A Libertarian Troika

Three great articles on LewRockwell.com this week:

First, Roderick Long's speech on market anarchism, mentioned earlier in mp3 form, has been transcribed into html and pdf formats by Revi N. Nair. Well worth the read if you haven't listened to it already. Heck, read it even if you did.

Second, Professor Long is currently studying first-hand accounts of mid-19th-century France, a particularly violent and statist era. In his studies, Long came across a passage by Victor Hugo, a French classical liberal, who, while vehemently criticizing the notion that political majorities make the unjust just, did not go far enough in his critique:

But the vast mainstream of liberalism was to follow Hugo in embracing what Spencer would later call "the divine right of parliaments" - the illusion that little if anything lies outside the legitimate sphere of democratic authority. Hugo was right: no mere vote can turn crime into innocence. But he failed to recognise the logical implications of his own view. Today only the libertarians (and not all of them!) still recognise that what is a crime if done by an individual is still a crime if done by the democratic state – that, in Rothbard's words, "regardless of popular sanction, War is Mass Murder, Conscription is Slavery, and Taxation is Robbery."

Finally, Jeffrey Tucker offers a vivid excoriation of conservativism, without the usual "I'm only talking about the few but powerful neoconservatives" caveat/hedge.

This is conservatism. There's no use in denying it. The war party and American conservatism are interchangeable and inseparable. They are synonyms. The same thing. They co-exist. How many ways can we put it? Militarism and violence is at the core of conservatism.

Some protest that conservatism once meant resistance to the welfare-warfare state. That is a fascinating piece of historiography, as interesting as the fact that liberalism once meant freedom from the state. Glasses were once called spectacles too, but in our times, language has it own meaning.

In our times, the meaning of conservatism is violence. It means violence against foreigners and violence against political dissidents. It means celebrating violence as the right and proper method of government policy. It means soundly rejecting the views of those who doubt the merit of violence as the omnipotent tool of domestic and international order. ...

Yes, I've heard all the arguments that this is "phony conservatism," or "neoconservatism," or "conservatism that has sold out to the Republican Party," but all of these qualifications and apologies are increasingly strained.

What we find in these disgraceful tracts is plain and simple orthodox conservatism: violent, blood-thirsty, and anti-intellectual. All the years that the party of freedom warned about the dangers of the left and what do we find? We find that the real hammer blows to American liberty are being delivered by an unexpected source: the right you might once have thought represented a freedom-minded alternative to Clinton and Carter.

You were lied to.

... If you favor liberty, if you oppose the rise of the total state in our times, call yourself something else. If you understand the central point about social organization and civilization – namely that society can organize itself on its own in the absence of a central state – there is a tradition of thought for you, and it doesn't call itself conservatism.

And thus concludes our libertarian troika.

Share this

Yeah, Long's speech was

Yeah, Long's speech was excellent, I listened to the MP3. It fit well into the niche of "A basic explanation of anarchism for those familiar with free-market economics but not anarchism".

The 19th century as a whole

The 19th century as a whole was a fairly violent and statist era; now its often not recognized for this of course, but its hard to argue against this in the face of say the Peterloo massacre, Confederate and Union conscription or the various revolts in the British empire that were ruthlessly crushed (e.g., India, Jamaica, Canada, etc.).