Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Republican rejection of libertarianism. And why it probably won’t work. 
Libertarianism isn't all that conservative.
That's the argument former Bush Administration officials Mike Gerson and Pete Wehner offer in a new -- and important -- essay in National Affairs that posted today. Here's the key paragraph from that piece
Responsible, self-governing citizens do not grow wild like blackberries, which is why a conservative political philosophy cannot be reduced to untrammeled libertarianism. Citizens are cultivated by institutions: families, religious communities, neighborhoods, and nations. Parents and spouses, churches and synagogues, teachers and coaches, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are among the foremost shapers of citizens in our republic. But government has a necessary (if limited) role in reinforcing the social norms and expectations that make the work of these civil institutions both possible and easier. That role can involve everything from enforcing civil-rights laws, to saving the elderly from indigence, to restricting the availability of addictive substances.
Change a few of the secondary terms and it becomes the socialist argument against anarchism. Democracy is self-government of a free people. Individual rights serve the needs of self-goverment not of individuals as such. Freedom of inquiry does not imply freedom of acquisition and possession of material goods. etc. etc.

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