August 17, 2006

The Death of Libertarianism?

Michael Lind in the Financial Times sticks a fork in Libertarianism. Let's pray he's right.
The most epochal event in world politics since the cold war has occurred – and few people have noticed. I am not referring to the conflict in Iraq or Lebanon or the campaign against terrorism.

It is the utter and final defeat of the movement that has shaped the politics of the US and other western democracies for several decades: the libertarian counter-revolution.

For nearly a decade, the Republican party has controlled Washington and most state legislatures. And yet every big proposal of the libertarians has been rejected by the public and their elected representatives. Their only temporary achievement has been tax cuts, which are likely to be rolled back at least in part to reduce the deficit in the years ahead. With the disappearance as a significant force of the libertarian right, the centre of gravity inevitably will shift somewhat left in matters of political economy. But we will not see a restoration of the mid-20th century pattern because there will be no revival of the socialist left. The demise of both socialism and libertarianism pretty much limits the field to moderate social democracy and big-government conservatism. The limitation of options on the horizontal left-right spectrum is accompanied, however, by a growing vertical, top-bottom divide between an elite committed to globalisation and mass immigration and a populist, nationalist majority. If this replaces the older horizontal left-right divide, then we may see a third, “third way” – one which positions itself between the crudest forms of populism and utopian forms of transnationalism.

The libertarian moment has passed. It will not come again, and its defeat as a force in US politics will change the definitions of right, left and centre – not just in the US but also, the world.


At 8/17/2006 2:36 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

We need to get back to the days when people were actually concerned about wasteful pork-barrel spending and politicians would at least pay it lip service. Not anymore.

Unfortunately now it seems like nobody complains and both parties continue to piss money away on programs that are not required by the Constitution. Where is the outrage?

Bush has never met a spending bill that he didn't like and Republicans (who used to be the party of "fiscal responsibility") now run on pork. Boss Hogg himself Denny Hastert is the poster child for big spending. It is disgraceful.

Oh and speaking of hogs, don't look for any leadership from your precious Phil Hare. Phil won't denounce wasteful spending because it never bothered Lane Evans for all these years.

The position of "Constitutional" spending is a libertarian ideal.
A true conservative should be in line with that, but I think the idea died with Barry Goldwater.

The basic premise of this article is true. But the article focuses too much on the tax and revenue side and it gets bogged down in ideological flim-flam that goes way over the head of Joe Sixpack.

At 9/17/2006 10:32 AM, Blogger RightDemocrat said...

I agree with Lind that there are no small government solutions. We need a balance between free markets and state invervention. A mixed economy gave our country the greatest period of prosperity. Libertarianism is dead and John Maynard Keynes lives !


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