"In the name of practicality, the opportunist not only loses any chance of advancing others toward the ultimate goal, but he himself gradually loses sight of that goal—as happens with any “sellout” of principle. Thus, suppose that one is writing about taxation. It is not incumbent on the libertarian to always proclaim his full “anarchist” position in whatever he writes; but it is incumbent upon him in no way to praise taxation or condone it; he should simply leave this perhaps glaring vacuum, and wait for the eager reader to begin to question and perhaps come to you for further enlightenment. But if the libertarian says, “Of course, some taxes must be levied,” or something of the sort, he has betrayed the cause.
In World War II, as I said before, the danger and despair of the individual hardcore libertarian was his isolation. Now, in 1961, with the libertarian and right-wing movements seemingly flourishing and growing apace, on scholarly and more popular levels, he is, once again, increasingly in danger of being isolated. Except this time, the danger is less apparent and more insidious. For it is the danger of the hardcore libertarian being swamped by a growing mass of “conservative” and right-wing thinkers.
The increasing danger of the “swamping” of the libertarian intellectual—which itself is inherent when the hard core is not nourished, fostered, and brought together as a nucleus—has been enormously redoubled by the transformation that has been effected in the right wing itself. This transformation, lead by the theoreticians of National Review, has transformed the Right from a movement which, at least roughly, believed first of all in individual liberty (and its corollaries: civil liberties domestically, and peace and “isolation” in foreign affairs) into a movement which, on the whole, is opposed to individual liberty—which, in fact, glorifies total war and the suppression of civil liberty, as well as monarchy, imperialism, polite racism, and a unity of Church and State. The Right having increasingly taken on this tone and complexion, it is all the more vital for the libertarian movement to be dissociated from, rather than allied with, the bulk of the right wing. The chief trouble now with the theory of the “popular front” is that this “front” has been largely infected with enemies of, rather than friends of, liberty. Fortunately, the Volker Fund’s own program suffers much less than others (Earhart, Richardson, etc.) from this problem, because the fund’s concentration has been on economists, who, in their capacity as economists (Chicago School, etc.) have been, at least on net balance, proponents of liberty. But in any other field but economics, the danger is grave indeed.
[...] even though there is opportunity for a philosophic synthesis, in some respects, between libertarians and conservatives (e.g., the addition to libertarianism of natural law, moral principles, etc.) there is no real opportunity for a political synthesis.
(Even philosophically, conservatism has so many things wrong with it that an attempt at synthesis distorts the real nature of conservatism: as it must overlook the conservatives’ hostility to personal liberty, drive toward war, reverence for a theocratic state so long as it be “traditional,” support for colonial imperialism, opposition to reason, etc. And here I want to go on record as regretting my own recent article in Modern Age, as distorting the nature of conservatism by dwelling almost exclusively on its favorable features.)
I have come to the conclusion that, for libertarian thought to survive, a sharp break with “conservatism” must be undertaken,
My thesis can be summed up as saying that in this crossroads in the history of libertarian movement it is vital to de-emphasize drastically popular fronts with the conservative “Right,” to nourish and construct the hardcore libertarian movement with some form or forms of nucleus or center, and to emphasize libertarian scholars and intellectuals primarily, and, if more direct action is desired, libertarian publicists and workers exclusively. The big danger to the libertarian movement now is a swamping by a rapidly growing (on intellectual and “practical” levels) conservative movement that presents more of a threat to liberty than a support. The great task facing us is the rescue of the libertarian movement from this danger."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Libertäre Strategiedebatte: Murray Rothbard's Warnung vor den Gefährdungen durch Kompromißlertum und konservative Vereinnahmung ist aktueller denn je!
Dabei stammt das Papier aus dem Jahre 1961!