PostHeaderIcon Feeling Libertarian

That sounds like an oxymoron to me. As a thinker, I try not to spend too much time feeling and libertarians are supposed to be cold and heartless; but Professor John Hasnas of Georgetown U. has penned a remarkable commentary on “What It Feels Like To Be A Libertarian.”:

…I’ll tell you. It feels bad. Being a libertarian means living with a level of frustration that is nearly beyond human endurance. It means being subject to unending scorn and derision despite being inevitably proven correct by events.
Libertarians spend their lives accurately predicting the future effects of government policy. Their predictions are accurate because they are derived from Hayek’s insights into the limitations of human knowledge, from the recognition that the people who comprise the government respond to incentives just like anyone else and are not magically transformed to selfless agents of the good merely by accepting government employment, from the awareness that for government to provide a benefit to some, it must first take it from others, and from the knowledge that politicians cannot repeal the laws of economics. For the same reason, their predictions are usually negative and utterly inconsistent with the utopian wishful-thinking that lies at the heart of virtually all contemporary political advocacy. And because no one likes to hear that he cannot have his cake and eat it too or be told that his good intentions cannot be translated into reality either by waving a magic wand or by passing legislation, these predictions are greeted not merely with disbelief, but with derision.

It is human nature to want to shoot the messenger bearing unwelcome tidings. And so, for the sin of continually pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, libertarians are attacked as heartless bastards devoid of compassion for the less fortunate, despicable flacks for the rich or for business interests, unthinking dogmatists who place blind faith in the free market, or, at best, members of the lunatic fringe…

Does that “feel” familiar, or what? The piece is short and worth the read just to get to the final prophetic paragraph. â—„Daveâ–º

One Response to “Feeling Libertarian”

  • Excellent post.

    I don’t feel terribly heartless or frustrated though. It might have to do with living in a town full of people who think like Kucinich. They aren’t blind to the problems, they just disagree on who should solve them. If I lived around a bunch of neocons I think I’d be in a straight jacket.

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