I know many libertarians who think there is really no such thing as a left libertarian; I’m not one of them.
For instance, Charles Johnson (aka Rad Geek) is certainly a man of the left and certainly a libertarian. I’ve read his posts for years and he says many wise and reasonable things with which I fully agree. Sometimes though, his leftist commitments have him saying things I can make no sense of.
From an article Rad wrote with Roderick Long:
When radical feminists say that male supremacy rests in large part on the fact of rape—as when Susan Brownmiller characterizes rape as “a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear” (Against Our Will, p. 15)—libertarians often dismiss this on the grounds that not all men are literal rapists and not all women are literally raped. But when their own Ludwig von Mises says that “government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action,” that it rests “in the last resort” on “the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen,” and that its “essential feature” is “the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning”, libertarians applaud this as a welcome demystification of the state. Libertarians rightly recognize that legally enacted violence is the means by which all rulers keep all citizens in a state of fear, even though not all government functionaries personally beat, kill, or imprison anybody, and even though not all citizens are beaten, killed, or imprisoned; the same interpretive charity towards the radical feminist analysis of rape is not too much to ask.
I don’t think the attempt to parallel “all men keep all women in a state of fear” with “all rulers keep all citizens in a state of fear” works at all.
A “ruler’ in this sense is a ruler by choice. All such rulers intend to rule, they all freely choose to engage in unjustified aggression, whether they understand it to be unjustified aggression or not.
Can we reasonably say that all men freely choose to keep all women in a state of fear? I didn’t choose to be a man, nor do I think the fact that I’m a man commits me to keeping all women in a state of fear.
When Rad says, “…libertarians often dismiss this on the grounds that not all men are literal rapists and not all women are literally raped”, I find the use of the word “literal” particularly striking. He could have simply said not all men are rapists and not all women are raped, but that would not really suit his analogy to government functionaries. When an IRS agent, or some other state functionary, directs you to do something as a legal part of his job you are under the threat of force to comply, so each such individual directs violence against you in a very real sense.
If his analogy is sound it would seem that Rad, a man, considers himself *some* sort of rapist, or at least someone who keeps all women in fear by invoking violence against women.
I’n that case it seems fair to ask Rad what sort of rapist he considers himself to be, and why he chooses to keep all women in a state of fear.