Left-Libertarianism and Ron Paul

Avatar

Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

Related Post Roulette

115 Responses

  1. Avatar Bill Woolsey
    Ignored
    says:

    To hear the Rothbardians tell it, the story of libertarianism is the story of Rothbard.   It was born with the Circle Bastiat in the fifties and now is cumulating with Ron Paul leading in the Iowa Caucuses.

    My Rothbardian phase was in the late seventies–a few years out of thirty years as a libertarian.    I think Rothbard’s paleo turn looms larger for Horwitz.   I don’t know exactly why.   Perhaps it is the role of the Mises Institute in Austrian economics.   Or that his personal break with Rothbardism happened just then and _is_ the core of his differences with Rothbardians.

    To many of us, it was just one more bit of Rothbardian craziness.

    Anyway, I think this essay is subject to the same difficulty.   While Ron Paul’s seed financing may have come from right wing crazies in 2008, that wasn’t his message in 2008 or 2009.   Now his funding is coming from 2008.   And the big funding in 2008 (the money bombs) wasn’t from right wing crazies.

    At least, that is the way I see it.

    For decades now, I have seen myself as a mainstream libertarian, following Milton Friedman or F.A. Hayek.     

     Report

  2. Avatar E.D. Kain
    Ignored
    says:

    The success of the Tea Party is important, though, to the concept of fusionism. Can a purely fiscal message achieve what Rothbard et al thought they could only achieve through racism and paranoia? Couldn’t fusionism still succeed without all that crap? Not that this would necessarily appeal that much to liberals, but at least it would be palatable if the anti-war, anti-drug-war message were still prominent.Report

    • Avatar Mike in reply to E.D. Kain
      Ignored
      says:

      Can a purely fiscal message achieve what Rothbard et al thought they could only achieve through racism and paranoia?

      It is wholly laughable to insist that the message of the Tea Party is NOT a message of racism and paranoia. About the only thing “fusion” about the Tea Party is its ability to blend Birthers, 9/11 Truthers, Goldbuggers, Birchers, “UN World Government Takeover” crazies, and just about every other group of insane/racist conspiracy theorists into a single political party.

      Oh, and don’t forget the “Osama’s death was staged, they killed him in 2003 and just kept him on ice” crowd…Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to E.D. Kain
      Ignored
      says:

      Hypothetically, sure, I guess.  In the real world as it exists? Not a chance.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        Besides, to focus on whether such a fusionism is possible misses the point here, which is that if libertarianism can be used to so easily and successfully appeal to the paranoid and racist, indeed to the most illiberal elements of society in general, then that suggests an ideological problem with libertarianism to the extent that we view it as within the classical liberal tradition.  An electorally successful libertarianism with such a problem lacks an inoculations against the possibility/likelihood of handing the reins of power to the most illiberal of persons imaginable.Report

  3. Avatar Liberty60
    Ignored
    says:

    Fiscal Fusionism? To whom would this be remotely appealing? To the minimum wage waitress who goes without health care? To the unemployed? To anyone who isn’t financially comfortable?

    As a libertarian might ask, “whats in it for me?”

     Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Liberty60
      Ignored
      says:

      At the very least, a government that doesn’t try to actively fish over the marginal member of society, as seen on any given episode of COPS over the last 20 years.Report

      • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        “actively fishing” as in ending Medicare as we know it? Laying off public sector workers while infrastructure rots, all to pay for tax breaks to the 1%?

        I don’t see this kind of fishing on COPS- its usually broadcast on CSPAN.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Liberty60
          Ignored
          says:

          Medicare needs to be overhauled.   It’s a nightmare of mismanagement, riddled with fraud.   If ever there was an Augean Stables requiring a thorough cleaning, it’s Medicare.   I do health care software, my yardstick is the poor, most of whom only get medical care when they’re so sick they cost a fortune to treat.   If Medicare were properly administered, (at least as well as Social Security) we wouldn’t have people reduced to absolute penury to get a dime from Medicare and those Medicare dollars would be far more effectively administered.   By my calculations,  Medicare is wasting about half of its funding.Report

          • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to BlaiseP
            Ignored
            says:

            I ever heard a politician who wanted to “reform” Medicare whereby “reform” meant “make better outcomes for people who depend on Medicare” then I would jump on the reform bandwagon.

            All I have seen so far are 3 card monte games whose main goal is to trick the 55 and under set into walking out onto the ice floe.

            Thanks, but I’ll pass.

             Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Liberty60
          Ignored
          says:

          while infrastructure is STOLEN, you mean. Pennies on the dollar. They sell your power plants, they sell my buses.

          In a deliberate attempt to profiteer on a made up crisis.Report

  4. Avatar BlaiseP
    Ignored
    says:

    This Fusionism term of art leaves this old cat badly confused.  Working through this bit over on LewRockwell.com leaves me even more confused.

    What does it mean?Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to BlaiseP
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not a huge fan of the term myself, actually.  I just used it since it seems to be the term du jour.  When I use it here, I’m just referring to the notion of a conservative populist-libertarian coalition.

      The link you provide is interesting, especially as it comes several years prior to the “paleo turn,” though seemingly in the midst of Rothbard’s fallout with CATO, et al.  One especially interesting aspect of it is that in rejecting what it terms “fusionism,” it nonetheless locates libertarianism within conservatism.  Also interesting is that it seems to locate what it calls “fusionism” (but describes as conservative populism) as a subset of libertarianism.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        Lord Gawd you Libertarians are worse than the Marxists with all your specialized vocabulary.  Well, I guess I must master it all if I’m to make any intelligent noises.

        Seen from atop the watchtower of Schloss Liberalis, here’s my take on this Fusionism.   The Libertarians haven’t shifted their positions:  it’s the Conservatives who quit being Conservative.   Since the Great Redneck Migration into the GOP in the mid-sixties, the GOP hasn’t managed to assimilate the populists and xenophobes.

