Don’t call yourself a libertarian

The Undermotivated Apostate: Two Post-Libertarian Case Studies

2. Pro-welfare-state.

Libertarians have a standard list of objections to the welfare state. Some – like opposition to universal programs and concern about disincentives – are very strong. But the radical objections are much more debatable. I can easily see someone with libertarian sympathies reluctantly and cautiously advocating a small welfare state.

But when libertarians change their minds, they usually go much further. Indeed, most apostates seem to love the welfare state. Before long, they’re praising the wonders of Scandinavia, home of massive universal programs – and the massive taxes required to fund such programs. Isn’t it great how Sweden provides a comprehensive safety net, so everyone feels secure? It’s almost like the apostates have forgotten – or never knew – the standard libertarian arguments about the disincentives of the welfare state and the wastefulness of universal redistribution.

There are two strains of libertariaism: the Rothbarian/Randian version of libertarianism, which stresses self-sufficiency, capitalism, and personal responsibility, and opposes all forms of egalitarianism. And then there is the touchy-feely libertarian socialism of Noam Chomsky, that emphasizes civil rights, liberty, and ‘equality’. This has to do with the distinction between American-libertarianism, versus European-libertarianism. Unfortunately, if you go on Reddit’s main libertarian sub, /r/libertarian, the bleeding hearts and social democrats have taken over, and any mention of Hans Hermann Hoppe or Rothbard is likely to elicit a reaction of ‘who?’ or rebuke. Just another reason why one shouldn’t call themselves a libertarian if one actually believes in the writings of Rand and others, because the term has been hijacked. I prefer the term right-wing rationalism.

Moldbug came to a similar conclusion a long time ago, but his critique went deeper and targeted Rothbardian libertarianism; my critique just focuses on the left-wing infiltration of libertarianism in general.