Thursday, March 3, 2011

Left-Anarchism: A Dog Chasing Its Own Tail - Part 3

It looks like this dog just keeps coming back for more. I read another piece at C4SS that had me cringing in five colors yesterday. Oh the irony - the sweet, sweet irony. I can certainly endorse the left-libertarians' non-support of the Republican governors in this little public sector mess. However, the fact that they are siding with the public unions (or at least defending them in some capacity) is proving to be a deal-breaker in my eyes.

I tried walking the trodden path of Rothbard on this one, but I just don't have the patience. The left's endorsement of libertarian values (to the extent they endorse them at all) is largely a means to an end. They, like their progressive kin, are consequentialists at heart. The only difference being that they believe freedom to be the best vehicle to achieve materialistic equality. Put them in a situation where a class dichotomy unfolds and they will gladly put aside their quibbles with coercion.

Here is my response from the comments section of the article:

It strikes me that such a stance is neither about libertarianism (as I understand it) or mixed feelings. In fact it seems to be about justifying coercion through the state if it serves the purposes of those we deem to be economically under-privileged. So which is it? Do we stand against coercion or do we stand for a more "just" division of the spoils thereof?

I admire many people who label themselves as left-libertarian, but it's the public employee support on issues like this that make libertarian alliances shaky to me. If we were provided with a reciprocal example of a weapons firm who enjoyed the employ of the government given its monopoly on defense, would left-libertarians come out in support of members of that firm who demand that their "collective bargaining rights" (which, in its current usage, is a bastardization of free association) and compensation be protected? Does the relative part that they play in the over-arching coercive machinery of government entitle them to more or less of the aforementioned spoils?

I can understand a general support for labor in an open market. I can understand criticizing those who may mistakenly believe that such moves will result in lower taxation even if it will not. I can also understand criticizing the motives of the people behind the move (although that honestly has no bearing on whether or not the move is correct). What I have never understood, and still fail to understand, apparently, is the inconsistency with which libertarian principles are applied when the beneficiaries of government privilege fall upon a favored class of citizens. When right-of-center libertarians dismiss arguments against corporate privilege because of what they consider to be the malevolent intentions of "class-warriors", left-libertarians correctly hold their feet to the fire on principle. If right-leaning "vulgar" libertarians can be called to fall upon the libertarian sword for such inconsistencies, so can the left-leaning libertarians.

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