Must Libertarians Care About More Than the State?

The tension between two libertarianisms in the big tent


It's rocky times for the conservative-libertarian partnership that characterized American right-of-center politics in the second half of the 20th century.

Considerable attention has recently been paid to the rise of post-liberalism: the right-wing populists, nationalists, and Catholic integralists who fully embrace muscular government as a force for good as they define it. But there's little evidence as yet that most conservatives share such an affinity for big government. The simpler explanation is more banal: Often, when conservatives reject libertarianism, it's because of the cultural associations the word has for them.

Conservatives, after all, are much more likely than other ideological demographics to believe in God and say faith is an important part of their lives; to feel unapologetically proud of American greatness; and generally to hold views regarding personal morality that might be described as socially conservative. Of course they would be reluctant to throw in with a group famed in large part for its licentiousness, hostility to religion, and paucity of patriotic zeal.

But what if those associations are mistaken? If libertarianism properly understood has no cultural commitments, shouldn't that open up room to parley? Such a hope seems to have animated Murray Rothbard when he wrote in 1981 that "libertarianism is strictly a political philosophy, confined to what the use of violence should be in social life." As such, he added, it "is not equipped" to take one position or another on personal morality or virtue.

How convenient it would be—for this Catholic libertarian as much as anyone—if that were the end of that. But the big tent of libertarianism clearly houses many adherents whose self-understanding goes quite a bit further than Rothbard's. In fact, one useful way to divide and corral the unruly menagerie under our great circus pavilion is to ask the question Rothbard begs: Is individual liberty merely the highest political principle, the thing for which government exists, or is it a philosophical north star by which to direct all aspects of our lives? Let us call the two groups "political libertarians" and "comprehensive libertarians."

(What of "lifestyle libertarians" who think we should maximize liberty in our private lives but say the state may prioritize other goods—equality, say, or security—ahead of freedom? I submit that these are not libertarians at all. They're libertines. Libertarianism requires a commitment, at minimum, to prioritizing liberty in the governmental sphere.)

* * *

In a thought-provoking 2015 book, the McGill University political theorist Jacob T. Levy differentiated between two tendencies in the liberal tradition. Pluralism places a high value on individuals' freedom to form associations that will then shape—even constrain—their lives in diverse ways. Rationalism, meanwhile, is concerned with the protection of individual freedom even when private or voluntary institutions threaten it.

John Stuart Mill could be the patron saint of rationalist liberalism. His On Liberty, Levy wrote, "aims to defend individuality, not merely—not even primarily—formal freedom from state regulation." Liberals of the Millian type are not quite coterminous with the group I'm calling comprehensive libertarians. Levy acknowledges that rationalists often support the existence of a powerful central state, equipped with authority to step in and rescue individuals from tyrannies visited by religious organizations, patriarchal family structures, and other private institutions. Expansive support for government interference in private life may be "liberal" in this sense, but it isn't very libertarian.

Still, there is significant overlap between Levy's rationalists and comprehensive libertarians. It's not uncommon in libertarian circles to hear that although a private entity has every legal right to behave in a certain manner, we have an obligation to use our nongovernmental powers to oppose it. For comprehensive libertarians, it's not enough for the state to allow drugs or gay marriage or music with explicit lyrics; we should do what we can to ensure that new forms of creative expression and experiments in living are accepted, even celebrated, at a cultural level. If traditional manners and customs and institutions are in the way, in this view, our job is to stand against them, just as we stand against the government when it infringes on people's liberty.

Violence and the threat of violence are hard infringements on freedom. But culture can limit people's freedom in softer ways, and comprehensive libertarians think that should matter to us too.

* * *

From this perspective, lifestyle freedom is just as much a component of libertarianism as is political freedom. That makes comprehensive libertarianism a "thick" worldview, as laid out in a much-debated 2008 blog post by the philosopher Charles W. Johnson.

"Should libertarianism be seen as a 'thin' commitment," Johnson asked, "which can be happily joined to absolutely any set of values and projects, 'so long as it is peaceful,' or is it better to treat it as one strand among others in a 'thick' bundle of intertwined social commitments?" A thick libertarian might think, for instance, that libertarians should also be feminists out of a desire to free people from the patriarchy.

Yet comprehensive libertarianism and thick libertarianism are not quite synonyms, either. The first is an example of the second, but it isn't alone. Plenty of libertarians see their political worldview as embedded in a larger moral philosophy that their fellow libertarians ought to share, but they don't all agree about what that comprehensive philosophy is.

Consider virtue libertarianism, which recognizes "a duty to respect our own moral nature and to promote its development in others in proportion to the responsibility we have for them," according to a 2016 essay by the political scientists William Ruger and Jason Sorens. "In some cases, this means providing approbation and disapproval of certain choices to foster a culture consistent with human flourishing and a free society."

Clearly, comprehensive libertarians and virtue libertarians both have worldviews in which political and nonpolitical commitments are bundled together. Taken as a whole, however, those bundles are at odds. While members of the two camps will agree that prostitution should be decriminalized, say, they may disagree about its moral valence, with one side viewing sex work as liberating (and thus worth normalizing or even applauding) and the other side viewing it as degrading (and thus worth lamenting or even working to end through noncoercive means).

Political libertarianism would seem to encompass Johnson's thin libertarianism, but it may coincide with some fairly thick worldviews. A political libertarian can believe, as I do, that a virtuous society is important. But political libertarians see our opinions about how the nongovernmental sphere of life should be ordered as falling outside the scope of libertarianism per se, which for us, as for Rothbard, is "strictly a political philosophy" about "what the use of violence should be in social life." Someone who shares all of my political commitments but dissents from my broader moral outlook is no less a libertarian for it.

* * *

There is at least a loose consensus among libertarians about the proper role of the state. Not so when you move beyond government policy and start asking what it means to build a good society or to live a good life.

For comprehensive libertarians, as we've seen, a good society is one in which people are maximally free to be who they want to be, pursuing the good life according to whatever that means to them. Comprehensive libertarians are reflexively opposed to both hard and soft infringements on liberty. The only limit—though it is a crucial one—is that someone's pursuit of happiness can't forcibly interfere with anyone else's. (Kinky sex? Groovy, if that's what you're into. Rape or human trafficking? Of course not! Do you understand libertarianism at all?!)

Political libertarians don't have this sort of straightforward heuristic to fall back on. On any given question in the non-governmental domain, we might see liberty as one of many competing values. It won't always be the most important. Faced with decisions that have nothing to do with the use of coercion—how to structure a business relationship, which causes or community organizations to support, whether to go along to get along with our neighbors—freedom gives us a choice, but it doesn't help us choose.

To be sure, greater cultural freedom can be a wonderful thing. None of us, regardless of our politics, should want to live in a society in which religious, ethnic, or sexual minorities are denigrated or excluded. In this, we can learn from our comprehensive libertarian friends not to undervalue social advances that allow more people to live fuller lives of dignity. The fact that women today can choose among a far wider array of professional opportunities than we once had access to makes this a freer society, and also a better one.

At the same time, political libertarians are on strong footing when we insist that other goods must sometimes take precedence. It is often noble to sacrifice some aspect of your freedom for your family, country, or religion. Yet a strict comprehensive libertarianism would leave no space to appreciate the triumph of loyalty or honesty or bravery or humility or piety or generosity over liberty.

Nor does comprehensive libertarianism grapple with the reality that people can (and frequently do) exercise their liberty in ways that are immoral and/or destructive. Not every free choice is a good choice. Even when the harms from someone's actions are wholly internalized, they still may be tragic: A life is a terrible thing to waste. And don't kid yourself: Bad choices are rarely fully internalized. An absentee father's actions affect his kids, and a culture that is affirming toward men who abandon their families will end up with more of them. The men are arguably freer, but is the society better off?

As good libertarians, we know better than to ask the state to solve these sorts of problems, but we don't have to pretend they aren't real. To say that a good society just is a free society and a good life just is a free life is to miss all of that. Greater freedom from force and fraud is always a positive thing. Greater freedom from cultural constraints may not be.

* * *

For questions in the nongovernmental sphere, comprehensive libertarians have a default answer. Political libertarians have a parable about a fence.

In 1929, the English Catholic G.K. Chesterton asked his readers to imagine "a fence or gate erected across a road." He then described two reformers: "The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, 'I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away.' To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: 'If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.'"

This story has given aid and comfort to many an arrogant conservative in possession of exactly half the point. It's true that it counsels respect for tradition—for the wisdom, dearly bought, of those who came before us. Manners and customs and institutions can be obstacles to the cultural liberalization that comprehensive libertarians desire. They also may reflect lessons learned through trial and error, evolved solutions to genuine problems. If we smash any aspect of the culture that isn't fully committed to the project of maximizing lifestyle experimentation, we are meddling in something we do not understand.

Religion arguably is the archetype of soft infringements on personal freedom. Should we favor a culture devoid of religious faith and fervor? Or is it possible that hostility to religion draws people away from a deep source of meaning and belonging in their lives, producing alienation, deaths of despair, and a toxic politics in which people desperate for spiritual succor invest their identities in cult-like movements and embrace power-hungry leaders who assure them they're on the right side of a battle with apocalyptic stakes? We should care about such questions.

Nevertheless, the moral of Chesterton's parable is not that tradition is sacrosanct. The lesson is to use our brains: "Go away and think." He's telling us to reduce our own ignorance, especially by looking to the past—at which point we may reasonably conclude that the fence was ill-considered in the first place, or that it once served a purpose that no longer obtains, or that the problem still exists but there are better ways to address it, or that the potential upside to clearing it away is worth the calculated risks. We are not slaves to those who came before. We need not defer to the way things have always been done.

Chesterton is calling us to exercise prudence, "​​the charioteer of the virtues." That is, he's calling us to use ​​practical reason to discern the best path forward, ends as well as means, in light of the particular circumstances. Some fences continue to serve valuable purposes. Others—like the one that informally barred generations of women from most careers—deserve to come down. Comprehensive libertarians commit themselves to a blanket fence removal policy. Political libertarianism leaves open the possibility of a more prudent approach.

* * *

Rothbard's definition of libertarianism as "strictly a political philosophy" appeared in a 1981 essay challenging the late National Review literary editor Frank S. Meyer, whose ideas, nearly a decade after his death, continued to have outsize influence on the blossoming conservative intellectual scene.

Meyer's position was that conservatives in America should commit themselves to two nonnegotiable pillars. First, that government exists only to protect life, liberty, and property—nothing more. Second, that people exist to pursue rich and upright lives, traditionally understood, a task made easier when the state does its job well. Against Meyer's will, this philosophical orientation took on the sobriquet fusionism because of the way it joined an emphasis on freedom (in the governmental realm) with an emphasis on virtue (in the nongovernmental realm).

Rothbard wasn't having it. "At the heart of the dispute between the traditionalists and the libertarians is the question of freedom and virtue: Should virtuous action (however we define it) be compelled, or should it be left up to the free and voluntary choice of the individual?" he wrote. "Frank Meyer was, on this crucial issue, squarely in the libertarian camp." Thus, Rothbard concluded that "the fusionist position is simply the libertarian position," that "Frank Meyer was not a 'fusionist' but quite simply a trenchant individualist and libertarian," and that fusionism "is no 'third way,' but simply libertarianism."

This surely isn't right. While Meyer's first pillar is practically indistinguishable from political libertarianism, fusionism is distinguished from political libertarianism by the addition of a second nonnegotiable pillar. The word fusionist carries extra information, identifying a subset of political libertarians with a particular commitment to virtue (and a Chestertonian respect for fences) in the private sphere.

It's well and good to point out that there's space for fusionists of Meyer's kind under the libertarian big top. I too want my small-government-conservative friends to know they have a place in the libertarian movement if they should want it, particularly as movement conservatism continues its frightening post-liberal drift.

But Rothbard seems to think he can use smoke and mirrors to erase comprehensive libertarians from sight, writing, for example, that "only an imbecile could ever hold that freedom is the highest or indeed the only principle or end of life." This claim, which would come as a surprise to any number of my associates, offers a poignant reminder of why Rothbard is remembered as many libertarians' least favorite libertarian.

In truth, there are a variety of libertarianisms. For better or worse, our big tent has always contained a messy congeries of views. So walk the stalls and see what appeals to you. Welcome to the show.

