The Tone-Deafness of the “Statism” Charge

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Ryan says:

    Your early talk about Jonah ties in kind of nicely with Freddie’s point about how it’s irresponsible to allow conservatives off the hook for the sins of a government they supported. Goldberg may believe whatever he wants, but that doesn’t change the fact that he and National Review were a never-ending fount of support for the Republican government we just had. Its crimes belong, in some sense, to him. And that he has the audacity to call conservatism anti-statist at this point is laughable at best.Report

  2. Avatar Dave says:

    Unfortunately, to accomodate the coalition with the Right, libertarians largely dropped their emphasis on liberty and individualism (which is completely incompatible with many elements of the modern coalition of the Right), settling instead for an emphasis on small government (which is less a principle than a hypothetical means of achieving any number of ends that were – and often still are – compatible with the other elements of the coalition of the Right). And so you wind up with self-described libertarians emphasizing things like states’ rights when it comes to government-sponsored discrimination (since ending that discrimination would entail the growth of federal authority) while largely ignoring the effects that state-level government discrimination has on individual liberty.

    Mark, it sounds to me like you are describing paleolibertarians (or Ron Paul). The paleolibertarians (i.e. Rothbard) were never part of the coalition with the Right.

    If I am incorrect, then can you please be more specific as to who you are describing? I certainly don’t see this mindset coming out of the Cato Institute or from the folks at Reason.Report

  3. Well, I would disagree with the assertion that paleo-libertarians as a group were never part of the coalition of the Right. There have long been, to say the least, a lot of ties between paleo-conservatives and paleo-libertarians. And it’s not exactly a coincidence that Ron Paul is a Republican.

    But none of this is to say that ALL libertarians of any stripe were part of the coalition of the Right. What it is to say, however, is that many libertarians of all stripes, cosmopolitan, paleo, Objectivists, or otherwise have found themselves long affiliated with the political Right – a pattern that, I jump to add, has begun to change significantly in recent years.

    Simply put, we live in a two-party system. Unless you either don’t vote at all or only vote for the LP, there will always be one party that you find more palatable than the other. When that party is consistently more palatable than the other party for a period of years (as was the case for several decades), it is inevitable that the various ideologies that make up that coalition will cross-polinate.

    And by the way, I’m not arguing that there’s anything wrong with getting involved in the two party system, corrupt as it may be. In fact, I tend to think that it’s the most worthwhile way of attempting to enact legitimate change. But it’s worth being aware of the way in which coalition politics can affect one’s worldview in the long-run.Report

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