Socialism

Are Socialists More Like Libertarians Than We'd Prefer To Admit?

A libertarian goes to a conference on socialism and finds some surprising similarities.

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"Are you interested in revolutionary politics?"

As I arrive at the location of the Socialism in Our Time Conference, a weekend-long summit organized by U.S. lefty mag Jacobin and the British Marxist journal Historical Materialism, a middle-aged woman approaches me to ask this question.

"I'm going in there," I say, gesturing toward the entrance, hoping this non-answer will suffice.

It does not.

"In there," she says, I will not hear about the Russian revolution, or black liberation, or true workers' rights. Instead, I will hear about Bernie Sanders, who it is fair to say she does not support. She hands me a flyer from Workers Vanguard with the title "Bernie Sanders: Imperialist Running Dog."

Democrats are not the answer, she says. I can agree with that, I say. This turns out to be a mistake, for she proceeds to try to convince me to buy a subscription to a newspaper she and several other revolutionaries loitering outside the conference are representing. It's not the only sales pitch I'll encounter at the conference.

On the third floor, the registration area is flanked with tables peddling books, magazines, and political journals. One person is selling buttons and magnets made from old Archie comics, plus some artwork, including an eerie-yet-awesome image of Laura Palmer—the murder victim at the center of David Lynch's Twin Peaks—with eyes that follow me around the room. I have to resist the urge to buy it, settling for some magnets instead.

I stop at the table of a journal called New Politics, which the man behind the desk, Jason Schulman, says was known last century for pushing the "third way." Third way? Like the centrist Democrats? Bill Clinton? Ah, no. "Neither Washington nor Moscow," Shulman explains.

At a table for another political journal, Upping the Anti, from Canada, I pick up issues promising articles on safe-injection sites, the drug war in Canada, and state surveillance. There's also a piece on "liberatory midwifery practice" from a registered midwife who pushed for "the right to access state-funded midwifery" only to reckon with "the trade-offs that state-sanctioned and funded midwifery would bring." The burdens of state licensing of midwives are categorized not as a problem of government overreach, but of "class and white privilege" and being "petty bourgeois in orientation."

Some of the books on display would be right at home on libertarian or anarchist bookshelves, but there are also plenty of covers featuring famous communists and hammers and sickles. Others seem almost like bizarro-world versions of the sorts of articles that might appear in this magazine: Marx at the Arcade. Union Power. Occult Features of Anarchism. Climate Leviathan.

It wasn't the only time I was struck by the quasi-overlap—a kind of uncanny valley similarity—with the ideological movement politics I regularly encounter in libertarian circles. As a libertarian at a socialist conference, I found plenty to object to and, on occasion, snicker at. But I also couldn't stop seeing ways we're all more alike than we'd like to admit, and wondering if that's what really matters.

The two-day conference is set up as a series of hour-and-a-half-long panels, with about a dozen options per time slot. The panels all fall into one of 13 categories, including "Colonialism and Anti-Imperialism," "Historical Interrogations," "Left Strategy," "Labor," "Queer Theory," and "State Theory." They bear little resemblance to the kind of leftist topics and slogans that dominate online and in popular politics.

I start with a panel called "Perspectives on Socialist Strategy in the Democratic Socialists of America" (DSA), which seems likely to offer the most tangible and timely information. Speakers come from different caucuses of the DSA, including a libertarian socialist faction represented today by John Michael Colón. He says libertarian socialist caucus-members are "not strictly anarchist" but are "united by a generally anarchistic conception of socialism," where democratically run "counter-institutions to the state" provide many services in conjunction with a more minimalist democratically-run government.

One thing that quickly becomes clear is that DSA socialists are a factional bunch, and new splinter movements are perpetually rising up to challenge the old guard. Several of the caucuses represented on the panel had just been formed in the past year or two. And while the libertarian-socialist group is the oldest continually-running DSA caucuses, it, unfortunately, seems out of step with the others, all of which seem to envision a dramatically larger role for the state and less room for private enterprise.

The Bread & Roses Caucus, for example, aims to fuse "a reborn and mighty workers' movement" with the smaller Socialist Movement and advocate for things like Bernie 2020, Medicare for All, and the Green New Deal, according to a panelist named Neil. He says the '90s and 2000s "will hopefully be the nadir of the socialist movement."

The Socialist Majority Caucus, meanwhile, wants to "directly confront capitalist economic and political power," says panelist Renée Paradis. It's hoping to move beyond the inter-DSA struggles that have consumed a lot of the party's time in the past few years—a result of the group effectively going "from a series of book clubs to a mass organization overnight" in 2016, she says—and help usher in a permanent socialist majority in the U.S. electorate.

The North Star Caucus, perhaps the most conventional of the bunch, is concerned with countering Trump and "the far right" first and foremost, according to audience member Ethan, who happens to be a North Star member. He said their "view reflects the more Michael Harrington vision" of the party. Harrington was a 20th century author and labor organizer who, in the 1960s, debated free market advocates like Milton Friedman and William F. Buckley Jr. and also objected to more radical contingents of the young left. He went on to help form and then chair the DSA, believing that socialists must work within the Democratic Party. The divide between work-from-within partisan politics on the one hand and radical activism on the other is one that will be familiar to many libertarians.

Ethan volunteers this information from the audience because the North Star panelist, Miriam Bensman, is running late.

When Bensman arrives, she apologizes to everyone in the room for "overestimating the [Metropolitan Transit Authority's] capacity," and folks snicker. I hate when people ask libertarians about using public roads, so I promise myself not to use her comment to set up some snark about government-run transit. I slip out to catch a different panel, where another speaker is also late. As I enter, she apologizes, then blames the unreliability of the New York City subway. I amend my position. I will not snark, but I will…mention this.

There is no free lunch at the socialist conference, so we all break. Outside, the anti-Sanders crowd is now arguing with several police officers, who are telling them they must move and can't hand out flyers right in front of a school. The group is trying to make the cops see how important it is that they counter the message of those inside. The cops look bored.

While watching, I strike up a conversation with Paradis, the panelist from earlier. I tell her I enjoyed hearing about DSA infighting because it makes me feel better about faction-splitting within libertarian circles. She says electoral politics are her main concern, but she came to the DSA from more standard liberal circles after looking at more progressive political issues and solutions through a more systematic and class-conscious lens. She appreciates the DSA for elevating concerns often ignored by mainstream politics.

I tell her, more or less, same, but for libertarianism. So many of the people I know in libertarian politics are working on the same issues that keep coming up at the conference—criminal justice reform, immigration reform, barriers to health care and employment among the working classes, crony capitalism and the unfair advantages it creates. All the ways an overreaching government hits more marginalized people and communities harder.

"Not just lowering taxes and gun rights," I say. She nods, then gives me a look that seems skeptical, though I may be projecting. I am dead serious, of course, but this is not a place where I expect to be believed. Then Paradis says, "I'm really hung over."

Of course. Never reach for elaborate ideological explanations when the mundane and human will suffice.

I look over to check in on the Workers Vanguard and the cops. They have agreed to move about 30 feet down the sidewalk. The woman I talked to earlier is walking by now and stops to look at me talking to Paradis. I suddenly feel ashamed. This is not the revolutionary vanguard, it's the accommodation faction! For a brief moment, I want to tell the older woman, don't worry, I am not on this one's side! But I'm not on the Russian Revolution Redux side, either. What is happening to me? Am I worried about being first up against the wall?

I'm going to go get lunch, I tell Paradis. She is going home to take a nap. Au revoir, comrade.

After lunch, I hit up the "Law and Social Movements" panel, which, based on the name, could be about almost anything. It turns out to be a robust discussion of totally disparate topics from organizers in the reproductive rights, immigration reform, and LGBTQ spheres.

As so often happens with socialists, I found myself nodding along for much of it while periodically recoiling in horror. One panelist, Lea Ramirez, speaks out against immigration quotas that favor only highly-skilled workers from particular countries (yes!), but locates the source of historic and current immigration restrictions at large not with nativism, populism, and state control, but with "the capitalist class" and its pursuit of "a highly exploitable" workforce. Somehow, by keeping immigrants out and driving up the price of native-born U.S. labor, those wily capitalists are pursuing their bottom line.

Talking about recent abortion battles in New York State, Megan Dey Lessard expresses disappointment with how little that mainstream Democratic politicians and women's rights groups seemed willing to settle for. They were content to allow regulators to control women's bodies so long as it was through "public health code" rather than criminal laws, she complains. And after pushing through a largely symbolic bill, expressed a wish to move on to sex education advocacy.