        Let’s take the standard Libertarian take on Affirmative Action as a case in point.  The Libertarians oppose it (quite properly, to this Liberal) on the basis of the ham hand of the State dictating quotas.   But AA isn’t the Federal Government’s fault:  the Rednecks found all sorts of specious reasons not to hire those Nigras.   Eventually something had to be done but the problem defaulted into the courts when it should have been addressed in law.

        Look at all the law hanging on the groaning nail of the 14th Amendment and the Commerce clause.   Nauseating, isn’t it?   Every time the Gummint wants to wield the Stark Fist of Removal, BOHICA folks, they’ll use the 14th Amendment to justify it.   At some point we need a better definition in law so the Libertarians (and my species of Liberal) can return to Guidance by Virtue.

        The Conservatives should be carrying this issue forward but we see what they do every time they get their hands on the tiller, they give us more PATRIOT Act bullsh*t, which isn’t Conservative by any definition.    Thank FSM for the Tea Partiers who stood up against continuations of certain provisions within the PATRIOT Act.   They sure looked like Liberals to me when they did it.Report

  5. Avatar b-psycho
    Ignored
    says:

    From associating with Karl Hess in his left-wing anti-politics phase to backing Pat Buchanan…WOW Rothbard veered around rather hard.

     

     

     Report

    • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to b-psycho
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s rather common actually. Plenty of examples abound of people flitting easily between one radical pole to another.

      When I say “scratch a libertarian you find a socialist” thats not a casual epithet. Easier to move from socialist Grand Theory Of Everything to the libertarian model, than it is to move to the cautious circumspection of the Burkean  mind.Report

  6. Avatar Pierre Corneille
    Ignored
    says:

    Mark’s post explains probably the most compelling reason, at least on an emotional level, why I choose not to identify as a libertarian, even though I have been greatly influenced by libertarianism in the last 5 years or so.  I realize that emotion is not a proper reason, by itself, to forgo or adopt libertarianism, or any other ism, and I have other concerns and probably have values that are different from the ones libertarians whom I respect share.  But the history of Paulism is representative of a red flag that causes me to approach libertarianism with more caution than I otherwise might.

     Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Pierre Corneille
      Ignored
      says:

      I loathe the racists under the Paul’s banner, and there are even more evil people who are rallying around the man.

      Paul brings a message of peace? HAHA. His followers bring death.

      I’m sure Obama has his share of crazies… but they don’t rally around him in their craziness. They don’t make a cult of him and print out gold Obama dollars.Report

      • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m sure Obama has his share of crazies… but they don’t rally around him in their craziness. They don’t make a cult of him…

        I’m sorry, I lost you somewhere in there.Report

        • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan Bonneville
          Ignored
          says:

          Yes, this is about the silliest thing I’ve read all day. (Admittedly I’ve not been up long.) No cult around Obama??? You need to meet some of my Twitter followers.

          Frankly I still prefer the Ron Paul we have now to the Barack Obama we have now. It’s the damn past that is blasting my conviction on this point. It’s the implicit acceptance of those old racist rags that I can’t stand.Report

  7. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
    Ignored
    says:

    Until left-libertarianism talks meaningfully about reducing the size and scope of government, it’s just leftism, and agreement on a small grab-bag of social issues with Ron Paul is more coincidence than principle.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      Nonsense.   Is this more of this Libertarian Redefinition at work?   Since when does the Left encapsulate Statism as a solution to everything?    It doesn’t, though Libertarians are always telling me what the Marxists did back in the day, that the State would Wither Away.   It didn’t.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to BlaiseP
        Ignored
        says:

        This, too, is surely another problematic side effect of the libertarian alliance with the Right – an inability to see the Left as it actually is, especially in the post-Soviet world.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mark Thompson
          Ignored
          says:

          The Libertarians should have gently shown the GOP to the door and firmly closed it.   Look at ol’ Ron Paul, getting booed when he tries to talk sense about America’s propensity to intervene in wars it doesn’t understand.  What the hell is he doing running as a Republican?

          Ambrose Bierce (a survivor of the Battle of Shiloh) observed Americans learn their geography from the war reporting.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t necessarily disagree, at least with the first half of your sentence.  Indeed my point is very much that libertarianism in general is properly construed as a form of liberalism, and indeed leftism.  I’d argue – and have argued, albeit mostly before you were aware of these parts – that libertarianism’s marriage of convenience with the Right over the last 50-60 years has resulted in a libertarianism that is often not very true to its supposed aims.  The newsletters, unfortunately, represent the natural culmination and extreme of those effects.

      A libertarianism that is more concerned with the size of the federal government than with the scope of government power in general is not a libertarianism that has much connection to its philosophical roots.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        May I extend this just a little farther?   Merely proposing to end a bureaucracy doesn’t imply the candidate means to become a new Cincinnatus, abdicating his power and returning it to the people.   The size of government is a bugbear, an ignis fatuus.   Governing this country will require a government of considerable size to enforce the laws.   Our problem goes deeper:  government continues to arrogate more powers to itself, especially the Executive and the Congress is complicit.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        ‘Twas a turn of phrase, MarkT: shrink the scope, shrink the size.  But I do appreciate your distinction.  However, the left sees gov’t as the solution to the ills of man’s estate.  This is not the libertarian view of the purpose of government.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          You’d do well to avoid putting words in people’s mouths, Tom.   The Left believes the government arises from the people and ought to serve all the people.    If we are egalitarian, we also observe that all men are created equal but they don’t stay that way for long.

          Please avoid these simplistic reductions.   You have no idea what you’re talking about, saying such things.   Take your hand out of that little puppet and quit aping Rush Limbaugh.   Got any questions about what Lefties believe?   I’ll answer ’em, thanks so much.

           Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP
            Ignored
            says:

            Blaise, I was far more charitable and even-handed toward the left than your vitriol is toward the right, so bug off.

