Libertarianism

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Libertarianism (Latin: liber, "free")[1] is a set of related political philosophies that uphold liberty as the highest political end.[2][3] This includes emphasis on the primacy of individual liberty,[4][5] political freedom, and voluntary association. It is an antonym of authoritarianism.[6] Although libertarians share a skepticism of governmental authority, they diverge on the extent and character of their opposition. Different schools of libertarianism offer a range of views concerning the legitimate functions of government, while others contend that the state should not exist at all. For instance, minarchists propose a state limited in scope to preventing aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud, while anarchists advocate its complete elimination as a political system.[7][8][9][10][11][12] While some libertarians advocate laissez-faire capitalism and private property rights, such as in land and natural resources, others wish to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production in favor of common or cooperative ownership and management (see libertarian socialism).[13][14][15][16]

In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, libertarianism is defined as the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things.[17] Libertarian philosopher Roderick Long defines libertarianism as "any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals", whether "voluntary association" takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives.[18] In the United States, the term libertarianism is often used as a synonym for combined economic and cultural liberalism while outside that country there is a strong tendency to associate libertarianism with anarchism.

Many countries throughout the world have libertarian parties (see list of libertarian political parties).

Etymology

The 17 August 1860 edition of Le Libertaire: Journal du Mouvement Social, a libertarian communist publication in New York City.

The term libertarian was first used by late-Enlightenment free-thinkers to refer to the metaphysical belief in free will, as opposed to incompatibilist determinism.[19] The first recorded use was in 1789, when William Belsham wrote about libertarianism in opposition to "necessitarian", i.e. determinist, views.[20][21]

Libertarian as an advocate or defender of liberty, especially in the political and social spheres, was used in the London Packet on 12 February 1796: "Lately marched out of the Prison at Bristol, 450 of the French Libertarians."[22] The word was used also in a political sense in 1802, in a short piece critiquing a poem by "the author of Gebir":

The author's Latin verses, which are rather more intelligible than his English, mark him for a furious Libertarian (if we may coin such a term) and a zealous admirer of France, and her liberty, under Bonaparte; such liberty![23]

The use of the word libertarian to describe a new set of political positions has been traced to the French cognate, libertaire, coined in a scathing letter French libertarian communist Joseph Déjacque wrote to mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857, castigating him for his sexist political views.[24] Déjacque also used the term for his anarchist publication Le Libertaire: Journal du Mouvement Social, which was printed from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861. In the mid-1890s, Sébastien Faure began publishing a new Le Libertaire while France's Third Republic enacted the lois scélérates ("villainous laws"), which banned anarchist publications in France. Libertarianism has frequently been used as a synonym for anarchism since this time.[25][26][27]

In 1878, Sir John Seeley characterized a libertarian as someone "who can properly be said to defend liberty", by opposing tyranny or "resist[ing] the established government".[28] In 1901, Frederic William Maitland used the term to capture a cultural attitude of support for freedom: "the picture of an editor defending his proof sheets... before an official board of critics is not to our liking... In such matters Englishmen are individualists and libertarians."[29]

With modern use of liberalism in the USA generally referring to social liberalism, some scholars claim that libertarianism has become synonymous with classical liberalism, while others dispute this interpretation.[citation needed] Libertarianism in the United States is associated with "fiscally conservative" and "socially liberal" political views (going by the common meanings of conservative and liberal in the United States),[30][31] and, often, a foreign policy of non-interventionism.[32][33] H. L. Mencken and Albert Jay Nock were the first prominent figures in the United States to call themselves libertarians. They believed Franklin D. Roosevelt had co-opted the word liberal for his New Deal policies, which they opposed, and used libertarian to signify their allegiance to individualism and limited government.[34] Mencken wrote in 1923: "My literary theory, like my politics, is based chiefly upon one idea, to wit, the idea of freedom. I am, in belief, a libertarian of the most extreme variety."[35]

Since the resurgence of neoliberalism in the 1970s, free-market libertarianism has spread beyond North America via think tanks and political parties,[36][37] with proponents contending that libertarianism is increasingly viewed worldwide as a free market position.[citation needed]

Philosophy

The term libertarianism refers to a wide range of differing philosophies, including anarcho-capitalism,[citation needed] libertarian socialism (e.g. mainstream anarchism and libertarian Marxism),[note 1][note 2] and the libertarianism that is commonly referred to as a continuation or radicalization of classical liberalism.[38][note 3][39] These philosophies all share a skepticism of governmental authority and value individual sovereignty, but differ in the extent to which they accept or reject the state and capitalism.

Laissez-faire capitalism

Neo-classical liberalism

Friedrich Hayek

In the 20th century, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman,[40] in response to social liberalism and Keynesianism, argued that government should be as small as possible in order to allow the exercise of individual freedom. This return to the ideas of classical liberalism was called neo-classical liberalism. Some use the term classical liberalism to refer to all liberalism before the 20th century, not to designate any particular set of political views, and therefore see all modern developments as being, by definition, not classical.[41]

Classical liberalism is a political philosophy and ideology belonging to liberalism in which primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government. The philosophy emerged as a response to the Industrial Revolution and urbanization in the 19th century in Europe and the United States.[42] It advocates civil liberties with a limited government under the rule of law, and belief in laissez-faire economic policy.[43][44][45] Classical liberalism is built on ideas that had already arisen by the end of the 18th century, such as selected ideas of Adam Smith, John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, stressing the belief in free market and natural law,[46] utilitarianism,[47] and progress.[48] Classical liberals were more suspicious than conservatives of all but the most minimal government[49] and, adopting Thomas Hobbes's theory of government, they believed government had been created by individuals to protect themselves from one another.[50]

