A Terrible Blogger is Born!

May 15, 2009

Have I mentioned lately that Glenn Beck is not a Libertarian?

Well, he calls himself “libratarian leaning”. Yeah, like a drunk taking a sobriety test is pavement-leaning: not because he wants to, or knows anything about it, he just can’t help it, and the whole thing is painful to watch. Francois posted this discussion between Beck and Penn Jillette about libertarianism and anarchism that I saw earlier on Bureaucrash. Here’s a combination of my comments:

“There’s a lot of people who claim to be libertarian that simply aren’t.” Indeed, Penn, you are speaking to one! Jesus, if I was given the Ludovico treatment and forced to watch Glenn Beck I believe I’d end up a flaming Communist.

That video is a sad spectacle. . . . they get anarchism and libertarianism wrong. “Arche”, like many Greek words, has multiple meanings, from ruler to rule to origin or “first principle”. Anarchism, for the most part, uses it to denote “ruler” instead of “rules”. Penn has that much right, but he thinks this implies a commitment to the U.S. constitution, which . . . is minarchism, not anarchism.

I’ve said it before, but we need some kind of campaign to get Walter Block on Glenn Beck to set the record straight about the non-aggression principle, which demonstrates how one can be a libertarian anarchist and how, um, the Iraq war and the War on Drugs are not particularly “libratarian”.



  1. I think the letter from the RNC welcoming commitee in this clip seems to be pretty telling of the types of “anarchists” that are ravaging St. Paul. I can’t quote the letter verbatim, but something about land being inherently “shared” and “not commodified” is not an anarchist value. Anarchism, as I understand it, values private property and the staunch defense thereof, whereas any party that insists that private property be abolished and that goods be commonly available, “shared”, is in fact insisting that there be a ruling elite that decides who and what gets shared to avoid constant accusations of theft. Like nearly all other political dissidents of our sad age, these are little more than statists who wave the black flag on weekends.

    Comment by Michael — May 16, 2009 @ 1:53 am | Reply

    • Yes, I should have mentioned that the “anarchists” in the video get anarchism wrong too! I have said that anarchism is nonviolence or it is nothing. You’re right that these are probably “weekend warriors”. I find it interesting that “racist America” usually tops the list of grievances of these groups, lilly-white to a man. Not that there’s anything wrong with fighting racism, but what is specifically anarchistic about this concern?

      The private property thing is a bit more complicated. Right Libertarians claim that a state is necessary to collectivize property and keep capitalism from breaking out,an argument borne out by the acts of the Spanish anarchists who killed anyone they caught using money (see Bryan Caplan’s “The Anarcho-Statists of Spain“). Left Libertarians claim that a state is necessary for privatizing property and instituting capitalism, and argument borne out by the land enclosure movement in England prior to the industrial revolution, and in contemporary third-world countries as part of “globalization” (see Kevin Carson’s “The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand“). Kropotkin has shown how much communal property actually existed prior to the nation-state. “Capitalism” as we now know it has indeed required a great deal of expropriation, as have attempts to institute anarchism and communism in the post-Capitalist era. But anarchism is emergent order, not something “implemented”. I think there is plenty of room not only for private and common property (particularly in land) but for differing (though there is a limit to this, obviously) conceptions of property-rights, such as the Lockean variety favored by Rothbardians as well as those favored by Mutualists.

      Comment by rmangum — May 16, 2009 @ 5:57 am | Reply

  2. Glenn Beck is the farthest thing from a libertarian on social issues. He wants to establish a theocracy here pretty much, is for the war in Iraq and for the War on Drugs. He thinks pot should be illegal. Some libertarian. I identify as a liberal now rather than libertarian, because it seems like the libertarians are all theocrats…what happened?

    Comment by Lisa — October 26, 2009 @ 11:09 pm | Reply

  3. […] right (it happens), he’s right for the wrong reasons, and expresses himself wrongheadedly. As I’ve written about before, for all his supposed sympathy with libertarianism, he has a rather dim view of what it means […]

    Pingback by Glenn Beck and the Anarchists « A Terrible Blogger is Born! — May 19, 2010 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

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