Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Left-Libertarian Strategy

The word "left-libertarian" does not mean that libertarianism should be left-wing. It is a movement with a specific strategy.

The left-libertarians usually define left-libertarianism as an egalitarian philosophy. Actually, the terms left-wing and right-wing are meaningless. The left did not always support egalitarianism, and the right did not always support the status quo more than the left. Though the left-libertarians claim that they use the term "left-wing" to refer to the seating arrangements of the French legislature, they amazingly redefine "left-wing" as the ideology of the Civil Rights Movement. 

However, the real definition of left-libertarianism is the strategy of achieving anarchy, as advocated by the left-libertarian alliance, by making alliances with mutualists, geolibertarians, green anarchists, and anarcho-collectivists. Thus, a "left-libertarian" actually means any member of the left-libertarian alliance or one who practices such strategy. The left-libertarian strategy supports making many alliances with others, even those opposing pure free markets.

However, the mutualists, geolibertarians, green anarchists, and other anarcho-collectivists, even though they support free markets, are, however, economically ignorant. For instance, the mutualists and geolibertarians advocate redistribution of capital goods and land, not because the current system is unfair, but because they believe that a strict propertarian free market will intrinsically result in an uneven distribution of wealth. Thus, the mutualists advocate the continuous redistribution of capital goods by their "use and occupancy" laws and the geolibertarians advocate a tax on land and "unproductive" use of resources.

While the Rothbardian privatization strategy of worker's homesteading the state-owned factories and land does not seem to violate the non-aggression principle because state ownership is illegitimate, and that many corporations are extensions of the state; the left-libertarians, unlike the Rothbardian philosophy once-only redistribution, advocate continuous redistribution of land. This is based on the fallacious belief that in a strict propertarian free market, income inequality will increase without redistribution of capital goods or land.

The income inequality fallacy of the free market is also believed by the contemporary social democrats. Thus, the mutualists and geolibertarians have the same economic ignorance as the contemporary social democrats, all three believing that large disparities of wealth is inherent in the market without redistribution of wealth, capital or land.

Another fallacy based on the income equality fallacy is the mutualistic position on abandonment. Because the mutualist thinks that income distribution is inherent in a propertarian free market, they think that the rich, who are non-existent in a free market, would abandon their useless property rather than to make a profit by selling it.

The left-libertarian strategy involves making as many allies as possible. Because the left-libertarians, by definition, ally with the mutualists and other economically ignorant libertarians, left-libertarians are thus forced to oppose capitalism. The left-libertarians, also, are forced to defend mutualism and anarcho-collectivism, since they ally with them. Making too much allies with others will degenerate the purity of libertarianism, into a philosophy of reformism, redistribution of capital and land, and end in an endless debate between the alliance members.

The left-libertarians are divided on strategy. On one side, they advocate a reformist strategy and "thick" libertarianism. These left-libertarians include Charles Johnson, Roderick T. Long and Kevin Carson. On the other side, there are left-libertarians who see agorism as more effective than "thick" libertarian propaganda, such as BrainPolice, FSK and David Z. The latter three individuals explicitly oppose labor unions and anarcho-syndicalism as a strategy, as they see it as "working within the system."

Anarcho-capitalists who advocate political reform is functionally a classical liberal, since they do the same thing. Similarly, a market-anarchist who supports syndicalism is functionally an anarcho-syndicalist. An agorist who only sells prohibited drugs is functionally the same to all of the other non-libertarian workers in the black market. Non-straightforward ways of promoting libertarianism are thus highly inefficient. Promoting or package-dealing some other values other than the core libertarianism philosophy destroys the purity of libertarianism. The only way to effectively promote libertarianism is by straightforward, non-propagandistic education.

While some kinds of counter-economic propaganda may, indeed, make others more open-minded about libertarianism, utilizing pure agorism, without spending on education, will fail to achieve anarchy.

By straightforward, non-propagandistic education, we mean by not making alliances that are incompatible with libertarianism (such as the "left-libertarian" alliance); not promoting a specific candidate or criticizing specific state policies such as Social Security, school privatization, etc.; and not advocating political compromises. We mean, is, to educate others about the free market, without any empirical arguments.

Prominent left-libertarians:


Roderick T. Long said...

Huh??? Um, no. Almost every claim on this page is mistaken.

MJP said...

"For instance, the mutualists and geolibertarians advocate redistribution of capital goods and land, not because the current system is unfair, but because they believe that a strict propertarian free market will intrinsically result in an uneven distribution of wealth."

Mutualism isn't "continuous redistribution," it's a different theory of property. By mutualist standards, "strict propertarianism" is continuous redistribution. In order to support strict propertarianism over mutualism, you'd have to show that it's somehow better than mutualism (and vice versa,) rather than simply labeling one "true property" and the other "redistribution."

Roderick T. Long said...

Please identify the article I supposedly "have wrote" claiming that the difference between anarcho-individualists and anarcho-collectivists is entirely semantic.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is propagandistic. You're not fairly representing left-libertarians.

wombatron said...

Epic failure. Perhaps you should actually learn something about left-libertarianism before you attempt to attack it. You completely misunderstand and misrepresent mutualist property and abandonment theory, and you force a non-existent dichotomy between agorism and thick libertarianism.

BillG said...

Geo-libertarians don't want to redistribute land.

They want to pre-distribute land values to uphold the absolute right of self-ownership of those excluded by private appropriation beyond Locke's proviso.

anarcho-mercantilist said...

BillG, wombatron, and others, thank you all for the comments. I might reply to you all here if I have the time. I have many draft posts that I did not publish, if ever.

Anonymous said...

People like Roderick Long stole the term "left libertarian" from us socialists. I believe they think they're going to manipulate we on the true left to support private ownership of the means of production. Fat chance.