alien & sedition.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
  Marriage Counseling

A number of my recent posts have related to the strained marriage between Republicans and libertarians. I haven't yet commented on discussions about a liberal-libertarian alliance. I'm skeptical about such discussions, I have to admit, in part because I'm not sure that negotiating with self-identified libertarian intellectuals of the Cato Institute variety is the same thing as negotiating with so-called "libertarian" voters. The latter, I think, are a rather more complicated group, to the extent that they are a group at all.

The way I see it, libertarian thought is quite mainstream on matters of civil liberties, but, when followed to its logical conclusions, not very mainstream at all regarding its views on government. But then, I guess that's what makes me a liberal.

Anyway, here's a dose of skepticism from the other side, by a libertarian who just doesn't think a fling with the left would be a very good idea:
Why not, instead, follow Brink Lindsey's suggestion and try to forge a common bond between libertarians and liberals?

Briefly, my answer boils down to two points.

1) The Republican base is more naturally favorable toward limited government than is the Democratic base.

2) I find it a challenge trying to persuade religious conservatives to loosen the relationship between their religious beliefs and their political agenda. However, I find it even more of a challenge to deal with the Left, where their political agenda is their religion.


The typical libertarian shorthand is that we are with the Democrats on social issues and with the Republicans on economic issues. In recent years, the Republicans betrayed us on economic issues. However, my sense is that many in the conservative movement are anxious to repent. On foreign policy, I think that we can gradually persuade more of them to come to their senses on the challenges of the Natural State.

Meanwhile, the Democrats seem to be completely dug in to hard-left positions on economics. They lack any vision for foreign policy. I think we should stick with our marriage to conservatives, and try to make it work.
Again, I'm not sure that whatever the intellectuals decide to do will necessarily have a tremendous impact on the "libertarian vote." But maybe I don't give political theorists enough credit.

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Critical analysis of the American conservative movement from a progressive perspective. Also some stuff about the Mets.

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