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.
We cherish freedom, and will embrace any who would protect it. But that necessarily includes, in this day and age, the government.
Normally I am loathe to read anything Kos writes. I am not a fan. Its been on my bookmark list for a while and I decided to read it, and this follow up by Andrew Sullivan. Salon used the term Deadwood Democrats a while back for the same phenomena.
Kos make a number of sound points. While I disagree with a number of things he says; I agree with the major point with a caveat. There is room in the Democratic Party for Pro-Personal-Freedom Libertarians; but, the Anti-Government will find it really hard to get along. The questions for those libertarians on the fence to ask themselves:
- Do you love freedom more than you dislike/distrust government?
- Do you believe there are threats to personal freedom besides government?
- If so, are there currently bigger threats to personal freedom than government?
- Do you believe there must be a role for government in preserving personal freedom?
- Do you think that laws that would increasing openness and accountability, and protecting whistle-blowers; would work to make government less of the threat to personal freedoms?
- Do you believe that corporations are entitled to the same protections of personal liberties that natural persons enjoy?
How well a Libertarian can be a Democrat is reciprocal to hove much he views Government as the problem. Those that recognize that markets are made by human law and not natural law, will come to terms with Government regulation as beneficial in as much as it works to protect the personal freedom of those who wish to be honest brokers in the free market. Those that have a knee-jerk negative reaction to any and all Government will never be able to get past that.