Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is Liber-al-tarianism the Future of Libertarianism?

For those who have not yet updated their feed subscriptions and bookmarks as I slowly wind this site down, I wanted to point to my latest two posts at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen (subscribe here), which go into a lot of depth about what I view as the recent setbacks for the idea of a left-libertarian alliance, and also about why I nonetheless continue to view the liber-al-tarian project as nonetheless an important idea that should represent the future of politically involved libertarianism.

From the first post, pertaining to the impact of recent events on the possibilities for a left-libertarian coalition:

Rather than consider ways of achieving liberal ends (which are usually shared by
liberals and libertarians alike) that may have incorporated libertarian thinking or were at the very least highly targeted, progressive politicians have been choosing extraordinarily broad and intrusive means of achieving those ends. This is not to say that those politicians ever really cared what libertarians thought; only that this route of action has undermined any possibility of a significant percentage of libertarians (again broadly defined as fiscally conservative and socially liberal) becoming
intermediate-to-long-term members of the Dem coaltion.
All that said, Will Wilkinson is no doubt correct that all this talk of a left-libertarian
political coalition misses the entire point of “liberaltarianism,” which is not properly understood as being about coalition-building...


And from the second, on why liber-al-tarianism remains important:

The promise of this derivation of modern libertarianism is not that
it attempts to paint libertarianism in a light that is palatable to modern
liberals/Progressives, which our friend Kip rightly fears; instead, its promise is that it can help to rescue the fundamental worldview of libertarianism from the prejudices instilled in it by such a lengthy alliance with the Right. Simply put, the promise of liberaltarianism is that it can help to build a libertarianism that is more true to its classically liberal roots. In so doing, it is possible that it will become a libertarianism that modern liberals are willing to take seriously, and even learn from.

I'm particularly proud of the second post, but if you have a few minutes, please go read all of both posts, where comments are open.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Future of Publius Endures

As you all may have noticed, posting around these parts has been light of late, and posts exclusive to this site have been virtually non-existent. The reason for this is very simple: the project Dave, Kyle, and I (amongst several others) have been working on at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen has been even more successful than I had hoped.

Dave gave a brief introduction to the League here, but it's about time that I added a few comments of my own. The point of the site is very much to take the form of a "conversation amongst friends" instead of the headline-driven writing that so typically characterizes the blogosphere. Importantly, and just as any ordinary group of friends outside the blogosphere, membership in our group is not based on any adherence to a particular set of political beliefs - Dave and I come at things from a roughly libertarian starting point, Freddie and Kyle from a roughly liberal/Progressive starting point, E.D. from a starting point that I would characterize as more or less Burkean (he may disagree, though), and Scott and Chris from a starting point that I'm not quite sure how to characterize (although our friend John Schwenkler characterizes Scott as a conservative). We also come from a diverse set of backgrounds and professions, ranging from the academy to the "working class," with various gradations in between (we even have a guy who is culturally habituated to spelling "color" as "colour"!).

But what distinguishes the League from other sites with a diversity of viewpoints like Donklephant and The Moderate Voice (both great sites in their own right that fill an important niche in the blogosphere) is our focus on dialogue between our viewpoints rather than on providing a medium for the various viewpoints to speak to a more independent audience. In many ways, the League exists more for our own benefit in our individual searches for Truth than it exists to expose our individual viewpoints to a broader audience (of course, the fact that we've thus far succeeded in reaching a pretty broad audience is a very nice bonus). In many ways, I would say that our writing at the League is to each of us what architecture was to Howard Roark - if people want to read our site, then great; but the purpose of our writing is much more to allow us all to do something we enjoy and to become as good at that as we possibly can.

For me personally, the League is the incarnation of something that I had been vaguely hoping to create ever since Kyle and I had our dialogue on education policy last winter. I had always just been unable to articulate it and, even if had been able to do so, I had no idea where to look for contributors since most bloggers with whom I've formed relationship always seemed extremely satisfied with what they were currently doing. But then Scott had the gumption to articulate precisely the vision I had been unable to articulate - and to do so publicly, seeking potential partners in the venture. And thus the League of Gentlemen was rapidly born.

In any event, the League so far has been everything we had hoped it would be, and more. That it has rapidly garnered a larger readership than we ever expected only adds to that achievement. With that in mind, I have decided to move all of my long-form writing (except my more or less weekly piece for Donklephant) to the League. I'm guessing that it's safe to say that, except for Kyle's regular pieces for Comments from Left Field, Kyle and Dave have made the same decision.

What that means for the future of PE is that this site will likely be gradually brought to an end (although I have offered another writer the option of taking over long-form writing duties), with most of my posts at this site limited to brief little snippets of the standard blogpost variety that would be inappropriate for writing at the League. In the meantime, I would encourage all of the regular PE readers to please add the League to your RSS feeds here.

All that said, if there are any of my readers who would be interested in keeping this site alive (and thereby taking advantage of the infrastructure I built over the last year and a half) and who think their writing would be a good fit for this site, please send me an e-mail; I can't make any guarantees, but if I think your style of writing more or less fits what I was trying to do with this site for the last year and a half, I'd be happy to give you the keys.

Blawging Bleg

Can anyone (cough, cough, Kip, cough, cough) recommend a book and/or readily available scholarly article that discusses the relationship between the demise of Lochner and the eventual (years later) rise of substantive due process? Specifically, I'm looking to discuss the extent to which the demise of Lochner had effects that traveled far beyond economic substantive due process.