The Scarcity of Liberaltarians in Times of Crisis

Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg and others ask where the "liberaltarians" have gone since the financial crisis started. Check out the whole exchange: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4, and part 5.

A "liberaltarian", for those who don't follow internecine libertarian debate, is a hypothesized left-wing fellow traveler of the libertarian movement. Like the Higgs Boson, the liberaltarian is a phenomenon that hasn't yet been directly observed but that everybody hopes to find someday. Perhaps we will have better luck when the LHC is finally up and running.

I always thought the libertarian-leftist alliance was doomed by the fact that they sort of hate us. If you don't believe in "social justice" or environmentalism, many of them are apt to view you as evil. And it is hard to make headway with people that think you are evil.

Will Wilkinson responds here in opposition.

Goldberg has promised to rejoin the conversation in the morning.

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Oh please

I always thought the libertarian-leftist alliance was doomed by the fact that they sort of hate us. If you don't believe in "social justice" or environmentalism, many of them are apt to view you as evil.

Spare us your baseless paranoia. Our hatred of you has nothing to do with your view on social justice or environmentalism.

How reassuring. :)

How reassuring. :)

You got linked

You got linked from The Other McCain. And he got linked from Instapundit.

Cool. Thanks for the heads

Cool. Thanks for the heads up.

They do sort of hate us.

I always thought the libertarian-leftist alliance was doomed by the fact that they sort of hate us.

For examples, check here.

"If it's common coin in libertarian discourse to call taxation thuggery and goonery, then libertarians should be sent to their rooms without supper like anarchists."

"Great. Now that the ground rules are set, I guess no one has any objections to me calling libertarians willfully dishonest, resentful low-IQ types, or determinedly ignorant wretches who will never, ever admit that they are wrong. In short, obnoxious little gits who poison public discourse, and deliberately do so in most cases."

"There are things to be learned from the libertarian point of view, as long as you can tune out the off - the - wall views on economics."

"If any libertarian here would like to experience thievery and thuggery in concrete, real-world form, I would be more than happy to oblige." (irony: he already does)

"What's surprising to me is that James Wolcott, who is by most accounts a sensible person, cares what libertarians think. Who does this? One doesn't consult trekkies regarding social policy just as one doesn't read what libertarians write to understand government or people or anything else."

"After posting that, I thought to myself, "I wonder if this 'libertarian' blog is as self-referential and thumb-sucking as most of the other 'libertian' blogs," and - lo! - it is."

"I've said before, libertarianism is a great philosophy as long as you're not concerned with what people actually want, think, or do."

"If there is one thing I know, it is that libertarians never, ever, shut up."

Libertarians better shut up for the next four years

I'm glad she made the point:

Now, of course, we have a black president, and James Wolcott stands ready to police any reference to him for signs of racism. This is a charge so serious that it shuts down any possible discourse, and is thus much loved by people who do not care to be disagreed with.

Unfortunately, libertarians who do not know any better have defended and participated in just that sort of witch hunt for racists that Wolcott is engaging in - back when Hillary Clinton was accused of using racist code. She was campaigning against Obama at the time. She was supposedly reviving the so-called "Southern strategy", which Lee Atwater reportedly explained as follows:

Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964… and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster...

Atwater is explicitly saying here that all of "fiscal conservatism" - and therefore, by implication, the economic views of libertarians - quite simply is the so-called "Southern strategy", it simply is coded racism. So McArdle is right: libertarians really had better shut up for the next four years, if they want to avoid getting called racists by the likes of Walcott. Not that they necessarily care about it, but if they did.

Now, Hillary Clinton is no libertarian, but she does on occasion manage to say things which are not utterly hostile to capitalism, to hard working people (code, supposedly, for white people), to non-criminals (code, supposedly, for white people), and so forth, so the charge was pretty much inevitable.