Friday, March 04, 2011

Remember Liberaltarianism?

Brink Lindsey and Will Wilkinson tried to convince liberals to adopt their libertarianism, as they were frustrated by Republican social conservatism and foreign policy. I too don't like social conservatism and expansive foreign policy, but I still vote Republican, because like the Tea Party, there's a greater general desire to shrink government control among Republicans. Smaller government ultimate means less medling of all sorts, and as Milton Friedman noted, it's the lesser of two evils if you have to choose one. Republicans are less adverse to gays than Democrats are to God and guns.

The vilification of the billionaire libertarian Koch brothers by the Left highlights this big idea is going nowhere. As David Bernstein notes:

The Kochs would appear to be the perfect liberaltarians–they support gay marriage, drug legalization, opposed the Iraq War, want to substantially cut military spending, and gave $20 million to the ACLU to oppose the Patriot Act (compared to a relatively piddling $43,000 to Scott Walker’s election campaign).

It’s not surprising that some demagogic “Progressives” would nevertheless choose to try to demonize the Kochs to defend the Democratic money machine that public employee unions represent (update: though note that the attack on the Kochs began last Summer). What is, if not surprising, at least a bit depressing, is how few prominent liberal commentators have spoken out against the ongoing attempted Emmanuel Goldsteinization of the Kochs.

Indeed, Hans Bader points out that even the ACLU, as noted a major Koch beneficiary, has helped organize anti-Koch rallies, though the Kochs involvement in small government economic issues seems rather far removed from what is supposed to be the ACLU’s core agenda. So much for liberaltarianism.

'Emmanuel Goldsteinization'. Heh.


The Arthurian said...

Hi Eric. Your blog turned up when I googled Don Patinkin -- your 2008 post on global warming. That's how I got here.

I am reminded by your post of the words of Hayek in The Road to Serfdom:

"It is not the source but the limitation of power which prevents it from being arbitrary."

Art S.

Anonymous said...

Liberals are not really liberals, they are socialists/progressives/democrats. We have witnessed in the US and Europe the steady movement of socialists seizing civil liberties of its constituents for politically correct ideas. The progressive/socialist/democrat assault on free speech is perhaps the easiest and most serious attack on human rights underway. I see no common ground between socialists and libertarians. Socialists are consumed with the conceptual ideal of freedom, equality, and fairness to care about individual rights concerning freedom, equality, and justice.

As a libertarian I have voted republican in the recent past. I see democrats at rooted firmly in pushing ideas before people. I see ideologues running the democratic party who care less about America or its people. They care only for themselves and the ideas they use to feel important.

The Kochs are fools to try appeasing socialists who despise them for their very being.

Anonymous said...

very hard to reconcile your claim about 'shrinking govt' with the policies of any republican president in the last 30 years.

Eric Falkenstein said...

It's disappointing, but relatively, I think Reps are less in favor of more gov't than Dems...the counterfactual is impossible to run