Jeffrey Tucker’s essay on delusions of the left would be more persuasive to the left if it didn’t begin by suggesting that early proponents of a minimum wage (presumably all or most of them) only wanted to exclude the marginally productive from work to starve the reproductive impulse out of them. Jeffery finds an historical, progressive eugenicist supporting a minimum wage for this reason, but finding this eugenicist does not support the presumption.

I can find self-described “libertarians” today claiming that a welfare state encourages reproduction of the marginally productive, but libertarians generally are not motivated by this reasoning. Quoting one of these libertarians does not persuade libertarians generally (including me) to abandon our ideals, delusional or otherwise, even if the claim is distasteful to us.

I can also find libertarians who blithely ignore the destructive effects of countless impositions when discussing the incredibly wealthy, as when Doug French argues that an objection to Jeff Bezos’ $30.5 billion is attributable to envy. Doug attributes Bezos’ wealth to the value that Bezos provides to millions of Amazon.com customers, as though Bezos himself provides all of this value, as opposed to Amazon’s 1-Click patent and countless similar impositions. We could discuss these impositions (only the impositions benefiting Jeff Bezos specifically) and nothing else at this web site and never exhaust the subject. We don’t, but many articles discuss evils, real and imagined, of the minimum wage. Why? [That’s a friendly question for my libertarian friends.]

I discuss the wonders of Amazon.com myself at freebanking.org a few days before Doug posted his essay, so my delusions include no general hostility toward Amazon or even toward Jeff Bezos (as opposed to his patent), but I do identify more with “the left” (including historical libertarians identified with “the left” primarily before the middle of the 20th century) than with “the right”. I don’t take a simplistic, two dimensional, political spectrum very seriously, but I do object less to the minimum wage than to other impositions Jeffrey discusses, like the incredible expenditures on the military industrial complex, and I don’t feel delusional in this regard either.

The “leftist” feeling is more humanitarian, and if I must have a delusion, I’ll stick with this one. We all have our delusions in fact. We all have our tenets of faith. The Lockean story of the emergence of private property on the commons, and its provisos, and the non-aggression principle and the subjective theory of value and other axioms of Austrian economics are all assumptions organizing libertarian thoughts and actions.

I would not freely belong to a community that does not provide a minimal quality of life to its members. Holding me in such a community requires force, not because I imagine any “natural right” to a given quality of life but because my humanity impels me to sympathize with my fellow human beings, most naturally with a familial tribe but also, through cultural norms evolving outside of my gene pool, for human beings as such.

Some of us like to imagine that our ethical formulations are the embodiment of objective truth, but these libertarians seem the most delusional to me, not the least. Since we all adopt tenets of faith and can hardly organize our thoughts otherwise, a seeker after truth must carefully distinguish these tenets, inescapable though they are, from the truth; however, this distinction does not lower ethical principles in my estimation. We cherish these principles above others, because even more than mathematical logic and empirical science, they give us our sense of being fully human.