We, on the left, are in favour of collective action. The right are against it. Most of them are against it for entirely dishonest reasons – when they call themselves \’principled libertarians\’, you can usually see – beneath the surface – nothing more than a defence of hereditary wealth and ancient power-relations, combined with a determination to co-opt those who manage to naturally-select their way off the lower social tiers.
There is a minor disagreement on the left about how collective action should be directed. The older left tend towards the state, and the newer left (of which I hope I\’m one) tend to prefer it to be organised in a much more dispersed and spontaneously directed way – with strong voluntary, local and regional structures that are capable of taking on and beating more central ones.
Nothing like entirely misrepresenting an argument, is there?
Us "principled libertarians", or perhaps classical liberals is another reasonable description, are all in favour of collective action. No, really, we are. With one and only one proviso. That it is voluntary collective action.
We defend freedom of association just as firmly as we defend freedom of speech, for both are natural rights.
"and the newer left (of which I hope I\’m one) tend to prefer it to be organised in a much more dispersed and spontaneously directed way"
That\’s straight friggin\’ Hayek. What in buggery do you think markets are all about if it isn\’t spontaneous organisation? Why do you think we prefer markets in the first place? That it\’s because they are the only system that allows such spontaneous organisation might be a clue perhaps? The only system that allows (indeed encourages) experimentation with methods of ownership, a point I have repeatedly made at that motherload of "principled libertarianism", the Adam Smith Institute?
Jebus, get a clue people, please. Classical liberals were always of the left (it\’s one of the more bizarre social currents of the latter part of the 20th century that we became seen as of the right) precisely because we really did and do believe that as far as possible, the State (and society, come to that) should bugger off and allow people to trade, associate, get one with things, as they wish. You know, spontaneously.