Continuing the discussion from No climate change, please. We’re Fox & Friends:

I’d guess socialism defined as economic theory instead of political theory with the libertarian as political.

Kind of a “liberty for all and it’s okay to share.”


But doesn’t socialism imply levels of government involvement that would be anathema to libertarians? I mean, socialism isn’t just “it’s okay to share, you guys!” It’s more like, “hey, we’ve set up top-down institutions and infrastructures that make sure sharing happens”, right?

1 Like

I’ve always thought of it as a less-scary name for anarcho-syndicalism (and now expect to be proved wrong, with links and footnotes. This thread gon’ be good).

1 Like

Depends. Is the fire department socialism? How about public transit? These are both government run agencies that benefit many people that still allow for freedom in your daily life.

If you go by the strict Marxist definition it is distinguished by unequal distribution and I can see where a Libertarian could work within that economic system for political liberties and cooperatives for businesses.

Wait, I just googled it:

1 Like

Yeah, reading that, I’m not sure how fire departments work in that system at all. Maybe as a form of co-op where everyone’s a fireman and helps buy a truck and helps put out the fires when the time comes?

I have always described myself as a libertarian socialist… I have never had a good definition for it, but always thought of it as @SteampunkBanana put it “liberty for all and it’s okay to share”. Perhaps an idealized Sweden…

I am embarrass


Annnnnd, that’s about the point where the cynic in me starts going “nopenopenopenopenopenope”.


I didn’t say googling it helped. The conversation prior to me using internet is much more interesting.

I know! I can’t wrap my head around it either.

If I’m understanding this correctly, I’m filing it away as “system of government that would work really well in a really small society made of up people who are better people than I am.” But I am happy to be convinced that I am wrong.


It includes anarcho-syndicalism, but it is an umbrella group.

I’ll come back to this later, I’m not feeling great right now

1 Like

That more-or-less describes most small town volunteer fire departments.

edit to add “volunteer”


The volunteer fire department where I live is a fairly small group. I’d guess about 30 people. Volunteer fire departments depend on the people having jobs that they can leave at a moment’s notice.

How would you scale up a system like that, I wonder? It’s hard to imagine a major metropolis like NYC maintaining an effective fire department based on the small-town volunteer model.

1 Like

Tear down the system and set up Frank Lloyd Wright’s little cities all over “fly over country”.
Broadacre City

I don’t see it working in the real world… I suppose it could be modeled as a reflection of the internet/free-software/etc where it relies on core groups of dedicated volunteers that subsist on donations/grants/etc.

You don’t. A volunteer fire department has inferior response times when compared to a paid department that has firefighters on standby at the fire station. A city has enough calls per day that if you went to volunteers, you’d just be calling them in constantly. A small town could go days or weeks without an emergency.

“Isn’t socialism always coercive govenments?” Aaaaaaagh!
I recommend the short Soul of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde. He is basically making the case for letting mutants be happy
and also some Rudolf Rocker
both are short and totally great. Please don’t be scared by the


Libertarian socialism isn’t so hard. You want a social structure of socialism, but in a libertarian economic framework. I think it is fairytale hand waving, but most anarchist ideologies involve a lot of hand waving and philosophizing about a world so utterly alien to this one that it you can’t confirm or refute it because that shit hasn’t ever even come close to working on a large scale for more than a few seconds.

Personally, I am far more interested in “lefty libertarians”. You put social and civil liberty absolutely first. That is to say stop the war, and celebrate with a gay marriage, where you do all the drugs, and abuse your freedom of speech until you are blue in the face. Outside of that, you can believe in redistribution, but you just do it with a deeply skeptical view of the government and the insanely deep self interests that it has.

When we point to the police, the TSA, the NSA, or Homeland Security as utterly fucked institutions, that is a lefty libertarian thing. Lefty libertarians just assume that that sort of self serving corruption runs up and down throughout the government. It isn’t so much that you loathe the government in principle, but that you loathe it in practice because it has some extremely fucked incentives. This is different from a “tea party” libertarian because they care fuck all for the social and civil liberty of their fellows, and hate the government in principle and dry hump it in practice as they piss away money on military spending, border control, and chasing down stoners with unaccountable cops.

Sadly, there is no good word (at least in American politics) for someone who believes in near absolute social and civil liberty, and yet takes a skeptical view of the utterly fucked government and corporate incentives that rule the world. This is unfortunate because (and this might be my bubble speaking) I feel like that there are a lot of people out there that feel this way. I think they only flinch libertarian and get grouped in with the crazies because the political alternative currently in power are so obviously abdominal and worthless as proven by their actions.


That’s my impression. It’s not that those frameworks can’t work, it’s just that they can’t scale up beyond a tribe/small settlement/tight-knit community. It’s much easier to screw over your fellow man when you don’t know the people you’re screwing over on a first-name basis.

1 Like