Saturday, August 26, 2017

Libertarianism as a centrist ideology

In our current political situation in the US, where the left and right of the political spectrum appear as noisy fringes of Alt-Left and Alt-Right,
there is a lot of space in the center. Therefore, Libertarians have a chance to be seen as a centrist and moderate ideology.

And it is not a false choice. Libertarianism is clearly the core American ideology - one where the protection of individual liberty and autonomy of choice is the founding principle of the nation. Presently, many have lost sight of that fact.

To broaden the appeal of their ideology libertarians need to assert principles that appeal to their potential, and at once sympathetic and skeptical, wings.

The main principle was well stated by Penn Jillette, more or less so, - "if you think about solving a certain problem think how could you solve it by giving people more freedom". This applies to drug prohibition, health care and school choice. This is the core libertarian principle.

To reach the liberal left libertarians ought to assert the John Rawls principle - that change will cause no harm to the weakest in society. Not to "marginalized groups" but to those actually economically and politically weakest - the homeless, those afflicted with illness, single parents, the unemployed. The status of the weakest will not suffer setbacks as a result of policy.

To reach the conservative right libertarians ought to assert the conservation principle. That would mean that beneficial outcomes that have been already reached shall be protected. This means to protect the good things about the system that has been created. This means, for example, tax-protected retirement arrangements and availability of medical care.

Therefore we have three things:
  • be pro-liberty - this is the libertarian no-brainer, because - duh - it's in the constitution
  • protect the weakest - compassion in governance, the "liberal" principle
  • protect the gains - any future solution, market-based or not, will not compromise the existing beneficial outcomes

Professing such ideas, broadening the standard message of liberty, Libertarianism will have a chance of entering the center field of US politics.

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