The not so hidden Agenda of American Libertarianism

The Von Mises institute represents what we might patronisingly call the intelligent side of American Libertarianism; in contrast to that (larger) faction who have grown up believing that Ayn Rand was a significant philosopher.

I have been trying to find ways to unite anarchists of the right and left for some years, as we all share the same views on individual liberty and the authoritarian evil and dangers of government. And I don’t have any difficulty agreeing with much of the analysis of the institute and its founders. This 2008 critique of the American Constitution, for example, is very much in line with my own:

In effect, what the American Constitution did was only this: Instead of a king who regarded colonial America as his private property and the colonists as his tenants, the Constitution put temporary and interchangeable caretakers in charge of the country’s monopoly of justice and protection.

which, of course, mirrors my own description of (all) so-called democratic governments as nothing more than limited-term elected dictatorships.

And who can argue with:

These caretakers did not own the country, but as long as they were in office, they could make use of it and its residents to their own and their protégés’ advantage. However, as elementary economic theory predicts, this institutional setup will not eliminate the self-interest-driven tendency of a monopolist of law and order toward increased exploitation. To the contrary, it only tends to make his exploitation less calculating, more shortsighted, and wasteful. As Rothbard explained, while a private owner, secure in his property and owning its capital value, plans the use of his resource over a long period of time, the government official must milk the property as quickly as he can, since he has no security of ownership.

Government officials own the use of resources but not their capital value except in the case of the “private property” of a hereditary monarch. When only the current use can be owned, but not the resource itself, there will quickly ensue uneconomic exhaustion of the resources, since it will be to no one’s benefit to conserve it over a period of time and to every owner’s advantage to use it up as quickly as possible.

But what is clearly going to remain a stumbling block between us, however, is their elevation of “Property Rights” above even “Liberty” and the article unconsciously illustrates the problem.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, government was instituted to protect life, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

which would be news to Jefferson, who didn’t mention the word “Property” once in the actual Declaration of Independence. I initially thought it was a mistake but it is repeated further down the article, so it is clearly intentional. This meme manipulation is as unethical as any religious or mainstream political propaganda; and it doesn’t increase the prospects for unification of the wings of Liberty…

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About Harry Stottle
Refugee from the Stumbleupon Blogicide of October 2011 Here you will find my "kneejerk" responses to the world and what I happen to bump into. For my more detailed considerations and proposals, please visit my website or my previous main blogging site.

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