Robert Milnes: The Destiny of Libertarianism

Robert Milnes, a 2008 and 2012 candidate for the Libertarian, Green and (now defunct) Boston Tea Party’s presidential nominations and current 2016 Independent presidential candidate wrote the following piece that looks at the history and destiny of Progressivism and Libertarianism as steps toward Anarchy:

Let us consider the following:
1. Soviet socialism → communism → anarchism.
2. Progressivism → libertarianism → anarchism.
#1. is a representation of the well known Marxist-Leninist working hypothesis that a government that implements a program of soviet socialism- if successful- should lead to a state of communism-which in turn is successful- should lead to a state of some form of anarchism.
#2. is a representation which I have never seen before. A progressive government if successful should lead to some form/school of libertarianism which if successful should lead to some form of anarchism.
To the best of my knowledge soviet socialism has been tried by a government once: Russia in 1917. That government was not voted in but rather assumed power via various street demonstrations culminating in the violent removal of the czarist/monarchist government. Several contiguous governments followed suit forming the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. There was some claims of having achieved communism, however there never was any credible claim of having achieved anarchism. The entire USSR failed in 1989. So somewhere in between if this working hypothesis is accurate, the soviet revolution failed.
There have been many attempts at socialist and communist governments. Some were voted in, notably Chile 1970. Since none has ever achieved anarchism, we must conclude that all have failed.
On the other hand, there has evidently never been a progressive government. There was a Progressive Era from the late 1800’s to about 1925 in the USA. The Republican Party was in power. It evidently cooperated with progressive Democrats to implement various progressive policies. A Progressive Party was formed in 1912 by Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican. It came in second having split the Republican Party allowing the Democrat, a progressive, Wilson, to win. However progressive policies of Wilson were blocked by reactionary Democrats and Republicans. Another Progressive Party was attempted in 1924 by Robert LaFollette. It also failed to win.
One might wonder if Wilson had split from the Democratic Party and joined the new Progressive Party whether it could have pulled enough votes to make the difference; the Progressive Party could have won in a close three way race plurality. But no, he chose the politically expedient route of taking advantage of the split Republican Party.
One might conjecture that the progressive republicans like Roosevelt and LaFollette were the libertarians of their time. That a progressive Republican then would be a libertarian now. Further, a progressive Democrat/progressive Republican ticket in 1912, Wilson/Roosevelt,  would be a green/libertarian ticket in 2012. A Progressive party election victory and nonviolent movement would have been in contrast to the violence of the Bolshevik Revolution.
It is noteworthy that all these stages, soviet socialism, communism, progressivism, libertarianism, are beneficial hierarchies as defined in The Radical Therapist, Claude Steiner et al. A hierarchy of necessity to transfer some skill, experience or set of knowledge from one to another. A temporary situation with its own unnecessariness as its goal. Further, anarchism is not a hierarchy and the ultimate ideal human situation.
Therefore we can conclude that the destiny of libertarianism is to help the progressive movement with nonviolent election victory and successful movement through libertarianism to anarchism.

32 thoughts on “Robert Milnes: The Destiny of Libertarianism

  1. Jeremy C. Young

    I know most people here know these things, but:

    – Roosevelt and La Follette were not “the libertarians of their time.” They were, instead, big-government statists like me. The closest thing to libertarians in 1912 would have been conservative Republicans like Henry Cabot Lodge, but they still supported more big government than Mitt Romney, let alone Ron Paul.

    – The progressive policies of Wilson were not “blocked” by anyone until 1919, when conservative Republicans led by Lodge gained a large enough Senate minority to block Wilsonian foreign policy initiatives such as the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. As far as I know, no domestic policy initiative of Wilson’s was ever “blocked” during his administration, though some of them were rolled back by Republican presidents in the 1920s.

    – Not Woodrow Wilson, but Theodore Roosevelt, an ardent advocate of environmental conservation, would have been the closest thing to a Green in 1912.

    – Many Progressives would have acknowledged that the administration of Franklin Roosevelt — originally a Progressive cabinet official in the Wilson administration — was a bona fide Progressive administration. FDR dropped many of the social-coercion strategies that had made Progressives unpopular, but he retained Progressive economic policies.

    – If progressivism leads to libertarianism, it would be by way of a violent reaction against progressive government, not a natural evolution such as socialism -> communism. This means that progressives and libertarians do not have the same interests; to argue otherwise is to misunderstand the fundamental nature of these two conflicting ideologies.

    – Any campaign strategy based on the example of a wildly-popular former President running as a third-party candidate is doomed to failure unless the promoter can procure another wildly-popular former President to run the strategy. If you can convince Bill Clinton to run PLAS, then we’ll talk. The idea that someone like Robert Milnes, or Harry Browne, or Gary Johnson, or Jill Stein, could succeed with such a strategy is ludicrous. The vast majority of Bull Moose votes in 1912 were Teddy votes, not ideological votes, as Roosevelt himself acknowledged.

    For a more accurate analysis of the 1912 election, read any halfway-competent history book about it. I recommend Lewis L. Gould, Four Hats in the Ring; John Milton Cooper, Jr., The Warrior and the Priest; or James Chace, 1912.

  2. NewFederalist

    Let’s give credit where credit is due… Bob didn’t once mention PLAS in the entire article.

  3. William Saturn Post author

    Jeremy, thank you for your substantive counter to Milnes. This is the dialogue that makes IPR great.

    I am a proponent of the arguments of Thomas Dewey in the Dewey-Stassen debate of the 1948 Oregon Republican primary. https://urresearch.rochester.edu/handle/1802/2134 Dialogue is always superior to name-calling or censorship.

