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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are libertarians ideological conformists?

In this blog post, a guy named Freddie DeBoer writes, "Now, I fight with conservatives, liberals, libertarians, my fellow leftists, and assorted fringe groups constantly. No group is more taken to groupthink and the expression of their ideological boilerplate than libertarians. None. In fact, it's not close."

This naturally inspires some dissent, and the comments are very lively. (Many of them are from folks I follow on Twitter.)

DeBoer writes, " I look at the inter-libertarian squabbles between my Facebook friends, and it's remarkable how quickly apostasy is punished and how quickly libertarians move to get into lockstep with Hayek or von Mises or Rand. If someone suggests that, say, the federal free lunch program isn't a matter of creeping authoritarianism, they are swiftly dispatched. It's like clockwork."

It's pretty easy to get dismissed as a "statist" in libertarian circles, even if you support 80 percent of the standard platform. (See this great post from Michael Munger at Duke University).

But it's also not difficult to find folks who dissent from the standard "line," aside from the folks currently piling on Mr. DeBoer,  and those are the folks I mostly read. (Such as Munger, who favors a single payer health insurance system, and Tyler Cowen, and Will Wilkinson, and Robert Anton Wilson for basically his entire career.) I've noticed that Julian Sanchez doesn't always follow the "company line" either, although it's usually not noticeable because he usually writes about civil liberties, a topic almost all libertarians agree upon.

1 comment:

gacord said...

I recognize libertarian as something distinctly different from Libertarian. I think RAW made similar statements. I believe one quote is something like "I usually tell people I'm libertarian (with a little 'L') because most people don't know what anarchist means."