How Progressive are Libertarians?

My warnings against conservative expropriation of libertarianism, as an extinction destructive factor, can perhaps be further demonstrated by the great benefit progressive expropriation of union labor has wrought organized labor. If the last refuge of union labor victory is the unionization of the Gestapo, it should be evident that any chance of a renaissance of union labor, as a favorable institution in the public eye, is forever doomed. No one has a special place in their heart for the secret police; really that kind of identity is something that a movement would probably want to avoid.

I have no idea how such an article can appear in a “left libertarian” feed, or how any libertarian could even remotely endorse such a piece. To me, it’s as morally repugnant as an RSS feed of a Rush Limbaugh or Eric Dondero article. When the libertarian vs left libertarian flare-ups periodically occur, as with the recent debate between Carson and Gregory, it’s exactly this type of piece that reinforces criticism of the left-libertarian position–namely that is not particularly libertarian.

Frankly, if the choice is between the vulgar libertarianism of Taco Bell vs the vulgar libertarianism of the TSA–really the defense of TSA doesn’t even meet the standard of “vulgar”–I will choose Taco Bell. If left libertarians are quick to criticize an apology of Taco Bell that appears on the Mises feed, let it be known this left libertarian condemns that indefensible piece that laughably views permanent war as a war against the collective bargaining rights of the bureaucratic administrative state.

Of course, in the end, I don’t view progressivism as liberal; it is largely, though with some exceptions, conservative. It is a “conservative” mutation of liberalism…

5 thoughts on “How Progressive are Libertarians?

  1. I don’t know of anybody who self-identifies as a left-libertarian who defends the TSA. What shows up in the blog aggregator is an eclectic mix of stuff that Jeremy W. thinks will be of interest to left-libertarians; despite the subtitle “Left libertarian views from around the web,” I don’t think anyone would seriously claim that every piece on there is intended to be an expression of left-libertarianism. Heck, the site carries Yglesias regularly.

    1. Dr. Long, thanx for the comment. A counter-point, however.

      I wouldn’t “seriously” claim that every piece at is is “intended to be an expression of left-libertarianism,” but I would claim that pieces that show up in the feed from authors/publications that are not generally syndicated(.e.g., Yglesias, Alternet) are inserted precisely because they are deemed to be of specific interest to the LL POV. [E.g., Yglesias’ posts on the topics of occupational licensing(as a form of protectionism).]

      What would be the specific interest of that Alternet article to the LL POV? Your are, of course, right that left-libertarians do not defend the TSA, but there are some who defend public employee unionization. That Alternet piece was authored by a former AFGE employee, one who was specifically assigned to the task of organizing/unionizing TSA. The long article, in the end, was a use of 9-11 as a pretext to present the WOT as a war against the collective bargaining rights of government employees, and implied that 9-11 occurred because there was no AFGE/AFL-CIO TSA, backed by collective bargaining rights, in place.

      So, the question is less about direct defense of TSA and more about the implications of a POV that is sympathetic to State Unionism, at least in the sense that it is a counter-measure to State Capitalism or the lesser of two evils between the two. Surely. if it is fair to criticize to the State Capitalism of Taco Bell that originates from a Mises’ feed, it’s legitimately fair to criticize a pro-TSA piece written by a former TSA organizer that ends up being published by the LL feed(once again, since AlterNet is not by default syndicated by, there was an editorial decision to include this piece in the feed).

  2. If left-libertarians want to redeem unions, they need to work hard to spread the distinction between government employee unions and private sector unions. Libertarianism has no problem with unions in general, but even FDR saw that government employee unions were a problem.

    1. Thanx for the comment.

      I’m in full agreement. I think labor unionism is something that needs to be redeemed.

      Simply, if there is an economy of scale argument for the corporation in a free market(which is the “corporation” of capital), then there is likewise an argument for the corporation of labor, which is a market good, in the same context.

      Progressivism has destroyed union labor, identifying it with “protectionism.” identifying the state as the last refuge of union labor is permanent death of any popular revival, particularly in that the administrative state is becoming more and more ensconced in a national security/secret police framework.

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