            “The Left believes the government arises from the people and ought to serve all the people.”

            Uh huh.  And they like puppies and kittens too.  Got it.

             Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              J’y reste ici.   I am staying here.   Feel free to crank that little organ elsewhere in hopes the monkeys might dance.

              I am a Liberal.   I consider myself a Leftist.   I do not want your charity and I have decided to bash you every time you talk about what Lefties believe.   Libertarians take a dim view of charity and pity, so I’ve seen, and so do the poor and destitute.   The poor don’t want pity.   They want a hand up out of the pit society has dug for them.   They want a job.   The Libertarians want the same and they have an excellent route to equality.   It’s called Liberty, the liberty which overcomes the well-meaning Poverty Pits which keep the poor down.    The poor and dispossessed are my yardstick, the yardstick of the Left, if not yours.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh I have no doubt you’ll continue to hog the soapbox, Blaise.  It’s your thing. But stick with the high-fives from the amen corner because your analyses are dishonest, your “facts” stink and the punchline is always your own self-aggrandizement.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Tom, when you run out of facts, you start in on me.   It’s the hallmark of the losing argument in the Land o’ Blog, that the loser resorts to ad-hom.   I am not intimidated by you or your sloppy thinking.   An actual leftie has put in an appearance and it will now be me you attack when you maunder on about Lefties.   You will find me a pitiless opponent.   You will keep a civil tongue in your head, for its my respect you need, not me yours.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                You went ad hom first, big boy. You don’t even read what you write, although I can’t blame you for that.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Run ‘long now, Tom.   Here I am and here I’ll stay, as it suits me.   You’ll either start writing some muscular prose or you’ll go on whining and snarling and biting and it won’t go anywhere good.

                But you’ve uttered your last unpunished fatuous little meme about Lefties around here, while I remain.   Read that.

                 Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, Blaise, I’d answer yr hourly calumnies against the right in return, but there wouldn’t be much time for anything else.  I’ll content meself w/noting your numerous butcheries of the facts, and then let you slink off after you plop yet another poopie in the punchbowl.  As usual.  Rock on, brother.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              “Blaise, I was far more charitable and even-handed toward the left than your vitriol is toward the right, so bug off.”

              Without getting too involved in the substance of this dispute, this sort of argument doesn’t gain that much mileage even if it’s true.

              It’s speaks to the wellrounded-ness and even character of a person that they can maintain charity and good faith even in the context of cynicism and antagonism. But ultimately, whoever is right is right.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Koz, my original comment wasn’t meant to be dismissive of the left: they do think the purpose of government is to improve man’s lot, whereas the libertarians don’t see it that way.  The rest was Blaise being quarrelsome and I don’t need the noise.

                 Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Blaise is a tough one. Not because he’s nastier than your typical lib (actually, he’s not), but because he what he’s writing about is nonresponsive or just tangentially related to what he’s responding to. Or, he’ll respond with some invective where the substance of what he writes is actually in agreement with his interlocutor.

                But all this is ancillary. The point to you is that, positional arguments and tonal arguments can’t stand by themselves. They complement a substantive case, they don’t replace it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Government is not the solution to man’s estate.   No Leftie will say that.   The Left will tell you the overweening power of government is the usually mechanism for tyranny and economic distortions.  In this, it is remarkably similar to the conclusions reached by the Libertarians themselves.

                Libertarians and Liberals disagree on the routes to some measure of equality in society.   That is of little consequence:  we agree on enough to declare the Conservative proclivity for Strong Leaders in the mode of Hobbes no answer to the problem of inequality in society.

                Now you might be inclined, if you truly wish to avoid dismissing the Left, to read John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty.   You will find it educational.   There is a Liberal to correct your misapprehensions on the subject.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          Who’s running Wikileaks?

          Who’s running Anonymous?

          Who’s running Wikipedia, for that matter?

          Do you name these centrist or conservative ideas?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        The conservative, as seen truly, has no base whatsoever. His only way to get people to sign onto his shtick is to put them on the diving board, or use his fist.

        Therefore, the right lacks a fundamental honesty — it pretends that it means many things that are popular, when it’s true face is really quite ugly.

        Modernism/Progressivism has plenty of room for stalwart skeptics like TVD.

        The core difference between conservatism and modernism is that one sees everything in terms of hierarchies, and the other sees everyone as equal, and acts to preserve that in as much as possible.Report

    • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      I get the sense terms are being blurred here. My understanding of left-libertarianism is not one of mere reduction of government but its undermining en route to abolishment, defining the state (like Rothbard did during his lefty phase) as a criminal enterprise. Is that being applied to attempts at minarchist libertarian fusion with liberals too?

       

       

       

       

       Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s true. Drastically reducing the scope of the US military’s presence in the world, slashing the defense budget, and ending the war on drugs is a pretty small grab-bag of social issues.

      Notably, one of the places where we left-libertarian types like to part ways with Mr. Paul is that we don’t like the notion of a massive, hands-on state meddling with the free and peaceful movement of people across borders. Good lord are we incapable of talking meaningfully about reducing the size and scope of government! If only people listened to THE FUCKING WORDS coming out of our mouths!Report

  8. Avatar Koz
    Ignored
    says:

    “Horwitz argues that this fusionism was deeply corrupting to libertarianism, destroying its inherent liberalism, and concludes…”

    Mark, I’ve tried to call this bluff more than once and AFAIK you haven’t attempted any sort of response.

    Let’s recap the premise of this argument for the sake of clarity. To wit, of the prominent libertarians from 30 years ago, the two most distinguished by their alienation from mainstream conservatism, the Republican Party, and Greater Red State America, published a bunch of nastiness. And furthermore, Rockwell-Rothbard published such nastiness because of that alienation. But, instead of blaming their alienation from conservatives, you’re blaming conservatism itself. Come on Mark, that’s ridiculous.

