Arnold Kling  

Where Do Libertarianst Belong, Continued

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Nick Schulz puts in his $.02

The original fusionist project of Frank Meyer and others was predicated on a belief that libertarians and conservatives (social/religious/paleo) actually agreed on some basic philosophical principles, not just shared goals such as opposing Soviet communism (as important as that was). Two of these have always been paramount: The importance of protecting individual liberty, and an appreciation for the vital role played by civil society and traditional mediating institutions that made American culture and ordered liberty possible.

Conservatives gaze favorably upon traditional families, religion, and corporations. These institutions are seen as the building blocks of their vision for society.

Leftists gaze scornfully upon traditional families, religious institutions, and corporations. These institutions have flaws which are seen as obstacles to their vision for society.

On this issue, I would call myself a conservative. I recognized that the institutions of civil society are flawed. However, I want neither conservatives nor leftists to use government to impose their vision on these institutions.

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CATEGORIES: Political Economy

COMMENTS (11 to date)
shecky writes:

Well, color me surprised.

Lukas writes:

There are some cases where it's difficult to see how the state can avoid imposing its vision. For example, child custody disputes.

8 writes:

Right now corporations follow the script of the left and the state power is used against traditional families and religion. Libertarians should work to convince conservatives that it is in their best interest to reduce the state (not rhetorically or in percentage terms), rather than try to capture the state, because every attempt to capture the state has failed.

The battleground then becomes whether libertarians would tolerate a conservative or liberal state government. Given their size of the population, libertarians should be happy with 1 state and a few cities, which would be more than enough.

David C writes:

"Leftists gaze scornfully upon traditional families, religious institutions, and corporations."

Last I checked religious secularists represent less than 20% of the population. Many of them are probably libertarian or affiliated with some other radical belief system. I doubt even as much as the majority of them would go so far as to scorn organized religion. The number of liberals in America is significantly larger. Also, the majority of elected liberal politicians are married with children. How is claiming liberals scorn traditional familes and organized religion even close to accurate?

david writes:

@David C

I think he means "liberals gaze less favorably upon traditional families and religion, compared to conservatives".

David N. Welton writes:

While I often read things here I disagree with, they mostly strike me as conclusions arrived at with due consideration and having some intelligent thoughts behind them.

However, "Leftists gaze scornfully upon traditional families" is something that gets my hackles up. It's flat out wrong. Many "leftists" I know are happily married in a traditional family, and would make fine examples for "conservatives" like Mark Sanford to follow. The difference is in the willingness to accept non-traditional families; whereas conservatives wish to use the power of the state to deny those people rights equal to those of "traditional families".

As for religion and companies, that characterization is perhaps not so far off the mark.

Foobarista writes:

8, I think most conservatives have figured this out, particularly after the failure of "compassionate conservatism". Even religious conservatives largely admit that they can't possibly run the state long enough to impose their preferred sorts of changes on society, so the best thing to do is to get government permanently out of the way so they can have a space where they won't have the state stomping all over them and their beliefs.

This is why the Tea Party has caught fire, even though it's mostly populated by conservatives, it's basically libertarian in its objectives. Maybe many people in it aren't the sort who Brink Lindsey would invite to his next party, but their far more likely to agree with him in Things That Matter than the lefties he was playing with.

Lord writes:

"Leftists gaze scornfully upon traditional families, religious institutions, and corporations."

Spoken like a true conservative. (That was an insult if you didn't catch it.)

Lord writes:

It does raise the question whether there is any such thing as a libertarian or whether they are just conservatives whose reasoning has overcome some of their baser instincts.

Tom writes:

"I think he means "liberals gaze less favorably upon traditional families and religion, compared to conservatives".

This I agree with. Exit polls do show that married women vote Republican, women with children vote Republican, while women in general do not.

Chris Koresko writes:

I tend to look at libertarians as conservatives who are less cautious about advocating policies which have not been empirically tested.

@David N. Welton: I think what Arnold means by "Leftists gaze scornfully upon traditional families" is that leftists seem much more prone than conservatives to try to broaden the definition of families to include arrangements which are not traditionally considered to be such. Do you disagree with that claim?

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