Liberalism ouside of the USA

American usage of the word has always been at odds with the rest of the world.

Liberals elsewhere tend to be what you call libertarians. Just maybe not quite that crazy.

In Germany the Liberals (FDP) are the centre right free market party. It’s the same for the LibDems in the UK, although they are often perceived as left-leaning because their Overton window is all screwed up.


I’d be interested to know what in their most recent manifesto you think is not left leaning.

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The Liberals had to realign themselves after they started sliding into obscurity about 100 years ago. The whole situation was a mess, with a split between Liberals and National Liberals (who ended up joining the Conservative party, the last remnant of their existence is Michael Heseltine in the House of Lords). Eventually they switched to focusing on social liberalism rather than economic liberalism during the 1950s, then merged with the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s.

Everything went a bit wierd in the early 2000s when Charles Kennedy was to the left of Tony Blair, and the Lib Dems picked up quite a bit of the disaffected left wing vote in 2005. Nick Clegg corrected this anomaly though.

Everything in the Our Plan for a Stronger Economy section?


Nope, still can’t see it.

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Let’s start with the classics

The Lib-Dems make the current Fabian Society look revolutionary.

Edit: @Doctor_Faustus, I’m going to suggest that this tangent on the meaning of liberalism in the rest of the world is split off into a new topic, starting with your comment. Is that OK?


Just so I understand, and with reference to the original point, you’re saying that anyone that disagrees with Marx is right of centre (whatever that means)?


No, but I am saying that the Lib Dems are not socialist in any way and never have been, and are therefore not left leaning. BTW, Proudhon was not a Marxist. Kevin Carson is also to the right of Marx but still well to the left of the Lib Dems.

If you want to argue that they are the left wing of capitalism, then we might agree, but that is something completely different.


I think what we have here is a failure of terminology. Left/right rather breaks down when the terms of the debate are entirely rejected. I don’t have the time or the energy to enter a long discussion as the merits or not of capitalism, though I do posit there are ways that capitalism as a concept (the ability to accumulate wealth) can be squared with the very real historical inequities that have led us to where we are (e.g. 100% inheritance tax would be one way, though perhaps an ongoing wealth tax would be easier to implement and align incentives better). Beyond that, I feel that argument comes down to who is better at deciding how to allocate resources - the state or the individual, and frankly the state has a pretty dire record (as do most individuals, which is why many of us advocate a mixed economy).

These would be the terms I reject, as I am a libertarian-socialist and these terms deny the existence of those beliefs.

This debate is probably doomed to go nowhere.


Ok, so you reject the legitimacy of the state? Thinking on my feet, in the context of a libertarian perspective, it seems that a state is loosely any entity that seeks to take power away from an individual (through physical coercion?)?

So my personal take on a non-dickish libertarianism is one that allows freedom only insofar as they don’t impact on the freedom of others. The problem I have with this (and I use to say I was a libertarian along such lines) is that I can’t quite see how to square it with the very real issue that on an individual level a behaviour might be benign, but on a society level can be seriously problematic. An example: it’s no problem for a single person living in relative isolation to burn some coal to heat their house. It’s a big problem when everyone in the world does it. How do you solve such problematic behaviour?

The generalized core design principles describe beautifully the mechanisms that well functioning societies adopt to deal with common resources, but they ultimately depend at some level on coercion (albeit coercion that everyone accepts), which for want of a better word, might be called the state.

Libertarian-socialism was the position that was taken by communists that rejected Marxism (Marx isn’t completely rejected, but read with awareness that not everything he suggests is desirable), it has nothing to do with the later capitalist forms of libertarianism. It includes anarchism, but not all lib-socs are anarchists.

Marx expelled them from the First International at the Hague Congress

When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called "the People’s Stick

Mikhael Bakunin

We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.

Mikhael Bakunin

It would best be described as anti-state voluntary collectivism, which doesn’t fit on a “state to individual” axis with mixed economies in the centre.

One suggestion is a federation of communes (Think of French communes, rather than hippy communes). Problems are solved at the lowest level possible, environmental issues like the one you suggested would be high up, possibly even at the world level.

This is not the only suggestion though, r/Anarchy101 would be able to tell you some of the other options.


That’s fine, but it tends to have very local consequences (like say, stopping people from burning coal).

What happens if an individual rejects the collectivism?

They would be allowed to leave. There’s no point in forcing someone to live somewhere they hate, it’s bad for everyone.


Leave the world?

Time to repost this, perhaps? (Limited as it may be.)

The commune and the federation.

The deal will be “you leave us alone and we leave you alone”. They don’t get to go unabomber on us.

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So if people are outside the federation, how do you deal with global problems?

Here’s my LeftValues one from earlier this year


The only score I have any kind of problem with is the Production-Nature one, which I think was because of the questions asked. You would have thought they would be aware of who Murray Bookchin was, seeing how influential he is on the politics of Kurdistan


At this point it would be best to look at how the real world lib-soc and related territories dealt with these problems. None of them were perfect, lib-socs will be the first to tell you that, but they were (and still are) the ones who had to face these problems

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