Tag Archives: Libertarian Conservatives

Jim Demint Via Youtube Via Reason: ‘Why Republicans Have To Become More Libertarian”

Full Reason piece here.

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Well, perhaps…

Demint is a conservative who bends in the libertarian direction.  In the video, he analyzes the current political landscape through by viewing it as a contest between individual liberty and the State.  On this view, individual liberty must be defended from the Statists who generally promote collectivist ideals as the highest things around (usually equality and equality of outcomes over free markets, advocating for social justice and other rights based definitons of liberty, seeking diversity as a goal unto itself on the backs of moral relativism and multi-culturalism…all of which trickle down into advocacy groups, policies, and laws that can affect our daily lives).

What ought to be concerning for individuals is how such ideas can subject them to ever increasing involvement of the State through taxation, regulation, the growth of bureacracy, crony capitalism, sweeping legislation like Obamacare and other means.  This seems especially true given the way that actual politics works, and how people pursuing their narrow self-interest can easily overlook the consequences that flow from their ideas, as they shift costs and burdens onto others through their preferred policy or law (true for everyone, I believe).

It makes sense that this approach is popular with such a particularly liberal administration in office.

I’ve heard many libertarians argue that they are the true classical liberals nowadays, liberals having abandoned classical liberalism as they have lost sight of the autonomy of the individual, the importance of freedom and responsibility as well as open markets and an open society.

It might be worth pointing juxtaposing Demint’s views with those of Ross Douthat at the NY Times, who argues on the back of Robert Nisbet’s thinking here that the individualist/statist analysis misses a lot:

‘But the nature of the project must be understood correctly, Nisbet’s work suggests. It is not simply the defense of the individual against the power of the state, since to promote unfettered individualism is to risk destroying the very institutions that provide an effective brake on statism. (In that sense, Whittaker Chambers had it right when he scented the whiff of Hitlerism around the works of Ayn Rand.) It must be the defense of the individual and his group—his family, his church, his neighborhood, his civic organization, and his trade union. If The Quest for Community teaches any lesson, it is this: You cannot oppose the inexorable growth of state power by championing individualism alone. You can only oppose it by championing community.’

Addition:  A reader suggests it’s just the libertarian and Burkean wings of the 1950’s conservative coalition hashing it out.

Related On This Site: It’s the “machinery” part of libertarianism, or often a certain commitment to abstract structures into which “individuals” would fit that is a little troubling: Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom’.

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

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