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Libertarianism: Big Tent or Big Mess?

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer and Nikos Sotirakopoulos review Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi’s new book The Individualists: Radicals, Reactionaries, and the Struggle for the Soul of Libertarianism, and argue that the authors’ attempt to define libertarianism demonstrates that it lacks a coherent ideological identity.

Among the topics covered:

  • Zwolinski and Tomasi’s book and the liberty vs. libertarianism movements;
  • The connection between libertarianism and the progressive left;
  • Why libertarians share an intellectual alliance with the reactionary right;
  • How the connections between libertarian factions are sociological rather than ideological;
  • Why defending liberty is meaningless without a philosophical foundation;
  • Criticizing libertarianism is not infighting but a fight over what liberty is.

Mentioned in this podcast and relevant to the discussion is Peter Schwartz’s 1985 article “Libertarianism: The pervasion of Liberty” in The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought, Foundations of a Free Society: Reflections on Ayn Rand’s Political Philosophy edited by Gregory Salmieri and Robert Mayhew, and a two part lecture series by Gregory Salmieri and Onkar Ghate on “Politics, Liberty, and Objectivism.”

The podcast was recorded on September 27, 2023. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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