@Paul, I think that most libertarian discussion on “equality before the law,” “equality of opportunity,” “equality of outcomes,” etc. tends to be pretty confused and unproductive, for the reasons that Roderick Long talks about in “Equality: The Unknown Ideal” (http://mises.org/daily/804). For what it’s worth, while I think (as Gary says) that the really important issue is equality of political authority (equality before the law is valuable only a special case of that, and worthless in the absence of equality of authority), I also think that libertarians who rag on the ideal of equality of outcomes are missing something politically and socially important. Obviously, coercion should not be used, Harrison Bergeron-style, to somehow guarantee equality of outcomes. But I think that there is an important question, not about how to guarantee equality of outcomes, but rather where most of the actually-existing inequalities of outcomes come from. Do they largely come from free market processes? Or do they largely come from government intervention? I would argue the latter — that we don’t have free labor markets, capital markets, or land markets right now, and that most of the extent, intensity, and durability of socioeconomic inequality can be traced either to the direct effects of government coercion, or the indirect ripple effects of the rigidified and rigged markets that government coercion creates. So if you want less socioeconomic inequality, I’d say the best way to get it is through individual liberty and free markets; in any case, the inequalities of outcome that we have today are to a very large extent the result of the inequalities of authority (invasions against individual liberty) that we face.
@Gary, thanks for the kind words and for the mention. The bit about Lee’s picture of the electoral left and the electoral right’s views on majority rule was one of the more … interesting moments of the conversation. (Along with being informed that Anarchistic socialism actually started with the CNT.) I didn’t spend any time responding to it because, really, it’s just bewildering, and what can you say at that point?
For what it’s worth, the conversation was arranged on request from Mark Edge at Free Talk Live. We’d done separate interviews for FTL the previous night and Mark thought it would be interesting to get some cross-talk going.
@Angela, I don’t know precisely what he calls himself, but Doren is head of CEI’s Bureaucrash these days. (Which is a whole story in itself.) So, there’s some broad, upper-quadrant-of-the-Nolan-Chart sort of sense in which you could probably call him a “libertarian.” But that’s about as far as it goes. Which did cause some problems for figuring out how the conversation ought to go — since the debate was nominally about left and right, but really also was about a number of cross-cutting issues (e.g. anarchism vs. small-statism, radicalism vs. reformism, anti-electoralism vs. conventional political participation, revisionist vs. establishment views of history, etc. etc. etc.).
Also, thank you for the reminder of B-1 Bob. I used to watch him all the time back when I was in high school — the most entertaining act on C-SPAN this side of Minister’s Questions.