NEXT: Politicians Propose Giving People Cash To Compensate for High Gas Prices, Inflation

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  1. Where do libertarians think rights originate? If they are solely the creation of the state, then no the headline question is no.

    Buuuut, if rights originate elsewhere, the state is on one (if a very large and dangerous) threat to liberties. And ignoring other threats and attacks on liberty would be myopic.

    1. This libertarian believes rights originate as concessions, which must be fought for and carved out from the state.

      The big question is not whether there are other threats to liberty than the state; it’s whether it’s wise to use the state to against non-state threats to liberty.

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      2. The function of government is to defend liberty, period. It's the means by which we place the retaliatory use of force under objective law.

        1. I make 85 dollars each hour for working an online job at home. KLA02 I never thought I could do it but my best friend makes 10000 bucks every month working this job and she recommended me to learn more about it. The potential with this is endless.

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        2. ^THIS.........

          Well said... If the USA was still the USA and not the Nazi-Regime everyone would know automatically that the main power (and the very reason for it's existence/creation) granted to the feds was Homeland security/military against foreign Powers using Guns to take away the founding of USA's Individual Liberty....

          Sadly the 'new' and UN-Constitutional Nazi-Regime is using those federal powers to do EXACTLY what it was created to prevent.

          Put simply; What to do when the Government starts working for the criminals/traitors instead of the people.

      3. About as anti-American as it gets.
        Rights are inherent, not granted as "concessions" by government.
        Mike keeps calling itself a libertarian, when it is clearly a progressive.
        This is because Mike Laursen is a liar whose stated goal when it first created its account is to gaslight on behalf of the left and trick casual libertarians into supporting establishment totalitarianism.

        1. Do inherent rights that include the Individual Rights of Ukrainians, Anti-Putin Russians, and the slave victims of Putin's ally Emperor Xi in Red China? Do they have a right to resist Totalitarianism?

          1. Nardz is correct regarding White Mike's claim, though.

          2. I don't give a fuck about Putin, you boomer moron.
            I care about the globalist totalitarians whose cock you're sucking with your brainwashed, bovine takes and appeal to collectivist internationalism.
            The sooner you cease to be, the better for all.
            You are the definition of a useful idiot, and faggots like you give Lindsay Graham and Joe Biden the gaslit moral support needed to fuck this country over.
            Mindless pussies like you stand in the way of necessary revolution.
            It's fucking pathetic how worked up you get about someone not hating who the TV tells you to hate, while you help totalitarian assholes overrun your own community with barely a whimper.

            1. You obviously don't give a fuck about inherent Natural Individual Rights either if you don't uphold them for all sapient beings and against all tyrants equally.

              And "Boomer?" I'm technically an X-er. I also own an old-timey percolating drip coffee pot like Marshall Dylan's, only stainless steel, as well as a SodaStream now, so I don't need Senior Coffee at Denny's or anywhere else.

              As for "faggot," I lived through being called that in Junior High School and I can live through you and anyone here calling me that.

              And anyone who wants to burn me like a "faggot" will only "trigger" a crossbow pistol and much else.

              And you know who else spoke of "necessary revolution?" Hint: It's a whole lot of who elses, including Putin's ideological predecessors.

              1. You're a gen Xer?
                If you were a boomer, at least you'd have some excuse for constantly shitting up threads with irrelevant, witless comments that don't follow the original post you reply to in any way.
                Unlike you, I'm not a collectivist progressive. I don't want my government demonizing a group of people based on an arbitrary characteristic, like nationality, with massive amounts of propaganda funded by resources taken from me and mine at gunpoint. I don't want my government confiscating more resources and putting me and mine in danger based on your pathetic sense of ignorant moral esteem and to advance their cause of globalist totalitarianism.
                You clearly don't give a shit about the rights of all sentient beings, as you claim, because you neither know nor care that your cause of the moment Ukraine has been waging war on the people of the Donbass republics for 8 years, and cut off the water supply to the people of Crimea.
                You come here to shout the things tv tells you, hate who it tells you to hate, and move the ball for Lindsay Graham and Adam Kinzinger.
                You are an enabler of the increasing totalitarianism we're getting here. How many doses deep of the vaccine are you?


                  Ukrainian refugees in Moldova pick school language of instruction for their children:
                  6%: ????????
                  6%: Ukrainian
                  88%: Russian
                  Rather telling, considering the Zelensky regime shut down Russian language instruction in 2020.


                  1. "UkRaIne FiGhTs fOr FrEeDoM!"


                    #Ukraine's President Zelensky has signed a strong anti-sedition law: it is illegal to justify, glorify, or deny the Russian invasion, or to present it as a "civil war". Political parties or organisations that violate this can be dissolved.



                      Zelensky in latest address: "The activities of politicians to divide or collude will not succeed, but will receive a harsh response."

                      "Therefore the NSDC decided, taking into account the full-scale war unleashed by the Russian Federation and the political ties that a number of political structures have with this state, to suspend any activities of a number of political parties during martial law."

                      Parties to be banned imminently: "Opposition Platform - For Life", "Shariy Party", "Nashi", "Opposition Bloc", "Left Opposition", "Union of Left Forces", "State", "Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine", "Socialist Party of Ukraine", "Socialists", "Volodymyr Saldo Bloc".


                      Name the President that imprisoned the leader of the opposition party, stacked the courts, banned opposition media, empowered secret police & armed units against his people, and whose country made top 10 lists in corruption in the world? Putin? Nope. That answer is #Zelensky

                    3. Fuck you, ecog


                      Russian thermobaric weapons should be destroyed by NATO. These are barbaric. Shame on us for just watching their use.

                      How many more people need to be killed, have their lungs exploded till we overcome our fear? The old generation talking head cold warriors are wrong

                      These are in a league with chemical weapons

                    4. My support of this fight is not for Zelenskyy, any more that my support of destroying the Axis Powers would have meant support of FDR or Stalin, the latter supported by Putin.

                      And if Russia is so concerned about Biological Weapons, don't you think they wouldn't have brought Thermobaric weapons? If a weapon can suck away all the surrounding Oxygen, couldn't that also shatter test tubes, Petri Dishes, vats, and incubators for deadly pathogens? And aren't there single-celled organisms that can survive without Oxygen?

                      Didn't think about that did you, Putineer?

                    5. Hy shit, ecog is even more stupid than I'd previously given him credit for

                    6. Nardz, I'm with you about trying to avoid WW3 if at all possible and leaving the Russians and Ukrainians to continue squabbling over whether to use the letter "I" or the backwards "N". However, your claims about Putin are nonsense, he imprisoned (and poisoned!) political adversaries, he instated mass censorship, he attacked various countries, not just Ukraine, and is a general all around asshole.

                2. You clearly don't give a shit about reality because my entire history of posting here shows I am none of these things you allege. Wish with one hand and shit in the other and see which gets filled first.

                  1. Your history of posting here shows you're a dimwit with no social skills or critical thinking ability.

                    1. Fuck off, Putineer! Go fight and die for him if you love him so much!

                  2. your entire history of posting here points to you being a boomer with a shitty sense of humor. your jokes suck, and so does your warmongering.

                    1. Back to your Jello Pudding and Boost, Joe! You can't be around heavy machinery like rational thought!

                3. Nardz, i’m afraid generation X has lots of morons. We can’t really compete with the boomers as far as sheer proportion morons per capita, but enough that the Kurt Vonnegut quote still applies :

                  "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

                4. Why would Ukraine owe any water to Crimea? They theoretically voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine. Would you still feel obligated to buy your ex girlfriend Gucci purses every month if she left you for your older, stronger brother?

                  1. They "voted" to leave Ukraine after Russian soldiers (the "little green men") took over givernment buildings and captured thr peninsula. So it was like Putin keeps getting "voted" for. Like Assad. Like Saddam. Like every other authoritarian who tries to put the most transparent sheen of legitimacy on their tyranny.

                    1. But plenty of credulous fools buy it. The term is "useful idiot". Google it.

      4. No. Rights are not determined in conjunction with the state. Powers of the state are granted through the constitution. Your belief is backwards

      5. This libertarian believes rights originate as concessions

        You're no more a libertarian than Pol Pot, you authoritarian shill. You've proven that time and time again here.
        Who do you think you're tricking?

        1. I think he's got a point. Might makes right. If there were only two people on earth, you and someone far stronger and more violent than you, living in close proximity, you could talk in circles all day long about your natural rights derived from God. Yet it wouldn't mean a thing in real life. If your (human) superior didn't allow you any concessions, all of your natural rights would be theoretical.

      6. Individual Rights are inherent in Man's nature as a rational animal who has to think, produce, and keep and use the results of his production in order to survive. This nature and these rights pre-existed the State and take primacy over the State. We do not owe the State for the existence of our rights.

        Individual Rights can only be threatened by initiation of force and fraud, which can come from either criminal individuals or criminal gangs or governments, whether Local, State, National, Foreign or Domestic. Libertarians should stand ready to resist these violations by physical resistance if necessary.

        The idea of Individual Rights can be disparaged and degraded by the culture as found in religion, academia, business, media, entertainment, and elsewhere in society. While responding to this this doesn't require physical resistance, it does require presenting an alternate view and the creation of an alternate pro-Individual Rights culture and media.

        Libertarians should stand consistently against all threats in all forms to Individual Rights.

        1. I'll mostly agree with your comments here but suggest that rights aren't found through anything but mere existence as an individual. What rights do you have if standing alone on an island? Answer: All of them.

          Now it can be said that we agree to [or have forced upon us] limit the application [with consequences] of some of these rights for the purpose and privilege of social or government convenience, but the rights themselves are never ceded. One cannot cede rights any more than someone can cede responsibility. Unfortunately, we have seen the latter be excused at a rate even faster than the former.

          It is this concept of rights that gives meaning to the term, "human rights", and that means that nobody else as an individual or some corporate [governmental or business] has a right to deprive us of those rights, and can only modify the social consequences by changing the structure of social agreements. Hence the beauty of a Constitution that sets up limitations on the most powerful of all entities, the government. The idea here of course is that because the government could not abridge those rights, they would stand in our place against all others who would also abridge those rights.

          The fallacy here is found in collusion, aka fascism, when government colludes to have the "others" abridge those rights, invoking the "cuz private party" or other similar excuse. Therefore, if I as a government official am precluded from kicking in your door without a warrant, I'll just ask a private party who isn't constitutionally restricted to do it. The difficulty is in finding the collusion when it's not in the best interest of those who are doing the colluding to talk about it.

          The only consensus here has to do with morality, not rights, but that's a different conversation.

      7. Rights predate the government.
        A just government exists to secure those rights. You dumb fascist fuck.

      8. Where does the state get the ability to afford "concessions" that you deem rights?

        Put another way, what gives people the right to form a state that then allows "concessions"?

        You have it completely backward. The state is a concession made by the people in order to coordinate a unified defense of their rights.

      9. People like you are certainly a threat. You support every dark and evil thing that comes from government.

  2. I think the libertarian way to look at culture and social conventions is as a marketplace. You should have the legal right to be "different", but for those differences you may pay a "social price" in terms of reputation, friendships and opportunities.
    Of course, as with any market, social prices can change over time as attitudes change. For example, an interracial relationship was once scandalous but now for most people it's "who cares?"

    1. Very well said!

      Here is another take on such things, from a while ago, but not utterly ancient times:

      (Short version up top).
      Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, ‘The State must follow, and not lead, the character and progress of the citizen.’

      Here is the full-blown quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
      ‘Republics abound in young civilians who believe that the laws make the city, that grave modifications of the policy and modes of living and employments of the population, that commerce, education and religion may be voted in or out; and that any measure, though it were absurd, may be imposed on a people if only you can get sufficient voices to make it a law. But the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow and not lead the character and progress of the citizen; that the form of government which prevails is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population which permits it. The law is only a memorandum.’

      Another relevant Emerson quote:
      “All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves.”

      So anyway, suppose that Government Almighty goes too far, and mandates no-meat diets, which many people disagree with, just like the War on Drugs today…
      Then there will be underground, makeshift, amateurish animal-killing-and-butchering shops, where the animals will be treated far less humanely than they are today! (Thank You Do-Gooders!!!)
      You will not be able to let Fluffy or Fido wander through the bushes in your own back yard, for fear of meat-hungry lawbreaking pet-snatchers!
      (But, Meat-Hungry Lawbreaking Pet-Snatchers would make an MOST EXCELLENT name for a garage band!)

