Thursday, April 13, 2006

You May Be A Libertarian If....

A lot of times people like to label libertarianism as a "right wing" ideology, or a subset of "conservatism". Many people like to hedge their political self-identification by calling themselves "libertarian-conservatives", or a "conservative with libertarian leanings". The implication is that the two are closely aligned, with only some minor nuances separating the two labels.

I disagree with each of those sentiments. Libertarians and Conservatives operate from fundamentally different perspectives. True, there may be some overlap - just as libertarian views sometime overlap with "liberal" stances - but libertarianism really is a uniquely different brand of thought on politics.

But if anyone who doubts this is confused on what exactly separates libertarians and conservatives, Jacob Hornberger has very simply outlined the difference.

6 Comments:

Blogger Brian Duffy said...

Before you draw a line in the sand remember the political and social spectrum is linear. At on end of the political scale is dictatorship (left) and the other in complete anarchy or the absence of government (right). On the social scale is dictatorial communism (left) and complete freedom or anarchy, again the absence of government (right). Libertarians sit both socially and political to the far end of the both spectrum. Actually both scales are connected. Conservatives sit somewhere to left of Libertarians.

I could go into a longer explanation, but concisely, libertarians believe in man’s choice to do those things he wants to as long as it does not harm another. Conservatives believe in the fallen nature of man and will apply this knowledge by creating limited laws to guard against mans fallen nature, primarily in the local community. However, one thing libertarians accept is the unintended consequences of an action; basically bad outcomes that do have tangible reaction on people. In such cases they will make laws accordingly.

At this stage of the game we should not try to divide between the two groups. I actually look forward to the day I am a leftist in this sense. But while I can say why I would not be a libertarian, I know I can trust libertarians because while they may not agree with my religious beliefs, they will not put me into a gulag like the liberals/socialist will one day.

Never believe that a liberal is a libertarian. Today’s liberal is a socialist wanting to be communist.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Libertarian Jason said...

Before you draw a line in the sand remember the political and social spectrum is linear. At on end of the political scale is dictatorship (left) and the other in complete anarchy or the absence of government (right).

It most certainly is not. Are you familiar with the Nolan Chart? It's much more accurate, IMO.

http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html

A two-dimensional paradigm is just too simplistic, and raises more problems about labels.

libertarians believe in man’s choice to do those things he wants to as long as it does not harm another. Conservatives believe in the fallen nature of man and will apply this knowledge by creating limited laws to guard against mans fallen nature, primarily in the local community.

Actually, Libertarians are all to aware of how giving power to people in evitably invites abuse and corruption. That is why we are Libertarians. We want to remove the ability of people to "do harm" to their fellow man as much as possible...and that INCLUDES doing harm via political means.

Furthermore...even if a particular man is fallen...are you saying that the purpose of teh State is to protect him from himself? Isn't that a bit "nanny State"-ish?

I know I can trust libertarians because while they may not agree with my religious beliefs, they will not put me into a gulag like the liberals/socialist will one day.

Another misguided notion about what Libertarianism is. I know many devout Christians...including more than one Baptist minister...who are self-identified libertarians.

Libertarianism is not a religious philosophy, nor does it demand any particular ethos beyond the desire to limit the initiation of force to accomplish any goal.

Never believe that a liberal is a libertarian.

Looking around, I'd probably say that more liberals are libertarian than are self-identified conservatives. Sure...they may have some short comings...but few Conservatives I know spend most of their time justifying the actions of the current regime. Most Conservatives have become State-Worshippers.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Brian Duffy said...

Keep it simple I say. Nolan is just a theory, just like buttholes…. and I suppose you the rest of the saying.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Brian Duffy said...

know the rest of the story...thinking faster then I can type.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Brian Duffy said...

I did err, I orginally meant to say social/political and economic scales.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Libertarian Jason said...

Well, the Nolan chart IS just a theory, but I think it provides a better way of looking at the political spectrum.

To my mind, the question always becomes to what degree are individuals expected to subjegate themselves to organized compulsion...ie. by the State.

You are right on one end you would have Anarcho-capitalism, and on the other end you would have totalitarianism in its myriad of forms.

But there is no coherent criteria which dictates that modern liberalism and modern conservativism are at different points on such a spectrum, as if one advocates more freedom than the other. In their own ways, they BOTH advocate individual subjegation to a collective, political authority. Just because each differs on which particular issues call for subjegation doesn't change that.

I would argue that, in the sense that you are talking about, modern conservatives are more "left" than their "liberal" counterparts. They are the loudest about such things as the PATRIOT Act, domestic spying, warrantless arrests, prison camps, torture, and so on. Most conservatives believe that one man...the President...has "inherent" authorities that he can make up on the spot. Conservatives argue the loudest that individual rights and individual liberties come AFTER "national security" and other collective interests.

So...in the truest sense, modern liberals ARE more "libertarian" than Conservatives. After all, liberals aren't the ones advocating marching people off to prison camps....

9:49 AM  

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