Libertarian Moonbats

Over at, Anthony Gregory wrote a column explaining the differences between libertarians. He starts by touching a bit on the differences between left and right libertarians. Then, he decends into doing what the average minion of Lew Rockwell does best, purge out libertarians who don’t agree with their doctrinaire libertarianism.

He goes to let us know what we are supposed to think on a variety of issues.

First, foreign policy:

Moderate libertarians lament that the U.S. empire has perhaps weakened its legitimacy and standing in the world by overstretching itself in unnecessary wars of choice such as Iraq. Radical libertarians see the entire U.S. empire as a grave threat to liberty and world peace, which must be completely dismantled, along with the standing army, and regard such imperial projects as the Iraq war as acts of murderous aggression consistent with what should be expected from such a military empire.

In other words, we are supposed to not only withdraw from every single foreign country U.S. troops are stationed in; we are to disband the U.S. military as well and rely on part-time militias for defense. That worked so well in the War of 1812 where the British Army proceeded to decimate US forces, which were composed mostly of guess what, militia, in battle after battle. The battles the US did win, on both the land and sea, were won largely by the small and professional army and navy and the army was augmented by professional Indian fighters.

Next up: privatization of state services.

Moderate libertarians think private enterprise is more efficient than the state, and so certain social service functions would be better handled through public-private partnerships or privatization of the provision of these services. Radical libertarians see private enterprise, unlike the state, as moral and, yes, more efficient, and are thus wary of corrupting business by pairing it with state, as well as of the prospect of making the state’s priorities more efficiently managed. State services should not be improved by corporatist deals between business and government, but outright abolished, with all legitimate functions taken over completely by the free market.

The main disagreement here is mostly on political tactics. In the real world, a world where political decisions are influenced by all citizens, including those who don’t agree with us on laissez-faire capitalism; it is always better to accept a decision that moves the ball more toward freedom than statism. It does not serve the purposes of liberty to cry and throw a snit when you can’t move the ball toward liberty all at once, when you can get it moving toward it a little bit more than before.

Next, taxes:

Moderate libertarians think some forms of taxation are much better than others, since they are supposedly fairer and are more efficient ways of collecting revenue. Radical libertarians see taxation as the negation of property rights, to be done away with completely, and do not spend much time proposing new taxes to replace old ones.

If you don’t believe in anarchy and if you have the audacity to believe that government has vital functions that must be funded, you’re a statist. Since taxation is necessary for the legitimate functions of government, we are better off trying to find a way to create a tax system that is fair and restrains government power.

Next, law enforcement:

Moderate libertarians complain that the police waste so many resources on such counterproductive programs as the war on drugs, when they should be doing more to protect our rights. Radical libertarians see government police departments as a threat to liberty in themselves; realize that the evil war on drugs is just what we should expect from socialist provision of law and order; see the prison system, courts and police as systematically criminal and corrupt and understand we’d be safer if we got rid of as much of the state’s involvement in law enforcement as humanly possible. In any event, the state should not be trusted blindly even when it’s doing something “legitimate.”

If we got rid of police and courts, what’s to stop me and my gang of 50 from killing the author, raping his wife, enslaving his children, and stealing his property?

Finally, the role of government:

Moderate libertarians think some functions are so important that the government must handle them – leading to equivocation on important matters like central banking, government road building, eminent domain, taxation, government enforcement of intellectual property, a huge prison system and a military empire. Radical libertarians trust the state least with functions that humans cannot do without.

Nevermind the whole Free Rider Problem.

So-called radical libertarians live in a place called Anarchotopia where there is no state, the market provides everything, and all men hold hands and sing “Kumbaya”. Of course this is absurd. The challenge is to reconcile classical liberal beliefs in an illiberal world and move it more toward liberalism. Just wishing for Anarchotopia or Libertopia, won’t make it so.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
  • Lance


    I couldn’t agree more. is the kind of dogmatic libertarianism that drives me to distraction. Useful for some things, but definitely keep them away from anything important.

  • John Newman

    What Gregory describes doesn’t sound that much different from what’s in the Constitution.