      . . . . . . . .
      (Bonus material below)

      In case anyone doesn’t understand what we are saying here… “We” being me & the Ralph Waldo Emerson in my pocket…
      If I passed a law saying that one may no longer burn witches for killing our calves and babies, and making our crops fail, just because they are witches using witchcraft… People would laugh at me. We got over witch-burning a LONG time ago, so those laws aren’t needed any more!
      We’ve gotten over totally overt anti-black-people bias, to the point where we might start ditching those laws as well. In their place, enforce “truth in advertising” laws… Do NOT put up a sign in your shop, saying “all races welcome here”, and then act to the contrary to your sign! For lack of a non-discrimination sign, and for bad behavior, MOST people today, would punish such a shop, enough! Boycotts work!
      More tolerance for gays is newer than more tolerance for blacks. Give it time… In due time, cake-baking laws will be as un-needed as witch-protection laws are today! Ralph Waldo Emerson was right! Let the state follow the progress of the citizens, and not vice versa! Vice versa causes WAAAY too much fighting, and WAAAY too much stupid!

    2. Generally speaking, with a bit of inexact language handwaving, so apologies, philosophy deals with knoledge, understanding and actions/ethics/individual behavior and governance/group behavior. It appears that what you set forth as libertarianism deals with a bit of governance and mostlyh individual action, with real punt towards group actions ("you may pay a "social price" in terms of reputation, friendships and opportunities.") That doesn't seem like a viable philosophy. To ignore group behaviors seems inherently unstable. That is abondining the field of governance isn't going to protect inidivual liberty.

  3. Just the latest attempt by Reason to rationalize embracing socialism.

    1. No, actually this is just the latest attempt by Reason to rationalize witchcraft, evil sorcery, Satanism, and an abject FAILURE to protect society from vote-stealing Demon-Craps, witches, vampires, zombies, Lizard People, and MANY-MANY others, who, in a sane society, would be burned alive, on sight!

      1. Distraction aside, can you explain how Carlos is wrong?

        1. Why try to reason with unreasonable people, witch-burners, and Perfect People (narcissists) like you, Oh Perfect Necrophiliac? Unless one is a masochist, and enjoys futility and frustration?

        2. You just enjoy asking obviously absurd questions, don't you? 😉

    2. Kinder Gentler Statism

    3. How is what the article discussed anything like socialism? Or do you just slap that label, willy-nilly, on anything you don't like?

  4. From the article: "...the question Rothbard begs: Is individual liberty merely the highest political principle, the thing for which government exists, or is it a philosophical north star by which to direct all aspects of our lives?"

    Here is a fart smeller... I mean, a smart feller... ... Who says the BIG picture is "The Golden Rule", and libertarianism is simply a narrower branch (straight-forward derivative) of the same. Import from there is below...

    Libertarianism (non-authoritarianism) is a straight-forward derivative of the “Golden Rule”. You do NOT want others to assume that they are your moral superiors? You don’t want them to boss you around all day, every day? Then don’t do that to them! You want your freedom and dignity? Grant it to others as well!

    When everything “good” is mandated, and everything “bad” is prohibited, there will be NO room left for human freedom, and human individual judgment!

    Government Almighty force is (should be) reserved for uses that protect us all against evil people! We can almost all (say, 80% or more) agree that murder, violence (real violence not verbal “violence”), rape, theft, theft-by-deception, and gross, blatant, and obvious environmental pollution (dumping of toxins) is bad. Let’s use force or the threat of force to protect our freedoms from these things. Beyond that, let’s tread very carefully!

    1. Individual liberty, yesterday, today, and tomorrow ignores Human Nature and group behavior, be it family, tribe, city, or nation. To not acknowledge or make plans for groups of people acting together (for good or ill) is just not sustainable.

      1. We are both individuals and members of groups. Humans are highly social animals... To deny that is ??? denying reality, basically.

        But we thrive better when we "let a thousand flowers bloom". Let each person pick which "tribes" he or she wants to be a part of, and to what extent. The hallmarks of totalitarians include power-pigishness... A denial of the immense good of "poly-centrism", power split to many entities. ALL Power to The State! And the dictator IS the State! NO power left over for truly free artists, churches or other religious organizations, media, civic clubs, schools, sports associations, or (even or maybe especially) comedians! The power pigs will NOT allow you to make jokes at their expense!

        So yes, a sensible libertarian would NEVER get in your way if you want to freely join some organization, and act as part of this organization or "tribe"! Just don't get in my way if I want to join some other "tribe"!

        1. But the question for libertarians is will they support and defend attacks on liberty by other than the state. Reason, and quite a bit of the left and right in the governance class, are all 'Private corps can do whatever they want, no matter the cost to the individual, unless it a bout baking cakes.'

          1. Libertarians do not support attacks...


            1. In practice, the non-aggression principle is a gold-standard guide to what to do, but reality is messy.

              Is it wrong to preemptively attack someone if you are very sure they are about to attack you? If you know anything about street fighting or war, yes, it is often your best chance of fighting the aggressor off.

              When we have a quagmire that has been going on for years, building up grievances, such as between Israel and Palestine, can you really anymore on analysis that depends on who was the initial aggressor? Practically, no. The only hope for peace is to stop feuding.

              When a child is young, parents often force them to do things. The younger, and less knowledgable about the world the child is, the more the parental use of force is justified.

              These are just some examples of where the real world is too messy to fit nicely into purist libertarian philosophy.

              1. Ahh. The classic trope of rationalization of authoritarianism through government parentalism.

                1. Only TRUMP is qualified to be Our Big Daddy!!!!!

                  Trump’s Big Lie and Hitler’s: Is this how America’s slide into totalitarianism begins?

                  The above is mostly strictly factual, with very little editorializing. When I post it, the FACTS never get refuted… I only get called names. But what do you expect from morally, ethically, spiritually, and intellectually bankrupt Trumpturds?

                  Totalitarians want to turn GOP into GOD (Grand Old Dicktatorshit).

                  1. And Sqrlsy senses danger to White Mike's narrative and rushes in to shitpost and redirect.

              2. If you believe that, leave the democrat party, renounce their evil ways, and inform on your fellow travelers.

              3. The world definitely does get messy wben people like you leave an opening for initiation of force.

                If you know someone is about to attack you (and believe you me Liberty has enemies both foreign and domestic,) then you gird up your defenses, then be ready to block and counterstrike hard and without mercy. That means border walls on the ground, a Navy surounding the entire perimeter of the Contiguous States and Alaska and Hawaii, an Anti-Ballistic Missile system in the air, keller satellites in space, and U.S. Marines, Special Forces, Delta Force, and SEALs (not SEALIONS, mind you) throughout the whole set-up. In other words, everything that has been disparaged and poo-pooed for defense by Welfare Statist Lefties iand Globetrotting Neo-Conservatives for the past 70 years.

                As for the Arab-Israeli conflict, I think the one who wants to totally destroy the other if they can is the one that is in the wrong. Clearly, even with nuclear weapons, Israel couldn't destroy the entire Arab and Islamic world even if it wanted to--which, of course, it doesn't--so, by process of elimination, the Arabs and the Islamic world are in the wrong for wanting to destroy Israel. Next question.

                And smart parents can use persuasion on impressionable minds and gentle goading in the right direction and don't have to force even children to teach them to do right.

                Indeed, iniitiation of force on children in the name of teaching them to not initiate force is beyond cognitive dissonance and should mean an automatic blacklist on the custody or baby-sitter pool. If I ever get an urge to want children, remind me not to have you nearby.

          2. That one is a hard issue. Common sense and benevolence would go a LONG way towards solving it! Emergency rooms? No discrimination allowed! Lives are at stake!

            Cake baking? No one EVER died for lack of a gay wedding cake! Live and let the free bakers live!

            But yes, OK, I see what you're driving at, now. I have no magic formulas to offer here, sorry...

            1. I think is comes down to reason and a lot of liberatarians being fully in support of individual cell rights, and hey, if they want to self organize into larger collectives, its their right. But then, these larger colelctives decide to weaponize anti-biotics to protect THEIR rights, and, sure, given enough indiviudal cells, some might evolve to stricke back, but 99+% of them might be killed along the way.

              And, Reason and lot of libertarians will be, that's not okay, but colonies like jelly fish aren't the same a humans, so humans doing bio warefare is wrong, but jelly fish is 'private actors.'

              Perhaps we took the worng offramp when we allowed groups (firms, corps, municipalities) to be considered 'individuals' in law and such, when the they are organized as other than sole proprietiorships.

              Maybe, the question isn't about the state, but about collective / distributive 'ownership'. If that is the case, then I would be happy to say that should be the focus of libertarian policies and concern.

              1. Cells & bacteria unifying etc.? Google "quorum sensing" in bacteria if you're not familiar with it! It is my fond hope that benevolent people and libertarians will "quorum sense" among themselves some day, somehow, and KICK ALL THE BUMS OUT of political power, and replace them with benevolent non-power-pigs!

              2. "Maybe, the question isn't about the state, but about collective / distributive 'ownership'. If that is the case, then I would be happy to say that should be the focus of libertarian policies and concern."


                IMO we made the wrong turn when we legalized voting without mandating property ownership. That led to the property tax which funds tyranny and makes one's own lifetime of work and income a collective/distributive property.

                Collectivists love "one for all" but neglect "all for one" so the whole house of cards collapses under the crushing weight of the ever expanding state as individuals get stamped out of existence.

                Eventually all that is left is a stagnant, fetid swamp where everyone is equally miserable, rotten and dying... Like DC.

            2. Google the terms (if you're not already familiar with them) "regulatory capture" and "concentrated benefits, diffuse costs", and that will describe the sad case of power to "special interest" groups, to include private groups and government employees alike. This is clearly a concern to libertarians operating in the real world, and desiring traction. Other than "educating the public" about these kinds of concerns, I have no special comments. This is one of those "perpetual battles", I think. An "infinity war"!

              PS... My special interest GOOD!!! Your special interest BAD!!!

          3. Kristian, private corporations don't block anyone with guns from going about their day. That's how they differ from governments, and why they cannot really take rights away from people. At least, until Google develops its drone army...

      2. No.

        Individual liberty is the natural order of things and the basic mandate for any and all civilization.

        Individuality is human nature.

        The purpose of our republic is to prevent the majority from exerting tyranny over the individual. The Federal Government of the United States had no other legitimate purpose.

        1. "...that to preserve these rights governments are instituted among men..."

          We already understood this.

          If all we were doing is recapitulating what was already agreed upon then why the need for a re-branding as 'libertarianism?'

          I'm afraid that libertarianism is not - in practice - all that much about the concept formerly understood to be liberty.

          To be sure, there are people who say that is the goal. But if you look at what they are actually doing you might begin to see a difference.

        2. Individuality is human nature.”

          I’m not sure that is so. Tribalism and small communities have been the core of human nature since prehistoric times, with our current experiment in individualism and individual rights only going back to The Enlightenment.

          Personally, I suspect there is some sweet spot that balances of lots of individual rights with some social obligations. This is pretty much classical liberalism, but it is not, say, Rothbardian libertarianism or Objectivism or anarcho-linertarianism.

          1. The Industrial Revolution changed that though. We don't live in small groups we live in NY and L.A. Huge cities where we come in contact with numerous strangers every day and have to have means of peacefully dealing with each other.

          2. Cooperation with the tribe, family, society, etc are all decisions that are generated within each part of that group and done so individually. As Rand said, the smallest minority is the individual and there are no groups in the real world, only convergent interests and cooperation among individuals. The "group" is merely a rhetorical term to describe this converging interests of otherwise self-interested actors.

            I m not born as a cooperating member of my family. It is a choice. And there are times where I choose differently than them. And the same goes for everyone. Thus, individual freedom of consciousness and individual freedom to pursue the necessity of life as understood by the individual are human nature. Any group dynamic is definitionally merely a post "individual decision" phenomenon whereby a multitude of individuals agreed to work in concert together and maybe even place the now-created (thus not naturally occuring) group interest above their own. But again... that is a decision that can only be made by each member individually. The group had no ability to create itself. The individual already exists in nature.

