Is There a 'Wrong' Way to Defend Liberty?

Brian Underwood
Dec 27, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Milton Friedman

Obviously, the Liberty Movement is made up of all types of ideologies, all unified in opposition to paternalistic government and many unified in their ultimate end goal: libertarians, Austrian economists, Objectivists, capitalists, minarchists, paleoconservatives, classical liberals, and even some breeds of anarchists are part of this liberty-based coalition.

On their own, statists have been generally ineffective in implementing their policies throughout history. Any progress that statists do make, however, is often the result of error on the part of their opponents - of supporters of liberty offering up inadequate defenses for their position, thus allowing the statists to gain more ground than they would otherwise have.

So with that in mind, it is important for us to wonder: is there a wrong way to defend liberty?

For your consideration, I offer this essay on Milton Friedman - no doubt a lover of liberty himself but, possibly, a prime example of what an inadequate defense of liberty looks like:

On the one hand, I regard the basic human value that underlies my own beliefs as tolerance based on humility. I have no right to coerce someone else because I cannot be sure that I am right and he is wrong. On the other hand, some of our heros…people who have, in fact, done the most to promote libertarian ideas, who have been enormously influential, have been highly intolerant as human beings and have justified their views, with which I largely agree, in ways that I regard as promoting intolerance.

Nice, yes, there is a wrong way to defend liberty, but some ways are much better than others. Here are some of my past relevant YAL blogs: http://www.yaliberty.org/posts/dont-argue

http://www.yaliberty.org/node/21309

http://www.yaliberty.org/posts/how-not-to-table

http://www.yaliberty.org/posts/sound-bites-for-liberty

 

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