Monday, March 07, 2005

Today's Must-Read: Is Libertarianism the Marxism of the Right?

Robert Locke has a very interesting article in Pat Buchanan's American Conservative (hat tip to RealClearPolitics) that's well worth the read. Cast as a refutation of the most commonly understood tenant of libertarianism (individual freedom is the highest good), it just as easily serves as an essay on the Ayn Rand school of thought (the virtue of selfishness) versus the socialist model (the community as the highest good).

Libertarians themselves are sure to object to Locke's characterization of their belief system; his reply is that that's the same way the Marxists played it - define a version for the masses, but practice a version that looks much different. I can't adopt a totally libertarian viewpoint myself (I'm more of a Spiderman conservative - i.e., 'with great power comes great responsibility'). I'm not totally comfortable with Locke's vision of a state that protects us from our own poor decisions, either - now a state that protects me from the poor decisions of others, that's a whole different matter.

Essentially, the essence of Locke's argument is the danger of absolutism, in this case, the absolute primacy of individual choice. I'm absolutely sure you should read this article - it's food for thought, regardless of your own view.

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