            1. I agree to a large extent. I would go even further and say that when the assumption is made that a person is a certain way because they are in a group, that dismissal of individual heterodoxy causes the problems of divisiveness in American politics.

              Libertarianism is broadly describes as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Which is hard for some to accept. You can be in favor of people being allowed to do what they want as long as they aren't hurting anyone else and, by the same logic, resist excessive regulations and licensing, corporate and individual tax loopholes, and differences in treatment under the law.

              So if someone wants to have paid-for sex with a man and a woman while snorting coke and betting on Australian underwater tiddlywinks, why should we, as society, care? But someone who believes that is usually lumped in with AOC and the lunatic (economic) left because people refuse to believe that you can support social liberty AND economic liberty, since that wouldn't put you on either "team".

              It gets even worse as the two "teams", with smaller support than those who are unaffiliated and live in the center, try to shoehorn people into the two fringes.

              27% of Americans are Republicans. 29% are Democrats. 44% are neither. Why are we allowing the lunatics at the fringes of the two smaller groups to define America?

              As long as we have elected representatives more beholden to their tiny tribes and more focused on demonizing the "other team" than voting their conscience or (even better) the will of their constituents we will continue to split apart.


    Deleted a thread speculating about Zelensky's location, not because I think I'm wrong but because I got nervous about being mass-reported for "disinformation" and losing this account. I hate to tiptoe, but this is a new censorship environment and I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    1. Nardz the Nazi.

      1. KAR the widow doxxing troll.

        1. ML the lying troll

          1. We should dox you and have some fun with that. You progs need to learn your p,ace.

        2. The cunt shouldn’t make it so easy to find her while indoctrinating kids and having a pig husband violating non-Mormons civil rights.

          That cunt deserves much worse.

          1. Ah, Kirkland. I thought I smelled something.

          2. I really hope you’re the victim of a Mormon gang rape. That seems fitting for trash like you.

          3. No, KAR. Unacceptable. I disagree with her often, but she is entitled to say her piece and not be harassed and stalked. Make an argument against what she says, don't do ad hominem attacks.

            Like I kept saying in another thread, try to stick to the "don't be a dick" approach.

    2. Great thread, Nardz.

      Loving the South Park stuff... LMAO.

    3. Yo Nardz....You say your say. Interesting tweet.

  6. Conservatives are as likely to suspect or reject libertarianism as liberals. Any person or group who wants people to behave in some preferred way, specific or general, opposes the fundamental ideals of individual liberty.

    Any libertarian who sees conservatives as allies in the fight against socialism would not likely enjoy the culturally restricted world those conservatives seek to create.

    1. Well said; kudos to you!

      1. You got a "kudos" from Sqrlsy, Earth-based. You might want to seriously reconsider your entire beliefs.

    2. Any person or group who wants people to behave in some preferred way, specific or general, opposes the fundamental ideals of individual liberty.

      I think this is verrrrry close, but not quite specific enough. Wanting someone to behave in a particular way is fine, and telling them so is fine, and even attempting to shame them is fine-- but physical force is over the line, including wanting to codify said behavior into law.

      Our non-government institutions spend all kinds of time encouraging us to do good things (or bad things), be good citizens, etc. They are critical to a functioning society in large part because they separate behavior encouragement from behavior requirement, which should be the very narrow purview of government.

      1. This! An excellent presentation of the dangers if legislating morality or culture.

      2. One of the reasons to push government lower down and closer to the people is so certain institutions that involve group organization can be governed by the group doing the organizing - like schools.

        Subsidiaries should have some place in libertarianism, but I haven’t seen much of it.

    3. "Any person or group who wants people to behave in some preferred way, specific or general, opposes the fundamental ideals of individual liberty."

      No. Wrong. "Want" is different than "Compel" I can want lots of things different than they are, but that doesn't make me an enemy of liberty until I force others to implement my wants.

      1. Fair point. It's the "compel" part that's the problem.

        It's the core of my issue with cultural conservatives in general and anti-abortionists in particular. If you fail to convince people that your position is correct, using the state to do it for you is as anti-libertarian as it comes.

    4. That wouldn't be totally fair, since there are also different varieties of Conservatism, such as Economic Conservatives, Religious/Social Conservatives, "Crunchy" Conservatives, Neo-Conservatives, and National Conservatives.

      Of all these, Economic Conservatives such as Barry Goldwater, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Thomas Sowell, and Walter E. Williams are the most compatible with Libertarianism and have always made for great, thought-provoking reading.

      1. Exactly right on the Economics cons. Whereas the Neo-Conservatives are about as far away from libertarianism as one can get.

        It's notable however that many purported left-libertarians have been playing footsy with the neocons lately, and regurgitating their arguments even here.
        Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, Max Boot, David Frum, Dick and Lynn Cheney, David French, Joe Scarborough, Jennifer Rubin, Colin Powell, John Bolton, etc. are all now left-libertarian darlings.

        1. The idea of speading the ways of Individual Rights, Limited Government and Free Markets to the rest of the world is wonderful, but spending American blood and treasure to do it is wrongheaded and cognitive dissonance of the highest magnitude.

          We are better off just trying to live the ideal at home, being the good example, and spreading the word on how it's done.

          Also, there is the steel-clad law that makes all Multi-Level Marketing schemes fail: No idea, good, or service has 100 percent market penetration. Libertarian ideas are no exception. There will always be places and people that are unreachable. Fortunately, Libertarians are as unreachable by Authoritarians and Totalitarians. And so it goes, and so it goes...

        2. You can leave off the libertarian. Leftist darlings.

    5. After a century of progressivism "conservatives" is all but meaningless unless one states what it is you think they are attempting to conserve.

    6. Any libertarian who sees conservatives as allies in the fight against socialism would not likely enjoy the culturally restricted world those conservatives seek to create.

      And I'll worry about that once the pendulum is finally reaching the peak of it's arc, and about to start heading the other direction.

      1. That never ends well. It can be called "catching a tiger by the tail", but it's"s more like the parable of the frog and the scorpion.

    7. Equating conservatives with socialists is disingenuous. The harshest conservatives won't outlaw most things you think they would if given the power, as they have not done so in the past. They'll still allow gay sex to exist, interracial couples, people to buy condoms, atheists to publish books etc. They may annoy the libertines here and their but their actual curtailing of rights would be minimal. Whereas the socialists want to run your entire life to its last detail, and have demonstrated it.

      1. They're still fighting whatever part of gay marriage they can, trying to ban abortion, trying to create a privileged class for religion, fighting legal immigration, making it as hard as possible for legal voters to vote, and generally being dragged kicking and screaming into moden American culture.

        Because they are convinced of the righteousness of their beliefs and the average American largely disagrees, the only way cultural conservatives can get what they want is by coercing it through legislation, blocking legislation favored by most Americans, and manipulating the nomination of judges and justices.

        Literally every issue you say they won't try to ban are things they either fought against before reasonable Americans finally overcame their intransigence (interracial marriage and free condom distribution) or things that they are still trying to stop (sodomy, OTC contraception like Plan B, and books that they don't like in schools).

        They would curtail rights, without a doubt, because American culture has moved past their biases and the only way they can get back to the world as they want it to be is forcing everyone else to live by their beliefs.

        Socialists and cultural conservatives are quite similar in the constraints they would try to impose on an American citizenry that largely rejects their extreme beliefs. The only real difference is that socialists aren't going to get power in America in my lifetime, if at all.

    8. It’s still a million times bette than the pure dystopia nightmare the Marxists/democrats are making for us now.



    One of the most significant polling charts explaining the current iteration of US politics, free speech, authoritarianism, and internet freedom:

  8. It has always bugged me, reading Rand, that her heroes are always ranting about individualism, but their succeeding only with the help of others.

    The evils of collectivism aren't in community, but in forced community.

    To quote Hayek:

    "It is one of the greatest weaknesses of our time that we lack the patience and faith to build up voluntary organizations for purposes which we value highly, and immediately ask the government to bring about by coercion (or with means raised by coercion) anything that appears as desirable to large numbers. Yet nothing can have a more deadening effect on real participation by the citizens than if government, instead of merely providing the essential framework of spontaneous growth, becomes monolithic and takes charge of the provision for all needs, which can be provided for only by the common effort of many."

    The strength of a society lies in the health of its voluntary associations. Government is an essentially involuntary organization. The bigger it gets, the weaker the voluntary associations, and the weaker the society.

    1. "The evils of collectivism aren't in community, but in forced community."

      Well stated.

      Society is voluntary by definition. We have not had society in the US since the Civil War, when the feds made participation in its rotten culture mandatory.

      1. “Since the civil war”

        Because slavery was voluntary.

        Let me guess your from the south?

        1. I’m against the death penalty, but the US would be a much better place if we’d hung all the southern traitors after the civil war.

          1. It would be a lot better if we hung the Marxist democrats now.

        2. Before the War Between the States, the USA was plural. Afterwards it was singular. Before the war states were mostly autonomous, voluntarily paying a federal government to provide for defense and to facilitate free trade. After the war the states became mandatory participants, or rather property of the federal government.

          1. It definitely isn't that stark, nor is there such a clearly defined before/after dichotomy.

            The Civil War wasn't about state's rights, no matter how hard the Lost Cause historians try to claim it.

            The "sovereign states" idea proved to be a failure under the Articles of Confederation. It's why the Constitution was necessary, to save our nacent nation from failing.

          2. No the Confederates were traitors. They seceded and started the war to protect slavery.

            1. True. The Lost Cause of the Confederacy is a historical theory created and promulgated as apologism for the Confederacy by denying it was about slavery and putting forth various other "reasons" for it. It's almost completely ignored by historians, but if you hear the phrase "The War of Northen Aggression", the Lost Cause is where it came from.

              1. Wasn't the Lost Cause really popularized by Gone With the Wind? Nevertheless, there were many causes for the (inaptly named) Civil War, and state sovereignty was one of the causes. Some even say there was an ethnic element (Celtic descendants vs Anglo-Germanic ones, not to mention the foreign mercenaries which I think made up a fourth or a third of the North's forces).

                1. What you are saying is literally Lost Cause positions. It was a Civil War. It was started by the Confederacy. It was about slavery. And the Confederacy was absolutely in the wrong.

                  There were two main periods where the Lost Cause was most strongly embraced by Southerners. The early 20th Century, when most of the Confederate statues were erected and the second iteration of the KKK rose, and the Civil Rights era, when racial violence in the South was rampant and the third iteration of the KKK arose.

                  As you have so clearly demonstrated, the fiction of the Lost Cause is stubbornly clung to by a small fringe group of conservatives that refuse to acknowledge the documented history of the Confederacy.

                  1. What a twisted, bullshit interpretation of US history.

                    1. Well, it's the one that has the facts and documentation to back it up.

                      As opposed to the Lost Cause fantasy that the Confederacy was some sort of honorable action by defenders of states rights.

            2. Well, the democrats are traitors now. They should be executed as such.

    2. I think Communitarianism is what you seek, safety nets, not hammocks and all that.
      Nothing wrong with existing as a group as long as everyone puts the efforts in and gets out on a par with what they put in.
      Some outsider dick bags turn up and want a claim on whats yours, you send them on their way. The lazy can go fuck themselves.

    3. Individualism isn't a rejection of community and others but a centering of the individual within it recognizing the tension placed on them by others. The individual chooses based on what is best for them not what "the community" demands of them. I can only think of one reason why you cannot get that.

      1. To be fair, we have a situation where individuality is expected to be subsumed to the group. It is one of the things that allow the GOP to exert the influence they do.

        Heterodoxy is the definition of individuality, while orthodoxy is necessary to wield outsized influence, but is inherently hostile to individual issue profiles and beliefs.

        Political litmus tests are the way orthodoxy is enforced. The GOP is dominated by cultural conservatism and expects their representatives to support it regardless of whether it fails to comport with their personal or, even worse, their constituents' views. The Dems are dominated by collectivist ideals that aren't shared by all elected officials or their constituents, but it is required of them in the legislature and judiciary.

        If moderates could assert themselves and create a heterodox coalition of elected officials that run the gamut from center-right to center-left, with an emphasis on individual liberty, we would be better off as a country. Not a third party, but a support network so that they aren't reliant on the two parties to win election/re-election and are free to represent their constituents rather than the party policy platform.

