Thick Libertarians Reply

This is a pretty good summary of why the libertarian movement has failed to provide a viable alternative in the U.S., i.e. it’s just a microcosm representation of the wider established paradigm, and not an alternative paradigm. This author identifies 8 major libertarian factions, ranging from far left to far right: neo-libertarians, paleo-libertarians, neo-reactionary libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, left-libertarians, liberaltarians, and left-market-anarchist libertarians. Clearly, libertarians need an overarching paradigmatic framework and strategic formulata, like pan-decentralization, pan-secessionism, and the city-state system.

By Todd Seavey

I resolve to stay “thin” this year. That’s the term from moral philosophy borrowed by libertarians to refer to a formulation of libertarianism that, roughly speaking, comes with no cultural baggage. If you can refrain from violating property rights, you’re good vis-à-vis libertarian rules, end of story.

That’s not to say there aren’t all kinds of moral and psychological suggestions we can make to each other simply as human beings—roughly speaking, “thick” conceptions of morality—just that they’re outside the scope of libertarianism proper (and deal with topics like art, music, etiquette, etc.). The temptation to get thick is immense, since property rights on their own seem dry and abstract, floating somewhere in space without moorings. I fully agree property rights-adherence isn’t something that just happens out of the blue, without people being reared in the habit and given cultural reinforcement.

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