Thursday, July 9, 2009

What kind of LIbertarian are you?

A guy named Peter Suderman has an interesting post up at the Reason magazine site....

Tyler Cowen reads Tom Palmer's new book on libertarianism and identifies five primary strands:

1. Cato-influenced (for lack of a better word). There is an orthodox reading of what "being libertarian" means, defined by the troika of free markets, non-interventionism, and civil liberties. It is based on individual rights but does not insist on anarchism. A ruling principle is that libertarians should not endorse state interventions. I read Palmer's book as belonging to this tradition, broadly speaking.

2. Rothbardian anarchism. Free-market protection agencies will replace government-as-we-know-it. War is evil and the problems of anarchy pale in comparison. David Friedman offered a more utilitarian-sounding version of this approach, shorn of Misesian influence.

3. Mises Institute nationalism. Gold standard, a priori reasoning, monetary apocalypse, and suspicious of immigration because maybe private landowners would not have let those people into their living rooms.

4. Jeff Friedman and Critical Review: Everything is up for grabs, let's be consequentialists and focus on the welfare state because that's where the action is. Marx is dead. The case for some version of libertarianism ultimately rests upon voter ignorance and, dare I say it, voter irrationality.

5. "Hayek libertarianism." All or most of the great libertarian thinkers are ultimately compatible with each other and we have a big tent of all sorts of classical liberal ideas. Hayek and Friedman are the chosen "public faces" of this approach. "There's a classical liberal tradition and classical liberal values and we can be fuzzy on a lot of other things."

These people at Zeal For Truth have added a few more:

Left-libertarian - sceptical of capitalism and corporatism, and possibly even private property.

6. Ron Paul bots - these guys are “libertarians” in that in their support of Ron Paul - probably because he was against the war - has blossomed into a general hate of the federal reserve. These are big on the constitution and “patriotism” and can be seen yelling at rallies or harrasing border guards.

7. Fake libertarians - Guys like Larry Elder and Ronald Regan. Anyone who calls themself a “republitarian.” Conservatives who happen to be a little more “free market” than your standard compassionate religious nut.

8. Libertarians who don’t know it or won’t admit it - People from the left and right who don’t to be associated with libertarians because of one of these groups, but hold a lot of libertarian beliefs.

9. Objectivists - Generally pro-war, radically atheist. Argues for “objective” standards of value (rather than subjective as in the Austrian school). Big on selfishness and a sceptical of utilitarianism.

10. Penn and Teller libertarians - Slightly left-ish, cynical and embracing libertarianism at least, in part, for it’s hedonistic/rebellious appeal. This is who conservatives think of when they realise we don’t like the war on drugs.

I like to think that I'm from the Hayek/Friedman wing. Am looking forward to seeing how TLG, Browncoat and others define themselves.


TarrantLibertyGuy said...

I'd say - out of the list given, I'm a bit of Cato Influenced with a dash of Hayek Libertarianism... sprinkle in some Friedman (of the Milton variety) in for flavor.

Dr Ralph said...

Oh boy! This is like being at Braums selecting your triple-dip.

I'd like a scoop of "Left-Libertarian" and "Libertarians who don’t know it or won’t admit it" and ... hmm ... hedonism sounds good. Give me a scoop of "Penn and Teller libertarian," too.

I'll get back on my diet next week,

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

As a wag friend put it...

"That piece came from Reason. Tyler Cowen is just trying stir up trouble in the Libertarian movement. He has nothing original to say and is best ignored."

NickM said...

Well, (by the way I have been tied back in my saddle - mainly by my wife), I dunno. There was a huge Barnabus Rubble over at Samizdata not long since in which the mighty howitzers of Pa Annoyed, Alisa and Mid got whelled out and you know what...

I didn't give a flying squid. It rapidly became so sodding technical that I lost the will to live let alone post. I'm hunkered down in the foxhole with cannonades of the Austrian school flying over my left ear and fusilades of Rothbards over the right.

And ya know what? All I wanted was a smaller state and lower taxes and nobody telling me how to live.

So I build a comoputer, start reading Perry De Havilland's Samizdata, drop down a rabbit hole and I'm in the mulligatawny finding myself agreeing with a bloke who has an avatar that looks like Leon Trotsky.

Yet I am without an ice-pick.

Don't worry Dr Ralph. I think you are right. There are at least as many forms of libertarianism as there are libertarians. I mean just statistically some of us have to be schizophrenic. I know most of me is/are.

All I did was say to an Australian - "I'll help ya out..."

That was my second rabbit hole.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Hey Herr Doktor - remember, this all ice cream diet tastes great AND is good for you.

And Nick M/Dr. Ralph - since we're the 'individual rights and responsibilities' folks, of course you can pick out the flavors you like, as long as the ice cream is an analogy for 'smaller state', just mix it up and eat all you like.

As Dr Ralph knows... getting the hamburger at Braums is never a good idea. Stick to the ice cream.

Dr Ralph said...

NickM: I suspect your views on religion and mine on politics are similar: a narrow intellectual orthodoxy is not to be trusted, no matter what your preferred flavor may be. Don't let the picture fool you.

TLG -- have you never tasted a Braum's hamburger??? My god, they are delicous! To hell with the ice cream.

fembuttx said...

I am a Beeradonian Libertarian. I really dont understand much of what Libertarians are talking about until I have had 4 or 5 Beers.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

For those who are confused by Nick's comment, he and Chris had some sort of dustup over at Counting Cats.

Everything has been peacefully resolved.

The world is now a better place.

Browncoat Libertarian said...

I'm pretty much what TLG described. Does that make me a Spiveyatarian? :^)

Suzette Watkins said...

#5 Hayek sounds good to me. (BTW, y'all are some funny guys!! Your comments are ....well.....funny.)

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Spiveytarian... I like that. Sounds like a great cult.

Notice that the cult leaders always ends up with a bunch of girls throwing themselves at them. I'm just sayin...

Dr Ralph said...

What, like Ayn Rand?


Fester said...

two omissions seems to be constitutionalists and voluntaryists.

Constitutionalists, hold the constitution up as the end all. They believe in states rights and a minimal federal government.

Voluntaryists fall into libertarianism because they believe every human action should be voluntary, this rules out any action from a government which by its nature is coercive.

Both of these groups fall somewhere in this list in part, but I think they are two distinct groups not listed.