One of the points that I wanted to stress in my recent response to Danny Blogaduce’s recent article on left-libertarianism is that, at least as far as it touches on questions of strategy and practical politics, Blogaduce is more or less right about the kind of thing he calls
libertarianism — that is, the sort of gradualist and reformist pet projects advanced by limited-statist outfits like Cato and the Libertarian Party. (The problem with his article is that he wrongly thinks that what he thinks of as
libertarianism is all there is to libertarianism — an odd stance to take in an article responding to a radical Left, anti-electoralist market anarchist.)
But Yglesias is right that minimal-statist reformism, more or less necessarily, depends on an unrealizable and ultimately incoherent notion of State neutrality, and that, strategically, it also inevitable falls into the trap of trying to intervene in government policy debates while taking the basic presuppositions of that debate for granted, on the foolish belief that by doing so we will somehow be able to restrain or undermine the manipulation of that debate and that policy apparatus by the well-organized and well-funded forces that created it and that continue to rig the matches and game the system. There’s a reason why (reformist, minimal-statist) libertarians so often lose track of the subject and smother the revolutionary notion of freed markets and free association with a bunch of tax-subsidized
choice programs, outsourced government monopolies, and other cockamaimey privateering schemes. If you start out by trying to take hold of a system of domination rather than resisting it, and by trying jump into a rigged debate rather than challenging the notion underlying the debate itself–where you’re allowed to file slowly away at only one of the bars of the statist cage, while leaving all the other criss-crossing bars in place, unchallenged or (more commonly) simply unmentioned–then you shouldn’t be surprised when your attempt to intervene in that debate ends up consisting of little more than
No reasonable person is advocating that we are going to stop destroying money! But the American people earned that money. They have the right to decide how it should be destroyed.
When the limits of Beltway consensus policy debate are the limits on what a reasonable person can advocate, what decent people have to do is to start being unreasonable. Anything else, and you’d better just learn to love the money fires. Because that’s all you’re getting, even if you somehow managed to