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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » liberaltarianism

liberaltarianism


That’s the buzzword.

Libertarian political stance is one of liberty (and thus, individual rights) and free-market economics. Neither side is willing to give us free-market economics – even when they say they are. Liberals do side with libertarians about liberty, civil rights, etc. The old guard of the GOP were staunch free-market economists – neocons, not so much. The GOP alienated much of its libertarian base during the last presidential election. And the Democrats didn’t appeal much to them either at the time, but now they are in a position to be negotiated with. And the lefties tend to be pro-liberty. Which brings me to this point…

Which is easier to get back from the government once it has taken it from you? A) Liberty and civil rights or B) the economy. I’ll go with B. And take a guess why so many libertarians would so freely, if only temporarily, side with the liberals? They like option B.

Will Wilkenson thinks we can make this work:

There’s a lot of diversity within libertarianism. And the most common forms of libertarianism are, I think, still pretty well shot through with conservative reflexes bred by the long Cold War alliance between libertarians and the right. For many libertarians, hating the left just feels like home. So many libertarians will indeed come running home when called to service by the organs of partisan conservativism. Well, good luck to y’all, but I was never on the team, and I’ve never wanted less to be on it. I’d rather work the long angle.

I think Obama and the Democrats are already in the process of screwing it up. The romance of transformative hope is going to wear off pretty quick as all-but-uncontested Democratic policy deepens and lengthens the recession. There’s a lot of culturally and psychologically liberal people out there who are, and are going to be, interested in a liberalism that actually works. I want to use this time of ferment to work on developing the missing option in American politics: an authentically liberal governing philosophy that understands that limited government, free markets, a culture of tolerance, and a sound social safety net are the best means to better lives.

Ilya Somin @ The Volokh Conspiracy gives his opinion of it (Please, read the whole post!)

That said, we must be realistic. There is not going to be any viable liberaltarianism in the near future – whether in the form of a political coalition or an intellectual movement. If the Democrats take some political setbacks, and Obama’s big government policies come to be perceived as failures, liberals may become more open to liberaltarian ideas – as some were as a result of Democratic setbacks in the 1980s and 90s. Until then, liberals and libertarians can still listen to each other and cooperate on a few selected issues where we happen to agree. But not much more than that.

I have witnessed no less than six people join the libertarian ranks in the last six months -many of whom previously knew nothing of politics and are now rabid political junkies and inundate me with political maneuverings.

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