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Leonard Peikoff, the leading advocate of Ayn (there are no innocents in war) Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, recorded a podcast with Yaron Brook, the president and executive director of The Ayn Rand Institute. The topic? Libertarianism. Both Peikoff and Brook express their opposition to the whole concept. But the following statement from Brook really jumped out at me (my emphasis):
“Even though it [libertarianism] might have initially been adopted innocently by certain people who were advocates of free markets, it was very quickly, in the 1960′s and 70′s co-opted by the anarchists and by the complete philosophic subjectivists. And they dominated the movements throughout that period of time. Even though I believe that today the libertarian movement is fragmented, it’s disintegrating. It is tragic that many people are still using the term, and not letting the term kind of pass with the passing of the guy who really led this movement – Murray Rothbard. When he passed, the whole concept should have passed with him.” Ok…I’ll agree that the libertarian movement is fragmented. But so what? I see no reason reason that it should be any other way. We don’t all have to be cogs in a wheel parroting the same lines. The fact that there is diversity within the libertarian movement says to me that there’s liberty within the movement. There can, and should be disagreements, that should be debated. The great danger I see is when the rejection of The Non-Aggression Axiom creeps in like a weed. When warmongers go on TV, like Peikoff here, and make Bill O’Reilly look like a peacenik. And this is the gang that is rolling its van into Cato! What a shame… Furthermore, for Brook to say that libertarianism is “disintegrating” is preposterous! Has Brook never heard of Ron Paul, who has spread these very ideas, creating possibly millions of Rothbardians? And the train hasn’t stopped now that Ron is leaving politics either. Check out this crowd from Oct. 18th, when Ron spoke at Utah Valley University:
Are you getting the sense, by looking at the above picture, that libertarianism is “disintegrating”? Show me another former Presidential candidate that can draw these types of crowds.
Ron is also a big international hero, loved around the globe. Couple that with the fantastic growth of The Mises Institute, and the international Mises Institute’s that are cropping up all over the world.
Libertarianism, of the Rothbardian tradition, is thriving!
Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.