Sunday, February 15, 2009

Looking Around, Where Are The Libertarian Going?

Feeling boxed in to a conservative label by the stimulus arguments I went looking again. I am trying to find constructive disarming and well place with more traffic to link to. The first is is nearly impossible the second is nearly impossible not to find. So in my travels there is this: Econlog. Right at the top is an outtake from a libetrarian disscution an this:

"I confess to being an intellectual snob, but by the same token I claim to be able to differentiate between knowledge and educational pedigree. I respect a well-read self-taught individual more than a Harvard-educated narrow-minded one.

To put it another way, I see a difference between Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin. To the average lefty, both of them are morons. I think Reagan was genuinely engaged with profound ideas. Palin may have talent and charisma, but I do not think she could explain Hayek."

Great! I can explain Hayek either but I can learn. Parts of the back and forth are just about over my head as well as other parts of this blog. That's a good thing as long as I don't drown.

There has been an ongoing debate about where the Republicans should go after the election. It is largely settled now. Some of the fall out is discussions on libertarian ideas. I admit that I am a novice when it comes to the detailed intellectual (in the weeds) knowledge of libertarianism. The definition changes? Some times it is for anarchy and at time it takes more of a socialist bent?

It is still murky. Most of this discussion (I didn't read every word) is about who the libertarians will embrace now or who will embrace them. I would in a novice way that they should go there own way. Throw some of the craziness overboard and take power. Many cases have been make both way if RINOs could run on their own. Libertarians falls into same kind of place. I do believe the answer to both is yes.
I am not trying following their points exactly. This back and forth started in 06 with:

Brink Lindsey and:
"Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that capitalism's relentless dynamism and wealth-creation--the institutional safeguarding of which lies at the heart of libertarian concerns--have been pushing U.S. society in a decidedly progressive direction. The civil rights movement was made possible by the mechanization of agriculture, which pushed blacks off the farm and out of the South with immense consequences. Likewise, feminism was encouraged by the mechanization of housework. Greater sexual openness, as well as heightened interest in the natural environment, are among the luxury goods that mass affluence has purchased. So, too, are secularization and the general decline in reverence for authority, as rising education levels (prompted by the economy's growing demand for knowledge workers) have promoted increasing independence of mind."(cont.)
"Hence today's reactionary politics. Here, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the rival ideologies of left and right are both pining for the '50s. The only difference is that liberals want to work there, while conservatives want to go home there."

It goes on to link changes in tax policy on the liberal side to what I consider conservative ideas in order to move the libertarians there direction. FASCinating.

"Many bloggers seem to be fixated on the immediate political feasibility of libertarian/liberal fusionism. But I think this misses the point. Feasibility is in part a function of the availability of a well-developed and broadly understood position, and a grasp of the kind of policy that follows from it. Fixating on the status quo balance of interest groups is a great way to go nowhere, or just to drift with the waxing and waning of constituencies wedded to superannuated ideas. I think Brink has opened an important conversation for liberals of all stripes genuinely concerned with helping people successfully exercise their autonomy and lead satisfying, dignified lives"

Jonah Goldberg responds:
"The first principles simply aren't aligned. The theoretical arguments in favor of the stimulus amount to rubbing the libertarian cat's fur backwards. And the so-called "libertarian center" hardly seems to be decisive or even relevant to the public debate. In the most important and fundamental debate about the role of government in a generation, the libertarians are lining-up with, and even marching out in front of, the conservatives."

John Hood follows:
"But that's not the same as suggesting that there is at least as much of a natural affinity between libertarians and modern-day liberals as there is between libertarians and modern-day conservatives, if not more. This statement just isn't true. The principles of liberty and virtue are certainly in tension within the broadly construed Right, but the principles of liberty and egalitarianism would be perpetually at war within a reconstructed Left."

Will Wilkinson's response:

"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.

So “whatever happened to liberaltarianism” is that it’s an ongoing project to change who talks to whom, to freshen the stale dialectic of American politics, and to create new possibilities for American political identity."

"sound social saftey net"? Private sector or governmental?

Then two posts: The Future of Liberaltarianism and The Future of Liberaltarianism (II)

"This is obviously a political gloss on what is essentially an intellectual project, and I know Will, like many libertarians I admire, prides himself on not thinking in terms of partisanship. But for anyone who cares about political outcomes, I think it's important to consider the correlation of forces when you set out on ideological projects - especially in a country where the two-party structure has been as durable as it's been in ours. I understand the impulse for smart, independent-minded libertarians to flee what seems like an increasingly anti-intellectual American Right and seek conversations and alliances with the friendlier parts of the left-of-center. But the vacuum on the Right also militates in favor of smart, idiosyncratic thinkers trying to fill it, instead of fighting for a seat at the crowded liberal table. "

As fun as all this is I still think you need a leader that would clarify libertarian positions for the party and run with it. Drag who you can from the two parties and go. With some wins those who are not wedded to the parties will leave for something more in their wheel house.

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