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Have you ever seen a marxist turned to libertarian?

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Felipe Posted: Sat, Oct 10 2009 3:16 AM

I was wondering if someone here has managed to turn a marxist over to libertarianism.

I've just saw one case on another forum where I met a nice ex-marxist that now believed in liberty and capitalism.

That's got to be quite a feat.

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David Z replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 6:09 AM

there is the curious condition called "libsoc". many continental anarchists profess to be "libertarian", but they are also Marxist communists.  But if you're talking about a marxist becoming a capitalist libertarian, I've never heard of such a thing.

I imagine that the divide is like that between anarchism and statism.  Have you ever heard of a serious anarchist who just decided that he would be a Republican?  Neither have I. Sure, maybe there are some guys out there who listened to too much Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys when they were in high school, who considered themselves "anarchists" during Junior year in High School, but I don't think that counts :)

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Hoppe.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Thomas Sowell

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Kakugo replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 8:21 AM

It depends very much on your definition of "Marxist". If you mean a strict adherent of the form of Socialism preached by Marx and Engels, whose core is "class warfare", you won't find many, for the simple reason they are dying out and are desperately trying to find new classes to pit one against the other: immigrants vs residents, women vs men, young vs old etc.

On the other hand if you mean a generic "Socialist" you'll be surprised to see how many libertarians or very similar come from the left. I am myself one though I've always struggled to fully understand Mr Marx's cryptic writings. Wink

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Walter Block maybe?  I know he was a socialist.

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I was a socialist.

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ladyattis replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 9:48 AM

Me, too. It's not hard to conceive the errors in these political theories once you put your mind to the task.

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Jon Irenicus:

Hoppe.

Interesting.  Did Hoppe ever write about his conversion experience? I would be interested to read it.

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fakename replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 11:25 AM

you know it is interesting how many leftists become libertarians when I think about it.  For instance, mises was a socialist and hayek was too.  The only people who were rightists were murray rothbard and like, me. 

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Felipe:
I was wondering if someone here has managed to turn a marxist over to libertarianism.
I've seen a hardcore socialist turned anarchocapitalist. He had an article recently on the front page. And he's one of my "students". Anton Batey.

 

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Stranger replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 11:59 AM

It turns out to be much easier to convert any kind of ideologue to libertarianism than to convert a political partisan to an ideology. Ideologues are interested in facts. Politicians are only interested in their own power.

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Stranger replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 12:00 PM

sicsempertyrannis:

Jon Irenicus:

Hoppe.

Interesting.  Did Hoppe ever write about his conversion experience? I would be interested to read it.

I recall that it was reading Bohm-Bawerk's Marx and the close of his system that turned him.

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Sieben replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 12:04 PM

I was first introduced to political philosophy in my high school econ class in the form of milton friedman and monetarist economics.

Later I became a socialist, but upon looking back I can see I was trying to recreate the market inside the state.

I found hayek and eventually found mises. I'm not a libertarian now but I'm far from socialist.

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Andrew replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 12:41 PM

I have never heard of a libertarian turning into a socialist.

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Sage replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 12:52 PM

Haven't read it, but From Marx to Mises by David Ramsey Steele.

 

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Vitor replied on Sat, Oct 10 2009 2:53 PM

Wasn't Hayek simpathetic to socialismo til he read the pwonage of Socialism by Mises?

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Sage:
Haven't read it, but From Marx to Mises by David Ramsey Steele.
That's actually about the economic calculation argument--and it's pretty good. I say that having actually met David and have been to his apartment in Chicago's Loop for a couple of libertarian get-togethers.

 

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Andrew:

I have never heard of a libertarian turning into a socialist.

Francois Tremblay.  There are more mutualists I suspect are more socialist than libertarian.  I don't know for sure, because you can't pin one down in debate to get definitive position statements.  Cowardly bunch (NOMD)

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Andrew:

I have never heard of a libertarian turning into a socialist.

Mencius Moldbug turned from a libertarian to a reactionary.

Vitor:

Wasn't Hayek simpathetic to socialismo til he read the pwonage of Socialism by Mises?

Hayek was a socialist until he started attending Mises' seminars.

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Vitor replied on Mon, Oct 12 2009 7:11 PM

Most marxists are just utilitarians, why libertarians tend to be more attatched to subjective values. If you convince a marxist that in a more liberal society the poor will be better, he will jump the fence. If you show to a libertarian that in a socialist everybody would be better off, he reply say "I prefer to be free in hell than a state slave in heaven".

