|Dr. Walter Block|
Dear Bob:Thanks for your very considered response.There is not a "dime's worth of difference" between us on anything substantive you say in your excellent mini-essay. No, not even a penny's worth of difference. You and I agree on, oh, 99.9% of all matters of political economy, and this issue of nomenclature is surely in the majority, between us.However, I don't see your need to make the case for "thin libertarianism" or plain old "libertarianism." As I say, we fully agree on this. Our only dispute is over terminology." Thick libertarianism, most associated with the left-leaning, means non-libertarianism. I am being polite by identifying them as libwaps, for once there is any demanded advocacy beyond the non-aggression principle, it is not libertarianism.
"And more concerning is the righty libwaps. It appears they consider themselves to be "thin" libertarians, but they are just libertarians with different appendages---again I am being polite by calling them libertarians when they advocate what they see as necessary traditional cultural appendages to libertarianism.
"So for me, there are no thick and thin libertarians. There are libertarians and there are libwaps, left and right."I could say the same thing about thin and thick libertarians. For example, I'm only being "polite" to call people who write for the Bleeding Heart Libertarian Blog "thick libertarians"; they are not libertarians at all, since they add, as you brilliantly say, "appendages" to the NAP. But this, I think, is too harsh. Murray Rothbard used to say, "Every dog gets one bite." I see and raise Murray, and say that every dog gets at least 5 bites. That is, a person can be a libertarian even if he deviates on a few issues. These Bleeding Heart Libertarians, bless their hearts as we say in the south, are indeed libertarians. Yes, they deviate all over the place, but, deep down, I maintain, they are at least libertarians. So, your "concession" to them, calling them LIBwaps, is not a mere matter of politeness. They ARE libertarians, just basically confused as to what libertarianism is all about (the NAP, and private property rights based on homesteading).So, I think, but of us are accurate in considering them as libertarians, you with your "LIBwap," me with my "thick libertarians." (A similar issue arises within the Jewish community. The orthodox Jews consider the reform Jews as barely Jewish. But, I think they do consider them as Jewish. Certainly, the orthodox Jews don't consider reform Jews as Christians, or Buddhists.) The only issue is, which is the better way to describe these Bleeding Heart people. I think both LIBwap and thick libertarians do the job. In my view, there is a tie between them, as far as accuracy is concerned. I give the nod to the terminology I favor, only because it is now in popular use, whereas yours seems idiosyncratic to me. In my estimate, 99% of people who use either term use the phrase I favor, and 1% use yours. Right now, 100% of the people who refer to that big grey animal with the funny nose as "elephant." Suppose someone were to start calling this creature "X." Now, as far as I'm concerned, "X" is just as good a description of this creature as is "elephant." Both are equally ok. There is a tie between them. I suggest that the way to break the tie is with this sort of majority vote.So, I suggest you leave off Libwap, and join the rest of us in using "thick libertarian."Best regards,WalterWalter E. Block, Ph.D.Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of EconomicsLoyola University New Orleans