George Orwell, Dishonest Rhetoric, and the Libertarian Movement
The key-word here is ‘objectively’.
We are told that it is only people’s objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort, are ‘objectively’ aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true, the ‘objectively’ line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore ‘Trotskyism is Fascism’. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
So when left-libertarians accuse (some) right-libertarians of supporting corporatism, this is to be understood in a de re sense, not in a de dicto sense. Thus the claim is that right-libertarians are supporting certain policies/institutions/phenomena that are in fact instances of corporatism; we are not claiming that right-libertarians are deliberately supporting them qua instances of corporatism – and so pointing out that they’re not is not relevant as a reply to the original point.
The other post was by Walter Block, accusing Wendy McElroy of not being a libertarian. To Walter's credit, he goes into some detail in describing the immense evidence that Wendy is a libertarian, having been active in the movement for decades. But he concludes that nonetheless she is not, on the grounds that she opposes the Ron Paul campaign, which Walter believes libertarians ought to support. He writes:
I distinguish between being a libertarian, and agreeing with (virtually all) libertarian principles. The former implies that you act so as to promote liberty. The latter means that you agree with these principles, and, may, perhaps, as in her case at present, act against them. I have no doubt that Wendy is a libertarian in the second sense. Her whole adult life gives amply testimony to that fact. She believes in the libertarian message, fervently. She defends it, brilliantly. She extends it, creatively. But, as far as acting so as to promote liberty, her trashing of Dr. Ron Paul’s candidacy gives the lie to that. Belief is necessary, but not sufficient, for being a libertarian. Wendy passes the first test, but not the second.