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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Failure of Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism, Part II

The classical liberal and libertarian projects didn’t simply happen to fail, they had to fail. What doomed these projects from their inception was their failure to connect their ideas of individualism, liberty, and free markets with the preexisting cultural, moral, political, and economic narratives. Like the communists, the classical liberal and libertarian idealists want to upend the existing social order and create a new world, a sort of utopia; unlike the communists, they don’t want to use violent revolutionary methods to force people to accept their ideas. There are two ways by which you can transform a society: first, you present something that fits into the preexisting narratives and then you can hope that people will accept your ideas as a part of their tradition; second, you use revolutionary violence, like the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky to force people to believe what you want them to believe and live as you want them to live. The classical liberals and libertarians don’t want to do either; they think that their arguments are so good that their utopia of liberty and free markets is destined to become a reality. Their utopian mindset hinders them from noticing the reality that individualism literarily means nothing outside the moral and cultural context; liberty literally means nothing outside the cultural and political context; free markets literally means nothing outside the political and economic context.

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