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On ‘Libertarians’ And ‘libertarians’

26 May 2016 @ 14:18

As we homeless conservatives contemplate such things as forming a new Party and who should be asked to join it, I would like to reprint part of a post I did three years ago on the difference between ‘Libertarians’ and ‘libertarians’ — a philosophical differential between Evil and Good, respectively…

There are two types of libertarians: Libertarians and libertarians.

-The former are ideologues who follow a system of ideas designed in the sterile laboratories of their own minds. Like all Ideologies, theirs cannot allow for any deviation from the belief system because the whole thing will collapse if any part is proven defective. And they have so much psychologically invested in their Ideology that it’s collapse would bring about a breakdown. Jacob Burckhardt called them ‘the terrible simplifiers’.

-As for the latter, small ‘l’ type, I think Russell Kirk provided a spot-on definition of them:

First, a number of the men and women who accept the label “libertarian” are not actually ideological libertarians at all, but simply conservatives under another name. These are people who perceive in the growth of the monolithic state, especially during the past half century, a grim menace to ordered liberty; and of course they are quite right. They wish to emphasize their attachment to personal and civic freedom by employing this 20th century word derived from liberty. With them I have little quarrel — except that by so denominating themselves, they seem to countenance a crowd of political fantastics who “license they mean, when they cry liberty.”

So, while I agree…that we should try and make common cause with some of them — the libertarians — I think it futile to attempt to do so with the Libertarians. They’re lost in Ideology. And you can never have a productive argument with an Ideologue.

To begin with unlimited freedom is to end with unlimited despotism.

—Fyodor Dostoevsky

3 Comments leave one →
  1. PapaMAS permalink
    28 May 2016 @ 08:58 08:58

    Totally agree. My experiences with the Libertarians many, many moons ago convinced me I would never be a member of that party. Extremely dogmatic in their impractical solutions to real problems (those they actually admitted to), they made a virtue of being noble losers. They were smarter, more sensitive, more clear thinking, and more pure of heart than anyone else. So, not only did it not matter that they could not convince anyone else of the rightness of their cause (when they tried, instead of just talking among themselves), it actually proved how wonderful they were. They held to their vision of Utopia despite the slings and arrows directed against them. But, to actually try to use their high-sounding ideals to do something practical? To try to not lose? Preposterous! We would get all messy and lose our place on our self-created ivory tower, where we gaze skyward in lonely contemplation!

    • 29 May 2016 @ 18:34 18:34

      Dead solid perfect, PapaMAS — you nailed it.

      I, too, had an involvement with them, off and on, for about ten years when my Brother was helping out the Libertarian Party.

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