Anarcho-capitalism

Murray Rothbard

Anarcho-capitalism (also referred to as free-market anarchism,[51] market anarchism,[52] and private-property anarchism[53]) is a political philosophy which advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market.[54][55] In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts, and all other security services would be provided by privately funded competitors rather than through taxation, and money would be privately and competitively provided in an open market.[56] Therefore, personal and economic activities under anarcho-capitalism would be regulated by privately run law rather than through politics.[57]

Various theorists have differing, though similar, legal philosophies which have been considered to fall under anarcho-capitalism. However, the most well-known version, was formulated by Austrian School economist and libertarian Murray Rothbard, who coined the term and is widely regarded as its founder, in the mid-20th century, synthesizing elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism, and 19th-century American individualist anarchists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker (while rejecting their anti-capitalism, along with the labor theory of value and the normative implications they derived from it).[note 4][58] In Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, there would first be the implementation of a mutually agreed-upon libertarian "legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow."[59] This legal code would recognize sovereignty of the individual and the principle of non-aggression.

Objectivism

Atlas lifting the world, Objectivist imagery made famous by the novel Atlas Shrugged

Objectivism is a philosophy created by Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand, who condemned libertarianism as being a greater threat to freedom and capitalism than both modern liberalism and conservatism, due to what she saw as its lack of philosophic and moral foundation.[60] She regarded Objectivism as an integrated philosophical system, whereas libertarianism is a political philosophy which confines its attention to matters of public policy. For example, Objectivism argues positions in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, whereas libertarianism does not address such questions. Rand believed that political advocacy could not succeed without addressing what she saw as its methodological prerequisites. Rand rejected any affiliation with the libertarian movement and many other Objectivists have done so as well.[61]

Some Objectivists have argued that Objectivism is not limited to Rand's own positions on philosophical issues and are willing to work with and identify with the libertarian movement. This stance is most clearly identified with David Kelley (who separated from the Ayn Rand Institute because of disagreements over the relationship between Objectivists and libertarians), Chris Sciabarra, Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's former wife), and others. Kelley's Atlas Society has focused on building a closer relationship between "open Objectivists" and the libertarian movement.[citation needed]

Objectivism's central tenets are that reality exists independent of consciousness; that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception; that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic; that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness (or rational self-interest); that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans' metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.[citation needed]

Libertarian socialism

Peter Kropotkin, Russian theorist of libertarian communism

Libertarian socialism (sometimes called social anarchism[62][note 5] or left-libertarianism)[63][64] is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic society without private property in the means of production. Libertarian socialists believe in converting present-day private productive property into common or public goods, while retaining respect for personal property.[note 6][65] Libertarian socialism is opposed to coercive forms of social organization. It promotes free association in place of government and opposes the social relations of capitalism, such as wage labor.[66] The term libertarian socialism is used by some socialists to differentiate their philosophy from state socialism,[67][note 7] and by some as a synonym for anarchism.[62][note 5][68]

Adherents of libertarian socialism assert that a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite.[note 8] Libertarian socialism also constitutes a tendency of thought that promotes the identification, criticism, and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of life.[note 9][note 10][note 11][69][note 12][70]

Accordingly, libertarian socialists believe that "the exercise of power in any institutionalized form—whether economic, political, religious, or sexual—brutalizes both the wielder of power and the one over whom it is exercised".[71] Libertarian socialists generally place their hopes in decentralized means of direct democracy such as libertarian municipalism, citizens' assemblies, trade unions, and workers' councils.[72]

Anarchism

The circle-A, often used as a symbol for anarchism

Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.[note 13][note 14][note 15][note 16][note 17] Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful.[73][74] While anti-statism is central, some argue[75] that anarchism entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including, but not limited to, the state system.[note 12][note 13][note 10][note 11][69][note 12][70]

As a subtle and anti-dogmatic philosophy, anarchism draws on many currents of thought and strategy. Anarchism does not offer a fixed body of doctrine from a single particular world view, instead fluxing and flowing as a philosophy.[76] There are many types and traditions of anarchism, not all of which are mutually exclusive.[77] Anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism.[74] Strains of anarchism have often been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications.[78][79] Anarchism is often considered a radical left-wing ideology,[note 18][80] and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflect anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism, or participatory economics.[note 19]

Anarchism as a mass social movement has regularly endured fluctuations in popularity. The central tendency of anarchism as a social movement has been represented by anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon[81] which nevertheless did have an impact on the bigger currents[note 20] and individualists have also participated in large anarchist organizations.[note 21][note 22] Many anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, supporting self-defense or non-violence (anarcho-pacifism),[82][83] while others have supported the use of some coercive measures, including violent revolution and propaganda of the deed, on the path to an anarchist society.[84]

Libertarian Marxism

Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism, known as left communism,[85] emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism[86] and its derivatives, such as Stalinism, Maoism, and Trotskyism.[87] Libertarian Marxism is also critical of reformist positions, such as those held by social democrats.[88] Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Marx and Engels' later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France;[89] emphasizing the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state to mediate or aid its liberation.[90]

Geolibertarianism

Henry George

Geolibertarianism is a political movement and ideology that synthesizes libertarianism and geoist theory, traditionally known as Georgism.[91][92]

