Debate: Objectivists Are Not Libertarians

Or are they?


Libertarian Anarchists Are Collectivists

Ayn Rand

Joanna Andreasson

"All kinds of people today call themselves 'libertarians,' especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies who are anarchists instead of leftist collectivists; but anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet libertarians combine capitalism and anarchism. That's worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It's a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons.…I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That's the libertarian movement."

This passage is from the question-and-answer session at a 1971 Ford Hall Forum event.

Objectivists Are a Type of Libertarian

Nathaniel Branden


"If the defining characteristic of the libertarian movement was noninitiation of physical force…and if politically they are not advocating anything that contradicts our wider philosophic viewpoint, then it's completely unreasonable to require them all to be Objectivists.…Libertarianism has come to be understood as the political theory which holds to a minimalist view of the proper function of government, and to that extent Objectivists are libertarians! You can say we're Objectivist libertarians, we're not Catholic libertarians, we're not anarchist libertarians, fine, but we're libertarians."

This passage is from a 1998 interview conducted by Reason's Brian Doherty.