What Are Bleeding Heart Libertarians? How Do They Differ From Libertarians?

The BHL’s rely on the classical liberal Psychological Arguments as justification for the moral sentiments of care-taking, and grab ideas from everyone else. Good marketing but no arguments as yet other than psychological (moral).

The Cato Institute group relies more on a mix of historical, moral and legal arguments. But we can also classify them as a mix of Psychological school. Their blog tends to the Continental, even if their publications and policy recommendations remain Psychological.

The Austrian leaning libertarians at George Mason University rely on economic arguments. There arguments tend to mix Empirical and Psychological. Their error is that they keep trying to find an optimum morality for a polity to believe in. Which is irrational for an economist in particular.

The Misesians at Ludwig Von Mises Institute use the rationalism from continental jewish cosmopolitan arguments derived from the ethics of the ghetto during the jewish enlightenment. Unfortunately for liberty, their use of the internet was brilliant, and so the three other think tanks above (I’ll have to include myself in that group) are trying to restore liberty to the anglo empirical tradition, or the anglo psychological tradition. The reason being that Ghetto Ethics may be useful between states, but they are insufficient for the formation of a high trust polity. Unfortunately, the wealth of literature they produced sounds all well and good to some of us, but to conservatives (aristocratic egalitarians) they sound completely immoral. And people like Walter Block constantly advocating the morality of things like blackmail, or the right of extortion, simply make the case for liberty worse.

So I’ll argue that Vijay Krishnan’s positioning is OK in the sense that it’s true but insufficient to help the curious mind understand the moral content of these different philosophical traditions and the method in which they’re argumentatively structured. The better answer would be that these groups use parts of this spectrum of arguments:

  1. Sentimental (emotional intuition)
  2. Mythical (metaphor)
  3. Historical (analogy)
  4. Psychological (moral arguments = classical liberals)
  5. Rational ( continentals, ghetto cosompolitans, leftists of all stripes)
  6. Empirical (scientific and economic arguments – anglos)

These groups rely on some combination of arguments, with only the last three combined as something bordering on scientific.

Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Hoppe tried to reconcile their continental backgrounds with anglo-analytic arguments and economics. But they did not rely on science. Instead argued against science. But they didn’t have the evidence we have today.


Leave a Reply