Saturday, April 19, 2008

Best Read of the Day

Jim Henley does some guest-blogging at the Art of the Possible with a discussion on the role of libertarians in American politics.

Money 'graph:

So maybe the moral question isn’t, what use can libertarians be to liberals, but what use can libertarians be to anybody? We are not going to bring about either a minarchist or anarcho-capitalist society anytime soon, where “soon” can be translated as ever. Truth be told, I’m not convinced that a purely minarchist society would be all that great to live in. As for anarcho-capitalism, I think even a lot of an-caps agree that it requires a long-term project of learning how to live that way as society. I think libertarians are, rather, the court jesters of politics. I mean that in a good way. We whisper to Caesar that that he is mortal. We caper about, turning ourselves blue if necessary, reminding everyone that government power is inescapably violent and inescapably self-interested. You’re probably not going to care, but we’re going to make you actively decide not to care. And sometimes, maybe you’ll care after all. As a class, we can be stupendously silly people, believing and saying the most absurd things. But our rulers are silly people too, in different and more malignant ways. And as fools, we have the freedom to say so.

(My emphasis.)

Read the whole thing. And for what it's worth, I suspect Henley is basically right about the role of libertarians. And if we're relegated to playing the role of court jester, I'm fine with's a hell of a lot more fun (and more useful, at that) than playing the role of court sycophant.