Monday, 21 September 2015

Libertarians are not right wing

Yes, I know that will come as a shock to many of you to hear that: libertarians are NOT right wing.

But nor are they left wing.

Confused? No more than anyone would be who tries to explain and understand the whole world through a one-dimensional ahistorical political diagram.

Because that spectrum is either broken—or calculated to exclude all other options than the authoritarian extremes:

Hat tip here to Daniel Mitchell, who advises,

If you want to figure out where you belong, there is a short way, medium way, and long way of answering that question.
   And while I don’t want put my thumb on the scale as you take these tests, I’ll simply note that
decent and humane people tend to be libertarians.


  1. The original libertarians, in France, were left-wing. Today's libertarian movement is right-wing but they don't seem to want to acknowledge it. The biased tests made by libertarians won't give an accurate answer to where you sit on the political spectrum.

    A much better test to take is which features your score on both the left-right & authoritarian-libertarian spectrums.

    1. Thanks. the original Libertarians are alive and well after 2000 years.

      For what Libertarians are actually doing worldwide see the Libertarian International Organization at

  2. I think the terms left wing and right wing don't mean much as evidenced by the list of mainly unrelated features above but yes Peter bastardises the meaning of libertarian to it's opposite.
    When you go far enough to the left, past the anarcho syndicalists I think you are almost all the way to Adam Smith - the gap is so small I would call it a discontinuity in a circle. This is a debate from 100 years ago almost completely forgotten but not by any means settled.
    I don't know how you can allocate for scarcity without money but calling libertarianism the 'freedom' to work as a wage slave at McDonalds for $15 per hour while the scabs and leeches in charge rule without question award themselves massive salaries. Your freedom of choice is work or starve as the wealthy withhold from you the means of subsistence.

    1. Ah, Sam, there you are talking nonsense again.

      But your alleged Adam Smith-anarcho-syndicalist reacharound just shows once more how utterly absurd the one-dimensional left-right political spectrum really is, especially in such juvenile hands -- its usefulness is very close to zero, especially for those with minds as one-dimensional as the left-right spectrum itself.

      Observe that the very terminology of left and right was derived from the post-Revolutionary French parliament when both left and right sides of parliament were arguing over to whom to dole out all the proceeds of their loot and pillage. That's hardly a sound reason to continue the labels for more than two centuries thereafter, especially since it specifically excludes any politics NOT based on the principle plunder.

      Still, the honorific seems no less appropriate to today's apologists for theft and interventionist dimememberment of private property, who think their desire for largesse trumps everybody else's right to keep what is rightfully their's.

      The only meaningful spectrum is a very simply one--measuring the distance between authoritarianism and freedom. Or as Ronald Reagan once put it:

      "You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down—[up to] man's age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order; or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course."


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