Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Libertarian Moment?


Stumbled upon this on the interwebs this morning. Fascinating. Although I have several quibbles and a few nits to pick, in general, I find this very useful as a summary of the power of rhetoric. 

It is clear to me why I lean Libertarian on so many of today's issues. First of all, Libertairans always win the battle of language. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the three parties words of choice on the economy...Democrats-regulated markets, Republicans-American capitalism, and Libertarians-free markets. Or, take the role of the military...Democrats-policing, Republicans-Expansion of democracy, Libertarians-defense. The differences could not possibly be clearer.

However, winning the language in politics is never enough, and has never been enough. You also need to win the theatre of politics...the optics. Libertarians always lose the optics. The guy in a debate who prattles on about natural law, responsibility, and individual initiative will always lose. Which brings me to the root of Libertarian failure in the modern political era....nobody wants to buy what they are selling. The core of Libertarian philosophy is the notion that we are all free agents and as such are ultimately responsible for ourselves. We look to government to provide only the things that individuals cannot efficiently provide for themselves, the common defense, a system of justice and the administration of that justice, and common infrastructure. This humble expectation of government involvement in daily life seems quite charming in a time when government has become so intertwined in every arena of life that they have taken to the administration of bathroom facilities! 

The fact is that Americans have looked at the world around them and discovered that it can be a hard and scary place. They have also discovered that this whole individual initiative business can be tough sledding. Life is hard, man! Liberty and freedom are fine, but what we really want is free health care, unlimited unemployment and an activist government to guarantee a whole host of comforts that our forefathers believed were the responsibility of each of us.( see item number 2 above )

So, while I admire this handy chart and agree with much of it, it reads like some ancient text. The Libertarian moment in America was 1776. It has long passed, and I doubt it will reappear again.