Friday, October 13, 2006

More on the Libertarian Democrat

The phrase "libertarian Democrat" implies a segment of a political party adopting a philosophical viewpoint - not an ideology adapting to the different predominant ideology of a political party. On this score, the Kos essay to which I linked days ago is confusing, probably, because it is confused. He castigates the Republican spending binge, but only in virtue of single issues on which Democrats have always taken a comparatively libertarian stance. A liberal Democrat who, go figure, supports gay and reproductive rights isn't much of an evolved species, not to say libertarians aren't happy to agree with them. But Kos rather adamantly doesn't bother with offering a libertarian endorsement of points on which Democrats and libertarians universally disagree. Wealth redistribution is actually opposable on principle, and that would be libertarian principle - but the "and healthcare, and so on..." approach seems to suffice for Kos. The appeal to the right to healthcare and free education and a deeply regulated workforce and smaller, cuter puppies isn't modified at all toward anything resembling a plausible libertarian argument. Because in Political Philosophy I everyone learns that egalitarians are egalitarian with respect to social goods while libertarians are egalitarian - radically so - with respect to individual rights, it isn't even prevarication to call his general position a libertarian one. It's a falsehood to do so, a factual misunderstanding of political thought. (You can't deprive a person of his right to a college education in the same way you can deny him a right to free speech. Who in the former situation is doing the denying, and by what means?...)
This may become a trilogy...


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