubby, Dr Mary Ruwart, Ernie Hancock, or anyone else from doing initial outreach for the LP from a
    left-libertarian perspective. Mr. Root is really, really good at getting into the national media to present his outreach pitch to right-libertarians, whereas the left-libertarians don’t seem to have found a spokesperson with the same ability to get interviewed by the national media.

    Instead of hating on Mr. Root, wouldn’t it be more productive to find a left-libertarian who can get on MSNBC, Ed Schultz, Alan Colmes, etc?

  12. Michael H. Wilson

    Scott your last paragraph is right on the money. The LP needs to get people on those programs and many more.

    I do think that Root is running for more than just carnival barker if he want to be Chair and that position requires more than what I have seen so far from Root.

  13. paulie

    Brian,

    Here’s my current two cents on the Chair race.

    I love George’s centrist libertarianism, and I like a lot of George’s ideas about focusing resources on practical politics, but his over-the-top criticisms of other LP leaders (and Ron Paul) have made him a divisive figure — and not even on ideological grounds.

    Mark is more radical than I, but he’s a big-tent inclusivist who seems to have little interest in re-opening the ideology/platform wars. I love his description of the LPUS as a service organization, that should cater to more than one type of Libertarian customer.

    Wayne is libertarian enough for me if you pick the best passages from his book, and I would love to see him be the LP’s chief salesman for a more balanced/centrist libertarianism a la Phillies. Whether the LP should use him as a chief salesman for “Reagan libertarianism” basically depends on how ideologically well-grounded you think the LP is. I know of only one person (Rothbard) who was ever able to personally move the LP’s ideology, and Root is no Rothbard. I think the LP’s ideology can easily survive Root, but I do worry that he doesn’t correctly brand libertarianism as an alternative to both liberalism and conservatism. Also, I worry that he lacks the LP-internal experience to handle the administrative and mediating responsibilities of Chair.

    The good that Hancock does for the movement is best done the way he’s been doing it, through Freedom’s Phoenix. As Chair he would be ideologically and factionally divisive, and there’s little reason to think that he could (or should) turn the LP into another Freedom’s Phoenix operation.

    So my ideal Chair would have Root selling Phillies-style centrist libertarianism while channeling many of Phillies’ practical proposals through a Hinkle avatar with Mark’s administrative and mediating experience.

    But no such candidate is running. So I wonder: can Root be trained to position the LP brand appropriately, and can the LNC/HQ function effectively with him as Chair? People worry about whether Root is using the LP, but I don’t worry about that very much at all. Libertarians of all people should recognize that voluntary association is positive-sum. We should blatantly “use” Root as long as we think he is a net positive for LP outreach and branding, and if he stops being so, then we should not hesitate to disca — I mean, disassociate from him.

    I also wonder: why can’t Wayne be chief salesman as a Vice Chair? He’s already making an impressively prodigious sales effort with no LNC portfolio whatsoever. Hinkle would be much more able than Phillies or Hancock to use Root for LP outreach, and Hinkle would be the least divisive choice for Chair — and a safe choice as an administrator.

    Root was very smart to effectively renounce a 2012 presidential run. If he can improve his antennae about Libertarian branding, and convince us that he can run the LNC/LPHQ, then he will be unstoppable for Chair, and deservedly so. As it stands now, it seems like a toss-up between Root and Hinkle.

    p] Pretty much how I see it as well. However, I’ve heard there will be one or more late entries. My source(s) say Mark Rutherford, but I don’t even remember who my source(s) were much less whether he/she/they is/are reliable.

    At this time I still think Hinkle is on balance the best of the declared candidates.

    My prediction is that Rutherford (or whoever else “they” tap) will win.

  14. paulie

    Scott Lieberman:

    NOTHING is stopping Steve Kubby, Dr Mary Ruwart, Ernie Hancock, or anyone else from doing initial outreach for the LP from a
    left-libertarian perspective. Mr. Root is really, really good at getting into the national media to present his outreach pitch to right-libertarians, whereas the left-libertarians don’t seem to have found a spokesperson with the same ability to get interviewed by the national media.

    Instead of hating on Mr. Root, wouldn’t it be more productive to find a left-libertarian who can get on MSNBC, Ed Schultz, Alan Colmes, etc?

    Speaking as a radical, extreme, anarchist left-libertarian, I completely agree.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    Is there a rule of thumb for what constitutes a left or right L? It’s not obvious to me. What makes Ruwart “left”, for ex.?

  16. JT

    I think this whole business as identifying as “left-libertarian” or “right-libertarian” is detrimental to the LP. Fact: Libertarianism is equally left AND right, depending on the issue. If you want the LP to be perceived as something wholly independent of the two major parties, then aligning yourself at all with grassroots liberals or grassroots conservatives (not on a particular issue but in general perspective) is counterproductive.

  17. paulie

    http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0706b.asp


    Libertarianism: Left or Right?
    by Sheldon Richman, Posted September 12, 2007

    My own notion of politics is that it follows a straight line rather than a circle. The straight line stretches from the far right where (historically) we find monarchy, absolute dictatorships, and other forms of absolutely authoritarian rule. On the far right, law and order means the law of the ruler and the order that serves the interest of that ruler, usually the orderliness of drone workers, submissive students, elders either totally cowed into loyalty or totally indoctrinated and trained into that loyalty. Both Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler operated right-wing regimes, politically, despite the trappings of socialism with which both adorned their regimes….

