I just read the latest “OMG I used to be a libertarian but now I’m totes a sane progressive” piece from Salon, and it’s quite a work of “art.”
1) It’s almost always principals over principles w/ these people. The author spent more time complaining about uninformed Paul supporters than he did about the fundamentals of libertarianism.
2) I don’t think the author actually knew anything about libertarianism, or actual principled libertarians. There is no mention of libertarian scholars such as Rothbard, Woods, Block, or Hoppe. While he makes the statement “my favorite libertarians always seemed to combine the best elements of conservatism and liberalism,” he doesn’t list who any of these libertarians are, putting in doubt that he even knows of any libertarian scholars.
3) He mentions many libertarians he encountered “didn’t own a book without the phrase “anarcho-capitalist” in it,” which, based on my anecdotal evidence, seems to be the furthest from the truth. Hell, I own Marx, Galbraith, Keynes, and Samuelson. Thousands of articles have been written, podcasts and videos recorded, taking on the philosophies opposed to libertarianism.
4) Probably the gravest error the author makes, and the point that puts the greatest doubt on his ever being a libertarian, is his belief that libertarianism has ever been a “middle-of-the-road philosophy” or has “knee-jerk anti-government sentiment.” Libertarianism has always been about a strict adherence to two principles: the Non-Aggression Principle and the Self-Ownership Axiom. From these two principles grows the anti-government sentiment, not because of a “knee-jerk reaction,” but because government violates these two principles with its very existence. Taxation IS theft because it violates both the NAP and your self-ownership. Just because the vast majority of people have been deluded into believing it isn’t doesn’t make it so. A turd still stinks even if you call it a rose.
Personally, I believe this is just another smear piece from Salon to make libertarians look like we’re crazy, which if the current mainstream philosophies are sanity, insanity is something I’ll embrace.
P.S. Beware the comments section on that article. Good God!!