QotD, That Would Be Nice edition.

Glenn Reynolds, letting out his inner libertarian:

So now that New York will have happily-maried gay couples, can we get started on letting them have the closets full of assault rifles?

Lurking in that question is the key difference between liberalism and libertarianism – and it’s liberalism that comes off second-best in the comparison.

Liberal Mask Slipping Watch, Libertarian Edition.

Mind you, Matt Welch is not surprised that it has; otherwise, his fairly comprehensive evisceration of this Salon article whining about the maturity level of libertarianism would have been a good deal more, ah, exercised.  I imagine that being editor-in-chief for Reason generally means that one gets used fairly quickly to the pander-then-minimize cycle that libertarians get from both Democrats and Republicans – I say this as a Republican, mind you.  I’m not even apologetic about it: my only regret is that we pander too little and minimize too much.  Why?  Because of paragraphs like this:

The “worldview” of libertarianism suggested, back in the early 1970s, that if you got the government out of the business of setting all airline ticket prices and composing all in-flight menus, then just maybe Americans who were not rich could soon enjoy air travel. At the time, people with much more imagination and pull than Gabriel Winant has now dismissed the idea as unrealistic, out-of-touch fantasia. They were wrong then, they continue to be wrong now about a thousand similar things, and history does not judge them harsh enough.

The differences between libertarians, liberals, and conservatives can be handily seen with this paragraph.  When asked whether the government should be involved in something, the libertarian will default to “No;” the liberal, to “Yes;” and the conservative to “I don’t think so.”  What a lot of conservatives forget is that their answer and the libertarian answer is not quite the same; once a conservative is convinced that government intervention is acceptable or even laudable he will enthusiastically support it*.  And what a lot of libertarians forget is that while “No” and “Probably not” are not quite the same, “No” and “Yes” will never be the same; even in places where the results would be the same the process is significantly different**.  In other words: to a libertarian, a conservative is an ultimately unreliable ally (and vice versa).  But a liberal’s just going to be somebody who’s only right by accident.

What?  What do liberals forget?  That conservatives and libertarians have triple-digit IQs, of course; and that they can read.  Hence, absurdities like the Salon article that sparked Matt’s ire.

Moe Lane

Continue reading Liberal Mask Slipping Watch, Libertarian Edition.