July 13, 2007

Is Matt Yglesias the conscience of the Right? In a piece published in response to Brink Lindsay’s “The Libertarian Center,” Yglesias agrees with Lindsay’s thesis that the past fifty years have seen an increase in human freedom and that we’re all so much better off, especially when it comes to our more “enlightened” attitude toward social issues, but wonders aloud if civil rights legislation, including the outlawing of “discrimination” against women and minorities, is all that libertarian:

“Similarly, the gay rights movement does indeed want gay couples to be unmolested in their private conduct. But their demands go far beyond that. They want to regulate who you may employ, who you may rent a house to, etc., etc., etc. “€” not merely a state that refrains from discriminating, but a state that takes the lead in fighting discrimination.

“To me, this is all to the good. And if Cato Institute employees want to endorse it, that’s all to the good as well. But it’s not libertarianism.”

It sure isn’t. The Lindsayite (Lindsayist?) thesis—that, somehow, in spite of the PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the general assault on the Constitution undertaken not only by this administration, but by all administrations since FDR (or, really, Hoover: uh, wait, make that Lincoln …)—we haven’t taken a couple of giant steps back from the vision of the Founders. Indeed, according to the Lindsay-ite dispensation, the rise of the Welfare-Warfare State represents progress in a “libertarian” direction. Go here for a more extensive analysis of Lindsayism: suffice to say, it is very far from anything remotely approaching libertarianism. What I want to know, however, is why does it take a liberal like Yglesias to point this out?


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