Friday, November 1, 2013

A Map To Get You Through The Libertarian Minefield

By, Chris Rossini

If you're new to the ideas of liberty, you have to be careful. One wrong step, and you can end up going in circles. There's a libertarian minefield that you have to navigate through in order to reach the real thing.

You won't be able to tell from the window dressings as to where the danger lies, so this article is here to help you. Think of it as a map through the minefield.

Let's start with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). This organization claims as its purpose:
The American Enterprise Institute is a community of scholars and supporters committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity and strengthening free enterprise.
Sounds like great stuff, doesn't it? Just what you were looking for.

Unfortunately, you'd be stepping into a nicely laid bear trap! You'll notice, first of all, that these "libertarians" are actually a very violent bunch. One look at their Foreign Policy section, and you may come to the conclusion that liberty and peace are mutually exclusive.

Don't step on that mine!

Next, you'll hear the President of AEI, Arthur Brooks, say the following:
One of the things, in my view, that we get wrong in the free enterprise movement is this war against the social safety net, which is just insane. The government social safety net for the truly indigent is one of the greatest achievements of our society. And we somehow want to zero out food stamps or something, it’s nuts to want to be doing something like that. We have to declare peace on the safety net.
Wait a second! That sounds exactly like your Commie Uncle!

What's going on here? Where's the stuff that you liked in those Ron Paul YouTubes?

I told you, you have to be careful. The power elites don't want you to go far with your curiosity. They want to keep you in the box. Obviously, you want to walk right past the American Enterprise Institute.

Let's go back to the map, and move through the next set of mines.

The Cato Institute states as its purpose:
The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank – dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.
I know, it sounds strangely like AEI, but we learned our lesson about window dressing, right?

Sadly, you're going to have to walk (quickly) by Cato as well. These "libertarians" put together monetary conferences that are loaded with central bankers and their ilk. You'll also find a thumbs up for government kidnapping of kids (i.e., conscription) to fight wars.

Violence again? Yep.

Cato also sings hosannahs to people like Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan. In other words, the polar opposite of "limited government, free markets and peace".

You may be getting anxious by now. Who can you trust when they say they're libertarians? Doesn't anyone actually stand for Liberty?

This is your lucky day! First of all, the site you are currently reading does not bend. If you're looking for the exact opposite of the traps that we covered above, this is it baby! And we'll keep you busy too, with plenty of articles throughout the day.

Your next stop, now that you've cleared the war zone, is, which is the most widely read libertarian website in the world. One quick look at the front page and awesome blog and you'll see why. You wanted the opposite of your Commie Uncle? Well, you've got it!

Next stop: The Ludwig Von Mises Institute. This is where the foundation can be found. Where did Ron Paul's ideas come from? Where can you learn about sound money, the non-aggression principle, and why we keep experiencing booms & busts? This is the place. By now you may have heard of the term "Austrian Economics". This is its home on the Internet. You can easily spend the rest of your life immersed in the materials provided.

The Ludwig Von Mises Institute is also the home for works of two of the greatest economists who have ever lived: it's namesake, Ludwig Von Mises, and Murray N. Rothbard.

You may have heard through the grapevine that Rothbard was the man who came up with the name for the above mentioned Cato Institute. That is true. But Cato kicked Rothbard out for being too principled. That shouldn't surprise you now.

Finally, we have one more important stop. You'll recall, as we walked through the minefield, that we passed some pretty violent so-called "libertarians". Fortunately, there is an antidote designed specifically to shut the warmongers down. It's called The Ron Paul Institute For Peace & Prosperity. Your initial instincts were correct. Liberty & peace are not mutually exclusive, but two sides of the same coin.

Congratulations on successfully making it through the Libertarian Minefield!

As you can tell, it's easy to mistakenly come to the conclusion that libertarians are a fraud. There are a lot of bad actors out there. And there are many more than what we covered here. However, once you understand the good stuff, you'll be able to pick out the bad actors on your own.

The good stuff is now at your fingertips. Start clicking that mouse!

Follow @ChrisRossini on Twitter


  1. Its all about Non-aggression.

  2. "This is your lucky day! First of all, the site you are currently reading does not bend."
    As an addendum, Thanks for the above guys.
    It means alot.
    I know that we are winning because in the last 2 years, the term "libertarian" has been mentioned,demonized,redefined,and/or slandered in more instances than the previous 20 years.
    Somebody is "scairt".
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Yes, and the fear is rising in intensity. When the NYTimes has to post bullshit articles attacking liberty and libertarians, someone at the top not only condoning it but directing it.

