The progressive left and the conservative right have something in common. That commonality is the anarchist tendency, the distrust of government, and the lack of faith in authority. The difference between the two sides is that the left generally comes from the working or middle class, and generally supports workers. This form of libertarianism would be the Noam Chomsky faction.
Noam Chomsky libertarians aka libertarian socialists typically believe in:
- Opposition to coercive forms of capitalism (wage slavery).
- Opposition to private property in the means of production.(The workers own the tools, factory, publicly owned infrastructure, think free software movement)
- Opposition to authoritarianism.
Ron Paul libertarians aka Objectivists typically believe in:
- .Opposition to coercive government (excessive regulation, socialism, etc.)
- An absolute belief in private property ownership, and a belief in individual self determination. (as opposed to believing in public property ownership such as the case where the government or workers own the means of production)
- Opposition to authoritarianism.
The primary area of disagreement between the two factions is on property rights. Noam Chomsky explains this difference when he addressed Ron Paul and his supporters saying:”Under all circumstances? Suppose someone facing starvation accepts a contract with General Electric that requires him to work 12 hours a day locked into a factory with no health-safety regulations, no security, no benefits, etc. And the person accepts it because the alternative is that his children will starve. Fortunately, that form of savagery was overcome by democratic politics long ago. Should all of those victories for poor and working people be dismantled, as we enter into a period of private tyranny (with contracts defended by law enforcement)? Not my cup of tea.“
This is a sharp contrast to the views of Ron Paul which are very much in favor of a very different kind of property ownership. The kind which does not provide a means for workers to have the negotiating power to have safety regulations for example. The sort of property rights which are absolute, an individual can own the human genome, own the air, the food, the water, as there is no concept of public property supported.
The main distinction between these views can be identified as a disagreement on the fundamental function of government and the relationship government should have towards workers. This second area of disagreement between the factions is further highlighted by Chomsky when he says: “Dismantling of big government sounds like a nice phrase. What does it mean? Does it mean that corporations go out of existence, because there will no longer be any guarantee of limited liability? Does it mean that all health, safety, workers rights, etc., go out the window because they were instituted by public pressures implemented through government, the only component of the governing system that is at least to some extent accountable to the public (corporations are unaccountable, apart from generally weak regulatory apparatus)? Does it mean that the economy should collapse, because basic R&D is typically publicly funded? like what we’re now using, computers and the internet? “
The two sides can come together and agree on social issues. Libertarians on the left and right for example are unified against the war on drugs, are unified in support of and the promotion of civil liberties, civil rights, or individual rights. In general both sides desire to promote individual liberty, the difference is in the class of the individuals they wish to promote liberty for, the civil liberties they wish to promote, and in the form of collective organization they choose to utilize to reach their ends.