Tag Archives: libertarianism

Libertarianism and libertarians . . ., by Eric Peters

It may sound strange and hopelessly old fashioned, but there are people in this world who neither want to tell other people how to live their lives nor be told how to live their own. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Part of the problem – as regards libertarianism – is that it’s a philosophy or moral code rather than a political movement. Which it probably can never be – because the libertarian moral system is foundationally anti-political. It does not seek office anymore than a fish seeks the desert.

But that doesn’t mean – should not mean – that libertarians ought to retire from politics. That would be like a fish retiring from water.

We live in an imperfect – a political – world. People are going to vote. If libertarians abstain from voting on the moral principle that it is wrong to participate in a morally imperfect (even a deeply flawed) system, then the votes of people who are not libertarians will count more.

If libertarians abstain from putting themselves – and libertarian ideas – forward as alternatives to ideas (and people seeking office) who are not libertarians, they have helped to ensure that libertarian ideas will not be heard (and possibly listened to) and that people who are decidedly not libertarians – or even “small government conservatives” – will end up holding the political offices that will determine whose ideas guide and determine policy.

The libertarian’s moral dilemma is a thing of his own construction. It is the false dilemma presented in the form of refusing to have anything to do with the imperfect (politically) for the sake of the perfect (which will never be) and which necessarily results in the worse-than-imperfect.

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Must Libertarians Be in Favor of Abortion? by Laurence Vance

If you believe life begins at conception, then abortion is murder. From Laurence Vance at lewrockwell.com:

A prominent CDC left libertarian who loves the Covid vaccine but is against state mandates for the vaccine begins his comments with the statement: “I’m libertarian, which means I’m in favor of legal abortion.”

I cannot ignore this remark about abortion.

It does not acknowledge that there are differences of opinion on the subject of abortion among libertarians. It does not acknowledge that “pro-choice” libertarians are primarily to be found among left-libertarians. It does not acknowledge that a great number of libertarians are “pro-life” libertarians. What it does do is much more than imply that libertarians must be in favor of abortion. It states unequivocally that if one is a libertarian, then one is in favor of legal abortion. The converse, of course, is that if one is not in favor of legal abortion, then one is not a libertarian.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The libertarian case against abortion—legal or otherwise—is a simple one. It is similar to the libertarian case against murder, rape, assault, battery, sexual assault, aggravated assault, or kidnapping.

I won’t go into the gory and gruesome details of what happens to a living baby during an abortion. You can read about that here if you can stomach it. There are many pictures of aborted babies online that you can find if you are curious. I will not provide a link to those gruesome photos.

If abortion is anything, it is aggression, force, coercion, and violence against a helpless, vulnerable, innocent, defenseless baby that is only guilty of suddenly waking up in a womb and inconveniencing its mother.

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The First Libertarian, by Jeff Thomas

Lao-Tzu sounds like my kind of guy. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Most libertarians count Murray Rothbard as one of their mentors. They will know that Rothbard’s primary mentors were Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. But Rothbard dug deeper in his search for libertarian thinking. Here is a little-seen paper that he wrote in 1967:

The first libertarian intellectual was Lao-tzu, the founder of Taoism. Little is known about his life, but apparently he was a personal acquaintance of Confucius in the late sixth century BC and like the latter came from the state of Sung and was descended from the lower aristocracy of the Yin dynasty.

Unlike the notable apologist for the rule of philosopher-bureaucrats, however, Lao-tzu developed a radical libertarian creed. For Lao-tzu the individual and his happiness was the key unit and goal of society. If social institutions hampered the individual’s flowering and his happiness, then those institutions should be reduced or abolished altogether. To the individualist Lao-tzu, government, with its “laws and regulations more numerous than the hairs of an ox,” was a vicious oppressor of the individual, and “more to be feared than fierce tigers.”

