For the moment, I’ll set aside the contemptuous mocking that Bruce Bartlett richly deserves for prolonging the life and expanding the scope of the utterly vile portmanteau
liberaltarianism. Let’s focus on the content of his article, instead; here’s Bartlett’s advice to libertarians on libertarian priorities
The reason [libertarians don’t typically vote for Democrats] is that most self-described libertarians are primarily motivated by economics. In particular, they don’t like paying taxes. They also tend to have an obsession with gold and a distrust of paper money. As a philosophy, their libertarianism doesn’t extent much beyond not wanting to pay taxes, being paid in gold and being able to keep all the guns they want. Many are survivalists at heart and would be perfectly content to live in complete isolation on a mountain somewhere, neither taking anything from society nor giving anything.
[T]here is a theoretical case to be made for liberals and libertarians at least continuing a dialogue. But for it to go anywhere, libertarians must scale back their almost single-minded focus on economic freedom as the sole determinant of liberty. They must work harder to defend civil liberties and resist expansion of the police state whether it involves suspected terrorists, illegal aliens or those who enjoy smoking marijuana.
Libertarians should also be more outspoken about America’s disastrous foreign policy, which Obama seems to be doing very little to fix. This would seem like an obvious area for cooperation. The main problem seems that neither liberals nor libertarians are up to challenging the loudmouthed bullies on talk radio and Fox News who equate anything less than a 100% commitment to thewar on terroras treasonous.
It’s a fair cop: after all, libertarians hardly ever talk about encroachments on civil liberties, the police state, onerous immigration laws, the War on Drugs, or interventionist foreign policy. It’s true: I read it on the Internet.
I mean, look, dude, if your point is just that libertarians need to put more rhetorical and political distance between themselves and the Right, including even supposed
small government conservative types, then, hey, I dig. But if your impression of what the modal libertarian is like is something that could be refuted by picking up a couple issues of reason (reason-fer-Christ’s-sake) at your local Barnes & Noble — or, hell, just walking by the newsrack and looking at the cartoons on the damn cover — well, then, sir, you have definitely earned a place in the R.S.W.