Monday, January 3, 2011

Why I'm Not a Libertarian

This is Chris Beam writing in New York Magazine:

The Trouble With Liberty
Libertarianism lies crosswise to the partisan split, giving its adherents a kind of freethinker, outcast status. This can be especially attractive for young people. “When I was 19, libertarianism was an argument for being awesome,” says Will Wilkinson, a former Cato scholar who now blogs at The Economist. It’s about flouting convention and rejecting authority—the political equivalent of getting an eyebrow ring. It’s also an excuse to indulge your most selfish instincts. But you don’t have to call it “selfishness.”
Wilkinson's a smart guy and excellent writer, and despite his departure from Cato, is taken seriously as a libertarian thinker. But I have a hard time taking him seriously.

Perhaps this is unfair, but I wonder if an "argument for being awesome" would also include something along the lines of, "we need public transportation so that are roads aren't full of impaired drivers on their way home from legalized marijuana dispensaries."  How serious is that?

Libertarian self-worship is no less utopian than the state-worship of many on the left. I don't care what flavor of eschaton you are peddling, immanentize it someplace else.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My vocabulary is not that good, so I had to look up what some of your words meant:

Isn't this the basis of your blog, to "immanentize the eschaton"?