Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A question for Brits or them that know em'

I'm writing a short piece to submit to a British publication and I was wondering - do the British even use the term "libertarian"? What ought I to call libertarianism?

This particular venue likes to make reference to "neoliberalism" a lot. Would that be considered the equivalent, or would neoliberalism be broader than libertarianism (i.e. - also including the internationalist/establishment center-left)? I refuse to use "classical liberal" as a synonym for reasons I've stated here before.



  1. They sure do. London, in fact, has TWO organizations called "The Libertarian Alliance."

    They are at war with each other (socially). I used to tell them they should each be renamed "The Libertarian Disalliance."

  2. Neoliberal just refers to any economist who has dared work for World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Federal Reserve, or the White House, instead of staying outside and being a polemic. Also refers to any person who supports them.

    That's the most I can make out, from how some internet polemics keep throwing out the word. Funnily enough, Lord Keynes of the Social Democracy blog does NOT use neoliberal and libertarian interchangeably.

    If neoliberal means libertarian, then we must accept that Barack Obama, George Bush, and Bill Clinton are some kind of closet libertarians, because they too have been called neoliberals!

  3. I've called myself "neoliberal" on multiple occasions before, much to my brother's chagrin.

    He's an odd one - he's very much a traditionalist. But he's been marinating in the humanities long enough that he bristles at the idea of neoliberalism.

  4. My ears were just burning, so I thought I'd wander over here to see what all of the fuss was about. ;)

  5. I'm a Brit. Sometimes the term "Classical Liberal" is used. Often by people who don't believe in natural rights Libertarianism. I describe myself as a Classical Liberal generally.

  6. I suggest "propertarianism", "anti-libertarianism", or "'libertarianism'". Alan Haworth is a Brit.

    I think you should pay more attention to those on the vast space on your left and those developing economics in a rigorous fashion.

  7. Robert,

    Logomachy much?

    Anyway, the first discernable use of the term libertarian as we American libertarians use it in the U.S. is I believe by either Isabel Patterson or Rose Wilder Lane.

    "Libertarians ... think they are for freedom but they don't know what freedom is. In reality, their doctrine is so contrary to freedom that it ought to be entitled 'anti-libertarianism'."

    Or rather, libertarians don't define freedom the way the person quoted does. The American (and European) left certainly is rather ok with all manner of intrusions by the state in the private lives of people - much of this is based on the notion that people need all manner of "help" improving themselves - that their choices just aren't good enough. Thus it is not surprising that along with the religious fanatics that American progressives were at the forefront of the effort to stop "demon rum."

  8. Gary Gunnels is, at best, a fool.

    When it comes to brits, you might want to look into what money made in large-scale chicken farming can buy.

  9. Robert,

    The left really needs to stop running away from the results of its ideas.

    Anyway, in a free society (sorry, I didn't look at your link - I am sure it is about the IEA though) making money and using it to promote your ideas is perfectly acceptable. Of course the U.S. has never wholly lived up to that standard; but that's just another reason not to give the state the sort of power to investigate, subvert, etc. individuals and groups who are unpopular.


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