    4. Rand does not reject the role other people play in the success or failure of the individual. In fact, Galt's oath accepts this as critical to freedom.

      “I swear – by my life and my love of it – that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine”

      Rand's characters trade value for value, demanding and expecting nothing. If someone does not value them, they have no right to demand of others. But without others providing value in return, life loses its richness. This is seen in the actress and the composer in Galt's Gulch. Trade among free people based on recognition of not just their own value as people... but the value of each person in themselves, is the foundation of Rand's characters.

      This is what I feel is the greatest misconception (and from many of the left mischaracterization even) of Rand. Yes... she is a individualist. BUT... she holds firmly that such a belief requires it to be extended to others as well. It is just as giving of respect as it is of demanding respect.

  9. Such a hope seems to have animated Murray Rothbard when he wrote in 1981 that "libertarianism is strictly a political philosophy, confined to what the use of violence should be in social life." As such, he added, it "is not equipped" to take one position or another on personal morality or virtue.

    He wanted distance from the Randroids. See "Mozart Was A Red".

    1. I’ll look that up. One thing I never understood was Rothbard’s intellectual odyssey which led him from flirtation with the CNN New Left to Paleo-Conservatism

      1. Not CNN.? My phone is acting up

        1. IIRC, towards the end of his life, Rothbard got so Paleo, he even ended up endorsing David Duke For President. Sadly, I think he got into Pudding Cup Joe territory as he got older.

  10. The libertarian big tent isn't as big as you think.
    There's about a 0.5% core of libertarian voters, maybe 1.0% since half of them don't vote.
    If you soft-peddle liberty to lefties, you might get 3% like Johnson did.
    A serious right-leaning libertarian could maybe hit 5%, since small-government conservatives are the more natural allies.

    Unfortunately, Trump and TDS seem to have split what few libertarians there are even further.

    1. Libertarians whi castigated trump for behaviors while ignoring actions and do the opposite for people like biden aren't actually libertarians.

    2. Trump and TDS didn't change libertarians. It changed conservatives.

      1. Lol. Wow. Youre still just wrong. If you look at the various charts on alignment conservatives didn't shift under trump, the democrats and the left did. But knowing this, those who lush false centrism such as yourself are naturally also pulled laugh because you refuse to acknowledge reality and participate in golden mean fallacies.

        The Overton window has shifted left. Full stop. You shifted with the center of that window.

        Let's see how trump changed conservatives.

        They still majority supported abortion. They passed smaller taxes. Trump reduced regulations he could while bound by the impoundment act. Went after anti free market actors like China.

        So what changed? No more foreign intervention with the military. You got him there sarc.

        1. Sorry abortion regulations post first trimester.

        2. Tax cuts for the sake of tax cuts isn't a good thing. The Trump tax cuts were poorly targeted and the beneficiatries weren't the ones who would use the boon to expand prosperity for the middle class.

          The tariffs were an unmitigated disaster, with the costs being borne by the American consumer and resulting in absolutely no leverage or change in Chinese policy and behavior.

          Deregulation was the most successful part of Trump's presidency, but that was also applied erratically and inefficiently so it didn't benefit the average American as much as it should have.

          We continued our foreign adventurism under Trump and the disengagements we did see were uncoordinated and seemingly random, like abandoning the Kurds but staying in Afghanistan.

          Overall it was a poor presidency for libertarian ideals.

          1. To answer your points one by one:
            --Poorly targeted? Who didn't get a tax cut?
            --As for tariffs - well, you can believe in the world market or you can believe in the American market. But not both.
            --Deregulation wasn't in place long enough for you to make that broad of a statement. Thanks to the Covid fiasco and then Biden, it never got a chance to take off.
            --Staying in Afghanistan I'll agree with. As for other "foreign adventurism" - what are you talking about? Trump did less than any president in the past 90 years.

            I'd say Trump was more libertarian than any president in history.

            1. -Since there is only one (or possibly two, if you're lucky) tax cuts possible in a Presidency, targeting the middle class should be the focus. The bulk of the total benefits went to the higher-income middle class and upper class. And even worse the property tax cap, while reducing the amount of deficit produced by the tax cut, ended up being disproportionately damaging to the middle class in high states with high land prices due to high demand. It was a shot at punishing "blue states", but the reason it worked is that those states have higher economic activity and land value. Your typical middle class homeowner in someplace like New Jersey (especially northern NJ), with sky-high demand for land and housing, got thoroughly hosed.

              -That doesn't even make sense. The tariffs didn't drive companies to do business elsewhere bexause relocating supply chains is a long and costly endeavor. It just led to companies oassing the costs directly on to the consumer. They were a tax on Americans that accomplished exactly nothing.

              -It's easy to see that there was no plan in the deregulations. They were pretty clearly the hobby-horses of various allies and officials that were so diffuse as to be a series one-off gifts to special interests without any central purpose. They weren't aimed at licensing reform or reducing small business costs or minimizing government oversight of industry. Which is why I said they were erratic and inefficient. Because they were.

              -With the exception of abruptly walking away from the Kurds, which made us look like unreliable allies, what else did he do? With even a little time and thought we could have communicated our intention to pull back and done it over a few months to prevent the perception that we just bailed out on people who trusted us. And throwing Russia a bone while leaving us in Afghanistan was doubling down on bad decisions. It was a complete shitshow and horribly done, but at least Biden got us out of Afghanistan. Twelve years too late and we should have been out under Obama or Trump, but at least we're out of that quagmire.

              The deregulation was good, since any reduction in the Mount Everest of unnecessary regulations is a good thing, but it was a golden opportunity to have a long-term impact and instead we got a bunch of "look what I did" window dressing with no staying power.

              1. * high economic activity states with high land prices

              2. The deregulation was good, since any reduction in the Mount Everest of unnecessary regulations is a good thing, but it was a golden opportunity to have a long-term impact and instead we got a bunch of "look what I did" window dressing with no staying power.

                How do you get more than temporary in anything deviating from status quo with our current governing oligarchy?

        3. Sarc would rather see the world burn than admit Trump did anything good. All he cares about is his hatred of Trump and conservatives.

    3. Are you saying that serious libertarianism must be right-leaning?

      1. That's what right wingers believe.

        1. You have never answered the question. What on the right is as threatening as even the green new deal or the lefts calls for morality based medical care under covid?

          You have always avoided this question.

          1. The Green New Deal doesn't have traction in mainstream Democratic party. The wingnuts like AOC harp on it all the time, but that's because the cemter-left moderates have kept it out of the mainstream policy agenda. As they should. So it isn't anybthreat right now, but if the progressive wing ends up supplanting the moderates for control of the Dem party it could become one.

            I'm not sure what "morality based medical care under Covid" is, so I don't see it as a threat. If you could be more specific about what you mean I might be able to agree with you.

            But cultural conservatism is a huge threat to individual liberty. Anti-abortion legislation to opposition to gay marriage and adoption, just to name a couple, require state coercion and restrict individual liberty without a factual basis for the restrictions.

            As of right now the conservative movement is more hostile to libertarian ideals of personal liberty than liberals, although that always has the potential to change. Both established parties generally favor much more collectivist and coercive moral action than the average libertarian is comfortable with.

            1. Then why are states like California mandating electric cars? The "Build Back Better" bill had large pieces of the GND in it. This is just denial on a whole new level.

              1. Every environmental initiative or green-energy subsidy isn't the Green New Deal.

                1. No, but a lot of the shit in THAT bill is GND. Now answer the fucking question.

        2. Might have made sense before the right abandoned commitment to fiscal conservatism and started allying with Christian Nationalism.

          1. Citation needed on Christian Nationalism. Another made up boogeyman the left churns out to scare people. Meanwhile their actual boogeymen are elected into office.
            The projection on the left is strong.

            1. It’s a meaningless term they can project on anything that they don’t like. Since they are incapable of debating any subject on it’s merits.

          2. Republican swamp creatures like McConnell aren’t conservatives. Conservatives haven’t abandoned shit.

      2. Yes. Left leaning means big government and big authoritarianism. It's the opposite of libertarianism.

  11. Libertarians need to be suspect of all concentrations of power that can influence an individuals right to life. A concentration of markets to remove someone's participation in markets is just as dangerous as the government removing that right. Things like ESGs used to limit market place behaviors are highly dangerous.

    When Amazon and Google use their influence to shut down competitors those are anti market actions through collusion. It is a manipulation of the market from outsized powers which libertarians have historically shunned. Yet for some reason now blindly support like idiots. This is especially dangerous as corporations merge powers with government which leftitarians also blindly ignore as parts of their culture desires are mirrored in these mergers.

    Reason has been especially blind to these issues as shown by this very article. They slant left and ignore these government private mergers as they think they will get sex and drugs but at the expense of political autonomy and actual free markets.

    1. Censorshit from Amazon and Google is just HORRIBLE! 'Cause Not My Tribe! Censorshit by Parler is WONDERFUL, though, right, right-wing-wrong-nut?


    2. "When Amazon and Google" do anything libertarians should recognize that, as corporations, they are acting as entities of the state.

      If bake the cake is the operating standard then they do not even need to be acting anticompetitively to warrant scrutiny and sanction.

      1. "When Amazon and Google" do anything libertarians should recognize that, as corporations, they are acting as entities of the state."

        Please let me know when Google last imprisoned, taxed, beat, or killed anyone with the sanction of the Collective Hive? Or confiscated their assets without collective blessings?

        Is Ford Motors a branch of Government Almighty? What laws have they passed lately?

        1. Please let me know when Google last imprisoned, taxed, beat, or killed anyone with the sanction of the Collective Hive? Or confiscated their assets without collective blessings?

          I didn't know that libertarianism meant you can do anything you want to someone else as long as it's not imprisoning, taxing, beating or killing people, or confiscating their assets.

          Oh wait - Big Tech DID confiscate assets, and they do it all of the time. Try setting up a GoFundMe account for something their CEO doesn't agree with. I know some truckers...

          1. "I didn't know that libertarianism meant you can do anything you want to someone else as long as it's not imprisoning, taxing, beating or killing people, or confiscating their assets."

            Who said that? The voices in your head? Please tell the voices in your head that these are the kinds of things that Government Almighty does, and corporations do NOT do, unless the are implementing the orders of Government Almighty! (Think of mercenaries or private corporations running jails for Government Almighty). My point was that Government Almighty is a DIFFERENT THING as compared to a corporation!

  ,legislature%2C%20executive%2C%20and%20judiciary. The Columbia Encyclopedia defines government as "a system of social control under which the right to make laws, and the right to enforce them, is vested in a particular group in society".[1]

            Corporation... A corporation is a legal entity created through the laws of its state of incorporation. Individual states have the power to promulgate laws relating to the creation, organization and dissolution of corporations.


            Maybe if you people started using words the way that NORMAL English-speakers use them, we could have sensible conversations!

            "...Big Tech DID confiscate assets..." citation please, where this happened WITHOUT the blessings of Government Almighty! And note that FAILING to provide banking (or money-moving) services is NOT the same as confiscating ANYTHING! Bake that cake, bankers and money-movers!!!

            1. confiscating their assets

              I gave you an example. GoFundMe made a direct attempt to confiscate the assets of people who tried to give to the truckers in Canada. And adding "WITHOUT the blessings of Government Almighty!" is moving the goalposts. Ironically, this gets back to the main argument: are libertarians OK with companies doing things like a state does with backing by said state? How does this address your argument as opposed to mine?

              And note that FAILING to provide banking (or money-moving) services is NOT the same as confiscating ANYTHING

              Yes, it is. I give money to an intermediary, telling them I want it to go to someone else. They initially agree. Government puts pressure on said company. Company then says they're keeping the money I gave them and giving it to another charity instead (this ACTUALLY HAPPENED with regard to GoFundMe).

              They attempted to steal my money - confiscate my assets. You couldn't be more wrong if you tried.

    3. I agree, and this has been a source of frustration in recent years. This article started off beautifully, but seemed to devolve into a (well-written) series of on-the-other-hands...

      Companies like Twitter and Facebook and Google are arguably quasi-governmental institutions. Like it or not, they collectively have an asonishing amount of power, and use it to suppress ideas and speech that does not mesh with their views. This limits access to dialogue in the public square since the public square exists mostly online. Imagine if a group of people gathered to exchange ideas in an actual public square, and a private actor muzzled anyone with whom they disagreed?

