Two Libertarianisms and Occupy Wall Street

By:  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
11/03/2011
       
Two Libertarianisms and Occupy Wall Street

I have noticed that there are some on the libertarian right who appear to consider themselves kindred spirits with those who have spent the last few weeks “occupying” Wall Street and other cities throughout America and beyond. This is disheartening, for what it reveals is that those who should presumably know better than all others how best to nurture and strengthen liberty are, in actuality, as ignorant of its true character as its greatest enemies.

Note, I do not suggest that the libertarian’s professions of love for liberty are insincere. Quite the contrary, for it is most likely his fanaticism for his beloved that imperils the latter. It is the libertarian’s zeal for liberty that corrupts his intellect. Like the hyper-jealous husband whose obsession with his wife renders him either forgetful of or oblivious to the real nature of marital love, so the libertarian is similarly forgetful of or oblivious to the real nature of liberty. 

Bear in mind that the libertarianism that is the object of my critique is not the only school of thought so-called. “Libertarianism” is a term invariably associated today with a particular cast of mind. But there is another, older political philosophic orientation that, though of a fundamentally different kind, is no less deserving of the name.

I have noticed that there are some on the libertarian right who appear to consider themselves kindred spirits with those who have spent the last few weeks “occupying” Wall Street and other cities throughout America and beyond. This is disheartening, for what it reveals is that those who should presumably know better than all others how best to nurture and strengthen liberty are, in actuality, as ignorant of its true character as its greatest enemies.

Note, I do not suggest that the libertarian’s professions of love for liberty are insincere. Quite the contrary, for it is most likely his fanaticism for his beloved that imperils the latter. It is the libertarian’s zeal for liberty that corrupts his intellect. Like the hyper-jealous husband whose obsession with his wife renders him either forgetful of or oblivious to the real nature of marital love, so the libertarian is similarly forgetful of or oblivious to the real nature of liberty. 

Bear in mind that the libertarianism that is the object of my critique is not the only school of thought so-called. “Libertarianism” is a term invariably associated today with a particular cast of mind. But there is another, older political philosophic orientation that, though of a fundamentally different kind, is no less deserving of the name.

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Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (photo)

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