    The far left, as far as you can get away from the right, would logically represent the opposite tendency and, in fact, has done just that throughout history. The left has been the side of politics and economics that opposes the concentration of power and wealth and, instead, advocates and works toward the distribution of power into the maximum number of hands.

    —Karl Hess, Dear America

    Is libertarianism of the Left or of the Right? We often avoid this question with a resounding “Neither!” Given how these terms are used today, this response is understandable. But it is unsatisfying when viewed historically.

    In fact, libertarianism is planted squarely on the Left, as I will try to demonstrate here.

    The terms were apparently first used in the French Legislative Assembly after the revolution of 1789. In that context those who sat on the right side of the assembly were steadfast supporters of the dethroned monarchy and aristocracy — the ancien régime — (and hence were conservatives) while those who sat on the left opposed its reinstatement (and hence were radicals). It should follow from this that libertarians, or classical liberals, would sit on the left.

    Indeed, that is where they sat. Frédéric Bastiat, the radical laissez-faire writer and activist, was a member of the assembly (1848–1850) and sat on the left side along with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the “mutualist” whose adage “Liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order” graced the masthead of Liberty, the newspaper of the American libertarian and individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker.

    (Proudhon is also famous for saying, “Property is theft,” but the full context of his work makes clear that he meant absentee ownership resulting from state privilege, for he also wrote, in Theory of Property, “Where shall we find a power capable of counterbalancing this formidable might of the State? There is no other except property…. The absolute right of the State is in conflict with the absolute right of the property owner. Property is the greatest revolutionary force which exists.”)

    From early on libertarians were seen, and saw themselves, as on the Left. Obviously, “the Left” could comprise people who agreed on very little — as long as they opposed the established regime (or restoration of the old regime). The French Left in the first half of the 19th century included individualists and collectivists, laissez-faire free-marketeers and those who wanted state control of the means of production, state socialism. One could say that the Left itself had left and right wings, with the laissez-fairists on the left-left and the state socialists on the right-left.

    But however you slice it, libertarianism was of the Left.


    Continue reading:

    http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0706b.asp

  18. paulie

    http://wconger.blogspot.com/2005/08/defining-left-libertarianism.html

    By Wally Conger


    The blogosphere has produced some wonderful discussion during the past few days about what’s Left and what’s Right in the libertarian cosmos. B.W. Richardson wonders, for example, if we all might be ambidextrous. “What is ‘left’ and what is ‘right’ seem to vary with the seasons,” he writes. “Maybe we’re all ambidextrous in the end. The real eternal theme seems the individual versus the state. I’ll trust the person next to me as opposed to the amorphous bureaucracy every time.” B.W.’s post is terrific, and I recommend you check it out.

    Meanwhile, Roderick T. Long, editor of The Journal of Libertarian Studies, answers the question of why he calls himself a Left Libertarian (go directly to his post for the many links):

    “First, on many of the issues over which mainstream libertarians are divided, I end up on what would generally be perceived as the ‘left’ side of the issue: anarchist, anti-militarist, anti-intellectual-property, anti-punishment (so a fortiori anti-death-penalty), anti-big-business, pro-immigration, pro-abortion, pro-secularism, pro-gay-rights, etc.

    “But beyond that, I share a lot of ‘left-ish’ cultural concerns that are usually not thought of nowadays as libertarian issues (though historically they were), such as a concern for worker empowerment and an opposition to male supremacy.

    “Plus, I think race and gender are largely social constructs; I recognise the existence of non-state forms of oppression (though I don’t advocate statism as the solution); I favour a Sciabarra-style ‘dialectical’ methodology; I’ve had some kind words for multiculturalism, postmodernism, political correctness, environmentalism, and collective ownership; and I regard libertarianism as properly rooted in egalitarianism.

    “Yet for all that I’m probably a 90% orthodox Rothbardian, both about rights theory and about economics. (Indeed I sometimes call myself a ‘left-Rothbardian,’ though not specifically in Sam Konkin’s sense of that phrase.) While I draw a lot of inspiration from so-called ‘voluntary socialists’ like Benjamin Tucker, I’m not at all attracted to Tuckerite limitations on private land ownership (let alone Georgist ones); I don’t seek the elimination of wage labour (though I’d like to see more worker cooperatives available as a competitive alternative); I don’t accept animal rights (though I do think we have serious moral obligations to animals); and I have no patience with the philosophic relativism and/or materialism one sometimes finds among the academic left.”

    In response to Long, James Leroy Wilson adds some points to his perception of the Libertarian Left:

    “If the struggle really is defined as ‘liberty vs. equality,’ then I would always favor liberty and fall to the Right for that. But debating that is akin to debating ‘slavery vs. hierarchy.’

    Liberty and equality are on the same side — the left side. They are both against legally-enforced and –protected hierarchy. Liberty vs. coercion, equality vs. hierarchy — either way it’s phrased, it’s the same battle. Equal liberty is the only real form of liberty, and the only desirable form of equality.”

    I love all this philosophic talk about political labeling. I really do. But my reasons for counting myself a Libertarian Leftist seem much simpler.