Geolibertarians are advocates of geoism, which is the position that all natural resources – most importantly land – are common assets to which all individuals have an equal right to access; therefore, individuals must pay rent to the community if they claim land as their private property. Rent need not be paid for the mere use of land, but only for the right to exclude others from that land, and for the protection of one's title by government. They simultaneously agree with the libertarian position that each individual has an exclusive right to the fruits of his or her labor as their private property, as opposed to this product being owned collectively by society or the community, and that "one's labor, wages, and the products of labor" should not be taxed. Also, with traditional libertarians they advocate "full civil liberties, with no crimes unless there are victims who have been invaded."[91] Geolibertarians generally advocate distributing the land rent to the community via a land value tax, as proposed by Henry George and others before him. For this reason, they are often called "single taxers". Fred E. Foldvary coined the word "geo-libertarianism" in an article so titled in Land and Liberty.[93] In the case of geoanarchism, the voluntary form of geolibertarianism as described by Foldvary, rent would be collected by private associations with the opportunity to secede from a geocommunity (and not receive the geocommunity's services) if desired.[94]

Geolibertarians are generally influenced by Georgism, but the ideas behind it pre-date Henry George, and can be found in different forms in the writings of John Locke, the French Physiocrats, Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, James Mill (John Stuart Mill's father), David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer and Thomas Spence. Perhaps the best summary of geolibertarianism is Thomas Paine's assertion that "Men did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property. Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds." On the other hand, Locke wrote that private land ownership should be praised, as long as its product was not left to spoil and there was "enough, and as good left in common for others"; when this Lockean proviso is violated, the land earns rental value. Some would argue that "as good" is unlikely to be achieved in an urban setting because location is paramount, and that therefore Locke's proviso in an urban setting requires the collection and equal distribution of ground rent.

History

Age of Enlightenment

John Locke, the "Father of classical liberalism"

Elements of libertarianism can be traced as far back as the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu and the higher-law concepts of the Greeks and the Israelites.[4][95] In 17th-century England, libertarian ideas began to take modern form in the writings of the Levellers and John Locke. In the middle of that century, opponents of royal power began to be called Whigs, or sometimes simply "opposition" or "country" (as opposed to Court) writers.[1]

During the 18th century, classical liberal ideas flourished in Europe and North America.[96][97] Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas.[98]

John Locke greatly influenced both libertarianism and the modern world in his writings published before and after the English Revolution of 1688, especially A Letter Concerning Toleration (1667), Two Treatises of Government (1689) and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). In the latter he established the basis of liberal political theory: that people's rights existed before government; that the purpose of government is to protect personal and property rights; that people may dissolve governments that do not do so; and that representative government is the best form to protect rights.[99] The United States Declaration of Independence was inspired by Locke in its statement: "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it..."[100]

According to Murray Rothbard, the libertarian creed emerged from the classical liberal challenges to an "absolute central State and a king ruling by divine right on top of an older, restrictive web of feudal land monopolies and urban guild controls and restrictions", the mercantilism of a bureaucratic warfaring state allied with privileged merchants. The object of classical liberals was individual liberty in the economy, in personal freedoms and civil liberty, separation of state and religion, and peace as an alternative to imperial aggrandizement. He cites Locke's contemporaries, the Levellers, who held similar views. Also influential were the English "Cato's Letters" during the early 1700s, reprinted eagerly by American colonists who already were free of European aristocracy and feudal land monopolies.[100]

In January of 1776, only two years after coming to America from England, Thomas Paine published his pamphlet "Common Sense" calling for independence for the colonies.[101] Paine promoted classical liberal ideas in clear, concise language that allowed the general public to understand the debates among the political elites.[102] Common Sense was immensely popular in disseminating these ideas,[103] selling hundreds of thousands of copies.[104] Paine later would write the Rights of Man and The Age of Reason and participate in the French Revolution.[101] Paine's theory of property showed a "libertarian concern" with the redistribution of resources.[105]

In 1793, William Godwin wrote a libertarian philosophical treatise, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness, which criticized ideas of human rights and of society by contract based on vague promises. He took classical liberalism to its logical anarchic conclusion by rejecting all political institutions, law, government, and apparatus of coercion, as well as all political protest and insurrection. Instead of institutionalized justice he proposed that people influence one and other to moral goodness through informal reasoned persuasion, including in the associations they joined, and that this would facilitate human happiness.[106][107]

Rise of anarchism

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first self-identified anarchist

Modern anarchism sprang from the secular or religious thought of the Enlightenment, particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau's arguments for the moral centrality of freedom.[108]

As part of the political turmoil of the 1790s in the wake of the French Revolution, William Godwin developed the first expression of modern anarchist thought.[109][110] Godwin was, according to Peter Kropotkin, "the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his work",[111] while Godwin attached his anarchist ideas to an early Edmund Burke.[112]

Godwin is generally regarded as the founder of the school of thought known as 'philosophical anarchism'. He argued in Political Justice (1793)[110][113] that government has an inherently malevolent influence on society, and that it perpetuates dependency and ignorance. He thought that the spread of the use of reason to the masses would eventually cause government to wither away as an unnecessary force. Although he did not accord the state with moral legitimacy, he was against the use of revolutionary tactics for removing the government from power. Rather, he advocated for its replacement through a process of peaceful evolution.[110][114]

His aversion to the imposition of a rules-based society led him to denounce, as a manifestation of the people's "mental enslavement", the foundations of law, property rights and even the institution of marriage. He considered the basic foundations of society as constraining the natural development of individuals to use their powers of reasoning to arrive at a mutually beneficial method of social organization. In each case, government and its institutions are shown to constrain the development of our capacity to live wholly in accordance with the full and free exercise of private judgment.

