Why I left libertarianism: An ethical critique of a limited ideology

A critique of anarcho-capitalism/right-libertarianism from a left-anarchist/libertarian socialist perspective.

By Will Moyer


I considered myself a libertarian for at least 10 years. The first time I heard the term was in 2000, watching Harry Browne in the third-party presidential debates. I knew next to nothing of libertarian philosophy, but the little I did understand, I identified with. My high school held a mock presidential election and I hung up “vote for Harry Browne” posters and encouraged my friends to write him in on their ballots. It was the first and last time I would participate in any kind of political campaign.

When I turned 18, I registered to vote with the Libertarian Party, despite my parents’ warning that I would lose the chance to influence primary elections. I was also aligning myself with a third party, and everyone knows third parties don’t win elections.

I never voted for a Libertarian presidential candidate. In fact, I don’t think I ever voted for any presidential candidate. There is a chance I sent in an absentee ballot from college voting for George W. Bush, but I can’t remember if I ever actually mailed the thing. Either way, I missed out on the great American ritual of walking into a booth, scribbling on a piece of paper and throwing it in a glorified trash bin.

I moved further and further toward what I considered true libertarianism, eschewing the capital “L” and politics in general. I read Rand and Rothbard and Mises, scoured countless articles and listened to hundreds of podcasts. I understood libertarian philosophy. I remember the moment when I realized anarchism was the only legitimate conclusion. It was like Bertrand Russell’s “Great God in Boots!” moment. Only mine was committed by a nobody… and also not wrong.


1 reply »

  1. I left the Libertarian Party in New Jersey years ago for all the reasons in the article and more. It was just a ” Honey Pot” that ran against R’s in certain districts to siphon off vote’s and elect D’s. Not paying dues for that.
    The final death blow was when I checked the voters registration for registered Lib’s. There wasn’t enough numbers to get a 1% in the rankings. Pointless meetings that never seemed to materialize, and always begging for funds to go to this or that conference for a non-existent battle to slay the enemy.
    My time is now spent on more productive endeavors such as surfing the porn sites on Google. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…..

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