Perhaps more so than with either mainstream "liberals" or "conservatives" these days, the far left tends to sound oddly similar to libertarians in a lot of ways—though neither group is keen to admit it. Democratic socialists are often willing to reject the endless litany of empty slogans, Culture War, and partisan kitsch of Republicans and Democrats. They are willing to speak up for civil liberties, and the dignity of the imprisoned, no matter who is in the White House, and they maintain a level-headed skepticism about the convenient political narratives, mostly centered on presidential personalities, that tend to dominate cable news.

That's why the end-game solutions proposed by hardcore leftists always boggle my mind. How does anyone look at these systems and incentives, accurately see so many of their flaws—and then suggest that we can win by giving government thugs more control?

Granted, Medicare bureaucrats are not exactly Border Patrol agents. But give them enough power and remove private alternatives, and the distinction becomes almost irrelevant. With a monopoly and moral certitude and a multi-billion-dollar budget, any arm of the state will eventually start operating in unintended, power-hoarding, and corrupt ways that hurt society's most marginalized. At the very least, they will consistently fail to perform adequately for large numbers of the people they are supposed to serve.

Lessard alluded to this, recalling Carmen Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican woman who died during an abortion at a New York City hospital in 1970, not long after the state made it legal to terminate pregnancies with a doctor's permission. The city's municipal hospitals "were in shambles," with one Bronx hospital "able to perform three abortions per day" with waiting lists of hundreds of women "and people just lining up at the door," Lessard said. Rodriguez's death from heart complications after the procedure served as a "flashpoint" for rallying around the need to "reclaim medical spaces" and expand "access to medical spaces in general."

"Yes, abortion had become legalized," but there was still "a gap between legalization and access," Lessard said.

This is where capitalism comes in. Socialists often want to treat it as pure evil, a haven for corruption and amoral behavior. But capitalism is just an economic system where the provision of goods, services, and labor is determined by individuals negotiating with each other, rather than by a centralized state authority. Capitalism makes possible what government, paternalism, or altruism alone cannot.

In a market-oriented system, private clinics—be they worker-run cooperatives, privately-funded philanthropic endeavors, or your traditional for-profit physician's office—can step in and fill the void. And in the decades since the '70s, many have. It wasn't capitalism that kept 20th century women from having abortions, but the state. And it's not capitalism that's now leading to clinic shutdowns, but politically motivated "public health" laws and other government policies.

Even more than most health care, reproductive health services are saddled with high levels of regulation that strictly limit where, when, and how they can operate. These regulations go far beyond basic safety standards, and they represent a significant barrier to the provision of reproductive health services.

What New York City women need, and have always needed, are freer, less regulated markets for contraception, abortion, and all-around reproductive health care, not more government-managed services.

 

In substance and style, there are plenty of differences between a socialist conference and its libertarian equivalents. The historic school setting may have leant itself to an old book-swap vibe last weekend, but it also allowed for a level of radical chic no Marriott conference center can. Beyond the aesthetic realm, the gap grows even wider.

It's hard to pinpoint any particularly dominant political platform from the motley group of academics, organizers, journalists, DSA members, authors, and others (including a good number of folks from the U.K. and Canada) who were gathered at the Socialism In Our Time conference. Yes, many called for expansion of government's role in health care, environmental regulation, and numerous other matters, but others questioned various facets of state authority, regulation, and power. There's no getting around the fact that their ready explanation for pretty much all of society's ills—capitalism—is what libertarians offer as a solution to an equally large variety of issues. Our core beliefs are fundamentally at odds.

Still, I got a kick out of the similarities. The lopsidedly male crowd. The mix of media types and the professionally political, earnest kids, disheveled academics, and dour lifetimers. The feuding factions and squabbling cliques. The hangovers. (Oh god, the hangovers.) The obsession with dead economists. The bitter—yet hopeful—relationship to mainstream politics. The endless tiffs over immigration. The emphasis on the concrete over the symbolic on the one hand, and the stubborn attraction to a few passionate slogans on the other. In so many ways, libertarian and socialist gatherings feel like strange mirror images of each other.

For both libertarians and socialists, most of society's problems can be traced back to a single root cause. For socialists, it's capitalism. For libertarians, the state. But unless you're a hardcore anarchist or the most ardent communist, there's a place for both. And the most insidious problems often flow out of intimate, ugly, accountability-free alliances between the two.

I know we can't kumbaya our way out of this. Many of the major policy divides between libertarians and socialists are real and powerful. They can't all be resolved by turning our collective sights on the worst and agreed-upon abuses. But there are still so very many of those abuses to conquer. It seems like maybe that's what we should try to do.

So to answer the question of the woman I met outside the conference: Yes, I really am interested in revolutionary politics. That's why I'm a libertarian. Radical respect for empowering individuals over the state is where my revolutionary sympathies lie.

And I know that however absurd or impossible it sounds, there are a lot of libertarians, leftists, Democratic Socialists, Libertarian Party members, independents, anarchists, conservatives, liberals, and Americans of all or no political affiliations who agree—or, at the very least, think and talk about politics and society in surprisingly similar ways. It can't hurt for us revolutionaries, whichever side we're on, to occasionally remember that.

NEXT: Alabama Police Ruined a Couple's Lives Over $50 of Weed. Now the Charges Against Them Have Been Dropped

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  1. It’s not the only sales pitch I’ll encounter at the conference.

    If Socialism has a “sales pitch” they’re probably doing it wrong.

    1. From the overlong, rambling self important article it was apparent to me that the author was most interested in hooking up with the cute little Socialist she was chasing all weekend. So I wasted 15 excruciating minutes reading this pablum from another progressive libertarian who seem to have infected Reason like a bad case of dysentery

      1. Reason’s rapprochement with the Left continues.

        “Muh cocktail parties”

        1. +100

          These Reason staffers actually think that Libertarianism and Anarchy are the same thing. Now we see some think Reason staffers think that Libertarianism and Socialism are some BFFs.

          1. Orange man bad.
            Progress uber alles

          2. From loveconstitution1789:

            “Now we see some think Reason staffers think that Libertarianism and Socialism are some BFFs.”

            From the article:
            “I know we can’t kumbaya our way out of this. Many of the major policy divides between libertarians and socialists are real and powerful.”

            Not sure how we get BFFs out of this.

  2. I hate when people ask libertarians about using public roads, so I promise myself not to use her comment to set up some snark about government-run transit.

    Huh? They weren’t using a privately run subway system. It’s run in the manner they desire. It just doesn’t have the results they imagine.

    1. Some old problem: Not the right people running the system. If only the right people were in charge the subway would be the envy of capitalists everywhere!

      1. If only the people who don’t ride the subway paid more, it would be the best in the world.

    2. I hate when people ask libertarians about using public roads,

      There are no ‘public roads’.

      There are taxpayer funded roads and there are private roads.

      I pay for the taxpayer funded roads. They are mine–at least in part.

      I ask permission to use private roads.

      Anyone who falls for the ‘you didn’t build that’ bullshit deserves what they get.

      I did build that. I get charged for it every week in my pay.

      1. I pay for the taxpayer funded roads. They are mine–at least in part.
        But that’s what people mean when they say “public roads”. What do you think “public roads” means?

      2. No, there are public roads. Usu. they start out as private property, & end up tax-maintained, but for a period in between they are public roads.

      3. No, the roads are owned by the state. The state is not synonymous with the people.

        1. Just like anarchies and libertarianism are not synonymous. Nor is letting child rapists from south of the border into America synonymous with libertarianism.

          Right Pedo Jeffy?

          1. Christ man, give it a fucking rest. Even Tulpa has moved on at this point.

            1. Unsurprisingly, all Shithead knows how to do is shitpost.

              1. Really not letting you off the hook for your open border pedo loving plans for America’s kids. And you are the last person to be whining about someone shitposting.

          2. You can’t can’t complain about pedophiles and back Trump, dumbass.

            1. Yeah, you can. Progtards are the one who love and cherish pedophilia,

          3. I am actually intrigued after seeing the comment so much. What did Jeff and PB do involving internet pedophilia? I think I must have missed this, all of a sudden 2-3 people were spam posting about pedophile stuff from those two, like every post.

            Doesn’t reason ban people for that kind of stuff? What am I missing here.

            1. PB posted a link to a redo website and Reason banned him and scrubbed the posts. Jeffy advocated for letting illegals in even if they were known pedophile sex predators.