In France, various anarchist currents were present during the Revolutionary period, with some revolutionaries using the term anarchiste in a positive light as early as September 1793.[115] The enragés opposed revolutionary government as a contradiction in terms. Denouncing the Jacobin dictatorship, Jean Varlet wrote in 1794 that "government and revolution are incompatible, unless the people wishes to set its constituted authorities in permanent insurrection against itself."[116] In his "Manifesto of the Equals," Sylvain Maréchal looked forward to the disappearance, once and for all, of "the revolting distinction between rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed."[116]

Libertarian socialism

Sébastien Faure, prominent French theorist of libertarian communism and freethought/atheist militant

Libertarian socialism, libertarian communism and libertarian Marxism are all phrases which activists with a variety of perspectives have applied to their views.[117][118][unreliable source?] Anarchist communist philosopher Joseph Déjacque was the first person to describe himself as "libertarian".[119] Unlike mutualist anarchist philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, he argued that, "it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature."[120][121] According to anarchist historian Max Nettlau, the first use of the term "libertarian communism" was in November 1880, when a French anarchist congress employed it to more clearly identify its doctrines.[122] The French anarchist journalist Sébastien Faure started the weekly paper Le Libertaire (The Libertarian) in 1895.[123]

The revolutionary wave of 1917–23 saw the active participation of anarchists in Russia and Europe. Russian anarchists participated alongside the Bolsheviks in both the February and October 1917 revolutions. However, Bolsheviks in central Russia quickly began to imprison or drive underground the libertarian anarchists. Many fled to the Ukraine.[124] There, in the Ukrainian Free Territory, they fought in the Russian Civil War against the White movement, monarchists and other opponents of revolution, and then against Bolsheviks as part of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine led by Nestor Makhno, who established an anarchist society in the region for a number of months. Expelled American anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman protested Bolshevik policy before they left Russia.[125]

The victory of the Bolsheviks damaged anarchist movements internationally as workers and activists joined Communist parties. In France and the United States, for example, members of the major syndicalist movements of the CGT and IWW joined the Communist International.[126] In Paris, the Dielo Truda group of Russian anarchist exiles, which included Nestor Makhno, issued a 1926 manifesto, the Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft), calling for new anarchist organizing structures.[127][128]

The "Bavarian Soviet Republic" of 1918-1919 had libertarian socialist characteristics.[129][130] In Italy from 1918-1921 the anarcho-syndicalist trade union Unione Sindacale Italiana grew to 800,000 members[131]

In the 1920s and 1930s, with the rise of fascism in Europe, anarchists began to fight fascists in Italy[132] in France during the February 1934 riots,[133] and in Spain where the CNT boycott of elections led to a right-wing victory and its later participation in voting in 1936 helped bring the popular front back to power. This led to a ruling class attempted coup and the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939).[134] Gruppo Comunista Anarchico di Firenze held that the during early twentieth century, the terms libertarian communism and anarchist communism became synonymous within the international anarchist movement as a result of the close connection they had in Spain (see Anarchism in Spain) (with libertarian communism becoming the prevalent term).[135]

Murray Bookchin wrote that the Spanish libertarian movement of the mid-1930s was unique because its workers' control and collectives—which came out of a three generation "massive libertarian movement"—divided the "republican" camp and challenged the Marxists. Urban anarchists’ created libertarian communist forms of organization which evolved into the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo ("CNT"), a syndicalist union providing the infrastructure for a libertarian society. Also formed were local bodies to administer of social and economic life on a decentralized libertarian basis. Much of the infrastructure was destroyed during the 1930s Spanish Civil War against authoritarian and fascist forces.[136]

The Manifesto of Libertarian Communism was written in 1953 by Georges Fontenis for the Federation Communiste Libertaire of France. It is one of the key texts of the anarchist-communist current known as platformism.[137] In 1968 in Carrara, Italy, the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference to advance libertarian solidarity.It wanted to form "a strong and organised workers movement, agreeing with the libertarian ideas".[138][139] In the United States the Libertarian League was founded in New York City in 1954 as a left-libertarian political organisation building on the Libertarian Book Club.[140][141] Members included Sam Dolgoff,[142] Russell Blackwell, Dave Van Ronk, Enrico Arrigoni[143] and Murray Bookchin.

In Australia the Sydney Push was a predominantly left-wing intellectual subculture in Sydney from the late 1940s to the early 1970s which became associated with the label "Sydney libertarianism". Well known associates of the Push include Jim Baker, John Flaus, Harry Hooton, Margaret Fink, Sasha Soldatow,[144] Lex Banning, Eva Cox, Richard Appleton, Paddy McGuinness, David Makinson, Germaine Greer, Clive James, Robert Hughes, Frank Moorhouse and Lillian Roxon. Amongst the key intellectual figures in Push debates were philosophers David J. Ivison, George Molnar, Roelof Smilde, Darcy Waters and Jim Baker, as recorded in Baker's memoir Sydney Libertarians and the Push, published in the libertarian Broadsheet in 1975.[145] An understanding of libertarian values and social theory can be obtained from their publications, a few of which are available online.[146][147]

In 1969, French platformist anarcho-communist Daniel Guérin published an essay in 1969 called "Libertarian Marxism?" in which he dealt with the debate between Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin at the First International and afterwards suggested that "Libertarian marxism rejects determinism and fatalism, giving the greater place to individual will, intuition, imagination, reflex speeds, and to the deep instincts of the masses, which are more far-seeing in hours of crisis than the reasonings of the 'elites'; libertarian marxism thinks of the effects of surprise, provocation and boldness, refuses to be cluttered and paralysed by a heavy 'scientific' apparatus, doesn't equivocate or bluff, and guards itself from adventurism as much as from fear of the unknown."[148] Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Marx and Engels' later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France.[149] They emphasize the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state.[150] Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as council communism, left communism, Socialisme ou Barbarie Lettrism/Situationism and operaismo/autonomism, and New Left.[151][unreliable source?]

