December 27, 2014

Libertarianism: the Anti-Dialectical Materialism

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

Misrepresentations of libertarianism in Reformed “online” circles has become more than I can handle.  At one point I would engage in the various Facebook group debates regarding the issue; now, I realize that time spent with my wife and daughter is far more productive and emotionally sustaining.  It’s one thing to disagree –and emotions can still run wild in this case –but it is an entirely different matter to have others in the same forum making absurd statements about the political theory that have zero basis in reality.  So absurd, in fact, that one statement I read yesterday was the equivalent to claiming that Christianity was an atheistic religion.

The statement to which I refer is that “libertarianism has its roots in dialectical materialism.”  When I read this, I rolled my eyes and lowered my head into my hands.  This must be a case of the logical fallacy of “making things up.”  After planning to ignore the comment, like I try to ignore many other ridiculous accusations (i.e. “libertarianism is atheistic!” –translation: the ethical standard that binds every human being also ought to be applied to government is atheistic), I read the following quote by eminent libertarian philosopher Hans Hoppe, as quoted by Yuri Maltesev:

Only individuals act; consequently, all social phenomena must be explained –logically reconstructed — as the result of purposeful, individual actions.  Every “holistic” or “organicist” explanation must be categorically rejected as an unscientific pseudo-explanation.  Likewise, every mechanistic explanation of social phenomena must be discarded as unscientific.

[note: the use of the word “scientific” here refers to its old use, which is systematic or methodological, not the empirical and naturalistic use of the so-called “scientific method.”]

In other words, Hoppe clearly and swiftly eliminates any claim that libertarianism is rooted in dialectical materialism.  The very opposite is the case! In fact, if any political philosophy can reject the accusation of dialectical materialism it is Austro-libertarianism, with its methodological and praxeological individualism.

 

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com