              Not sure why anyone would think that anything has changed after a few weeks. So I’m not interested in ‘moving on’ as PB’s sock puppet is saying. Why would anyone ever let up on pedophiles and their boosters?

              1. I assume you mean “pedo”, not “redo”.

                I googled “redo”, in case there was some new meaning I didn’t know of, but just saw the same old definitions.

                1. You are correct, it was a typo.

      4. They are mine–at least in part.

        Ha ha! Nope.

      5. Zeb, I was responding to this–

        “I hate when people ask libertarians about using public roads,”

        But with a variant on the usual response. I know what people mean when they say ‘public roads’.

        I also know–as is evidenced by numerous responses to this– that far too many don’t grasp that it is THEY who pay for those roads, it is THEY who are the ultimate owners of those roads.

      6. No, the roads are owned by the state. The state is not synonymous with the people.

        Where is the state when you take away the people, Jeff?

        Does it still exist?

        No.

        ‘The State’ is a tool. It is something people use.

        People use ‘the state’ to maintain their roads.

        It doesn’t work the other way around, Jeff because the state can’t DO anything on it’s own. People use the state.

        Some people use the state to gain power over other people.

        But it’s still all people, Jeff.

        1. the state is controlled by people who like to control and often limit who can use state provide items such as roads by teh whims of their nature

  3. Fuck socialism which can only exist by force.

    Fuckkk Off Slavers !!! Go suck Stalin’s moldy dick.

    1. Close the comment thread. The rest of you can log off and go home. This willful misunderstanding of socialism can be used to derive the rest of them.

    2. Exactly.
      This is the kind of shitty click-bait article that drives me back to tobacco, whiskey, and prostitutes.

      Fucking slavers…

  4. Coercion/no coercion is the only distinction that matters.

    1. It’s not the only distinction that matters, but it is the major one.

    2. Unless you’re a socialist who define property as being coervice. They literally do. Which is why the NAP doesn’t mean anything to them. The True Believers(tm) literally think they are being coerced by you owning property.

      And oddly enough, from their perspective they are correct. They do not consider recognize property the same way libertarians do. In a genuine naturally arising anarchy, there’s no reason to assume that the libertarian ideal of property would even merge. Libertarians invariably fail to provide an intellectual framework for property, assuming that it’s evident to all. “I say it’s mine therefore it’s mine” is something a toddler would say.

      Not trying to insult propertarians here, I am a propertarian. But we do have a problem that we argue from unclear and unsound premises. Lockean “tilling the soil” definitions won’t cut it with socialists when you literally are not tilling any soil.

      1. I see your point but it really doesn’t matter. At the end, Socialists are coercive. Even taking your point into consideration, Libertarians would seek to clarify the definition rather than do away with private property through force.

        And as a second thought, there really is no value in accepting absurd definitions simply because they are honestly held. Believing that property ownership is coercion, or that words are violence, merit no consideration because they are absurd on their face.

        1. Believing that property ownership is coercion, or that words are violence, merit no consideration because they are absurd on their face.

          Amen, brother. Life is way easier when you can just dismiss what other people believe if you don’t like it.

          1. How is believing that all Schizophrenic delusions are real working out for you?

            1. When a significant part of the population holds these views, or some of them at least, I think you have to consider them seriously. Dismissing left wing politics as mass mental illness is foolish and unproductive.
              Principled libertarianism is based on an instinct about how the world should be just as much as socialism is. We criticize socialists a lot for not understanding human nature and trying to change it in impossible ways, but libertarians have a similar problem with the part of human nature that wants to be protected by a powerful leader or benevolent government. Now, I would have hoped people would have learned by now that socialism’s proposed solutions to the problems they identify are terrible and harmful, but people are good at making themselves believe what they want.

              1. When a significant part of the population holds these views, or some of them at least, I think you have to consider them seriously.

                Perhaps. But, there is a point where the only responsible position is to consider and reject them. The fact that a bad idea is widely held doesn’t make it any less a bad idea.

              2. Do they really hold these views though? Most people agree with the platitudes about enough everything for everyone. That sounds so pretty in times of plenty. But look at how they actually act as evidence of what they truly believe. The best thing to do is ask for some of what they have. Most socialists like stuff as much as any capitalist. In fact, their whole world view is based on stuff and who has it, who wants it and who gets to control it.

          2. people who believe words are violence can be dismissed because they are incorrect.

          3. Who knew Sparky thought “property ownership is coercion” and “words are violence” are intelligent defensible positions worthy of serious consideration.

            1. Actually, such a thought is congruous with cheering on the conflagration of one of civilization’s great monuments.

          4. Explain how WORDS are violence.

            1. It’s obvious.

              1. Not to Sparky apparently. But yes, “they aren’t” SHOULD be obvious…

            2. It’s child’s play to make an equivalency between words & violence. The only violence we care about is that which hurts people or things those people care about. Since all hurting is subjective, hurting one’s feelings is as substantive as hurting one’s flesh or property. Words can easily hurt feelings.

            3. Orders are words. If a leader stands up and calls for their followers to hurt people, that’s violent.

              1. And someone saying fuck you is sex.

          5. “Amen, brother. Life is way easier when you can just dismiss what other people believe if you don’t like it.”

            Or dismiss it as absolute drivel.
            It’s not my job to school you and other idiots in reality.

            1. I don’t know. When it’s absolute drivel that a huge chunk of the world’s population subscribes to to some extent, I think you need to give it a bit more consideration.
              Or maybe it is too trivial to bother with, I don’t know. The optimistic side of me wants to think that not that many people actually, sincerely believe most of this crap.

              1. The problem is that they have no evidence that their solutions work. In fact, their solutions have caused some of the greatest human catastrophes in history.

                Libertarians have plenty of evidence that liberty and free markets work. Our evidence is overwhelming.

                Couple that with the fact that they will put a fun to your head to mold society in the way they want and us libertarians would say, hell, go live in a commune if you want, just leave me alone.

                I get that you try to be reasonable, but these people not reasonable. They are fucking dangerous. They need to be mocked and scorned and never let to think for one second that they or their ideas are cool. Authiritarian socialists are scum. They are among the worst that humanity has to offer.

        2. It’s not absurd, merely impractical, to have a world w/o ownership (w/o property).

      2. In a genuine naturally arising anarchy, there’s no reason to assume that the libertarian ideal of property would even merge.

        First, I assume you mean emerge, but even at that, your notion is deeply flawed. While it could certainly be argued that real property might not emerge, i.e., “this land is mine because I claim it’s mine”, the notion of personal property certainly would, i.e, “this house is mine because I built it”.

        1. Perhaps she includes real property in the libertarian ideal of property.
          But I agree that it seems very unlikely that any human society could exist without some notion of personal property.

          1. It doesn’t even have to be human society. Try stealing food from any of various animals, & you’ll see the notion of property is pre-human.

        2. You assume it, but that does not make it true. Talk with a real anarcho-socialist and they will abuse your of your image of who they are. There is a difference between property and possessions. They’re not going to eat your sandwich from the fridge because it’s clearly your possession. They may even grant you ownership in that fridge if you built it or took the effort to acquire it.

          This is not hard to understand because communal group living arrangements are as old as human history. We don’t have to image would such a world would look like, we have actual true life examples.

          Most anarcho-socialists will even go so far as to say your garden is indeed your garden because you are tilling its soil and growing crops and it’s clearly your personal space. But when it comes to fencing off hundreds or thousands of acres then putting up signs saying trespassers will be shot, that crosses several lines with them. Hell, it crosses a few lines with me! By what right to you prevent hikers from hiking across a meadow? By what right is that meadow your property?

          Houses are somewhere in the middle. Even when you built your house yourself, if you have extra beds, what moral authority do you have to eject someone who doesn’t have their name on a legal piece of paper?

          There is an answer to that question, and answer falling on the side of propertarians. But thumping the NAP like it was a magical doctrine isn’t it. What you need to do is establish a philosophical framework for the legitimacy of property. Which extremely few libertarians have bothered with. Locke sounds nice but his arguments are flawed.

      3. The fact that you do not have a good foundation for property rights is not evidence that libertarians in general have not come up with such a foundation.

        Having been through this debate many times with Socialists, let me just skip to the end. If there is no basic foundation that says “This property is mine” then there is no basic foundation that says “This property is ours”. Either way, you are defining a property right- either for the individual or the collective. Then the socialist will typically argue that the notion of individual ownership of property is some unnatural creation of man’s transition to agriculture. In their view, collective ownership of the land and property pre-dates modern society.

