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Dale Franks has revisited “neolibertarianism” in light of the debate over whether the Libertarian Party harms the libertarian movement. He and John Henke have started the Neolibertarian Network:

First, we are kicking off the Neolibertarian Network (NN). This will be an aggregation of blogs that fall within the Neolibertarian ideological framework. To this end, we now are using the new URL “” Here's how it will work. If you have a neolibertarian blog, contact one of us for inclusion in the Neolibertarian network…

Back in December, and again in February, John Henke examined the definition of “neolibertarianism:”

The libertarian ideal of a truly limited government is an utopian dream. In the real world, where powerful interests—individual and collective—compete for the reigns of power, there will be violations of the ideals libertarians hold. After all—as a result of their disavowal of power—libertarians are uniquely unqualified to defend their ideals against political opposition.

I almost disagree. Libertarian gathers are known for factional disputes and power brokering just like any other political gathering. The difference between what I see the “true” libertarians doing and what the LINOs do is the difference between gathering consensus and manufacturing consent.

So, doctrinaire Libertarians are fighting an uphill battle against human nature. And they do so, precisely because they refuse to accept human nature as a part of their political calculation. Economics is the study of how humans allocate scarce resources. Politics is merely a social corollary to economics—the study of the allocation of values.

Now that is certainly true. Libertarians love “enlightened self-interest” but decry the fact that a lot of humans don't look deeply enough at what may be in their self-interest.

There's far more libertarian representation on the Internet—and in the blogosphere—than in any other forum for political activity. Local activism is important, but Neolibertarians need presence. Neolibertarians, if we expect to retain some semblance of influence within the Party system, need numbers and we need organization.

To sum it all up, Dale Franks puts it this way:

Let me chime in with my two cents here, too. It seems to me that the Neolibertarian ideal is characterized by a few simple, general propositions:
When given a set of policy choices,
  • The choice that maximizes personal liberty is the best choice.
  • The policy choice that offers the least amount of necessary government intervention or regulation is the best choice.
  • The policy choice that provides rational, market-based incentives is the best choice.
In foreign policy, neolibertarianism would be characterized by,
  • A policy of diplomacy that promotes consensual government and human rights and opposes dictatorship.
  • A policy of using US military force solely at the discretion of the US, but only in circumstances where American interests are directly affected.
Obviously, there's a lot of wiggle room for personal variations in that simple set of propositions, and it leaves plenty of room for debate. But it seems to me that this is as good a start as any in defining the outlines of Neolibertarian policy.

This is definitely aimed at a more practical level than the Covenant of Unanimous Consent, of which I am a signatory. I certainly believe that my writings here, and my support of the War on Terror, put me into the neolibertarian camp. It has certainly led to my estrangement from many of my local libertarian friends, who were solidly against the war.

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Mar 8 2005 10:39 AM

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Terror Watch Lists and Gun Purchases »





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Posted Tuesday, Mar 8 2005 02:49 PM

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Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Mar 8 2005 04:00 PM

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