    I am “Left” because I agree with Karl Hess’s designations of Left and Right, which expanded on Murray Rothbard’s definitions from the 1960s.

    I am “Left” because I believe that historically the “Left” first referred to our classical liberal forebears, that it has most often meant “anti-establishment” and “opposition.”

    I am “Left” because my political ancestors included H.L. Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, John T. Flynn, Randolph Bourne, and George Orwell, all Men of the Left. I am “Left” because more contemporary Men of the Left have included the likes of Paul Goodman, Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, and Alexander Cockburn.

    And finally, I am “Left” because George W. Bush, William F. Buckley, Jr., Charles Krauthammer, Rush Limbaugh, Robert Novak, and Sean Hannity are Men of the Right.

  19. paulie

    Karl Hess: the Left-Right spectrum

    [Once upon a time, I saw the political spectrum as a circle. At the top-center sat a gray zone of liberal-conservative welfarism. Moving further left or right, you entered areas of increasing statism (communism or fascism) until both “wings” ultimately met in a broad region of libertarianism (voluntary, decentralized neighborhoods, both socialist and market). This circle helped me make sense of the world presented by modern politics and media — where both left and right extremes were bad, a mushy middle was the Establishment norm, and where I could call myself a radical right-wing libertarian and still link arms with many on the radical Left. Then Rothbard changed my notions of Left and Right. Konkin tinkered with my head. And in his 1975 book Dear America, Karl Hess pulled it all together. What follows is an excerpt from Hess’ book, unforgivably long out of print.]

    “My own notion of politics is that it follows a straight line rather than a circle. The straight line stretches from the far right where (historically) we find monarchy, absolute dictatorships, and other forms of absolutely authoritarian rule. On the far right, law and order means the law of the ruler and the order that serves the interest of that ruler, usually the orderliness of drone workers, submissive students, elders either totally cowed into loyalty or totally indoctrinated and trained into that loyalty. Both Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler operated right-wing regimes, politically, despite the trappings of socialism with which both adorned their regimes. Huey Long, when governor-boss of Louisiana, was moving toward a truly right-wing regime, also adorned with many trappings of socialism (particularly public works and welfare) but held together not by social benefits but by a strong police force and a steady flow of money to subsidize and befriend businessmen.

    An American President could be said to move toward the right to the extent that he tended to make absolutely unilateral political decisions, with no reference to Congress, for instance, or to the people generally, and when the legitimacy of the regime was supported or made real more by sheer force, say of police power, than by voluntary allegiance from the people generally. Such a regime, also, would be likely to suppress or to swallow up potentially competing centers of power such as trade unions. Major financial interests, however, if Adolf Hitler’s relations with industry, for example, can be considered instructive, would be bought off, rather than fought off, with fat contracts and a continuing opportunity to enrich their owners. Joseph Stalin, of course, had no problem with anything such as independent trade unions or business, since both had been killed off earlier.

    “The overall characteristic of a right-wing regime, no matter the details of difference between this one and that one, is that it reflects the concentration of power in the fewest practical hands.

    “Power, concentrated in few hands, is the dominant historic characteristic of what most people, in most times, have considered the political and economic right wing.

    “The far left, as far as you can get away from the right, would logically represent the opposite tendency and, in fact, has done just that throughout history. The left has been the side of politics and economics that opposes the concentration of power and wealth and, instead, advocates and works toward the distribution of power into the maximum number of hands.

    “Just as the scale along this line would show gradations of the right, so would it show gradations of the left.

    “Before getting to a far-right monarchy or dictatorship, there are many intermediate right-wing positions. Some are called conservative.

    “Somewhere along the line, for instance, a certain concentration of power, particularly economic power, would be acceptable in the name of tradition. The children of the rich, characteristically, are accorded very special places in the regimes of the right, or of conservatives. Also, there is a great deference to stability and a preference for it rather than change — all other things being equal. Caution might be the watchword toward the center of this right-wing scale, simply a go-slow attitude. That is, admittedly, a long way from the far right and dictatorship, but it is a way that can and should be measured on a straight line. The natural preference for law and order that seems such a worthwhile and innocent conservative preference is from a political tradition that came to us from kings and emperors, not from ancient democracy.

    “This hardly means that every conservative, if pressed, will go farther and farther right until embracing absolute dictatorship or monarchy. Far from it. It does mean to suggest only that the ghosts of royal power whisper in the conservative tradition.

    “The left shows similar gradations. The farthest left you can go, historically at any rate, is anarchism — the total opposition to any institutionalized power, a state of completely voluntary social organization in which people would establish their ways of life in small, consenting groups, and cooperate with others as they see fit.