        This, of course is nonsense. Even aboriginal hunter gatherer tribes have the notion of personal property- from their tools and weapons, to food that was collected, etc. And those hunter gatherer tribes have never recognized, say, hunting grounds as a resource owned by everybody. They regularly fought each other for the rights over these grounds. Indeed, the idea of “claiming” territory for one’s self is as natural as nature itself. Claiming a resource isn’t exclusively exclusionary- there is something in it for the owner and the non-owners, as mutual recognition of a Claim on property means fewer fights over scarce resources. This is seen in nature as predators and pray mark hunting, grazing or mating territory.

        1. But am I FREE TO GAMBOL?

        2. What you’ve done is make the case that property is practical—pre-human, in fact—& that absence of property is impractical. What you haven’t done is proven absence of property is non-logical or impossible. You could have a legal code that says everything is up for grabs that isn’t physically attached to or touching a person.

          1. Absence of property is non-logical because it is counterproductive to survival, happiness and other goals that sane humans have.

            This isnt hard. It isnt like socialists dont have the same goals, it is that they are insane, stupid, or brainwashed.

            Because what is really happening with socialists is that they are being convinced to give their property for the benefit of a few elites. This truth is disguised, but it is there to see for anyone who is logical.

            1. And again, the onus is on socialists to prove that it works consistently. A free society gives them this option. They can start their own communes.

              But as non logical people tend to do, they have convinced themselves that socialism will work if you just keep adding variables. Certain types of people must lead, certain policies must happen to convince others that juche is great, people shouldn’t be able to lead, re-education camps… etc. Eventually they realize that extreme violence sort of works and they go with that.

              Logical people understand that adding variables reduces the chances of anything working. I’m not sure if you’re playing devil’s advocate here, but if you’re not, jesus, open your eyes.

              1. *shouldn’t be able to leave, not lead

            2. Look at Bernie. Socialists believe in property rights, but only for themselves and those politically connected. You see this in ever socialist or communist country.

              1. Socialists are conservative about what they know best and what they know best is “keep your hands off of my shit but your shit is all of ours”.

        3. Even babies have a notion of personal property. “Mine” is among the first 10 words they will learn.

      4. “Unless you’re a socialist who define property as being coercive. ”

        Much of “property” is government enabled rent seeking and government market privilege.

        ‘Lockean “tilling the soil” definitions won’t cut it with socialists when you literally are not tilling any soil.’

        Also, the Lockean Proviso no longer holds.

        But why should Reason’s corporatist rent seeking keep them from chumming up with Socialists? They agree on the only thing that *really* matters for Reason: Open Borders Uber Alles.

    3. That’s not enough, buddy. When is coercion justified? In defense of justly acquired property? What’s that, exactly? What the government recognizes as legitimate? Your house? What if your house is on old Cherokee land? A bailout to Goldman Sachs? A song from the 1930s? A fetus in your wife’s womb?Let’s not pretend these are simple matters with simple answers.

      1. I disagree. I find the fact that one group engages in coercion without even attempting to find a mutually palatable answer to any of those question to be more than enough.

        And I am not your buddy, pal.

      2. “When is coercion justified? ”

        Socialists – “always”

        Libertarians – “rarely”

        Chipper Morning Hanger-on – “SEE THEY’RE EXACTLY THE SAME!!!”

        1. Shorter Chipper:

          Calling out the reparations grifters and other nihilistic negroes = Bull Connor.

          1. He…is embarrassingly stupid and not at all believable when pretending to be a Libertarian.

        2. Tulpa, you appear to be even dumber that you are pretending to be. But I better stop before I invoke the ire of an unarmed combat expert such as yourself and leave this battlefield of wits.

          1. I’m sorry I kicked you around and made your post look stupid

        3. ‘Libertarians – “rarely”’

          Libertarians – to prevent greater coercion

          Reason – Never! Muh deontological principle! NAP! *

          *Except for all the corporatist coercion of goverment privilege and rent seeking, and the big government coercion imposed on Americans by imported big government voters, all of which we pretend don’t exist.

  5. Funny about the Queer Theory and other LGBTQWTF stuff. Because in actual Marxist regimes, the non-straight were the first to be murdered after the landowners. The idea that your totalitarian revolutionary regime will be staffed by alternative loving administrators is downright stupid. History demonstrates it.

    1. Once everyone is part of the collective, they are going to insist that people breed to keep the collective going. Socialists care about gays only insofar as doing so is a weapon to be used against their enemies. Once gays are no longer useful to the cause, they will end up with a bullet in their heads just like everyone else who has worn out their usefulness.

      1. It’s all about the power. They care about the votes that get them into power, so that decades later, when they’re still in power in their one party state, and a majority of the population is starving with no access to basic medical care, their oh so principled supporters can say “BUT THEY WERE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED!” and still find a way to blame capitalism.

  6. You had to sit through two days of this crap?

    1. She got to expense all that booze, tho…

      1. They charged for booze? If there isn’t even room for free alcohol, then exactly what kind of a smash-the-greedy-capitalist-pigs shindig was this?

  7. They only look similar because you’re not a Libertarian, Lizzy.

    1. Yeah, the Judean Peoples Front is nothing at all like the Peoples Front of Judea!!!

      1. Tens of millions dead is nothing like no dead.

      2. Yeah, the Judean Peoples Front is nothing at all like the Peoples Front of Judea!!!

        I am not part of anything that will ever refer to itself as anything that even resembles a ‘People’s Front’

        I do not think that ENB can say the same.

        In fact, I do not think that ENB understands that the reason so many things appear ‘similar’ is that they are leftist intrusions. They are not libertarian at all. The open borders stance that Reason exalts is wholly leftist in nature, with the ‘freedom’ window dressing the left adores.

        Every single living thing claims territory. Every one. Including humans. Our ‘propertarian system’ is exists to minimize the bloodshed that would result without contractural ownership.

        Reason’s stance is straight communism. Private property is theft.

        1. Um this is not right at all. Reason’s perspective is that people should be able to move freely while also respecting private property. There are millions of Americans with private property rights who want to contract with, sell to and rent to people regardless of their national origin.

          On the other hand, Restrictionists want to impose a collective will on these property rights. I shouldn’t be able to have a foreigner mow my lawn…because of a collective rule. I cannot rent to a foreigner because of…a collective rule.

          The idea that private property rights naturally leads to immigration restrictions is absurd. That is not to say that there aren’t good reasons to limit immigration. But don’t try to dress it up as enforcement of private property rights when it is all about the government determining who is “ok” to contract with or to allow on your personal property.

          1. Reason’s perspective is that people should be able to move freely while also respecting private property.

            Move freely where? Onto land they do not own or pay to maintain? No.

            Nothing moves freely. Everything fights to maintain it’s territory.

            Our systems of property laws exist to stop those fights. To make territory a matter of law and not will and strength. Because without law, property is a matter of will and strength.

            Our laws weren’t imposed. They were debated and voted upon. They have been altered and may be altered again. This is the system we all agreed upon.

            What is being imposed upon us, collectively, is the whim of judges who decide without debate, without listening to us–often in direct defiance of the will of the people of this country and their representatives.

            And you can hire a foreigner to mow your lawn, or rent to one, one that is playing by the rules we have all set down.

            But not to one who first action is to spit in the face of those rules.

            1. Move freely where? Onto land they do not own or pay to maintain? No.

              Next time read my comment. There are millions of property owners in the US willing to rent to, sell to and buy from immigrants. So these immigrants should be free to move to those people.

              Yes I agree that this is a nation of laws, and those laws were created “justly”. That doesn’t change the fact that these laws are not about PROTECTING private property rights, but instead restricting those private property owners from exercising their freedom of contract.

              Our laws weren’t imposed. They were debated and voted upon.

              And then they were imposed. Whether they were democratically arrived at or not, these laws were imposed on people who do not want them. That is the case whenever you have a majority deciding on laws that everyone must follow- they are imposing their will on the minority.

              Again, denying people the freedom to use property as they wish may or may not be the right thing to do. But please stop this nonsense of calling a horse a cow. Restrictionist laws are not about protecting private property (we already have laws against theft and trespass), but about restricting what property holder may do.

              1. I find the property rights argument for immigration restriction to be pretty much the worst one that isn’t just racism. There are some sound practical arguments for some degree of immigration restriction. But you can’t deny that immigration laws do in fact restrict people’s right to contract and use their property as they wish.

                1. Should you also be free to sacrifice animals or murder a person on your property?
                  You have property rights, after all.
                  How about producing poisons or diseases?

