Libertarian Admissions

From Critiques Of Libertarianism
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Every now and then, a famous libertarian backs himself into a corner and says something honest that conflicts with popular libertarian belief.


What's Wrong With Libertarianism [More...]
Jeffrey Friedman, editor of Critical Review. thoroughly skewers four books on libertarianism. "Libertarian arguments about the empirical benefits of capitalism are, as yet, Inadequate to convince anyone who lacks libertarian philosophical convictions. Yet ‘philosophical’ libertarianism founders on internal contradictions that render it unfit to make libertarians out of anyone who does not have strong consequentialist reasons for libertarian belief. The joint failure of these two approaches to libertarianism explains why they are both present in orthodox libertarianism -- they hide each other’s weaknesses, thereby perpetuating them." Reviewed: Libertarianism, A Primer, by David Boaz; Classical Liberalism: The Unvanquished Ideal, by David Conway; What It Means to Be a Libertarian, by Charles Murray; Bringing the Market Back In, by John Kelley.


Since many of the people who take a similar position [libertarianism] are narrow and rigid, and filled, paradoxically, with resentment at other freer ways of being, my now having natural responses which fit the theory puts me in some bad company.
Robert Nozick, "Anarchy, State, and Utopia"
Government may even be called the most beneficial of all earthly institutions as without it no peaceful human cooperation, no civilization, and no moral life would be possible.
Ludwig von Mises, "Economic Freedom and Interventionism"
All ownership derives from occupation and violence. [...] That all rights derive from violence, all ownership from appropriation or robbery, we may freely admit to those who oppose ownership on considerations of natural law.
Ludwig von Mises, "Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis" Ch. 1, section 2.
Liberalism [libertarianism] is not so foolish as to aim at the abolition of the state. Liberals [libertarians] fully recognize that no social coöperation and no civilization could exist without some amount of compulsion and coercion. It is the task of government to protect the social system against the attacks of those who plan actions detrimental to its maintenance and operation.
Ludwig von Mises, "Omnipotent Government"
So long as the State permits its subjects to leave its territory, then, it can be said to act as does any other owner who sets down rules for people living on his property.
Murray Rothbard, "The Ethics of Liberty" p. 172.
... all legal systems, including libertarianism, coercively enforce rules that assign the “ownership” of all persons and all bits of the world. Every legal system throws a net of coercion over the entire society it covers, prohibiting by force any deviations from its definitions of rights. Inasmuch as there is just as much of the world to be parcelled out under each system’s set of property rules, and the rights governing all of this property are just as coercively enforced in all systems, there is no difference in the “amount” of coercion -- or, conversely, the amount of (negative) freedom -- under different legal systems, including libertarianism... So, strictly in terms of negative liberty -- freedom from physical coercion -- libertarianism has no edge over any other system
Jeffrey Friedman, "What's Wrong With Libertarianism"
Amartya Sen has pointed out that all contemporary moral theories, including libertarianism, are essentially egalitarian; we can press on from this observation to ask why, if (as Boaz maintains) the liberty of a human being to own another should be trumped by equal human rights, the liberty to own large amounts of property should not also be trumped by equal human rights. This alone would seem definitively to lay to rest the philosophical case for libertarianism.
Jeffrey Friedman, "What's Wrong With Libertarianism"
In editing a journal that has received manuscripts from virtually every libertarian scholar, famous and unknown alike, I have long been struck by the consistent juxtaposition of what another observer delicately calls the “intermingling of positive statements and normative pleadings”: the coincidence of libertarian philosophical sentiments with weak empirical research, leaps of logic, and contempt for nonlibertarian points of view (of which the authors usually appear ignorant). The polemical tone and deficient evidence, however, and the tarnishing of often-good ideas by doctrinaire rhetoric and low scholarly standards, are only the least of it. The worst thing is not the waste of effort that goes into producing propaganda barely veiled by the robes of scholarship. The greater tragedy is what libertarians could produce, but do not.
Jeffrey Friedman, "What's Wrong With Libertarianism"
... libertarianism would simply be liberalism if not for its equation of “liberty” with private property.
Jeffrey Friedman, "What's Wrong With Libertarianism"