Drugs and Compassionate Libertarianism

By on 12.15.06 | 11:40AM

Over at Hit and Run, Reason editor Radley Balko uses a photo of a urinal with a "Say No To Drugs" slogan printed on the plastic netting as a jumping off point to rail against anti-drug propaganda:

A theme you'll often hear from our editor is how the drug war permeates damn-near every nook and cranny of American life. We get lectured on what chemicals we can and can't ingest in our schools, in magazines and newspapers, in television shows and commercials, in movies, on billboards -- it's everywhere. Drug war insanity influences criminal justice policy, foreign policy, budget policy, education policy, and health care policy. While traveling over Thanksgiving, I was treated to a "Just Say No to Drugs" emblazoned on the back of an semi-trailer hauling office paper.

A guy can't even take a piss without being bombarded with the madness, thanks to the proactive drug warrioring by the janitorial suppy company Swisher…

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.

re: Libertarians

By on 12.11.06 | 3:54PM

Jim, I see that Steve Sailer beat me to the punch -- no surprise. I too view libertarianism, as a formal political movement, as a near-nullity. That said, most Americans have a kind of libertarian streak, which Grover Norquist sought to mobilize in the "leave us alone" coalition. (Is he still holding meetings of same?) The proper candidate could arouse that impulse, and maybe capitalize on it to the extent of getting a bunch of votes out of it, but that candidate is likely to be a Republican by brand and allegiance, I'd think.

I do not see any convergence between liberals and libertarians, especially given modern liberalism's comfort with totalitarian impulses. Well, there's legalized marijuana. Heck, I'm in favor of that. It's got no traction as an election issue, however.

Iraq Study Group

By on 12.7.06 | 8:10AM

I can vaguely understand the point of putting together blue ribbon commissions like the ISG in order to deliver solutions from a source that seems above politics. I get that.

But doesn't the whole exercise severely undermine one's faith in our entire national security and foreign policy apparatus? I mean, presumably, we pay a large number of highly expert persons quite well to conduct these affairs, and yet, a group of ex-politicians is supposed to be able to take several weeks, compile some data, and tell us what to do next? Isn't the best course of action something our very expensive Departments of Defense and State are supposed to be able to provide?

I think the ISG is exhibit A in favor of libertarianism.

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Libertarian takes. Fighting off the libertines. Stomaching Rick Warren. High cynicism. Dreck the Halls. Plus much more.

Libertarian/Liberal Fusion

By on 12.5.06 | 12:08PM

For a long time, I have been skeptical about the libertarian Democrat argument in all of its incarnations, but lately I can see the case for it if you differentiate between theory and practice, between intellectual conservatism/liberalism and the Republican/Democratic Parties as they actually exist today. In his column this morning, John T. does an excellent job explaining why Brink Lindsey's desire for a "movement that, at the philosophical level, seeks some kind of reconciliation between Hayek and Rawls" is impossible. At the philosophical level, libertarianism is diametrically opposed to liberalism. Libertarians believe that the function of the government should be limited to protecting individual freedom; liberals believe that government should be used as a means to help alleviate suffering, even if it means encroaching on individual freedoms (i.e. more taxes, regulations, etc.). To libertarians, capitalism is not only the most efficient economic system, but the most moral one.

Political Hay

Cold Fusion

By 12.4.06

Liberalism and libertarianism are too far apart philosophically to find much new common ground.