Government, in sum, must be limited to the smallest possible minimum; “inaction” was the proper function of government, since only inaction can permit the individual to flourish and achieve happiness. Any intervention by government, Lao-tzu declared, would be counterproductive, and would lead to confusion and turmoil. After referring to the common experience of mankind with government, Lao-tzu came to this incisive conclusion: “The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished… The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”

The wisest course, then, is to keep the government simple and for it to take no action, for then the world “stabilizes itself.” As Lao-tzu put it, “Therefore the Sage says: I take no action yet the people transform themselves, I favor quiescence and the people right themselves, I take no action and the people enrich themselves…”

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Rothbard and War by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

You can’t have a limited, libertarian government at home if that same government pursues interventionist policies abroad. From Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. at lewrockwell.com:

This talk was delivered at the Ron Paul Institute’s Conference on Breaking Washington’s Addiction to War.

Murray Rothbard was the creator of the modern libertarian movement and a close friend of both Ron Paul and me. His legacy was a great one, and at the Mises Institute I try every day to live up to his hopes for us.

One issue was the most important to him, of all the many issues that concerned him. This was the issue of war and peace. Because of his support for a peaceful, noninterventionist foreign policy for America, the CIA agent William F. Buckley blacklisted him from National Review and tried, fortunately without success, to silence his voice.

During the 1950’s, Murray worked for the Volker Fund, and in a letter to Ken Templeton in 1959, he complained about the situation:  “I can think of no other magazine which might publish this, though I might fix it up a bit and try one of the leftist-pacifist publications. The thing is that I am getting more and more convinced that the war-peace question is the key to the whole libertarian business, and that we will never get anywhere in this great intellectual counterrevolution (or revolution) unless we can end this . . . cold war-a war for which I believe our tough policy is largely responsible.”

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What America Needs Is a Paradigm Shift, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The current paradigm, promoted by both parties, is more government. We need a new paradigm. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

From the Democratic Party debates, it’s not difficult to see that there really isn’t any difference in principle between any of the Democratic presidential candidates and, for that matter, between Republicans and Democrats.

Oh, yes, I know how the mainstream media is portraying the “big” differences between the Democrats and President Trump but that’s just because their mindsets are stuck in the statist paradigm. For a person whose mind is stuck in the statist paradigm, the various candidates within the paradigm appear to have monumental differences. But once a person breaks out of the statist paradigm, he realizes that the differences between the various Democratic and Republicans candidates are minor and really go to degree, not principle.

Consider healthcare. The Democrats favor Medicare for All. Trump and his fellow Republicans favor Medicare for Some.

Now, that’s obviously a big difference to the mainstream media because they are operating within the statist paradigm.

From a libertarian perspective, my reaction is, big deal. There is no difference in principle between Medicare for All and Medicare for Some. The only difference is in degree. The point is that they all support government involvement in healthcare because that’s a core feature of the statist paradigm, just like it is in Cuba.

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The Cost of the Enlightenment, by Daniel Ajamian

Does libertarianism need more than the nonagression principle? From Daniel Ajamian at lewrockwell.com:

I would like to thank Joe for the introduction and invitation, Lew for his leadership of and vision for the Institute, the supporters and friends of the Mises Institute for helping to make it the premier source on economics and liberty in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, and I especially would like to thank The Lou Church Foundation for annually sponsoring this lecture.

It is broadly accepted that out of Enlightenment thinking came many of the “goods” of our society; goods economic, political, and social.  Goods ranging from the material wealth and the technology we enjoy to classical liberalism and libertarianism.  It is on the latter that I will focus.

An exhaustive discussion of the connection of Enlightenment thought to Classical liberalism and libertarianism is not necessary for this audience, so I will summarize: reason, the individual, equality, property rights, the separation of church and state, and science and politics freed from religious dogma.  These pillars underlie the classical liberalism that many point to and exclaim: here, we finally found freedom!  Instead, what if these have cost us our freedom?

What is Enlightenment?  Immanuel Kant gave his answer:

Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another….”Have courage to use your own reason!” That is the motto of enlightenment.

There is Diderot’s Encyclopedia, considered one of the greatest cultural and intellectual achievements of the Enlightenment; a 20 million word man-made blueprint for the creation of a rational, improving and cultivated society.

