Last week I was in a debate on YouTube of all places, about libertarianism. We were commenting on a video about Professor Noam Chomksy. And I commented on it, saying he was a Libertarian Socialist. I understand that people not familiar with the term, like the person I was talking to on YouTube, that Libertarian Socialist might sound like an Oxymoron. Libertarians are always arguing in favor decreasing the size of the state. And that the current state that we already have is way too big and unconstitutional.
And American Socialists have argued that our State is way too small to meet the needs of Americans. When this person saw my comment on YouTube, this person said that basically that Noam Chomsky couldn’t be a Libertarian. Because he’s a Socialist and people like Ron Paul etc are real Libertarians. I’m guessing this person describes his politics as libertarian, but doesn’t seem to fully understand his own political ideology.
I told the person that I talking to that Professor Chomksy isn’t a Classical Libertarian, but a Libertarian Socialist. Big believer in social freedom and that we should be free to live our own lives. But that the state has to be big enough, with a welfare state to meet the needs of the country. Which is what Libertarian Socialism is. So a Libertarian Socialist would be against things like the War on Drugs. America expanding its power in the world, trying to police the World. Big believer in civil liberties, against what’s called the Military Industrial Complex and what’s called the Prison Industrial Complex.
Libertarian Socialists would be against things like private prisons and for things like legalizing narcotics. Especially marijuana, that pornography and gambling should both be legal, even prostitution. That the state shouldn’t try to police people from themselves, but regulate how we interact with each other. Libertarian socialism is a different form of progressivism. In the sense that even though they both tend to agree on economic policy, but tend to disagree on some key personal choice social issues.
Like Libertarian Socialists don’t believe that hate speech should be illegal, or that people should be subjected to civil action based on hate speech. Again as long as people aren’t threatening to hurt or harm each other. Today’s so-called Progressives, do believe hate speech should be regulated. The Westboro Church case of 2011, is a pretty good example of that. So-called Progressives tend to believe that gambling should be illegal as well and perhaps even prostitution and certain forms of pornography. There are Progressives that are Statists not just on economic policy, but social issues as well. Libertarian Socialists are individualists on social issues. There’s diversity in the so-called progressive movement.
There’s diversity in the progressive movement to the point, that now there are Leftists like Noam Chomsky that describe their politics as Libertarian Socialist. Socialist on economic and foreign policy, as well as national security. But liberal-libertarian on social issues. There’s a blog called the Progressive Libertarian. I’m friends with people on Facebook and outside of Facebook that call their politics libertarian socialist. And you have Progressives who are collectivist on economic policy but some key social issues as well. So when they get labeled nanny statists by the right-wing and Liberals like myself. And you can see why. I would describe Professor Chomsky’s politics as a combination of Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders. Or perhaps just Bernie Sanders. Someone whose a Socialist-Liberal, or Libertarian-Socialist.
PBS: A World of Ideas- Bill Moyers Interviewing Noam Chomsky in 1988