      I suppose the counterargument would be that there is always the rest of the internet, but be realistic. No start-up can compete with Twitter. Campaigns against misinformation scare me to death. It might seem good at first - "hey, people should get a vaccine and therefore those who speak against the vaccine must be silenced in order to save lives!" But mission creep is real. The slippery slope is an overused argument, but not a logical fallacy.

      I believe it is not sufficient to say that it's fine to do bad things (e.g. suppress unpopular speech) as long as it isn't the government doing the bad thing. A handful of very powerful companies with similar ideologies now control the public square. This is new. Libertarians are going to have to wrestle with this one because the traditional answer (markets) can't solve this.

      1. Libertarians are going to have to wrestle with this one because the traditional answer (markets) can't solve this.

        Amen. I believe this will be the defining moment for libertarians as to whether they ever want anyone to take them seriously.

        1. Twitter doesn't have police cars and weapons and jails, it cannot take away any single one of your liberties. At most, it can choose to disassociate from you.

          1. No, but Twitter CAN block speech between two people AT THE BEHEST of the government, which is exactly what it's been doing. The idea that only government can violate your rights is utterly absurd, and once again, this is why no one votes libertarian. This is not a serious view.

      2. "Companies like Twitter and Facebook and Google are arguably quasi-governmental institutions."

        They don't have any governmental functions. Equating market power with government is a false label.

        They are, however, as much of a monopoly as AT&T was under Reagan and as deserving of anti-trust scrutiny. And my opinion is thatbthey should be broken up like AT&T was.

        1. What monopoly do these companies have?
          Twitter has plenty of competition. There are lots of places where people can post retarded half-thoughts and follow other retards.
          There are plenty of other search engines you can use other than Google, other file storage services you can get outside of Google, etc.
          Same for Facebook, there are many social media options. You don't get to punish companies for their popularity.

          1. Monopoly isn't about the existence of competitors. It is about the market share/market power of those competitors.

            Capitalism only provides its benefits when there is serious competition between companies for the products they provide. That is where anti-trust laws come in. If one company dominates the market, it doesn't really move the needle if there are 10 competitors sharing 10% of the market. It is a monopoly.

    4. "Things like ESGs used to limit market place behaviors are highly dangerous."

      ESGs are voluntary investment strategies, so they are extremely libertarian due to the lack of coersion in their participants.

      "When Amazon and Google use their influence to shut down competitors those are anti market actions"

      Agreed. The antitrust activities of corporate behemoths in every sector of the economy have been ignored more and more over the past several decades. Strengthening antitrust investigations and prosecutions would strengthen the capitalist framework of America through increased competition.

      As an aside. I think that unions should be subject to antitrust laws and should be allowed to have multiple organizations in each sector of the economy. And certainly not have behemoths like the AFL-CIO or SEIU.

  12. “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein

    I think that about sums it up.

    1. Sums up that you hide behind false centrism and golden means because you can't actually argue in depth about anything?

      You also present yourself under a political tag. You team up with the false center like jeff, brandy, and Mike. All thoroughly leftist. You claim yourselves to be the people with no tags, yet oddly seem to have the same enemy and friend lists. You attack those you see as an outgroup.


      1. Why does Der JesseBahnFuhrer torture, kill, and then drink the blood of all of the Christian babies?

        (This is the kind of straw-man bullshit we often see out of the almost-always-lying Perfect One, known as Der JesseBahnFuhrer, who can NOT be reasoned with!)

        1. I can take him off mute and be tempted to respond to the master baiter's lies with some sort of "Hey that's not what I said, this is what I actually said" or leave the liar on mute. I choose the latter.

          1. Or you can lie about what you said as you realize it is true.

            What you did is find a quote about others and yelled it didn't apply to you. It was nothing of substance but merely an apriori attack on others to rationalize your own views away from criticism.

            You are a hypocrite in all things buddy.

          2. Stop lying me answer the question.

  13. In 1929, the English Catholic G.K. Chesterton asked his readers to imagine "a fence or gate erected across a road." He then described two reformers: "The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, 'I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away.' To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: 'If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.'"

    A Libertarian who practiced Rational Free Inquiry and posessed any amount of situational awareness and was not on any kind of Autism Spectrum would have the timerity and foresight to ask:

    "Just what the fuck is this fence doing in the middle of my road which I paid fuel taxes to drive on unimpeded? Did it fall off the back of a Peterbilt Truck (give Mack Trucks a rest, folks) when someone didn't secure their freight? Tie your shit down and quit ruining my life! And get off my lawn!""

    1. Then drive through the fence and get chased by the hornets whose nest the fence was trying to protect you from.

      1. An intelligent reformer who wasn't a pompous dickhead would have just said, "There's a hornet's nest over there, so we put up a fence to keep people from getting to near it. I don't reccommend that you go through it."

        And then the community affected by the hornets could have discussed the most effective means to deal with the hornets.

        1. "who wasn't a pompous dickhead"


        2. Which was exactly what Chesterton was getting at.

      2. "What the fuck is a hornet's nest doing in the middle of the road? Get all this shit outta my inenerary, G.K.! And quit hitting the sauce before you write if you want to be understood!"

        1. Correction: Itenerary

    2. The man who says "Go Think" is doing what you say the ideal person would do. You seemed to have missed the point. At least that is what I can gather from your post. Apologies if I am wrong.

  14. I'd say the common good is the measure to decide if the government is doing right.

    The common good may sometimes require some abridgement of liberty.

    But I'm uncomfortable with some "common good" advocates who assume that liberty will *always* be trumped by some higher good.

    If you don't bake enough liberty into the mix, it will be a half-baked concoction instead of the common good.

    1. This goes especially for the American context, where the legitimacy of the government tends to linked to certain key liberties - or at least that's how it was in some lucky periods of history.

    2. Government is force. Or more accurately it's people who use force.
      Government force is only justified when force would be legitimate for an individual. For example a military for collective defense is justified because individuals have a right to defend themselves. If government uses force for something that could not be justified by an individual, for example "pay for my child's education or I'm gonna shoot you," then that is an example of unjustified government force.

    3. "The common good may sometimes require some abridgement of liberty."

      This is the worst possible take on liberty. It relies on someone else's conception of the common good, and someone else's decision on how best to provide for the common good. It's an abusive rationalization for abridging liberty, and it's coercive, and it makes some people expendable for the good of others.

      This rationale has been the source of countless atrocities throughout history, and there will NEVER be a government or state that does not abuse it, because anyone who seeks that kind of coercive power over other people is not to be trusted with it.

      1. ^This

      2. I used to believe that abridgement of liberty in the name of the common good was permissible if not required, until I asked myself one simple question: "Who decides?"

        1. Your boy Biden at the moment.

          1. "Who decides?" will be decided IN PERPETUITY (or at least till a revolution by bullets, not ballots, after ballots become meaningless, changes the scheme of things) by Trump and Trumplings if we are ever stupid enough to re-elect the Trumptatorshit! All votes NOT for Trump are FRAUDULENT, ya know!

            Der TrumpfenFuhrer ***IS*** responsible for agitating for democracy to be replaced by mobocracy!
            A list of the times Trump has said he won’t accept the election results or leave office if he loses

            Essential heart and core of the LIE by Trump: “ANY election results not confirming MEEE as Your Emperor, MUST be fraudulent!”
            September 13 rally: “The Democrats are trying to rig this election because that’s the only way they’re going to win,” he said.

            Trump’s constant re-telling and supporting the Big Lie (any election not electing Trump is “stolen”) set up the environment for this (insurrection riot) to happen. He shares the blame. Boys will be boys? Insurrectionists will be insurrectionists, trumpanzees gone apeshit will be trumpanzees gone apeshit, so let’s forgive and forget? Poor Trump was misunderstood? Does that sound good and right and true?

            It really should immediately make us think of Krystallnacht. Hitler and the NAZIs set up for this by constantly blaming Jews for all things bad. Jew-haters will be Jew-haters, so let’s forgive and forget? Poor Hitler was misunderstood? Does that sound good and right and true?

    4. Common good is a terrible metric because it's an explicit call for the tyrany of the majority. Common good was used to justify the holocaust FFS.

      1. Careful! You might summon the Misek.

    5. My opinion is libertarianism is an assymtotic line that good governance attempts to get to but is constantly bounded by “common good”.

      You get as damn near to the thing as you can within tolerance.

  15. Based British Woman Takes On Woke Soy Boy In Argument About Lia Thomas

    SB: Can I ask you a question? Are you a biologist?

    BW: Oh my G-d, don't be ridiculous. I'm not a vet but I know what a dog is. Do you rely on stupid arguments because you don't have an argument?

    1. I self-identify as a planet. WHY, fer cryin' out loud, WHY is NASA totally ignoring me? Not merely neglecting to try and land on me, but not even sending any orbiting or fly-by robotic probes, nor even merely pointing any telescopes at me!!! RAMPANT DISCRIMINATION, I'm tellin' ya!!!!

  16. I never heard of so many different sub groups of libertarians before.

    But the author failed to mention the Koch libertarians, billionaires who want to selfishly profit by sharply increasing America's population with impoverished illegal aliens who will work for several dollars per day and taking jobs that employ the least skilled and poorest Americans.

    The author also failed to mention the Reason libertarians, most of whom are lifestyle libertarians who otherwise support many/most liberal left wing policies and politicians (e.g. Biden), and who have terminal cases of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    1. Native births are also “sharply increasing America's population” (compared to zero births, for sure!), so we MUST have Government Almighty-issued “birth permits”, with harsh punishments for scoff-laws! Geezum, what could POSSIBLY go wrong here?!?!

  17. "He's telling us to reduce our own ignorance, especially by looking to the past—at which point we may reasonably conclude that the fence was ill-considered in the first place, or that it once served a purpose that no longer obtains, or that the problem still exists but there are better ways to address it, or that the potential upside to clearing it away is worth the calculated risks."

    Or maybe - just maybe - the fence is there for a damn good reason, and you should leave it alone and go about your business. Of course, by definition the progressive would disagree. The progressive would say - as the author does - that every impediment to my choice must be removed. And then on to the next impediment.

    1. Or maybe- just maybe- the people who erected the fence owe us an explanation for why the fence is there in the first place, since it's impeding our freedom of movement, and why it should stay.

      1. Or perhaps the real question is "whose property is the fence on?".

        1. Obviously, of it's on private property, it's the owner's prerogative. However, I am assuming that the fence is on a public road. If it's on public property, then the public has a right to know why there's a fucking fence in the road.

          1. Why does everyone seem to think that Chesterton is saying you can't take the fence down. He is saying that its existence is de facto proof that someone at some time believed it solved a problem. If we do not know what or why that is, we are just acting like children and being descriptive simply to be so. But if we take the time to understand why the world is the way it is, then perhaps we can make much more reasoned, safe, moral, efficacious, wise decisons..decisions... EVEN IF that decision is still to take the fence down.

            Seems like a lot of people don't seem to understand they are the person in the parable who wants to take the fence down out of rage and/or failed to actually think about what the other person is saying (which is... act rationally not emotionally and that includes acting in the context of the world, history, and the fact that people's actions in the past were more likely to be reasonable rather than emotional and thus we would do well to consider that when making our decisions constrained by the reality created by those who came before us).

            1. Thanks sparkstable! You sound like a person who sees and acknowledges complexity and nuance! These are good things to use to fend off uni-dimensional, seething, emotional tribalism!

  18. One must always ask just what libertarians want the law to permit them to do that they currently aren't permitted to do.

    I can pick around at the edges of American society, maybe take a few big handfuls when it comes to the criminal justice system, and find infractions against liberty that need to be rectified.

    But why are libertarians constantly talking—not about what individual liberties they want to see more of—but why they must use the force of state to punish people for having lifestyles they don't approve of?

    Christian conservatism and libertarianism can only be compatible if you admit that libertarianism was always a ruse, a pretty face on old Southern tyrannies.

    1. But why are libertarians constantly talking—not about what individual liberties they want to see more of—but why they must use the force of state to punish people for having lifestyles they don't approve of?

      ...what? Which libertarians are doing this? Who is talking about using the power of the state to punish people for living a certain way?

      1. If libertarians were serious about addressing actual infractions against individual liberty, they would find ample space to ally themselves with liberals and pass (or repeal) some laws.

