by Sam Winston
My recent post on whether or not all post-Katrina New Orleans are libertarians deep down gets a response on The Huffington Post by John McQuaid. You can also see comments and response to the original post here or pasted below the fold.
May 23rd, 2008 at 11:45 am It is likewise the glaring hole in the libertarian-esque argument championed by these prevailing policies and ideas in New Orleans schools, housing, and law enforcement. Before we can declare these ideals as universally superior over their competitors, it would seem to me that would need to be addressed. These ideas embody a great misunderstanding of libertarianism - mainly, that libertarianism should have prescribed social goals and outcomes. A real non-sequitor. That is nothing more than socially acceptable (politcally correct) collectivism, the antithesis of libertarianism. When I hear such arguments I have to wonder if the author is simply mistaken or whether he is diverting the argument and taking a cheap shot at libertarianism as well. His argument should be take a different direction.
Actually, libertarianism is an individual path. Self-reliance and the realization that government assistance requires force, coertion and a loss of freedom are two prime features of libertarianism. It requires the understanding that governments, by nature, provide disincentives to do well and incentives to, well, provide what New Orleaneans have received.
That will not satisfy those who do not understand they are their own responsibility first and who believe that I should be forced to pay for what you receive, no matter the quality of what is received or at what cost. I cannot argue against such irrationality, exept to turn the cards and say, Fine, I will send all my utility bills to the government and they will make you pay for them. It wouldnt be long before my lights are cut off.
May 23rd, 2008 at 3:12 pm I love how all libertarians think they are misunderstood (or that their critics just aren t up to the task of grasping the concept).A careful reading of my post would see me giving libertarian ideas credit in certain circumstances, and not a great misunderstanding of libertarianism or taking a cheap shot ot liberarianism.
As for libertarianism not having prescribed social goals and outcomes, that was the kind of admission I was asking for when I said,
The glaring hole in the City Journal piece was a complete omission of the New Orleans communities that are still struggling (aside from a yay for Brad Pitt). It is likewise the glaring hole in the libertarian-esque argument championed by these prevailing policies and ideas in New Orleans schools, housing, and law enforcement. Why havent these great virtues of self-reliance, free-market forces, and choice worked as well for those communities ie for everybody? Before we can declare these ideals as universally superior over their competitors, it would seem to me that would need to be addressed. That or we would need to admit that these principles arent actually universal, mainly in those communities like most of New Orleans East, the Lower 9th Ward, and Central City.
That last sentence, which you left out of your quote, was key. Your admission was what was missing from the City Journal piece. That these libertarian ideals hailed in multiple examples throughout New Orleans never intended to fix the social problems and outcomes of the Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans East, and Central City. At least not directly. Some people have a hard time with that admission and its easy to see why given the current general mainstream American perception on government, liberal or conservative.
Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic and the Times in London elaborated on this point of what he calls conservative aims, though they are very libertarian, versus liberal goals recently. Interesting stuff, and it all comes down to that admission we just discussed. See link below.