Anarchism/Anti-State

A libertarian tragedy in Indianapolis

“Tragedy” doesn’t even begin to describe the condition of libertarianism these days. And at a time when the popularity of virtually all institutions is at an all-time low. “Libertarianism is owning the libs by becoming right-wing authoritarians. Franco was a cool guy.” “No! Libertarianism is rioting for state healthcare! Vote Bernie!”

By Damon Linker, The Week

The political struggle over the libertarian soul takes a grim and telling turn.

Libertarians often aspire to rise above partisanship. They care about liberty, and Republicans and Democrats alike have mixed records on defending individual freedom. But remaining above the political fray has grown more challenging in our era of hyperpolarization, with some libertarians falling in behind former President Donald Trump’s Republican Party, others championing an anti-Trump position, and dwindling numbers continuing to resist choosing sides.

If the reporting in Adam Wren’s lengthy exposé in Indianapolis Monthly is trustworthy, this political struggle over the libertarian soul has been fought especially hard — and with especially tragic consequences — at Liberty Fund, a 62-year-old educational institute located in the Indianapolis suburbs. Wren’s piece tells the story of how one Liberty Fund employee raised concerns internally about “mission drift, deficient management practices, and potential tax negligence,” requested whistleblower protections, was terminated from his position last year, and, shortly thereafter, killed himself.

Liberty Fund may seem an unlikely venue for this story, the sort of libertarian institution that would remain steadfastly nonpartisan, if any could. To the common libertarian aspiration to transcend partisanship, the organization added its founder’s distinctive emphasis on Great Books learning. Businessman Pierre Goodrich didn’t understand himself to be creating a think tank like the Washington D.C.-based CATO Institute that would directly influence policymaking. He believed in fostering conversation among intelligent people from a range of backgrounds about the foundations and maintenance of a free society.

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Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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