Sunday, 19 August 2007

The Libertarian Schism

There seems to be a shift in libertarianism caused by the War on Terror. Paleolibertarians oppose the war while Neolibertarians favor the war.

The biggest paleolibertarian is Lew Rockwell who has said the following: "Paleolibertarianism holds with Lord Acton that liberty is the highest political end of man, and that all forms of government intervention — economic, cultural, social, international — amount to an attack on prosperity, morals, and bourgeois civilization itself, and thus must be opposed at all levels and without compromise." He then goes on to say, "What's more, paleolibertarianism distinguishes itself from left-libertarianism because it has made its peace with religion as the bedrock of liberty, property, and the natural order."

Paleolibertarianism has made peace with religion? The question that comes to my mind is: which religion? Christianity, Islam, Satanism, Scientology? What does it mean that paleolibertarians have made peace with religion? Do they favor theocracy? If so, that is a contradiction because theocracy is inherently anti-freedom. Many religious people are happy to ban pornography and censor the Internet in the same way the Chinese Communist Party censors the Internet. If paleolibertarians make peace with religion, will they allow this? If they do, how can they claim that "all forms of government intervention - economic, cultural, social, international - amount to an attack on prosperity, moral, and bourgeois civilization itself"? How?

Neolibertarianism on the other hand makes more sense. According to the Wikipedia article on neolibertarianism,
Neolibertarians generally believe that the drawing of an arbitrary boundary such as a border does not exclude those outside of it from the inalienable human right of liberty. They believe that if someone truly believes that Liberty is a self-evident, inalienable right, that it is immoral to deny it to those who fall outside the jurisdiction of arbitrarily-drawn borders.

Some neolibertarians consider themselves extremely idealistic - holding deep convictions about the inalienability of liberty across borders. This branch generally believes that no country has a right to vote or mandate against liberty in the public sector, and that those who believe that the right to liberty ends at borders are no better than those who believe that only some WITHIN a country have a right to it; they believe that convictions about the importance of liberty holds no value unless it is applied to every human being on earth, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or nationality.
Libertarianism values freedom from the tyranny of the state as well as tyranny from other members of society. If rights are only endowed on those within an artificial border draw by the state, then big government once again determines who has right and who doesn't based on the stroke of a pen.

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