Friday, October 19, 2007

Michael Kinsley Gets It

Michael Kinsely, as usual, gets libertarians more or less right- this time in Time. It's a rarity to see an article about libertarians that says something like the following- especially from someone on the left side of the political spectrum (and yes, I know that Kinsley is a bit different from other liberals):

Libertarians and communitarians (to continue this unjustified generalizing) are different character types. Communitarians tend to be bossy, boring and self-important, if they're not being oversweetened and touchy-feely. Libertarians, by contrast, are not the selfish monsters you might expect. They are earnest and impractical--eager to corner you with their plan for using old refrigerators to reverse global warming or solving the traffic mess by privatizing stoplights. And if you disagree, they're fine with that. It's a free country. [My emphasis]
Of course, Kinsley is slightly wrong in calling libertarians "isolationists," even if he is using the word in a non-judgmental way. Isolationism has two different definitions, depending on who you talk to or the dictionary you consult. It either means abstinence from international relations of any type or a policy of simply staying out of the affairs of other nations. Only the latter definition applies to most libertarians, who are obviously extremely firm believers in strong international trade without barriers.