Libertarianism [edit]


Austrian School
Classical liberalism
Individualist anarchism


Key issues
Economic views
Views of rights
Theories of law

Paleolibertarianism is a school of thought within libertarianism founded by Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell, and closely associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Paleolibertarianism is based on a combination of radical libertarianism in politics and cultural conservatism in social thought. The description as paleolibertarianism emphasized their differences with what they call neolibertarians, who, in their view, sacrifice libertarian ideas for political expediency. "Neo-libertarianism" is characterized by these groups as a corruption of libertarian thought by policy think tanks and political parties which failed to offer principled opposition to the consolidation of federal power and interventionism in foreign policy. Lew Rockwell characterized paleolibertarian thought by saying:

"Paleolibertarianism holds with Lord Acton that liberty is the highest political end of man, and that all forms of government intervention--economic, cultural, social, international--amount to an attack on prosperity, morals, and bourgeois civilization itself, and thus must be opposed at all levels and without compromise. It is "paleo" because of its genesis in the work of Murray N. Rothbard and his predecessors, including Ludwig von Mises, Albert Jay Nock, Garet Garrett, and the entire interwar Old Right that opposed the New Deal and favored the Old Republic of property rights, freedom of association, and radical political decentralization. Just as important, paleolibertarianism predates the politicization of libertarianism that began in the 1980s, when large institutions moved to Washington and began to use the language of liberty as part of a grab bag of "policy options." Instead of principle, the neo-libertarians give us political alliances; instead of intellectually robust ideas, they give us marketable platitudes. What's more, paleolibertarianism distinguishes itself from left-libertarianism because it has made its peace with religion as the bedrock of liberty, property, and the natural order."

Paleolibertarianism is commonly distinguished by:

  • Political alliances with paleoconservatism
  • Disaffilation from the post-Cold War-era alliance between libertarians and the New Left; note, however, that this trend has been checked in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and the War on Terror, due to the paleolibertarians' growing antipathy with conservativism in general, except for the most distinctly paleoconservative types.
  • Sharp opposition to war and interventionist foreign policy
  • Radical decentralization in politics (most paleolibertarians subscribe to some form of anarcho-capitalism and do not associate with any political party)
  • Commitment to a Natural Law approach to libertarian theory, and intense opposition towards utilitarian approaches

Prominent paleolibertarians include Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Thomas DiLorenzo and Joseph Sobran. Closely affiliated institutions include the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the Center for Libertarian Studies.

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