To Be, and Especially Not to Be, a Libertarian

By |2021-04-07T19:41:17-05:00April 7th, 2021|Categories: David Deavel, Libertarianism, Libertarians, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Russell Kirk’s prescription of having no major alliances between conservatives and libertarians is wise. Conservatives may stand with libertarians against tyranny and for sensible free market policies, but in the end, I think even accepting the term libertarian is unwise. Should you be a libertarian? The answer, as with every term, depends on how you [...]

The Shortcomings of Libertarianism

By |2020-03-15T00:38:53-05:00March 15th, 2020|Categories: Communism, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Politics|

In our new social paradigm, moral confusion abounds. Two popular ideologies—Marxism and Libertarianism—attempt to address this confusion. However, neither accounts for the fundamentally social nature of the human person: the way shared values conceive culture and art, how the primacy of belief binds communities together, or that we are born knowing we were created to [...]

The Fusionist Fight Over Everything

By |2019-11-04T06:29:37-06:00November 4th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Traditional Conservatives and Libertarians|

The divide between conservatism’s old elements may represent the “end” of the fusionism that built the “conservative movement” and, after a half-century, of the dominance of this thinking within one of America’s major political parties. The intellectual battle between the factions claiming the brand “conservatism” has become “the fight over, well, everything” perceives even outsider [...]

The Radicalism of Russell Kirk

By |2019-04-28T15:53:42-05:00April 28th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Libertarianism, Politics, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

The West has been undone by consumerism, the Sexual Revolution, outsourcing, urbanization, and centralization—all defended by modern conservatives as “the price we must pay” to live in a free and prosperous country. They’re wrong. As Russell Kirk argued, the principal function of government is not to ensure the material security and comfort of its citizenry. [...]

The Libertarian Constitutional Fantasy

By |2021-02-23T17:14:30-06:00December 4th, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Constitution, Libertarianism|

The libertarian theory of constitutional law is clever and undoubtedly well-intentioned, but it is unsound from an originalist standpoint. It is historically untenable. It requires doctrinal leaps of Olympic caliber. Instead of increasing individual liberty, it would destroy the republican form of government by concentrating power in one branch of government. Debates regarding the role [...]

Our Enemy: The (Imperial) Presidency

By |2021-01-29T18:42:37-06:00November 5th, 2018|Categories: Books, Civil Society, Democracy, Featured, Federalism, Government, Libertarianism, New Deal, Paul Krause, Presidency, Senior Contributors|

Many Americans fear the dysfunction in Congress and the rise of an “activist” Supreme Court. Both worries are misplaced, at least in relationship to the larger problem at hand: the growth of presidential imperialism. Albert Jay Nock was an important literary and social critic of the first-half of the twentieth century. Part scholar, part pundit, [...]

The Fatally-Flawed Fusionism of Frank Meyer

By |2019-05-21T14:17:43-05:00January 19th, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Freedom, Ideology, Libertarianism, Politics, Traditional Conservatives and Libertarians|

Frank Meyer was a man looking desperately for faults in the philosophy to which he was most attracted: traditionalism. Finding none, he simply made up another philosophy: fusionism. But instead of coopting the energy and scientific rigor of libertarianism for the traditionalist cause, he simply empowered the former at the latter’s expense… American conservatism originates [...]

My First Reading of “The Conservative Mind”

By |2020-05-10T20:41:00-05:00September 25th, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

When I finished The Conservative Mind for the first time, I remember thinking quite clearly that Russell Kirk had gotten so close to truth, but, then, just when he had the chance, he failed to promote freedom—the proper answer to every single thing. Russell Kirk I often look at, hold, and peruse my [...]

The Counsel of Despair? Albert Jay Nock on Self-Government

By |2020-08-18T16:42:09-05:00September 22nd, 2016|Categories: Economics, Featured, Free Markets, Libertarianism|Tags: |

Albert Jay Nock believed that the Jeffersonian project depended on the improvability of citizens through education, but that the ordinary mass of humans simply could not be so improved. In Zen Buddhism, the lineage of student to master is extremely important—it is the channel through which the Dharma is transmitted. There is a story of [...]

Against Progressivism

By |2016-05-01T13:27:41-05:00May 7th, 2015|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Featured, Ideology, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Progressivism|

When the forces of American progressivism emerged in the 1880s and 1890s, those who would one day be labeled as conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians found themselves quite ill-prepared for the intellectual and political onslaught. Perhaps the best analyst at the time progressivism emerged, somewhat surprisingly, was E.L. Godkin, the venerable founder of The Nation. [...]

Is It OK to Use Libertarian Means for Conservative Ends?

By |2015-03-11T16:41:27-05:00March 11th, 2015|Categories: Education, Libertarianism, Peter A. Lawler|

One of our slogans is libertarian means for non-libertarian ends. That one works especially well in education. A big danger to the moral and intellectual diversity that graces our country’s mixture of public and private education—especially higher education—is increasingly intrusive bureaucratic government and quasi-governmental entities, such as accrediting agencies. In this category of homogenizing intruders [...]

Reclaiming Conservatism from Libertarians

By |2018-10-09T13:28:07-05:00September 16th, 2014|Categories: Ayn Rand, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Russell Kirk|

Since the 2012 election, a wide-ranging and helpful debate about the direction of conservatism has broken out among conservative commentators seeking to re-brand the movement. Key in this debate is how far conservatism should transform itself into libertarianism. Ben Domenech championed what he calls “populist libertarianism,” echoing Peter Suderman’s generous appraisal of what libertarianism can offer. [...]

The State of Our Liberty is Confusing

By |2014-09-08T18:47:32-05:00September 8th, 2014|Categories: Culture, Libertarianism, Liberty, Peter A. Lawler|

I appreciate John McGinnis’s account of the state of our liberty. He’s right that by some objective measures liberty is on the decline. But, a consistent individualist might say, liberty is on the march when it comes to same-sex marriage, legalized marijuana, and the general front of “lifestyle liberty.” On this front, as the consistent [...]

Can Catholicism and Libertarianism Co-Exist?

By |2014-07-06T14:32:28-05:00July 6th, 2014|Categories: Catholicism, Culture, Libertarianism|Tags: |

Dialogue or Dissent? For those who pay attention to such things, for the last couple of weeks there has been quite some consternation on the internet regarding the compatibility of Catholic social doctrine with libertarianism. Cued by Pope Francis and his pivot to emphasizing issues of poverty and economic marginalization, voices within the Catholic Church [...]

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