Conservative Criticisms Of Libertarianism

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Libertarian radicalism is repellant to most conservatives, especially for institutions besides markets and the state.


Marxism of the Right [More...]
"The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life."
A Dispassionate Assessment of Libertarians [More...]
"Not a few of the people who have studied closely with me or who have become my assistants had been attracted, a few years earlier, to the arguments of Ayn Rand or of Murray Rothbard. But as they read more widely, they had become conscious of the inadequacies and extravagances of the various libertarian factions; as they had began to pay serious attention to our present political difficulties, they had seen how impractical are the libertarian proposals."
Big Sister Is Watching You [More...]
Whittaker Chambers' scathing 1957 review of Atlas Shrugged form National Review. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “To a gas chamber -- go!"
Libertarian Delusions: Exposing the Flaws in Libertarian Thinking [More...]
Identifies problems with self-ownership, the idea of eliminating politics, the public choice viewpoint and blanket opposition to state action.
Libertarians: Call Them Irresponsible [More...]
Ron Paul as a lesson in libertarian public irresponsibility.
Liberty, License or Anarchy? The Seductive Lie of Libertarianism [More...]
"I don't want to live in a "libertarian" society any more than I want to live in a society based upon absolute bondage imposed by an all-powerful government. Conservatives must seek - and actively work for -- a rational middle ground in which liberty is ensured within the framework of republican ideals, traditional societal norms and self-restraint."
Ron Paul and Cranky Libertarianism [More...]
Libertarians disregard empirical evidence against the programs they espouse, just as Marxists and others do. This makes them cranks.
Rothbard as a philosopher [More...]
Conservative philosopher Edward Feser says: "he seems incapable of producing even a minimally respectable philosophical argument, by which I mean an argument that doesn't commit any obvious fallacies or fail to address certain obvious objections." Ouch! Rothbard's argument for self-ownership is dissected.
Rothbard revisited [More...]
Conservative philosopher Edward Feser rebuts Gerald Casey's defense of Murray Rothbard.
To Get Ron Pauls Insanity, You Have To Understand Libertarianism [More...]
Don Feder, a former libertarian now conservative, explains the numerous failings of Ron Paul.
William Buckley on Ayn Rand
William Buckley puts Ayn Rand in her place. Pages xx to xxii from the introduction to American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century by William Buckley.
William Buckley on Murray Rothbard
William Buckley puts Murray Rothbard in his place. Pages xxiii to xxv from the introduction to American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century by William Buckley.


The term "libertarianism"is distasteful to people who think seriously about politics. Both Dr. F.A. Hayek and your servant have gone out of their way, from time to time, to declare that they refuse to be tagged with this label.
Russell Kirk, "A Dispassionate Assessment of Libertarians"
Of society's old institutions, they would retain only private property. They seek an abstract Liberty that never has existed in any civilization -- nor, for that matter, among any barbarous people, or any savage. They would sweep away political government; in this, they subscribe to Marx's notion of the withering away of the state .
Russell Kirk, "A Dispassionate Assessment of Libertarians"
The worst enemies of enduring freedom for all may be certain folk who demand incessantly more liberty for themselves. This is true of a country's economy, as of other matters. America's economic success is based upon an old foundation of moral habits, social customs and convictions, much historical experience, and commonsensical political understanding. Our structure of free enterprise owes much to the conservative understanding of property and production expounded by Alexander Hamilton -- the adversary of the libertarians of his day. But our structure of free enterprise owes nothing at all to the destructive concept of liberty that devastated Europe during the era of the French Revolution -- that is, to the ruinous impossible freedom preached by Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Russell Kirk, "A Dispassionate Assessment of Libertarians"
From one of Paul’s newsletters: "Justice Brandeis said that the most important Constitutional right the Founding Fathers gave us was the 'right to be left alone.'” While traditional conservatives reject this right to privacy that Brandeis proposed in an early legal paper and much later Supreme Court dissent, libertarians love to cite it. Timothy McVeigh did so at his trial. Ignore for today that Brandeis as a crusading social advocate and firm believer in government regulation of private enterprise, represented in his intellect and public career nearly everything the libertarian disavows. Overlook that Brandeis wrote “let” alone, not “left” alone, and that one could tease out a treatise on a subtle and profound distinction, accordingly, between uninterfered with and isolated.
A. Jay Adler, "Libertarians: Call Them Irresponsible"
There are, for the libertarian, few more unloaded and provocative words than that of responsibility. The libertarian is so challenged by the word, in effect, as to suffer a kind of cognitive disability in the face of it. Libertarians, and the Tea Party conservatives who converge with them in this area of thought, frequently cannot distinguish responsibility as obligation, responsibility as the holding of another in one’s care, and responsibility as guilt, the last of which is what libertarians will always fear is impugned in any discussion of common responsibility, and all of which is always, as government policy, a tyrannical burden upon them.
A. Jay Adler, "Libertarians: Call Them Irresponsible"
If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism. Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism, to function. Like Marxism, libertarianism offers the fraudulent intellectual security of a complete a priori account of the political good without the effort of empirical investigation. Like Marxism, it aspires, overtly or covertly, to reduce social life to economics. And like Marxism, it has its historical myths and a genius for making its followers feel like an elect unbound by the moral rules of their society.
Robert Locke, "Marxism of the Right"
Paradoxically, people exercise their freedom not to be libertarians.
Robert Locke, "Marxism of the Right"
[L]ibertarianism has a naïve view of economics that seems to have stopped paying attention to the actual history of capitalism around 1880. There is not the space here to refute simplistic laissez faire, but note for now that the second-richest nation in the world, Japan, has one of the most regulated economies, while nations in which government has essentially lost control over economic life, like Russia, are hardly economic paradises. Legitimate criticism of over-regulation does not entail going to the opposite extreme.
Robert Locke, "Marxism of the Right"
What is the essence of libertarian crankiness? One can rhetorically and philosophically elevate the core expression by articulating it as a fundamental distrust of centralized government, or belief in an original, natural and unfettered personal liberty, but the cranky expression of the same ideas is “leave me the fuck alone.” I do not mean to diminish the feeling by going so basic on us. Any strong personality accustomed by individual nature to going his own way as he determines that way best to be, among whom I will tell you I number, will know the feeling of “leave me the fuck alone.” One has to be clear, though, that that is a feeling and not a philosophy.
A. Jay Adler, "Ron Paul and Cranky Libertarianism"