The Anti-Libertarian Republic: Austin Petersen Rejects Individualism
By Ryan Griggs
June 1. 2015
Austin Petersen was a guest on the Tom Woods Show on June 1, 2015. Viewed by many as a libertarian, Petersen’s statements are an affront to libertarianism properly considered as an application of the Non-Aggression Principle to human relations. I supplement Petersen’s statements with context and examples so that the reader may understand the true nature of libertarianism and learn of errors to avoid. I suggest listening to the interview, though this isn’t necessary.
Murray Rothbard wrote:
“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics … [b]ut it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”
Likewise, it is no crime to be ignorant of libertarian political philosophy, but it is “totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion while remaining in this state of ignorance.”
Part 1: Theory
What then to make of Austin Petersen of The Libertarian Republic? Clearly this is an individual of some talent and skill given his past position as Associate Producer of Judge Napalitano’s FreedomWatch and commercial success as proprietor of a for-profit (so-called) libertarian website. One would tend towards the conclusion that an individual with this background isn’t ignorant of libertarian political philosophy (or perhaps shouldn’t be).
However, as discussed below, Petersen’s thought is awash with error and incoherence. The puzzled observer is left thinking that it may not be Petersen’s knowledge of certain literature and concepts that’s defective, but his perception and understanding (what Mises would call Verstehen in German) of them. In short, something has gone terribly wrong in the mind of Petersen. His ideas will be explored below for the sole purpose of illustrating his errors such that critical thinkers may avoid them.