"Neolibertarianism" = Same Ol' Shit
It’s bad enough the so-called Libertarian Party’s spent more than three decades sucking radicalism out of the libertarian movement. Now there’s a small faction of self-described “pragmatic libertarian hawks” calling itself Neolibertarian and publishing a webzine named The New Libertarian. You can find some of their nonsense here.
Jon Henke, the most vocal of their number, writes:
“The libertarian ideal of a truly limited government is an [sic] utopian dream. In the real world, where powerful interests — individual and collective — compete for the reigns [sic] 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. ...Whew! That’s an exciting program I can get behind!
“So, doctrinaire Libertarians are fighting an uphill battle against human nature. And they do so, precisely because they refuse to accept human nature as part of their political calculation. ...
“Pragmatic libertarians — Neolibertarians — cannot win, but we can ameliorate the loss. ...
“Indeed, Leviathan is with us, for better or worse. Libertarians should try to make it better, rather than worse.”
These Neolibs have just taken the Libertarian Party’s failed strategy of moderation, cowardice, and political compromise to its inevitable endpoint: The Same Old Statist Shit.
Murray Rothbard used to call this hogwash “anarcho-pragmatism.” As he wrote in Samuel Edward Konkin III’s original, radical New Libertarian magazine 20 years ago:
“Anarcho-Pragmatism ... simply doesn’t work. It cannot push radicalism among the public, and it cannot build a radical movement. All it can do is subvert, weaken, and, if unchecked, even destroy the libertarian movement which the anarcho-pragmatists claim they are striving to strengthen and promote. Objectively, anarcho-pragmatists can only function as wreckers of libertarianism.”Worst of all, these neolibs are further corrupting the term libertarian (as if the LP hadn’t corrupted it enough already), just as socialists and social democrats hijacked and corrupted the term liberal more than a century ago.
My guess is that this Neolibertarianism will quickly fade away. As a “movement” — and it really hasn’t yet proven itself to be one — it has no real ideology or moral passion. We’re all better off re-reading Mises, Rothbard, and SEK3’s New Libertarian Manifesto, which is still the Real Deal.