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Sunday, April 6, 2008

RE: [ca-liberty] More Libertarian Than Thou

David Terry wrote:

DT) I'd like to hear an explanation of why some people think that opposing "initiation of force, violence or fraud" is somehow "anarchistic"! (DT

I don't know how "violence" snuck into the standard libertarian definition of aggression above.  Opposing aggression is indeed the essence of libertarianism -- I call this the Anti-Aggression Principle.  Absolutist *abstention* from aggression is the essence of (deontological) anarcholibertarianism, and is called the Zero Aggression Principle.  The term "Non-Aggression Principle" is used by different libertarians to mean either the ZAP or something like the AAP, leading to lots of people talking past each other.

As for the relationship between ZAP and anarchism, see .

Starchild wrote:

SC) I disagree with your implicit assumption that "generic libertarian"  means "not anarchist." (SC

I did not and do not assume that.  All I assume is that "libertarian" and "anarchist" are not synonyms.

SC) I think the LP ought to stick with the Dallas Accord and not seek to exclude either anarchism or limited government from our party platform (SC

The Dallas Accord was a sham.  What role or power of the state did the DA-compliant platforms not call for eliminating?  How is personal secession not the functional equivalence of anarchism?  The DA-compliant platforms essentially said we would hollow out the state, and "compromised" by not saying whether we'd throw away the empty broken shell. 

Here are the parts of the Platform Committee's repair proposal that are most relevant to the Dallas Accord.  (Note that only 6 of our 30 recommendations attracted more than one nay for adoption, and only 3 of them more than two, so don't be surprised if you like all of the following language.)

  • [A]ll individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
  • [G]overnments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights
  • People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others.
  • No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
  • Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property.
  • The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government.
  • The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression.
  • The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected.
  • Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade.
  • We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals.
  • We support the right of political entities to renounce their affiliation with any government
  • Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.

Every single word above has appeared in a previous LP platform.   Does any of the above language "exclude anarchism"?  If so, hadn't the LP already thrown out the Dallas Accord? 

SC) As for why the LP platform should affirm the centrality of opposing aggression to libertarianism, perhaps you could answer that yourself, since you claim in a recent message that opposing aggression is your fundamental political principle. (SC

Right, and the language above is all about opposing aggression -- as distinct from taking a vow of chastity regarding force initiation.

SC) Using terms like "more libertarian than thou" isn't terribly helpful or accurate, is it? (SC

It's shorthand.  When I talk about someone being "more libertarian", I mean whatever you mean by their views being "more libertarian".  I find it somewhat ironic to be lectured here by someone who just issued a blanket challenge to people about being "honest" and "having the courage of [their] convictions" about promoting "less libertarian" views.  (In fairness, though, you allude below to your previous frank admissions that there are exceptions to the principle you want the LP to pretend is exception-free.)

SC) If  you believe that advocating the individual right of secession is a less libertarian view than rejecting such a right because (in your view) allowing individual secession would not minimize aggression, then by all means argue against it on that basis. (SC

Um, in case you've forgotten, I've gotten *banned* from various radical-controlled forums while trying to make such arguments.  See for the arguments that the Radical Caucus doesn't want you to read.

SC) Personally I think that some such arguments are usually better left to our opponents since we have a limited amount of bandwidth to put out a clear, simple, radical and inspirational message (SC

Clear, simple -- and admitted by you previously to be not fully accurate.  Sorry, but I'm not willing to sacrifice principle to political expedience the way you seem to admit you are.  However, I don't think any such sacrifice is even expedient.  I think that the inaccurate dumbed-down message you call "inspirational" is in fact only inspirational when preached to a tiny choir, and is instead self-marginalizing and self-defeating when preached to the vastly larger audience that we know from polling data is interested in more liberty:  Click the link to find out what percent of Americans agree when asked if they consider themselves "fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian".  You'll be stunned.