              2. I want to rent to murderers but the government restrict my property rights by keeping murderers in prison!

                1. Maybe “I want to rent to pedophiles, but my house is next door to a school and the government won’t let them live here.”

                  1. And it also won’t let the guy who peed in the bushes once live there. Or (depending on the state) the guy who was once 18 year old with a 17 year old lover. “Sex offender registration” has nothing to do with whether someone is a danger to children.

              3. There are millions of property owners in the US willing to rent to, sell to and buy from immigrants. So these immigrants should be free to move to those people.

                Yes there are. And to facilitate this, the US has set up mechanisms whereby this can happen.

                Immigration is a benefit to us all.

                Illegal immigration, however, is not. It’s weird how you all contrive so heartily to get that ‘illegal’ left off.

                Laws are enacted, not imposed. They are enacted after a majority has voted to enact them. Yes. This is part of the system we created to replace what existed before. The one where you ‘imposed’ your ‘will’ on the minority by killing them.

                Instead of fighting, we debate. Instead of killing, we vote. And we agree to accept the outcomes of those votes. We have put structures in place to insure that the minority cannot be steamrolled.

                And we can change it. Because we’ve set up structures for that as well.

                We can enact laws that favor your ideas.

                Do you not know all this?

                Do you not understand what you’re asking us to revert to?

                1. This is a very conservative comment. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m more with the line from Davis above. Coercion is sometimes necessary to stop greater coercion. That is what separates libertarians from anarchists. Sorry but your property rights do not trump everyone else’s. As long as we are citizens of this country, the policies we implement in regards to immigration effect everyones property rights. Even if it is indirect like these people coming in are more likely to vote to steal your property.

                  1. My rights to my property ABSOLUTELY trump anyone else’s right to my property.

                    Otherwise, there are no property rights at all.

                    And what is ‘conservative’ about my response? If I take the time to tell you that beating the nail in with the handle of the hammer is not the right way to use it am I ‘conserving’ the proper use of the tool?

  8. “Are Socialists More Like Libertarians Than We’d Like To Admit?”

    No, they are the ideological opposites.

    1. Hey, once you get past their utter rejection of freedom of human action in economic matters, there really is very little difference.

    2. Here is a question I use to determine if someone is an ideological ally:
      “Are you an individualist?”

      I doubt many attendees of this event would say ‘yes.’

      1. They would either:
        1. Say yes.
        2. Say yes, then spend 2 hours explaining and individualism and collectivism are really exactly the same.

    3. they are the ideological opposites
      That doesn’t mean there can’t be superficial similarities.

      1. Hitler loved dogs and hated smoking. That doesn’t put him on the same side as everyone with those same opinions. And note that he ONLY banned smoking in his presence – unlike many of the current generation of leftists, who want to restrict where one may smoke until there is no place left. Who is more fascistic?

    4. What if they were the same in everything but ideology? Ideology isn’t everything. Radicals of all kinds are temperamentally very similar & exhibit similar demographics & methods. That was ENB’s point, & something I & many others observed 40-50 yrs. ago.

    5. But they’re not the opposite of Reason staff, they’re on the same side.

      Open Borders Uber Alles!

  9. The lopsidedly male crowd. The mix of media types and the professionally political, earnest kids, disheveled academics, and dour lifetimers. The feuding factions and squabbling cliques. The hangovers. (Oh god, the hangovers.) The obsession with dead economists. The bitter—yet hopeful—relationship to mainstream politics. The endless tiffs over immigration. The emphasis on the concrete over the symbolic on the one hand, and the stubborn attraction to a few passionate slogans on the other. In so many ways, libertarian and socialist gatherings feel like strange mirror images of each other.

    This is why I only attend CPAC, where there is both an an agreed upon political philosophy, and a an avalanche of pussy.

    1. Hey, just because those CPAC nerds can’t throw a punch, there is no reason to call them names.

      1. God just fuck him already. It’s impossible to see one of his posts without you boringly schticking right after.

        1. If you say something clever and witty, I will acknowledge your existence more.

          1. Please don’t, you’re a fucking gross weirdo.

            1. Yet you follow me around like a puppy dog. Go figure. But there is no benefit to interacting with you, so I will go back to ignoring you.

              1. See I even asked you nicely and you can’t shut the fuck up.

                1. Maybe he likes to be asked more roughly.

        2. Eunuch gonna eunuch

    2. whole planet’s an avalanche of pussy it’s lovely

  10. I expect the ones who look similar have the weird utopian notions of how a socialist society would run rather than what actually happens because they have a fantasy conception of what motivates humans.

    1. From me, a libertarian socialist:

      It’s widely accepted in anti-authoritarian leftist circles that the decision in the 1920’s to use the state as the platform for socialist revolution was a mistake. Municipal confederalism is the alternative and there are many authors and activists writing and organizing around it. Reason comments are 99% mocking strawman arguments and y’all should be embarrassed about that.

      Study Rojava and Google Murray Bookchin.

  11. Even on individual issues where libertarians and socialists seem to agree, it’s important to realize that the philosophy and goals are very different. Socialists are not seeking individual liberty. Hear that sound? That’s the wheels of the bus they’re going to toss you under.

    1. Behind the socialist mask of benevolence there’s nothing but a raging power and blood lust. Distilled to it’s essence, socialism is just the desire to control and steal from others at the barrel of a gun.

      1. There’s also the misanthropy

      2. You can never read 1984 Part 3, Chapter 3 enough. O’Brien explains the Modern Left.
        http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/19.html

        The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.
        Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?’


        1. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

        2. Orwell was a die-hard socialist you absolute chud. He literally got shot in the neck for socialism.

          Let me know when it’s ‘go-time’ so you can try to LARP 1776. Just kidding. The “no step on snek” folks don’t revolt and never will. Too much loyalty to cops and the rich.

  12. she apologizes, then blames the unreliability of the New York City subway.

    she apologizes, then blames the unreliability of the New York City subway.

    They’re just like us! However, I do wonder who has the better body odor, personal grooming habits, and clothing style.

    1. “she apologizes, then blames the unreliability of the New York City subway.”
      At least, under Mussolini, the trains ran on time. So we have that to look forward to. The rest of it, not so much.

      1. We have to rely on fascist supporters’ words about Mussolini and trains. Maybe they were selling us a bill of goods.

        https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/loco-motive/

  13. socialists are good only as examples of what not to be.

  14. Socialists all selling stuff? Wat?

    1. It’s ok. Since they’re selling useless stuff it’s more like a donation.

  15. “But capitalism is just an economic system where the provision of goods, services, and labor is determined by individuals negotiating with each other, rather than by a centralized state authority.”

    No, it’s not. That’s free markets. Capitalism is an economic system where private investment (capital) is the dominant form of investment in the production and distribution of goods and services, and is a system in which ownership can be separated from the management of such capital.

    1. No, it’s not. That’s your definition of Capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

      1. Translated for those who haven’t seen how this works out in reality:

        “Rich people have most of the power in society and that is good actually.”

        1. And that’s different from socialism how?

  16. In my experience, libertarians identify as such because they respect individual freedom. Capitalism has led to the most freedom that humans have ever known, so it continues to be the choice of libertarians. Government rarely solves any problems, and most that it does were caused by government in the first place, so, as good students of history, libertarians advocate for small government and less central control. Freedom does not protect one from the consequences of ones own actions, so libertarians do not advocate for laws that aim to protect people from themselves.

    The only place that libertarianism lines up with with socialism is in the acknowledgement that government is power. Socialists have missed the lesson that history has provided over and over that there is no way to prevent the corruption that always follows the concentration of power (Jacobin? Why not just call yourself Murderous Gang of Thugs). They foolishly believe that good people would run a just government, so they are fine with strong centralized government and laws that protect people from poor decisions. Like children running to their mother, they come to the conclusion that the real problem is that the wrong people are running the government.

  17. Have you ever considered that you are not a libertarian, but just a chick of low morals who loves her some baby killin’??????

    1. who loves her some baby killin’??????

      In the past she’s been on board with murdering toddlers too.

      1. Well, who hasn’t been at one time or another?

    2. I love me some baby killin, and chicks with low morals, but ENB is in fact a libertarian.

      1. Only because for N number of people there are N+1 versions of libertarianism.

      2. I mean, she’s not really hard core, but I think she’s sincere enough. Certainly much more libertarian than most feminist hipster chicks.

        1. “More libertarian than most feminist hipster chicks” is a VERY low bar!

