The antiprivilege Left and libertarians have common ground

The Mises Institute on how libertarians and some on the Left have common ground.

There are many, many left-wingers whose primary motivation for their left-wing political stance is the very libertarian impulse to protect people who are being pushed around. These left-wingers look at contemporary society and see an economy dominated by mammoth, impersonal corporations with enormous and seemingly unaccountable power; they see lower- and middle-income people disempowered in the workplace and struggling to make ends meet; they see institutions and social practices rigged against blacks, women, gays, immigrants, and other oppressed groups — and they turn to government to redress these inequities, viewing the democratic state as an institution in principle accountable to the public, and thus able to serve as a bulwark against private power and privilege. Call this variety of left-wingers the “antiprivilege Left.”

And this is the Left we can reach. The antiprivilege Left is already largely on our side when it comes to civil-liberties issues and to war; these are the folks who didn’t switch their positions on those issues when the White House turned from red to blue.

We of the antiprivilege Left need to realize there is plenty of common ground with libertarians. The primary problems in this country are not Red vs. Blue, but rather captured governments and legislatures that are beholden to corporate interests. As an example, when banks like Wachovia admit to laundering hundreds of billions in drug money and receive a fine and no one goes to prison, then our system of justice is barely functioning and something is very wrong indeed. When big corporations pay zero income tax because they’ve rigged the system then again, something is very wrong.

The left can and should join forces with whoever they have common ground with. That’s what real coalitions are about.

Via The Humble Libertarian


  1. But if you think we can use them to put the tax structure back where it belongs (think Eisenhower) then you’re very wrong.

    Most of the libertarians I know don’t like it but always pick the far right of the increasingly middle left. Rational thought need not apply for any reason, let alone that torture is bad and companies aren’t paying ANY taxes. The rhetoric is fooling the majority of libertarians into voting for those who want a permanently enriched and empowered “royal” class of rulers.

    • I have not seen our current “liberal” president do more than *talk* about stopping torture or ending tax breaks for the rich. You see a far right and a center left. I see two neoliberal center-right parties that differ only in rhetoric.

      As for the tax structure, both Bush and Obama have given huge tax breaks to their patrons in corporate America. But it’s worth noting that half of Americans are so burdened that they pay NO income tax. That’s right: according to CNN, 47% of working American households pay no income tax at all, not one dime.

      OTOH, social security taxes hammer the working poor, especially small business owners. Neither party wants to expand the cap to high-incomers, much less give the poor a break. Progressive taxation is truly dead in both parties, as is democracy.

      I have to wonder about those who, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, still believe the federal system can be fixed if we only elect the right people. It’s rotten to the core, and you don’t get elected if you have any real chance of changing it.

      I took another look at the Hatch (R-UT) balanced budget proposal, which at first seemed idiotic, and realized: he is trying to bring the central government down. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not wrong.

  2. US Uncut Philly has recently been in touch with some tea partiers, and they might even be leading the formation of a US Uncut group in Lancaster, PA. They know they’re getting screwed by government AND corporations (which are increasingly inseparable) and they – that is, these tea partiers in Lancaster – like what we’re doing.

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