Monday, December 04, 2006

Could Libertarians Join With Liberals?

"But precisely because government is on a trajectory of unsustainable expansion, liberals and libertarians have a common interest in reinventing it."

Is such a coalition feasible?Many progressives share such core libertarian principals as conservative and responsible government fiscal policy and a separation and balance of governmental powers.

If the assertion is right that, "the ambition of realistic libertarians is not to shrink government but to contain it: to cut senseless spending such as the farm program and oil subsidies to make room for the inevitable expansion in areas such as health", then a fiscally sane progressive agenda could indeed be strengthened by the welcome inclusion of Libertarians under a new Populist Democratic tent.

Progressives would do well to encourage a healthy dialogue with Libertarians and foster a sense of respect for the 400 year old libertarian tradition. Progressives should also stress that the likes of Ann Coulter are not and never have been libertarian. Any real and lasting shift towards greater popular progressive policy in the U.S. will need to be rooted in American soil.

Finally, libertarians need a framework that represents the challenges and realities of a 21st century globalized world. This could be a framework which accepts the principals of universal education and health care as minimum requirements to successful and stable post-modern republican democracy. At the same time, it should not be incompatible with the principals of; personal autonomy, fiscal conservatism, and government checks and balances.

The new realities of greater cooperation, efficiency and interconnectivity through networks could also serve as a template not only for providing quicker and more reliable government services but for shrinking the federal government at the same time, a long sought after principal and goal of libertarian thought. Progressives and Libertarians may find that 21st century information technology may very well provide the tool for forging such a coalition and ultimately a means of 21st century governance.