51 thoughts on “The Death of Liberaltarianism?

  1. LibertarianBlue

    Lindsey and Wilkinson are were also leaders in the charge to form a Libertarian-Liberal alliance. Im going to go out on a limb and say that their departure is the result of the failure of such an idea.

  2. AroundtheblockAFT

    Why are we forming circular firing squads? Isn’t the enemy those who believe someone other than oneself owns one’s body? Purges, false rumors of purges, conspiracies to commit purges, etc. are time wasters for any group that doesn’t already have majority opinion on its side.

  3. RedPhillips Post author

    “Lindsey and Wilkinson are were also leaders in the charge to form a Libertarian-Liberal alliance.”

    Yes. McCarthy discusses this in the post I linked to.

  4. Steven wilson

    The only thing that doesn’t end is change. The cato still does good work, but their are other organizations like the show me institute that focus in on “real’ solutions for the people of Missouri. Not book club discussions about how Root can posse up the tea party and angry republicans.

    Being liberal in america is being all liberal. This is something libertarians fail to talk about. To pick and choose bed fellows is a nice idea, but at the end of that party, whom ever is left is the menu.

    Any theory can stay novice, until it is time for it to ride. If it doesn’t work, then it dies.

    All liberal is ALL LIBERAL. There is no half way. Reaching beyond your grasp is noble, but you won’t have enough strength to hold on.

  5. Michael H. Wilson

    Does this mean I should be careful whom I talk with this weekend at the Hempfest in Olympia? Like maybe I shouldn’t work with the socialist I know on ending the DrugWar huh? Whatever Boss.

  6. paulie

    Michael, I don’t think that is what it means at all.

    The common ground with the Obamanoid center -left, which is what was described as “liberaltarianism” may be disappearing, but anti-establishment left-libertarian alliances look better than ever.

  7. Gene Berkman

    Actually, the idea of a libertarian alliance with liberals was promoted by the Koch Machine in the late 1970s with the publication of Inquiry magazine.

    Ed Crane promoted the Ed Clark campaign in 1980 as a new coalition including antiwar conservatives and low tax liberals – the only groups smaller than libertarians, but hopefully useful allies.

    The high point of libertarian positive feeling toward liberals was 2004, when many of us hoped Howard Dean or John Kerry might beat George W Bush. Brink Lindsy was probably not part of that group, because he still backed George Bush’s war at the time.

  8. Michael H. Wilson

    I shoulda left a smiley face after that comment 😉

    Anyhow we’ll keep knockin’ on doors, both to the left and right, to see who is behind them and what we can sell them on. ;)>

  9. paulie

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/In-the-Tea-Party-Era-Should-Libertarians-Ditch-the-Right-4831/

    No Home in the Republican Party “All the contemporary right is good for,” says Brink Lindsey, “is checking at least some of the left’s excesses, and thank goodness for that. But a clear-eyed look at conservatism as a whole reveals a political movement with no realistic potential for advancing individual freedom.” He complains of the “raving, anti-intellectual populism … brutish nationalism, anti-immigrant xenophobia … and it’s-always-1938-somewhere jingoism ” as well as “extremism on beginning- and end-of-life issues. “He calls out the Tea Partiers in particular as holding “distinctly unlibertarian views,” including an obsession with illegal immigration and an opposition to gay marriage. He doesn’t think Democrats offer much either, and would prefer libertarians “[attempt] to claim the center of American politics,” being “politically homeless” in this climate. His bottom line, though, appears to be that conservatives are not the natural libertarian allies even on economics:

    But at least the Tea Partiers are dedicated to reining in government spending, right? After all, it’s the movement’s defining issue. Well, put me down as a skeptic. If you really care about restraining the growth of government, the number one priority has to be restructuring the budget-busting Medicare program. Yet during the health care debate the GOP sank to shameless demagoguery in defending Medicare’s sanctity.

  10. Michael H. Wilson

    Here ya go!

    “Fink, with his many titles, has become the central nervous system of the Kochtopus. He appears to have supplanted Ed Crane, the head of the Cato Institute, as the brothers’ main political lieutenant. Though David remains on the board at Cato, Charles Koch has fallen out with Crane. Associates suggested to me that Crane had been insufficiently respectful of Charles’s management philosophy, which he distilled into a book called “The Science of Success,” and trademarked under the name Market-Based Management, or M.B.M. In the book, Charles recommends instilling a company’s corporate culture with the competitiveness of the marketplace. Koch describes M.B.M. as a “holistic system” containing “five dimensions: vision, virtue and talents, knowledge processes, decision rights and incentives.” A top Cato Institute official told me that Charles “thinks he’s a genius. He’s the emperor, and he’s convinced he’s wearing clothes.” Fink, by contrast, has been far more embracing of Charles’s ideas. (Fink, like the Kochs, declined to be interviewed.)”

