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Left-Libertarians on the Evils of Interventionism

In Carson: Good Reading!, Sheldon Richman commends Kevin Carson’s Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, which is fine, but then he seems to accept some standard jabs left-libertarians launch at normal libertarians. My reply:

Sheldon: “the modern American economy is far more the product of government-business collusion than of free markets. Contrary to the way free-marketeers tend to talk, we don’t have an essentially free economy except for a thin interventionist crust that needs to be scraped away. Instead, intervention is woven deeply throughout the economic fabric.”

Radical anarcho-libertarians do not deny this at all. We do not say that we have an essentially free market economy that only has a thin crust that needs to be scraped away. We recognize the entire system is distorted and corrupted.

“Thus our economy would have looked very different had laissez faire been the rule.”

Yes, I think we all know this.

“We can’t undo what has been done, of course, but if all privilege and intervention were abolished, the economy would evolve in a radically different direction than if the State’s favors stay in place.”

Again, this is true, but is this news?

“Libertarians really need to come to grips with this if we are to make a contribution to the continuing debate over political economy.”

Come to grips with it? We know it, and oppose it.

“If we keep sounding like Lawrence Kudlow and Ben Stein, we will be irrelevant.”

Agree with this, but I think this refers more to the Objectivists who romanticize our past, the libertarian centralists who think the Constitution is almost libertarian or can be tweaked a bit or that if we can just persuade the judges to see the light we’ll have libertopia. I don’t think anarcho-libertarians need to come to grips with this. We already see the state for the evil it is, and oppose its intervention in the economy. I am not gainsaying your praise of Carson’s elaboration of this but I am often mystified by left-libertarians presuming to preach to regular libertarians as if we are naifs are apologists for corporatism.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • iawai December 17, 2009, 12:28 pm

    On one hand the Austrian/Ancap libertarians are being called left-libertarians for not supporting war.

    On the other hand we are being compared to Ben Stein: but it wasn’t long ago that Peter Schiff, talking from secure ground, was being laughed at by the soborific Stein for suggesting that the financial sector was unbalanced and due to crash.

    I really wish those who wish to pigeon-hole my beliefs would actually be consistent. It gets really hard to keep up with who my ‘enemies’ are supposed to be.

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