Let It Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace

by Chris Bertram on July 1, 2012

[This post was co-written by Chris Bertram, “Corey Robin”:http://coreyrobin.com/ and “Alex Gourevitch”:http://thecurrentmoment.wordpress.com/ ]

“In the general course of human nature, a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 79

Libertarianism is a philosophy of individual freedom. Or so its adherents claim. But with their single-minded defense of the rights of property and contract, libertarians cannot come to grips with the systemic denial of freedom in private regimes of power, particularly the workplace. When they do try to address that unfreedom, as a group of academic libertarians calling themselves “Bleeding Heart Libertarians” have done in recent months, they wind up traveling down one of two paths: Either they give up their exclusive focus on the state and become something like garden-variety liberals or they reveal that they are not the defenders of freedom they claim to be.

That is what we are about to argue, but it is based on months of discussion with the Bleeding Hearts. The conversation was kicked off by the critique one of us—Corey Robin—offered of libertarian Julian Sanchez’s presignation letter to Cato, in which Sanchez inadvertently revealed the reality of workplace coercion. Jessica Flanigan, a Bleeding Heart, responded twice to Robin. Then one of us—Chris Bertram—responded to Flanigan. Since then, the Bleeding Hearts have offered a series of responses to Chris and Corey.

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Good Stuff Sunday

by John Holbo on July 1, 2012

Amazon is having a $2.99 MP3 album sale [SALE’S OVER] that includes a surprisingly large number of really good selections, should your collection lack them (and if you are an old-fashioned fogey, like me, who still pays for music.) Get your Dark Side of the Moon, or Speaking In Tongues, or Heroes, thereby closing that gap in the list. May I recommend: [click to continue…]