The Spectacle Blog

Re: Liberaltarians

By on 12.11.06 | 9:30PM

True enough, he did! But this match made in heaven can't rise above tryst level. Amidst all the heavy breathing, the central linkage-point between liberals and libertarians isn't political at all, but a strain of cultural libertarianism. Liberals would have to surrender their venerable desire to accomplish social unfetterment by state power, and "merely" political libertarians would have to sign on to social unfetterment as a positive, not negative, good. This is something like asking a paleocon to hang a framed, limited-edition dual portrait of Wilson and Truman in his den.

The unholy union of Hayek and Rawls requires an annihilation of cultural authority. But the blind substitutions of the inarticulate market and the inarticulate polity can, ironically, only agree in the realm of culture: the mores, norms, and attitudes that shape human behavior. Not old-style liberal "equality" but new-style "interchangeability" characterize cultural libertarianism. When mixed in with the inevitable "public safety" component which becomes the political conscience of an effete corps of lite libertines -- with no locus of authority other than health and pleasurable feelings, free to all -- the product this machine produces at the elite level rhymes, I think, with "Bloomberg."

PS in case anyone'd be sorry to miss it, my uproarious disquisition on this topic has made a semi-stir here.

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