I took another look at the original Brink Lindsey piece over the weekend and one of the things that struck me is that he calls for,”a real intellectual movement, with intellectual coherence” and yet most of the article focuses on specific policy areas where progressives and libertarians may be able to find common ground, rather than any sort of concept about the proper role of government that would unite the two camps on a more philisophical level. For instance, libertarians and most conservatives would probably be comfortable with Thomas Jefferson’s call for “a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” Libertarians and social conservatives may disagree on the application of this statement to something like drug policy (with libertarians saying as long as you don’t “injure” others, all should be lawful, and social conservatives emphasizing that drug use isn’t a pursiut of “industry and improvement.”) But still, more conservatives than liberals would be comfortable with such a statement about the role of government. What type of statement would unite liberals and libertarians? Lindsey doesn’t offer a clear answer. As I’ve said before, I can see how libertarians and liberals would come together on social and foriegn policy isssues, especially because the Republican spending record has neutralized fiscal issues. But that’s still not enough for a meaningful, ideologically compatible, relationship.
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