Thinking over the ongoing intra-libertarian feud between right and left libertarians, I was reminded by this quote by Thomas Sowell regarding John Stuart Mill, who I think exemplifies the left-libertarian attitude:
“Mill’s On Liberty has often been seen – mistakenly – as a plea for greater freedom of all from government, when it was in fact a plea for differential exemption of the annointed from social criticism. That is, the annointed should judge and influence the benighted, but not vice-versa. Mill saw government in the England of his day as no longer a major threat to freedom. It was the social ‘tyranny of the majority’ and ‘the despotism of Custom’ that he opposed in On Liberty.
What he considered to be desirable was that individuals be free to do as they like ‘without detriment to their estimation’ in the eyes of others. Today, that is called being ‘nonjudgmental’ – and, very often in practice, it too is a principle applied selectively as between the annointed and the benighted.”
Granted, it would be difficult, to the point of impossibility, to identify a single cause that separates right and left libertarians. But, undoubtedly, one of the most prominent points of departure is this difference of opinion on the desirability of social pressure.