  • Kevin

    Except that’s he opposed to the U.S. Constitution.

    The real issue is not left- or right-libertarianism, as it turns out, but rather, as in the greater political spectrum, whether a person sees the state as a major hazard or just another institution to be reformed and directed toward a political goal. In the case of pro-state libertarians, the goal might be some vague concept of freedom, but achieving this through the state poses many of the same problems as achieving anything through the state. Radical libertarians oppose the state fundamentally, including its military and police apparatuses. So-called moderates, on the other hand, see the state as an indispensable institution – and perhaps, in some sense, and especially when discussing the U.S. government with its celebrated Constitution, as the source of freedom itself – which should only be limited by internal mechanisms so as to serve humans in the best possible way.

  • John Newman

    Kevin, maybe I am not reading this correctly, but it seems to me he is saying that the source of our freedom is not the Constitution, which is what moderates believe.

    I’m sensing he is thinking more in line with Jefferson:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”

  • Bill Schetlick

    “Doctrinaire libertarianism” is simply a redundancy. I don’t mind people disagreeing with libertarianism from the classical liberal or smaller government position; however, I absolutely despise “smaller than something” government people like the author calling themselves “libertarians”.

    The Libertarian Party has ceased to be libertarian and has been co-opted by the “smaller than something” government people. These folks ought to stop beating the libertarian dog they already killed and see if they can make any inroads into the huge state apparatus that they claim to have some understanding of.

    I wish them luck. But when they fail as they inevitably will, they’ll likely blame it on the “doctrinaire libertarians” rather than their own mistaken “ideas” and tactics. Count on it.

  • Moonbat


    So the government taking 23% (or 30%, however it is counted) of every transaction I have with others is “fair and restrains government power”?!

    How about we reserve the word “fair” for transactions that are undertaken voluntarily. And guess what happens when I decide to stop paying the “fair” tax?

    Give me roads and police that are run by private companies. There’s no way in hell that those two services would eat up 1/3 of my livelihood, inflate my money out of its value, read my e-mails and record my phone calls, put me in prison if I decide to stop purchasing their services, or send me off — unwillingly — to an unjust war that I want no part in.

  • Fawkes


    These guys are shameless LINOs. Fawning over a piece of paper which through its vagaries and contradictions rendered itself useless years ago- almost as if by design (gasp!). Look in the right places and you will find dissolute apologias for state terror, among other CATOiod atrocities, on this site.

    Don’t waste your time.

    This post will be deleted within the hour, I’ll wager.


  • Brad Spangler

    This is an excellent example of exactly why a “libertarian” political party is inimical to liberty. In an effort to seek votes, people are taught to falsely believe they’re “libertarians” and thus even the word itself loses any meaning. They may be ignorant of, to arrogant to investigate or not intellectually honest enough to embrace the scholarship refuting the legitimizing myths of statism. For example, the poster seems unaware of the huge amount of scholarship debunking the so-called “free rider problem”.

    Konkin was right. The LP was a mistake.

  • P.M.Lawrence

    Eh? The militia system did precisely what it was designed to do in 1812. The militia rose up and held the invaders to a standtsill, giving the regulars time to get into action. In fact, that was the main reason that the aggression gained not one inch of Canada.

  • Eric Dondero

    Does anyone still take any views expressed by the folks at serious any more?

    Lew and his minions had their day in the late ’90s. He used to be the hottest rightwing blog out there. Now nobody reads him. They’ve become quite passe’ as of late. They’re yesterday’s news.

    Eric at

  • Bill Schetlick

    Yeah, well . . . I’d rather be yesterday’s news than today’s fool.

    I know lots of ACTUAL LIBERTARIANS who read and contribute to the Lew Rockwell site. Many are professionals and serious scholars.

    I am an attorney with an LLM in American Constitutional Law. I find most of what is featured on that site to be consistent with libertarian thought as I learned it in the late 1960s and thereafter.

    Recently, statists (like the fellow who frets about the non-existent “free-rider” problem) has overtaken the LP; that’s for sure. So, the actual libertarians are again a group with an idea looking for a political organ.

