United States

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Libertarians frequently claim the United States was libertarian or laissez-faire between Reconstruction and the New Deal. Alternatively, they claim it is the closest state now. Both claims are ahistorical and ridiculous.

Links

Adventures in Libertarian Blind Spots [More...]
Libertarians cannot agree on whether the 19th century USA was more or less free than today. Easy clue: more than half the population could not vote and could not own property when married. Oh, and let's not forget the slavery.
Antimonopoly Is as Old as the Republic [More...]
Should the U.S. enforce more explicit restrictions on monopolies, or can innovation and democracy alone mitigate the pervasive effects of monopoly power? A panel of historians and economists at the recent Stigler Center conference on concentration in America discussed the historical evolution of this debate.
Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War (book)
Revisionist libertarian historian Jeffrey Hummel shows that Abraham Lincoln is the Great Statist Satan who transformed the US into a statist hellhole. How does that work with libertarian claims that the late 19th century US was closest to libertarian?
Libertarianism’s Apocryphal Past [More...]
"Protectionist, nativist paleoconservatives of the Patrick Buchanan school might have reason to idealize the United States as it existed between 1865 and 1932. But libertarians who want to prove that a country based on libertarian ideology can exist in the real world cannot point to the United States at any period in its history from the Founding to the present."
Libertarians: Still a cult [More...]
Claims that the US between Reconstruction and FDR was "libertarian" show an amazing ignorance of history.
Right-Libertarian “Free Trade” and “Free Markets”: The Exoteric, and Esoteric Version [More...]
"So basically all large concentrations of wealth in this ostensibly “laissez-faire” period [the gilded age] were the result of past robbery and murder on a scale that boggles the mind, and its nod to “free markets” was simply to say “All right, no more robbery, starting… NOW!”"
The Voluntarism Fantasy [More...]
Libertarian stories of 19th century voluntary charity ignore the historical facts of how horribly insufficient that system was and how much it was supplemented by state and federal aid. The Great Depression destroyed most voluntary charity, and brought about progressive social insurance programs.

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