Friday, July 13, 2007

I'll take Libertarianism for $100

At heart really is the knee-jerk ... reaction against government infringement on some nebulous concept of "liberty."
Atrios comments on a marvelous essay by Atlantic magazine's Matthew Yglesias over at Cato's blog (the libertarian think tank, not the Roman statesman). Yglesias points out the practical limits reality places on the libertarian pursuit of freedom from government regulation.

Contrasting the "freedom" of Kansas with the more regulated "freedom" required to build and sustain New York City, Yglesias notes that one is not necessarily preferable to the other. Politics that produced a society more tolerant of women and minorities, that use government to reduce people's exposure to risk expand freedom of action by providing security, Yglesias observes. It's just not freedom in the way libertarians normally view it:
Kansas has fewer business regulations, but New York is more conducive to cosmopolitan individualism. This turn is, as far as I'm concerned, all to the good – cosmopolitanism is an excellent thing, as is individualism, whereas libertarianism is a bit silly.
Atrios puts in more plainly:
Drop me in the middle of the desert and I am truly free, though it's not really the kind of freedom I am interested in.
The Double Jeopardy category is Authoritarianism. What would you like to wager?

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