  • Libertarian

    Well, it is clear that libertarianism cannot possibly stand for imperialism, or any other ism, as advocated by Boortz and his ilk (spying by the FBI on the antiwar protestors, included). To argue otherwise, is to undermine the meaning of the movement, itself. It would have been a lot better, if these “liberventionists” (a contradiction in terms)would have gone where they came from, and stopped bastardizing the term (the disgruntled GOPers, whose only beef with the GOP are many of their fiscal policies). They support neither individual liberty nor limited (by the Constitution) government, and whine about “big government” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). Many of these disenchanted types have joined the LP in the 90s, with the party doing itself a final harakiri in Portland in 06 (well, what else do you expect from a party that accepts anyone as member, and who views the lack of electoral success, as indicative of the wrongfulness of the libertarian principles, not of the lack of professionalism…) With no principles left, only the name remains…

    As for, it is a consistently libertarian site, that is #1 when it comes to hits. No other libertarian site, even comes close. At 7,355, it even beats the Check the for ratings.

  • Pat Hines

    I think L. Neil Smith defined libertarianism best, “A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation. Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim.” Anyone advocating taxes, government, or other coercion of any kind can’t be a libertarian, and have defined themselves as not libertarian.

  • Eric Dondero

    It’s extremist libertarianism. The American public ain’t buying the extremist brand of libertarianism that Rockwell and his radical anarcho-libertarians are selling.

    Those who don’t realize that are doomed to continue to lose elections.

    Wake up fellow Libertarians. The future is with the MAINSTREAM Libertarian movement, not with the fringe L. Neil Smith/Rockwell/Anthony Gregory knuckleheads.

    Eric, CEO,

  • Adam Selene

    I love the fellow above, Fawkes, who called us LINO’s. This site is not a “Libertarian Site”, nor do we claim to be one. One of the reasons we don’t claim to be Libertarian is because we aren’t. We are Liberals, in the classic sense of the word. Some of the contributors are libertarian as well, but the site itself is not.

    I was also impressed by Fawkes claim that we would remove his comment within the hour. If he had actually read our site as in depth as he claims he would have seen plenty of comments that would be deleted if we would do such things.

    The first clue that something is extreme and has little likelihood of succeeding in the mainstream is when the people adhering to it refer to it as “the movement”.

    The next clue is when they insist that their beliefs are the one, true set of beliefs.

    Lew Rockwell (and related) Libertarians can rant on all they like, but the reality is that the “true Libertarians” were experiencing little, or no, success and most Americans hadn’t even heard of them, when folks disillusioned with the GOP began to discover them. Without that influx, Libertarians would still be living in the hinterlands. Which, I suspect, is what many of them prefer. There is a real desire to be revolutionary, to be martyrs, to be out on the fringe.

  • mike

    “I was also impressed by Fawkes claim that we would remove his comment within the hour. If he had actually read our site as in depth as he claims he would have seen plenty of comments that would be deleted if we would do such things.”

    We aren’t the Mahablog, after all.


  • Eric Dondero

    Sorry anonymous, but the Libertarian Movement was founded by Dana Rohrabacher, NOT Lew Rockwell. Rohrabacher is Pro-War, always has been.

    Anti-War libertarianism is an aberration and has little if anything to do with principled libertarianism. I suggest you go back and re-read Libertarian history, and not the spoonfed version from historical whitewashers like Raimondo and Rockwell.

  • Fawkes

    I’ve had comments deleted on this site. I speak from experience. I’ll not dig up the post, but suffice to say it features repeated misspellings of “hypocrisy” as “hipocracy” and begs deference toward acts of terror, so long as practiced only by “legitimate governments”. My comment on that particular post was, as noted, deleted within the hour. If it ain’t there, it never happened, right Mike?

    “Mainstream Libertarianism”? That’s what you pro-tax, nationalist, law-and-order “minarchist” types are calling it now? You can dress Barbie up however you want. She’s still just a blob of extruded plastic.

