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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Re: Long's Non-PlatCom thread Re: On Rick Randall's comments

Roderick Long wrote:
RL) Maybe they would count as a libertarian in some broad sense. (RL
Like, say, the dictionary sense: "One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state". 

Or the sense offered by Brian Doherty, author of the definitive history of our movement: "it has been mostly definitive of libertarians to believe that government — federal, state, or local — should be restricted in its functions, generally to the protection of citizens' lives against force or fraud and the provision of a small set of so-called public goods that could not be provided by free markets".

But in the absence of you proposing an alternative definition of "libertarian", it's fine with me if you want to narrow our discussion to just the LP Pledge:
RL) But they obviously wouldn't be eligible for LP membership, given the Pledge -- which clearly rules out the use of aggression to achieve any political goals, including the political goal of minimising aggression. [...]  Do you think a conscious advocate of aggression can sincerely sign the Pledge? (RL
I indeed think one can sincerely sign the Pledge and still be a minarchist who defends the necessity of the sorts of coercion that I've been talking about.  Your "clearly" depends on a reading of the Pledge that many Libertarians do not share.  More information about the Pledge is at

I agree with Roy Child's analysis that zero-aggression absolutism is inevitably equivalent to anarchism.  Is it your belief that a non-anarchist minarchist could only be in compliance with the LP Pledge if he were thoroughly confused on what is perhaps the most fundamental question of libertarian principles?  Do you believe that a primary goal of the LP's leadership and platform should be to correct this alleged confusion?  If so, how does this constitute "neutrality" on the question of anarchism vs. minarchism?