Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What an actual libertarian says about conservatives.

Something you'd never see at Putz's place.
Look at history. Libertarianism is the direct descendant of classical liberalism. Given how many “libertarians”—please note the “scare quotes” around that term—channel conservative arguments these days, I often prefer using “classical liberal” to describe myself rather than libertarian. I don’t want to be confused with militia-loving, Birch Society, bigoted fundamentalists who think that bed sheets are evening wear.
Classical liberalism was a revolutionary movement challenging the status quo of the day. It was not as consistent in application of its principles as libertarians would prefer, but it was a dramatic step forward in the history of liberty. Classical liberals opposed the alliance between church and state; they wanted to end the property system of the day, where might alone transferred property into hands of privileged, landed elites who grew wealthy out of monopoly privileges bestowed by the Crown. Classical liberals argued that rights were inherent in each person and were not political grants or privileges. They supported freedom of speech and the right to criticize common wisdom of the day—including teachings of the church. They wanted depoliticized markets and said that when government existed, protecting rights of the people its core, perhaps only, legitimate duty.
In opposition, were conservatives, who as conservatives tend to do, clung to the power structure of the day and defended the status quo, regardless of how unjust it was. Classical liberalism was a revolutionary system of thought that upset the entire social order of the day. It reduced the power of both church and state to control the lives of people. They didn’t support merely transferring state power to private institutions—for instance giving control of marriage to religion—they wanted the power of third parties to control people’s lives reduced, including privately-held power.

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