Libertarianism: Conservative, Reactionary or Progressive?
That is to say: does it seek to preserve some existing state of being (politically/governmentally/societally speaking), does it seek to restore some past state of being, or does it seek to create a better state of being, specifically as it applies to the liberty and freedom of the individual? Indeed, as I argued that other day, there is a progressive libertarian view of the CRA that one can readily identify (see my post More on Rand Paul, Civil Rights and Balancing Choices over Liberty).
Paul’s argument about private ownership, for example, is essentially a reactionary position: he wants to return to a previous state of being in terms of the interpretation of the commerce clause that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the first place. (And yes, he has stepped back his original statements, including stating he would have voted for the bill–but his basic philosophical position on the issue remains quite clear).
Indeed, there is a specific strain of libertarianism that sees the Golden Age of American liberty as being back in the late 1800s (typically pegged to the 1880s). For example, I wrote about this concept here in the past.
This has been on my mind for a while, but the proximate trigger for the post this morning was Ross Douthat’s piece in the NYT this morning (The Principles of Rand Paul).
Paul is a libertarian, certainly, but more importantly he’s a particular kind of a libertarian. He’s culturally conservative (opposing both abortion and illegal immigration), radically noninterventionist (he’s against the Iraq war and the United Nations), and so stringently constitutionalist that he views nearly everything today’s federal government does as a violation of the founding fathers’ vision.
This worldview goes by many names, including “paleoconservatism,” “the old right” and “paleolibertarianism.” But its adherents — Paul and his father, Ron, included — view themselves as America’s only true conservatives, arguing that the modern conservative movement has sold out to both big government and the military-industrial complex.
So, a couple of questions:
1) What does libertarianism mean to you in terms of conservations, reaction or progression?
2) How do you view Paulian (Ron or Rand, really) libertarianism?
Photo Source: Me.