    “The attitude on that farthest left toward law and order was summed up by an early French anarchist, Proudhon, who said that ‘order is the daughter of and not the mother of liberty.’ Let people be absolutely free, says this farthest of the far, far left (the left that Communism regularly denounces as too left; Lenin called it ‘infantile left’). If they are free they will be decent, but they never can be decent until they are free. Concentrated power, bureaucracy, et cetera, will doom that decency. A bit further along the left line there might be some agreement or at least sympathy with this left libertarianism but, it would be said, there are practical and immediate reasons for putting off that sort of liberty. People just aren’t quite ready for it. Roughly, that’s the position of the Communist Party today…

    “At any rate, at some point on the spectrum there is the great modern American liberal position. Through a series of unfortunate but certainly understandable distortions of political terminology, the liberal position has come to be known as a left-wing position. Actually, it lies right alongside the conservative tradition, down toward the middle of the line, but decidedly, I think, to the right of its center. Liberals believe in concentrated power — in the hands of liberals, the supposedly educated and genteel elite. They believe in concentrating that power as heavily and effectively as possible. They believe in great size of enterprise, whether corporate or political, and have a great and profound disdain for the homely and the local. They think nationally but they also think globally and now even intergalactically. Actually, because they believe in far more authoritarian rule than a lot of conservatives, it probably would be best to say that liberals lie next to but actually to the right of many conservatives.”

  20. paulie

    http://polycentricorder.blogspot.com/2008/11/what-is-left-libertarianism.html

    What is Left-Libertarianism? by Alex Strekal


    What is left-libertarianism?

    In a sense, left-libertarianism is a historical revision that identifies a tradition of association between libertarianism and what can be deemed to be the “left” end of the political spectrum. The term left-libertarian does not use the term “left” in the context of mainstream politics, but in the historical context of classical liberalism and anarchism, I.E. it is a referance to the tendency of opposition to authority. It could be said that left-libertarianism is therefore a redundancy. But the usefulness of the term is as a reclaimation of political alignment in light of the distortion that has occured over the years in terms of how the political spectrum is viewed.

    Particularly in America, libertarianism was largely associated with the “the left” until around the time of FDR, at which point a libertarian-conservative fusionism took place as an opposition movement to the New Deal. Ever since then, libertarians have generally assumed themselves to be in alliance with the political right or a part of it themselves. The political right has proceeded to partially co-opt libertarian rhetoric as a means for obtaining and expanding their power, and purging or ignoring the libertarians when it is most relevant. In turn, some libertarians have become more conservative in their views. Left-libertarianism represents a movement away from this tendency, a clear distinction being made between libertarianism and conservatism, with the diagnosis that conservatism is more concerned with maintaining plutocratic interests and traditionalist communitarianism than preserving or expanding individual liberty.

    This is not to say that what’s considered to be the contemporary political left is something to support either, however. A left-libertarian analysis of the contemporary political left reveals their methods to be largely right-of-center in orientation, which is to say that they support authoritarian means in the pursuit of goals that may very well be laudable. Part of the point of left-libertarian reconciliation is to get the contemporary left to move away from such authoritarian tendencies and support voluntary and cooperative means towards pursueing such goals. Before the rise of state-socialism, the left was much more in line with libertarianism. Unfortunately, the old libertarian left was nearly obliterated by the conservative turn that the socialist movement took towards the end of the 19th century. Ever since then, the goals of socialism, which were originally much more inconjunction with libertarian means, have become largely associated with authoritarianism.

    The split between authoritarian socialism and social anarchism is well illustrated by the disagreements that took place between Marx and both Bakunin and Proudhon, with Marx being representative of authoritarianism, and Bakunin and Proudhon being representative of anarchism and libertarian socialism. While many contemporary libertarians may be tempted to act as if socialism is synanymous with authoritarianism, the fact of the matter is that socialism was a fairly libertarian movement in its origins, or by the very least it always had both an authoritarian and libertarian wing. Furthermore, the ideas of the early socialist anarchists such as Proudhon were not in principle opposed to the idea of free markets. Hence, there is a reconcilation that can be made between certain demands or goals that may be deemed “socialistic” and the context of individual liberty.

    The tradition of American individualist anarchism is also instructive in this regaurd, for here we have a group of people who extended upon the framework that Proudhon provided in an even more individualistic direction. We have figures such as Benjamin Tucker to look to as a sort of crossroads between contemporary free market libertarianism and the traditional left. One can see a clear philosophical progression take place upon reflection of the matter. Left-libertarianism is an awareness of this rich history, that libertarianism did not begin in the 1930’s and isn’t some kind of conservative-lite movement in which we put all libertarian goals aside until the communists are liquidated. Left-libertarianism is not a deviation, it is the correction of a deviation and would not be as necessary if such a deviation did not occur to begin with.

    Left-libertarianism is not just a historical perspective, however. It is a synthesis between certain goals that may be associated with “the left” and libertarian ideas, it involves ways of using libertarian ideas to derive conclusions that may be considered to be “leftish”. In particular, left-libertarianism involves a tendency to use free market economics to demonstrate how state intervention negatively affects interests that may be concerns of “the left”, by demonstrating how the state harms workers, reduces living standards, causes prices to rise, enables environmental damage, concentrates private power and backs up monopolies. Left-libertarianism can be used to demonstrate how the likely outcome of a genuinely free economy is comparatively egalitarian in light of currently existing economic structures, and how it is possible for things such as voluntary unions and cooperatives to exist in a genuinely free market.

    Left-libertarianism observes that far too often what is celebrated as “capitalism” (even by some libertarians) is more like a plutocracy or a neo-mercantile society, and that many private elites crucially rely on state power to sustain their own power. Left-libertarianism reflects a tendency to be critical of both state and corporate power, and a keen awareness of the degree to which the two are synergetic. The function of liberty is not to privatize power but to uphold a consistant rejection of arbitrary authority, and while the state is certainly the most fundamental institution of arbitary authority, it is not necessarily the only one. Hence, additional concerns about power relations between various groups within society aren’t necessarily irrelevant, it’s just that one must understand the role the state plays in such power relations and the way in which such power relations truly work in general. In either case, left-libertarianism is “thick” in this sense, as there is more to it than anti-statism.