    True, small-l libertarianism is anti-war by definition, Eric. It takes a true big gov’t, nationalist, patriofascist Republican to mistake it otherwise.

  • Kevin

    I’ve had comments deleted on this site. I speak from experience. I’ll not dig up the post, but suffice to say it features repeated misspellings of “hypocrisy” as “hipocracy” and begs deference toward acts of terror, so long as practiced only by “legitimate governments”. My comment on that particular post was, as noted, deleted within the hour.

    The only comments that are deleted are spammers. We do not censor commentors who disagree with us or even act like asses in threads.

    What post were you censored on? You made the allegation, so dig up the post.

  • Fawkes
  • Eric

    What does posting that thread prove Fawkes?

    I’m the person who founded this site, I’m the person who set up the comment policy and I am the person who installed the anti-spam software. I’m no longer an active contributor here, although I sometimes comment. We do not delete comments, except when they run afoul of our comment policy. In the 14 months this blog has existed, no one’s comment has ever been deliberately removed by an administrator or contributor. If your comment was caught by the anti-spam software accidentally, all you had to do was read the comment policy, email me and I would have checked up on it and cleared it for publishing. If you choose not to read and then accuse us of silently deleting comments, you can, of course. We won’t even remove your comments when you do.

    Or, you could notice that we haven’t removed any other comment of yours, even when you accuse us of just such behavior.

    Now, about your assertions.

    1. This site is not libertarian, either big or little L.
    2. This site is not Republican either, except that we tend to advocate a republican form of government.
    3. You are incorrect and Eric Dondero is correct as to the origin of “the Libertarian Movement”. Do a little research.

  • Adam Selene

    In case you hadn’t noticed, Anthony George responded to you in this post. He makes one good point, which is that the current system of law enforcement is unlikely to stop someone determined to kill him. He misses the point that violations of life, liberty and property are typically prevented in a government run law enforcement system by deterrence, which most anarcho-capitalist proposals don’t seem to deal with well.

    He also makes the typical response of a hardcore Libertarian that anyone who believes in any sort of government solution is advocating socialism. This, of course, means that Jefferson, Paine, Madison, et al were socialists.

  • Fawkes

    The comment was posted. It was deleted, perhaps by mistake. Fair enough. Its your website. Handle comments as you see fit.

    Nowhere do I refer to “the Libertarian Movement” and/or its origins. Read a little closer. Very little research required.

  • John Newman

    His name is Gregory not George. Regarding the corruption of the legal system, lack of culpability with law enforcement, and the ineptness of cops in general, this website has been a beacon in shining the light on the problems Anthony mentions.

    I can think of no enumeration in the Constitution that requires any branch to deal with solutions of social problems. I have never read anything at LRC that suggests or hints that Jefferson or Madison were socialists. I think you are confused and are confusing issues regarding the feds and the states.

  • Adam Selene

    John, if believing that the government should enforce the law, rather than a free market, makes you a socialist, then the Founders were also socialists since they believed the same thing. Whether LRC says that directly, or not, the conclusion is inescapable.

    I assume that by “this website” you mean TLP? If so, thank you for the compliment.

  • Eric

    Fawkes, that post was made in May, when I was still the administrator/owner of the site. I promise that I did not intentionally delete it and I’m the only person, at the time, who took such action. If, however, the comment was tagged as spam (altogether possible), I might well have done a mass delete of the spam and not noticed it. I always tried to scan all the spam for legitimate comments, but I’m pretty sure I missed a few. My apologies if that happened. It’s now, unfortunately, not possible for me to recover the comment and publish it.

    Whether we like what you have to say, or not, we welcome the comments and discussion.

  • John Newman

    Adam, which government? Federal? State? Which federal laws according to the Constitution are the feds responsible for enforcing? From my reading they are more responsible for protecting liberties and freedoms than enforcing anything. It doesn’t seem logical or reasonable that after fighting for independence against an en(forcing) kingdom they would be too thrilled to continue with enforcement policies.

    Yes, I did mean TLP.

  • Kevin

    He makes one good point, which is that the current system of law enforcement is unlikely to stop someone determined to kill him.

