Here is an interesting article from The Libertarian Alliance blog, a libertarian organization based in England. The article is really about small l libertarianism rather than Libertarian Party matters, but it does a good job of chronicling the “paleolibertarian” phenomenon of the ’90s. Paleolibertarianism seems to mystify some people, so I thought it was worth posting.
In January 1990, Lew Rockwell wrote in the magazine ‘Liberty’ on ‘The Case for Paleolibertarianism’. In this manifesto, he argued that while libertarians are often correct in their criticisms of conservatives, conservatives are often right in their criticisms of libertarians. He cites people like Russell Kirk and Robert Nisbet, with the latter claiming that libertarians were drifting so far from conservatism that they were coming to view the “coercions of the family, church, local community and school” as almost as corrosive of liberty as that of the state.
In this paleolibertarian manifesto, Rockwell states that if libertarianism is to make any real progress, then it must do away with its “defective cultural framework”, stating that Western civilisation is worthy of praise and that social or ‘natural’ authority – like the authority of the family, the church, the local community and the school – is essential to a free society. Libertarianism’s cultural framework had become a blend of moral relativism, egalitarianism, modernism and libertinism with the modal libertarian often conflating legality with morality. In addition to the error of assuming that because X must be legal, X must also be moral, the modal libertarian had conflated freedom from aggression with freedom from social authority, tradition, and bourgeois morality.
Hat tip to my FaceBook friend Rex May, whose post directed my attention to this article.