Economic Notes No. 112
ISSN 0267-7164 ISBN 1856376303
An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL.
© 2009: Libertarian Alliance; Keith Preston
Keith Preston is the founder and director of American Revolutionary Vanguard, a USA-based tendency committed to advancing the principles of anti-statism, personal liberty, cooperative individualist economics, and the sovereignty and self-determination of communities and nations. He is a graduate student in history, an independent business owner and entrepreneur, and advocate of a new radicalism that reaches beyond the archaic left/right model of the political spectrum. See the ARV website at www.attackthesystem.com. He can be contacted at 1108 West Grace Street-Apartment 8, Richmond, Virginia, USA, 23220; email: email@example.com; Phone: 804-355-7161. This essay is a very slightly edited version of the winner of the Libertarian Alliance’s 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize: “Can a Libertarian Society be Described as ‘Tesco minus the State’?”
THE PERILS OF SELECTIVE LIBERTARIANISM
A political libertarian, broadly defined, is someone who wishes to dramatically reduce the role of the state in human social life so as to maximize individual freedom of thought, action and association. The natural corollary to libertarian anti-statism is the defense of the free market in economic affairs. Many libertarians and not a few conservatives, at least in the Anglo nations, claim to be staunch proponents of free enterprise. Yet this defense is often rather selective, and timid, to say the least. Libertarians and free-market conservatives will voice opposition to state-owned enterprises, the social welfare and public health services, state-funded and operated educational institutions, or regulatory bureaus and agencies, such as those governing labor relations, relations between racial, ethnic, and gender groups, or those regulating the use of the environment. Curiously absent among many libertarian, conservative, or free-market critiques of interventions by the state into society are the myriad of ways in which government acts to assist, protect, and, indeed, impose outright, an economic order maintained for the benefit of politically connected plutocratic elites. Of course, recognition of this fact has led some on the Left to make much sport of libertarians, whom they often refer to, less than affectionately, as “Republicans who take drugs”, or “Tories who are soft on buggery”, and other such clichés. ….[More]