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John Ess replied on Mon, Oct 12 2009 7:35 PM

A marxist turned me into a newt once.

 

... I got better.

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I used to be a Democrat.  Though I never considered myself totally socialist (definitely not marxist) I did identify more with the left than the right.    This was mainly due to my lower class upbringing and the perception that Republicans help the rich and Democrats help the poor.  I am also an Atheist, and the Christian fundamentalism in the Republican party was very unattractive. 

The main reason I was attracted to socialism is because my entire life I've watched the rich in the US get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class get wiped out, all while the mega rich were dodging taxes and living the good life.  The poor and working classes either have their health care denied or they end up going bankrupt simply for getting sick.  I actually had to drop out of school for a semester because I had to get my front tooth repaired and it cost the equivalent of one semester of tuition. 

I really didn't know much about politics or economics until this recent financial crises.  I lost my job and had to drop out of school again and move in with my mother.  This gave me enough time to really research both subjects.  My interest started after watching clips of Peter Schiff accurately predicting the housing crises that every other person on CNBC claimed "was impossible to predict". After reading about ~150-200 books (about 50 of them off of this site) I have become fairly convinced that it was too much government involvement, and not too little that is causing the problems I cited above such as expensive health care and education, and the gap between the rich and the poor. I am now very much a Libertarian.

This brings me to my main point.  Many of the people of my generation (I'm 22) perceive socialism (or at least a very mixed economy) as the cure to rising health care and education costs, as well as environmental problems.  The right (most people think "Republican") appears to be for war, corporate welfare, religious fundamentalism, and discrimination while the left appears to be for social welfare, environmentalism, and equal rights.  There is no small government party.  The Republicans claim to be, but their idea of "limited government" is "government limited to our political and social agenda".  Most people my age perceive  these as being the only two choices (big govt for the rich vs big govt for the poor), and of the two, the Democrats appear to be less bad.  I would guess that most socialists or left leaning people my age simply aren't aware there are more than two choices in the political spectrum.  The media has everyone brainwashed and the fake conservatives in the Republican party have given anything to the right of the political spectrum a bad taste in the mouths of young voters.  The way to turn many socialists or far left Democrats into Libertarians is through education of the the Libertarian philosophy, and educating people that todays Republicans are anything but conservative. 

Sorry for the long post LOL, I just thought I could share some insight into the transformation from socialism to libertarianism.

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jeff.walker86:
Sorry for the long post LOL

Not at all.  Welcome Jeff.

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Not a socialist but he's left of center politically, Bruce Bartlett, who once worked with Ron Paul.

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Conza88 replied on Wed, Oct 14 2009 7:57 AM

Andrew:

I have never heard of a libertarian turning into a socialist.

Herbert Spencer ? Robert Nozick ? ... oh wait, more pseudo than anything else.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Conza88:

Andrew:

I have never heard of a libertarian turning into a socialist.

Herbert Spencer ? Robert Nozick ? ... oh wait, more pseudo than anything else.

I wouldn't say that Spencer or Nozick were socialists in their later years. On the other hand, you might be able to make the case that J. S. Mill went back and forth from libertarianism to socialism.

"I cannot prove, but am prepared to affirm, that if you take care of clarity in reasoning, most good causes will take care of themselves, while some bad ones are taken care of as a matter of course." -Anthony de Jasay

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Danielle replied on Wed, Oct 14 2009 2:13 PM

Not a marxist, but a socialist... Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie became a libertarian.  She "converted" after traveling and seeing socialism up close and personal.

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Marko replied on Sun, Oct 18 2009 1:05 PM

Just the other week I got a middle-aged ex-Trotskyite to promise he is going to read For A New Liberty.* Maybe it is going to spark a conversion??

*In turn I must read some Maynard Keynes book. Ick!

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Marko:

Just the other week I got a middle-aged ex-Trotskyite to promise he is going to read For A New Liberty.* Maybe it is going to spark a conversion??

*In turn I must read some Maynard Keynes book. Ick!

He might not be the most rigorous economic thinker, but his work on probability theory is no joke.

"I cannot prove, but am prepared to affirm, that if you take care of clarity in reasoning, most good causes will take care of themselves, while some bad ones are taken care of as a matter of course." -Anthony de Jasay

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jeff.walker86:

I used to be a Democrat.  Though I never considered myself totally socialist (definitely not marxist) I did identify more with the left than the right.    This was mainly due to my lower class upbringing and the perception that Republicans help the rich and Democrats help the poor.  I am also an Atheist, and the Christian fundamentalism in the Republican party was very unattractive. 