    Compounding that, you wish to associate with the Left-liberals, and take on all the baggage associated with that. Ie, not just the policy failures like PPACA and Demo unemployment, but also the intellectual and moral failures like Libya and Fast and Furious.

    Mark, when push comes to shove everybody knows that the moral failures and intellectual base-stealing frauds are hanging out with the Left. That’s why the Right is such an eclectic bunch, intellectually speaking. The intellectual Left, such as it is, are mostly professional bailout artists.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      Your central premise, that Rothbard and Rockwell are the two libertarians most characterized by their alienation from mainstream conservatism, is what is absurd. If you said “most alienated from conservative elites,” you might be correct, but that would be no less true of their relationship to liberal elites. But to suggest that they were alienated from the Right writ large is absurd. Read the link Blaise posted, in which Rothbard argues that conservative populism is indistinguishable from libertarianism, and in which he repeatedly and consistently characterizes libertarianism as inherently part of the Right. Contrast that with Hayek, who viewed libertarianism as being explicitly within the liberal tradition.

      Regardless, it cannot be overemphasized that the EXPLICIT strategy of the newsletters and “paleo” turn was to align with conservative populism. Ferrchissakes, the man campaigned for Pat Buchanan. If you want to read Pat Buchanan out of the American Right, then I might suggest your definition of the American Right is little more than “people with whom Koz is not embarrassed to be associated.”Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        “If you want to read Pat Buchanan out of the American Right, then I might suggest your definition of the American Right is little more than “people with whom Koz is not embarrassed to be associated.””

        No, actually I supported Buchanan in 1992, mostly cuz GHWB was a RINO back when I believed in RINO hunting. But IIRC Buchanan never published anything like what was in those newsletters. (As a small digression, IIRC 1992 was the last year Buchanan was clearly on the Right. Since then, you can either view him as an eccentric Righty or eccentric Leftie and neither bunch really wants to claim him.)

        Back on track I don’t think your Rockwell-Rothbard deflection holds any water. Libertarianism of that era was culturally associated with the Right (you should agree, it’s part of your premises). Milton Friedman, Julian Simon, the other Right-libertarians of that era managed to publishing nasty newsletters well enough, and so did the conventional Republicans (eg, Pete Du Pont or Dan Quayle). It’s just the libertarians who defined themselves within libertarianism in opposition to the GOP-conservative mainstream who got themselves into trouble.

        And in no case does the association with Left-progressivism help. That’s just a bunch of baggage you don’t want: historical associations with Communism, PC intellectual corruptions, and just plain bad policy. It would interesting if you tried to make a quasi-JSM argument from scratch. I think if you tried it would be more clear for you just how untenable that is historically.

        My guess is, the real issue is that libertarians are tired of playing Robin to our Batman. To be honest, I actually have some sympathy for that as a frustration, but logically speaking I don’t think there’s much argument for it being any other way. I’ll be interested to see if you can write one.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
          Ignored
          says:

          Honestly, I have no idea what most of this has to do with any of my points.

          I will simply say that libertarian agreements with the Right are, more often than not, solely on means, not ends. Libertarian agreements with the modern Left are, or at least if libertarianism is properly understood, on ends, not means.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mark Thompson
            Ignored
            says:

            That’s an accurate assessment.   If the Libertarian has been hornswoggled by the GOP and led down the primrose path, the Liberal has been reduced to a caricature by the Democrats who seem intent on legislating away all our problems.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
            Ignored
            says:

            “Honestly, I have no idea what most of this has to do with any of my points.”

            Simple. Association with the Right is not the cause of libertarian intellectual corruption, it’s the source of libertarian intellectual responsibility. See above.

            “Libertarian agreements with the modern Left are, or at least if libertarianism is properly understood, on ends, not means.”

            Name That Tune then Mark. My guess is, John Stuart Mill will figure prominently, and then a bunch of handwaving. But we won’t know until you try, and you haven’t tried.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
              Ignored
              says:

              Shall I start with Hayek, who said as much explicitly? Or perhaps HD Thoreau? RW Emerson? or how about just the phrase “classical liberal”?

              As for me not trying……Jesus H FSM have you not read anything I’ve written on this site the last 3 years? You may not find my arguments on this front convincing. That’s fine. But you’re also not exactly my target audience. And of course, you’re not exactly an objective authority, whatever you may think of yourself. But do not pretend like I haven’t been trying to make an argument here.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                “As for me not trying……Jesus H FSM have you not read anything I’ve written on this site the last 3 years?”

                Yes I have, and no you haven’t. That’s not trying to be snarky, that’s just my plain recollection of things. If you have cites, I’ll read ’em.

                For clarity, this is what we’re talking about: that the clearest or most important result of the association with the Right has been the corruption of libertarianism. And that in some way it’s a good thing for libertarianism to be associated with the Left.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                I find you solid on the theory here, MarkT, in no small part because “conservatism” is an opposition to radicalism, not about “ends” atall.

                Everybody claims “classical liberalism,” even conservatives, since it means ordered liberty.  But how much liberty, at what price to order?

                What “ends” do lefties and libertarians actually share?  You cannot answer except in generic platitudes. And you’re so far apart on the means to any end that the rest of us watch in puzzlement and bemusement at this bizarre mating dance.

                All you do is keep sticking your dicks in each other’s ears.  There’s a structural problem here.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                “What “ends” do lefties and libertarians actually share? You cannot answer except in generic platitudes. And you’re so far apart on the means to any end that the rest of us watch in puzzlement and bemusement at this bizarre mating dance.”

                Great point. My guess is, that if Mark tries to look at this through a historical lens, he’ll say that “libertarians” and progressives were kosher with each other till say, 1910. At which point progressivism got diverted a little bit by collectivism and took a wrong turn. But a little swerve here and a correction there and everything will be hunky-dory again.

