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Ep. 159 Gregory Gordon on Left vs. Right Libertarianism

Gregory Gordon joins Bob to discuss his recent Mises,org article on the Left vs. the Right and how it relates to libertarianism.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Research Assistant Professor with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute, and co-host with Tom Woods of the podcast "Contra Krugman."


  1. James Ciantar on 11/01/2020 at 7:34 AM

    I found this discussion valuable as it caused me to think more deeply about the non-aggression principle. The last few minutes concerning activities of social media companies deserves further attention. Social media may be violating personal privacy due to (corrupt) incentives – to show one political party in a better light than another. Winning an election has a major prize – ability to violate the NAP. That prize (indirectly) is a reason to violate personal privacy. In the absence of that prize, destruction of public reputation may be enough to prevent social media privacy violations.

  2. what on 11/02/2020 at 7:21 AM

    “or what not”

  3. Dan on 11/02/2020 at 12:05 PM

    I disagree. First, there was a study published in 2012 showing that libertarians have different psychological dispositions than liberals (left-wing) and conservatives (right-wing).

    Additionally, there is Arnold Kling’s book “The Three Languages of Politics” which argues that progressives (left-wing), conservatives, and libertarians each have their own axis that they view issues on. Progressives view issues on an oppressor-oppressed axis, conservatives on a civilization-barbarism axis, and libertarians on a liberty-coercion axis.

    Both of those seem to indicate that the psychology of libertarians is fundamentally different than the psychology of those on the left or the right.

    Also, not everyone came to libertarianism from the left or the right. While I doubt anyone was born an ancap or minarchist, my political instincts have always been libertarian. Before learning about libertarianism and becoming a minarchist and eventually an ancap, I was against the war on drugs, wanted lower taxes/government spending and less regulation of businesses, anti-war, pro-free speech, etc. (in other words, I was “socially liberal and fiscally conservative”). I came to libertarianism from libertarian-leaning centrism.

    On top of that, the same way that libertarians are often accused by conservatives of being liberals and accused by liberals of being conservatives, I imagine that (if I were more vocal/involved in discussions with other libertarians) I would be accused by right-libertarians of being a left-libertarian and accused by left-libertarians of being a right-libertarian, since I do not consider myself to be either (unless you’re talking about the divide between ancaps/minarchists and anarcho-communists, mutualists, etc., in which case I’d definitely be a right-libertarian, as would those who support capitalism but are referred to as left-libertarians because of their social/cultural views).

    When listening to right-libertarians, I often find myself seeming more like a left-libertarian, and when listening to left-libertarians, I seem more like a right-libertarian. This may be partly due to my chronic contrarianism, but I think it’s also because I’m neither a right-libertarian nor a left-libertarian. I’m a libertarian-libertarian.

    Also, Malice’s test implies that the difference between left-wingers and right-wingers is that left-wingers have the capacity for nuance and right-wingers don’t.

  4. ericraider33 on 11/06/2020 at 6:46 PM

    H1t!3r was definitely on the right. Natural hierarchy is a thing of the right, and clearly racial hierarchy fit on the right too.

  5. The NAPster on 11/14/2020 at 2:06 PM

    It was very surprising to me to hear Gordon once or twice note that he was not a libertarian anarchist, but a minarchist; everything else he was saying suggested the opposite. I am still amazed that folks like Gordon who profess to be fans of intellectual consistency can stop short at minarchism. Even the small number of things that minarchists want the state to do are breaches of the NAP. Moreover, these things — national defense, policing, and the “justice” system — are among the worst features of the state. I’d have more respect for minarchism if it advocated that the state only run national parks and the arts.

    • Irre Levant on 11/19/2020 at 8:18 PM

      Indeed. But then, the state would not be able to maintain it’s monopoly on these relatively minor goods, and competion would immediately emerge (mind you, this is not necessarily a bad thing).

      Also, no offense intended, but I find it very hard to believe this man is an unironic minarchist. Hoppe’s arguments against State “defense” and “public” “goods” are all but lethal to the classical liberal position, and as the ground shakes beneath one’s feet, as it did mine, one is forced to take what Hoppe calls “The small and decisive step (from there) to libertarianism” (brackets in original).

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