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Russell Kirk's "Libertarians, the Chirping Sectaries"

The Human Action Podcast

Tags LibertarianismOther Schools of ThoughtPolitical Theory

07/30/2021Jeff DeistBradley J. Birzer

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":
Rothbard's "Myth and Truth About Libertarianism":
Dr. Birzer's "Kirk and the Libertarians":
Hornberger's "An Open Letter to Russell Kirk":

Contact Jeff Deist

Jeff Deist is former president of the Mises Institute. He is a writer, public speaker, and advocate for property, markets, and civil society. Jeff was chief of staff to Congressman Ron Paul. Contact: email; Twitter.

Bradley J. Birzer

Bradley J. Birzer is the co-founder of The Imaginative Conservative and Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College. He is a Fellow of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.