Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Libertarian principles, economic regulation, and safety regulation

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Mark Kleinman has a good post:

In the Blogosphere, Rand Paul’s case of hoof-in-mouth disease has started what may become a serious discussion of libertarianism. Perhaps that discussion might even spread to the real world.

My view, and that of most liberals (e.g. Gabriel Winant, writing in Salon), is that libertarians have elevated some common-sense ideas (for example, that voluntary market transactions have some self-regulating properties not shared by political decision-making and public-sector implementation) into absolute dogmas with very little connection to consensus reality (for example, that taxation is no different in principle that physical violence or enslavement, and that any government that fails to fit their prejudices is therefore implicitly totalitarian). As a result, we have the political equivalent of philosophical solipsism: a position that can’t be refuted in its own terms and has a certain charm in dorm-room bull-sessions, but which can’t actually be believed by anyone intellectually and emotionally mature.

[And yes, I, too, know lots of sane people who call themselves "libertarian" – Eugene Volokh, for example – but their sanity consists precisely in their lack of dogmatic adherence to the libertarian catechism.]

Matt Welch, writing at Reason’s Hit and Run, thinks this is a canard: …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 May 2010 at 12:39 pm

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