Libertarian Unity?

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In response to the “civil war” between Mises Institute folks and Cato Institute folks, Roderick Long weighs in. Dr. Long’s response is to seek peace, and ultimately unity, between the two camps: “Someday these two camps will put their quarrels behind them and unite; when they do, they will defeat the State.”

There’s something odd here. Dr. Long is a leading advocate of de-centralization, polycentrism, anarchy. But in regards to the libertarian movement he starts talking about victory through unity. Is there a serious reason that Dr. Long thinks that unity is the way to go here? Don’t the usual advantages of polycentrism apply here as well? For example, the kind of contention that results in the libertarian critique of school vouchers, a policy proposal that could have easily slid by since it was advocated for so long by the well respected Milton Friedman. Another advantage is having multiple strategies being tried in parallel so that all our eggs aren’t all in one basket. Whatever our personal feelings about contention, if this movement is to have success then we will have to learn how to live with a great deal more contention. Success will mean more people drawn into the libertarian camp. The more that are drawn in, the greater diversity there will be in cultural inclinations and so much else. There is little chance that we are going to particularly like everyone who is drawn into the movement and a good chance that we won’t be able to personally stand a significant minority.

8:50 pm on October 5, 2004