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What Kind of Libertarian Are You?

So asks this Reason post, discussing five types of libertarian identified by Tyler Cowen. The five types are:

  1. Cato-influenced;
  2. Rothbardian anarchism;
  3. Mises Institute nationalism;
  4. Jeff Friedman and Critical Review; and
  5. Hayek libertarianism.

“Cato-influenced” is defined as “orthodox” libertarianism, “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.” Of course, Mises Instituters tend to adhere to these principles (and to be Rothbardians, often anarchists; and not “nationalists”). As Wirkman Virkkala notes:

Cowen apparently desired to carry water in the culture war between George Mason economists and the scholars and enthusiasts associated with the Mises Institute. His characterization of a “Mises Institute Nationalism” borders on bizarre, though I see why he would make the attempt. The fact that so many of these folks are themselves anarchists means that whatever “nationalism” they promote must be a different sort. I took from this short description that Cowen doesn’t like Hans-Herman Hoppe. Yeah, thanks for sharing. This description of a strand of libertarianism is less coherent than the previous.

Look, I’m glad Cato is generally on our side. But the implication that Cato is “orthodox” libertarian, compared to the Mises Institute’s “nationalism” is guffaw-inducing. Of course, no group’s members have perfectly uniform views, but consider the following cases that seem to stray from the troika of basic libertarian principles of free markets, non-interventionism, and civil liberties, where various Catoites:

It’s almost a compliment to be called a nationalist by someone who holds up this as the libertarian ideal.

***

Lew’s reply was:

re: What Kind of Libertarian Are You?

Posted by Lew Rockwell on July 9, 2009 03:00 PM

Stephan, these detailed taxonomies are just sand in the eyes. There are only two kinds of libertarian, much as some would like to obscure it: Rothbardian and non-Rothbardian. But even that can be a distraction in our everyday work. As Murray noted — minarchist or anarchist, constitutionalist or monarchist — there is really only one consideration: Do you hate the state?

[LRC]

Update: On Cato Unbound, an article arguing for military conscription.

And now we have them arguing for a minimum basic income.

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