C. Jay Engel at Reformed Libertarian has written a thorough and thoughtful analysis of the current ideological war being waged between thick and thin libertarianism.
To give the conflict context, Engel examines the history of the dispute, particularly between the Cato Institute, the vanguard of “respectable” libertarians who are granted access to the D.C. exclusive club, and the Mises Institute that continues writing on libertarianism and Austrian economics much like their namesake, without regard to their perceived credibility, only interest in what is or isn’t true.
It essentially comes down to worldviews. Traditional libertarians seek a voluntary society where people are free to interact or not interact with others according to their dictates of their own consciences. This means that there are voluntarily separate societies organized under different social norms and rules.
Progressives Thick libertarians do not want a stateless society as much as they want a unified society in which everyone shares the same values in all aspects, i.e. a voluntary communist utopia.
The problem with the thickists’ objectives are that while they are theoretically feasible, it is realistically farcical to consider them working together. Human actions contradict any theory of a single society without coercion. Thus only one can pursued with any hope of being achieved.
Which, of course, is why they spend their time harassing libertarians rather than state agents and their supporters. Writing on those who wrote the open letter to Ron Paul, Engel says they leave no room to “allow for those who disagree with him on various extra-libertarian social and moral issues.”
Engel also points out something that has eternally irritated me, people confusing “tolerance” with “acceptance.” Thick libertarianism sees any dissent on politically correct attitudes as deviationism that must be squashed.
This is a very distorted, and disturbing, view of libertarianism and liberty. It is an exchange of libertarianism as a political theory to libertarianism as a tendency of social acceptance. It is, to be frank, a corruption of libertarianism that threatens to destroy libertarianism altogether. For if the message of libertarianism is that we must all become PC hysterics, then our war against statism is suddenly placed on the back burner as the new round of politically correct witch hunts that has in recent years been stirring by the Progressivist Mainstream Left becomes a “libertarian” issue.
The “open letter to Ron Paul,” he says, is nothing short of a declaration of open warfare on libertarians who seek to preserve their cultural, social, moral, or religious traditions while advocating the abolition of the state.
This, is the Progressive Libertarian war on the Old Guard. We must be honest with ourselves. We must see this trend as reflective of the world in general. The new libertarian tendency sits in the context of society at large: those with traditional views on things, who are wary of the Progressivist takeover of culture, are not to be accepted in polite society. They are outcasts, not only in the libertarian world, but in the world at large. Your religion, your views on morality, your standards of virtue have no place in Progressive Utopia. Flee or die.
If it’s a war they want, all I can say is good luck As Engel pointed out, their enemies include Lew Rockwell, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Tom Woods, Ron Paul, Andrew Napolitano, Walter Block, Robert Murphy – pretty much the intellectual bedrock of the modern libertarian movement. Before the smoke has even cleared, these fraudsters will be running back to their beloved state to kiss and make up, just as mainstream conservatives do with liberals once a libertarian speaks out against war.