Russell Kirk’s “Libertarians, the Chirping Sectaries”

Professor Bradley Birzer from Hillsdale College joins the show to dissect Russell Kirk’s famous 1981 essay condemning libertarians. Is libertarianism necessarily utopian and unworkable, as Kirk suggests? Is it hubris to imagine we don’t need the state—or even God—to prevent social chaos? Do libertarians have more in common with Communists than conservatives? Or was Kirk simply attacking an absurd strawman of the atomistic individual, with Rothbard as the particular (unstated) target of his ire? Dr. Birzer is a thoroughgoing scholar of Kirk, and provides great insights into the context and thinking behind this critique.

Russel Kirk’s “Libertarians, The Chirping Sectaries”: Mises.org/Kirk
Rothbard’s “Myth and Truth About Libertarianism”: Mises.org/HAP77a
Dr. Birzer’s “Kirk and the Libertarians”: Mises.org/HAP77b
Hornberger’s “An Open Letter to Russell Kirk”: Mises.org/HAP77c

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The Mises Institute exists to promote teaching and research in the Austrian school of economics, and individual freedom, honest history, and international peace, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard. These great thinkers developed praxeology, a deductive science of human action based on premises known with certainty to be true, and this is what we teach and advocate. Our scholarly work is founded in Misesian praxeology, and in self-conscious opposition to the mathematical modeling and hypothesis-testing that has created so much confusion in neoclassical economics. Visit https://mises.org

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