24 March 2007

pragmatic libertarianism

i caught two mentions of the lack of pragmatism on the part of libertarians this weekend. the first is from Radicals for Capitalism by Brian Doherty.
The more distinctly libertarian types might read Road to Serfdom and find someone speaking to their secret heart, encouraging and compelling them to walk on an ideological path that among businessmen in the postwar era marked one as a bit of a queer duck, old-fashioned and possibly outmoded. But they were also imbued, many of them, with a sense that they couldn't, mustn't be quiet about these vital truths. The civilization they loved and fought to preserve and wanted to pass on to the their children was at stake. It was hard to explain to your neighbor or someone seated next to you at a dinner party why legalizing narcotics or protstitution, say, or ending public education was vital to the future of a free America; but it had to be said. You could get many friends and associates to nod along with you about domestic communism and about the excesses of the New Deal, but not some of these more outré ideas. But you had to express the whole truth: If your movement merely positioned itself as being against socialism (conceived as complete state ownership of the means of production), you were playing into the hands of the gradualist left in America. Although leftists were for heavy taxation and regulation and interference in empoyer-employee relations, they could truthfully say that they were against socialism too.
the second is from an LP blog post challenging LPers to come up with some constructive ideas rather than simply bitching about the gubmint.
Libertarians are often great at idealistic theory, but have been critized by some as being unable to find real solutions to the current issues of the day. Here's a challenge for the weekend. Let's try to find some workable libertarian solutions to these complicated problems as they have presented themselves in the congressional arena.
issuing such challenges should help limited gubmint types push a more coherent message to alter the debate. i doubt the current political hegemony will permit a third party to gain much traction, but maybe that isn't necessary in the short run. so stop merely complaining and find a tangible way to make a difference. and do some extra for me; i'll be on the couch.

i guess i would be remiss if i didn't remind the pooh-poohers of liberty they might be able to find a way to accomplish their own goals without using the implicit coercion in leveraging gubmint against each other. we're destroying society by trying to control it.

1 comment:

  1. "We're destroying society by trying to control it" Those words ring so very true. I think that you can also substitute 'nature' for 'society', and that statement works too.