Monday, 14 January 2008

Libertarianism != Neo-conservatism

by Charles Pooter

Note to non-nerd readers: "!=" means "not equals" in some programming languages.

Neil Clark links to this hopelessly confused piece by Tom Hodgkinson. I think for some hacks, neo-conservatism (or indeed libertarianism) just mean "American politics I don't like". I left the following comment on Neil's blog:

Neil,

I read your stuff and like it, even if I don't agree with a lot of what you have to say.

But please do not conflate neo-conservatism with libertarianism (as the writer of this linked piece has done). You may not agree with libertarianism (Which anyway has a diversity of opinion at least as varied as Socialism. Indeed some strains even overlap with certain non-state Socialist ideas), but to confuse it with neo-conservatism does it a great disservice.

It is true that some American and British libertarians have erroneously supported such actions as the Iraq war, but I would say that these are the minority. In many libertarians you will find allies in the fight against imperialism, you will find agreement with your support of civil liberties and with some more-enlightened libertarians (such as the mutualists) you will find sympathy with your anti-corporate views.

To be sure you will never get agreement with your pro-nationalisation stance (command economics doesn't work) or some of your more socially conservative viewpoints (we should all be allowed to go to hell in our own way), but then you already knew that. Argue with libertarians by all means, but don't label us as neo-cons.

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