Libertarianism Is Out — Neolibertarian Is In

December 15, 2008

[First published March 31, 2005] In my blog, “Freedomist vs. Libertarian — A Debate challenge” (link here) I argued that most libertarians have joined with the left in opposing American intervention abroad, military action, and President Bush’s “Forward Strategy of Freedom.” On this, these libertarians, who dominate the libertarian Party, are ahistorical, illogical, and morally questionable. So, while a libertarian (with qualification) on domestic policy, I am a hard-line interventionist to prevent massive democide and ensure American national security. I fully support Bush’s foreign policy, grounded as it is on democratic peace research.

Then, what should I call myself? I settled on freedomist, or one who is in favor of the maximum freedom at home (I am not an anarchist and believe that government has a distinct role in society—how I determine how much government is too much or too little is the subject of Monday’s blog), and the fostering of freedom abroad.

Now, I find that there is a group of libertarians who believe similarly (also with qualification about domestic freedom), and are organized to support, communicate, and foster this position. They call themselves neolibertarians (newlibertarians), and have a Q and O Blog (Free Markets, Free People — link here). They have just started a journal, The New Libertarian, to which one can subscribe on their blog (go here). I intend to join them and help as much as I can.

I should mention that I don’t favor their label. “Neolibertarian” smacks of “neoconservative,” which is a somewhat derogatory label that the liberal media originally gave those liberals, who disgusted with the anti-anticommunism of the left, began to support the hard line, conservative foreign policy. Now, the label seems to be applied to anyone close to Bush in foreign policy. Likewise, neolibertarian smacks of a label the liberal media would also apply to libertarians who have defected from the Libertarian Party to support the Bush foreign policy.

I much prefer freedomism, since it well describes one’s position domestically and in foreign policy and inherently stands in contrast to the liberal and leftist’s socialism. But I’m not going to argue it. The name “neolibertarian” is now imbedded in the effort of the QandO people, and it has organization, thought, and momentum behind it.

A Haiku:

Let everyone be free
Toward peace and life

Link of Note

”Neolibertarian” Posted by Jon Henke (12.17.04) By Jon Henke on the BandO Blog

Henke says:

I’ve been occasionally asked to give a brief description of Neolibertarianism. Something against which people can compare their own values, to determine whether they are, in fact, Neolibertarians. Very well….

Here’s the short version:

• Pragmatic domestic libertarian; Hawk on defense

• Hobbesian libertarian

• Big-Tent libertarian

Any of those will do, in a pinch. To expand just a bit, though…

The libertarian ideal of a truly limited government is an utopian dream. In the real world, where powerful interests–individual and collective–compete for the reigns of power, there will be violations of the ideals libertarians hold. After all–as a result of their disavowal of power–libertarians are uniquely unqualified to defend their ideals against political opposition. . . . Indeed, all the “standing athwart history, yelling ‘stop!'” we can muster will not be enough to assuage the natural human desire to “vote themselves largess out of the public treasury”, or otherwise seek their own interests.

So, doctrinaire Libertarians are fighting an uphill battle against human nature. And they do so, precisely because they refuse to accept human nature as a part of their political calculation. . . .

Freedomist vs. Libertarian—A Debate challenge

December 13, 2008

[First published January 16, 2005] When I wore my heart on my sleeve as a youth, I was a democratic socialist, but in the early 1970s I gave up the socialism for democratic libertarianism under the hammer blows of von Mises, Hayek, and Milton Friedman. Libertarian is what I called myself until recently. I remain libertarian in domestic policy, which is to say the more domestic freedom from regulation, government control and taxation, and oppressive laws, the better up to a point. I am not an anarchist, but believe social justice means minimal government consistent with protecting and guaranteeing all have equal civil and political rights.

However, on foreign policy the libertarian, with some exceptions, is an isolationist, fundamentally opposed to foreign involvements and interventions. Let international relations also be free, the libertarians say, which means free trade and commerce, and freedom for other countries to do whatever they want with their people. Not our business.

On this, the libertarians are blinded by their desire for freedom, not realizing that everything, including freedom demands contextual qualification (should those with a dangerous infectious disease remain free, when they could spread it far and wide, killing maybe hundreds with it?). But their isolationism, libertarian are making the world safe for the gangs of thugs (called dictatorships) that murder, torture, and oppress a people, and rule by fear.

Not our business, the libertarian still will say, although his fundamental belief in freedom is being violated in the most horrible ways. By implication, his isolationism is declaring that since it’s some body else that’s suffering, not me, my loved ones, or my friends, it’s okay. But besides this basic human me and mine, it is also a blindness to his own welfare. For in an age of readily transportable biological weapons, such as anthrax, and nuclear weapons, no longer can a country like the U.S. sit back and ignore what goes on elsewhere in the production and derivability of such weapons. In the hands of those who hate the democracies and their libertarian values, democracies are too vulnerable. Now, involvement and intervention in the rapacious affairs of thug regimes is of necessity a protection of democracies, not to mention advancing human rights and the freedom libertarians praise. Quite simply, no thug regimes can be trusted with either the possession or the capability of producing such weapons.

So, then what am I. Why, a freedomist (ist is a suffix meaning a follower or believer in certain beliefs, such as in socialist or feminist). This is a belief in not only freedom at home, but unlike the libertarian, democratic freedom abroad. This is not only for the sake of advancing freedom for others, but also to protect our own freedom.

My libertarian friends have been upset with my defense of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ve gone conservative, they claim. One calls me a liberventionist (see link below).

Okay, lets debate it. A challenge. I will turn over a page on this blog to any libertarian who wishes to make a reasoned argument for isolationism, or from a libertarian perspective, an argument against our war in Iraq. I will respond in a page, and then the libertarian will have a page to rebut me.

Freedomist versus Libertarian. Whose up to it?

Link of Note

”War, Democide, and Liberventionism” (1/11/05)

By Anthony Gregory
“HYPERLINK “”Lew [ blog], it is indeed a huge disappointment to see Rummel on the dark side. I would never pretend to have anything on his excellent accomplishments in scholarship, however I have for a while had an intuitive skepticism of the ‘democide’ school of thought, especially as it relates to foreign policy.”