No Solution

Via Liberty and Power, Howard Dean is trying to reach out to the libertarian branch of the Republican Party in western states.

Kos is pleased:

We're not going to win Idaho next time, on any platform. But we can start chipping away. A "Western platform" is the future of the Democratic Party, and one that I embrace to my very core -- fiscal and personal responsibility, rugged individualism, freedom to live one's life without government intrusion into the doctor's office or the bedroom. The intersection of libertarianism, good government, and economic populism. [emphasis added]

I'm afraid the place where libertarianism and economic populism intersects could be termed an empty set.

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Brian Doss: That’s true,

Brian Doss:

That’s true, there is a form of economic populism that intersects with libertarianism, though Jim is right in that this is not even remotely what Kos & Dean think of economic populism.

Worst yet, though, is that for even those on the left for whom these ideas have traction, the preferred solution (at least initially) in nearly every case is government action.

Point taken, but I'm not sure that you're actually being entirely fair to the likes of Kos or Dean. It's true that the understanding of "economic populism" that they have may often involve government action, but it's not clear to me either that this is always a first resort or that interventionism is more essential to their position than populism is. So there's a question of how to approach them: you can approach them as primarily interventionists (in which case a belligerent approach, on the grounds that what they're doing has nothing to do with libertarianism, makes sense) or you can approach them as primarily populists who don't understand the problems associated with interventionist means (in which case a charitable approach, based on pointing out how radical populism entails libertarianism, makes more sense). I tend toward the latter approach, since (among other things) that's how I remember becoming convinced of libertarian arguments, and also because I think that philosophically left-liberals' commitments to populism are usually much deeper than their commitments to government interventionism. (For similar reasons I think trying to approach the Right on similar terms is foolish--it's a strategy not well justified by its success, and I think there are good reasons to suspect that most Rightist's commitments to traditional orders of power run much, much deeper than any commitment to small government or free market principles.)

I think that, while it works

I think that, while it works for the purposes of a witticism and I don't begrudge that, you're probably putting more stress on the word "intersection" than it will bear here. I think we can extract an ordinary-language meaning of people who contain within themselves libertarian (largely "civil") and populist impulses. I suspect the Rockies, cradle of the Wobblies, are full of such people.

cf.

I think Brian has

I think Brian has articulated what I meant, Jim. One could come up with a definition of populism that coincides with libertarianism - indeed, if one believes, as I do, that government action in toto either redistributes from poor to rich, or destroys the wealth of the poorest at a greater clip, than you could properly term extreme libertarianism as populism.

However, the practical definition of populism as adopted by Dean and Kos (and just about everyone else) does not coincide with libertarianism in any way. It simply is a shift in political power, not the destruction of it.

Jim et CJ: That's true,

Jim et CJ:

That's true, there is a form of economic populism that intersects with libertarianism, though Jim is right in that this is not even remotely what Kos & Dean think of economic populism.

Worst yet, though, is that for even those on the left for whom these ideas have traction, the preferred solution (at least initially) in nearly every case is government action. In other words, and for example, yeah anti-corporate welfare for the bad corporations but the solution isn't to end it, but to have better people in charge of doling it out (to non profits, etc; y'know, good corporations). Yeah, anti-eminent domain abuse, but you solve that with better rules / goo-goo, etc.

The Kossacks and Deaniacs cannot abide a solution to any problem listed above that does not strengthen the state, so whether or not there are those on the left that do embrace a libertarian reading of economic populism is fairly moot.

And libertarianism and the

And libertarianism and the corporatism of the Republican Party intersect where?

I think I can see the outlines of AN economic populism that intersects wiht libertarianism. It's anti-corporate welfare, anti-eminent domain abuse (or just eminent domain), and pro-labor market entry (e.g. all the anti-licensing cases IJ takes). It abhors sugar supports and is gobsmacked by the logic behind Raich and Kelo.

I DON'T think this is what Kos or most of the professional Democratic Party means by "economic populism," but I think it is nevertheless a kind of populism, in that every point of it can be seen in "little guy versus the power elite" terms.

Kos: "The intersection of

Kos: "The intersection of libertarianism, good government, and economic populism."

Trent McBride: "I'm afraid the place where libertarianism and economic populism intersects could be termed an empty set."

Well, if in your mathematical notation "an empty set" includes sets with several elements, I suppose it could be termed that. Otherwise, however, you seem to be overlooking all of the following: (1) opposition to corporate welfare, (2) opposition to the voracious crony capitalist appetites of the military-industrial complex, (3) opposition to agribusiness subsidies, (4) opposition to New London-style pillage for business gain, (5) (possibly, depending on the libertarian's position) opposition to patent and copyright monopolies, (6) (possibly, depending on whether the libertarian has ever thought seriously about the issue or not) opposition to government-sponsored union-busting (Taft-Hartley, "right-to-work" laws, etc.), (7) (possibly, depending on whether the economic populist has ever thought seriously about the issue or not) opposition to government cartelization of industry through restrictive licensing, etc. etc. etc.

The idea that libertarianism is the economic thought of, by, and for Ebenezeer Scrooge has just got to die. It's bad enough seeing it come from statists interested in defaming libertarianism; it's worse when it comes from people purporting to defend it.

If you're going to complain about something related to libertarian principle, it ought to be the alleged "intersection" of libertarianism and "good government," since on principled libertarian theory the government which governs best, governs not at all.

This is reminiscent of the

This is reminiscent of the "Libertarian Communist" blog.

I was merely making the

I was merely making the point on Kos' comment (not Dean's) that "libertarianism" and "economic populism" intersect at any point.

Not really. The people who

Not really.

The people who buy Dean's conception of libertarian are already voting Democrat or Green (i.e. the clueless Mahers of the world). Those who actually are libertarians (i.e. concerned not simply with smoking pot and free sex, but on some level with questions of power, coercion, and freedom from arbitrary exercise of either) already agree with Trent.

Dr. Dean has amazing contempt for most of his imagined audiences; one group after another to be condescended to after a wink and a nod from those (like him) who know better. Witness the whole "we need to get the votes of those people with confederate flags in their cars" bit, ala "we need white trash votes too!" (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Well, if by "libertarianism"

Well, if by "libertarianism" you're talking only about economics and not social policy. Is that the accepted meaning of "libertarianism"? What dean was probably talking about was "keeping the government out of the bedroom", like economic libertarianism, only applied to the social and moral sphere. But, of course, you knew that.

That said, it was a rather silly and inaccurate statement to make, but rhetorically effective, no?