Markos Moulitas has an essay up at Cato, The Case for the Libertarian Democrat. As is almost always the case Democrats and liberal leaning libertarians will squabble over some details, but I agree with the general thrust of what he says. Conservatives on the other hand who still want to pull the old right-wing paper tiger bit about Democrats being socialists feel threatened by a liberal-libertarian alliance. The there are going to be those libertarians that don’t think Markos goes far enough, the ones that want to do away with the very thin social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, etc. Those are the things that government has done well and for reasons of economy can continue to do better then private enterprise. This excerpt is from a comment that Markos uses, but stakes out some good common ground for liberals and libertarians,
Up until even very recently, it was still definitely possible to construe government as [the] largest threat to individual liberty. It wasn’t very long ago that “what was good for GM was good for the USA.” Government regulation of corporations was seen as interfering with the prosperity of the average American. You see, the libertarian/conservative idea behind the primacy of the free market was that there would always be an intersection between what was good for business and what was good for the consumer. But that correlation was far greater in years past than it is today.
The fundamental reason that “libertarian” has become “libertarian democrat” is that corporations are becoming more powerful than governments. This fundamental fact has created a union between those with libertarian tendencies and those with those who believed all along that government can be a force for good.
The effect either directly and indirectly that corporations have on our domestic and foreign policy is a Pandora’s Box of of a thousand little details. Most of us have read the stories about Halliburton, Enron, Coke and Worldcom among others. Corporations are the multi-headed monster that conservatives feed at the expense of liberty and taxpayers and that Democrats too often give a pass in order to get the money they need to hang on to what little power they have. For anyone of any political stripe to sit back and believe in the naive premise that all corporations and all corporate behavior is good and is best left totally unregulated probably also believes in the tooth fairy.
While I was over at Cato reading the article I came across this link to a libertarian in the comments, Kos to libertarians: “Come hither.” and they takes a critical Republican to task,
On civil liberties, Republicans are more concerned about them than Democrats, but sometimes that doesn’t show because both parties have different priorities. Republicans get worried about serial killers and rapists. Democrats get worried about people protesting abortion. Republicans get worried about terrorists flying planes into our buildings. Democrats worry about law abiding citizens who have guns. It’s just hard to paint the Party of Ruby Ridge, Fairness Doctrine, gun control laws, as a party akin to Libertarians on civil liberties issues. ..That’s not to say that Republicans align perfectly with Libertarians either. But, philosophically at least, conservatives and Libertarians are on the same page with regard to the size and power of the government and spending even if, in practice, it doesn’t work out that way.
and the libertarian reply,
That cartoon version of Democrats is so 1970s, and has not held for quite some time now. And in any event, I am far, far more concerned about what you Republicans do ever time you spit out the word “terrorist” than I am about what I concede (lament, actually) is some liberal unfriendliness toward free speech — but what has your GOP done for speech rights lately, anyway? George Bush signed McCain-Feingold into law, after having said it was unconstitutional — let him therefore perform an anatomically improbable act upon himself (and for other reasons, too).
I can’t help but think that conservative has been living in cave. I guess he missed the signing statement controversy, the warrantless domestic spying in violation of FISA law that Bush actually started before 9-11, or the refusal to review the Patriot Act and its more draconian measures, and the attempt to pass Patriot Act II. Or half a dozen other serious assaults on the the Constitution and personal freedom.
Inactivists also notes an objection from a right leaning libertarian,
Kos rails against Republicans because they support Big Business (i.e. Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Big Tobacco). But instead of supporting smaller government by reducing the subsidies to these corporate interests, Kos merely wants to shift the money to Big Education, Big Environment, and Big Research Grants to Study Things He Deems Important. There’s nothing libertarian and everything Democrat about that.
I don’t mean this in a condescending way its just that many libertarians are stuck in this turn of the century Robber Baron mentality about the environmentt and education. Without the environment there is no economy. Quick example, if someone that runs a multi billion dollar mining business contaminates the water I need to run my multi billion dollar contact lens business, then those that are anti mining regulation are pro quarterly profits –i.e. short term bonanza, but they are not pro business or pro family. Without education there is no middle-uppermiddle-class to run businesses, do research, discover and implement new ideas and products. Public education has made the middle class possible, as have public universities. Then for those that have ideals that are extend beyond those that can only be measured in capital gains also see investments in public education as an investment in egalitarianism. A society that is as stratified by class as ours will not benefit economically or culturally from a society that is made even more so by erecting more cultural barriers, that is what letting public education whither will do. Similarly we cannot have a healthy economy without healthy citizens. Its odd that a major premise of the health-care business is group risks and group purchasing power, but conservatives and many libertarians object to that business theorem being applied on a larger scale.
Update: Two articles that demonstrate the need for reasonable regulation of business, Breaking the Chain
The idea that Wal-Mart’s power actually subverts the functioning of the free market will seem shocking to some. After all, the firm rose to dominance in the same way that many thousands of other companies before it did—through smart innovation, a unique culture, and a focus on serving the customer. Even a decade ago, Americans could fairly conclude that, in most respects, Wal-Mart’s rise had been good for the nation. But the issue before us is not how Wal-Mart grew to scale but how Wal-Mart uses its power today and will use it tomorrow. The problem is that Wal-Mart, like other monopsonists, does not participate in the market so much as use its power to micromanage the market, carefully coordinating the actions of thousands of firms from a position above the market.
and this, Myth: Deregulation promotes competition
Alton Verm, of Conroe, objects to the language and content in the book. His 15-year-old daughter Diana, a CCHS sophomore, came to him Sept. 21 with her reservations about reading the book because of its language.
“The book had a bunch of very bad language in it,” Diana Verm said. “It shouldn’t be in there because it’s offending people. … If they can’t find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn’t have a book at all.”
Alton Verm filed a “Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials” Thursday with the district regarding “Fahrenheit 451,” written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. He wants the district to remove the book from the curriculum.
“It’s just all kinds of filth,” said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read “Fahrenheit 451.” “The words don’t need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class.”
He looked through the book and found the following things wrong with the book: discussion of being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, “dirty talk,” references to the Bible and using God’s name in vain. He said the book’s material goes against their religions beliefs. The Verms go to Grand Parkway Church in Porter.
So we can assume that he reads the Bible and allows his daughter to do so, Why the Bible Has So Many Prostitutes
What’s with all the prostitutes? There’s scarcely an unmarried woman in the Bible so far who isn’t a prostitute, or treated like one! There’s Tamar, who turns a trick with her father-in-law Judah. The Moabite women, who whore themselves to the Israelites. The Midianite harlot who’s murdered by Phineas. Jacob’s daughter Dinah, whose loose behavior sparks mass slaughter. No wonder they call prostitution the oldest profession—it’s the only profession that biblical women seem to have.
I’ve got a lot of blues on my mind
and at least a million miles behind me
and all that I’ve got between me
and pauper’s hill
is a wrinkled, crincked, wadded dollar bill.
lyrics from Wrinkled Crinkled Wadded Dollar Bill by Johnny Cash