This post is in response to a post on Reuters by their journalist Alan Wolfe.
As someone who considers themselves liberal, in the Jeffersonian sense, I was surprised to see so many inaccuracies by Alan Wolfe’s recent story for Reuters titlted “Why libertarianism is closer to Stalinism than you think”. Maybe I don’t know enough about Stalinism to get the comparison. Wikipedia’s site claims Stalinism stands for “ a centralized state” , that is, the brand of Communism practiced by Joseph Stalin, in the area currently known as Russia, from the mid 1920’s until the 1953.
In my belief of what libertarianism stands for, and what Wikipedia also states, is that it “upholds liberty as its principle objective” and that those who follow it “ seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, ephasizing political freedom, volentary association and the primacy of individual judgement”
So I seem to have a pretty good premise on what Stalinism and Libertarianism. But how does Rand Paul fit into this?
Dr. Rand Paul is currently running for president, and has many people scared of his message, and I believe that is because it is misunderstood.
Yes Alan, it Paul does “cross the otherwise impregnable line between the right and the left” and I agree as well “ Paul’s appeal doesnt stop there”. But the reasoning that you use is not that of a libertarian, and which is why you are coming to the conclusion that that Stalin’s Communistic government has any parallels with libertarianism.
The first aspect of a libertarian politician, that Mr. Wolfe has misguidedly crafted his argument, is that Rand will categorize the American people as “ the GOP base that is getting older and whiter”, one of the “minorities” such as the “African-American and Latino[s]”, that need special favors before they will get that voting block. A libertarian candidate doesn’t see groups of people, only individuals whose liberty it is for them to protect and preserve.
Pandering to groups based on skin color or ethnic backgrounds would imply that some are more worthy of tax dollars than others. As in all governmental affairs, for those groups to benefit, someone needs to be redistributed from somewhere else. This, according to a libertarian politician, would violate his beliefs, as the preservation of one’s private property is held in the 5th Amendment of our Constitution
Alan’s second misguided point about libertarian politicians is that “isolationism is built into libertarianism” and that they would cut off all ties to other countries; if they had their way. The misconception comes from confusion between the terms ‘isolationist’ and ‘non-interventionist’, which have distinct differences Consider the countries of Switzerland and North Korea. Switzerland allows for free travel of its borders, mostly without of an inconvenience for both its citizens and tourist from other countries. It also allows the trade of goods from inside and outside of its borders, just like other countries in Europe. Switzerland does not have armed forces past the size that suits their landmass, and does not interfere with the policies of foreign governments through intimidation or force. . This is how you would define a non-interventionist state. Come and go peacefully: but no external fighting.
Now for North Korea. They too have no meddling armed forces. But they have little in trade in or out of their country. This would be the proper definition of isolationist. You can never leave, and almost no one enters: but no external fighting
Continuing on the list of inaccuracies, Israel? Rand is running for the Presidency of the United States of America, not Israel. Another tenant of libertarianism – which happens to align with its non interventionism – is to let the people of Israel, or whatever name you want to give to the disputed landmass in which they currently occupy the freedom to decide their own fate: it is none of the business of the American people to decide what happens to a people half way around the world. Let them take care of themselves.
There are several other misguided examples in the article mislabeling libertarian thought. Leading Wolfe to the points he has attempted to make, but they and the ones already stated here, come down to the point that “libertarianism is among the most rigid of modern ideologies” has been confused for sticking to ones principles. Which should be a highly desirable quality in a politician.
And libertarianism does not have a “sordid” past. Alan was merely gripping onto adjectives to fluff up a completely misguided article. Libertarian history is the struggle of freedom versus oppression, specifically by force, and the freeing of mans’ mind and body, allowing himself to live as he sees fit.