Monday, July 12, 2010

Where Do Libertarians Belong? A reason debate

August-September 2010

For those who cherish the ideals of free minds and free markets, 21st century politics in the United States has not been a particularly welcoming place. The big-government conservatism of George W. Bush has been followed by the bigger- government liberalism of Barack Obama. The twin crises of 9/11 and the 2008 financial meltdown spawned the twin leviathans of national security hyperextension and the never-ending bailout. The nation’s political class has rallied around the economic ideas of John Maynard Keynes, and the country’s short-term financial picture only looks tenable when compared to the long-term fiscal nightmare that just about everyone agrees is coming.

So where should libertarians drop anchor and forge alliances within the famous four-sided Nolan Chart spectrum of political beliefs and groupings? In this exchange, Contributing Editor Brink Lindsey argues that it’s time, once and for all, to sever the libertarian-conservative alliance that dates back to the New Deal while remaining skeptical about the illiberal populism of Tea Party activism. In response, a conservative writer—National Review Online Editor-at-Large Jonah Goldberg—disputes Lindsey’s portrayal of the right and contends that the only major party giving free market economics the time of day is the GOP. Meanwhile, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe tells Lindsey and his think tank fellow travelers to climb down off that high horse and celebrate the most promising limited-government popular uprising in generations.