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all#ixzz0xljuqOWn

  11. Tom Blanton

    Fuck the Kochtopus. Cut off the tentacles and shove them down Glenn Beck’s throat and up Wayne Root’s ass.

    Real libertarians don’t become the largest contributors to the GOP in a sane world.

  12. Michael H. Wilson

    Hang on Tom! I just posted that for information purposes. I just thought people might like a little background info but we gotta remember that it may be incomplete 😉

  13. Deran

    I think for some while now there has been an “Americanism” that gets in the way of libertarian capitalist politics. As far as I know, only in the USA does “Liberal” mean statist, in the rest of the world classical Liberal Parties and their various descendents mean a much more capitalist market and minimal statist intervention.

    The these days US Liberalism is statist intervention for the benefit of corporations.

  14. paulie

    libertarian capitalist politics.

    Actually, libertarianism is at least in theory neutral as to economic systems, as long as they are mutually voluntary (for anarchist libertarians) or moving in that direction (for all libertarians). Some of us also believe that the political use of the terms “capitalism” and “capitalist” is a misnomer/weasel word. For instance, see http://mises.org/daily/2099#6

  15. Robert Capozzi

    tb, I dunno. One could say that a major corporation giving to candidates of a major political party is simply making a business decision. In that context, I don’t believe there’s a L view of business decisions. Is there?

  16. Robert Capozzi

    as to whether liberaltarian was ever alive, I’d say not so much. Liberals find Ls useful to illustrate schism on the “right.” Liberals will sometimes nod to Ls on various matters.

    Conservatarian is also not alive. Conservatives find L ideas useful, generally in economic policy matters.

    Seeking to influence conservatives and liberals makes a lot of sense. There are a lot more of them than there are of us. On any given issue, making coalition with either can make sense, too. Tacking either right or left, however, makes little sense to me. Making adjustments in how an issue is framed and what rhetoric we use, however, makes a LOT of sense.

    Barging into a meeting of conservatives and telling them the fetuses are parasites is contra-indicated. Barging into a meeting of liberals and telling that private discrimination is aOK, ditto.

    Respect.

  17. sane LP member

    Small L libertarianism is alive and well in thousands of books in libraries and book stores. It will never die, unless the book burners come back from the past. The Big L party may evolve, but the books are set for all time. Way too much time spent arguing over who is “left”, who is “right”, and who is “pure enough”, unless one is talking about the books. As for the party, lets’ knock out every one of those clowns from office or at least 90% of them that have spent us into oblivion.

  18. Michael H. Wilson

    As long as someone, somewhere can say; “Leave me alone”, the idea will not die.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, the idea may not die, but I wonder if “leave me alone” is part of the problem. It sounds selfish to many, and selfishness sounds small-minded to many, perhaps most.

    If we turn that around, I wonder if it gains traction. “You have the right to be left alone, don’t you agree?”, for ex. Or, “I’ll mind my own business, just as you should mind yours.” Or some variation on the Golden Rule.

    Social interaction necessarily requires mutual respect.

  20. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 24 Criticize much? Yea I coulda worded that a dozen ways but I think people get the point.

    Me? I’ll be out working handing out literature this weekend and am getting ready for that today.

    So what are you going to do for the cause this weekend?

  21. Gene Berkman

    A historical note: I first heard the term “liberaltarian” in 1969 – our Trad. opponents in Young Americans for Freedom used it as a smear against us, referring to our “liberal” positions on opposing the Vietnam War and support for legalizing marijuana.

    Now many on the right support legalizing marijuana (National Review for many years) and others back non-interventionist foreign policy (The John Birch Society, the Constitution Party). So as a smear “liberaltarian” no longer has the same meaning.

  22. JT

    Paulie: “Actually, libertarianism is at least in theory neutral as to economic systems, as long as they are mutually voluntary (for anarchist libertarians) or moving in that direction (for all libertarians). ”

    Under what economic system are individual associations voluntary other than free-market capitalism?

    Robert: “Social interaction necessarily requires mutual respect.”

    Contra-indicated.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT,

    There’s no such thing as “free-market capitalism.” It’s an oxymoron. It does not and cannot exist.

    “Capitalism,” as coined by Thackeray, as popularized by Marx, and as understood by the vast majority of humankind, refers specifically to a state-regulated mixed industrial economy. Always has. Does now. Always will.