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A Response to Daniel McCarthy’s “Why Libertarians are Wrong”, by Jeff Deist

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that deals with the proper use of force in a society, by government and everyone else. It can’t be criticized for not dealing with issues outside that essential but not all encompassing question. From Jeff Deist at mises.org:

Daniel McCarthy, editor of Modern Age and editor at large for The American Conservative, recently published an essay on the Spectator USA site titled “Why Libertarians are Wrong.” It merits a response because Mr. McCarthy is friendly and sympathetic toward libertarianism, and despite the infirmities of his article ought to be seen as a fellow traveler.

The title misleads us a bit from the beginning, because McCarthy is sound on the single most important libertarian political issue: war and peace. He objected to George W. Bush’s foray into Iraq, he attacks the permanent-war complex and its funding, and he consistently advocates a reasonably non-interventionist US foreign policy far closer to Ron Paul than John Bolton. He also has read Mises and Hayek, and unlike many intellectual conservatives (a dwindling group) McCarthy is not mired in Burke or Buckley or Reagan. He even blogged for the 2008 Paul presidential campaign and has spoken at the Mises Institute on foreign policy. So unlike a Bill Kristol or Sean Hannity, his conservative critique comes without ignorance or malice.

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No Consent Given, by Joel Bowman

Did you give the government the right to run your life? Do you remember ever being asked? From Joel Bowman at internationalman.com:

“Libertarianism: The radical notion that other people are not your property.”

We don’t know who first authored those words, but we’ve noticed the pithy meme doing the rounds on social media sites again recently.

Could people finally be catching on? Probably only the “radicals”…

It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? A kind of “do unto others…but not without their consent.”

Of course, there are other ways to express this basic principle: live and let live… to each his own and his own to each… and, our personal favorite, mind your own [insert expletive of choice here] business…

Alas, some people cannot leave well enough alone. They feel the need, the impulsion, the “hand of history,” as a conspicuously invertebrate British politician once described it, to intervene… to “do something.”

Whether or not that something is the moral thing is, to their mind, beside the point. Just so long as it is not nothing…

And therein lies the root problem with every brand of collectivism, be it socialism, republicanism, monarchism et alia. Each and every machination is, in one way or another, inherently coercive. That is, they all rely on the initiation of force against another.

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The People Give the Orders and the Government Obeys, by Jeff Thomas

One town in Mexico is making something that looks suspiciously like libertarianism work. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

The sign above is located in the state of Chiapas in Mexico. In English, it says, “You are in the territory of Zapatista in Rebellion. Here, the people give the orders and the government obeys.”

Well, of course, what that really means is that the Zapatistas give the orders, not the people as a whole. Still, the people generally regard the Zapatistas as being more representative of their wishes (and less parasitical) than the government.

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The Libertarian Standard, by Eric Peters

The government can do most anything it wants, as long as it proclaims it’s doing it for our safety, but only liberty keeps us safe from the most dangerous and deadly institution ever established: government. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

The obvious is often the hardest to understand  . . .  and to accept.

For example, the very strange idea that we are “safer” the more our liberties are infringed upon. If so, then inmates in solitary confinement are safest of all.

It’s absurd, obviously. And yet this idea – the fundamental idea – is accepted by what seems to be a working majority of the populace. Which suggests either an incapacity to reason or a general lowering of intelligence.

Possibly both.

The “safety” (and “security”) argument is based on an obvious logical contradiction: How can one be “safe” or “secure” when there is no limit to what government may do to anyone, so long as it is asserted that whatever is done is necessary to keep everyone “safe”?

It amounts to a lettre de chachet, for those up on their French history – the history of the Bourbon absolute monarchy in particular. The lettreempowered its holder with arbitrary power to do whatever to whomever. Just because. No burden of proof, no presentation of evidence subject to cross-examination; most of all, no presumption of innocence – and certainly no restraint of punishment prior to guilt established by due process of law.

Sound familiar?

We find ourselves living in a security state – not a free one. There is literally nothing – in principle and almost in fact – that the government may not do to us, or order us not to do. Always in the name of “keeping us safe.” Or for reasons of “security.” We are subject to punishment for affronting statutes; for what a supposed “someone” might do that could (so it is asserted) result in harm.

There is no end to it. No line in the sand beyond which the government’s boots may not tread.

To continue reading: The Libertarian Standard