Libertarianism is very appealing because of the liberty message and the non aggression principle. We can see the growth of libertarianism almost on a daily basis. More and more people listen and accept these ideas.
But if that's the case today, then why didn't this happen 100 or 150 years ago with classical liberalism? Why weren't the classical liberals of the 19th century able to convince the public as we manage to convince the public today? Was the message different? Was it not as clearly defined as it is defined today? Was it more consequential than principled? Why did they fail and we (at least for the time being) succeed?
they said we would have an unfair fun advantage
I'm glad someone else gave the obvious one word response, so that I might elaborate.
Eugene:We can see the growth of libertarianism almost on a daily basis. More and more people listen and accept these ideas. But if that's the case today, then why didn't this happen 100 or 150 years ago with classical liberalism?
1) Methods of communicating that message are much more abundant, much more accessible, much more far-reaching, and much more entertaining.
2) Because of improved methods of communicating, converts are more visible...that is, when someone has converted, it is much easier for more people to know about it.
[Why weren't the classical liberals of the 19th century able to convince the public] [as we manage to convince the public today?]
2nd bracket: See above
1st bracket: in large degree, they were (or one might say, they didn't have to...as the People generally agreed with Classically liberal positions). Read the history of the Constitutional Convention and learn how difficult it was to even form a federal government...and how skeptical and uneasy people were...and how much reassurance had to be given before people would agree to such a thing and the states would ratify.
Classical liberal ideas are what gave birth to this country. It's the whole reason it began in the first place. People fought a war over it. Rothbard even called his history of America Conceived in Liberty. There weren't a whole lot of people who needed convincing.
Therefore, to answer your question: first off, we are able to reach more people, in less time, in a more appealing way...but your main problem is you're under the impression that the historical zeitgeist was the same as today's. You're making the same mistake so many people do when pontificating prescriptions for how society should be organized...you're operating under the assumption that history essentially began whenever whatever policy you're familiar with (or more likely, subscribe to) began. (In this case, you're simply projecting the current atmosphere into historical times.)
In short: Adolf was more appealing.
Thank you for the answers and the link. I am watching it now.
You say that the atmosphere was different. It was in one sense, but it wasn't in another. The majority of people back then have supported the function of the government in maintaing slavery. I think that's the most horrible affront to liberty you could imagine. So were the classical liberals then really libertarians? I'm not so sure. Perhaps their message was different.
Classical liberals were also wrong. Hoppe points out that classical liberals had an incorrect understanding of the state, they believed that a state was capable of being limited, protecting property rights, and doing good. Hoppe has shown that the state is by definition a violator of property rights and will always work to promote an illiberal society.
To a significant degree, classical liberals didn't fail. The founders of America succeeded in implementing a Lockean, natural rights supporting government. Their success was their downfall. This liberal state was still a state, and a democratic one at that. Thus it eventually did what all states do: expand in power and promote anti-classical liberal ideas.
Why weren't the classical liberals of the 19th century able to convince the public as we manage to convince the public today?
What are you talking about? 19th century liberals had way more electoral sucess than any libertarians and their ideas have been far more influential. 19th century was probably more the century of liberalism than of any other ideology.
The problem with liberals was they sold out, and also with time they got more and more confused. There were hordes of liberals you would not recognize as particularly freedom-minded at all.
The classical liberals lived during a time of much greater freedom than we have today and they were trying to sell an eschatological message: "Stop before it's too late!" Today, we've already arrived at "too late". That is, things are pretty close to being as bad as they can possibly be. So, it's no longer an abstract message.
We're saying something slightly different: "Remember what the classical liberals warned about? That's what's been going on for the last century or so and it's reached orgiastic levels in the last decade. So, now you can see with your own eyes that they were right all along. Perhaps the principles by which they arrived at such far-sighted conclusions deserve something better than the mockery and scorn heaped upon them by the Establishment's media and entertainment."
Let me ask you this. If you had the hypothetical chance to ask a group of intellectual classical liberals what is their position on women's rights and slavery, what do you think they would have said? I'm not sure they would be against slavery or in favor of equalizing the rights of women and men. But I might be wrong.
You would be wrong I think. I believe it was John Stuart Mill who was one of the first. However, I look at it more as the division of labor between men and women. I mean men were the ones that were conscripted into armies not women.
Clayton, we're assuming that freedom is subjectively valued by most members of the herd. What if centuries of domestication have bred cattle that actually prefer the familiarity and safety of the paddock to the uncertain world on the other side of the fence? What if they decided to stay inside the fence even when the paddock gates were left wide open for them? I mean the cows would literally die out there on their own. I've lost friendships with very intelligent people simply for suggesting that we may all be slaves. The reaction is almost physiological.
I'd be careful about suggesting that we all may be/are slaves to the state. Most people picture blacks picking cotton on a plantation when they think of slavery. If you want to bring it up, I suggest bringing up far more recent and obvious slave situations such as conscription and the fact that soldiers cannot quit their job like the rest of the population. Or bring up eminent domain. Stuff like that. Let them make the connection about their own relationship to the state on their own.