    Favor for more participatory decision-making or direct action as a method for bringing about one’s goals is also an aspect of left-libertarianism, best reflected by the theory of agorism. A central point is that organization must be from the bottom up and that activism is a matter of directly making a change on a personal level or on a small scale rather then participating in the illusory and bankrupt system of representative democracy or remaining in a state of dependancy on currently dominant structures. This can be seen as involving a principle of personal responsibility and an awareness of the need for competitive mechanisms in order to counter current power structures. Hence, the general tendency is towards a rejection of reformism and party politics.

    Left-libertarianism also functions as an alliance or umbrella in which a multitude of various libertarian-oriented schools of thought co-exist, and therefore can be seen as a manifestation of anarchism without adjectives. In particular, mutualists and left-rothbardians (those who draw influence from Rothbard’s more “leftish” years) represent a nice middle ground that can unite people associated with both free market libertarianism and social anarchism. There is no rational reason for there to be an absolute wall between the two worlds, and as semantic differences are weeded out a degree of compatability becomes evident.

    While much more could be said, I think this summarizes left-libertarianism well enough.

  21. Thane Eichenauer

    Mr. Root apparently thinks that Libertarians should sell the popular ideas of gun rights, lower taxes and lower spending rather than less war and an end to drug prohibition. I rather think that you can’t get lower government spending without bringing an end to military occupation and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to end drug prohibition.

    From an effectiveness standpoint I think that Root has put the word Libertarian in front of more TV viewers in the last year than any other Libertarian I can think of.

  22. paulie

    Mr. Root apparently thinks that Libertarians should sell the popular ideas of gun rights, lower taxes and lower spending rather than less war and an end to drug prohibition.

    Sell both sets of ideas, prereferably to the most receptive audiences for each.

    I rather think that you can’t get lower government spending without bringing an end to military occupation and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to end drug prohibition.

    I agree. It may be possible in theory, but not in reality.

    From an effectiveness standpoint I think that Root has put the word Libertarian in front of more TV viewers in the last year than any other Libertarian I can think of.

    We need more Libertarians doing so, and from a variety of perspectives.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    pc, I’m familiar with most of this HISTORICAL treatment. I’m just trying to figure out whether there is in fact a left/right L TODAY in the LP.

    My guess is it’s a matter of emphasis. Left Ls tend to emphasize social issues, right Ls economics. Foreign policy can go either way, near as I can tell.

    Left Ls tend to be counter-cultural, right Ls tend to be more culturally traditional.

    My guess is I’m personally more centrist on this particular scale, fwiw.

  24. JT

    I’ve read most of the above already. Sorry, but it’s still counterproductive to the LP from a sales standpoint. Why turn off potential activists who view the other side more favorably but who are still mostly libertarian? And philosophically, what’s the point of trying to prove you’re closer to the left or the right? The beauty of the Nolan chart is that it dispesses with such a view of the political spectrum. I think splitting “libertarian” into smaller and smaller segments is ridiculous.

  25. paulie

    Left Ls tend to emphasize social issues, right Ls economics.

    There’s also a difference in how we present issues.

    For example, right-L might present economic liberalization (freeing from government control) in terms of self-interest for the well-off. Left-L may emphasize how government holds poor people down.

    Right-L may portray big business as government-oppressed heroes, left-L would more likely see them as government-connected villains.

  26. Solomon Drek

    “Mr. Root apparently thinks that Libertarians should sell the popular ideas of gun rights, lower taxes and lower spending rather than less war and an end to drug prohibition.”

    So does Sarah Palin.

    If you can’t beat Republicans, join them.

    I guess the “Party of Principle” is now the “Party of Popularity”.

  27. paulie

    I’ve read most of the above already. Sorry, but it’s still counterproductive to the LP from a sales standpoint. Why turn off potential activists who view the other side more favorably but who are still mostly libertarian?

    Most people looking into libertarianism are only made aware of libertarianism as it has been presented in the post-FDR libertarian-conservative fusion mode. They don’t even know that left-libertarian perspective exists.

    What are we losing by having this perception out there?

    Well, I’ve done a lot of college OPHs – tens of thousands of data points – and THE largest cluster on campuses is left-center-libertarian.

    Add to that professional polling data that shows that 90% of Americans don’t change political parties after age 30.

    Add the factoid that on the whole, conservatives tend to be more temperamentally conservative as well – that is, less apt to change, which includes their party.

    And finally, consider that to the extent we have been marketing/marketed at all, it has been to the right, which means the low hanging fruit there has been picked, far more so than on the left.

    When you add these facts together you may get an inkling of what we are losing practically by being perceived by most people who are aware of our existence as being a subset of the conservative right.

    And philosophically, what’s the point of trying to prove you’re closer to the left or the right?

    Our ideas make much more sense in their historical, global context.

    The beauty of the Nolan chart is that it dispesses with such a view of the political spectrum.

