I am a left-libertarian. This is a position that seems contradictory to many, both libertarian and not; libertarianism is traditionally seen as being a movement of the Right, or even the farthest extreme of the Right, existing as an apologetic philosophy for corporatism and elitism. I believe that this is fundamentally mistaken. The Right, I think, is properly seen today as being the status quo of state-capitalism, dominated by an elite of bureaucrats and plutocrats, whose ends are power and authority at the expense of everyone else. Even modern day “liberals” and social democrats are rightist in this sense; merely reforming a fundamentally evil system is not enough, and the state-socialist means of compulsion and centralization contradict their declared “leftist” ends. Thus, the Left is properly conceived as being those whose ends are peace, justice, and prosperity, and whose means don’t conflict with those ends.
For libertarians reading this, it will probably help if I explain why I am a “thick” libertarian first, as opposed to “thin” libertarianism. Thin libertarianism is the position that politics is the ethics of the use of force; nothing more and nothing less. Political philosophy doesn’t and can’t have anything to say about society, other than that aggression is wrong. Any set of social and cultural norms is seen as being compatible with the political philosophy of liberty, as long as they are non-coercive. Thick libertarianism, on the other hand, is the position that liberty is fundamentally intertwined with other concerns. Politics is broader than statements about the permissible use of force, and justice is more than non-aggression. Note that left-libertarians are not the only thick libertarians; paleolibertarian conservatives and Objectivists also hold thick views on political philosophy.
I am a left-libertarian, because I am a thick libertarian who sees that the “leftist” values of anti-authoritarianism, mutuality, and equality are fundamentally entailed by the same principles that make me anti-statist. A society built on authority and hierarchy, where social evils such as patriarchy and xenophobia are widely accepted cultural norms, is not a just society, even if it is non-coercive. A just society is one where every individual’s flourishing is not subject to the arbitrary whims of others, one where people are not held back by society, but instead encouraged to become the best person that they can be.