Milton Friedman is not considered a “pure” libertarian by many. Lots of people complain when I reference him, but I think he is one of the best libertarian “gateway drugs” out there – and has done more practical things to advance pro-freedom principles than anyone else. You just need to place him in the right context:
Adam Smith’s philosophy is not an easy concept to grasp. The principles are straightforward, but wading into his book “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” is not a task to be taken lightly.
However, there’s a new and fascinating breakdown of the pertinent details that has been grafted together by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that’s worth checking out.
It’s a big wordy though. Thankfully Matt Zwolinski over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians has got an excellently-written summary of the whole thing, that provides a nice overview and commentary.
If only the powers that be were a little more like Adam Smith, and a little less like Melvyn King…
The trouble with the philosophy of Objectivism is that many have a hard time divorcing it from Ayn Rand, the philosopher who advanced the concept. I think that’s a mistake – and leads to a lot of misunderstandings about an essentially decent and moral philosophy:
Ronald Bailey dissects some of the inaccuracies in Obama’s ‘climate change’ message in the SOTU.
A lot of people wonder when the more libertarian period was in human history. Just the other day someone proudly pronounced to me that it was 1790. Really? I bet if you were a black slave in the cotton fields you’d have a very different point of view.
I think the most libertarian time is now:
The caveat that I’m not sure about the full details aside, I’m kinda feeling sorry for Dr. Frosch – the doctor who spent twenty years working in the NHS and – until recently, the Deputy Police Commissioner for Hertfordshire.
She mentioned (and I have to point out here I don’t know the full specifics. She lays them out here), that the Nazi party in Germany was essentially a socialist party. For this, she was forced by the Conservative Party to step down from her Deputy Commish role.
But isn’t that a fact? The word Nazi is a contraction (jn German) of the words “National” and “Socialist”. The full name of the party was the ‘National Socialist German Workers Party’. Hitler himself made it clear: he was an anti-capitalist, that saw National Socialism as the ‘third way’ (apologies to Tony Blair for using that phrase in this context).
Now the vast majority of modern social democrats in liberal democracies rightly detest where Hitler stood on almost everything. But to live in such Orwellian times that we can’t point out such a clear truth – that the Nazi’s were socialists as well as people responsible for despicable atrocities – then isn’t there a chance we could repeat this nightmare from our collective histories?
The hateful BNP stood on a platform in the last election as “The Labour Party your parents voted for”, a reaction against the New Labour project. Generally speaking, BNP members are dissatisfied former Labour voters – much more than Tory or Lib Dem. And if you read their Nazi-esque policies of increasing centralised authority, nationalisation, etc., don’t you get just a little feeling that it’s quite a socialist party too?
Most people on the left or right of centre deplore the sickening racist impulses of the BNP. But are we so tied up with double-think that we can’t point out the simple truth? After all racism is, if nothing else, a collectivist impulse.