The problem with thin libertarianism

If one spends any significant amount of time in left-libertarian circles, one will hear of the concept of “thick libertarianism”. Thick libertarianism is basically extending the advocacy of freedom to the cultural sphere, creating a cultural background in which liberty can more fully flourish. This is controversial because it involves extending liberty beyond simple non-aggression.

However, the fault of “aggression is the root of the problem” is that generally, aggression is an expression of authority. The state gains its power from the fact that people obey its authority. Another example would be rape, which is fundamentally an assertion of authority over a victim.  Aggression is far more likely to occur because of authority then out of opposition to it.

You can have authority without exercising force, but it’s pretty damn hard to have force without exercising authority.

 

 

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About vaguelyhumanoid

Here you can see the assorted musings of a philosophically-inclined, theoretically eclectic anarchist. My blog: a grab bag of hopefully interesting rants, raves, and various other things.
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2 Responses to The problem with thin libertarianism

  1. Royce Christian says:

    “This is controversial because it involves extending liberty beyond simple non-aggression.

    However, the fault of “aggression is the root of the problem” is that generally, aggression is an expression of authority. The state gains its power from the fact that people obey its authority.”

    This is an excellent point that anyone who wants to use the label “Anarchist” needs to understand before they do so.

  2. James says:

    Hey, it’s James from FLL 🙂

    This is good but you might want to distinguish between the type of authority you’re talking about and ideas like “the authority of the bootmaker” or the sovereignty each individual ought to have over their own lives.

    I absolutely agree that authoritarianism in general needs as much opposition as aggression specifically (see my own thoughts on the subject, http://0welcometo1984.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/more-than-political-philosophy/ and http://0welcometo1984.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/still-more-than-a-political-philosophy/) and we would probably identify the same things as being authoritarian but most thin libs and right libs will try to argue that they are supporting a legitimate form of authority.

    Keep up the good work tho 🙂

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