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Were classical liberals libertarians?

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Eugene posted on Fri, Jan 6 2012 1:22 PM

It seems not. First of all it seems classical liberals had no significant problem with slavery or imperialism in other countries. 

Accrding to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism#Utilitarianism

 

Classical liberals saw utility as the foundation for public policies. This broke both with conservative "tradition" and Lockean "natural rights", which were seen as irrational

...

Despite the pragmatism of classical economists, their views were expressed in dogmatic terms by such popular writers as Jane Marcet and Harriet Martineau.[57] The strongest defender of laissez-faire was The Economist founded by James Wilson in 1843. The Economist criticized Ricardo for his lack of support for free trade and expressed hostility to welfare, believing that the lower orders were responsible for their economic circumstances. The Economist took the position that regulation of factory hours was harmful to workers

It seems classical liberals were utilitarians rather than principled libertarians. What do you think?

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1) Any "principled" political /idealitstic group ought to be laughed at in the face

2) All utilitarianism / liberalism is, is really "debunking" such retarded "principles" and "fixed ideas" - it is a de-threader, so to speak.  It is nominalistic materialism that realizes that we are social animals by nature.

3) One could make a very good case that libertarianism, particualry austrian striped - is just taking the classical liberal view one step further - furthermore it takes subjectivism/ perspecivism more serious than the English do - as they are ideas more clearly taken seriously in Germany.  For whatever reason, the English where completely oblivious to and missed the boat on that one, and we are now suffering the consequences of their sub-par approach to the social sciences.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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1) Nope, every polticial ideology has some principle at its foundation. It's impossible not to. 

2)Utilitarianism is only about accomplishing goals that cannot be set by utilitarianism itself.

3) This contradicts everything you said before it. Subjectivism implies principles and ideals.

Tumblr The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants. ~Albert Camus
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Slow down - I was doing a qucik set of assertions and pointing and signaling to something.

I wasn't being foolish enough to looking for a gigantic " who gives a rats ass all encompassing" metaphysical debate with weighty and slippery words - I was just trying to help paint a picture, and set a historical tone and perspective, that is easy to help one to conceptualize and manipulate  the world around them, and if anyone can do so with the words given - I am fine with that.  I was not doing philiosophy, sociology, or science, etc.

  I was trying to show that liberterianism can be seen within the scope of liberalism.  We come from Weber, Menger, and Mises - even if you disagree with what I say, the geneology and there thoughts of things remain.

I don't know how you could expect to accomplish anything based off of what I said and why you countered that in relation to the topic of the thread.    He is the one who contrasted the words "utilitarian" vs "principled", not me.  I have no axe to grind or agenda to push here, I think you do - so I'lll bow out.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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vive la insurrection:
3) One could make a very good case that libertarianism, particualry austrian striped - is just taking the classical liberal view one step further - furthermore it takes subjectivism/ perspecivism more serious than the English do - as they are ideas more clearly taken seriously in Germany.  For whatever reason, the English where completely oblivious to and missed the boat on that one, and we are now suffering the consequences of their sub-par approach to the social sciences.

Having recently read over Joseph Salerno's biography of Carl Menger, I think you're onto something here.

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vive la insurrection:
Slow down - I was doing a qucik set of assertions and pointing and signaling to something.

Really now? Just what was it that you were pointing and signalling to? Or do you expect us all to be mind-readers?

I, for one, think that Phaedro's objections seem well-thought-out.

vive la insurrection:
I wasn't being foolish enough to looking for a gigantic " who gives a rats ass all encompassing" metaphysical debate with weighty and slippery words - I was just trying to help paint a picture, and set a historical tone and perspective, that is easy to help one to conceptualize and manipulate  the world around them, and if anyone can do so with the words given - I am fine with that.  I was not doing philiosophy, sociology, or science, etc.

You asserted that anyone appealing to principles or ideals should be laughed at. How is that not "doing philosophy"? At the same time, your assertion itself seems to be an appeal to a principle.

vive la insurrection:
I was trying to show that liberterianism can be seen within the scope of liberalism.  We come from Weber, Menger, and Mises - even if you disagree with what I say, the geneology and there thoughts of things remain.

You could've fooled me. Seriously.

vive la insurrection:
I don't know how you could expect to accomplish anything based off of what I said and why you countered that in relation to the topic of the thread.    He is the one who contrasted the words "utilitarian" vs "principled", not me.  I have no axe to grind or agenda to push here, I think you do - so I'lll bow out.

Are you sure you don't mean you'll backpedal away?

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From now on Autolykos,

Just assume my "arbitrary words" always agree exactly with your aesthetics and politcs - I just state them in a way you don't understand.

Hopefully that way I can get you to not do your "unique" line of inquiry directed at me anymore, somehow I doubt it - but let's try that out.

Oh, and I'm not trying to intimidate you - quite the opposite, I'm running away.

Now maybe you could answer the OP's question and quit focusing on people whos "arbitrary words" you happen not to like..or not your call.

Either way main point - I was adressing the OP, and I was not expecting some type of.....Spanish Inquisition

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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Classical liberals were libertarians. Libertarianism is not restricted to the principled Rothbardian sense. Classical liberals were basically minarchists, which are one group of libertarians. So, yes, they were, just like people of the Old Right were libertarians (even though they were mostly minarchists too).

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When you say Old Right, what do you mean?

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Like the Republicans of the early 1900s, or of that general time period. Or as wikipedia says, "The Old Right was a conservative faction in the United States that opposed both New Deal domestic programs and U.S. entry into World War II. Many members of this faction were associated with the Republicans of the interwar years led by Robert Taft, but some were Democrats."

Basically the old-school isolationists and capitalists. In the sense of this old American tradition, Rothbard considered himself a "rightist."

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Sort of like McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt? blush

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I was thinking more like H. L. Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, Garet Garrett, etc. Ron Paul would be considered basically in the perfect tradition of the Old Right, if you want a living example. I'm pretty sure McKinley and Roosevelt would not be considered Old Right. Roosevelt and McKinley certainly weren't isolationists, both being involved in various wars. (And wikipedia classifies Roosevelt as a progressive).

Keep in mind that I'm using "isolationist" in the sense Ron Paul uses "non-interventionist."  

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Hm, I learned something new. I proposed those names because before now I thought that "Old Right" simply meant the older Republicans, and I knew TR and McKinley were not the type of people we endorse. Now that I actually read the wikipedia page, I learn that the Old Right was a coalition formed in the 30s. Huh, alright.

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Yeah, sorry, I shouldn't have made the generalization "early 1900s." You're right, it was more like the 30s (or so). And it was only certain factions of the Right, as wiki mentions.

To paraphrase a quote, Rothbard said that Mises was very pleased to suddenly have disciples further to the Right than himself. xD

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Marko replied on Fri, Jan 6 2012 10:11 PM

I guess they were libertarians in that they were very libertarian. But they came from a different tradition than we do, albeit there is a great amount of overlap even here owing to the extent we draw from them (single biggest influence).

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