Diversity In Libertarianism

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***UNDER CONSTRUCTION*** Part of What Is Wrong With Libertarianism.

There may be two libertarians somewhere who agree with each other about everything, but I am not one of them.
David Friedman

Libertarianism is like a shopping cart, full of different items. You've got libertines, gun loons, tax protesters, entrepreneurs, Austrians, Objectivists, anarcho-capitalists, Georgists, corporate shills... the list is extensive.

Libertarianism is united only by a rhetoric of liberty. Liberty is the central glittering generality of their propaganda. Liberty is vague enough to justify any atrocity. We routinely see libertarians living up to Barry Goldwater's "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." It's not even the same liberty to all of them.

It would be nice if there was a simple dismissal of libertarianism, but there are so many different kinds that no one argument could apply.


Fundamental Philosophical Diversity

  • non-Objectivist vs. Objectivist
  • rationalist vs. antirationalist
  • essentialist vs. pragmatist
  • deontological vs. teleological
  • primacy of liberty or rights
  • hardcore vs soft core
  • left vs. right vs. socialist
  • anarcho-capitalist vs. minarchist vs paleolibertarian

Economic Theory Diversity

  • Chicago School
  • Virginia School (George Mason University Economics Department, Public Choice Theory)
  • Austrian School
  • Hayekian Weirdness

Diversity of Positions

  • Libertarian Party
  • LP reform
  • Hayekians
  • Miseans
  • Buchananites
  • Friedmanites
  • David Friedmanites
  • Blockheads
  • Rothbardites
  • Rawlsekians
  • Liberaltarians

Diversity on Issues

  • abortion, for and against
  • UBI, for and against

More Stuff: metaphysical (the original use) versus political normative (versus positive) theoryleft and right

   4 types in "Utopia"
   rationalist vs. antirationalist
   essentialist vs. pragmatist libertarians
   "Justice For The Here And Now", Sterba
       distinguishes Spencerian and Lockean libertarians, based on primacy of
       liberty or rights.  Shows how either results in requirement for basic
       positive rights.
       Rebuts Machan, Rasmussen, Hospers, Mack, and Narvesson.
   Basis of desires versus liberty.
       "Both Hayek and Rothbard maintain that, in societies like
       theirs, the desirable always concords with liberty (or maximal
       liberty). Rothbard achieved this concordance by molding his
       sensibilities about the desirable to fit his definition of
       liberty. Hayek achieved this concordance by molding his
       definition of liberty to fit his sensibilities about the
   D Friedman hardcore vs soft core
       ideologues versus preferences (gut)
   Right, left, and other
       Radical right libertarians -- such as Rothbard (1978, 1982) and Kirzner (1978)
       Lockean right-libertarians -- such as Nozick (1974)
       Georgist libertarianism -- as developed, for example, by George (1879, 1892) and Steiner (1977, 1980, 1981, 1994)
       ethical libertarianism
       political libertarianism
       philosophical libertarianism (free will)
       left/right/socialist (Karl Widerquist's encyclopedia article)
   value vs right (Narvesson)
       (1) that liberty is the sole value to be promoted by governments and
       individuals (sometimes called the "teleological" version of
       libertarianism) and
       (2) that liberty is our sole right (sometimes called "deontological"
       libertarianism; this is the view that the word "libertarianism",
       unqualified, is generally taken to stand for nowadays.)
   "the right" versus "the good"?
   rights theory, consequentialist, human flourishing
   Primary division of libertarians:
       consequentialists (Hume, Hayek, Epstein, Rand)
       natural rights (Nozick, etc.)
       see http://www.reason.com/9903/bk.ls.fuzzy.html
   LP vs non-LP
   LP vs LP reform
   Austrian vs. Chicago economics
       Rawls' liberty principle appeals to the so-called Rawlsekians, a group
       Rawls' liberty principle appeals to the so-called Rawlsekians, a group
       of young libertarians who want to combine the views of Rawls with those
       of Friedrich Hayek, but Rawls himself was no Hayekian.
   So you can see, libertarianism can attract two types of people:
       1- Those that are libertarian because they agree with the libertarian means of minimal government.
       2- Those that are libertarian because they believe that libertarian means will produce the end result that they desire.

Samuel Freeman does a good job of showing how libertarian ideas of property differ from liberal ideas in his "Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism Is Not a Liberal View" paper, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 30 n. 2. Locke is neither libertarian nor liberal on property on this account, and I think that's the right interpretation.) Classification of liberals.

       Having no conception of a political society, libertarians have no
       conception of the common good, those basic interests of each individual
       that according to liberals are to be maintained for the sake of justice
       by the impartial exercise of public political power. (page 149;
       footnote omitted)
       "that libertarianism's resemblance to liberalism is superficial; in the
       end, libertarians reject essential liberal institutions. Correctly
       understood, libertarianism resembles a view that liberalism historically
       defined itself against, the doctrine of private political power that
       underlies feudalism. Like feudalism, libertarianism conceives of
       justified political power as based in a network of private contracts.
       It rejects the idea, essential to liberalism, that political power is
       a public power, to be impartially exercised for the common good."

1 classical liberals: laissez fair, but allows redistribution to preserve mkts

       allow's property-owner's state (p123)

2 high liberals: philosophical liberalism and institutions 3 libertarians Locke's Second Treatise par. 73, 120, 138, 139 show government has authority to regulate, tax, and burden property for the common good. Liberalism (classical or high) has 6 institutional features (p123):

       1. the public recognition and legal enforcement of basic rights and
          liberties equally provided for all citizens
       2. some account of equality of opportunity with open careers and
       3. a central role assigned to efficient markets in allocating
          productive resources
       4. government's role in the production of public goods
       5. government's duty to provide a social minimum
       6. the public nature of political authority

"the right" versus "the good". "The right" in this sense is what Robyn Eckersley defines as "the idea that the common structure of political action should constrain and limit what elected governments may decide in the name of the state, what citizens may do in pursuit of their own conceptions of the good life and what economic actors may do in pursuit of economic gain."

Blends: "liberaltarians"