“True libertarians”: How Lew Rockwell is dividing the liberty movement
Jeremy Kolassa seems to be a little upset. Honestly, I don’t blame him. I think most of us here at United Liberty took issue with the Trutherism that is constantly espoused by Lew Rockwell and his ilk, and even more annoyingly — at least to me — is that if you don’t buy into the Trutherism nonsense, you’re somehow mentally defective. As bad as that is, there’s something that annoys me even more, and that is that these people feel like they are the final arbiters of who is or isn’t a “true” libertarian.
I’ve always said that libertarianism is a movement that, in the best case scenario, would eventually fracture because the big picture goals would be attained and all that would be left would be the details of how little government is to little.
Unfortunately, that was probably a little niave of me. After all, it seems that some people just don’t play well with others.
The Lew Rockwell crowd, as Jeremy pointed out so well, hurts the entire movement with their own ideas of what makes someone a “real” libertarian. I’ve written before about libertarianism and libertarian purity, and I really don’t think much has changed in the grand scheme of things.
Rockwell and his followers alienate other libertarians or libertarian leaning folks. Most libertarians probably have a view on something that’s not a particularly libertarian point of view. Few of us are truly “pure” for whatever reason. However, the Rockwell crowd’s insistence on purity does more harm than good. It pushes away lukewarm libertarians who may evolve into more passionate libertarians as time rolls on. The fact that they’re essentially shown the door by a self-appointed gatekeeper like Rockwell and his acolytes pushes them away.
When coupled with their brand of crazy - and while I happen to have started a paleo diet, I find it hard to believe that it is somehow more liberatrian than any other diet (and I’m not entirely sure where that even came from) - they help to insure that the libertarian movement remains small. Without numbers, we will never accomplish much of anything. Yes, we actually need these moderate libertarians*, whether you like it or not.
The Rockwell drones need to understand a few things. While they may honestly believe that their economics are the only way to maintain a free society, right now it’s a debate topic and not much else. Until libertarianism becomes mainstream, the flavors of libertarianism are a moot point. Alienating libertarians because they’re not “true” libertarian is the surest way to make damn sure we never accomplish anything except wasting bandwidth.
*moderate libertarians doesn’t necessarily mean moderate Republicans like John McCain, or any other brand of “moderate”