Libertarian Polarisation

Paul Flewers paul.flewers at
Sun Aug 29 14:20:36 MDT 1999

GBandLM wrote: <... it is clear that today a libertarian position is
identified more or less exclusively with 1980s-style economic law of the
jungle by some of its opponents. >

What I have seen of non-left-wing libertarianism is a celebration not of
the individual as a responsible member of a society participating in
collective activity with fellow citizens, but the celebration of that
petit-bourgeois (to use the term in a non-pejorative, descriptive way)
hero, the rugged individual, a figure whom I don't think really exists
outwith fiction and some people's vivid imaginations.

When the non-left libertarian goes on about the evils of the state, he
really means the interference of the state in people's private lives,
which boils down to VAT and other tax demands, local authority rates and
state authorities spending tax-payers' money on hand-outs to people whom
he thinks should be able to stand on their own two feet. In other words,
the typical whinges heard from barrow-boys and small traders.

The non-left libertarian is hostile to the state, or at least to some of
its intrusive activities, but is equally hostile to collective activity.
What do such people think of trade unions or other collective
organisations set up to ameliorate (at least) the power of capital and
the workings of the market? I think the answer will be clear.

Paul F

More information about the Marxism mailing list