The main reason I was attracted to socialism is because my entire life I've watched the rich in the US get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class get wiped out, all while the mega rich were dodging taxes and living the good life.  The poor and working classes either have their health care denied or they end up going bankrupt simply for getting sick.  I actually had to drop out of school for a semester because I had to get my front tooth repaired and it cost the equivalent of one semester of tuition. 

I really didn't know much about politics or economics until this recent financial crises.  I lost my job and had to drop out of school again and move in with my mother.  This gave me enough time to really research both subjects.  My interest started after watching clips of Peter Schiff accurately predicting the housing crises that every other person on CNBC claimed "was impossible to predict". After reading about ~150-200 books (about 50 of them off of this site) I have become fairly convinced that it was too much government involvement, and not too little that is causing the problems I cited above such as expensive health care and education, and the gap between the rich and the poor. I am now very much a Libertarian.

This brings me to my main point.  Many of the people of my generation (I'm 22) perceive socialism (or at least a very mixed economy) as the cure to rising health care and education costs, as well as environmental problems.  The right (most people think "Republican") appears to be for war, corporate welfare, religious fundamentalism, and discrimination while the left appears to be for social welfare, environmentalism, and equal rights.  There is no small government party.  The Republicans claim to be, but their idea of "limited government" is "government limited to our political and social agenda".  Most people my age perceive  these as being the only two choices (big govt for the rich vs big govt for the poor), and of the two, the Democrats appear to be less bad.  I would guess that most socialists or left leaning people my age simply aren't aware there are more than two choices in the political spectrum.  The media has everyone brainwashed and the fake conservatives in the Republican party have given anything to the right of the political spectrum a bad taste in the mouths of young voters.  The way to turn many socialists or far left Democrats into Libertarians is through education of the the Libertarian philosophy, and educating people that todays Republicans are anything but conservative. 

Sorry for the long post LOL, I just thought I could share some insight into the transformation from socialism to libertarianism.

I used to be a Democrat too and I have a similar story.  I then became a moderate, populist, fiscal conservative, libertarian,anarchist, and now I'm a classic liberal.  What I thought when I was a Democrat was that the rich were purely evli and that they were running the country down to the ground.  I also thought that competition was bad and that it needed to be stopped to allow other people to come in the fray.  I wasn't much against the free market but for some reason I just saw these corporations as evil.  I always pointed out to these facts about how the corporate CEO's always got paid so much.  I even grew a bit socialist myself and I looked up all the socialist material that I could find on the internet.  I came here to this site... after I found out about Ron Paul.  I read Ludwig Von Mises' s book called (if I have it right) Economic  Calculation in a Socialist Commenwealth and it really converted me to an austrian-economics view. 

I think too many people talk about capitalism and they don't even know what it is.  They just want it to be about freedom of exchange between individuals.  That much they agree on.  But people take on too many statist agendas.  They think captitalism should be regulated by the government.  They think that the government should engage in ambitious publics works programs via our tax dollars.  These people don't have the rational to think differently or outside the box. 

 

I used to believe that capitalism was the problem and was the reason why our government had problems- it's because the rich people were invading government as I used to say.  What did not occur to me was that there was actually this partnership between them and the government.  Given this knowledge... I realized that this was impossible to happen under a true laissez-fair economy... and that what our economic system was like now is more like fascism... and reading works by Ludwig Von Mises, Henry Hazlitt and Carl Menger have really helped push me past my socialist phase and now I see what a true-free market economy looks like... which brings me to my next point.

 

As you've said there is no small government party.  This is something I've realized.  Republicans always say that Democrats are for big governments then they propose stimulus packages of their own via supply side economics.  Democrats don't lie about it at least... neither party talks about attacking the root cause of the problem.  They don't know where inflation comes from-  they think it's just a raise in the CPI.  We know that isn't true.  No one really believes that anymore.  The government can interfere with the stock market if it wants to and neither the Democrats or Republicans oppose this practice enough... what I'm sick about is that these people always make it an issue of you're either for big government, or you hate the rich.  I don't want either of that.  I want the separation of the partnership between the government and rich people... and a return to laissez-fair economics.  I think it's that people don't realize that there is a partnership between the government and the rich people... which is why they're so brainwashed against either the rich or they're so pro-government. 

