Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Libertarianism: Past and Prospects

Cato Unbound - Blog Archive - Libertarianism: Past and Prospects by Brian Doherty

I recently published a book called Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement (PublicAffairs, 2007). I always thought the libertarian movement’s story was fascinating and important, filled with vivid, peculiar, and heroic characters with many little-understood influences on American culture. It is also a story sadly undertold, ...
Heavy, historic and honest.

When the Libertarian Party began, founder David Nolan did not promise electoral victories. (On the national and statewide level, his lack of promise has mostly been kept.) He suggested, rather, that the Libertarian’s existence could lead to increased media attention for libertarian ideas, which might bring more latent libertarians out from hiding, and create a permanent institution to spur them into action, and help further a breakdown of political dominance by the traditional right and left by providing a pro-liberty home to forces on either end of the political spectrum who might not feel comfortable with the rest of their electoral coalition.

I'm not going to promise electoral victories in my quest as I stand for office in 2007. I do exist. The Libertarian Party is present. We are making efforts so as to show up. I care about media attention so as to advance libertarian ideas. I want to do outreach and bring out and along others with some warmth to various libertarian approaches. We need to create a more permanent community and network to spur others into action. We need to breakdown one party political dominance. I want to provide insights so our home and region can be known as a pro-liberty place.

Tip: Check out the comments for some tidbit snips and worthy quotes.

1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...


-- quixotic group moves

-- the libertarian “Remnant” — the idea that liberty might never win mass public support but its ideas must be kept alive.

-- promoted the justice and richness of “anything that’s peaceful.”

-- In the face of (statism) opposition, Read, who nevertheless managed to collect millions in donations from American businessmen over the decades by never explicitly asking for it, had no particular plan or hope for libertarian political victory beyond spreading the word.

-- said of Read: “This aspect of FEE’s thinking has been occasionally irritating…to the more activist-minded of you… Not only does Read not promise us a win in the near future; not only does he not guarantee us a win in the distant future; he has the unmitigated gall to tell us that we still don’t even fully understand the game or how to recognize a win when we see one.”

-- generations of education are needed before a truly libertarian culture and politics would take hold. This was rooted in Rand’s belief that political change was insufficient if not reached for the right philosophical reasons

-- who finances these gangs of literate goons?”

-- if we believe in human rights, then there are a set of things government just cannot do—including most things modern governments do do

-- Libertarian energies ought to go to wherever any given libertarian wants them to. The division of labor, operating through free choice, is as valid here as in any other aspect of the economy.

-- solutions that rely on free markets and free choice are apt to have better results, and be more morally correct, than solutions that rely on central control or government action.

-- recognize that the principles of free minds and free markets are most suited to making a rich and varied and lovable world, and thus are likely to triumph in the long term.