Tag Archives: left libertarian

Ayn Rand, Left-Libertarianism, Selfishness and Freedom

Just read Michael Gerson’s piece, “Ayn Rand’s adult-onset adolescence”, from the Washington Post opinion page. I am not familiar with Ayn Rand‘s work directly, but have read some discussion of it and her foundational status among some contemporary libertarians. Short of reading her book Atlas Shrugged, I’ll at least have to watch the movie version on Netflix. I’m intrigued how much her conflation of liberty with selfishness have perhaps demeaned the former in some progressives’ view.

Article author Michael Gerson writes…

Rand is something of a cultural phenomenon — the author of potboilers who became an ethical and political philosopher, a libertarian heroine. But Rand’s distinctive mix of expressive egotism, free love and free-market metallurgy does not hold up very well on the screen. The emotional center of the movie is the success of high-speed rail — oddly similar to a proposal in Barack Obama’s last State of the Union address. All of the characters are ideological puppets. Visionary, comely capitalists are assaulted by sniveling government planners, smirking lobbyists, nagging wives, rented scientists and cynical humanitarians.

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My Tentative Embrace of Left-Libertarianism

Logo of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left

In the profile section of my Facebook page and increasingly in conversation when asked, I’m describing my political orientation as “left-libertarian” rather than “progressive” or “liberal”. I kind of feel like an adolescent experimenting with or trying on for size a persona that they are intrigued with but may not yet be fully comfortable with. Perhaps in wrestling with principles built around the primacy of liberty, I’m trying to rationalize some sort of continuity with ideas that I inherited from my parents. My mom always saying that in terms of parenting principles, that “kids will tell you what they need”, and when it came to education, “teachers should run the schools”. My father (though never explicitly stated as far as I can recall) believing that life at its best is an adventure, with twists and turns and outcomes always in doubt.

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Eliminating the Federal Department of Education: Strange Bedfellows

As a follow-up to my blog piece, “Left-Libertarianism and a Broader Political Spectrum”, I’m seeing an interesting common ground of sorts emerging between some more libertarian thinkers on both the right and the left sides of that political paradigm in regards to educational policy. As an example, you have both a (right) libertarian like Ron Paul and a progressive educational group like The Forum for Education and Democracy calling for an end to the Federal Department of Education. (Of course Paul’s newly elected Senator son Rand throws a bone to his more homophobic right-wing supporters by arguing for elimination of DOE to prevent lesbian parenting from being promoted in schools.)

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Left-Libertarianism and a Broader Political Spectrum

George Will’s piece, “A Recoil Against Liberalism”, from the November 4 Washington Post seems to me mostly an attempt to add insult to injury to progressives, now that conservatives are in political ascendancy (at least for the moment) based on our recent election. But when Will gets beyond his own “your mother wears army boots” rant and quotes maybe a more thoughtful conservative, now we’re talking some real ideas worth wrestling with. Will quotes George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux who is reacting to Obama’s quote that progressives failed to successfully communicate their ideas in the recent election… Continue reading →