 

So, I just thought I'd share my story since I view my story as similar to yours.

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Ansury replied on Mon, Oct 19 2009 10:21 PM

Felipe:

I was wondering if someone here has managed to turn a marxist over to libertarianism.

I've just saw one case on another forum where I met a nice ex-marxist that now believed in liberty and capitalism.

That's got to be quite a feat.

 

Not personally, but I've seen many, many people claim so online.  I'm telling you--we're not wasting our time debating these people (those of us who do anyway).  Marxists/communists are some good recruiting grounds to find people that will actively talk about and advocate for libertarianism, once they're lead in the right direction.  "Lay" people who are more interested in the football game or what's on TV are good to talk to as well, but the really active people are the commies or other "activists".  :P

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Giant_Joe replied on Mon, Oct 19 2009 10:46 PM

I haven't really gotten anyone convinced of libertarianism. I got a few people to see some merits of the free market that they didn't see before. I've turned many people off from socialism, and I'm at least glad about that. I'm convinced that it's a "Canadian" thing that I can't get them to explore further, even for a second. People here tend to think "we're not too socialist, not too free market, but just the right amount of both" and it's hard to get them out of that mindset.

 

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Giant_Joe:
I'm convinced that it's a "Canadian" thing that I can't get them to explore further, even for a second. People here tend to think "we're not too socialist, not too free market, but just the right amount of both" and it's hard to get them out of that mindset.

Canadians are tough.  People have accepted a lower standard of living in return for high taxation.

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liberty student:

Giant_Joe:
I'm convinced that it's a "Canadian" thing that I can't get them to explore further, even for a second. People here tend to think "we're not too socialist, not too free market, but just the right amount of both" and it's hard to get them out of that mindset.

Canadians are tough.  People have accepted a lower standard of living in return for high taxation.

Heh, last week the media in Manitoba (mainly CJOB) was trying to draw distinctions between the two NDP candidates who were contending for premier. Squealer's rhetoric amounted to waving incense in front of Gary Doer; furthermore using a superlative standard of judgment in regard to government and the political contenders in the spotlight. IMO: this part of the country suffers from the worst intellectual stagnation. People here are such complacent dullards that they would flatline from the cognitive dissonance of watching the Ron Paul Rally.

liberty student:

People have accepted a lower standard

Don't worry! It's okay if the standard of living is the lowest in comparison to other provinces Wink

 

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I have relatives in Winnipeg but I have only blown through Manitoba once on a Greyhound.  I can't even imagine how bad the maritimes must be with all of the redistribution and government sponsored employment.

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liberty student:

but I have only blown through Manitoba once on a Greyhound. 

Lucky you.

liberty student:

I can't even imagine how bad the maritimes must be with all of the redistribution and government sponsored employment.

Manitoba is crippled by rent control by which can only be described as chapter eighteen of Economics in One Lesson.

This should also be the last place someone asks "but who will build the roads?" It's as if these roads were built by Hephaestus himself, granted that he was high on cocaine and a Russian public sector worker at the time.

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Solid_Choke:

Mencius Moldbug turned from a libertarian to a reactionary.

Mencius Moldbug turned me from an anarcho-capitalist into a reactionary.  I was an anarcho-capitalist because I believe that strong property rights and strictly enforced libertarian-ish laws are a good thing, and I believed that anarcho-capitalism was the best way to get to that.  But at the same time I was worried both about the stability of such a society and the path from here to there.

I think the first essay of his that I read was "Why I am not a Libertarian", and after that and a whole lot more reading now I'm convinced that a strong State (unlike pretty much any democratic government in existence), where the owners can benefit from tax-farming the subjects, will tend to have laws that are good for the prosperity and safety of its subjects.  This is even though the rulers may not give a crap about them -- in fact, it depends on the rulers not giving a crap about public opinion.  It's like how a silk farmer will make a good environment for his silkworms even though he is infinitely more powerful for them and doesn't care if they live or die, except that they produce silk which benefits him.  If he could get more silk by allowing them to keep and re-invest their own silk (like in a capitalist society) then he would.

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I am a Marxist turned Conservative. Pretty close!

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I think the first essay of his that I read was "Why I am not a Libertarian", and after that and a whole lot more reading now I'm convinced that a strong State (unlike pretty much any democratic government in existence), where the owners can benefit from tax-farming the subjects, will tend to have laws that are good for the prosperity and safety of its subjects.

Yeah, ok. You go live in a cattle farm then.

 

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