Episode 64

#64 - Libertarianism I: Intro and Moral Issues (w/ Bruce Nielson)


March 6th, 2024

1 hr 52 mins 38 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode

Liberty! Freedom! Coercion! Taxes are theft! The State is The Enemy! Bitcoin! Crypto! Down with the central banks! Let's all return to the Gold Standard!

Have you encountered such phrases in the wild? Confused, perhaps, as to why an afternoon beer with a friend become an extended diatribe against John Maynard Kaynes? Us too, which is why we're diving into the ideological source of such views: Libertarianism.

Welcome to Part 1 of a four part series where we, with Bruce Nielson (@bnielson01) as our battle-hardened guide, dive into Scott Alexander's non-libertarian FAQ. Ought George help, or ought George respect the government's property rights? Let's find out.

And make sure to check out Bruce's excellent The Theory Of Anything podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-theory-of-anything/id1503194218

We discuss

  • Varieties of libertarianism
  • Why are some libertarians so ideological?
  • Is taxation theft?
  • The problem of public goods
  • "Proprietary communities" and the perfect libertarian society
  • Why the perfect libertarian society doesn't escape taxation
  • Are we living in the libertarian utopia right now?
  • Taxes as membership fees


Vaden's blog posts on Libertarianism / Austrian Economics / Anarcho-Captialism / Whateveryawannacallit


0.2: Do you hate libertarianism?

To many people, libertarianism is a reaction against an over-regulated society, and an attempt to spread the word that some seemingly intractable problems can be solved by a hands-off approach. Many libertarians have made excellent arguments for why certain libertarian policies are the best options, and I agree with many of them. I think this kind of libertarianism is a valuable strain of political thought that deserves more attention, and I have no quarrel whatsoever with it and find myself leaning more and more in that direction myself.

However, there’s a certain more aggressive, very American strain of libertarianism with which I do have a quarrel. This is the strain which, rather than analyzing specific policies and often deciding a more laissez-faire approach is best, starts with the tenet that government can do no right and private industry can do no wrong and uses this faith in place of more careful analysis. This faction is not averse to discussing politics, but tends to trot out the same few arguments about why less regulation has to be better. I wish I could blame this all on Ayn Rand, but a lot of it seems to come from people who have never heard of her. I suppose I could just add it to the bottom of the list of things I blame Reagan for.
- https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/22/repost-the-non-libertarian-faq/


  • Follow us on Twitter at @IncrementsPod, @BennyChugg, @VadenMasrani
  • Come join our discord server! DM us on twitter or send us an email to get a supersecret link
  • Help us curtail freedom and get exclusive bonus content by becoming a patreon subscriber here. Or give us one-time cash donations to help cover our lack of cash donations here.
  • Click dem like buttons on youtube

How do you summon libertarians at a party? Finish the punchline and tell us over at incrementspodcast@gmail.com

Support Increments