          1. Which is why Liz hits it with her tits when she tries to limbo under it.

      3. ENB is more libertarian than many of the commenters on this thread.

        1. Eunuch gonna eunuch

        2. Speaking of VERY low bars… Truth is she writes way better than 99% of the slippery stalking sockpuppets here.

      4. I love me some baby killin, and chicks with low morals, but ENB is in fact a libertarian.

        She’s a libertarian a bit the same way a quadriplegic is a pacifist. If Democrats, Socialists, or Democratic Socialists got on board with her pet issue, she’d suddenly be finding even more in common with them.

  18. Is that even a question? Of course Libertarians hold certain ideas in common with Socialists. Socialists are rights violators on the left. At the same time, they allow for many personal “freedoms” – abortion on demand, freedom FROM (not just of) religion, etc. – that Libertarians stand for. I agree with some of the same ideas, and I am neither a Socialist, nor a Libertarian (nor a Republican or Democrat) either. For very different reasons of course – but the superficial phraseology often sounds the same. These areas of “freedom” give Socialism’s victims the belief they have SOME control over their lives (hint: they really don’t – where it counts). Socialists don’t like American national defense (armed forces, etc.) – same with most Libertarians (and Anarchists), whose non-aggression principle goes too far and denies the right to and value of self-defense. Open immigration is a value to both groups. Not surprising then, is it, that someone in an afternoon conference, not looking too closely (you know, there are those “…professionally political, earnest kids, disheveled academics, and…feuding factions and squabbling cliques”) would see some similarities between Socialism and Libertarianism?

    1. Socialists do not believe in a single freedom. They do offer many permissions though, and the occasional license.

      1. Or they don’t even believe in freedom as a possibility.
        Not sure if that’s what you meant.

        1. Yes. That principle is baked into their philosophical cake. But put in the abstract it is often glossed over (much like their absolute reliance on compulsion) so I prefer to get people thinking in the specific before introducing that concept.

    2. Socialism is for open borders only in that it helps control the populace.

    3. BL should look at old newspapers. Anarchist means exactly the same as communist. The difference is that an anarchist was actually caught shooting or bombing someone. Aside from that they are the exact same thing–a thing Congress prohibited by law from entering These States.

  19. No. A thousand times no.
    Any resemblance is purely coincidental.

    1. Said by someone who doesn’t know the history of where the term “Libertarian” originally came from. Here’s a link in case you want to trace back beyond Rothbard and the 1970’s US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism

  20. There are in fact strains of marxism which intersect with libertarianism, and there’s even a term “Libertarian Marxist” which seems to get people’s hackles up around here, but when you understand the ideas behind the term, it makes some sense. The REAL Marxism (you know, that one that no one has ever tried?) the state is supposed to fade away leaving only a voluntary collective of individuals who base their society on mutual aid. The structures are supposed to be entirely non-coercive and decisions are totally democratic. I’m not going to rehash here why that idea always goes sideways and you end up with gulags and Stalin, but on paper, there certainly are some shared points with regular libertarians.

    1. I agree, the ideal of Marxism is compatible with much of libertarianism. It is even more congruent with anarchism, but that is largely because both of them are Utopian.

    2. There are in fact strains of marxism which intersect with libertarianism

      No, there are not.

      There are strains of marxism that put on a veneer of libertarianism to ensnare the weak minded.

      The REAL Marxism (you know, that one that no one has ever tried?) the state is supposed to fade away leaving only a voluntary collective of individuals who base their society on mutual aid.

      No one seems to grasp what this means even though Marxists do not really hide it.

      They are referring to a hive. A society where each component has and knows and keeps it’s place. It is ‘voluntary’ only in that the capacity to exist or even think outside the framework of the society is long gone.

      It is not a human society.

    3. Study Rojava. Google Murray Bookchin.

  21. I only wish the animals and plants could hear the stories we spin about justice.

    1. And yes I’ve watched too many Disney movies and now I’m confused.

    2. They can hear them. They just don’t understand them.

      JFC…

  22. It’s right in the name – “socialism”. Man is a social animal, he belongs in a tribe, a herd, a collective and one human being is indistinguishably interchangeable with another. The welfare of the herd as a whole is more important than any one member of the herd as a whole, which is why socialists can quite cheerfully stand any one individual – or millions of individuals – up against the wall. The individual doesn’t matter and has no meaning or purpose outside of serving the needs of the collective.

    Libertarians, on the other hand, are decent human beings.

  23. Another way they are alike: both socialists and libertarians are hopeless utopians, because they don’t have a good understanding of human nature. If they did, they’d be conservatives.

    And another way – too many of each deny the humanity of children until they have been born, in direct defiance of our scientific knowledge of human development. In fact, this particular blindness is extremely bizarre in the case of libertarians, who are so focused on the rights of individuals that they fail to recognize that pregnancy creates a clash of rights between three people – the mother, the natural father, and the child. The child is the one least able to exert rights without the help of the government.

    1. libertarianism, broadly speaking, is compatible with and appreciating of the concept of limited government.

    2. There is no child until the fetus has a brain that can feel. It is bizarre that you fail to recognize this.

      1. The brain is easily identifiable in sonograms early on and reactions to pain can be observed, not far behind.
        Yet the current “libertarian” position is that it is not a human.
        Just like the slaves were regarded.

        1. The brain and reactions to pain are also readily observed in cow fetuses at the same stage of development. That does not entitle cows at any stage of development to human rights – because their brain stops developing at a much lower level a human’s brain. And a fetus in the first and at least most of the second trimester has a brain that is less developed than a cow’s.

  24. “No, Donny, these men are cowards.”

    1. Lol

  25. Oh, boy, I haven’t read any of this but already I’m guessing the comments will be fun…

      1. Not so, I sometimes take the day off.

      2. Word.

    1. It’s much less bad than I expected. Maybe the new system has people behaving themselves.

      1. Has OBL disappeared? That would be sweet.

  26. In theory, you could find common ground with a socialist and demonstrate how letting people make their own decisions is better for everybody than letting bureaucrats make those decisions. In reality, socialists are generally batshit crazy and don’t respond well to reason or evidence. So just smile and nod and think “wait until you look at your first pay stub”

  27. Funny how leftists hate monopolies, unless it’s a government monopoly under the illusion of democratic control.

    1. In case you want to know about the actual things people think instead of pretending all leftists love Stalin or whatever:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

      1. Do you not understand that the simple fact of burbling up an idiocy and putting it on the internet does not make it a real, viable thing?

        Then again, since you ARE putting this excreta forth as just that perhaps Wikipedia isn’t the only place where burbling idiocy is treated as if it has some validity.

  28. This was a great piece Elizabeth. Reason, more reporting like this!

    I saw this between myself and my socialist friends in college. Weird similarities. The same grand, human level goals of more personal freedom from contracted power.

  29. So I just gotta ask:

    Abortion is the best example ENB can think of when discussing the glories of capitalism?

    1. Barring sex work, she appears to think of little else.

  30. Admit?! The similarity was generally acknowledged 50 yrs. ago.

    1. They say it’s easier to turn a radical into a libertarian than a libertarian into a radical. Once you’ve decided you’re a dissident, the rest is details.

      Admittedly that’s more from the POV of normies than from radicals, although a significant chunk of the radicals of all kinds will cop to it. Normies tend to view all malcontents similarly, and will readily lump radical libertarians with commies, Nazis, radical vegetarians, occultists, etc. This is why the LaRouche-libertarian conflation persisted for so long.

  31. “For both libertarians and socialists, most of society’s problems can be traced back to a single root cause. For socialists, it’s capitalism. For libertarians, the state.”

    If most of our problems can be traced back to a single root cause, it isn’t the state. The biggest problem facing the American people is the American people. It’s the stupidity of the American people, their ignorance, and their willingness to believe that anyone else, especially politicians, might be the solution to their problems. Take responsibility for your own life, and demand the freedom to solve your own problems, you childish idiots.

    1. “Take responsibility for your own life, and demand the freedom to solve your own problems, you childish idiots.”

      Difficult to do when most everyone in government is telling you otherwise.

    2. Yeah. I’m afraid that’s probably it.

  32. Nothing there for the Minarchist Libertarian, I take it?

  33. …where democratically run “counter-institutions to the state” provide many services in conjunction with a more minimalist democratically-run government.

    I’d hate for there to be gridlock.

  34. The group is trying to make the cops see how important it is that they counter the message of those inside. The cops look bored.

    Never bore your enforcement arm.

  35. …She hands me a flyer from Workers Vanguard with the title “Bernie Sanders: Imperialist Running Dog.”