    The point was more rhetorical than anything. I was trying to make the point that there would be no legal consequences and no deterrance from me getting a gang to kill him and his loved ones and steal his property. In Anarchocapistan, there are no serious consequences for this action. If the private police force hired by his estate find me, try to arrest me, and try to take me to the private court; I can tell them to fark off with no consequences. If they try to force me to go with them, my heirs can take legal action against the private police (for all the good it would do) In addition, I can drag out neogotiations to pick the private court I want to face and finally, if worse comes to worse, I can simply buy the judge, who’s only harm would be to his reputation (which can be cured a good advertising firm).

    However, if I tried to tell the cops to fark off under our current system; out comes pepper spray and probably a resisting arrest charge to my docket. If I tried telling the judge to fark off, he’d probably slap a contempt of court charge against me on top of the other charges. If I tried to buy the judge, he’s deterred from accepting it by the law, which mandates jail time and loss of livelyhood if he’s found guilty. In addition, it would get me nowhere because there’s still the jury; but there are procedures in place to limit contact between the defendant and the jurors.

    Finally, under an Anarchocap system of justice; what’s to prevent the private police agencies and private courts from committing civil rights violations against the citizenry? Remember, the only reason why the current police and law enforcement system has anything resembling checks on their power is because of the Bill of Rights and various civil rights laws on all levels of government. In an Anarchocap system, those protections are gone.

  • Kevin


    Adam, which government? Federal? State? Which federal laws according to the Constitution are the feds responsible for enforcing? From my reading they are more responsible for protecting liberties and freedoms than enforcing anything. It doesn’t seem logical or reasonable that after fighting for independence against an en(forcing) kingdom they would be too thrilled to continue with enforcement policies.

    I’m just looking at the Amendments, I found one they’re supposed to enforce:

    Amendment XIII
    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Another one:

    Amendment XIV
    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

    Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

    Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

    Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    And another, this time in the original Articles:

    Article I, Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

    To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

    To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

    To establish post offices and post roads;

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

    To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

    To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

    To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

    To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

    To provide and maintain a navy;

    To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

    To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;–And

    To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

  • Adam Selene

    John, as far as I can tell the Federal government has no enumerated police powers. Yes, they can make laws, gather taxes, etc. I don’t believe the Framers envisioned law enforcement above the state level. I do believe, from reading their writing, that the Framers firmly believed that the state and municipal governments required police powers to maintain public safety, prevent violations of rights and punish violators of the law. Suggesting that we believe a government (any government) should have police powers makes us socialist is the over the top Libertarian stuff that means liberty oriented folks will never get a serious hearing from the mainstream.

    Aside from that, to repeat, I find nothing in the Constitution that gives the Federal government any sort of police power, although the Supreme Court does not agree with me. The Federal Government does appear to have police powers in Washington, D.C., the military and outside state boundaries, both international and US territories that are not states.

  • John Newman

    Kevin, yes they can legislate enforcement, but nowhere do I see a FEDERAL police force instituted to force compliance.

  • P.M.Lawrence

    After glancing at this thread again, I noticed that the statement “taxation is necessary for the legitimate functions of government” has gone unnoticed.

    First, something that may appear a quibble at first glance. Governments have other tools for raising revenue; as recently as a century ago, significant amounts were obtained from “domians”, pools of revenue yielding assets, though these were even then being handled more and more like taxes proper.

    Second, even stipulating that certain things are necessary, just for the sake of argument, it does not follow that these things should all be undertaken by governments. In many times and places they have been carried out by other institutions. It’s just that state intervention has largely crowded these out.

    These other approaches were funded far more by the domain approach, which works far more conveniently all round in a distributed and decentralised system. Consider the policing role carried out by the Knights of St. John in the 17th and 18th centuries, for just one example.

    And that’s even before arguing about just what things are indeed necessary, although pretty obviously much of today’s necessity, while real, is artificially constructed by past state action. It would need to be engineered out, one way or another, but all the same there is no ground for the state perpetuating that tangle.

  • P.M.Lawrence

    Oops. For “domians” read “domains”.