Private-property anarchism

Gustave de Molinari (1819 - 1912)

The early liberals believed that the state should confine its role to protecting individual liberty and property, and opposed all but the most minimal economic regulations.[citation needed] The "normative core" of classical liberalism is the idea that in an environment of laissez-faire, a spontaneous order of cooperation in exchanging goods and services emerges that satisfies human wants.[152] Some individualists came to realize that the liberal state itself takes property forcefully through taxation in order to fund its protection services, and therefore it seemed logically inconsistent to oppose theft while also supporting a tax-funded protector.[citation needed] They advocated what may be seen as classical liberalism taken to the extreme by only supporting voluntarily funded defense by competing private providers. One of the first liberals to discuss the possibility of privatizing protection of individual liberty and property was France's Jakob Mauvillon in the 18th century. Later, in the 1840s, Julius Faucher and Gustave de Molinari advocated the same.[citation needed]

Murray Rothbard was influenced by the work of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists, themselves influenced by classical liberalism.[153] However, he thought they had a faulty understanding of economics. The 19th-century individualists had a labor theory of value, as influenced by the classical economists, but Rothbard was a student of neoclassical economics which does not agree with the labor theory of value. Rothbard sought to meld 19th-century American individualists' advocacy of free markets and private defense with the principles of Austrian economics: "There is, in the body of thought known as 'Austrian economics,' a scientific explanation of the workings of the free market (and of the consequences of government intervention in that market) which individualist anarchists could easily incorporate into their political and social Weltanschauung".[154]

Modern anarcho-capitalism (also referred to as free-market anarchism,[155] market anarchism,[156] private-property anarchism[157]) rejects collectivism and statutory law while embracing free and competitive markets in all services, including law and civil defense.[158][159] This political philosophy advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market.[159][160] In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts, and all other security services would be operated by privately funded competitors rather than centrally through compulsory taxation. Money, along with all other goods and services, would be privately and competitively provided in an open market. Personal and economic activities under anarcho-capitalism would be regulated by victim-based dispute resolution organizations under tort and contract law, rather than by statute through punishment and torture under political monopolies.[161]

Resurgence of economic liberalism

David Nolan in 1996 with a version of his Nolan Chart distributed by Advocates for Self-Government.

Some scholars credit heterodox economist Murray Rothbard as the founder of modern (laissez faire capitalist) libertarianism for merging the economics of Ludwig von Mises with elements of the individualist anarchist views of Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker. However, others criticize this claim as having scant evidence and attribute it primarily to Rothbard's former students.[162][163] A 1971 New York Times article noted that 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza was a forerunner of modern libertarianism, writing "He who tries to determine everything by law will foment crime rather than lessen it." Its authors stated that modern libertarianism, in part a continuation of 18th-century and 19th-century liberalism, is on a “much more solid intellectual footing than old-style liberalism” because rather than taking their views from religious mysticism, they based it on “a scientific appraisal of the nature of man and his needs.” [164]

Libertarianism in the United States developed in the 1950s as many with "Old Right" or classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as libertarians. Arizona United States Senator Barry Goldwater's challenge to authority also influenced the U.S. libertarian movement.[165] In the 1950s, Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand developed a philosophical system called Objectivism, expressed in her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, as well as other works, which influenced many libertarians.[166] However, she rejected the label "libertarian" and harshly denounced this libertarian movement as the "hippies of the right."[167] Philosopher John Hospers, a one-time member of Rand's inner circle, proposed a non-initiation of force principle to unite both groups; this statement later became a required "pledge" for candidates of the Libertarian Party, and Hospers himself became its first presidential candidate in 1972.[citation needed]

During the 1960s, the Vietnam War divided American libertarians, anarchists, and conservatives. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements and began founding their own publications, like Rothbard's The Libertarian Forum[168] and Reason magazine. The 1960s also saw the formation of organizations like the Radical Libertarian Alliance[169] and the Society for Individual Liberty.[170] In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the U.S. Libertarian Party. The party has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of capitalism-supporting libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.

Modern libertarianism gained significant recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974, a response to John Rawls' A Theory of Justice. The book proposed a minimal state on the grounds that it was an inevitable phenomenon which could arise without violating individual rights. Anarchy, State, and Utopia won a National Book Award in 1975.[171][172]

Contemporary libertarianism

U.S. libertarianism

Governor Gary Johnson, 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate

In the United States, polls (circa 2006) find that the views and voting habits of between 10 and 20 percent (and increasing) of voting age Americans may be classified as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal, or libertarian."[31][173] This is based on pollsters and researchers defining libertarian views as fiscally conservative and socially liberal (based on the common US meanings of the terms) and against government intervention in economic affairs, and for expansion of personal freedoms.[31] Through 20 polls on this topic spanning 13 years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 17–23% of the US electorate.[174] A 2011 Reason-Rupe poll found that among those who self-identified as Tea Party supporters, 41 percent leaned libertarian and 59 percent socially conservative.[175] In 2012 anti-war presidential candidatesLibertarian Republican Ron Paul and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson – raised millions of dollars and garnered millions of votes despite opposition to their obtaining ballot access by Democrats and Republicans.[176] In 2013, The Economist opinion piece held that British youth supported a "minimal 'nightwatchman' state", disliked taxation, and were "deficit-reduction hawks" who wanted government out of their personal lives, and accepted homosexuality. It stated, "Today's distracted libertarians are tomorrow's dependable voter block."[177]

