Friday, December 07, 2007

Rothbard's "Left and Right": 40 Years Later

Ein brillanter Vortrag, gehalten vom spiritus rector der Linkslibertären Roderick T. Long vor dem Mises-Institute in Auburn/Alabama:


Matt Jenny said...

Hier ist die Textfassung dazu. :)

Left Libertarian said...

Siehe auch Libertarianism: Left or Right von Sheldon Richman!

Dominik Hennig said...

@Left Libertarian: Der Link tut net, wie man im Schwäbischen sagt. ;-)

Aber dafür habe ich hier eine schöne Beschreibung für das bessere Verständnis des Begriffes "linkslibertär", ebenfalls von Sheldon Richman:

Why Left-Libertarian?

I have a hunch that not everyone is clear on what "left-libertarian" means. There are several ways to approach a description, but here's mine: The Left has always phrased its program in terms of its concern for the most vulnerable elements of society. For some leftists this no doubt is a cynical pose designed to gain power. But that can't be true for all. Many leftists are motivated by a sincere wish to see the people with the fewest options get a better deal. These include people with the least education and resources, and those who have little choice but to make their living by working for -- and taking orders from -- others.

The problem is that most leftists have a muddled analysis of the problem. They get part of it right, but also part of it wrong. They grasp that the government-business partnership -- corporatism or mercantilism, what they call (with justification) capitalism -- is at fault, but they go wrong in thinking that the solution lies in government not in partnership with business but with the vulnerable. For the Left the only problem is business and the things they identify with it: property rights, free exchange, the pursuit of profit, and the laws of economics. So while they have a pretty good grasp of the evils of corporatism, they don't grasp the essence of the state, which is legal plunder, violence, and exploitation. The vulnerable haven't done very well under regimes that claimed to champion them. Nor do most leftists see that fundamentally benign things -- property, free exchange, the pursuit of profit, and the laws of economics -- are turned against regular people the moment the state gets involved with them.

The Right historically has identified with the powerful, the comfortable, and the well-connected, and has belittled the plight of the vulnerable. In a commercial society this has meant support for big business. In the Right's defense of property, it has been a matter of indifference that many fortunes were amassed through the political means. (When has a rightist supported land reform in an undeveloped country?) This has given a bad name to legitimate property rights. Rightists may formally oppose subsidies to business, but they spend far more time opposing welfare for low-income people than corporate welfare. The disparity is striking -- and revealing. They defend major corporations as though they were market actors, forgetting that the business regulations and taxes they complain about function as privileges for big business against small firms and self-proprietorships.

Left-libertarians share the leftists' concern for the vulnerable and wish not to be mistaken for rightists, but go one better by correctly identifying the source of the vulnerability -- corporatism -- and the solution: an unfettered competitive market void of any sort of privilege.

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