Hammer of Truth is NOT Neolibertarian

I wanted to throw this out there quickly before I head out.

I will absolutely not be joining the Neolibertarian Network clique for two reasons: 1) foremost, I can see through the haze and see it’s a grand scheme to boost QandO’s pagerank/pageviews to generate revenue (nothing I’m adverse to, but not when you hijack libertarianism under a false ideology); 2) the “ideological framework” to adhere to is a joke.

For me to even apply, I’d have to adhere to these 3 principles (and I won’t):

  • Pragmatic domestic libertarian; Hawk on defense
  • Hobbesian libertarian
  • Big-Tent libertarian

Let’s dissect these:

Pragmatic domestic libertarian; Hawk on defense

This is two in one… so I’m only addressing the first part. I’m in total agreement on domestic libertarianism when it means less government and greater liberty. The classic term is socially liberal, fiscally conservative. I can only hope they mean the same thing. However, this is clearly cancelled out by the Hobbesian crud below.

Hawk on defense
(in which they quote Dale Franks: “If the 1930s and 1940s taught us anything it should be that it is no longer possible for us to confine ourselves to our shores secure in immunity from attack. [As] tragic as it may be, sometimes foreigners are going to need to be killed, and I’d rather kill them over in Kaplokistan, than do so by sniping at them from the rubble of San Diego.”)

What an utter load of malarky. I still don’t get this warped mindset that says we should invade country X after country Y has attacked us simply because they looked at us wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge proponent of hunting down Al Qaida in Afghanistan, Pakistan or wherever they are and sticking some terrorist heads on pikes, but don’t hornswaggle me with collusion theory between the socialist dictator Saddam Hussein and islamonihilist Osama bin Laden when there’s no facts to back it up. I’m not buying it.

Hobbesian libertarian
Which is defined: “the philosophical system of Thomas Hobbes; especially : the Hobbesian theory that people have a fundamental right to self-preservation and to pursue selfish aims but will relinquish these rights to an absolute monarch in the interest of common safety and happiness”

Ok, let me just say: WTF?! Even the most right-wing christian conservative would blink at this bit of nuttery.

Big-Tent libertarian
QandO explained: If this isn’t a terribly specific description of Neolibertarianism, see one of the short descriptions listed above: Big-Tent libertarianism. As with any political movement, there is a broad cross-section of opinions. Neolibertarianism merely attempts to make libertarianism politically relevant, without the exclusionary barriers of the ideological Libertarians.

I’m all for big tent libertarianism, but not when it’s clear that it’s neo-conservative hawks beckoning us to join in their revival and… Hallelujah! Pass the donation tray my brothas and sistas. AMEN!

And to add injury to insult, QandO is publishing a newsletter called The New Libertarian. Personally, I hope Tim West drops the dime on them with whoever forced him to drop that as his blog name for copyright reasons.

I suggest libertarians with any sense steer clear of this neocon network in libertarian’s clothing. Hell, even Instapoopie isn’t that stupid.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. I’m afraid you have a few misapprehensions, although I can certainly understand how you came to them.

    For one thing, “Hawks on defense” was a poor turn of phrase on my part, as “hawk” has certain implications that I didn’t meant to imply. Reasonable people may certainly disagree on the merits of any given military action, especially the Iraq action. I happen to favor it, though not for the reasons to which you objected above. Only time will tell how that will turn out, though.

    “Hobbesian libertarian” does not imply the policy prescriptions of Thomas Hobbes. I merely mean to imply that I believe that Thomas Hobbes had a more accurate view of the state of nature than did Locke, and that such a constant war of competing interests is a reality libertarians ought to recognize.

    Finally, our name had nothing to do with Mr West’s blog name. Since we call ourselves “Neolibertarian”, it’s simply the anglicanization of the term, and “New Libertarian” was proposed by Dale Franks, who had never seen or heard of Mr West’s blog. I was unaware until after we’d already published that somebody had contacted Mr West about changing his blog name, but I’ve contacted him and assured him that it had nothing to do with us. I assume it was a relative of Samuel Konkin — who I later learned had published some newsletter called “The New Libertarian” in the 70s and 80s, but who has been dead for some time now. Since he was (essentially) an anarchist who opposed the idea of intellectual property rights, I doubt he’d have a problem with a 15-20 year-later similarly-titled publication.

