Jesse Walker on Libertarian Populism


By now the world knows about the rebellion within the Republican Party over civil liberties and foreign policy, as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and others condemn PATRIOT Act–style encroachments on citizens' rights, Iraq-style projections of power abroad, and a drone war that threatens to blur the difference. Lately there's been talk of another rebellion, this one directed at the economic policies that have come to define much of the party. The members of this movement have been labeled libertarian populists—"libertarian" because they aim their fire at big government, "populists" because they aim their fire at other large, centralized institutions too. Jesse Walker offers three lessons that anyone envisioning a libertarian-populist GOP should keep in mind.