Grow up, Libertarians!
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Jun 14, 2013
Your philosophy is superficial, juvenile nonsense. Here's what you should focus on instead
Since I published my Salon essay,“The Question Libertarians Just Can’t Answer,” true believers in the libertarian cult have been struggling to answer the simple but devastating question I asked: If libertarianism is such a good idea, why aren’t there any libertarian countries?
Writing in Reason, Ronald Bailey cites the spread of particular liberties since the eighteenth century as evidence that the entire world is becoming libertarian. But he ignores the fact that the welfare state and business regulation have grown up together with democracy and civil liberties. The citizens of democracies prefer to vote themselves generous social insurance benefits. They also insist on using government to police business firms while benefiting from a market economy.
Most of Bailey’s examples assume that this or that trend of which he approves will continue forever. For example, he points out that cross-border migrants now constitute one in 33 people (putting it this way makes it sound more impressive than “no more than 3 percent of the human race”). He doesn’t mention that even this surprisingly small amount of global migration has produced anti-immigrant backlashes in most developed countries, including the U.S., where comprehensive immigration reform may fail once again.
Writing in The Economist, a libertarian-leaning magazine, Will Wilkinson tries to answer my question in a different way:
One doesn’t have to be fond of libertarianism to imagine perfectly sound answers. When I was a libertarian, I might have said that there are no libertarian countries because too few people have been persuaded to become libertarians, just as at one point in our history too few men had been persuaded to support women’s suffrage. When enough have been persuaded, it will be tried.
Wilkinson is confusing policies and systems. In my essay, I took care to distinguish the two. I pointed out that particular useful policies favored by libertarians can be adopted by modern countries, without fundamentally altering the dominant mixed-economy model that blends markets, government and the nonprofit sector in a compound that will always be too “statist” for libertarians.
#2 Jun 14, 2013
Q: What did the midget IrishMN say when I asked him for a dollar? A: "Sorry, I'm a little short"
#3 Jun 14, 2013
Wishing libertards would grow is like wishing a snail would fly to the moon.
#4 Jun 14, 2013
Wishing Schmahl would get his GED and a life is like wishing a snail would fly to the moon.
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