Friday, July 21, 2006

If It Weren't for the Housing Inspectors, No One Would Have a Roof

A sans-leather jacket Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Reason, recently took on Jonah Goldberg of National Review at an AFF roundtable on whether libertarians and conservatives can really get along. There’s audio (of terrible quality) available here, and commentary on it at Hit & Run here and here. I think H&R commenter Warren makes an excellent point that has sometimes frustrated me – that people assume that libertarians subscribe to an every-man-for-himself philosophy (he’s actually making the point that people assume libertarians are against “tradition”, but there are parallels). Libertarians (or at least myself) believe that people should be free to develop whatever kind of organizations they want, but they shouldn’t be forced into those relationships. From his comment:

Goldberg seems to think there is a strong cultural anarchy vein to libertarianism, an insistence that all tradition and "ancient wisdom" be discarded. But this is flat out false. Nothing in libertarianism requires it's adherents to embrace the Bohemian creed. Libertarians believe in self-governance, the 'devolution of authority' as Nick so eloquently put it. There is nothing in libertarianism that prohibits you from practicing the most austere forms of Puritanism. What libertarians object to, is having your (elitist/arbitrary/white-man's) traditions imposed on others.

[Apologies to David Wiegel for stealing his title, but it was just too good to resist. It perfectly captures the libertarian perspective on regulation.]


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