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Saturday, January 20, 2007

What Color Libertarian are you?

By Chuck McGlawn
There are “Big Tent” libertarians, there are the “Taxes are theft” libertarians. There are “Anti-Gun Control” libertarians. There are libertarians that refer to themselves as “Mini-Archest”, those who believe in having the smallest government possible. There are those that call themselves, “Anarcho-Capatilist”. Assuming they gave some thought to picking a name, this group would be believers that the government should have NO SAY in the Capitalist or free market system. (The French word for that is “laissez-fair” loosely translated means let the people do it.) Then there are those libertarians who believe in “Anarchy” their goal is no government at all.

In a recent article by Anthony Gregory of the Independent Institute, “Left, Right, Moderate and Radical” he listed eight or more kinds of Libertarians. His article left me so confused I considered applying for admission to the nearest concentration camp.
Posted at,
While I like “Mini-Archest”, “Anarcho-Capatilist” and “Anarchy”, I am not so sure enough have a clear definition of the terms. Another problem is that they do not fit on a “Left Right Political spectrum. I have divided libertarians into three groups similar to the three listed, but easier to understand and they fit nicely on the left right spectrum.

Let me start with Blue Libertarians, they are the middle of the road libertarians. Libertarians that believe in a Constitutional limited Federal Government with an enphisis on the lessons found in the Declaration of Independence.

Blue Libertarians believe humankind have natural rights, and that “governments are instituted among men to secure” those natural rights. In the process of protecting those natural rights The Federal Government is limited to utilize only those powers that individuals have and can convey to government.

This is where Blue Libertarians object to the War in Iraq. It is not because we love the Iraqi people, or feel sorry for them because big bad Bush is killing all those innocents. It is because individual man only has the power to defend himself. It would follow that if government gets its power to defend man from man, then man cannot give to government a power that man does not have. Blue Libertarians do not oppose welfare because "those slackers are just sitting on their butts spending my money" Blue Libertarians oppose welfare because they know that they do not have the right to take money out of another’s pocket and give it to someone else, no matter how badly they may need that help. Since I do not have that right, I cannot create a government and give to that government the power to take money from you to support others. Blue Libertarians are the thinking Libertarians. When a legislative bill is introduced to do a certain thing, Blue Libertarians ask themselves; do I, as an individual have the right to do that? If my answer is no, then he would oppose the passage of that bill. When a candidate throws his hat into the ring, Blue Libertarians ask themselves; does his campaign promise to do things that individuals do not have the power to do, then he may contact the candidate and ask him to drop that item from his campaign. There are only two Blue Libertarians, and I do not know who the other one is. That is not true, there are many Blue Libertarians, and I am hoping their numbers will grow.

Then there are the White Libertarians. Those PURE (white) Libertarians believe that everyone would be better off with no government at all. Another word for those who think this way is anarchist. The problem with White Libertarians, if given their way they would dismantle government now. Now, is way before the population is ready for complete self-government. White Libertarians oppose the war with Iraq, because only governments drag populations into war, and without governments, there would be no wars.

Some of the most learned libertarians fall into this category. It takes a huge amount of learning, to even consider that anarchy has even the slightest chance of being a practicable form of humane association. A transition does take place. Murray Rothbard said, in Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal (1968)

Simplistically, we adopted the standard view of the political spectrum: "left," meant socialism, or total power of the state; the further "right" one went the less government one favored… (Emphasis added) [continuing] Originally, our historical heroes were such men as Jefferson, Paine, Cobden, Bright and Spencer; but as our views became purer (more white) and more consistent, we eagerly embraced such near-anarchists as the voluntarist, Auberon Herbert, and the American individualist-anarchists, Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker.

The White Libertarians provide the whole libertarian movement with much information and documentation and hope that there is an upward reach. That in time, in the distant future when humankind is more highly evolved and can be truly self-governing. That as a goal, if it is in fact achievable would be great.

Then there are the Red Libertarians. If the Libertarian Movement were a corporation, the Red Libertarians would be the Marketing and Sales Department. Believing a small sale is better than no sale at all. Red Libertarians are less ideological and more practical. It is where you hear the word incremental. They want to put a positive spin on everything we do. If we are just smart enough and clever enough and drive the correct automobile and always wear a tie, we will impress enough of those already libertarian leaning Rs and Ds and they will join us and everyone will be free.

The Libertarian Reform Caucus is a good example of Red Libertarianism, holding that government is not the real enemy, only bad government. War can be ok as long as it is ridding the world of undesirables, or that public funding of education is ok if they would offer vouchers and just teach more libertarian principles. Welfare would not have to be dismantled if the aid were used to teach marketable skills.
I have not been nearly descriptive enough on any of the various colored Libertarians, but I hope you and other readers get the message. Reds should be more Blue teaching the proper function of government, and Whites would come closer to whiteness if they joined the Blues, and we taught the proper function of government at the level of humane evolution we have achieved to date.

My big tent includes all who feel government is too big and too extensive. If everyone that agreed with that would join in a concerted effort to overcome big extensive government that is taught in nearly all the government schools and many of the private ones as well. We could begin all begin evolving to White Libertarians.