Regular Picket Line readers will know that from time to time I indulge a fantasy in which anti-war progressives and their libertarian counterparts come to be less mutually suspicious and more united in opposition.
I think both camps have a lot to learn from each other. The more leftish sorts have a long history and folklore of coordinated protest and activism which could give a lot more punch to the less-activist libertarians. And the libertarians have a more-consistent and well-integrated critique of the government than the progressives, who should know that government is always a tool to take from the people who don’t have power and give it to people who already have more than their share, but who can’t seem to resist the temptation to think they can shake hands with this devil and make it serve the cause of good.
So today I’ll note a couple of encouraging signs of dialogue:
Lew Rockwell, who is well-known in libertarian circles and is the founder of the staunchly free-market Ludwig von Mises Institute, crossed-over and spoke at a peace rally sponsored by the progressive Alabama Peace and Justice Coalition.
This earned him furious denunciation from the right-wing:
With its foam-flecked denunciations of the United States for “the evil of imperialism, the immorality of enslaving a foreign people, the malice of colonialism, and the intolerable brutality of authoritarianism,” its paranoiac allusions to a dissent-crushing “state,” and its unelaborated call for “resistance,” Rockwell’s speech could have been given by any of the more literate ringleaders of the anti-war left.
Libertarian Stephen Gordon was at the rally, and publishes a picture on his blog of two protesters holding signs reading “Libertarians ♥ ☮” and “Make Money Not War”. He writes:
The point of greatest applause may have been when one of the speakers (not Rockwell) spoke about tax resistance. Thoreau was the obvious topic of conversation I had with many leftists attending the rally following this comment. The ensuing conversations certainly opened the door to at least some liberals and progressives reconsidering their devotion to big government.
The LewRockwell.com blog has been a good source of libertarian anti-war commentary, and they regularly publish dispatches from progressive anti-war celeb (and war tax resister) Cindy Sheehan.
I’m happy to see that Sheehan is going to be helping to build this progressive/libertarian bridge from the other side by speaking at a fundraiser for LewRockwell.com.