Thursday, February 04, 2010

Adolescent Libertarians.

Jonathan Calder, in a post about libertarian* bloggers, makes a lot of good points:
They are irredeemably adolescent. The issues that motivate them over and over again are "get out of my room Mom!" ones: alcohol, gambling and smoking.
Where are the libertarian writers on education? God knows we need some, given the ludicrous centralisation that has taken place over the last 20 years. What would a libertarian health system look like? Can you have a libertarian foreign policy? Or libertarian social services?
He is certainly correct about the disproportionate focus on libertine issues and not so much on the most important issues. The 'hedonism' issues are a lot easier to deal with than the big stuff, so simply telling the government to piss off is the solution.

Major public services can be shifted in a more libertarian direction but realistically any reform has to be made up of incremental reforms rather than a sweeping revolution. This is messy and doesn't really give an opportunity for grandstanding. Sure you can declare that the NHS should be abolished overnight but as there is no chance of it happening it is a waste of time.

* I'm sort of between libertarian and conservative.


TDK said...

Most Libertarians on the net obsess about economics if they obsess about anything.

If he wants a Libertarian with an interest in education then I suggest he reads Bishop Hill.

Ross said...

Yeah, economics is well covered by libertarians to be fair. And of the subjects he lists I'd say that education isn't exactly ignored, most libertarians leaning towards a voucher system I'd guess.

But with a few exceptions health and social security tend to get skant coverage.

Matthew said...

i think it might be because education intrinsically is a non-libertarian thing - it's about telling people (children) what to do, and worst most people think it's about telling adults (parents) what to tell children to do.

Arguably vouchers are less libertarian than state provision, as that can be justified as for the good of the Nation, like nuclear defence, whereas vouchers admit it's the parents responsibility but through a lack of trust refuse to give them that responsibility.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

He forgot drugs. :o)