Saturday, June 01, 2013

Why I'm Not a Libertarian

I'm going to outsource this to Will Wilkinson. What he said.
Ideological labels are mutable, but at any given time they publicly connote a certain syndrome of convictions. What “libertarian” tends to mean to most people, including most people who self-identify as libertarian, is flatly at odds with some of what I believe. So I guess I’m just a liberal; the bleeding heart goes without saying.

Here are some not-standardly-libertarian things I believe: Non-coercion fails to capture all, maybe even most, of what it means to be free. Taxation is often necessary and legitimate. The modern nation-state has been, on the whole, good for humanity. (See Steven Pinker’s new book.) Democracy is about as good as it gets. The institutions of modern capitalism are contingent arrangements that cannot be justified by an appeal to the value of liberty construed as non-interference. The specification of the legal rights that structure real-world markets have profound distributive consequences, and those are far from irrelevant to the justification of those rights. I could go on.
More here, all worth reading.

1 comment:

andrewjlowry said...

Thanks for that. Portions of that article were beyond my University education (Engineering not the humanities) but I still found it valuable. I do like this line, "I’d rather not be affiliated with a “movement” that includes him(Ron Paul) in even a conflicted way."