    Next?

  24. John DuBose

    The urge to make other people do what you think they ought to do is currently very strong in most people.

    Think the whole middle east.

    Libertarian thought did not really even begin until Voltaire. I think it will take maybe a century more to really take off as more and more people perceive themselves as individual agents and see the misery caused by statism.

  25. Michael H. Wilson

    One of the biggest impediments to change is what some call social inertia, the reluctance of society to change. There ain’t no miracles drugs that will do it. The LP has to realize that this will be slow but we need to be consistent and stay on message. There is no Moses to lead us to the promised land and besides he wandered around in the desert for 40 years.

  26. '..... just look at the activists ' [Lake]

    Michael H. Wilson // Aug 27, 2010:
    “One of the biggest impediments to change is what some call social inertia ………”

    [Lake: Heavy on the Sociology and (Cultural) Anthropology and then linked to Social Psychology such as Anomie (Alone ness) and Social Detachment and Disconnect ………]

  27. JT

    Tom, I’ll just briefly respond to your somewhat snide post. You can have the last word on the substance of the issue.

    Tom: “There’s no such thing as “free-market capitalism.” It’s an oxymoron. It does not and cannot exist.”

    Is that an argument? I think you need to inform many free-market economists of it.

    Tom: “Capitalism,” as coined by Thackeray, as popularized by Marx, and as understood by the vast majority of humankind, refers specifically to a state-regulated mixed industrial economy. Always has. Does now. Always will.”

    First, the *defining* characteristic of capitalism, reflected in any dictionary, isn’t state-regulation or mixed anything. It’s the private ownership of property and economic activity guided by market forces (i.e., supply and demand).

    Second, the “vast majority of humankind” thinks the term “freedom” refers to the political condition found in democratic countries. So what?

    Tom: “Next?”

    Haha, cute.

    So anyway, the point of my statement was that Paulie’s assertion that libertarianism is “neutral as to economic systems, as long as they are mutually voluntary” makes no sense given that there’s only one such system.

  28. Thomas L. Knapp

    “the *defining* characteristic of capitalism, reflected in any dictionary, isn’t state-regulation or mixed anything. It’s the private ownership of property and economic activity guided by market forces (i.e., supply and demand).”

    Any dictionary?

    How about the Dictionary of Free Market Economics by Fred Foldvary?

    That’s where MY definition came from.

    “anyway, the point of my statement was that Paulie’s assertion that libertarianism is ‘neutral as to economic systems, as long as they are mutually voluntary’ makes no sense given that there’s only one such system.”

    I guess the question, then, is why make a “point” that has no basis in reality?

  29. Robert Capozzi

    mhw: criticize much? Yea I coulda worded that a dozen ways but I think people get the point.

    me: hmm, I didn’t mean it as a criticism as much feedback. Your term is fine. It captures poetically the individualist mindset.

    I’m suggesting that the individualist mindset — leave me alone-ism — doesn’t play well in the public square. Reframing individual rights as I’ve thrown out there might play better.

  30. Paulie

    Under what economic system are individual associations voluntary other than free-market capitalism?

    Voluntary socialism, intentional communities, communalism, or whatever you choose to call it. Non-state enforced cooperative economics, basically.

  31. Paulie

    Libertarian thought did not really even begin until Voltaire.

    It goes back to at least Lao Tzu, and almost certainly earlier.

  32. Been there, done that

    #22:
    “As for the party, lets’ knock out every one of those clowns from office or at least 90% of them that have spent us into oblivion.”

    Won’t happen under the LP banner. The organization is tainted goods among many libertarians, and even to a significant amount of people outside the freedom movement.

    Perception is reality and by perenially running lousy candidates, blowing opportunities, and losing elections, the perception is that the LP is weak, unprofessional, and runs candidates ill prepared for campaigning — or holding office.

  33. JT

    I’ll answer the questions you asked me, Tom.

    Tom: “How about the Dictionary of Free Market Economics by Fred Foldvary?”

    I don’t have the DFME. But here’s what Foldvary wrote in the Progress Report in 2002:
    “Capitalism today has market-hurting interventions that take away the earnings of labor to finance public works that redistribute the wealth to landowners as higher rent and land value. Social justice requires fixing and eliminating the interventions rather than hampering voluntary action.”

    Here he’s referring to an economic system, “capitalism,” and separating it conceptually from “interventions.” When you get rid of the interventions from capitalism, what’s left then? “Voluntary action.”

