Archive | May 30, 2009

Bartlett’s Quotation

The secret to building a successful political alliance is to direct loony insults at your potential allies.

Bruce Bartlett holding his knowledge of libertarianism

Or at least so a good many people seem to think, from Keith Preston on the right to, now, Bruce Bartlett on the left (well, using “left” generously to apply to this mainstream Republican apparatchik turned mainstream Democratic pundit). Bartlett opines:

[M]ost self-described libertarians are primarily motivated by economics. In particular, they don’t like paying taxes. They also tend to have an obsession with gold and a distrust of paper money. As a philosophy, their libertarianism doesn’t extent much beyond not wanting to pay taxes, being paid in gold and being able to keep all the guns they want. Many are survivalists at heart and would be perfectly content to live in complete isolation on a mountain somewhere, neither taking anything from society nor giving anything. …

[T]here is a theoretical case to be made for liberals and libertarians at least continuing a dialogue. But for it to go anywhere, libertarians must scale back their almost single-minded focus on economic freedom as the sole determinant of liberty. They must work harder to defend civil liberties and resist expansion of the police state whether it involves suspected terrorists, illegal aliens or those who enjoy smoking marijuana.

Libertarians should also be more outspoken about America’s disastrous foreign policy, which Obama seems to be doing very little to fix. … The main problem seems that neither liberals nor libertarians are up to challenging the loudmouthed bullies on talk radio and Fox News who equate anything less than a 100% commitment to the “war on terror” as treasonous.

(CHT Peter Klein.)

Y’know, I’m all for arguing that libertarians need to place more emphasis on the left-wing aspects of the ideology; and it’s certainly true that some elements (cough, the Libertarian Party, cough) of the movement have been stressing economic freedom at the expense of personal freedom. (Hence my agreement with Point 2 of the Grassroots Libertarian program.) But this Bartlett dude must be living in some sort of impervious energy bubble if he thinks libertarians haven’t been saying much about – haven’t, indeed, been at the forefront of discussing – civil liberties, abusive cops, the drug war, or the war on terror. I mean, who does he think runs

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