                Unfortunately for that theory, it completely ignored everything that’s happened since then. Ie, in American progressivism, we’ve had the Wilson Administration, the New Deal and the Great Society.

                Internationally, Marxism took institutional hold through Soviet Communism (and Mao). There’s also American progressive enabling and fellow-traveling for Communism, eg, Walter Duranty and Jane Fonda. Then there’s the revolutionary/terror elements of international progressivism: Shining Path, Fidel, Ho Chi Minh, Baader-Meinhof, etc. Plus, there’s a model of Euro-statist/social democrat progressivism exemplified by Arthur Scargill, Francois Mitterand or Willy Brandt.

                But you will look long and hard for anything within a country mile of libertarianism. In fact, it should be obvious from just a cursory look at a list like this that for at least 100 years, the essence of any form of progressive politics is the attempt to use of the collective power of the state to deny the autonomy of private property.

                And if somehow we were unclear on this ourselves, we could straighten ourselves out by asking the progressives themselves. There’s no progressive, of any stripe, who takes political-cultural cues from the corpus of John Stuart Mill or Thoreau. But every last one of them is strongly invested in the political power associated with one or another item from our grab bag above.

                This all seems pretty basic to me but at no time has Mark tried to come to grips with any of it, especially the intellectual corruptions involved which seem to be important for him. At the very least, if he has I haven’t seen it.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s just no substitute for making shit up on the internet.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan Bonneville
                Ignored
                says:

                Well there’s always talking shit on the internet.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Lech Walesa was and is on the Left.   The Left ain’t what it was in the 60s.  Nor, for that matter, is the Right.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                “Lech Walesa was and is on the Left.”

                That’s your answer? Is this supposed to be a joke? I don’t know of one person who thinks of Walesa as a figure of the Left (except you, I guess). Who do you know?

                (Btw, Walesa has been more or a less a joke figure in Polish political culture for about 20 years. His main cultural “constituency” is on the American Right.)Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                “The Left ain’t what it was in the 60s.”

                Ok, in what way is it different, and why do we care about the 60s? In what way is there any model of progressivism, before or after, not built on the attempt to use the collective power of the state against the autonomy of private property, either as a means or an end?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s see…Solidarity was a labor union, was it not?  He has certainly always been a liberal in the classical sense.  And last I saw, he was coming THIS close to signing up for OWS.

                As for what changes liberalism has made in the last 30-40 years, let’s start with the fact that liberals have largely made their peace with the idea of the market.  Matt Yglesias would not have existed 30-40 years ago.  PPACA is many things evil, but one thing it is not is anything remotely close to what the Left was proposing 30-40 years ago to address the same problems.  You do not get the apologists for  Communism on the American Left that used to exist in much greater numbers.

                But the big thing is that liberals actually care about individual liberty in a way that conservatives do not.  Liberals may be more likely to view the State as a tool to preserve or create space for that individual liberty than libertarians (and sometimes it even is!), but it is ultimately the maximization of individual liberty that liberals tend to desire.

                Conservatives care about individual liberty less than they care about conserving the status quo, whatever the status quo may be. Otherwise, what is it that they are conserving?  That may quite often result in overlap over means with libertarians, but it has nothing to do with ends.  This is not meant as a perjorative against conservatives – stability is no insignificant value, but it is a much different aim than maximizing individual liberty.

                The means/ends distinction is pretty apparent if you look at, for instance, conservatives’ attitudes towards criminal procedure jurisprudence in contrast to the attitudes of liberals and libertarians.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Finally we’re at least trying to get somewhere. Have you ever actually tried to connect any of these dots Mark?

                As for what changes liberalism has made in the last 30-40 years, let’s start with the fact that liberals have largely made their peace with the idea of the market. Matt Yglesias would not have existed 30-40 years ago. PPACA is many things evil, but one thing it is not is anything remotely close to what the Left was proposing 30-40 years ago to address the same problems. You do not get the apologists for Communism on the American Left that used to exist in much greater numbers.”

                In what way does any of this affect the comprehensiveness of collectivism as the legacy of the Left, in America or abroad?

                More than that, even if we were going to pretend the Stalin apologists and the Sandalistas have been washed clean of contemporary Leftism, why do we think there’s anything praiseworthy in what’s left over? Ie, do market liberals really speak for the Left?

                More than that, do the market liberals actually believe in the autonomy of property or markets, or is it just an instrumental means for collective social organization?

                “Conservatives care about individual liberty less than they care about conserving the status quo, whatever the status quo may be. Otherwise, what is it that they are conserving? That may quite often result in overlap over means with libertarians, but it has nothing to do with ends. This is not meant as a perjorative against conservatives – stability is no insignificant value, but it is a much different aim than maximizing individual liberty.”

                I hope you do realize that this model of conservatism died with say, Francisco Franco and was out of fashion long, long before that. The implicit conservative anthropology is very deep (especially in contrast to implicit Leftist anthropology which is a cartoon). In particular, the implications of liberty, private property, and self-determination have had a long period of development and expression on the Right for multiple centuries now.

                “The means/ends distinction is pretty apparent if you look at, for instance, conservatives’ attitudes towards criminal procedure jurisprudence in contrast to the attitudes of liberals and libertarians.”

                Really? If we’re talking contemporary Right vs. Left in America I don’t see much difference actually. In any case, I don’t think your dots connect here anyway. It is a legitimate function of the state to guarantee order and discourage criminality. Overzealousness in that function can and does indulge vindictiveness and cruelty at the expense of the autonomy and self-determination of the polity (underlying the state). Our jurisprudence for good or ill tries to navigate that as best as it can. If you trace this back to the philosophical foundations of Leftism, I don’t think they’ll help you much.Report

            • Avatar BradP in reply to Koz
              Ignored
              says:

              Simple. Association with the Right is not the cause of libertarian intellectual corruption, it’s the source of libertarian intellectual responsibility. See above.

