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Saturday, June 17, 2006


common ground with Libertarians

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, June 17, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
Jesse Walker of Reason Magazine's Hit N Run blog has an intriguing post that tells Democrats how they can be tolerable to the libertarian bloc. In a nutshell, the maxims are:

  1. 1. Be good on the issues where the left is supposed to be good.
  2. 2. When you talk about tolerance, mean it.
  3. 3. Don't be a slave to the bureaucracy.

and summarizes,

When Republicans are bad on civil liberties and foreign policy, be an alternative. Extend your social tolerance to folks to the other side of the culture war. And if you can't be as pro-market as Hayek, try at least to be as pro-market as Jerry Brown.

It is interesting advice. I think that the first two are reasonable expectations of a Democrat, but the third betrays the libertarian perception of the market as an innately benevolent force. That's where I (and most liberals) would differ - we recognize as liberals that not only does government oppress, but also sometimes the market does, too - and that government can liberate (or at least provide balance). Libertarians only recognize government as a threat to liberty and don't consider market oppression to be a concern.


Libertarians only recognize government as a threat to liberty and don't consider market oppression to be a concern.

no, some do, but i think it is more accurate to say that libertarians consider the gov. to be the greater evil. the market, via corporations and corporatism, can also be a threat, but is generally considered a lesser threat.

also, liberals support for aggressive racial preferences turns off many of us. like abortion, this is becoming a litmus test. if you want me to be honest, i can live with preferences for blacks and native americans (even though personally think they are patronizing and counter-productive handouts to the elites of both groups). but i'm not down with preferences to latinos, asians, gays, lesbian parapalegics with transgender identities, etc.


I'm basically in agreement with Aziz' comments here.

One point:

The question of which is the greater threat to human liberty -- government or private business -- depends, IMO, on the relative transparency and accountability of the two institutions.

At the moment, I give the advantage to government. At a minimum, I find government much more accountable than private industry.

I have no meaningful voice in corporate governance. Not so in the civic arena.

Thanks -


At a minimum, I find government much more accountable than private industry

this is debatable. gov. is a monopology, and yes, you have a civic voice, but the why do people complain about special interests??? the voice of the average person is swamped by 'mass action.'

anyway, i'm not taking an either/or position because it is complex. i am not one to defend corporations or corporatism, but i am not sanguine about the abusive powers of the gov. and the corruptive tendencies which gov. monopology power tends to encourage.


p.s. gov. vs. corporation is, to me, kind of a michael moore vs. ann coulter "is worst" argument.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.