    The Nolan chart is better than the even more simplistic left-right spectrum, but it ignores:

    * foreign policy/military spending
    * issue empahsis/importance
    * issues which don’t fit the model (for example, gun control/victim disarmament, a social issue where the “right” is “socially liberal” by the Nolan Chart logic)

    Ask yourself why Ron Paul, who is more socially conservative than the LP, was able to tap into the left-center-libertarian youth grouping I referred to earlier? My hypothesis is that through his standing up to Giuliani on the war issue in the Republican debates, they became aware that he was on the “far left” rather than the “far right” on an important set of issues.

    Whereas, the LP has yet to break through that perceptual barrier.

  28. paulie

    Brad Spangler at http://bradspangler.com/blog/archives/283


    Among the variety of political labels I claim for myself is “Left Libertarian”. That should, however, be a redundancy and I believe that it will come to be regarded as such. Genuine libertarianism is very much left wing. It’s revolutionary. The long and tragic alliance of libertarians with the right against the spectre of state socialism is coming to a close, as it served no purpose after the fall of the Soviet Union and so-called “conservatives” have subsequently taken to letting their true big-government-on-steroids colors fly.

    I believe that in the period since the demise of the Soviet Union, both the radicals and moderates among the left have been subconsciously seeking a new radical creed to orient themselves upon to replace Marxism.

    I’m a radical libertarian, an anarchist specifically and most specifically an Agorist. I believe that radical libertarians, such as myself, will be most effective when they overcome any lingering right wing cultural contamination of their libertarian views and embrace their inherent radicalism — which is most at home on the left. For as the radicals go, so do the moderates grudgingly follow in small steps. As an example, let me direct your attention to the following post on Daily Kos — Democrats: the Party of Jefferson. Also, please check out the Freedom Democrats web site.

    It’s time for libertarians to stop fighting the left and take up the challenge of leading the left.

    Update: Roderick Long adds some important words very much in line with my own views and that I include here for purposes of clarification:

    “…the proper aim of the left-libertarian movement is both to lead the left back to its libertarian roots, and to lead libertarians back to their leftist roots. We might call this “left-libertarian reunification.”

    Very much the case. I want to emphasize that many if not most libertarians today are unworthy of leading the left, largely due to their own failure to correctly apply libertarian principles — a tendency Kevin Carson refers to as “vulgar libertarianism“. It is a challenge that libertarians need to take up, humbly and with an eye toward developing depth and sophistication in their own views.

  29. Jake Witmer

    Well, one thing is certain: the “left libertarians” are infinitely better at pseudo-intellectual masturbation than “right libertarians”. That said, JT and David Nolan are exactly correct: Libertarianism is neither left nor right, it is its own animal –one that opposes the statism of both left and right, and recognizes that left and right are “less philosophical” mixtures of statist and self-contradicting political stances.

    “More” or “less” implies a gradation of values. Individuals on the Left have as much a historical tradition of consistently embracing individual freedom as does the Right, which is to say, not too much. The Right and Left are the enemies of freedom, the friends of freedom are those who choose to bar individuals from nothing other than initiating force, or realistically threatening force with the immediate likelihood of initiating it (ie: regulation, lynching, etc…).

    Libertarianism can include libertarian anarchists (and Libertarian incrementalist anarchists), but is not necessarily anarchist. However, to be a meaningful, libertarianism is closer to anarchism than it is to D or R, Right or Left, which is to say, libertarianism is a radical philosophy in a fascist country, and a common sense philosophy in a free country.

    The USA no longer qualifies as a free country, if it ever did, hence, libertarianism must be radical in the USA, right now (early 2010, “pre-singularity”).

    Is it radical for nonviolent blacks to be set free from cruel and unusual prison sentences for drug use (doing nothing worse than getting drunk)? Does that question reveal how unfree we are, as a nation? I think so.

    Nolan’s little chart is a nice thing. It makes a difference when shown to nonlibertarians. It should be taught in highschools, in history, social studies, etc., and in great detail.

    Root leans a little too much to the theoretical Right (which exists only in theory -in reality, as previously stated, Right and Left are both inconsistent and statist). This is a minor failing of his, slightly less serious than his championing of “the great American character assassin of the free market”, Ronal Reagan. But Root doesn’t eschew criticism of the right, he usually qualifies his support of Reagan, and confines it to praise of Reagan’s speech instead of his actions. That makes him a generally good messenger.

    And, Root is –by far– the most frequent and most vocal messenger the LP has. I think that that criterion should be weighted higher than any other: How successfully and often can someone educate people about the existence of the serious alternative we represent?

    Even Bill Redpath, once a serious advocate of ballot access, party-building, and internal integrity, has allowed himself to be corrupted by fraud and nepotism, in favoring a centralized party structure without checks and balances. Non-libertarians and fraud artists are now given first crack at LP petitioning contracts, and allowed to spread their rumors and lies without any means of the accused redressing their grievances. Feedback is ignored, and the character of longtime libertarian activists are assassinated, so that petitioning contracts can be doled out to favored contractors who can do no wrong (no matter who they steal from). Rumors are spread about petitioners, and they are given no means to address them. The LP has become the Democrat and Republican Parties, without even achieving power.

    Power corrupts without internal “checks and balances” and proper feedback mechanisms.

    The LP lacks such checks and balances. So it will be corrupt, and get more corrupt over time.

