Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Confusion About Leninist Strategy and Libertarianism

Vladimir Lenin
At the post, An Introduction for Libertarians to the Strategy and Tactics of Lenin, Optimistic An-Cap writes:
This advice doesn't seem to apply to libertarian ancaps since we're not trying to wrestle control or even violently overthrow the existing government. We have a much different challenges of changing hearts and minds.
This comment needs to be dissected in full. The fundamentals of Leninist strategy and tactics have nothing to do with violent overthrow. (Though Lenin also employed violence)

I quoted Murray Rothbard in a separate post on Leninist-type alliance tactics. Murray Rothbard on the Soundness of a 1973 Alliance With Left-Wing Anarchists.  He explained:
The idea of alliance, whether with Left or with Right, is on ground of tactics rather than principle. We acquire multiple social leverage by allying ourselves on specific issues with differing groups with whom we agree on those particular issues: with Leftists opposed to the draft, or with Rightists opposed to the income tax, for example. But the danger always is thinking of these as principled, permanent linkages.
In other words, when we find positions we are in sync with on either the Right or Left, we can align with that group on that issue. It is a way, as Rothbard notes, to leverage the issue so that more people become aware of our thinking and writing.

As for the idea that libertarians have the challenge of changing hearts and minds. It is so in only an extremely narrow sense. The only point we need to get across is that it is better on a subjective basis for each individual to leave each other's property alone and not interfere with what a person does on his own property. That is, there is really nothing we need to change about people's hearts and only a sliver of change in their mind. The sliver being full respect for private property  because it is the best way generally, on a subjective basis, for all of us to get along with each other so that we can all focus for our own good in being generally productive.

See more at: Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person



  1. Read Rothbard's 'Strategies for a Libertarian Victory' at http://lprc.org/strategies.html .

  2. Rothbard's "Leninist Strategy" was his worst idea and has been an utter failure in promoting freedom. True, it doesn't require obvious violence but it is issue-based politics. And as a change agent politics has only one tool, might makes right. Politicians may pretend that they are arguing to persuade but they are actually arguing to identify those who agree. Once this group of "those who agree" become large enough they take action forcing everyone else to accept their rules. They don't even have to be an absolute majority, just a large enough group to make opposition unworthwhile. Participating in politics thru issue-based activity as Rothbard suggested lends strength to political activity. This only serves the two major political parties who thrive in a might makes right atmosphere and moves us further from freedom.

  3. Thank you for expanding on this. I'm very interested in strategy and tactics for libertarians and I don't see it talked about much in libertarian circles. I completely agree with everything in this post. Although I do think that our day-to-day challenge is to educate people, even just to get that last sliver. Could you expand on what successful tactics we may use as individuals? For example the specific tactics, phrases, videos, memes, ideas, etc. that you or others have found to be most effective in "red-pilling" people? Perhaps you know of a blog or website that accumulates stories of successful conversions? Thank you again for your excellent blog Robert. It's easily my favorite.