How does one counter the libertarian idea that unfettered markets coupled with minimum government can actually work?
The Libertarian Party’s slogan, “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom,” sounds attractive, but only in a specious and simplistic way. As I see it, the Libertarian world view is basically stuck in the fantasy-science fiction world of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.”
Rand, along with Nathaniel Branden, also wrote “The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism,” a 1964 collection of essays and papers that has virtually nothing useful to offer regarding today’s climate of rising economic inequality and environmental danger — except that the one-percent has taken the virtue of selfishness to heart.
The Nobel laureate, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently offered a counterpoint to a long New York Times Magazine article by Robert Draper that profiled young Libertarians — basically, people who combine free-market economics with permissive social views — and asked whether we might be heading for a “libertarian moment.”
Krugman’s answer? “Probably not. Polling suggests that young Americans tend, if anything, to be more supportive of the case for a bigger government than their elders.”
Then he asks a different and more important question, especially for fans of Sen. Rand Paul: Is libertarian economics at all realistic?Click to continue reading »