Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

December 24, 2006

More on “Liberaltarians”

by Kevin Boyd

“Big Tent Democrat” had an interesting diary at Daily Kos about how to neogotiate an alliance with libertarians.

The continuing faux-negotiations of our Lefty wonks with Libertarians is an interesting exercise but it does suffer from a fatal flaw in my view – our Lefty wonks are attributing ideological rigidity to liberal policy prescriptions that simply does not and has never existed. To be a liberal DOES NOT mean being for big government programs, state intervention and single payer healthcare as a matter of ideology. Rather to be a liberal is to to have a set of values and objectives for which good policies to achieve those values and objectives are sought. The policies need not involve state intervention – they need only work.

Okay, so as long as libertarian means are used to achieve leftist ends; we can work together. That’s all fine and good, but what are leftist ends? To answer that, “Big Tent Democrat” links to a piece he/she/it wrote at Talkleft.

We lliberal love our goals – equality, egalitarianism, economic and racial justice and where our goals our mouthed by an ideology, we are more tolerant. We should not be.

To me liberalism can and does embrace economic libertararianism where it meets the goals of liberalism. We are pragmatic. If social justice and economic equality could be reached be cuts in the estate tax, we liberals would support it. We oppose it because it does exactly the opposite.

And here lies the fatal flaw of any leftist-libertarian alliance. The leftist goals are simply incompatable with the main goal of libertarianism, individual freedom. To a libertarian or a classical liberal, the individual is most important. To a leftist or a socialist, the collective is more important.

Social justice and economic equality start from the premise that all people should not only equal opportunity, but an equal result where possible. However, under a capitalist system that promotes individual liberty, there is possible way that an equal result will come about. In addition, to promote “economic equality” usually requires the theft of personal property via taxation in order to be redistributed to the government decided losers in life.

So any leftist-libertarian alliance would do very little, if anything, to protect and expand liberty.

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