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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another Definitional Free-for-All: This Time--Libertarianism

Angelica of Battlepanda has had an interesting series of posts (and comment free-for-alls) recently on the nature of libertarianism. The original stimulus was the Cory Maye case, which has led to an uneasy alliance of civil libertarians in the right and left blogospheres, and some interesting exchanges between the same. Here's Angelica's list of blogs covering the issue so far (Radley Balko has been the main go-to guy on it to-date). Of course, as she says, the collective roar of blogospheric outrage has translated into little more than chirping crickets in the mainstream media.

Anyway, the whole issue has led to an interesting reexamination of mutual positions, and perhaps a transcendence of facile stereotypes in some cases. Much of the libertarian right, apparently, has been surprised that so many liberals would sympathize with a guy (gasp) defending himself with a privately owned firearm. (Actually, they'd be positively amazed at all the liberals in comment threads at Orcinus expressing heightened interest in concealed-carry permits, in this age of Freeper eliminationist rhetoric and brownshirt thuggery.) And quite a few liberals have been likewise surprised to find out that not all libertarians are pot-smoking Republicans (or what I like to call vulgar libertarians).

For example, in "The Future is Orange," Battlepanda writes:

I've also come across a lot of fine sites that totally refreshed my concept of what it means to be a libertarian. I already have a section devoted to libertarians on my blogroll (Life, liberty and the pursuit of market efficiency). But interesting as those blogs are, they are mostly libertarian from an economic point of view. The blogs that are championing Cory Maye's case have a decidedly different tenor to them that I also really like. One of them, Brad Spangler, even went as far as to say "Large corporations as they exist today are, in actuality, appendages of the state and not "free enterprise""! He's definitely not the kind pro-corporate market-worshipping libertarians I know and currently link to. What should I call this bunch?

I should add, by way, that Brad Spangler and the rest of us leftish free market types are libertarian from an economic point of view. Anyway, there's been some very interesting (and fruitful) discussion in the comments to that post and this one.


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