Tea Party

Tea Party protesters on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall at the Taxpayer March on Washington on September 12, 2009

Tea Party activities have declined since 2010.[178][179] According to Harvard professor Theda Skocpol, the number of Tea Party chapters across the country has slipped from about 1,000 to 600, but that this is still "a very good survival rate." Mostly, Tea Party organizations are said to have shifted away from national demonstrations to local issues.[178] A shift in the operational approach used by the Tea Party has also affected the movement's visibility, with chapters placing more emphasis on the mechanics of policy and getting candidates elected rather than staging public events.[180][181]

The tea party's involvement in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries was minimal, owing to divisions over whom to endorse as well as lack of enthusiasm for all the candidates.[179] Which is not to say the 2012 GOP ticket hasn't had an influence on the Tea Party: following the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice-presidential running mate, the New York Times declared that the once fringe of the conservative coalition, Tea Party lawmakers are now "indisputably at the core of the modern Republican Party."[182]

Left-libertarianism

Left-libertarianism (or left-wing libertarianism)[note 23] names several related but distinct approaches to politics, society, culture, and political and social theory, which stress both individual freedom and social justice. Left-libertarians simultaneously value leftist commitments to improving worklife, promoting environmental well-being, and wealth redistribution; and the libertarian commitments to just possessory claims, freed markets (rejecting the view that such a market would be a corporate playground), and diminution or elimination of government power.[183] They affirm the classical liberal belief in self-ownership, but, unlike right-libertarians, derive from this idea an egalitarian form of ownership of natural resources:[184] they believe that neither claiming nor mixing one's labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights,[184][185] and hold that natural resources (land, oil, gold, trees) ought to be unowned or owned collectively.[185]

Left-libertarianism can refer generally to three related and overlapping schools of thought:

Occupy

Worldwide Occupy movement protests on 15 October 2011

The Occupy movement is an international protest movement against social and economic inequality, its primary goal being to make the economic and political relations in all societies less vertically hierarchical and more flatly distributed. Local groups often have different foci, but among the movement's prime concerns deal with how large corporations and the global financial system control the world in a way that disproportionately benefits a minority, undermines democracy and is unstable.[193][194][195][196]

The first Occupy protest to receive widespread attention was Occupy Wall Street in New York City's Zuccotti Park, which began on 17 September 2011. By 9 October, Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 951 cities across 82 countries, and over 600 communities in the United States.[197][198][199][200][201] Although most active in the United States, by October 2012 there had been Occupy protests and occupations in dozens of other countries across every continent except Antarctica. For its first two months, authorities largely adopted a tolerant approach toward the movement,[citation needed] but this began to change in mid-November 2011 when they began forcibly removing protest camps. By the end of 2011 authorities had cleared most of the major camps, with the last remaining high profile sites – in Washington DC and London – evicted by February 2012.[202][203][204][205]

The Occupy movement is partly inspired by the Arab Spring,[206][207] and the Portuguese[208] and Spanish Indignants movement in the Iberian Peninsula,[209] as well as the Tea Party movement.[210][211][212] The movement commonly uses the slogan We are the 99%, the #Occupy hashtag format, and organizes through websites such as Occupy Together.[213] According to The Washington Post, the movement, which has been described as a "democratic awakening" by Cornel West, is difficult to distill to a few demands.[214][215] On 12 October 2011, Los Angeles City Council became one of the first governmental bodies in the United States to adopt a resolution stating its informal support of the Occupy movement.[216] In October 2012 the Executive Director of Financial Stability at the Bank of England stated the protesters were right to criticise and had persuaded bankers and politicians "to behave in a more moral way".[217]

Contemporary libertarian organizations

Since the 1950s, many American libertarian organizations have adopted a free market stance, as well as supporting civil liberties and non-interventionist foreign policies. These include the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), Center for Libertarian Studies, the Cato Institute, and the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL). The activist Free State Project, formed in 2001, works to bring 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire to influence state policy.[218] Active student organizations include Students for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty.

A number of countries have libertarian parties that run candidates for political office. In the United States, the Libertarian Party of the United States was formed in 1972. The Libertarian Party is the third largest[219][220] American political party, with over 370,000 registered voters in the 35 states that allow registration as a Libertarian[221] and has hundreds of party candidates elected or appointed to public office.[222]

Current international anarchist federations which sometimes identify themselves as libertarian include the International of Anarchist Federations, the International Workers' Association, and International Libertarian Solidarity. The largest organised anarchist movement today is in Spain, in the form of the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) and the CNT. CGT membership was estimated to be around 100,000 for 2003.[223] Other active syndicalist movements include, in Sweden, the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden and the Swedish Anarcho-syndicalist Youth Federation; the CNT-AIT in France;[224][not in citation given] the Union Sindicale Italiana in Italy; in the US, Workers Solidarity Alliance; and in the UK, Solidarity Federation. The revolutionary industrial unionist Industrial Workers of the World, claiming 2,000 paying members, and the International Workers Association, an anarcho-syndicalist successor to the First International, also remain active. In the United States there exists the Common Struggle – Libertarian Communist Federation or Lucha Común – Federación Comunista Libertaria (formerly the North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC) or the Fédération des Communistes Libertaires du Nord-Est)[225][not in citation given] an is a platformist anarchist communist organization based in the northeast region of the United States.[226][not in citation given]

