Monday, October 02, 2006

Should Libertarians Look Left

Markos "Kos" Moulitsas is once again pitching the theory that libertarian minded voters should support Democrats over Republicans. Once again, he offers nothing compelling to show that Democrats are the better option. Republicans have certainly not been friends to the libertarian ideal, but how is the anti-Walmart, pro-single payer healthcare, anti-gun rights, pro-smoking/transfat banning Democrats an improvement?

While some of what Markos says, on the surface, seems to hit the right chords a close examination reveals a disconnect between what libertarians want and what Markos is promising Democrats will deliver.

They also saw the markets as a good, not an evil, but didn’t necessarily see an unregulated market run amok as a positive thing.

What, exactly, is a "market run amok"? Who gets to decide when it has gone too far? As Kip loves to say - Every advocate of central planning always — always — envisions himself as the central planner. What a Democrat sees as a market run amok it means things like Wal-Mart selling cheap drugs and restaurants selling froie gras. Then Democrats are falling over themselves trying to fix these "market failures."

Markos correctly identifies the libertarian mistrust of government.

The larger government grows, the more it infringes on our personal space, inevitably placing limits on our freedoms.

But he follows it up (via a repost by another Kos diarist) by trying to pursued us that government is bad, but corporations are worse.

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.

This misses the fundamental foundation of libertarianism - the corporations only have power over government because government has power. If the government could not make rules defining how the marketplace works, then there would be no power to buy and influence.

The essay goes on attacking Republican infringments on personal liberty while ignoring the Democratic attack on the same. Which is the fatal flaw in his attempt to pursuade us that Democrats are a valid alternative to Republicans - they are, essentially, no different. while Republicans may be in the pocket of Big Business, at least that means they, typically, just stay out of the way. The harm that they do on the economic front is much smaller than the harm that Democrats are trying to do.

Until Democrats are willing to demonstrate that they can keep their pudgy little fingers out of the free-market and let people decide for themselves what is a fair wage and what products they wish to buy, Democrats will never receive my vote.

More thoughts at Inactivist and A Stich In Haste

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