Andrew Fulford Archive Civic Polity Economics Nota Bene

On Vulgar Libertarianism

The Center for a Stateless Society, a self-proclaimed “Left Wing Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center,” quotes writer Kevin Carson on what is dubbed “conflationism” or “vulgar libertarianism”:

Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term “free market” in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get [a] standard boilerplate article … arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because “that’s not how the free market works” – implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations on the basis of “free market principles.”

They continue: “Libertarians will often condemn the existing aspects of state power and interference in the market but then leap to the defense of those who benefit from the existing order in the same breath.” Consider, perhaps, defenses of Wal-Mart?

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