  4. NewFederalist

    Paulie @5… PULeeze don’t do that again! I just spilled a perfectly good margarita all over my keyboard laughing my (well, you know) off at your link. I hope Bob reads it! Great stuff!

  5. paulie

    Roosevelt and La Follette were not “the libertarians of their time.” They were, instead, big-government statists like me. The closest thing to libertarians in 1912 would have been conservative Republicans like Henry Cabot Lodge, but they still supported more big government than Mitt Romney, let alone Ron Paul.

    I’m not sure what the closest thing to libertarianism in 1912 was when it comes to presidential tickets. Certainly not Roosevelt.

    I’m somewhat tempted to say the Socialist candidate, Eugene Debs. Unlike TR, he was a peacenik and anti-imperialist, and was probably much more socially liberal than TR was.

    See http://mises.org/daily/2099 on the evolution of libertarianism over time.

    Lodge, for his part

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Cabot_Lodge

    Is described as a strong backer of the Spanish-American war, WW I and immigration restrictions as his key issues…not what I think of as libertarian in any sense. TR was for all those things as well.

    This means that progressives and libertarians do not have the same interests; to argue otherwise is to misunderstand the fundamental nature of these two conflicting ideologies.

    I think libertarian policies would be better at achieving the stated progressive goals than statist progressive policies are. Of course, that’s far different than saying that electing progressives leads to libertarianism.

    If you can convince Bill Clinton to run PLAS, then we’ll talk.

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/04/former-us-president-bill-clinton-joins-libertarian-party/

    :-)

  6. paulie

    PULeeze don’t do that again! I just spilled a perfectly good margarita all over my keyboard laughing my (well, you know) off at your link. I hope Bob reads it! Great stuff!

    I highly recommend reading both pages and watching the embedded videos.

  7. paulie

    It’s odd that someone banned from commenting on this site gets “news” coverage here.

    A very occasional update from Milnes is fine. It’s the constant torrent that I have more of an issue with.

  8. just independent

    Under what definition is this guy a “2016 Independent Presidential candidate”? Is there something called the “Independent Party” with a primary process he is actively participating in? I’m rather certain he is on no 2016 state ballots.

    Why is this posted to the site when there are thousands of schizophrenic street people with more interesting things to say?

  9. Be Rational

    @5 Brilliant! Truth that needs to be passed on to every human being in preparation for becoming an adult. Thanks for the link.

  10. No Difference

    I don’t know anything about the blogger (Milne?) but I am shocked that anyone would dare post such an article on a site such as this without the usual high-intensity assault on alleged existence of socialism, communism, or any other sort of progressive system. I expected, at very least, the usual barb that equates these systems with authoritarianism and sadistic personalities. But that didn’t happen this time, at least not in the OP.

    Guess I’ll have to wait for one of the “more educated” to come along and post the usual hackeneyed, cliched, semantically-inaccurate rant about that. For now, I’ll enjoy the peace and quiet.

  11. Eric Johnson

    The modern left is consumed with envy and hatred, and will vote for any rich person who preaches Marxist rhetoric. Then the rich leftists perform political judo on all their rage blinded followers by leveraging big government to their own benefit: perpetual wars with fat government contracts, subsidies, bailouts. Conservatives fall for it to, corporations and the military cannot be questioned.

  12. paulie

    Under what definition is this guy a “2016 Independent Presidential candidate”?

    Under the same standard under which other mentally ill people who claim to be Jesus Christ, Napoleon Bonaparte, etc., actually are who they claim to be.

    @5 Brilliant! Truth that needs to be passed on to every human being in preparation for becoming an adult. Thanks for the link.

    Thank you for reading it.

    IPR just jumped the shark.

    The shark is now pregnant.

  13. paulie

    I don’t know anything about the blogger (Milne?) but I am shocked that anyone would dare post such an article on a site such as this without the usual high-intensity assault on alleged existence of socialism, communism, or any other sort of progressive system.

    You’d have to know him to understand. Spend a few minutes reading his website, linked in the article. He used to be a very frequent commenter here for a very long time.

  14. Deran

    @ 20 Eric Johnson. I’m not sure what you are talking about? Where are the rich Marxists? So, there are Marcist versions of the Koch brothers? Someone should really let the US Left know, I know we are always short of money.

    The actual existing Left in the United States is very critical of Obomber and his love of drones, increased power for the secret police and all the breaks his masters on Wall Street.

    Obama is an inheritor of the Hart/Dukakis/Clinton “New Democrat” neoclassical liberal economics and globalist imperialism. All of which actual existing “Marxists” and socialists are opposed to.

  15. Dave Terry

    If one is to interpret Milnes properly, one must say that a statist who jumps off a cliff forward is a “progressive, whereas a statist who jumps off a cliff backward is a conservative.

  16. Catholic Trotskyist

    Bring back Milnes to IPR comments! Complete Freedom of speech! I understand it’s the decision of the site owners; just my opinion.

  17. William Saturn Post author

    Thank you Paulie for reminding me of the Alec Baldwin speech on Glengarry Glen Ross. I believe it partially influenced Phil Davison’s inspirational Stark County address.

  18. Catholic Trotskyist

    What is Phil Davison doing these days? I wish he would run for office and give more inspirational speaches like that.

  19. William Saturn Post author

    I chatted with Phil the other day. He’s been keeping a low profile lately. Hopefully, he will run again.

  20. Slam In A Y-Trap

    James Ogle is trying to start the Boston Tea Party up again. Maybe they can get Phil Davidson, William Saturn, Robert Milnes, and others who tried to participate in that party on board with that effort.

Leave a Reply