        Instead they have chosen to make marginal tax rates the end of every potential conversation, while compromising with the religious right because of all the help they provide keeping those taxes down.

        Without all the bad stuff in libertarianism, you'd just be regular liberals.

        1. Are you kidding? Liberals want more government control. They want more laws that infringe on liberty not fewer.

        2. Again. Who? Which libertarians are saying these things? You sound like you are attacking a straw man; a particularly strange and backwards looking one that doesn't at all resemble what you are mad at.

          1. Cultural conservatives with their faith-based legislation and their animus towards trends in modern American culture.

            Basically any of the religiously-inspired special privileges that they want to give themselves that non-religious citizens don't get and the legislation they want to pass/are passing to force minority moral positions on the majority of Americans.

            Plus the book banning and the fake CRT panic (since CRT isn't taught in K-12 schools anywhere in America).

            Stuff like that.

            1. Although, to be fair, cultural conservatives don't really fit into libertarianism because of their reliance on government coercion instead of convincing people.

            2. CRT is real. Our kind are literally teaching small children, young enough that they haven’t developed critical thinking skills that they are either victims if they are colored, or inherently evil because they are white. Among a lot of other distorted, vile things.

    2. We want all actions to be allowed except those involving the initiatory use of force, threats of force or fraud.

      1. Tony has said that property is an initiation of force, because force is required to protect it.

        He has also equated self defense with vigilante justice, because according to him there is no difference between defending yourself while a crime is being committed and hunting someone down after the fact.

        Finally Tony has made it clear that might makes right. So as human beings we have no rights at all unless those with might grant them to us. There is no right and wrong, no good and evil. Just might.

        1. I don't think "initiation" is all that helpful. Go back far enough, and all property in the Americas was stolen in the most violent way imaginable. That should tell you something about how actually sacred the concept is.

          Property *is* violence. It's a meaningless concept without the presumption that someone will defend it against trespasses with violence, whether the owner himself or the state. It's a contract with the police power of the state. That's what it is. I don't know what you think it is.

          Self-defense, similarly, is a contract with the state that says you get an exception to the rule that says you can't murder people, in certain very specific circumstances. If you're standing over a body with a gun, and the state has enough evidence to convict you of murder, you don't get to just say you acted in self-defense, you have to prove it. It's all rather commonsensical when you get down to it.

          Who decides what's good or evil? You can say puppy dogs are good and child murder is evil, but it's not interesting to talk about extreme cases everyone agrees on. Who arbitrates the gray areas? What are you even talking about? Are you criticizing me for not believing in a magical sky grandpa who makes all the rules? I'm just observing the world as it is.

          1. I don't think "initiation" is all that helpful.

            "the presumption that someone will defend it against trespasses with violence"

          2. If we ever needed proof that you’re a sociopath, this is have absolutely no moral compass, which is why you’re a leftist.

            If you want to know what evil is, just look in a mirror. It’s you.

    3. I’d be fine with democrats pending a few modifications:

      1. Get serious about ending the drug war
      2. Stop wishing large parts of the first and second amendments away
      3. Stop trying to violate the Nuremberg Code
      4. Adopt a climate change policy that isn’t expensive masturbation
      5. Stop hating successful people
      6. Stop feeling entitled to decide who’s too rich
      7. Stop shutting down economies
      8. Stop creating disastrous inflation based on Magical Monetary Fantasies
      9. Stop lying to the American people
      10. Stop retarded foreign policy
      11. Realize “it’s my body” counts for organs beyond the uterus
      12. In short, stop doing the bullshit that’s going to cause their historic election defeat in November

      In other words, I’m a libertarian democrat: other than a few things they disagree with libertarians on, I completely agree with them.

      1. 14. Stop trying to handle every single healthcare decision in the country as poorly as they handled COVID
        15. Stop reminding us we were all happier when Trump was president. He set a low bar. “Return to normalcy” would have been just fine. Instead we got bullshit.
        Etc, etc.

        1. 16. Stop pretending that parents have the responsibility to pay taxes to support public schools but have no right to say how it’s taught. Duh: democracy, not authoritarianism.
          17. Stop creating ridiculous unnecessary culture war wedge issues and then pretend it was everyone else’s problem. Like, decide three minutes ago that everyone’s a bigot if you don’t think chicks can have dicks, and then bitch about being unnecessarily oppressed when people notice you ruined women’s athletics.
          18. Consider the possibility that, if it’s dehumanizing to not let a transwoman be a woman, then should you give a fetus the right to decide if they’re a woman? Women are clumps of cells, too, after all. I would hate to deny anyone’s existence without giving them a chance to identify their being and gender.

          1. Wow, Brian, good job, good list! #18 I take exception with, is all... What makes HUMAN tiny clumps of cells so special? What about the sacred rights of small clumps of rabbit cells, robin cells, frog cells, etc.? Humans made special by... Whom, exactly?

            1. We treat humans differently from other animals. It makes a certain kind of sense to think that would apply to fetuses, too.

              1. Ironically by the overwhelming majority of "Right-Wing" Supreme Court decision that 'fetus' the Puritans are supposedly trying to 'save' has about as much human life possibility as a woman finger.

                ....but don't let that get in the way of DICTATING everyone's PERSONAL life so long as they're "pregnant".

      2. 11 isn’t a disagreement with all libertarians. It is a disagreement with typically conservative-leaning libertarians. There isn’t a consensus among libertarians about abortion because it is an example of where reality is too messy to fit into political theory: you have two lives that are tied together by nature that doesn’t respect libertarian theorizing at all. Stupid nature.

        1. I would say it doesn’t respect democrat theories, but that would imply they’re trying to have a coherent philosophy.

          “Government should protect the weak and the vulnerable, and minorities, and give everyone a chance to define their own social constructs, unless they have an umbilical cord stuck to them!” That’s not exactly an elegant political theory, consistent with nature and biology.

          1. Liberals just don't think the state should force women to carry rape babies to term and give birth to them against their will. Liberals have the libertarian view on this subject. Keep the state out of it, because it doesn't belong there.

            1. Now if they could just expand that concept beyond the female uterus.

            2. You scumbags have now passed laws on at least three states that allow a woman to unilaterally decide to murder her healthy child carried to full term, post delivery. So don’t even try that shit here.

    4. Christian conservatism done biblically is a lot more libertarian than you think.

      The things the left think are anti-libertarian are questions of liberty and government involvement. If a fetus is a unique human, they have a right to life. Marriage has not been defined by government and it has no business redefining something that they should not have authority over.

      But 1 Corinthians is pretty clear that you do not hold non Christians to the same standards as Christians.

      Much of the issues Christian conservatives have been having is that the state has been pushing leftist dogma in places where they should not be - like education and association - while curbing their own free speech rights. Locking Christians out of education because separation of church and state while promoting leftist ideologies under the color of free speech is equal treatment under the law.

      1. *not equal treatment

    5. Tony, let me give you some examples of what the law doesn't let one do currently, in a typical American jurisdiction (the "I" below is illustrative)
      Local laws:
      - I cannot plant vegetables or fruits in my front yard to feed myself
      - I cannot keep chicken and eat fresh eggs (despite the fact that they are quiter and less polluting than my neighbor's large dog)
      - I cannot build they type of dwelling I want on my property (e.g., another house, an apartment building, etc)
      - I cannot sell things to customers coming to my house
      - I cannot purchase short term sexual services (but I can purchase long term ones through roundabout arrangements like marriage)
      - if the government seems it necessary, it can take my property on a whim and reimburse me what it deems fair
      - the government can confiscate my money on a whim if it believes I carry too much cash

      Federal laws:
      - I cannot withdraw a large sum from my own bank account; if I do, I have to justify myself (despite no laws being broken, and no warrant from a court); furthermore, if I withdraw specific sums from multiple accounts, I will be in huge trouble
      - I cannot own bank accounts abroad, unless I spend a lot of time and effort justifying myself to the government and under constant threat
      - every April, I am conscripted to prepare a comprehensive report for the government covering all of my personal economic activity for the past year, as well as blanket access to all my finances (again, with no warrant); this can take many days
      - I cannot choose my customers freely, if I have a business
      - I cannot make my hiring or firing decisions freely, if I have a business
      - I cannot post information about government wrongdoing
      - I cannot describe the demographics of a neighborhood as a real estate agent
      - I cannot set up branches of my business where I see fit, if I offer a popular enough service
      - I cannot put into my body or sell to anyone else or buy from anyone a plant or a fungus that grows freely in nature

      On a global scale, it's not so bad. However, the economic obstacles are quite troublesome and incompatible with a free society, as are the blatant violations of private property rights.

      1. Tony, let me give you some examples of what the law doesn't let one do currently, in a typical American jurisdiction (the "I" below is illustrative)

        Yes, and in an actually libertarian society, you would likely not be able to do those things either. The difference is that in a libertarian society, it would be CCRs rather than local laws that would restrict your ability to do those things. The difference between CCRs and local laws is primarily who gets to vote: CCRs are voted on only by property owners, while local laws are voted on by all residents.

        Federal laws

        Just be aware that in a libertarian society, you might well face similar restrictions as a result of private associations. For example, all affordable health insurers might refuse to ensure you if you have ever taken drugs. You may well have to spend 30% of your income on memberships in various organizations that provide you security, defense, retirement, mediation, arbitration, professional representation, etc. Private sector unions and professional organizations might well force you to hire people you don't want to hire, etc.

        The point is that libertarianism (or classical liberalism) only means freedom from the state. In terms of individual choices and individual freedom to act, you probably will end up with less in a libertarian society. That's because the necessity to enter into private arrangements and the obligation to fully bear the consequences of your choices (instead of socializing costs and risks) means that you need to act more carefully and more prudently, and that you need to spend more time to maintain private associations and relationships.

  19. People have a right to decide how they want to be governed. As long as you have the right to leave, we should not be evangelizing this or that system is better. For example, is democracy that allows slavery better than a monarchy that doesn't? These both have existed.

    America was formed based on a few basic ideas and the ability of the States to decide how to structure their society around these (life, liberty property). The Bill of Rights further codified the idea of natural rights. Conservative values (family, a rejection of child abuse..aka pedo/grooming, no govt welfare of any type, shame on out of wedlock childbirth, and the allowance of the people to discriminate in their private lives) is not contrary to Libertarian principals. When I think what is libertarianism, I keep coming back to Ron Paul's "Sound Money, free markets, limited govt, and peace"..I think he nailed it on the head.

    Traditional Values exist for a reason...just because they upset liberals is not a reason to get rid of them.

    1. There are values that are enforced by society through shaming and such, and values that are enforced by government actors empowered by legislation to use violence.

      Libertarians want to maximize the former while minimizing the latter.

      How do you draw the line? Initiation of force or fraud.

      I'm sure I missed something. That happens when one is trying to be pithy.

      1. "Libertarians want to maximize the former while minimizing the latter." --- Stated case not in evidence.

    2. People have a right to decide how they want to be governed.

      What does that mean? If 51% of the country decides they want to live in a fascist dictatorship, are you satisfied?

      As long as you have the right to leave, we should not be evangelizing this or that system is better.

      You mean like the people of Ukraine have a "right to leave" and become refugees?

      Traditional Values exist for a reason...just because they upset liberals is not a reason to get rid of them

      American political conservatives have attempted to use the state to impose their values on people who don't share them, just like American politial progressives. Both of them have ended up being big spending, war mongering authoritarians.

      1. "What does that mean? If 51% of the country decides they want to live in a fascist dictatorship, are you satisfied?"

        You have to be. That's how democracy works. And in 2024, you may get to elect him again.

        "You mean like the people of Ukraine have a "right to leave" and become refugees?"

        Are you really incapable of understanding the difference between an elected government of your own country and an invasion by a foreign country?

        "American political conservatives have attempted to use the state to impose their values on people who don't share them, just like American politial progressives. Both of them have ended up being big spending, war mongering authoritarians."

        Amen, brother. I agree with you 100%. The fringes and their extremism is the largest challenge we face as a country, politically.

        1. And in 2024, you may get to elect him again.

          I doubt Biden will make it that long.

          Are you really incapable of understanding the difference between an elected government of your own country and an invasion by a foreign country?

          The issue here isn't the cause why people are leaving (foreign invasion vs. election of fascists), the issue here is your insane suggestion that "as long as you have the right to leave", majorities ought to be free to destroy the country.

