Libertarians Are Left at Alternatives Expo

During the recent Alternatives Expo at New Hampshire Liberty Forum, I gave an informal talk on the connection of free-market libertarian thought to the left. I went through some history, discussed things of value in the present anti-authoritarian left, and noted some philosophical and strategic reasons for thinking in terms of left rather than right or neither.

I do think it would have been better if I’d got more sleep (Liberty Forum creates a lot of fun, fatigue-obscured memories), if I’d talked a little about the often complicated relationship between libertarian socialism and free market libertarianism, and if I’d given more examples of mutual aid, solidarity, and left/post-left anti-authoritarian groups (though I will take credit for bringing Situationist ideas to Alt Expo). It also would have been good to discuss why a libertarian society hasn’t existed on a continental scale at least for a very long time, and why that doesn’t make it unfeasible for one to exist in the future.

But it went really well, and everyone in the room seemed to enjoy it.

Bile already posted the video of the speech online. He also recorded the Q&A session after my speech, as well as Charles Johnson’s Liberty Forum talk, but hasn’t had time to post them yet. Stay tuned to Blog of Bile Video for the goods. [Update: the Q&A session is now online and posted below.]

Much thanks to the Free State Project, the Liberty Forum staff, and Jack and the Alt Expo crew for an outstanding weekend. Thanks to Bile and Laur for video, carpooling, and general tomfoolery. Thanks to everyone who came to my talk and to everyone else who made Liberty Forum and the Alternatives Expo such a good time. I’m really looking forward to Porc Fest, and have a few plans to contribute to its awesomeness.

5 Responses to “Libertarians Are Left at Alternatives Expo”

  1. JaqEboy Says:

    Darian, thanks for doing the talk. It’s just what’s needed for people that hear the term Left Libertarian for the first time and say “What is that???? I’ll post it to a few forum threads I’ve been on where people have asked that.
    Thanks, again. Maybe next time, give the Advanced Left Libertarianism talk! :)

  2. Gary Chartier Says:

    Good job, Darian–glad you were able to be on-hand for this and to raise hell.

  3. MBH Says:

    Darian, good stuff. I still sense an area that’s untouched. Not all reformation of the shell is Trotskyite. Some can strengthen the new society underneath — even hasten the ridding of the shell. And that’s not just through rhetoric. Policies can create the revolutionary situations you mention.

    I understand Spooner’s objection that such policy would only function as idle pretense. But so what? And for how long? If that pretense prompts people to interact in non-hierarchical ways, then won’t they more easily recognize their natural bond? And also the pretentiousness of the shell?

    I know that such policy could only be driven by Agoristic behavior but why not applaud the resulting policy-as-second-level-means?

  4. DarianW Says:

    If people inside the system recognize their role is to make elbow room for the building of the free society, whether by sabotage or other means, then their work could be of value. The problem is that much inside the system work is not done this way.

  5. MBH Says:

    I don’t see how trying to throw off the shell regardless of what’s underneath is a good strategy.