Libertarianism is Dead (Again)? – July 2011 Edition

Just thought I would throw this out here since it looks like this will be a repeating theme over the next decade or two.


While it was once hard to find an organized movement that favored the freedom to make the market exchanges you wanted as well as do what you desired in general (so long as you did not impede others from doing the same thing), Libertarianism as a political ideology has flourished quite a bit since then.


I mean much more than simple name recognition, I mean wholesale acceptance of things I think everyone should have figured out by now.


Slate is a popular news source for those that are far left of center. There are of course plenty of online bastions of left-wing commentary. These offer interpretations of everything from the alleged blessings of compulsory unions to Thanksgiving itself. But what makes this source different is that from what I can discern, Slate actually seems to reflect a sizable majority of those who self-identify as standard liberals, while not generally going so far as to calling themselves Democratic Socialists, or anything else of a radical nature.


A few years back, Slate published this sorry piece claiming that the Housing Crisis of 2008 somehow proves that Libertarianism is flawed. Central to this article’s claim is the notion that giving people more freedom to make the economic exchanges they wished (deregulation) caused one of the biggest economic crashes in our nation’s history.


According to the author (Jacob Weisberg), counter-arguments exist for all the objections Libertarians make towards the idea that the free market caused the housing crisis:


“There are rebuttals to these claims and rejoinders to the rebuttals. But to summarize, the libertarian apologetics fall wildly short of providing any convincing explanation for what went wrong. “


Weisberg refuses to elaborate on just what these rebuttals are. Maybe if someone spends enough time on Google, they can expect to find a “response” to just about anything. But surely the answers are out there, and us ill-informed liberty-lovers just plain refuse to listen.


But this is not the main issue with his article, though it is highlighted elsewhere. What I think is ironic about the article is that Weisberg appears to have spoken far too soon. Despite the fact that 2008 should have been the deathbed for Libertarianism, it seems Slate still takes this “failed ideology” seriously.


They have done so with the publication of an article, well two actually that claim Robert Nozick (who is purported to be the father of Libertarianism according to Slate) abandoned his Libertarian views altogether. So there you have it folks. Libertarianism is so dead at this point that Slate feels that it is necessary to lie about what Nozick really thought towards the end of his life.


I will tackle the content of the articles themselves in future posts. I think I need a break from trying to write the vaguest autobiography possible. But in the meantime, consider this to be the first post in an ongoing series where I show how ironic it is for people to claim that a growing movement is “dead.”

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