Jason’s piece has already inspired a number of responses, but one element I wanted to point out was Jason’s rather unexpected agreement with Patrick Deneen. Here’s the quotation from Deneen’s Cato Unbound piece that Jason highlighted a few days ago:
[L]iberal anthropology… underlies both the Left’s infatuation with the State as an agent of liberation, as well as the Right’s embrace of the Market as the primary engine of human liberty. While seemingly opposed, both agents are understood to derive from, and ultimately support, the maintenance of the autonomous, freely willing self. Both are curiously anti-social entities, relying on impersonal mechanisms for the supply of human goods. Both ask little of individuals by way of actual concern for, or deep involvement with, the lives and fates of others. Our relationships, either through the State and the Market, are rendered abstract and theoretical, with each serving respectively as the impersonal replacement for actual human relations and commitments. Each relieves selves of the burdens and obligations of care, and instead derives from an understanding of polity and society in which the self can be only truly liberated when relations are rendered fungible, voluntary and contingent.
And then here’s Jason:
Liberals and libertarians want basically the same thing — maximal empowerment for the individual to pursue diverse, possibly discordant, and highly unpredictable life plans, each of their own choosing, within a framework that aims at maximal freedom of choice for all. We don’t hate the community; we simply understand the individual is the building block of any authentic community, and we want those building blocks to be as sound as they can be. The two liberalisms only disagree on the proper means to that end, and possibly on some definitions along the way. We can work on those. There’s a project there.
I never expected to see our own Jason agreeing with Prof. Deneen, but there you have it: both see a fundamental alliance — or conspiracy — between statists and free-maketeers.
What I’m not clear on is where (or if) they disagree. Jason says that libertarians and libertarians do care about community, and that they simply see individuals as the building blocks of “authentic” communities. But what makes a community “authentic” in liberal and libertarian eyes? Does it have to be freely chosen from a position of perfect autonomy? Does it require the kinds of relationships found in Deneen’s counterfeit communities, ones that are “fungible, voluntary and contingent?”