    It is my hope that a businessman like Root can see what it means to structure a political party more intelligently, as one might structure a business.

    I think he’s up to the task, but that remains to be seen. Right now, I support Root, and intend to vote for him at the convention, in spite of his championing of Reagan, and his faith in the educability of the right-center of US politics.

    Moreover, I think that one need not be a perfect libertarian to be a vastly better manager than the current lot at LP National HQ. I think David Nolan’s assessment of them on the Lew Rockwell show was exactly correct. They continue to disappoint.

    Props to Root for maintaining a high-profile for the LP in the Nationwide media.

    I hope he keeps it up.

  30. Robert Capozzi

    ADR to Spangler, but this L ain’t interested in revolution, mostly because I consider it too risky and WAY too premature.

    ADR to Long, but I also ain’t especially interested in leading the left back to liberty, although I’m certainly FOR it.

    I’m WAY more interested in addressing the silent majority, who have actually been moving — slowly — in an L direction. The majority distrusts government. The majority has become increasinly liberal in their social attitudes. Even in matters of war, I believe headway’s been made, although this area lags.

    Vanguards of ideologues bore me, and in an affluent society, they are generally beside the point, and often are poseurs. Give me millions of Ma and Pa Kettles any day of the week. They may not have read Hayek or the Tao, but that doesn’t mean they should not be addressed…with respect, of course.

  31. paulie

    ADR to Spangler, but this L ain’t interested in revolution, mostly because I consider it too risky and WAY too premature.

    Brad addresses this point: “For as the radicals go, so do the moderates grudgingly follow in small steps. As an example, let me direct your attention to the following post on Daily Kos — Democrats: the Party of Jefferson. Also, please check out the Freedom Democrats web site.”

    ADR to Long, but I also ain’t especially interested in leading the left back to liberty, although I’m certainly FOR it.

    I’m WAY more interested in addressing the silent majority, who have actually been moving — slowly — in an L direction. The majority distrusts government. The majority has become increasinly liberal in their social attitudes. Even in matters of war, I believe headway’s been made, although this area lags.

    Vanguards of ideologues bore me, and in an affluent society, they are generally beside the point, and often are poseurs. Give me millions of Ma and Pa Kettles any day of the week. They may not have read Hayek or the Tao, but that doesn’t mean they should not be addressed…with respect, of course.

    I agree. We need different methods of outreach simultaneously marketing to all segments/sides to a) move them in a liberty-leaning direction and b) organize them towards pro-liberty activism.

    I think this outreach should be ideologically balanced, but not uniform.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    ADR to Spangler, but he’s making a vanguard argument, which I find presumptuous and ahistorical. History is littered with soapbox lunatics and the-end-is-nigh zealots whose apocalyptic pronouncements have amounted to nothing, including influencing the middle not-at-all. In fact, there can often be a revulsion toward extremists, e.g., the Weather Underground and Serbian ethnic cleansers.

  33. Brian Holtz Post author

    To us geolibertarians, all other libertarians seem like right-libertarians because of how they answer the fundamental question about sharing the natural commons. Libertarians who disagree with us have been called “propertarians” and “royal libertarians“, but I recently saw Fred Foldvary use a better term: allodial libertarians.

  34. JT

    Paulie @32: You list several facts about recruiting young people. But why would that have to be under “left-libertarian” instead of just “libertarian” with an emphasis on those issues where liberals and libertarians agree?

    Your example of Ron Paul only proves my point. Ron Paul is NOT a “left-libertarian”; he’s just a libertarian, period (though some libertarians disagree with a couple of his positions). Yet he was still able to get many young people on his side.

    To me, your insistence on left-libertarian and Wayne Root’s insistence on right-libertarian are just two sides of the same bad coin. The LP shouldn’t be focusing on one OR the other, but on both equally. Harry Browne was equally passionate about opposing welfare AND warfare. That’s just libertarian.

  35. paulie

    JT, you must have missed my point.

    It was only that we should make the target audience aware of our left-libertarian positions.

    I never said we should stop outreach to the right with right-libertarian positions.

    For instance, see #18 for what I agreed with Scott Lieberman about.

  36. paulie

    Your example of Ron Paul only proves my point. Ron Paul is NOT a “left-libertarian”; he’s just a libertarian, period (though some libertarians disagree with a couple of his positions). Yet he was still able to get many young people on his side.

    My hypothesis is that it was because they learned of his antiwar position.

    It is not enough to hold certain positions – the target audience needs to know you hold them.

    If all the left-center-libertarian plurality on campus (and many similar people elsewhere) know about libertarians is that they are Reaganites, “Republicans who really mean it,” “Republicans on steroids” or “Republicans on pot” (frequent misunderstandings of what LP/libertarianism is that I run into all the time), that does nothing to nudge them in our direction.

  37. Anything left is no good

    Anything left is just more socialism. Whether Left democrap, repulipuk, to add a liberal in libertarian will be right back where we started. No matter what you call it. IT IS STILL A STUPID LIBERAL.

  38. paulie

    M.,

    “socialism” isn’t what you think it is.

    Socialism means the workers control the means of production. There is no inherent conflict between libertarianism and voluntary socialism.

    Many self-styled socialists believe that initiation of force through monopoly government is the way workers can gain control of the means of production, and they have been successful enough that this is what “socialism” means to a lot of people, both those who consider themselves socialists and those who consider themselves opponents of socialism.

