September 29, 2012
A HIGHER DOSE OF LIBERTARIANISM, PLEASE: Damon Root over at Reason takes on the New York Times’ David Brooks’ assertion that the increasing influence of libertarians in the GOP has been bad because Brooks doesn’t think libertarians “speak in the language of social order.” Root correctly points out that Brooks seems to have no clue about libertarianism:
Libertarians favor limiting the size and scope of government precisely because they believe that approach will offer the greatest opportunity for people to seek their own happiness, whether as individuals, parents, church-goers, or, yes, even as business owners.
Does that make libertarianism anti-social? Hardly. Libertarians simply maintain that there is a crucial distinction between state and society and they hope to maintain a wall of separation when appropriate so that the latter may flourish.
My guess is that Brooks isn’t really so ignorant. Instead, Brooks and other liberals/progressives feel intensely threatened by the growing GOP embrace of libertarians for one simple reason: Libertarians are agnostic or supportive of “social” issues such as gay marriage and abortion–issues that the Democrats believe “belong” to their party alone, and that they use to paint (inaccurately) a sharp contrast between themselves and the GOP.