Friday, June 30, 2017

Vox Popoli: Libertarianism is dead

Libertarianism is dead
The Cato Institute embraces equalitarianism:

It is not enough to be passively “not racist.” We must be actively anti-racism.

Libertarians tend to think of freedom as either a means to an end of maximum utility—e.g., free markets produce the most wealth—or, in a more philosophical sense, in opposition to arbitrary authority—e.g., “Who are you to tell me what to do?” Both views fuel good arguments for less government and more personal autonomy. Yet neither separately, nor both taken together, address the impediments to freedom that have plagued the United States since its founding. Many of the oppressions America has foisted upon its citizens, particularly its black citizens, indeed came from government actors and agents. But a large number of offenses, from petty indignities to incidents of unspeakable violence, have been perpetrated by private individuals, or by government with full approval of its white citizens. I would venture that many, if not most libertarians—like the general American public—haven’t come to terms with the widespread, systemic subversion of markets and democracy American racism wreaked on its most marginalized citizens. Consequently, libertarians have concentrated rather myopically on government reform as the sole function of libertarian social critique without taking full reckoning of what markets have failed to correct throughout American history.

Take, for example, the common libertarian/conservative trope: “We believe in equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.” Most people, outside of the few and most ardent socialists, should believe that is a fair statement. But to say such a thing as a general defense of the status quo assumes that the current American system offers roughly equal opportunity just because Jim Crow is dead. Yet, that cannot possibly be true.

I left libertarianism because I concluded that it is a hopelessly utopian ideal that is practically impossible in a fallen world of real human beings, libertarianism did not leave me. But this is not libertarianism, this is the convergence of libertarianism and its cooption by equalitarians.

At this point, it's safe to say that libertarianism is as intellectually dead as communism. That doesn't mean it won't retain any number of dogmatic adherents, but at this point, it can no longer be considered conceptually viable. And this new Cato-endorsed variant is little more than a farcical parody.