An Aesthetic of Liberty Reply

I have my differences with Jeffrey Tucker, but this is a timely article calling for the need to develop an anti-statist centrism in response to the present day polarization and without falling into the various right-wing and left-wing deviations.

By Jeffrey A. Tucker

Foundation for Economic Education

Liberty-minded people are doing a lot of soul-searching these days. It’s probably needed.

In case you haven’t heard, many academic and media observers are on a hunt to discover the origin of the bizarre and violent alt-right (Klan, Nazi, and so on) marchers and protesters who appeared in Charlottesville, Virginia, shouting genocidal slogans. Every day new stories appear. To the horror of many dedicated intellectuals and activists in the liberty space, some journalists have tried to link this movement backward in time to the libertarian political movement as it developed over the last decade.

It should be obvious that, in theory and contrary to what the socialist left has long claimed, there is no connection whatsoever between what we call libertarianism and any species of rightist totalitarian ideology. One negates the other. As Leonard Read wrote in 1956, “Liberty has no horizontal relationship to authoritarianism. Libertarianism’s relationship to authoritarianism is vertical; it is up from the muck of men enslaving man…”

And yet today, there does indeed appear to be a social, institutional, and even intellectual connection, and migration, between what is called the liberty movement and the alt-right. Some of the most prominent alt-right voices in Charlottesville once identified as libertarians. This fact has been widely covered. It’s a fair question to ask: did these individuals ever really believe in a liberal worldview? Were they trolling all along? Were they just deeply confused?

Brutalism

I’ve been interviewed many times on these questions. How did this come to be? The answer is complex.

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