Libertarian theorists

See also Category:Libertarian theorists and Timeline of libertarian thinkers


See also

Notes

  1. ^ Marshall (2010). p. 641. "For a long time, libertarian was interchangeable in France with anarchist but in recent years, its meaning has become more ambivalent. Some anarchists like Daniel Guérin will call themselves 'libertarian socialists', partly to avoid the negative overtones still associated with anarchism, and partly to stress the place of anarchism within the socialist tradition. Even Marxists of the New Left like E.P. Thompson call themselves 'libertarian' to distinguish themselves from those authoritarian socialists and communists who believe in revolutionary dictatorship and vanguard parties. Left libertarianism can therefore range from the decentralist who wishes to limit and devolve State power, to the syndicalist who wants to abolish it altogether. It can even encompass the Fabians and the social democrats who wish to socialize the economy but who still see a limited role for the state."
  2. ^ Ward (2008). p. 62. "For a century, anarchists have used the word 'libertarian' as a synonym for 'anarchist', both as a noun and an adjective. The celebrated anarchist journal Le Libertaire was founded in 1896. However, much more recently the word has been appropriated by various American free-market philosophers...".
  3. ^ Hamowy (2008). "Depending on the context, libertarianism can be seen as either the contemporary name for classical liberalism, adopted to avoid confusion in those countries where liberalism is widely understood to denote advocacy of expansive government powers, or as a more radical version of classical liberalism."
  4. ^ Miller (1987). p. 290. "A student and disciple of the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, Rothbard combined the laissez-faire economics of his teacher with the absolutist views of human rights and rejection of the state he had absorbed from studying the individualist American anarchists of the 19th century such as Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker."
  5. ^ a b Chomsky (2004). p. 739. "The term 'libertarian' as used in the U.S. means something quite different from what it meant historically and still means in the rest of the world. Historically, the libertarian movement has been the anti-statist wing of the socialist movement. Socialist anarchism was libertarian socialism. In the U.S., which is a society much more dominated by business, the term has a different meaning. It means eliminating or reducing state controls, mainly controls over private tyrannies. Libertarians in the U.S. don't say, Let's get rid of corporations. It is a sort of ultra-rightism."
  6. ^ Berkman (1929). "The revolution abolishes private ownership of the means of production and distribution, and with it goes capitalistic business. Personal possession remains only in the things you use. Thus, your watch is your own, but the watch factory belongs to the people."
  7. ^ Guérin (1970). "Some contemporary anarchists have tried to clear up the misunderstanding by adopting a more explicit term: they align themselves with libertarian socialism or communism."
  8. ^ Mendes, Silva (1896). Socialismo Libertário ou Anarchismo. 1: "Society should be free through mankind's spontaneous federative affiliation to life, based on the community of land and tools of the trade; meaning: Anarchy will be equality by abolition of private property (while retaining respect for personal property) and liberty by abolition of authority".
  9. ^ McLaughlin, Paul (2007). p. 1. "Authority is defined in terms of the right to exercise social control (as explored in the 'sociology of power') and the correlative duty to obey (as explored in the 'philosophy of practical reason'). Anarchism is distinguished, philosophically, by its scepticism towards such moral relations – by its questioning of the claims made for such normative power – and, practically, by its challenge to those 'authoritative' powers which cannot justify their claims and which are therefore deemed illegitimate or without moral foundation."
  10. ^ a b Goldman. "What it Really Stands for Anarchy" in Anarchism and Other Essays. "Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations."
  11. ^ a b Tucker. Individual Liberty. "[Modern Socialists] found that they must turn either to the right or to the left, — follow either the path of Authority or the path of Liberty. Marx went one way; Warren and Proudhon the other. Thus were born State Socialism and Anarchism. ... Authority, takes many shapes, but, broadly speaking, her enemies divide themselves into three classes: first, those who abhor her both as a means and as an end of progress, opposing her openly, avowedly, sincerely, consistently, universally; second, those who profess to believe in her as a means of progress, but who accept her only so far as they think she will subserve their own selfish interests, denying her and her blessings to the rest of the world; third, those who distrust her as a means of progress, believing in her only as an end to be obtained by first trampling upon, violating, and outraging her. These three phases of opposition to Liberty are met in almost every sphere of thought and human activity. Good representatives of the first are seen in the Catholic Church and the Russian autocracy; of the second, in the Protestant Church and the Manchester school of politics and political economy; of the third, in the atheism of Gambetta and the socialism of Karl Marx."
  12. ^ a b c Woodcock (1962). pp. 11 & 138. "All anarchists deny authority; many of them fight against it. ... Bakunin did not convert the League's central committee to his full program, but he did persuade them to accept a remarkably radical recommendation to the Berne Congress of September 1868, demanding economic equality and implicitly attacking authority in both Church and State."
  13. ^ a b "IAF principles". International of Anarchist Federations. Archived from the original on 5 January 2012. "The IAF - IFA fights for: the abolition of all forms of authority whether economical, political, social, religious, cultural or sexual." 
  14. ^ Kropotkin, Peter. Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal. "That is why Anarchy, when it works to destroy authority in all its aspects, when it demands the abrogation of laws and the abolition of the mechanism that serves to impose them, when it refuses all hierarchical organization and preaches free agreement — at the same time strives to maintain and enlarge the precious kernel of social customs without which no human or animal society can exist.]"
  15. ^ "B.1 Why are anarchists against authority and hierarchy?" in An Anarchist FAQ. "anarchists are opposed to irrational (e.g., illegitimate) authority, in other words, hierarchy — hierarchy being the institutionalisation of authority within a society."
  16. ^ Woodcock, George. "Anarchism". The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "Anarchism, a social philosophy that rejects authoritarian government and maintains that voluntary institutions are best suited to express man's natural social tendencies."
  17. ^ Kropotkin, Peter. "Anarchism" in Encyclopædia Britannica. "In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions."
  18. ^ Brooks, Frank H. (1994). The Individualist Anarchists: An Anthology of Liberty (1881–1908). Transaction Publishers. p. xi. ISBN 1-56000-132-1. "Usually considered to be an extreme left-wing ideology, anarchism has always included a significant strain of radical individualism, from the hyperrationalism of Godwin, to the egoism of Stirner, to the libertarians and anarcho-capitalists of today" 
  19. ^ Guérin (1970). "The anarchists were unanimous in subjecting authoritarian socialism to a barrage of severe criticism. At the time when they made violent and satirical attacks these were not entirely well founded, for those to whom they were addressed were either primitive or 'vulgar' communists, whose thought had not yet been fertilized by Marxist humanism, or else, in the case of Marx and Engels themselves, were not as set on authority and state control as the anarchists made out."
  20. ^ Catalan historian Xavier Diez reports that the Spanish individualist anarchist press was widely read by members of anarcho-communist groups and by members of the anarcho-syndicalist trade union CNT. There were also the cases of prominent individualist anarchists such as Federico Urales and Miguel Gimenez Igualada who were members of the CNT and J. Elizalde who was a founding member and first secretary of the Iberian Anarchist Federation. Xavier Diez. El anarquismo individualista en España: 1923–1938. ISBN 978-84-96044-87-6
  21. ^ Guérin, Cédric. "Pensée et action des anarchistes en France: 1950–1970" (in French). Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. "Within the synthesist anarchist organization, the Fédération Anarchiste, there existed an individualist anarchist tendency alongside anarcho-communist and anarchosyndicalist currents. Individualist anarchists participating inside the Fédération Anarchiste included Charles-Auguste Bontemps, Georges Vincey and André Arru." 
  22. ^ Masini, Pier Carlo and Paul Sharkey. Cesare Zaccaria (19 August 1897-October 1961). In Italy in 1945, during the Founding Congress of the Italian Anarchist Federation, there was a group of individualist anarchists led by Cesare Zaccaria who was an important anarchist of the time.
  23. ^ Related, arguably synonymous, terms include libertarianism, left-wing libertarianism, egalitarian-libertarianism, and libertarian socialism.