    This comports with the understanding of Ludwig Von Mises, George Reisman,
    Murray Rothbard (relevant discussion found at http://mises.org/daily/3735), and many other free-market economists.

    Tom: “I guess the question, then, is why make a “point” that has no basis in reality?”

    No basis in reality? Look, by whatever name you choose to call it, there isn’t more than one economic system that upholds personal property rights and doesn’t interfere with consensual adult relationships; otherwise, we’d be talking about the same system. So it’s wrong to say that libertarianism is “neutral” about economic systems. That was the point.

    Paulie: “Some of us also believe that the political use of the terms “capitalism” and “capitalist” is a misnomer/weasel word.”

    I get it, Paulie. I don’t necessarily agree, but I understand some people not wanting to use the word “capitalism.” I wasn’t trying to launch a defense of the word when I posted.

  34. Michael H. Wilson

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary assuming I am reading it correctly, the word Capitalist was first used in 1792 by A. Young in “Travels in France” where the following is written “A gross evil of these direct impost is, that of moneyed men, or capitalist, escaping all taxation.”

  35. Thomas L. Knapp

    “by whatever name you choose to call it, there isn’t more than one economic system that upholds personal property rights and doesn’t interfere with consensual adult relationships”

    Now you’re trying to change the argument. Before, we were talking about economic systems in which individual associations are voluntary. The statement above implicitly adds numerous exceptions and qualifiers to that.

    Analogy:

    Paulie: “Libertarianism is neutral to bicycles, as long as they have two wheels.”

    JT: “Nonsense! What bicycle, other than mine, has two wheels?”

    Me: “JT, your ‘bicycle’ has four wheels, a 350cc motor and a king cab. That’s not a bicycle, it’s a truck. Look at some pictures.”

    JT: “I looked at the pictures you mentioned, and one of them shows a wheeled vehicle. Obviously the essence of a bicycle is anything that has wheels. And a back window to hang a Confederate flag in. And that can haul a load of gravel in its bed. And that has license plate #CPT-LSM. Nothing else is a bicycle.”

  36. JT

    I understand, Paulie.

    Aside from the serious economic problems with anarchistic socialism (or whatever you want to call it), advocates say the system is consistent with the libertarian non-aggression principle while excluding private property ownership. Property is owned by the “community” or “society.” But all property must be used and disposed of by individuals, and sometimes conflicts arise. Of course, there’s no mechanism to address such conflicts under such a system, because there are no private property rights. What then? Moreover, how do you get to it without initiating force against private property owners who don’t want to relinquish their rights?

  37. paulie

    Of course, there’s no mechanism to address such conflicts under such a system, because there are no private property rights. What then?

    What happens under any form of jointly held property – family business, corporate shareholders, etc? They take a vote, maybe go into some kind of arbitration, and if they can’t resolve their differences they may part ways.

    Moreover, how do you get to it without initiating force against private property owners who don’t want to relinquish their rights?

    You find a number of people who voluntarily decide to pool their property. No one else is forced to participate, and anyone may leave at any time, except perhaps those who due to age or disability are incompetent to do so.

  38. JT

    Are you saying that family businesses, corporate shareholding, and some friends chipping in to buy a pizza is socialism?

  39. paulie

    No, of course not.

    I was only addressing your claim that there is “no mechanism to address” conflicts over communal property use.

    The same mechanisms exist in communal situations as in all of the above joint ownership situations.

  40. paulie

    First part of article linked at 47:

    Lately there has been a lot of controversy over the liberaltarian moniker. It is not a term I use, nor is it one I find useful. I think I understand the reason it exists—to draw attention to the vast areas of common ground between classical liberals and progressive liberals. But when it comes to the libertarian label I just prefer using libertarian to say the same thing.

    A libertarian is someone who believes in liberty and this broadly translates into three areas: civil liberties and social freedom, economic freedom and property rights, free trade and a non-interventionist foreign policy. It behooves libertarians to emphasize all three areas as they are interlinked.

    Some libertarians, however, pander to the bigots on the Right in the hopes of attracting funding, or winning votes. So they truncate liberty: they amputate freedom by ignoring, or downplaying, civil liberties. Some actively try to appeal to the xenophobes by belittling immigrants and calling for measures that appeal to Tea Party types.

    If a libertarian only spoke about social issues and foreign policy he would be doing a disservice to libertarianism by giving the impression that it is nothing but another version of left-wing ideology. Similarly if a libertarian ignores those issues to focus exclusively on areas of agreement with the Right he too does a disservice by giving the impression that libertarianism is just another version of right-wing ideology. Both commit the same crime.

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