Glenn Beck has been giving libertarians an earful in recent weeks after a show where he called out the “fascists” and “nazis” of the movement who are opposed to anyone claiming the title of “libertarian” that don’t meet certain subjective criteria. Beck is right that many in the libertarian movement are what economist and Anarcho-Capitalist Murray Rothbard called “Luftmenschen”, in that they don’t want the ideas of liberty to be mainstream. They prefer to keep the philosophy to themselves. It’s sort of a “hipster libertarianism” in that these people want to say “I liked liberty before it was cool. If Beck joins the movement then it’s no longer cool.”
Rothbard wrote about these people saying:
“But here we face an inner problem and a paradox not only for libertarians, but for any radical, minority ideological movement. For marginal movements attract marginal people. Such movements are filled with what Germans call ‘luftmenschen,’ people with no steady jobs, incomes, or visible means of support; the sort of people who instinctively alienate the mainstream bourgeois Americans, not so much by the content of their ideas, but by their style, lack of moorings, and “counterculture.” If a serious opportunity should arise… for the movement to make a great leap into Middle America, into genuine influence in our society, that Libertarian ‘luftmenschen’ will react not with enthusiasm but in fear and trembling. For far greater than their professed love of liberty is their hostility to bourgeois America. As one critical observer of the party has harshly charged: ‘they want the Party to be a social club for crazies.’”
In a recent segment on The Blaze, Beck discussed the relative political philosophy of major politicians, entertainers and media outlets. In the video below, Beck places the meter for political philosophy on a straight line from Anarcho-Capitalism all the way over to totalitarianism. While Beck finds many names to name in the areas nearing totalitarianism, he comes up short on being able to identify many people who are nearer to Ron Paul in their belief system.
Beck worries about the lack of voices in the movement occupying the political space somewhere between Paul Ryan and Ron Paul, asking his viewers to help find these people. He then goes on to claim that Penn Jillette is on the edge of Anarcho-Capitalism without going over it. Interestingly, in his meter he fails to name any of the principled Anarcho-Capitalists that inhabit that area of the chart far away from totalitarianism. Beck doesn’t appear to like the Anarcho-Capitalist wing of the movement and seems to be firmly placing himself in the minarchist sector of the line.
The video below is 11 minutes long