Commonhood Liberaltarianism

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

Related Post Roulette

8 Responses

  1. E.D. Kain says:

    Really interesting post, Chris. I, too, believe in placing limits on the free market–I may even be a little more extreme in my call for this than you are–and namely because I view mass-marketization as easily as destructive to humanity as Big Government. Conservatives are all too often calling for the privatization of this or that public function–be it our schools, our roads, etc.–and what I think they fail to realize, is people don’t function properly in a world where everything is for sale. There is a dehumanizing effect. They don’t function well in a totalitarian state either, or in a socialist state where the natural flow of goods, the natural potential of the individual is quashed. But I believe in striking a balance, and perhaps you’ve struck on something I’ve been missing in my thoughts on this balance: the Commons.

    However, I would like you to expand not merely on this concept, but on how you see it implemented.


  2. Cascadian says:

    Chris: Would you argue the other way as well? (It seems implied, but could be my bias.) That actually devolving government to more local control would leave more room for the ‘commons’? Is it possible to be a global citizen in any real way? I’m a bit confused on what you really mean by commons.Report

  3. Chris Dierkes says:


    I wasn’t arguing for a global citizen frame. I was saying that I think Will Wilkinson’s views have this internal inconsistency–that on the one hand you would have to create upper layers of government to allow lower ones.

    Now is that automatically the case–which I take to be the nub of your question. Perhaps not. I think it would require however a nation-state breakdown scenario, which is a little scary to contemplate but not potentially out of the range of possibility. I don’t think it would ever come as Wilkinson would like, via some creation of a movement of what he calls the missing element in American politics (his liberaltarianism).

    In other words, power might be devolved to local contexts not from political decisions or the top letting power go, but simply things falling apart and running to the local level out of necessity.Report

  4. Chris Dierkes says:

    Peter Barnes wrote a book called Capitalism 3.0 which serves as a guide in much of my thinking on The Commons. I recommend it highly for philosophical reasons–even if one disagrees with his main policy application which is a Cap-Trade-Rebate Carbon Scheme.

    Barnes says the right is dominated by too much privatization (cf ED’s comment above) and the left by regulation or governmentalization (Mark’s original point in his liberaltarian post). What Barnes calls for is “propertization” claiming The Commons (e.g. sky) as property. Not individual property–a la Milton Friedman proposals for letting the market say run national parks–and not regulation either. But a real third leg of a stool that would be a power base neither corporate nor government (nor the fusion of the two).

    For private and government entities to access the sky (or the excess bandwith or all manner of potential Commons outlays) would require them paying some fee.

    We would then all be combinations of the above. Sometimes more in the private persona, other times as the Commons. That to me is the key, being able to hold multiple identities simultaneously. That to me is the core (psychologically) of the failure of both dominant parties and their ideologies. Lack of understanding that their views are valid only in certain scenarios and not in others.Report