  3. Well stated. Though I may not always agree with every opinion on EPJ, Robert Wenzel and Chris Rossini are intelligent, eloquent, honest analysts. The site is a daily must-read. Thanks for your excellent work, guys.

  4. You should add an edit to include warnings on both Reason magazine and John Stossel.

    1. I agree about Reason, but i don't think Stossel is all that bad.

    2. The only 'problem' I've observed with Stossel is that he is minarchist and not anarchist, which is to say, no problem. Reason is cleverly not libertarian. It takes even a fairly savvy and experienced libertarian some time to figure it out.

    3. I had a response to this, but the blogging platform that EPJ uses lost it when I clicked 'publish'.

    4. Stossel's a surveillance state apologist. He even defended the NSA's data collection. Being a minarchist is the least of his problems.

    5. @ RHN
      Can you provide me with sources/evidence?
      I'd really like to see this for myself, because it just doesn't sound like Stossel to me.

    6. @ RHN
      Forget about it.
      He vaguely plays devil's advocate but generally dismisses worries about the NSA and apparently thinks the U.S. military is a force for good. Haven't searched all the links (too many time consuming videos) but i know that kind. If the above is true Stossel is indeed worthless.

    7. I wasn't aware of that as I haven't watched his show in some time. Interesting, as his usual argument against statists was that he desires choice and their solution offers him no choice. I wonder how he applies this logic to the NSA's broad surveillance?

    8. Not only is the below video bizarre with O'Reilly being in opposition to state spying while Stossel passively supports it, Stossel's arguments are convoluted and contradictory.

  5. Another aspect to libertarianism is the fearmongers. There are quite a few of them out there. Over at LRC today they have an article from fearmonger Mac Slavo on lead supply issues. The last lead ore refinery has been shut down. I've been working in the battery industry since 2005, and I can tell you that there are zero issues with lead supply in the U.S. What Slavo has zero understanding of is the huge capacity of recycling plants because there are so many imported lead-acid batteries. Pretty much every lead-acid battery that isn't a marine battery, automotive battery, or lawn mower battery is an imported battery. And the lead in those batteries after they die makes the scrap worth real money to recyclers. There is a well established supply chain to get the scrap batteries to the refineries. In fact, the biggest refiners are actually battery manufacturers here in the U.S. who are completely vertically integrated. Interesting that the battery manufacturers don't bother with lead ore, isn't it? As I understand it, lead-acid battery factories are the largest consumers of refined lead (though I think bullets don't used refined lead, they use 'soft lead' I think it's called) and they are operating in a very price sensitive market, yet they don't bother making raw ore refineries and prefer recycling. The Doe Run closure is about the cost of doing business in the U.S. vs the cost of doing business elsewhere as Doe Run has refineries internationally. Same ol' story as every other industry faces.

  6. "Next, you'll hear the President of AEI, Arthur Burns....."

    isn't it Arthur Brooks? (although it might as well be Arthur Burns)

    1. This is a MAGNIFICENT article. There are only two problems with it, one minor, the other major. The minor one is when I go to a link, and then come back to this MAGNIFICENT article, I don't go back to the place from which I left this MAGNIFICENT article. Instead, I have to search for where I was. the other, major problem with this MAGNIFICENT article is that it is WAY too short. Enquiring minds want to see what's happening with other institutions, organizations, journals, etc. For example, the Independent Institute (very good in my view), the Free State Project (I'm also a fan), Sea Steading (I'm not sure, I need more info), the 50 or so state libertarian think tanks (some good, some bad), other inside the beltway libertarian think tanks (surely, there must be at least one good one???), FEE, journals such as QJAE, LibtPapers, RAE, Reason Papers (pretty good, as opposed to Reason itself, which is like Cato), etc., etc. The author of this this MAGNIFICENT article is a lazy so and so. He should write a long article about this; heck, no, an entire book!! That's an ORDER from the Jewish Mother of the movement. As Jewish mother to the movement, I have weapons of mass annoyance to launch against you if you fail to obey my ORDERS on this matter: whining, nagging, pouring chicken soup on your head, borscht too, pinching your cheeks (upper ones, not lower ones), throwing gefilte fish at you, breaking matzoh over your head and getting the crumbs on you, etc. So, BEWARE of my powers. I don't like to brag, but, when it comes to being a nudge, I am truly world class.