Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Oh My

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In 2006, the public policy research organization, The Cato Institute, invited some leading liberal Democratic columnists and bloggers to discuss the question if Libertarians should vote Democratic:

In over a half-decade of Republican political dominance, Americans have witnessed a huge expansion in the scope and cost of government, a questionably just and so-far unsuccessful war in Iraq, serious erosions of civil liberty, and a troubling tendency toward an imperial executive. Is it time for the traditional alliance between libertarians and conservatives to finally end? If Republicans in power have failed so utterly to promote libertarian ideals, would libertarians better advance their cause by supporting Democrats at the polls? Of course, the fact that libertarians have been so badly abused by conservatives doesn’t necessarily imply they will find a more welcoming home among liberals. Is the Democratic tent big enough to include small-government free marketeers. Perhaps libertarians have something to gain by supporting to Democrats, but does the Democratic party have anything to gain by courting libertarians?

Markos “Kos” Moulitsas, proprietor of DailyKos, opened the discussion with the lead article, The Case for the Libertarian Democrat:

It was my fealty to the notion of personal liberty that made me a Republican when I came of age in the 1980s. It is my continued fealty to personal liberty that makes me a Democrat today.

The case against the libertarian Republican is so easy to make that I almost feel compelled to stipulate it and move on. It is the case for the libertarian Democrat that has created much discussion and not a small amount of controversy when I first introduced the notion in what was, in reality, a throwaway blog post on Daily Kos on a slow news day in early June 2006.

Moulitsas went on to describe how the article was attacked by Libertarians unwilling to recognize they were losing their “grasp of libertarian principles” but at the same time were “unwilling to cede any ground to a liberal“. The real surprise came from the general reaction:

[O]f Americans who are uncomfortable with Republican/conservative efforts to erode our civil liberties while intruding into our bedrooms and churches; they don’t like unaccountable corporations invading their privacy, holding undue control over their economic fortunes, and despoiling our natural surroundings; yet they also don’t appreciate the nanny state, the over-regulation of small businesses, the knee-jerk distrust of the free market, or the meddlesome intrusions into mundane personal matters.

The discussion in that introduction continues with Moulitsas explaining why he is, in essence, a Libertarian Democrat, how liberal Democrats relate to Libertarians, the Conservatives’ “war on freedom” and why he believed that there was a rise of Libertarian Democrats. He went on to write three more article for that series:

  • A New Breed of Democrats
  • The Internal Democratic Struggle
  • Don’t Wait for Inspiration, Do Something!
  • They are well worth reading and book marking.

    Since then, Mr. Moulitsas has become a prominent voice for the left and has used the Internet to bring liberal/progressive policies into political mainstream and to the attention of what he calls the “traditional” media.  

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      • TMC on January 11, 2012 at 6:46 am
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