How the Vulgar Libertarians work against Liberty

April 14, 2009

While listening to Wes Bertrand’s latest Complete Liberty Podcast, I heard about a disturbing Rasmussen poll in the US that stated only 53% of American’s think capitalism is better than socialism.

So, despite the horrors of the Soviet Union, Cambodia, the East Bloc even current Communist China, and the abject failure of domestic socialist policies, the poll says that 20% of Americans think Socialism is better than capitalism and 27% don’t know which was better. That’s 47% of Americans who don’t like capitalism.  The numbers for those under 30 are more shocking: only 37% prefer capitalism, with 33% preferring socialism and a full 30% unsure either way.

Where do these ideas come from? The pat answers, of course, are the “government school system” or “brainwashing” or “ignorance” and all kinds of other common libertarian shibboleths.  The truth is that the blame can be laid at the feet of the very people who have for years claimed to be the defenders of “capitalism” – the vulgar libertarians who try to use the language of capitalism and free markets in order to apologize for and promote the current state-capitalist, economic fascist system.

The poll report itself confirms this, based on a previous poll in which a healthy 70% of repsondents supported the free market.

“The fact that a “free-market economy” attracts substantially more support than “capitalism” may suggest some skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets.”[emphasis mine]

So, needless to say, when American Republicans and Canadian Conservatives call our current system of state interference in the market with regulations, tariffs and cartels created to benefit their favoured corporate donors and then call it “capitalism”, it is no wonder people don’t think capitalism works. Given the Enron’s, Tycos and Lehman Brothers of the world or the various Savings and Loan, tech-bubble or current government bailout schemes, it is then hardly surprising. If that is capitalism, then they are right.

Of course, that isn’t capitalism, but mercantilism or fascism. But because the vulgar libertarians call it “capitalism”, those common sense folks who see clearly that it doesn’t work, that it isn’t fair or that it is incredibly exploitative are driven into the arms of real socialists and fascist who have no qualms about using the state openly to achieve their ends. Their purposeful conflation of our current system with “capitalism” blinds people who clearly would prefer a “free market” to the real libertarian message of non-aggression and voluntary association.

In short, the vulgar libertarians in the Conservative and Republican parties are the useful idiots of the socialist and statist they claim to deplore. It shows in the nonsense of the teabaggers, who not only don’t have a clue what “teabagging”  is, they cause legitimate criticism of the Federal Reserve system to be associated with insane conspiracy theories about FEMA camps, 9-11 Truthers and thus completely ignored and discredited. I cannot image a better and more effective way to fight against libertarian ideals than to associate with the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh or most of the Republican Party/Fox News crew who are promoting this. If I were a statist, this would be a perfect “Goldstien’s Book” approach to destroy and marginalize libertarianism.

The only bright spot is that most Americans still believe in the free market and do seem to be able to differentiate between the free market and capitalism, when it is put to them right. This is a glimmer of hope for real libertarian efforts.

But make no mistake, Republicans who talk about free markets, but then turn around and vote for earmarks or bailouts or deficits for war are not our allies. They use our language to work against our ends in an insidious fashion.  They are against our goals as surely as social democrats, socialists or communists are.  At least the social democrats, socialists or communists are honest and up front about their position.


11 Responses to “How the Vulgar Libertarians work against Liberty”

  1. Well said. You hit on why the tea parties are so irritating.

  2. Wes Bertrand Says:

    Nice post, Mike. I just watched Rachel Maddow’s ridiculous piece ( She’s the perfect example of why statism exists: an intellectual who refuses to check her premises. Her rhetoric is overflowing with slavespeak of course ( as she attacks her fellow slaves, who are in many ways just as misguided as her and her staff of writers and producers. I tell ya, I can barely stomach anything from the MSM.

    Orthodox Objectivists are some of the most vulgar libertarians, imo. They are big apologists for corporatism, forwarding the notion that the corporate structure is a free market phenomenon. I just did a little surfing–though most of the headlines on seem in favor of the free market, here’s the seedy underbelly of these contradictory thinkers: (for a really good laugh)

    They desire a “Constitutional” system of statism to reign supreme over your “freedom” in the marketplace. Of course, their fundamental belief in the virtue (and thus necessity) of government, which is based on their flawed view of human nature (and thus of themselves) blinds them to making important distinctions. Case in point:

    Speaking of making distinctions, the “teabagging” double meaning is just one problematic, albeit humorous, aspect. 😉 Here’s the real deal on the Boston Tea Party, as explained on Russ Roberts’ EconTalk, in which he interviewed William Bernstein.

    Specifically, as the show notes explain, starting at 25:18 into the audio:
    Boston Tea Party. Revisionist history by the victors is common. Columbus was ridiculed not because he thought the world was round but because he got the size very wrong. Very lucky that he bumped into the New World. Story of Tea Party is that they were patriots; taxation without representation. In 1773, Britain trying to help the East India Company by opening up the colonies. Previously they weren’t allowed to sell in the colonies, which meant smuggling and high taxes. When Britain in 1773 allowed them to sell directly to the colonies, the middlemen were up in arms because it drove the price of tea down to half of what it had been. Middlemen and smugglers got together and painted themselves and started throwing the tea into the harbor. First anti-globalization riot. Protectionist in spirit. Opposite of their being against the tax. Story originally broken by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. early 20th century article.


  3. […] How the Vulgar Libertarians Work Against Liberty by theConverted […]

  4. rmangum Says:

    Right on target. I react to Glenn Beck in particular like nails on a chalkboard. Even when he makes a point that is right or genuinely libertarian, he is such a doofus about it that I want to heckle him. If I were given the Ludovico treatment with the Glenn Beck show, I’d be a raving communist in no time.

  5. rmangum Says:

    Of course, I have more or less the same reaction to the smarmy Rachel Maddow.

  6. Ben Says:

    I’m not in the choir, so I hope you don’t mind bringing me up to speed. What abject failure of socialist policies are you referring to?

  7. theconverted Says:


    Can you be more specific? To whom and what are you referring?

  8. Ben Says:

    …the abject failure of domestic socialist policies…

    Clarify this part, dawg! Is this a reference to some Canadian policies?

  9. Theumas Cornelius Says:

    Vulgar libertarianism = free market capitalism. Learn the definition of phrases please.

  10. Jamie Says:

    No, the problem is sociobiology. Also, ‘vulgar libertarian’ is a phrase only leftard fake libertarians use.

    • Matt Says:

      Especially since the term “capitalism” has been derided, not by so-called “vulgar” libertarians (by which, I suppose he means those so “stupid” as to not be total anarchists?), but by leftist politicians like Obama, Pelosi and Reed. Do you seriously think people like Rothbard and the Mises Institute have reached more than maybe 30 or 40 million people – about 10% of the US? I bet they dislike capitalism because of book titles like DiLorenzo’s “How Capitalism Saved America”, too. Leftard fake libertarians is a good way to put it.

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