What’s in a name?
Camp of the Saints draws the distinction between small “l” libertarians and Libertarians, particularly as it relates to the latter’s aversion to “right to work” laws. Writes Bob Belvedere, of Libertarians:
The Ideologue demands perfection because of the fragile nature of all ideas created away from Real Life. The trouble is: nothing in Life is perfect. Perfection can only ever be an aspiration for Human Beings.
Mr. Tuccille and those who agree with him make a fatal error when they enslave themselves to ideas rather than their own experience and, more importantly, the experience of those who have come before us.
In their pursuit of perfection, the Ideologues reject Right Reason, Prudence, Morality, and Tradition and set themselves up for the inevitable dissatisfaction and disappointment and depression [often sparking a descent into Nihilism]. As long as those results are restricted to the individuals who believe in the Ideology, that is fine. It is when they impose their Will To Power on others that they cause misery and death.
Ironically, it’s often those of us among the classical liberal/constitutional conservative ranks who today are accused of demanding “purity” — that we are ideologues who fail to understand nuance and allow our political naivete to cloud our better judgment — and yet we are nothing of the sort: there is a difference between idealists and ideologues, with the former devoted to principles while the latter are devoted to scripted dogma, almost religious in their adherence. “Progressives” are ideologues. Capital l “Libertarians” are often ideologues. Whereas most in the contemporary TEA Party movement are not ideologues so much as traditionalists.
Mine own view is this: Small l libertarians / minarchists are very closely associated with classical liberalism, itself these days more often referred to as “constitutional conservatism” — the New Left having appropriated “liberal” for its own perverse illiberalism. The lie of contemporary liberalism has given rise to these attempts to recalibrate labeling. And that recalibration, as I’ve argued, keeps moving “conservative” closer to JFK Democrat.
When I first started blogging, I was called conservative or right wing by leftists even when I thought myself liberal with a strong libertarian streak. I was shocked to be labeled conservative, a stance I’d always associated less with Burke than with, say, Pat Buchanan. In grappling with where I was on the contemporary (at the time) political spectrum, I came to understand myself to be a classical liberal. And to recognize that modern liberalism was nothing but Marxism in the guise of liberalism.
So here we are: now I’m not only not the liberal I thought I was, according to the left (and many on the right), but I’m a far right-wing fringe Hobbity extremist Visigoth.