Friday, October 19, 2007

Hey, Stepford Libertarians!

Wendy McElroy has done a great service, I think, in reprinting on her blog an article of hers from the February 1983 issue of The Voluntaryist. “Although it is aimed at anarchists who worked within the Libertarian Party,” Wendy writes, “it contains insights that are applicable to the current Stepford Libertarians — that is, those libertarians who are supporting Republican Ron Paul almost to the point of worship.” You can find the entire piece here, but here’s a taste:

“Anarchists often claim to be in the L.P. simply because there is no other vehicle for libertarianism. I am suspicious of this argument for two reasons. First, the history of libertarianism and other radical movements is replete with examples of effective non-political, non-violent strategy. Anyone acquainted with the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, Gandhianism, or the history of Nineteenth Century libertarianism cannot honestly claim there is no other way. If they are not familiar with these movements, they are speaking from ignorance and should educate themselves.”

For Wendy’s second reason, go here.

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At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think politics solves problems. I think getting rid of political machinery does. You do too, but you are more cynical and more pure than I am. For you, a vote to eliminate something bad is a damning endorsement of all the other bad things that would still exist.

That's only true if it's true, and since it's not true for me, well, it's just not true. I'm sure lots of other people fit the bill though.

I have the same complaint against the statists who condemn freedom by trying to equate it with a comprehensive juvenile attitude of licence. (Nothing wrong with license if it's your deal, of course!)

So: I would qualify a lot of what Wendy says. It's only true if it's true, and where it's true it's a good thing to recognize. But the sweeping generalizations she makes are just the kind of thing that helped turn me away from politics and the fundamentally self-deceptive modes of thinking it fosters.


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