Bret Weinstein: Left and Right Libertarians Should Unite

Sp!ked Magazine,

Release Date
January 15, 2018


Civil Liberties Government Liberty Role of Government

Bret Weinstein, evolutionary biologist and former professor at Evergreen State College, makes the case that those who value liberty—whether we lean right or lean left—should unite in its defense.
Excerpted from Spiked Magazine’s ‘Unsafe Space Tour’ panel discussion at New York Law School.

    1. Democrat vs. Republican is Outdated (video): “There’s this big shuffling of the deck going on in most western democracies,” says Professor Steve Davies, on the global political realignment of globalists vs. nationalists. 
    2. Are You An Ideological Robot? – The Ideological Turing Test (video): A lot of people don’t really understand their ideological opponents. Here’s how to test whether you are the exception. 
    3. Freedom: Benefits of a Basic Income Guarantee vs. Welfare (video): We spend over a trillion dollars every year on welfare benefits in the U.S.—that’s over $20,000 for each poor person in the country. Prof. Matt Zwolinski asks, would a “Basic Income Guarantee” or “Universal Basic Income” that scraps the hundreds of different bureaucracies currently doling out this money, and simply gives this money directly to those in need, be a compromise that libertarians can get behind? 

With respect to question of socialism, how I think if I understood the question correctly, how could we effectively make a socialist program viable, which is a greater obstacle to it white supremacy or the democratic party? I thought that was kind of a cool way of putting it, but I want to level a challenge back, a thought experiment for all those who have some sort of sympathy with the ideals expressed by socialists. I want you to think for a moment what would happen if they simply faced no opposition of any kind and were capable of instituting the policies that they favor, do you think it would work? Now of course it would work. Well, I have to say I’m ever less convinced that it would. Now, I also think that if we did the experiment on the other side of the spectrum, if we handed power over to economic libertarians and we allowed them to deregulate anything, do you think it would work? Absolutely not. So, my point is actually this one, if you’re familiar, I wanna be cautious about the political compass test itself, this is an online test that allows you to diagnose yourself in a four quadrant model. I don’t know how good the questions are at actually placing people on it, but I do think that the diagram that has two axes, a left-right axis on the X and authoritarian versus libertarian on the Y-axis, is actually a very useful way of looking at things and my point would be that the two libertarian quadrants, libertarian left where I am, libertarian right where the economic libertarians are, those two quadrants. Once they recognize that nobody in those quadrants actually knows the description of the system that we should be building have tremendous reason to unite because actually we are agreed about values. We are agreed about the fundamental importance of liberty and now what we need to do is have a discussion about how practical interventions might be and what those interventions we might propose would be. In light of what we now know that those who architected the ideas behind socialism didn’t know, so I would say not to make it too black and white, but the the enemy of those who hold liberty as a great value are the authoritarians and the two authoritarian quadrants are actually not united. They don’t like each other and for good reason, so there is great advantage in putting our differences aside in those two libertarian quadrants and recognizing that the differences we have are about policy and that none of us have the right answers on that front.