Thick Libertarians: Stop “improving” this philosophy

This blog post from a few years ago describes a process I have noticed as well. As “libertarian” movements continue to grow, they also continue to split off into different tendencies based on their various hyphenated affiliations.

This blogger identifies eight libertarian factions: anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, liberalatarians, left-libertarians, market-anarchists, libertarian Republicans, paleolibertarians, and libertarian neo-reactionaries. Of course, he’s only describing the market-oriented libertarians and leaving out the an-coms, an-syns, primitivists, situationists, etc on the left and the national-anarchists, anarcho-monarchists, anarcho-fascists, etc on the right. As libertarian and anarchist ideas continue to grow and have influence (assuming such a thing happens) it’s likely there will be even more tendencies in the future. For example, there is already anarcho-transhumanism, anti-natalist anarchists, etc.

Todd Seavey

Splice Today

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.


Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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