Roots of Libertarianism

Tech Central Station has an informative piece up about the background of Libertarianism and how it diverged from Conservatism. Many names you’ll know come up in the recounting of that history, and perhaps some you won’t — Read, Mises, Lane, Friedman, Welch, Rand. It’s interesting to learn about the disputes and disagreements between them. The basis over which Ayn Rand quarreled with the Foundation for Economic Education, for instance.

On the fault line that emerged between Libertarianism and Conservatism the author writes:

When it came to Buckley’s nascent National Review, forger of the modern conservative consensus, a onetime chairman of FEE’s board, expressing Read’s attitude, admitted that he had “a little bit the fear that too much attention may be paid to being anti-Communist and not enough to being against communism.” To Read and those who hewed to his libertarian line, the warmaking powers of the state were one of the most horrible things about it, and they did not believe it was a proper duty of the American government to go abroad to destroy international communism, or to legally crush domestic communism.

This became one of the clearest dividing lines between nascent conservatism and libertarianism, with the Buckley side mocking libertarians’ effete and useless disengagement from the Cold War, scoffing at them for evading serious geopolitics for little intellectual seminars on demunicipalizing garbage service.

Libertarian distrust of government to the extreme point of condemnation of almost any substantial involvement by government in the weighty geopolitical matters that abound throughout the world was the major reason I stopped calling myself Libertarian. (Not that the Conservative label fits me either)


3 responses to “Roots of Libertarianism

  1. I wouldn’t call you Conservative by any stretch either, after reading your blog for a while now. As was discussed in a posting I did about racism, humans instinctively gravitate towards those who make them feel comfortable. I come here to read because your postings always make sense to me — that doesn’t mean I always agree with them!

    Libertarian reactions have their place. Conservative reactions have their place. Liberal reactions have their place. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. Gosh darn it, when is that third party going to form that validates those of us alientated by the zealots?! 🙂

  2. I read that that posting of yours earlier this morning. Indeed, it is to be expected that humans gravitate toward those like themselves and therefore we can’t really be surprised to find that most blogs, forums, communities are essentially echo chambers. It takes going against natural inclinations to break out of that.

    At the same time, there is something to be said for having common ground! Life is too short to waste time arguing with people who will reject your every statement, and you theirs.

    I’m very glad to have your readership, btw. Let’s hope I can continue to make some kind of sense!

  3. I might also add that while there isn’t a label I feel I can attach to myself, my views on the issues that matter most in my mind– foreign policy (as I’m sure you’ve figured out from reading my blog)–come closest to aligning with those of the Republican camp, and as long as this remains so I will likely be voting for their number more often than not, at least on the national level.

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