Libertarian History/Philosophy

Brian Doherty, Live on Videotape

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Reason Senior Editor Brian Doherty, author of the new book Radicals for Capitalism, discusses his "freewheeling history" of the modern libertarian movement on C-SPAN's Afterwords here.

Buy Radicals for Capitalism from Amazon.

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  1. Brian did a great job on that show.

    Now, I am a little fuzzy on his idea of intellectual property and if I can repeat what he said, or was that someone else’s idea?

    My favorite story was about whoever thought that you should not cut the ropes that a robber uses to tie you with if they are his ropes.

    Also, I prefer whore houses to public schools too.

  2. I caught the last 20 minutes or so of that this weekend. Good stuff.

  3. I caught the last 20 minutes or so of that this weekend. Good stuff.

    Catch the rest before those frothing Randoids destroy every bit of evidence that this show exists!

  4. Excellent interview. I’ve got your book on my Amazon wish list.

  5. Yeah, I too liked the line about preferring whore houses to public schools! And I appreciated the observation that fringe ideas often attract fringe types, regardless of the validity of the ideas themselves, and that therefore many of the earliest libertarians were in many ways wackos whom present day followers might not want to claim as forebears!

    My knee-jerk liberal roommate made the surprisingly valuable observation that he thought libertarianism was about freedom, not capitalism per se, and that the latter was simply something that flowed from the former. I replied that I guessed Doherty was seeking an ironic, and therefore attention grabbing, title for his book, but that otherwise I had to agree 100%.

  6. fydor,

    Sounds like I can agree with your roomate, perhaps until the topic of freedom from State imposed sex permits comes up. Seems the knee-jerk liberals are the first to throw a fit about that one. Sometimes the self identified ‘Conservatives’ do too, right before they start trying to argue that a windfall profits tax is a good idea.

    I like calling my ‘marriage’ idea Paperless Marriage, but a new term for the existing kind is not coming along very well, since shotgun wedding already has a completly different meaning.

  7. I’m not so sure I think freedom is such a good thing. It’s arguable that we’re not actually as free as we think we are. What appears to be free choice might be an illusion. Where do libertarans get their absolutism on freedom?

  8. Guy,

    Where I agreed with my roommate is that libertarianism is first and foremost about freedom and that capitalism is secondary in that it flows from freedom but that capitalism is not the central “good” to libertarianism in and of itself, which Doherty’s book title might seem to imply. We weren’t discussing the left-liberal’s relative position on freedom, although, true enough, that may have been a, what you might call, subtext to his commentary, and naturally I would agree with you that the left’s position is not as stellar in that regard as leftists would often claim, until push comes to shove.

    Edward,

    Where do libertarans get their absolutism on freedom?

    Oy vey, got a few hours? Unfortunately, I don’t…

  9. It’s arguable that we’re not actually as free as we think we are.

    It is obvious that we are not as free as some people think we are (I hope that fits into your meaning). Just go back and look at that marriage discussion. Some people are under the illusion that “no fault divorce” means ‘poof, you are divorced’ no matter what happened and nobody’s property is at the mercy of some govocrat in a robe.

    In other ways we are much more free than people realize. Every day that we walk around and buy or sell things we are involved in a system that works pretty well mostly on trust and the freedom to trust.

    One example is drinking in almost any half way decent bar. The bartender just asks your name and opens a “tab”, trusting that you will not walk off without paying. Yes, some places ask for a credit card in advance, or ask you pay cash by the drink. They are usually the places where trust was lost by bad players on the customer side. Yes, the places that still trust can be gamed a few times too, but soon the bad players are known to the others in the area and are made to pay.

    In the above examples (that almost everybody reading this might find familiar on some level) how often are the ‘authorities’ ever involved? I have only seen it happen once, to a repeat offender of the same bar who had gamed every shift until she tried it a second time on the same employee. I am sure it happens more, but I am also sure it is pretty rare as anybody can see when reading the weekly crime reports in a local paper.

    Anyway, the point is, in almost any transaction that is not for real property there is no agent of any court going over the exchange. In many States you can even buy a car with cash and no ID and keep it on private property with no registration. Now, an astute car dealer might find that suspicious and decide not to trust you, but there is not some transaction cop sitting there over his sholder making him distrust you.

    Actually, in most places, if it is a decent looking car you can probably drive around without a license plate and no cop will notice.

    I will disagree that we have too much freedom, there is never too much of that and I never include doing harm to others as freedom, unless they haermed someone else, then it is just “serves you right”.

    Brian’s example of the grocery store is a very good example of freedom from government (see the interview) but he might be missing that even the grocery store is being infiltrated by government when State and local governments tell stores that sell gasoline (okay, convenience stores and Sam’s Clubs, etc) are told that they can not sell it for less than what they paid for it.

  10. Where I agreed with my roommate is that libertarianism is first and foremost about freedom and that capitalism is secondary in that it flows from freedom but that capitalism is not the central “good” to libertarianism in and of itself, which Doherty’s book title might seem to imply.

    Ah, gotcha and I still agree with you.

  11. those frothing Randoids

    You seem to be the one with the unhealthy fixation, guy. And yes, if calling objectivists “Randoids” makes you feel better, by all means keep using that intellectual shortcut. It identifies you as a mental midget.

  12. mental midget,

    And yes, if calling objectivists “Randoids” makes you feel better, by all means keep using that intellectual shortcut.

    If I were speaking of rational objectivists I would have used that word. I was calling the rabid blind fanatics Randoids.

  13. Brian Doherty is fat, lol!

  14. Brian Doherty is fat, lol!

    He isn’t that fat. Just needs a new tailor.

  15. He’s not fat. The camera adds 10 pounds.
    IDL

  16. Where do libertarans get their absolutism on freedom?

    You mean that freedom is their highest political/social value?

    Here’s a question for you. Who owns your life?

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