Is the United States Too Big to Succeed?

Although European libertarians continue to produce great works of theory and activism, the United States has been, and seems to remain, the epicenter of the libertarian movement. There are no prominent protests in Europe calling for less governmental help as there are in the United States. Murray Rothbard’s essay “Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty” refers to the United States as “the great home of radical liberalism.” In 1996, Dr. Yuri Maltsev presented a lecture at a Ludwig von Mises Institute summit entitled “Why America Must Be Saved,” making the case for the United States as the greatest hope in the struggle for freedom. Writing favorably of the tea-party movement, Peruvian writer and recent Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa distinguished the American individualist tradition as stronger than the European one:

In the United States … individualism has never had the bad press it had in Europe.… In the purest American tradition, it is not the state but the citizen who is first responsible for failure or success.

Despite the more muted prevalence of libertarians in Europe, they enjoy a dynamic absent in America: strong regional identity reinforced by language and cultural barriers far greater than the relatively homogenized United States. As Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe might say, Europe has more “international anarchy,” . . .

However, what remains of European regionalism may very well do more to promote the cause of liberty than the more vigorous, better organized libertarian movement in the United States. . . .

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