Monday, May 5, 2014

Professor Michael Bentley - The Differences Between Libertarianism and Conservatism

Conservative historian Michael Bentley - Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews - explains the differences between Libertarianism and Conservatism.

Michael Bentley is (emeritus) Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and is also attached to the History Faculty at Oxford.
Conservatives often join forces with libertarians. Some, indeed, would be happy to apply both labels to themselves. But conservatism and libertarianism represent different ways of thinking about the world and the border between them is also a boundary. Proponents of the free market want many of the things that Conservatives also want: a slimmed state, low taxation, maximum choice, individual responsibility. They also prefer, however, to reduce political discussion to a single economic formula, which is not a Conservative way of proceeding. The marketeers are perfectly aware that the prescriptions of the free market do not find a fit with the real world.  They encourage us to see the market as a form of Ideal Type, to use Weber’s expression: an intellectual construction against which to measure the messy deviations of reality.

The difficulty lies in what we are supposed to do once this exercise in subtraction has taken place. And that is where the marketeers’ equations no longer balance, because policy in the real world can begin neither from an abstraction cultivated in the present nor from assumptions that deny the reality of a Conservative past. More than any other formation of people, we Conservatives are what we have been.

Read more:

The American Conservative
Marxism of the Right
by Robert Locke
Free spirits, the ambitious, ex-socialists, drug users, and sexual eccentrics often find an attractive political philosophy in libertarianism, the idea that individual freedom should be the sole rule of ethics and government. Libertarianism offers its believers a clear conscience to do things society presently restrains, like make more money, have more sex, or take more drugs. It promises a consistent formula for ethics, a rigorous framework for policy analysis, a foundation in American history, and the application of capitalist efficiencies to the whole of society. But while it contains substantial grains of truth, as a whole it is a seductive mistake.

Read more:

A follower of Ayn Rand explains the difference between Libertarianism and Conservatism

Hosted at The Citadel.
Topic: The Emergence of Libertarianism
Introduction: Professor Mallory Factor
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Yaron Brook

More information on this session can be found at: