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Sunday, June 11, 2006

You might not expect this from me but I enjoy reading Billy Beck. I think he's made a few errors here and there, but then again most people have. I certainly have, I'm sure, if you go back over my words with a critical enough eye. But he's a man of reason, and I'm all for that.

On his latest post, he digs into the "libertarian-left" connection in a way that I think needs addressing, if nothing else. A quote that I think sums the thing up well:
"What I might need from them would be, say, a basic common-sense endorsement of the principle of private property, and they're never going to do that. Do you understand? That's why they're on "the left", and until they're not, there is nothing serious to "talk" with them about."

Well, this is the problem. That "the left" has come to mean "people who are against capitalism". Well, there's no way around it using modern terminology. This is a "zaxlebax problem" akin to calling currently existing "capitalism" a free market, when it's clearly not.
And this is going to be a problem for people reaching out to "the left" for quite some time. Because they themselves have internalized that definition such that it galls them on a deep level to admit that private property is inherently just, even in principle (if not in current practice), and they fear unrestrained human action, because they've also internalized the "hobbsean perspective" that people are essentially maniacs that need to be molded and restrained. Until "the left" does not subscribe to those principles, our role in reaching out to them must be primarily one of disabusing them of those notions. Go to Jim Henley's blog sometime and read some of the anti-libertarian screeds by some of the liberal commenters. This is what we're up against. People who claim that Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith were not proto-libertarian.

Now the converse, however, does not apply. Libertarians should not have much to do with what passes for "the right" anymore (except perhaps some of the paleoconservatives). We can see where that got us. They have nothing more than lip-service for "private property" if even that. And what they mean by it is more akin to "feudal property" than anything we'd endorse as "private". "Economic freedom" to them is merely a trifle, a political foil to be discarded when it becomes inconvenient to their real project (which I believe is to forge a caste system), just as "civil liberties" are for the left.
The right is more dangerous to us because they sort of talk the talk, and so they are immersed in a massive fraud and/or self-deception. Whereas most of the left just have bad ideas, but they actually mean it (with all the fuzzy-brained confusion that implies), so you can kind of argue with them about it. My approach to dealing with the right would be to expose their contradictions to a point where they admit what they really believe, and then at that point, we can "reach out" to them too.

Now as for myself, I don't consider myself part of any wing of the political bird. I just want to stop the whole filthy business altogether. Or at least, to show people what they're really dealing with, and let them sort it out.


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