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Controversy: Left or Right?

In 1981, the late singer, songwriter, and musician, Prince, put out the title track and lead single to his album, "Controversy." With words and music by the gifted musician, Prince wrote:

I just can't believe all the things people say (controversy)
Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? (controversy)
Do I believe in god? Do I believe in me? (controversy)
Controversy (controversy)
...
Some people wanna die so they can be free
(I said) life is just a game, we're all just the same...(do you wanna play?)
...
People call me rude, I wish we were all nude
I wish there was no black and white, I wish there were no rules

The song was a break-through hit for Prince [YouTube link], going Top 3 on the Hot Black Singles chart and to Number 1 on the Hot Dance Club chart.

If I could have co-written the song for re-release, I'd have to add one more line (in keeping with the spirit of things; after all, "I wish there were no rules" comes pretty close to the conventional "definition" of anarchism!):

I just can't believe all the things people say (controversy)
Do I embrace the right-libertarian or the left-libertarian way?

Well, my Facebook friend, Cory Massimino put up a post today on FB discussing left-libertarianism, providing a breakdown of its four distinct (though interrelated) meanings. I quote him here in full, with his permission:

The term "Left-Libertarian" has taken on four distinct, yet related, meanings. I see them conflated with each other constantly, so it's worth clarifying the differences.
1. The first sense, which is most common in academia, refers to a synthesis of self-ownership and neo-Georgism. Popular proponents of this view are Peter Vallentyne, Hillel Steiner, and Michael Otsuka.
2. The second sense refers to "classical libertarianism" or communist anarchism. Popular proponents of this view are Emma Goldman, Petr Kropotkin, and Noam Chomsky.
3. The third sense refers to "liberal-tarianism," which sees one's leftism and libertarianism as *moderating* each other. Hence, this camp mainly consists of market liberals. Popular proponents of this view are John Tomasi, Brink Lindsey, and Will Wilkinson.
4. The final sense refers to "left-wing market anarchism," which sees one's leftism and libertarianism as *radicalizing* each other. Hence, this camp consists of anarchists. Popular proponents of this view are Benjamin Tucker, Roderick Long, and Gary Chartier.

Naturally, I had to have my say. In response to this, I wrote:

Apparently, according to Wikipedia, I seem to be in camp (4):
Some thinkers associated with market-oriented American libertarianism, drawing on the work of Rothbard during his alliance with the left and on the thought of Karl Hess, came increasingly to identify with the left on a range of issues, including opposition to war, to corporate oligopolies and state-corporate partnerships, and an affinity for cultural liberalism. This left-libertarianism is associated with scholars such as Kevin Carson, Roderick T. Long, Samuel Edward Konkin III, Sheldon Richman, Chris Matthew Sciabarra and Gary Chartier who stress the value of radically free markets, termed "freed markets" to distinguish them from the common conception which these libertarians believe to be riddled with statist and capitalist privileges.

Though, to give credit where credit is due, another Wikipedia entry, mentions that "Chris Sciabarra is the only scholar associated with this school of left-libertarianism who is skeptical about anarchism; see Sciabarra's Total Freedom." In actuality, I have never taken a formal position on minarchism versus anarchism (I've had enough trouble, over the past forty years, defending the concept of a "dialectical libertarianism," so give me a break.)

But if we take even the Randian conception of the ideal limited government (which is closer to a Weberian ideal-type than it is to any concept rooted in the "facts of reality," that is, the reality of current and historical conditions), then there has never been a government on earth, which has been funded voluntarily and fully committed to the protection of the individual's rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. For me, that essentially means that there isn't a single "legitimate" state on earth. But we try our best to live as freely as we can, under the circumstances. And, yet, if we take the typical libertarian conception of "anarchism," with its stark dualistic emphasis on "state power" versus "social power," we are led to believe that by simply lopping off the state, Nirvana is in reach. This gives absolutely no attention to those personal and cultural conditions, which reinforce various forms of repression---so essential to the sustenance of statism. In truth, I merely "punted" the issue in Total Freedom, stating in a footnote (page 168 n. 53): "As to the possibility of a nondualistic libertarian anarchism, some hints are provided in Part Two." And in Part Two, I provide a few hints, but nothing beyond that.

These were my final comments on Cory's thread:

I've never come out as an anarchist ---but did go through a heavy anarcho-capitalist phase, only to critique it in part two of my book, Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. But a later essay by Charles W. Johnson (who, I might add, once took my cyberseminar eons ago on "The Dialectics of Liberty"), which appeared in a wonderful book [Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country? co-edited by Roderick Tracy Long and Tibor R. Machan]---may have pushed me closer to the anarchist wing. [Indeed, Johnson titled his essay, "Liberty, Equality, Solidarity: Toward a Dialectical Anarchism"---obviously a man after my own heart. :)]
I've always said that even by minarchist standards [see above], there is not a single state in history or in the world, that is legitimate. If you scratch me hard enough, you'll find not just the green-red-and-white of the Italian ancestry or the blue-and-white of the Greek ancestry, but that good ol' black-and-white flag of anarchists! ;)

These kinds of discussions, sadly, often degenerate into variations on "how many angels dance on the head of a pin." Because, in truth, this world is so far away from a society free of government intervention and social repression, and it is going to take a massive cultural and structural change for the very idea of "freedom" to become a historical force to be reckoned with.

But I'm happy Cory gave me the opportunity to provide additional thoughts on this topic. Someday, I'll have lots more to say about all this.