Randy Barnett on Libertarianism 3.0 in Wash Post


Last week at The Daily Beast, I posted a story about what I called "Libertarianism 3.0." That's my term for demanding that our political allies in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and elsewhere take seriously our belief in social tolerance and fiscal responsibility, in free minds and free markets, in shrinking the size, scope, and spending of government in the bedroom and the boardroom.

Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, now housed at The Washigton Post, Randy (a.k.a. "Rob") Barnett comments on my piece:

In relating the role that Charles and David Koch have played in this development, Gillespie is playing off a new book by Daniel Schulman, Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty, that Nick says "is mandatory reading." A truly fair and balanced account of the Kochs would freely acknowledge their enormous contributions to the growth, development, and increasing influence of the modern libertarian movement, the impact of which is now being felt by the Republican party. This is indeed big. But Schulman apparently is also sensitive to what the Left's shameful McCarthyite treatment of the Kochs deliberately ignores: the distinctly libertarian path they have funded, and in which they have personally participated, that is quite different from that of either the Republican or Democratic parties, or from either traditional conservatives on the right and traditional progressives on the left.

That sort of nuance does not drive campaign contributions, so instead we have the "vast right wing conspiracy" theories with "the Koch brothers" cast as Drs. Evil. The reality is actually far more interesting and potentially momentous. But those who get their talking points from Harry Reid, MSNBC and the DNC (I am on their list so I know what they are saying, though they think my name is "Rob") are missing the real story. They might just start with Nick Gillespie's column on the Daily Beast.

Read his whole bit.

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  1. Libertarianism 3.0 is Daft Punk?

    1. No, IT”S A COOKBOOK.

  2. Anything not central planning is right wing. A Koch doesn’t agree with the centralized war on drugs? That’s radical right wing thinking! Send us money.

    1. From the WP comments:

      4:38 AM PDT
      The planet is on the verge of a sixth great extinction because of global warming, and the Koch brothers are doing everything they can to continue the use of fossil fuels because the alternative energy sources don’t put money in their pockets, including peddling bad science. Sorry, but I think anyone who is willing to risk life on the planet for the sake of their own profits deserves to have their names put on the same list as Stalin and Pol Pot.

      1. Hitler doesn’t even make the list? That shows you how evil the Kochs are.

        1. I’m sure that he didn’t put down Hitler because he wanted to make it clear that he was a Serious Person.

      2. so not being part of the warmist cult is akin to Stalin and Pol Pot.

        Wow, what a mess of nuclear-grade derp.

      3. I’m curious where this mass extinction stuff comes from. I’ve never actually seen it in the MSM, but the idea is clearly floating around out there in the ether.

        1. Greenies have been talking about it for decades, but there’s a current bestseller called The Sixth Extinction, so it’s more of a talking point right now.

    2. The Koch’s want to impose freedom on us! It doesn’t get more radical than that.


      1. Not quite. He likes freedom. The freedom to force people to pay for your health care, to force smokers to go outside, to force people to pay more for energy, to force people to pay for your debts, etc… He love freedom when it involves force.

        What he despises is liberty. A lack of force. No one issuing commands and demanding that you ask for permission. That’s evil.

  3. The comments on the article are entertaining.

    1. Aaargh, stop destroying my world view! There is only left and right, good and bad!

  4. I posted this on a thread this weekend, but it deserves repeating here:…..-books.php

    A local hit piece was printed here in Sunny Minnesota about the evil Koch bros. refinery. Turns out the guy who wrote the piece owns a PR firm that has repeatedly pitched Koch to help them get out the message of how wonderfully green their refinery is.

    Maybe the Koch hate is just due to them being a liberal scorned?

  5. Conservatism has lost. The fight is now between liberalism and libertarianism. More specifically the fundamental fight is between negative and positive liberty. Everything else is window dressing.

    1. From the 90’s to the late aughts, progs assimilated liberals (not classical liberals but ACLU-types). Now it is our turn to do the same to the train wreck that is conservatism.

  6. The idea of Libertarianism 3.0 (or at least one part of it) as effectively Fusionism 2.0 is the wildest dream of those of us in the Republican Party who hold to Milton Friedman’s “I am a libertarian with a small ‘l’ and a Republican with a capital ‘R.’ And I am a Republican with a capital ‘R’ on grounds of expediency, not on principle.” We watch our the folks in office or running for office squabbling in a regulatorycrat-populist civil war instead of actually realizing that they belong to an electoral coalition, while we read brilliant pieces by right-liberatian and reform conservative wonks and wonder why we can’t get them to run instead (I’d vote for Kevin D. Williamson or Yuval Levin in a heartbeat).

    As a proponent of the classic Buckley/Meyer idea of using libertarian constitutionalist means to attain conservative Aristotelean virtuous ends, I welcome sewing Sarah Palin & her crew into a gunnysack and welcoming whatever libertarians want into our coalition this instant. We have our differences, but I have probably larger differences with the paleocons and neocons, and I find *some* common cause with them just find (not being Palin-style howler monkeys). Maximal liberty lies both at the root of conservatism and at the root of virtue in my estimation (per any epistemology worth a damn), so that’s why I see the *cause* of libertarianism and its relation to the *cause* of American conservatism more important a factor than specific disagreement in current platform policy.

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