Enlightened ramblings of a minarchist libertarian with Objectivist tendencies

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Herding Cats

Undoubtedly, most you who are politically savvy have heard this expression as relates to libertarians. I don't personally care for it, but as of yet have been unable to coin a suitable replacement. The reason I mention this is because I was recently directed to this article by Michael Gersh of Zero Base Thinking.

It is an extremely long article and probably only of interest to those who consider themselves to be libertarians of one sort or another, but it is well worth the time.

The closing paragraph sums up the article fairly well:

It is sometimes said that contemporary conservatism is an uneasy alliance between libertarians and traditionalists, and that this alliance is destined eventually to collapse due to the inherent conflict between the two philosophies. But it can with equal or even greater plausibility be argued that it is in fact contemporary libertarianism which comprises an uneasy alliance, an association between incompatible factions committed to very different conceptions of freedom. The trouble with libertarianism is that many of its adherents have for too long labored under the illusion that things are otherwise, that their creed is a single unified political philosophy that does not, and need not, take a stand on the most contentious moral issues dividing contemporary society. This has led to confusion both at the level of theory and at the level of policy. Libertarians need to get clear about exactly what they believe and why. And when they do, they might find that their particular version of libertarianism commits them - or ought to commit them - to regard as rivals those they might once have considered allies.

This strikes me because I have often noted the same thing in the 3 or 4 years that I have actively considered myself to be a libertarian. I have come across many that I would consider to be leftist nutjobs that call themselves libertarian. Of course, on more than one occasion I have been referred to as a "market fundamentalist." There is no question that I would be what is considered a Right-Libertarian.

Anyone viewing Sandor's Blogosphere Political Compass Project can see that I am as close or closer than anyone else listed to the lower right corner, representing both economic and social freedom. Honestly, I have a hard time seeing how those over on the negative side of the economic side could possibly consider themselves libertarian. Increased government regulation of the economy does not equate to freedom.

In addition, those on the positive side of the social freedom scale often call themselves libertarians (or some times Patriots) as well. Again, increased government meddling in our personal lives does not equate to freedom.

So perhaps since we are all just a bunch of cats trying to avoid the herd, we will remain forever secondary players to the likes of Conservatives and Liberals, but I would rather argue over the semantics of freedom than completely forsake these ideals.


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