Monday, July 19, 2010

Libertarian And Liberal Cohabitation

A commenter over at LOG writes in defense of Libertarian and Liberal common ground:
Libertarianism is a restriction on means – in particular the non-violation of various rights. Modern liberalism is largely about one particular end – the maximization as far as possible of everyone’s positive liberty, There is no fundamental inconsistency between these ideas.

Perhaps no fundamental inconsistency, but certainly one in practice. The maximization of positive liberty often, if not always, involves the diminution of somebody else rights insofar as positive liberty requires positive rights, such as health care and education. Perhaps social and economic issues aren't as separate as we've been led to believe, but there's a reason that we separate them for political purposes. Libertarians and liberals will often disagree on economic issues because liberal economic policies are often distortionary and coercive.

Although, I do agree with both the commenter and the Mark Thompson that the libertarian/conservative coalition doesn't make much more sense in contemporary politics. Although-although, from a more philosophical perspective, for libertarians FLG'd argue that the economics drives the social. Free markets not only exploit mutually-beneficial transactions, but also inculcate various libertarian virtues and dispositions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"the maximization as far as possible of everyone’s positive liberty"

While the smugness in this statement is absolutely delicious, if has any truth in it, then it rests upon what the definition of positive is.

Another truly delicious irony...

Also, does positive liberty have any relationship with the word constitutional?

Mrs. P

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