    …she proceeds to try to convince me to buy a subscription to a newspaper she and several other revolutionaries loitering outside the conference are representing.

    There’s money to be made in socialism, boys.

  36. The common element seems to be the monocausal mindset of “revolutionary” politics, which is the worst aspect of both movements. In libertarianism, it generates a bindspot around any social problems that can’t be attributed to the state. In socialists, it generates a preference for increasingly repressive measures to make society conform with its model of human nature. The libertarian version of this problem is self-limiting due to the rejection of coercive measures to bend society to expectations, but the socialist version get quite bloothirsty when ire expectations are denied, as the original Jacobins demonstrated.

    1. “it generates a bindspot around any social problems that can’t be attributed to the state.”

      1. Deciding that such problems, qua problems, are not the purview of the state is all that libertarianism should ever do.

      2. Not to say that other systems cannot or should not seek to address them, they just cannot involve organized force without running afoul of libertarianism.

    2. “In libertarianism, it generates a bindspot around any social problems that can’t be attributed to the state. ”

      Bullshit.
      You, as other statists, assume those who oppose you promise the utopia you offer.
      Unlike you and other dimbulbs, libertarianism makes now such claims. The claims are simply that it offers the best you can find.
      Go beat on your strawman in your bunk; I’m sure it’s appropriate.

  37. love the Science for the People table as though Science gives a fuck about People

    1. I think they mean “science”, not science.

      1. Maybe it’s something like The Odin, making equipment affordable for hobbyists.

  38. “How does anyone look at these systems and incentives, accurately see so many of their flaws—and then suggest that we can win by giving government thugs more control?”

    That’s really the Crux of the matter isn’t it. We all want better health care, better schools, more wealth for everyone. As Reagan plainly stated though, government isn’t the solution, government is the problem. It’s interesting how the people who think that Trump is literally Hitler are the same people who want to send more money and power to D.C.

  39. “She hands me a flyer from Workers Vanguard”

    What’s funny is that these people actually think that they would be “the Vanguard” after the revolution. They would actually be the first ones up against the wall, once the most vicious of the revolutionaries consolidates power.

    1. Unless their secret plan is to be the most vicious. You don’t think the most vicious tell everyone in advance they’re going to be the most vicious, do you? No, they pose as intellectuals or some such.

      1. Any proper Leninist intellectual is fully planning on being the most vicious.

  40. This is not a place I would go to pick-up women.

  41. I guess the new generation like ENB have to go thru this on their own, but this is just as I remember it from 40 yrs. ago.

  42. “I know we can’t kumbaya our way out of this. Many of the major policy divides between libertarians and socialists are real and powerful. They can’t all be resolved by turning our collective sights on the worst and agreed-upon abuses.”

    The best hope of libertarians is for the radical socialists to take over 1 of the major parties, & thereby destroy their -ism for centuries. The best hope of the socialists is for the Libertarian Party to be the dominant face of liberty, thereby destroying libertarianism for centuries.

    1. Or as RAW put it, “Convictions make convicts.”

  43. “For both libertarians and socialists, most of society’s problems can be traced back to a single root cause. For socialists, it’s capitalism. For libertarians, the state.”

    Libertarians rely on the state to guarantee their rights. The more rights we have, the larger and more powerful the state must be to protect us from other institutions such as the family, the church, business etc.

    1. “Libertarians rely on the state to guarantee their rights.”

      No, that is classical liberalism, which is wedded to a less charitable recognition of the limits of human nature. Libertarianism is more Utopian, and seeks to espouse a principle that could succeed absent such a reliance upon the state. Taken to the absolute extreme successful libertarianism is anarchism.

  44. This was a really fun read, I enjoyed it!

  45. The one and only form of political organization that has ever existed is oligarchy, and the one and only form of economic organization that has ever existed is oligopoly.

    It doesn’t matter what they call it at the time, be it monarchy, democracy, constitutional republic, empire, whatever–it is always and only an oligarchy.

    Same with capitalism vs. socialism vs. financialism vs. corporatism–it’s always an oligopoly. (Many of the things Karl Marx complained about in capitalism are really problems of oligarchy+oligopoly.)

    Because civilizations’ organizational problems are all due to oligarchy+oligopoly, we are bound to see some overlap between socialists and libertarians on certain specific complaints. The proposed solutions are very different, but we are all bitching about the same cause.

    1. Thank you for the long-winded pedantic nonsense.

  46. Some on this site suggest one should take responsibility for their own lives. Others complain that the government takes money from their paycheck.
    How many filed an ordinary Income tax return this year. Did you attach a 1040 and then sign under penalty of perjury that you had “taxable income”? If so, why?
    If your answer is you worked in some capacity for the federal government, then your action was correct. If you did not, if you earned your money in a private job or business not connected to the federal government, then you acted wrongly for a libertarian. Why send your property to the state you despise?
    You acted out of FEAR! (False Evidence Appearing Real). Don’t worry though, you have three years to file an amended return and actually stand for personal responsibility and the rule of law. Act like a libertarian! see http://www.losthorizons.com

    1. They’re saving space for you in the hoosegow.
      You may well claim they shouldn’t; you’re right, but they are.

  47. All philosophy is based on OCD Utopia (ok, except Schopenhauer).

    Most of us living in the world realize there are navigational quagmires and compromise between utilitarianism and libertarianism. Cutting down on drinking the Chomsky, Marx or Hayek bongwater helps.

  48. “Are Socialists More Like Libertarians Than We’d Prefer To Admit?”

    Sort of:
    We both think government is the problem.
    They think the solution is more of it.
    We think the solution is less of it.

  49. Fuck, ENB. Why even bother pretending to be any sort of libertarian? There are superficial points where socialists and libertarians agree. The schism immediately shows up in identifying the source of problems and how to resolve them. In seeing more than a superficial resemblance you are outed as not holding the actual positions of a libertarian. By not understanding human nature you show how shallow your concept of anarchy and communism are.

    1. Someone didn’t RTF.

      1. Chipper Morning Wood
        April.16.2019 at 10:10 pm
        “Someone didn’t RTF.”

        That would be you, I guess. Unless you have some specific gripe (which is unlikely).

  50. Elizabeth, this is gold: <> Thanks.

  51. Huh. That didn’t work. Posting again.
    Elizabeth, this is gold: “Granted, Medicare bureaucrats are not exactly Border Patrol agents. But give them enough power and remove private alternatives, and the distinction becomes almost irrelevant. With a monopoly and moral certitude and a multi-billion-dollar budget, any arm of the state will eventually start operating in unintended, power-hoarding, and corrupt ways that hurt society’s most marginalized. At the very least, they will consistently fail to perform adequately for large numbers of the people they are supposed to serve.” Thanks.

  52. Unless you are Chiang Kai Shek, who in his 1927 exception had the backing of Stalin, the United Front always ends with the non Communists getting murdered.

  53. All I know

    Flying water tankers

    Must act quickly

  54. For those not able to pick up the hard copy: “Bernie Sanders: Imperialist Running Dog“.

  55. The ‘libertarians’ at Reason these days are more like socialists than they’d care to admit. Libertarians in general? Not so much, once you get past some really superficial things that all fringe movements share.

    1. I know, right? Libertarians not willing to shill for Team Red are clearly socialist!

    2. Yeah Brett.

      Non-Libertarians don’t realize that its immediately apparent when you speak or write about politics where you lie on Libertarianism.

  56. Title corrected:

    Self-described libertarian Reason author is more like socialist than would like to admit

    1. +10

  57. I’m blown away that a student able to earn $5519 in a few weeks on the internet…. So I started—>> http://www.Geosalary.com

  58. Yeah, they’re exactly alike, except for the whole “socialists believe in the coercive power of the state to seize private property and regulate human behavior….”

  59. There’s no such thing as a Libertarian Socialist. You cannot possibly believe in freedom and state/non-private ownership of the means of production.

    Also, can we stop giving Marxists even a modicum of legitimacy? Marxism is the chemtrails and hollow earth of economics. It’s a factually disproven conspiracy theory that doesn’t serve any purpose other than to confuse gullible people.

    1. +100

    2. It’s a factually disproven conspiracy theory that doesn’t serve any purpose other than to confuse gullible people.

      For only existing to confuse gullible people, it’s filled a lot of graves.

      1. That’s what is so dangerous about it and why I hate how mainstream discussions (Reason is guilty of this too) treat Marxist ideology as unrelated to the authoritarian violence that occurred/occurs in Marxist countries. We should respond to Marxism the same way we respond to fascism. You can’t have an honest intellectual discussion about authoritarianism because it leads to and enables state sanctioned violence by definition.