References

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  4. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica. "Libertarianism," [3]
  5. ^ The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 11:2 (Summer 1995): 132–181 [4]
  6. ^ J. J. Ray (1980). "Libertarians and the Authoritarian Personality," The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. IV, No. 1 [5]
  7. ^ Woodcock, George (2004). Anarchism: A History Of Libertarian Ideas And Movements. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press. p. 24. ISBN 9781551116297. "all these attract the anarchist theoretician as examples of what can be done without the apparatus of the state" 
  8. ^ Kropotkin, Peter. "Anarchism" from the Encyclopædia Britannica. "In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions" 
  9. ^ Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed (45): 38. "They are therefore opposed to what the Mexican anarchist Flores Magon called the ‘sombre trinity’ — state, capital and the church. Anarchists are thus opposed to both capitalism and to the state"" 
  10. ^ Ronald Hamowy (editor). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, Chapter: "Anarchism", pp. 10–13; Quote: "Libertarianism puts severe limits on morally permissible government action. If one takes its strictures seriously, does libertarianism require the abolition of government, logically reducing the position to anarchism? Robert Nozick effectively captures this dilemma: “Individucals have rights, and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its official may do.” Libertarian political philsophers have extensively debated this question, and many concude that the answer is ‘Nothing’.”
  11. ^ Paul F. Downton, Ecopolis: Architecture and Cities for a Changing Climate, Volume 1 of Future City, Springer, 2008, p. 157 , ISBN 1402084951 Quote: “Taking this idea forward to look at how governance would work without the apparatus of the central state, Bookchin proposed a 'libertarian municipalism' in opposition to statism.”
  12. ^ Friedman, David D. (2008). "libertarianism," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition, Abstract; Quote: "Libertarians differ among themselves in the degree to which they rely on rights-based or consequentialist arguments and on how far they take their conclusions, ranging from classical liberals, who wish only to drastically reduce government, to anarcho-capitalists who would replace all useful government functions with private alternatives."
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  28. ^ John Robert Seeley, Life and Times of Stein: Or Germany and Prussia in the Napoleonic Age, 3 vols. (Cambridge: CUP 1878) 3: 355. Thanks to the Oxford English Dictionary for the original reference.
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  117. ^ "What is Communist Anarchism?" Alexander Berkman, in Now and After
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  124. ^ Avrich, Paul (2006). The Russian Anarchists. Stirling: AK Press. pp. 195, 204. ISBN 1-904859-48-8. 
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  153. ^ "...only a few individuals like Murray Rothbard, in Power and Market, and some article writers were influenced by these men. Most had not evolved consciously from this tradition; they had been a rather automatic product of the American environment." DeLeon, David. The American as Anarchist: Reflections on Indigenous Radicalism. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978, p. 127
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Bibliography

External links