Robert Wenzel posted a video, a debate between Sheldon Richman and Walter Block regarding left-libertarianism. It is worth watching, beginning where Robert has indicated (I did not watch what preceded this). My comment regarding the debate (with some comments for clarification now added), posted at Target Liberty:
There are three separate issues, I believe:
First: libertarian theory is libertarian theory - the NAP based on property rights. There are no "shoulds" or "buts" to this. Block is correct. How someone comes to accept this is unimportant - that they accept it is important. Again, Block is correct.
And Richman is incorrect. Twice.
Second, how to achieve a libertarian society is a different issue. Promotion of the thinnest definition makes for the biggest tent. Repetitively…Block is correct.
Again, Richman is incorrect.
How to maintain a libertarian society, if ever achieved, is a third. Different communities are free to establish different [cultural – meaning property owners are free to discriminate] standards - call these non-libertarian standards achieved via libertarian means. I haven’t read or heard anything from Block on this.
Not to suggest Block hasn’t written on this (is there anything libertarian upon which Block hasn’t written?), just that I haven’t read it.
I have read Hoppe on this and I have read, in a more general sense, those self-described left-libertarians. I believe Hoppe is correct. However, as long as different communities are free to go their own way, this need not be a point of contention; yet by bastardizing points one and two, left-libertarians make it so.
This is where the modifiers can properly come in, and not before. In other words, as long as different communities are free (or not) to establish in a libertarian way certain discriminatory rules (call it culture), there is no conflict between so-called left and other libertarians. Live and let live in the one of ten thousand different libertarian communities that best fits your desires.
In the interview, Richman suggests Block hasn’t read the right stuff on left-libertarianism. He offers as the best work a piece by Charles Johnson, “Libertarianism Through Thick and Thin: What Kind of Commitment Is Libertarianism?”
Well, I have read it. Here goes:
To what extent should libertarians concern themselves with social commitments, practices, projects, or movements that seek social outcomes beyond, or other than, the standard libertarian commitment to expanding the scope of freedom from government coercion?
Which social movements should they oppose, which should they support, and toward which should they counsel indifference? And how do we tell the difference?
Johnson offers that “at least four other kinds of connections might exist between libertarianism and further social commitments….”
At least he said “might.”
Thickness for Application
If feminists are right about the way in which sexist political theories protect or excuse systematic violence against women, there is an important sense in which libertarians, because they are libertarians, should also be feminists.
The initiation of violence or force is covered quite perfectly by the NAP; I see no need to garble it. Johnson disagrees.