  60. […] ICYMI yesterday, check out my dispatch from a New York City socialism conference. […]

  61. No.

    See Friedman, Milton. Free to Choose. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1980. Print.

    Are we done here?

    1. No, first Crusty Juggler has to rush out with a snarky rejoinder about how wrong you are that is only witty to him.

      Then Chipper Morning Timbers needs to sidle out from under Crusty’s balls to make a comment that is the equivalent of a toady’s ‘So There!’ voiced from the safety of his master’s reach.

      Or vice versa. They’re pretty interchangeable. As useful as taps for hot and cold running vomit.

  62. Chemjeff Status Quo Collectivist is really on a rampage lately defending his leftie fake libertarian buddies at Resson!

  63. Nah

  64. Ugh!!! WE HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON. NOTHING. The socialists might ask the right questions but in the end they want to see me in chains, they want to control what I eat, how I speak, how much I make etc. And they will get around to controlling sex just like Big Brother did in “1984” hell their already doing it with feminist sex codes on college campuses. Socialists are pure evil, never trust them.

  65. The LP is a lot like the folks I hung out with in Haight Ashbury: Peace (non-aggression), Do your Own Thing (laissez-faire), Free Love (repeal of Comstock sexual coercion and censorship laws). But both communities are stalked by looter collectivists lurking for a toehold. Even Zap Comix and the Freak Brothers warned us against Bolsheviks and methedrine alike.

  66. Simple Answer, No! I see a lot of these Leftist trying to pass them selves off as libertarians here and it is so transparent. I am Libertarian Leaning Fiscal Conservative, and I do not always agree with Libertarians one everything. As an example: I am for the US to supporting nascent Democracies and even the occasional despot if need be to check the Russians and the Chinese. Why? Because they have no interest in freedom and democracy and neither do the majority of the countries in the world. Basically: If we do not do it, no one else will.

  67. In principle, libertarianism its literally the opposite of socialism in basically every thinkable way. In fact, you could call the basic idea of libertarianism anti-socialism.

    Libertarianism is about the individual.
    Socialism is about the group.

    Libertarianism is about freedom.
    Socialism is about coercion.

    Libertarianism prioritizes property rights.
    Socialism collectivises through the state.

    Libertarianism respects the free-market.
    Socialism crushes the free-market with economy-planning intervention.

    Even their perspectives on equality differ. Libertarianism maintains the equal station of all people under the law while socialism attempts to achieve material equality by redistribution.

    I find Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s article a downright alarming indication of a trend toward leftwing progressivism among certain mainsream “libertarians.” There are a lot of faux-libertarians out there, either ones losing hold of the basics or ones claiming to to be but not knowing anything about real, hard-core libertarianism (ie. Bill Maher).

    The difference between these to positions is day and night. They are utterly irreconcilable. I hope reason magazine knows this.

    1. Reason has been trampled in The Long March Through Institutions.

      The Left is running out of media to take over. They’re even working on Fox now.

    2. THIS. Tripe like this article is ridiculous.

      What she meant to say is a left-libertarian like me, who holds a bunch of a random PERSONAL OPINIONS about certain issues, happens to overlap with what all these commies ALSO prefer.

      Almost nothing she rattled off as a similarity is a true “libertarian” position in an absolute sense. They’re mostly just pet causes left-libertarians are obsessed with.

      I still maintain the key difference between left and right, both within libertarian circles and elsewhere, is simply logically minded thinkers vs feelz oriented thinkers.

      1. pssst!

        There are no ‘left-libertarians. ‘left’ is diametrically opposed to ‘liberty’–and you can’t have libertarianism without liberty.

        So what are the people who call themselves ‘left-libertarians’ then?

        See that reference to the ‘Long March through the Institutions’?

        Yeah.

        1. There’s plenty of that to be sure… But the way people use it is more or less:

          People who care most about butt sex, legal dope, and women/POCs, and other stupid lame shit.

          vs

          People who care most about taxes, regulations, general size and scope of government, gun rights, and other awesome shit.

          Basically it’s touchy feely issues are most important vs more concrete issues are most important. That’s how people use it, and I think it is accurate. How anybody can put tranny bathrooms as being as important as gun rights is WAY beyond my comprehension, yet some do, even if they care about both to some degree. It’s feelz vs thinkz.

  68. “Are Socialists More Like Libertarians Reason Than We’d Prefer To Admit?”

    FTFY

  69. Nobody should find this article surprising. Not from Reason, who will err just shy of endorsing a Democrat candidate in 2020.

    Oh, they’ll affect to stand with the Lib candidate, but the editorial thrust will be firmly otherwise.

    Why? Because all that really matters is open borders. And because they’re still stuck in the peace, love and understanding hairy-hippie weed loop that they’ve all been stuck in for decades, even though the weed loop has long since stopped looping and has become legit big business. And because the GOP represents the old folks who want to kick them out of the basement, and the Dems represent the old folks who are too stoned to give a shit who lives in their basement, and who are supplied with weed by the basement dwellers in some old-folks-hairy-hippie mutual-dependency feedback loop.

    And because they’re dumb.

    1. Nick made Open Borders Uber Alles Reason’s official “core value”:
      In the 21st century, libertarians are going to have make common cause with the globalists of all parties, with the people whose core value is the right of individuals to move freely around the planet.

      https://reason.com/2019/04/12/steve-bannons-economic-nationalism-is-th/

      1. Yay! Reason will accept long URLs now! No more short url fiddling.

        1. You know what they say: the longer the url, the better the comment.

      2. HOLY BALLS.

        I hadn’t been reading much and missed that one…

        Open borders over and above every other type of freedom. LITERALLY the most important thing period. Holy fuck.

        These writers really are fucking insane. The whole lot of them. What a bunch of sick, disgusting, freaks these people are.

  70. Such a shallow perspective for such a long article. Socialists are collectivists. It doesn’t matter if that’s at the global level or the neighborhood level. The individual is subservient to the group. Any similarities between genuine socialists and genuine libertarians is so superficial as to be meaningless. This article was a waste of energy, time and funds.

  71. Are Socialists More Like Libertarians Than We’d Prefer To Admit?

    No.

  72. Cosmotarians may be like socialists… But not most libertarians.

    Cosmos put feelz based arbitrary personal preferences, like that The Gays are holier than straight people or whatever, as being the highest values… So do commies! But the truth is, all of that bullshit is just secondary crap that really isn’t important. I don’t have a problem with The Gays… But it is literally one of the LEAST important issues in the entire world. Especially in the western world.

    Yet you guys make out dumb crap like that as being the most important, then literally side with commies because they support such useless issues… WTF. Trad-Cons are shitty on plenty of things, but are not the absolute antithesis of freedom… Which the commies are. But you’d rather be in bed with them, because The Gays, Open Borders, etc? WTF.

    This is really just fucking clown world at this point.

  73. Now I remember why I usually avoid Reason. Shit-writers, great commenters. Are there no real libertarian writers? The headline alone ought to get ENB thrown off the site.

    If this is what we get from a so-called “Libertarian” magazine, is it any wonder that libertarians can’t make inroads into to the cultural and political scene. Can someone direct me to some real libertarian writing?

    Oh, as a longtime lurker at Ace of Spades, it’s pure joy to watch chemjeff getting knocked around. Good work.

  74. In a genuine naturally arising anarchy, there’s no reason to assume that the libertarian ideal of property would even merge.

    Uh, I’m just going to be honest and say you should feel bad about writing that. We do have very good reasons to assume it. Even without getting into the economics and physics, which are more complicated, we have an extensive historical and anthropological record of the development of property rights across civilizations and even the factors that result in particular institutions of property.

    1. You should try reading some books by Eleanor Ostrom, ENB.

  75. What the hell has happened to Reason, if this is a globalist socialist mag then I might as well cancel my subscription.

    1. DUDE. Definitely cancel your subscription. I might rant about how retarded the writers are in the comment section, but I surely won’t PAY for this drivel.

      Reason used to be pretty legit even when I started reading maybe close to 20 years ago… But not so much anymore. The feelz based writing and left-libertarian domination are too much to stomach. Stossel is about the only decent thing around this joint anymore, and they literally throw a disclaimer on ONLY his articles and videos! LOL

  76. The answer to this question is…No.

  77. Are Socialists More Like Libertarians Than We’d Prefer To Admit?

    Sure, as long as you disregard the totalitarianism and mass killings.

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