Reclaiming our radicalism
Christians search scripture routinely for wisdom on moral and ethical issues. We freedom-lovers should likewise spend more time searching the writings of our heroic predecessors for insight on challenges that now plague us.
While the so-called Libertarian Party descends further into cowardice and “big tent” Neolibertarians raise their hawkish heads, Lew Rockwell’s unearthed and reprinted a timely and indispensable essay by Murray Rothbard titled “Do You Hate the State?” First published three decades ago, Rothbard’s piece identifies the “crucial dividing line” that split libertarianism in 1977 and still does so today. That division,
The conservative libertarian,
On the other hand, the radical libertarian, whether anarchist or limited-government classical liberal, “hates the existing
“...the radical libertarian ... refuses to think in such terms as a Four Year Plan for some sort of stately and measured procedure for reducing the State. The radical — whether he be anarchist or laissez-faire — cannot think in such terms as, e.g.: Well, the first year, we’ll cut the income tax by 2%, abolish the ICC, and cut the minimum wage; the second year we’ll abolish the minimum wage, cut the income tax by another 2%, and reduce welfare payments by 3%, etc. The radical cannot think in such terms, because the radical regards the State as our mortal enemy, which must be hacked away at wherever and whenever we can. To the radical libertarian, we must take any and every opportunity to chop away at the State, whether it’s to reduce or abolish a tax, a budget appropriation, or a regulatory power. And the radical libertarian is insatiable in this appetite until the State has been abolished, or — for minarchists — dwindled down to a tiny, laissez-faire role.”So here’s where I see the line drawn in today’s libertarian movement:
Conservatives — the Libertarian Party, the recent Neolibertarian splinter (it hasn’t yet distinguished itself as a movement), Reason and
Radicals — The Mises Institute, LewRockwell.com, "Rob" and Strike-The-Root.com, the Antiwar.com coalition, the Movement of the Libertarian Left, and a growing number of writers and bloggers like B.K. Marcus, Claire Wolfe, Wendy McElroy, Tom Knapp, Karen De Coster, Anthony Gregory, and Roderick T. Long.