    In reality, monopoly government does not and never has given power to the workers or power to the (regular) people.

    It has always worked to consolidate power in the hands of an economic/political elite.

    This is the essential misunderstanding of the nature of the problem before us that we have to overcome. This misunderstanding is prevalent both on the authoritarian “left” – that is those who use authoritarian, force-initiating, monopolist means to try to achieve their goals – and among the right, including right-libertarians.

    Only left-libertarians have suggested that plutocracy and bureaucracy are aligned, and that both must be fought as they are two sides of the same coin.

  39. paulie

    “IT IS STILL A STUPID LIBERAL.”

    Liberalism is not stupid.

    In fact, libertarianism used to be called liberalism, and still is in much of the world.

    Libertarianism, liberalism, leftism and socialism can all co-exist, if you look back at the origin of these terms and how the concepts evolved.

  40. Andy

    “NOTHING is stopping Steve Kubby, Dr Mary Ruwart, Ernie Hancock, or anyone else from doing initial outreach for the LP from a
    left-libertarian perspective.”

    I’m not interested in left vs. right, I’m interested in Libertarian. You know, the quadrant which is at the top of the diamond chart.

  41. Andy

    Jake Witmer said: “That said, JT and David Nolan are exactly correct: Libertarianism is neither left nor right, it is its own animal –one that opposes the statism of both left and right, and recognizes that left and right are ‘less philosophical’ mixtures of statist and self-contradicting political stances.”

    I totally agree.

  42. Andy

    JT said: “Harry Browne was equally passionate about opposing welfare AND warfare. That’s just libertarian.”

    In addition to this, Harry Browne was a great communicator, both as a speaker and a writer. I wish that the Libertarian Party had somebody like him who was getting media coverage right now.

  43. Andy

    “And, Root is –by far– the most frequent and most vocal messenger the LP has. I think that that criterion should be weighted higher than any other: How successfully and often can someone educate people about the existence of the serious alternative we represent?”

    Root is getting media coverage and I do think that he’s a good communicator, I just don’t think that his content as a Libertarian messenger is that great. He comes off as too Republitarian and not enough as a Libertarian.

    I liked it better when Harry Browne was the un0fficial spokesman for the party. Harry was a great communicator and he had a more solid Libertarian message that didn’t play into the whole left vs. right phony paradigm.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    pc 39, notice that that chart’s only for financial regulatory activities, not all regulation. Interestingly, Rs would use that chart as a badge of honor! Yet another reason why we need an LP.

  45. paulie

    “NOTHING is stopping Steve Kubby, Dr Mary Ruwart, Ernie Hancock, or anyone else from doing initial outreach for the LP from a
    left-libertarian perspective.”

    I’m not interested in left vs. right, I’m interested in Libertarian. You know, the quadrant which is at the top of the diamond chart.

    Quintile. Quadrant would come down to 50/50, there would be no centrist category.

    And you should be interested in both left and right – and how best to reach each – if you want to expand the number of people in the libertarian quintile – and the number that act on those beliefs.

    How many people at the gun show thought we were just splitting the Republican vote?

    For each of those, there is one or several on the left-libertarian border that think the same thing, and that’s not good.

  46. paulie

    Jake Witmer said: “That said, JT and David Nolan are exactly correct: Libertarianism is neither left nor right, it is its own animal –one that opposes the statism of both left and right, and recognizes that left and right are ‘less philosophical’ mixtures of statist and self-contradicting political stances.”

    Libertarianism intersects with both left and right, and can be presented in terms that appeal to each.

    .

  47. paulie

    39, notice that that chart’s only for financial regulatory activities, not all regulation.

    I don’t see where it says that. Maybe it was in the article but not on the chart?

  48. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 38 Brian Holtz writes “To us geolibertarians, all other libertarians seem like right-libertarians because of how they answer the fundamental question about sharing the natural commons. Libertarians who disagree with us have been called “propertarians” and “royal libertarians“, but I recently saw Fred Foldvary use a better term: allodial libertarians.”

    Brian allow me to suggest that in reality you & your geo friends are really members of the right.

    Here’s why. The tax you wish others to pay will go to the state. Thus you become an enabler for the state.

    Secondly you want those who are not now paying taxes to the state to start doing so. You plan on using force to subsidize the state.

    And third in the process of doing so you will deny to some the opportunity to create and bring to market new ideas that may decrease the state. Sorry the state does not like competition.

    The state is on the right and those who become enablers of the state are on the right.

  49. Brian Holtz Post author

    Readers can evaluate for themselves the seriousness of the claim that all minarchism is right-libertarianism, and that the only left-libertarianism is anarcholibertarianism. They can probably perform that evaluation even without knowing that what Foldvary advocates is called geo-anarchism: http://www.anti-state.com/geo/foldvary1.html.

    To non-allodial libertarians, taxing ground rent is no more force-initiating than is taxing pollution. Allodial libertarians, whether anarchist or not, are enablers of the institutionalization of a certain form of aggression called “appropriating ground rent”.

    http://knowinghumans.net/2008/11/appropriating-ground-rent-is-aggression.html

    http://knowinghumans.net/2010/02/why-tax-land-value.html

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