I was in a debate about a year ago with someone who self-describes their politics as libertarian. And we were talking about Professor Noam Chomsky and this person was describing Noam Chomsky’s politics as socialist. And I told this person that Professor Chomsky is a Libertarian Socialist. Which might sound like an oxymoron, because how can someone be both a Libertarian and a Socialist. Libertarians are always looking to shrink the size of government and Socialists are always looking to grow the size of government.
Libertarians tend to think that government is way too big and Socialists especially in America tend to think that government is way too small. This person said that “you can’t be both, it’s sort of one or the other”. And what I trying to get across to them and not believing I was successful, is that you can be both as long as you aren’t socialist or libertarian on both economic and social issues. That you have to believe in a high deal of individual freedom at least as it relates to personal or economic freedom.
So what is a Libertarian Socialist. It’s someone whose liberal libertarian on social-issues. Meaning they do not want government interfering with our personal lives including as it relates to prohibition. And in America are even in favor of gun rights, against the War on Drugs, censorship even as it relates to hate speech. Doesn’t really sound like someone who would be a Progressive today, but what they do have in common with Progressives again Libertarian Socialists, is they both have a big role for government in the economy.
People who are liberal-libertarian on social-issues, but progressive-socialist on economic policy. And believe in things like the welfare state, high taxes for social spending and so forth. Big regulations on private enterprise, big believers in the right to organize and so forth. Libertarian socialism is a form of progressivism at least in it’s liberal not paternalistic form. That “government shouldn’t try to run our lives, but be there to provide us the services that can’t be trusted to the private sector.
Libertarian socialism is the only form of socialism or progressivism that I respect as a Liberal. Because even though they believe in a big state as it relates to the economy, they do not believe that government should be trying to run our lives for us and are not pure statists at least. And even believe in a high deal of economic freedom as long as it’s highly taxed and regulated. So no one get’s left behind in society. This is not my philosophy, but it’s a lot better from what we are hearing from so-called Progressives today who seem to be believe in a big role for government in the economy, but also in our personal lives. As far as what personal choices we are allowed to make.