Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Libertarian Class Analysis and Methodological Individualism
Chidem Kudras discusses a paper by Ralph Raico over at Think Markets.What this paper, and similar class analysis by, say, Murray Rothbard, illustrates is the actual way that methodological individualism functions in many libertarians' thinking: it is an ideological weapon with which to dismiss social explanations that one doesn't like, to be picked up when handy but dropped whenever another weapon will suit better. Thus, when, say, someone makes the point that individuals preferences themselves are often not a matter of their own choosing but are, as it were, handed to them by their social environment, including marketing, then such libertarians can load and fire methodological individualism and avoid having to really address the issue. On the other hand, when class analysis might serve to advance a case against the State, then methodological individualism is put back in the closet and ignored.
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