Friday, 18 February 2011

Libertarians 'always' become PC when they get power and make policies


A few years ago, when Gordon Brown was Labour Prime Minister, I was asked to visit the Houses of Parliament to 'advise' two prominent Conservative Opposition Ministers both of whom are now power holders:

David Willetts - currently Minister for Universities and Science -

and Boris Johnson - currently the Mayor of London -


At that time I was solidly libertarian in my views and had written from this perspective in the national media; and these two politicians were both known for their libertarian views.

As it happens, David Willetts didn't show - so I (with three other 'experts') advised Boris Johnson; whom I found to be a genuinely likable man - although I was struck by the fact that he was not exactly a 'wonk' - his interest-in and grasp-of detail was... approximate.

Willetts is a wonk - and has published detailed articles and books on his subject. And he is about as libertarian - on paper - as anyone in UK politics.

Johnson is also known as a libertarian - on paper - being editor of the libertarian/ conservative weekly The Spectator.

Yet of course when both these men got power and made policies they became politically correct. Libertarians always do.



Because not only does libertarianism not make sense (being far too narrow and too arbitrary in its assumptions) - it also doesn't work in politics: or at least not in democratic politics.

It does not work because the mass of people as well as (more importantly) the powerful interest groups do not want libertarianism and will fight tooth and nail to prevent (or more often sabotage) libertarian policies.

Libertarianism has - roughly speaking - zero support: by which I mean real support: people who will turn out, work hard, make sacrifices for it.

Libertarianism will not work - in sum - for reasons articulated by (sincere-libertarian) Arnold Kling's father:


So, when it comes to real-life policy, libertarians will jump. 

They will usually jump to the left, into politically correct Liberalism (because that is the dominant ideology of government, and the best career move), but if not they will jump to the populist right (aka fascism) or to religious conservatism.

Or they will jump out of politics altogether.


Forget Libertarianism - it is a delusion! Make your choice between PC, fascism and religious conservatism.