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August 20, 2012

Is libertarianism an infantile disorder?

In the excerpt below the very level-headed Mark Krikorian says it is:
I think libertarianism is an infantile disorder, an "ideology" in the worst, anti-Burkean sense of the word. That is not to say that many Americans who call themselves "libertarians" share that disorder — I think the appeal of the label comes from the Republican Party's pathetic big-government record over the past couple of decades. Despite the many patriotic Americans who call themselves "libertarians" as a kind of protest, the ideology of libertarianISM is a post-American creed that rejects national borders and nationhood itself.

Krikorian is of course alluding to "Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder", a book by V.I. Lenin in which Lenin criticizes the more idealistic and less practical Communists of his day.

I am inclined to agree with Krikorian.  The level of hate and fanaticism that I regularly read in libertarian publications can sometimes be quite nauseating.  Ideas of moderation and compromise are a rarity.  As I myself am very much a minimum government conservative I find a lot of libertarian analyses helpful so I will not go on a rampage of finger-pointing and naming names but some of the writers on Lew Rockwell's site (for instance)  regularly sound distinctly unpleasant to me.  Take this article by Karen de Coster for instance.  It absolutely drips hate and dogmatism.  She is admittedly an extreme food fanatic as much as she is a libertarian  but that seems to pass muster among at least some libertarians.  Their very Leftist contempt for the society they live in makes them disrespectful of scientific caution so food and health fads seem to flourish among them.

I will not go on but those who read much libertarian literature will know well why libertarians  are and will remain a tiny minority in politics.  Which is all the more a pity because a more moderate presentation might help in the great struggle against government and for the  individual that is afoot in America today

An important caveat, however, is that there are as many versions of libertarianism as there are libertarians and there are a minority of libertarians who manage to keep their feet on the ground.  There are, for instance, some libertarians who oppose unrestricted immigration, though that is far from the majority position among libertarians.



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