    Hope that helps clear it up.

  2. Stephen-

    I agree with a lot of what you said. I, too, think invading Iraq was a terrible idea. The sanctions were working just fine. I will grant that there seems to be less bad news coming from that region of the world since 2002, but do the ends justify the means? That depends on your perspective.

    Here’s the very next sentence after the list of what makes a “neolibertarian:”

    * Pragmatic domestic libertarian; Hawk strong on defense* Hobbesian libertarian* Big-Tent libertarian
    Any of those will do, in a pinch.

    I don’t know anyone, regardless of ideology- liberals, conservatives, or otherwise, who seeks an absolute monarch.

    Am I concerned that they’re making money? Not really- that’s the American way. If it DID piss me off, however, I could just start up my own version of QandO.

    I will admit that the owners of QandO are more hawkish than I am myself. That said, if we only allied ourselves with people who agreed with us 100% of the time, there would only be coalitions of one and none of them would be able to make any difference whatsoever.

    The reason I joined their Network is because the standard libertarian answer to foreign policy – the one that says “hide your head in the sand until the invasion begins” – is totally unacceptable to me and to pretty much anyone else I’ve ever met. The reason I say I’m not as hawkish as a lot of the QandO folks is because I recognize that the sanctions on Iraq seemed to be working (and later were proven to be when we went in), and they were sufficient to ensure our safety without a full-scale invasion. And by “safety” I mean “keeping a sworn enemy as weak as possible as a preventative measure.”

  3. It’s interesting, there was one point (several years ago) when libertarianism was very much lumped in the “neoconservative” group of political philosophies. Things come full circle and now libertarians who support a strong defense (you know, the government actually doing well one of the two things libertarians believe it should be doing)are “neo”.

    Things have changed a lot since the founding of the LP and the beginnings of the libertarian movement. The single biggest change is that we no longer have a draft. That change in itself undercut most of the arguments against a stronger national defense and left the LP, ironically, as an emperor without clothes (or even the beginnings of an empire).

  4. I thought Hobbesian was based on Calvin’s buddy. He seemed pretty libertarian to me.

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  6. The real home of Big Tent libertarianism is http://www.ReformTheLP.org, the Libertarian Reform Caucus. To be a viable movement, we need to include hawks and doves.

    Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was getting rid of a socialist cult-of-personality dictator. This was very libertarian. OTOH, doing so required lots of taxes, forced callups of soldiers, the deaths of many Iraqi civilians, and much property destruction. This is very un-libertaraian.

    So did the ends justify the means? This is DEBATABLE, even among those who hold to the same underlying value of non-initiation of force.

    Ergo, the LP platform should focus on such things as no draft, no forced callups unless the situation is truly dire, more reserves, a proper declaration of war, etc. Things that nearly all libertarians can agree on. The stance on this particular conflict should not be in the platform because the libertarian movement is strongly divided.

    I would like to see the rules changed to require 2/3 vote to retain a plank.

  7. “The stance on this particular conflict should not be in the platform because the libertarian movement is strongly divided.”

    That’s a generally good rule for any specific situation. Hard cases make bad law. A platform ought to be about the big picture and the principles that will be applied to situations not about specific micromanagement – especially a “libertarian” platform.

  8. I can see through the haze and see it’s a grand scheme to boost QandO’s pagerank/pageviews to generate revenue

    Generate revenue!? You have to be freakin’ kidding me! It’s taken two years just to collect enough revenue from advertising and GoogleAds just to cover our monthly bandwidth charges.

    If we wanted to make revenue, we certainly wouldn’t’ve chosen blogging as the vehicle to make money. Splitting $25 per month between three people is barely enough to get a big mac and fries once a month.

    Oh, and by the way, you have an odd tendency to criticize what you think we mean, rather than what we actually write. I mean, an absolute monarch? Jebus Cripes. That’s quite a black helicopter deal you got goin’ on there.

    Finally, in regards to Dead Sammy K, I’d never heard of the guy until the hard-core LP crowd started getting miffed that we inadvertently took the name of a newsletter he published in the 70s and 80s. But, since Dead Sammy evidently thought intellectual property was a crock of crap, tough noogies. I’m proud that we’re following the example he set in this area.

    So, how do you like Dead Sammy’s ideas about intellectual property now?