              First off, conservatism is a relative social concept.  What it means to be “conservative” changes from generation to generation.  This is not true of libertarianism.   The intellectual and moral corruption that libertarianism experienced came about by adopting the reactionary values towards cultural change typical of conservatism.

              Conservatism is and has been defined not by individual rights and responsibilities, but by devotion to traditionally accepted social roles and responsibilities.  Libertarianism has no voice on that matter, and traditionally, as has been pointed out, found itself radically opposed to traditional social roles and institutions.  It is a coincidence of history that, for what seems to be an incredibly fleeting moment, that political trends put conservatives and libertarians on some level of agreement.

              And at that fleeting moment of history, the Rockwell-Rothbard libertarian portion of the movement threw their lot behind the reactionary cultural regidity of the conservative movement to the harm of libertarianism in general.

              But in the words of Lavar Burton, “You don’t have to take my word for it:”

              http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/hayek1.htmlReport

              • Avatar Koz in reply to BradP
                Ignored
                says:

                “And at that fleeting moment of history, the Rockwell-Rothbard libertarian portion of the movement threw their lot behind the reactionary cultural regidity of the conservative movement to the harm of libertarianism in general.”

                This is more or less a different version of Mark’s argument, and it fails for the same reason Mark’s does. Ie, it sounds good as a talking point but it just doesn’t fly when you Check The Tape.

                The Right-libertarians seemed to avoid the nastiness ok (eg, Milton Friedman, Julian Simon) and so did the conventional Republicans (eg, Pete Du Pont, Dan Quayle).Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “Right-libertarians” =/= “libertarians Koz finds acceptable”

                Your central premise is wrong.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Ok, let’s call them (eg, Friedman, Simon) Right-fusionist libertarians instead, because that’s what seems to be bugging you anyway.Report

              • Avatar BradP in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “The Right-libertarians seemed to avoid the nastiness ok (eg, Milton Friedman, Julian Simon) and so did the conventional Republicans (eg, Pete Du Pont, Dan Quayle).”

                This is a repeat of an argument you made earlier:

                “Back on track I don’t think your Rockwell-Rothbard deflection holds any water. Libertarianism of that era was culturally associated with the Right (you should agree, it’s part of your premises). Milton Friedman, Julian Simon, the other Right-libertarians of that era managed to publishing nasty newsletters well enough, and so did the conventional Republicans (eg, Pete Du Pont or Dan Quayle). It’s just the libertarians who defined themselves within libertarianism in opposition to the GOP-conservative mainstream who got themselves into trouble.”

                I know that that last sentence means something to you, but I don’t understand it, especially within the context of this discussion.  What does it mean?  What sort of trouble did they get themselves into?

                Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to BradP
                Ignored
                says:

                That among prominent libertarians, Rothbard and Rockwell are distinguished as Not Playing Nice with mainstream conservatives and the GOP.

                That’s to say, that period in particular was probably the height of the Frank Meyer/National Review model of fusionism in the postwar American Right. The most prominent libertarianish dissenters to this fusion were Rothbard and Rockwell. Maybe Rand herself, but even her gripes were more philosophical and literary as opposed to political.

                In other words, it wasn’t broad postwar fusion American Right who wrote those newsletters, it was those two flakes who explicitly defined themselves in opposition to it.Report

              • Avatar BradP in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Ok, now somehow show me how what you said there supports what you said above:

                “Simple. Association with the Right is not the cause of libertarian intellectual corruption, it’s the source of libertarian intellectual responsibility. See above.”

                 Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                (Btw, I meant “respectability” instead of responsbility above and mistyped.)

                “Milton Friedman, Julian Simon, the other Right-libertarians of that era managed to [avoid]* publishing nasty newsletters well enough, and so did the conventional Republicans (eg, Pete Du Pont or Dan Quayle).”

                Ie, that it’s the libertarians who were associated with the postwar fusionist Right who gave intellectual credibility to libertarianism. (And also, to a very large extent they gained the cultural-intellectual traction that they did as a result of that association.)

                *Sorry about the typos.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      The Left is no fan of PPACA.   I’ve got an essay in E.D.’s email inbox laying out what should have been done and it wouldn’t have looked like this Individual Mandate hooey.    Suffice to say Karen Ignagni, bitch goddess of Big Healthco, got into the Oval Office (despite Obama’s promise not to have secret meetings on the subject), looked him square in the eye and promised to run a billion dollars worth of attack ads if Obama said Single Payer out loud again.   She came up with this Individual Mandate nonsense which I hope we can both agree is manifestly unconstitutional, a tax in all but name.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to BlaiseP
        Ignored
        says:

        “The Left is no fan of PPACA.”

        There is some sense in which that’s true, but clearly PPACA became law (such as it is) because the Left insisted on it (shown here among other places about six weeks ago). In fact, these sort of disavowals are exactly the sort of intellectual corruptions Mark is going to associate with if he really wants to play for Team Blue.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP
        Ignored
        says:

        To be fair to her, It’s still probably better than what (Goldmann Sachs? One of the big five at any rate) the financials said to Obama. I’ll take a relatively hard bargain against blackmail any day…Report

    • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      “That’s why the Right is such an eclectic bunch, intellectually speaking. “

      Yes, their eclecticism ranges from saying  “heh indeedy” to sending sacks of rock salt to US Sentors.

      But be careful, because anything that quotes what they said last week is a lie.Report

  9. Avatar Hates Clowns
    Ignored
    says:

    A more clueless bunch I’ve never seen. You know absolutely nothing about the origins of libertarianism, much less anything about it today. Just FYI, Chomsky self-identifies as a libertarian socialist. This is documented and in his own writ. Libertarianism, like all great ideas, originated with LEFT (not unlike America, founded by leftist, anti-colonial rebels.  I would see Orwell travel in the same orbit as Chomsky today and we all know he was a democratic socialist.

    Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Hates Clowns
      Ignored
      says:

      What’s funny is that the notion of libertarianism-as-leftism is exactly what I’m arguing for in this post. That you seem to think I’m claiming the opposite does not speak well of your reading comprehension skills.Report

      • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        As I understand it, liberalism proposes that we have moral obligations to each other’s welfare;

        Libertarianism proposes the our highest duty is to the self.

        I don’t get how you reconcile that.Report

        • Avatar James K in reply to Liberty60
          Ignored
          says:

          No, that’s Objectivism.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Liberty60
          Ignored
          says:

          No, your prejudiced, self-serving and biasedresumptions about libertarianism say that libertarianism proposes our highest duty is to the self.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Liberty60
          Ignored
          says:

          I used to conflate the two, Objectivism and Libertarianism.   I don’t any more.   Libertarians are respectable.  I can’t say the same of Objectivists.   I’m going through a steep learning curve coming to grips with Libertarians.   I thought I understood them and I just don’t.Report

          • Avatar James K in reply to BlaiseP
            Ignored
            says:

            It doesn’t help that a group ideologically aligned with individualism is naturally averse to forming a consensus.

            In any case, good on you for putting the work in.Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to BlaiseP
            Ignored
            says:

            Objectivism is perhaps slightly more intellectually justifiable than scientology.

            Both are quasi-cult like phenomenon started by phenomenally overrated authors with a propensity for overwrought verbiage and an exceeding esteem for their own abilities.Report

          • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to BlaiseP
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t understand them either-

            When I lay out the principles of what I see as libertarianism, a chorus goes up -“No thats not our position!”

            But when asked for their position, I usually get what amounts to garden variety fiscal conservatism mixed with “do your own thing” ethos, but never a coherent thought process that holds it all together.

            Out of all the educated and well spoken people on this site, I have yet to read where anyone can lay out a clear coherent summary of what libertarianism is.

            Not dumbed down, just a clear concise summation of the foundational principles, without resorting to academic jargon or tribal signifiers.

            Not since I debated Marxists in the 70’s have I had the experience of people who alternately wave the banner of a label, then drop it and disappear in a cloud of inky verbiage when challenged.

            Libertarianism is always something just out of view, something wonderful and terrific, but not. quite. in. focus.

            Oh, its not THAT. Its not that other thing either. And its definitely not THIS!

            But its really cool. Too bad I don’t understand it.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Liberty60
              Ignored
              says:

              All those people on the Internet who claim to be libertarians and support horrible things like the repeal of the CRA, eliminating most social welfare programs, ending the EPA, and the like aren’t real libertarians or supposedly indicative of the average libertarian. Or, at least that’s what I keep on being told. Despite the fact that your ‘average’ libertarian shows up whenever Elias posts about Ron Paul and let’s just say, I don’t think any of the regular libertarian-ish commenters here want them as brothers in arms.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Liberty60
              Ignored
              says:

              Okay, pay attention.  Libertarian, like Liberal in certain ways (but not all!) seem focused on a unique perspective in politics, the Ordinary Joe, as embodied in anyone.   Independent of all other considerations, Joe is constrained to abiding by the speed limits and blood alcohol limits for driving on the highway.    Don’t ask a Libertarian to defend his positions, he’s got very few.   He wants to maximize for freedom for the individual.   How is he supposed to have a position on freedom?   You alone can define freedom.  He won’t try to define it for you.   You’re expected to be a free agent.

              I got sucked down the same trap for a while with Libertarians.   Liberals think in terms of the tide as it advances and retreat.   For us, the freedom of an individual is constrained by a responsive government who views us as friends, not sheep.    Liberal and Libertarian views of freedom are quite similar.   If it’s out of focus, maybe there’s nothing there to begin with.Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Liberals think in terms of the tide as it advances and retreat. For us, the freedom of an individual is constrained by a responsive government who views us as friends, not sheep.

                No institution that holds power above you can be a friend, no matter how much they claim to understand you. With that kind of power, what incentive do they have to care what you think?Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Liberty60
              Ignored
              says:

              I often think that capital L libertarianism is very similar to conservatism: it’s a sentiment more than a theory even tho it’s dressed up in First Principles and Grand Visions and all that. That all on it’s own wouldn’t be a knock against it except for the fact the libertarian’s proclaim that their theories are axiomatic, consistent, a priori, necessary, sufficient, empirically correct, suffer from no known counterexamples, cannot fail. And like other sentiments it’s correct (self-justifying) simply by being held. (How could less government be a bad thing when all the bad things derive from government?!!?)

              Of course, the libertarians on this site will object to my characterizing their political philosophy that way. But I really don’t see how they can: if it’s anything less than what I wrote, it’s just liberalism (or conservatism or pragmatics) with an additional principle included: for any policy, less government intrusion into markets and social life is better than more.

              But that principle isn’t really interesting all that interesting, is it?Report

            • Avatar James K in reply to Liberty60
              Ignored
              says:

              The problem is that there is no “True Libertarianism”.  Every libertarian has their own version.  This is why you keep finding the goalposts have moved, we all have own own set of goalposts.

              This is actually why I find it fairly pointless to debate the merits of ideologies writ large.  Better to focus on specific policies that way we have a fixed point to work with.Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to James K
                Ignored
                says:

                So I am coming to see, which is pretty much the way any ideology works; no two liberals agree on everything either.

                Conservatism and liberalism offer up real world, working examples that while flawed, can be discussed and grasped; we can point to the New Deal as the example of Liberalism, and everyone understands it.

                Libertarianism, however,  exists as a hypothetical, and so is always nothing more than something constructed of words (which may be why they have such a specialized jargon). It has never existed, doesn’t exist anywhere now, and no one is proposing to institute it anywhere. So I can be sympathetic to their inability to point to a program or entity and call it Libertariana.