          Amen, brother. I agree with you 100%. The fringes and their extremism is the largest challenge we face as a country, politically.

          No, these aren't the fringes. These are mainstream assholes like you, assholes who prefer fascism and totalitarianism to liberty every f*cking time.

          You have to be. That's how democracy works.

          Yes, that's what fascists and authoritarians like you actually believe.

          1. "I doubt Biden will make it that long."

            Well played! LOL

            "majorities ought to be free to destroy the country."

            No one is destroying the country. And if the choice is between policies and legislation that are supported by a majority of citizens and ones that are supported by a minority of citizens, it seems like "of the people, by the people, and for the people" would demand the majority should set policies.

            Can you make an argument for minority rule?

            1. "assholes who prefer fascism and totalitarianism to liberty every f*cking time."

              When have I ever supported fascism or totalitarianism? I am adamantly opposed to Christian theocratic totalitarianism. And I openly support policies that allow people to live their lives as they choose as long as it isn't hurting anyone. I support equal treatment under the law and oppose affirmative action, so I'm not even fascist-adjacent.

              "Yes, that's what fascists and authoritarians like you actually believe.'

              No, that's what people who believe in democracy think. If one of the parties chooses a fascist demagogue and he wins, you're stuck with him for the next four years. That's how America works.

              1. No, that's what people who believe in democracy think.

                The term "democracy" just means that the power of government somehow derives from the people (as opposed to, say, God or wealth or age or ancestry ). There are many forms of democracy, including socialism and fascism.

                If one of the parties chooses a fascist demagogue and he wins, you're stuck with him for the next four years. That's how America works.

                Yes, indeed, that's how America works; fortunately, in the past, the power of the fascists that got elected was limited by the Constitution and Americans simply refused to comply with their diktats. Unfortunately, that's changing because more and more Americans share your totalitarian mindset.

                When have I ever supported fascism or totalitarianism?

                Every time you open your mouth. The only two alternatives for organizing a society you seem to understand are "majority rule" and "minority rule", implicitly accepting the concept of political power over unwilling subjects ("rule") in the first place. Since you choose majority rule, that makes you a socialist/fascist, as opposed to minority rule, which might make you anything from a monarchist to a technocrat. How a free society might work is evidently beyond your comprehension.

              2. Christian theocratic totalitarianism
                This only exists as a figment of your imagination. Christian conservatives have so little power in this country they might as well be libertarians, electorally.

                No, that's what people who believe in democracy think. If one of the parties chooses a fascist demagogue and he wins, you're stuck with him for the next four years. That's how America works.

                This doesn't fit your other view that you "openly support policies that allow people to live their lives as they choose as long as it isn't hurting anyone". The people in the fictional 51% don't, and if they get their way, your beliefs will be secondary. We don't live in a democracy; we live in a representative republic for this very reason.

            2. "I doubt Biden will make it that long."

              Well played! LOL

              There is no "playing" here. Biden's political program is objectively, literally fascist. In many points it is indistinguishable from that of early 20th century fascists, including with its attempts to divide up society by race, class, and ethnicity.

  20. Limited Hierarchy might be a byproduct of free association and social entanglements - but it isn't necessary.

    Choosing to accept Limited Hierarchy in order to engage in free association and social interaction is still a choice. A choice that you can abandon at any time.

    1. Further, just because we currently suffer the incursions of The State on individual liberty, and we accept the pressures of tradition, it doesn't mean that it is "the way it has to be."

    2. Can you define what you mean by Limited Hierarchy?

      1. Read Proudhon and Spooner.

  21. It’s official—this whole collectivist/statist thing is getting hairy!

    1. And yet these same politicians trying to dictate private employer's policies on hair will also dictate via occupational licensure who can do hairstyling.

      And they'll still extort worker's comp and strict liability out of employers if employees are injured as a result of their out-of-control hairstyles getting caught in machinery or getting in food or poking someone's eye out in the case of spiked hair!

      Man, fuck these Statist assholes and pull their Hippie-dos, Hipster Beards, and short-and-curlies while doing it!

  22. Is this about how you can make the over-the-top greed of libertarianism compatible with the teachings of Jesus? Any church or lifestyle or worldview is welcome--unless it raises taxes on David Koch by $0.01.

    1. People who are perpetually butthurt over the distribution of material goods in society solely as a function of their own relative property vs more successful people are really, really greedy.

      Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t make you a charity case.

      1. And the definition of 'charity' isn't wielding Gov-Guns for stolen goods.

  23. "but say the state may prioritize other goods—equality, say, or security—ahead of freedom? I submit that these are not libertarians at all. They're libertines.

    I submit that no libertine would even consider taking such a position. Perhaps your definition of libertine is at odds with the classical definition, which admittedly is dated but still even today I don't see it being a option even for libertines who don't consider themselves pupils of Sade or Diderot.

    Have you even read I, Libertine? Granted it's more fascinating how it became a NYT bestseller but it isn't a bad read.

    1. "I, Libertine" is a book. I guess I haven't figured out the html tag parsing used in the comments here, it's clearly non-standard.

  24. "libertarianism is strictly a political philosophy, confined to what the use of violence (GOV-GUNS) should be in social life."

    As it always has been.... "Conservative Government" ideology or LIMITED Government.

    Enter the Nazi indoctrination exhibit #24351315... "No, No; Conservatives are religious puritans trying to use Gov-Guns to force their religion... (because those faiths weren't indoctrinated with the word 'science')"

    Enter the Nazi indoctrination exhibit #125132523.... "No, No; Conservatives are Nazi's because the German-Nazi's disagreed with the Communists and just never-mind that the term 'Nazi' is but an acronym for National Socialist... We National Socialists aren't Nazi's it's those against National Socialism that are."

    The evidence that Liberals are nothing but Anti-Liberty social indoctrination warriors trying to wield the power of Gov-Guns into over-throwing the USA for a Nazi-Regime is overwhelmingly present.

  25. If libertarianism properly understood has no cultural commitments, shouldn't that open up room to parley?

    Libertarianism without cultural commitments is as fictional as a spherical cow in a vacuum. Libertarianism was born out of Marxism. Every single libertarian philosopher and thinker, without one single exception, was a "converted" Marxist. Libertarians spent the first half century of their existence violently defending the rights of Marxists to speak, assemble, arm themselves, and use terror against their fellow citizens. It's a godless death cult for whom abortion, infanticide, eugenics, euthanasia and revolutionary violence are sacramental. It rejects moral authority along with morality itself, reflected in its use of private and state violence against people who decline to participate in behavior that violates their moral beliefs. Like burning down businesses and attempting to murder people in the street (and still getting their brains blown out because they're pathetic LARPing faggots) for being insufficiently obsequious to black inner-city criminals. Or holding a policeman's rifle barrel to the heads of bakers, florists, website designers, and photographers who decline to participate in another of libertarianism's holy sacraments: gay marriage. Or effusively praising a racist black cop for shooting an unarmed white woman in the throat and killing her during a peaceful protest despite a 4-man SWAT team with fully automatic M4 rifles trained at her back standing less than 10 feet behind her.

    So no. There is no room for parley between libertarians and the people they are literally beating and killing in their psychotic attempt at eliminating morality. That's lost on you, because you are a lapsed Catholic whore who simply hasn't got the balls to admit to your repressive Christian family that you're a secular Marxist activist. For you, there's plenty of room for parley: you're a convert.

    1. If you seriously think that Libertarianism came from Marxism and tgat Libertarians support the rioting, looting, and murder done by Antifa, SJWs, and Black Lives Matter, you're like the "boiles" I get from eating McDonald's Special Sauce! Fuck off, Inquisitor!

      1. If you seriously think that Libertarianism came from Marxism

        Libertarianism did come from Marxism. The term only dates to the 1970s and was invented in academic circles as a self-appellation by Marxist-cum-liberal economists and political scientists. Feel free to disprove my case, or at least present evidence of your own that Libertarianism was not formulated by "former" Marxists. It should be quite trivial for you if true.

        and tgat Libertarians support the rioting, looting, and murder done by Antifa, SJWs, and Black Lives Matter

        If you hover your mouse over the underlined text in my original post and then click with the left button on your mouse, you'll see Reason magazine publishing a hagiography by the Libertarian Party of a rioting piece of shit who brandished an AK-47 at a motorist that his gang had stopped in the middle of the street and met up with a motorist who was smarter and quicker than he and got his head blown off. But since it's just so fucking easy to further shove this point up your asshole, let's check out Reason endorsing racial and political violence

        1. John Hospers was no God damn Marxist, nor was Ayn Rand, Ludwig Von Mises, Tibor Machan, or Thomas Szasz. In fact all of the latter four escaped from Marxist and Nazi (in the case of Von Mises) Totalitarian regimes. Get your shit wired tight!

          And need I remind you that Reason hasn't been true to Libertarianism in a good long while and that actual Libertarians have long condemned this magazine's downward spiral in the comments?

          Stick to your copy of The Upper Room and leave the defense of Liberty to the real supporters of it.

    2. I have to believe that this is paid agitprop from someone trying to stir up conflict in American society.

      I am highly critical of the moral self-righteousness of cultural conservatives and even I think your word vomit is too extreme to be believed.

      1. Oh lookie, sarcasmic's other other sock has a substance-free post. Alert the media.

  26. Two questions:

    (1) Why was the headline in the print edition ("Two Libertarianisms") changed to "Must Libertarians Care About More Than the State?" here?

    (2) Does Betteridge's Law of Headlines apply?

  27. Must Libertarians Care About More Than the State?
    The tension between two libertarianisms in the big tent

    Based on this article, the libertarian tent is apparently filled with filthy authoritarians and progressives.

    1. Indeed. There is an Alt-Right-Libertarian Pipeline and a Ctrl-Left-Libertarian Pipeline,, but the shit from the Alt-Right and Ctrl-Left keeps flowing our way! I'm one of the hairballs with aluminum foil bits trying to hold them both back. And if anyone from either side pours lye down the piplines, there may be nothing left.

      1. I think the very concept of trying to advance libertarianism through political organizing is fundamentally flawed.

  28. Must Libertarians Care About More Than the State?

    Libertarians could care about more than The State, but The State keeps getting in our Sunshine and harshing our buzz on life!

  29. " While members of the two camps will agree that prostitution should be decriminalized, say, they may disagree about its moral valence, with one side viewing sex work as liberating (and thus worth normalizing or even applauding) and the other side viewing it as degrading (and thus worth lamenting or even working to end through noncoercive means)."

    Hoooooo...boy. How to unpack this word salad? Libertarianism cannot provide a moral framework for encouraging, discouraging or applauding behaviors like sex work, because Libertarianism's sole moral scaffolding is based on non-aggression. And once you *permit* a consensual behavior, there is no moral question that Libertarianism can address- any more than Libertarianism can morally advise you on what color you want to paint your bedroom.

    Just look at this Sex Work example. Let's say you have a twenty year old man with $200 burning in his pocket. He approaches a "Thick Libertarian" and says, "Where should I spend my $200", and the "Thick Libertarian" says he should spend it on a hooker.

    But why? Choosing the Hooker means he doesn't spend his money at the local restaurant. Does "Thick Libertarianism" give some sort of framework to explain why a Hooker is more 'deserving' of this money than a guy who spent his life savings to start a small business that employs a dozen other people?

    Indeed, this strikes me as yet another attempt to insinuate leftist politics into a non-leftist brand. Imagine the response from "Thick Libertarians" if I tried flipping this calculation around:

    "While all libertarians believe that we should have freedom to be Protestant, a 'Thick Libertarian' would argue that we should applaud Protestantism and encourage it at every turn!"

    We will never see a Thick Libertarian make that argument, even though choosing a religion is as morally neutral as choosing prostitution as a profession. Because these Thick Libertarians are just trying to turn libertarianism into Libertarianism with a progressive message.

    If you want to evangelize Protestantism, or Prostitution, that is up to you. Neither option is more or less libertarian, because neither is COERCING people to behave in a particular way. Trying to coopt libertarianism to advancing some liberal/proggy cause doesn't serve to get us closer to the libertarian moment- it merely limits the size of the libertarian base to progressives who don't like the Democratic party and the small number of conservatives who dislike the Republican party more than they dislike being scolded by the libertarian party.

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