Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


Liberaltarians Unite!

The political blogs for the last few weeks have been talking about something called Liberaltarianism. It’s based around the idea that libertarians have more in common with a certain kind of liberal than they do with mainstream conservatives – or at least the main demographic of the Republican Party.

With a handful of exceptions (you know who you are!), most of my friends test in the bottom left quadrant of the Political Compass. Some of them even describe themselves as left-libertarian.

I blogged about this a while back, suggesting Go Down! as a strategy for the dems to distinguish them from the ever-moving-up pubbies circa 2006. But now, as the conservative coalition debates who is in and who is out, many people below the line, left and right, are self-identifying as liberaltarians.

So what do liberaltarians believe?

Stealing liberally from Humanitology,

I believe in having the smallest government possible while still providing social services to those in need. I want very few laws governing my behavior and very many services helping me to help myself should I need them. I do want some check on trade and big business, but I also want individuals to be as free as possible…

…I do not mind taxes, but I want the majority of my money and government power in the hands of my state. I feel very strongly about local government and states’ rights.

and, in summary

Few laws governing behavior.
Many services helping the poor to no longer need services.
Small federal.
Medium state.
Fiscal conservative.
Social liberal.

Will Wilkinson thinks that the unholy alliance of social conservatives and libertarians is a vestige of their shared fear of communism:

Meanwhile, with the obsolescence of the anti-communist alliance with conservatives, many libertarians have sloughed off much of their previously tactically useful sympathy for socially conservative initiatives. Freed to be full-on social liberals, many libertarians are left sensing a much deeper cultural affinity for the left than the right

In another post, Will explains why libertarians (and he includes himself as such) might be more at home on the left and paints a nice picture for why this would an attractive proposition:

So I think my best bet is just to go ahead and try to come up with a more coherent and effective version of practical market-friendly liberalism. I’d like to think that would be attractive to the tens of millions of Americans who think conservatives are vile, that conventional liberals are too deep in the pocket of the Democratic Party to actually promote prosperity and opportunity, and that libertarians are dogmatic, weird, and irrelevant.

If only the system of democracy in America weren’t so firmly intertwined with the Democrats and the Republicans, the Liberaltarians might be a new party in the making.