Libertarianism and -- or versus -- Conservatism

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Doug, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. Doug
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    Doug Active Member

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    Although most Americans are naturally libertarian in their attitudes towards personal freedom, relatively few have ever chosen full-fledged libertarianism as a political philosophy. (Granted, most people do not have a "political philosophy" as such, but rather a set of attitudes and opinions. But these attitudes and opinions have not coelsced around any sort of outlook which would lead large numbers of them to vote for a party which, for example, advocates selling off the National Parks to the highest bidder.)

    Conservatives and libertarians have often been allies of course, because they have a number of conerns in common. On the other hand, they have some deep disagreements. These disagreements have been the basis of some illuminating essays and debates, some of which I present here for your reading pleasure.

    Warning: none of the people arguing with each other in the debates here call each other lying cocksuckers, etc. so if that's your idea of refuting an opponent, the debates here may prove a bit boring.
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    The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has published a collection of essays on this subject:[ame=http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Virtue-Conservative-Libertarian-Debate/dp/1882926196] Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative-Libertarian Debate[/ame]. George W Carey (ed).

    An editorial review describes it as follows:
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    Conservatives and Libertarians: Uneasy Cousins by Robert Nisbet (Modern Age, Winter, 1980) explores what the two sides have in common, and where they differ, looking at the historic intellectual roots of both traditions.
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    Why there is a basis for an alliance between conservatism and libertarianism on issues of morality as well as on questions of economics, and why libertarianism is not, properly understood, a celebration of the flaunting of traditional morality, is argued clearly and forcefully in What Libertarianism Isn't by Professor Edward Feser. (21 December 2001) However, he later modified his views, becoming more pessimistic about the chances of such an alliance, in Hayek and Fusionism . (16 February 2007).)
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    In Conservatives and Libertarianism (Modern Age, Winter 1980) Tibor Machan defends libertarianism from a philosophical point of view.
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    Why We Are Conservatives by Donald Devine, of the American Conservative Union, 20 Jan 2000, lays out the foundations of conservatism which distinguish it from a mere love of liberty.
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    The classic libertarian indictment of conservatism is here:<a href="http://www.liberalvalues.org.nz/index.php?...;article_id=246" target="_blank">
    Why I am not a conservative</a> by FA Hayek, the final chapter of his book The Constitution of Liberty, 1960.
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    In Libertarians under my Skin Jonah Goldberg tells some of his libertarian critics to "Grow Up Already" ( National Review Online (2 March 2001).
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    In The violence of conservatism Jeffrey Tucker, at LewRockwell.com (21 August 2004) criticizes conservatives for their glorification of war, which he says belies their supposed opposition to the expansion of the state.
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    Kay Hymowitz has penned another critique of libertarianism in Opinion Journal: Freedom Fetishists: The cultural contradictions of libertarianism.. (September 12, 2007)
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    In the American Conservative, Robert Locke calls libertarianism the Marxism of the Right (14 March 2005).


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    What liberals think about libertarians can be found in The Libertarian Conceit, in American Prospect magazine, a liberal attack on libertarianism by Jonathan Purdy, a Yale law student (30 November 2002).
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    If you are still not satiated from reading the above, many more conservative critiques of libertarianism can be found in this splendid collection of links assembled by Mike Huben.
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  2. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    "If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names." Elbert Hubbard


    Doug, I look at libertarians as conservatives in drag and/or 'yoots' that think it sounds neat, you know personal freedom and all that good stuff. 'I'm a libertarian.' Sure that confuses the heck outta mommy and daddy and friends on semester break. Mother to father, 'did our son join a cult?'

    On another level I agree with Robert Locke who you mention above, it is closer to Marxism as it assumes an economic idea will lead us to utopia. It assumes the basest of men, for the basest of reasons, will lead us to goodness - Forget who said that.

    Good post, I always enjoy seeing what the opposition is thinking. You missed two worth reading

    Why I Am Not a Libertarian
    http://www.spectacle.org/897/trust.html

    tough and somewhat extreme
    http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/libertarian.html
     
  3. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Still readin' and' thinkin'. Plenty of time for me to come back and make an idiot of myself :D
     

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