A pretty good article on the current state of libertarianism. Cautiously optimistic, with a touch of amused befuddlement the article examines the ascendancy of libertarianism into mainstream politics.
Is the “libertarian moment” now?
I actually don’t think it’s a “moment” at all. What we are seeing is a political philosophy emerging which works generally better than Left and Right statism for most people. Statism, command and control, top down government is ancient – a product of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Libertarianism is a philosophy which embraces an “open-sourced” approach to politics and the economy. It is respectful of the individual and encourages win/win solutions. Live and let live. Keep your hands to yourself. Don’t poop where you eat. These simple tenets are at the core of libertarianism. In another era we simply called it good manners and common sense.
(From The New York Times)
Gillespie likes to point out that unlike the words “Democrat” and “Republican,” “libertarian” should be seen as a modifier rather than a noun — an attitude, not a fixed object. A cynic might assert that this is exactly the kind of semantic cop-out that relegates Gillespie’s too-cool-for-school sect to the margins. Not surprisingly, he begged to differ. “It’s wedded to an epistemological humility,” he told me, “that proceeds from the assumption that we don’t know as much as we think we do, and so you have to be really cautious about policies that seek to completely reshape the world. It’s better to run trials and experiments, as John Stuart Mill talked about. The whole point of America — and this is an admixture of Saul Bellow and Heidegger and Jim Morrison lyrics — is that it’s in a constant state of becoming, constantly changing and mongrelizing. We’re doing exactly what free minds and free markets allow you to do. Part of why I’m a libertarian is that if you restrict people less, interesting stuff happens.”