                 

                 Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Liberty60
                Ignored
                says:

                Libertarianism does not exist as a hypothetical at all. This is an old wrong-headed understanding of libertarianism which, it should be understood, is a principle that undergirds many notions we take for granted in today’s society. Sure, no libertarian-branded candidate has ever been president. But many of the ideas of free markets and limited government do exist. Besides, everything is on a sliding scale anyways. There is no actual “conservatism” or “liberalism” either. There are just varying degrees of every ideology milling about.Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to E.D. Kain
                Ignored
                says:

                So libertarianism exists in practice, because there are examples of “free markets” and “limited government” that do exist.

                OK, then socialism exists, since there are examples of government owned entities and the principle of communal responsibility undergirds many notions we take for granted in today’s society.

                Water anything down enough, and you can see it everywhere.

                 Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Liberty60
                Ignored
                says:

                Give me a pure example of any ideology in practice.Report

              • Avatar BradP in reply to Liberty60
                Ignored
                says:

                Draw me a map to Conservativeland or Liberalia, Liberty60.

                Libertarianism offers more than just hypotheticals, and you continue to conflate the cultural relativism that is applicable to conservatism and liberalism, but not to libertarianism.

                So to approach that way of thinking, I will gladly ally myself with Lysander Spooner and William Leggett and the libertarians of mid-19th century.  Would you do the same with the conservatives of the time, say William Brownlow?Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to BradP
                Ignored
                says:

                See above- America under the New Deal is a pretty good example of Liberalia, that is to say, liberal ideas put into practice.

                There is no known example of Conservativeland, since beginning with Reagan in 1980  and continuing with GWB in 2000 the conservative movement screamed about reducing government, while doing exactly the opposite.

                So you can either say that America under Reagan/ GWB was truly an example of conservatism (i.e., conservatives are full of crap) or that Real Authentic Conservatism has never been tried.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to BradP
                Ignored
                says:

                As Liberty pointed out, one can point to the domestic policy of the Democratic Party from the late 30’s to the late 70’s as a pretty decent example of liberal policy. A policy that most Democratic officeholders, voters, and power brokers agreed with.

                I’d even go further and say that Bush-style conservatism is ‘modern’ conservatism as Bush left office with 70% approval rating from Republican’s. Most conservatives support tax cuts, reform to entitlements, restrictions on abortion, and so on. Conservative (and as a result, Republican) officeholders, voters, and power brokers all have largely agreed with the moves taken by the Republican party over the past thirty years ago.

                The problem is, that whenever you see libertarian office holders (Ron Paul), libertarian voters/supporters (numerous examples on the Internet), and libertarian power brokers (Reason, Cato, et al) say things people on this site disagree with, the liberals are told on this site, “oh, they aren’t true libertarians.” If libertarian voters, office holders, and such all largely agree on a point, then that makes it a libertarian policy. Just like I have to admit that most liberals aren’t all that opposed to war as long as it’s for a good reason.Report

              • Avatar BradP in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                1)  Liberals and conservatives are very quick to call out politicians who aren’t true to the game.  “Blue Dogs”, “RINOs” anyone?  The after-the-fact refrain questioning or outright denying the conservatism and liberalism of GWB and Obama has been deafening.

                2) Ron Paul has become synonymous with libertarianism in this country at this point, and few if any libertarians argue that he isn’t at least mostly libertarian in his rhetoric.  Its only natural for self-identifying libertarians to highlight the conservative parts of Paul’s platform that don’t fit their definition of libertarianism.

                3)  Where is the “Gary Johnson is not a true libertarian” talk now that he has jumped into the Libertarian Party primary?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                I take the blue dogs on a case by case basis. Minnick’s doin’ just fine (the guy up in Idaho, case I get the name wrong). some of them just look like they are always in a room with rocking chairs.

                The guy from Dauphin seems appropriate to where he lives, even if I detest his policies, the people there like him and them.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James K
                Ignored
                says:

                Better to focus on specific policies that way we have a fixed point to work with.

                But in all too many cases, this is a non-starter since one party to the debate will deny the validity of the policy in any event. For all of us who pay attention, every policy gets viewed thru the prism of antecedently hald values, beliefs, objectives, etc., which for some people is a pretty robust a priori-sih theory of political economy. So, my preferred policy may be you’re policy-nightmare, and if that’s the case, we can’t even discuss policy specifics – we’re stuck talking about justifications for that policy in general.

                Hence, the view expressed above often doesn’t get off the ground.

                However, I will concede that when it does it’s a fruitful and necessary discussion to have.

                 Report

  10. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    Jumpin Jesus on a pogo stick! It’s Christmas! How do you people have time to read and write these thoughtful posts?! I’m going to come back and read this more closely after the holidays. I’ve got a party to go to tonight!Report

  11. Avatar Bill Woolsey
    Ignored
    says:

    Rothbard’s 1981 essay on Meyer’s and fusionism was from the days when he was arguing that libertarianism and conservativsm are opposities.   Much of it was very close to his earlier essay, Left and Right, the Prospects for Liberty.   

    Meyer’s intellectual effort to tie traditionalists and libertarians together has very little connnection with Rothbard’s paleo turn.   Perhaps Horwtiz’s use of the term “fusionism” was a mistake.Report

  12. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    On the other, much more disturbing hand, Ron Paul’s successes demonstrate how thin the line is between the libertarianism that many of us like to think we desire and the “fascist fist in a libertarian glove” represented by the newsletters and described by Horwitz.

    What? I don’t recall anything in the newsletters that even hints at fascism, except insofar as fascism is defined as anything leftists dislike.

    Also, I don’t see any good reason why Obama should get a pass on his association with Wright, while Paul doesn’t get a pass on his association with Rothbard and Rockwell. The latter, at least, were apparently strategically pandering (and let’s face it, pandering is what politics is all about), while there’s been no suggestion that Wright’s bigotry was anything but sincere.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *