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Mailbag 5.4.06

May
3
2006

Editor’s Note: Last week’s discussion about Progressive libertarians sparked some more comments and notes. You can read the previous conversations between Ken Farber and Spot-on editor Chris Nolan here and here.

Here’s the latest mail. First Sue Harris from Lake Forest, CA has some comments about the “good intentions” aspect that Nolan says is a part of the Progressive libertarian movement:

As a previously bleeding heart liberal, now a firm traditionalist, the past forty years or so have shown me that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intentions are great, but not when the execution of good intentions go awry. America spends more dollars today to assuage old human problems and yet these old problems don’t change, and for 95% of humans nothing has changed at all for thousands of years.

But what really scares me is when people with good intentions believe they should work to change society to fit their “good intentions”. First we must examine any good intention within the framework of human frailties, greed, ignorance and hate. Human society’s dilemma is: whose” intentions will hold sway. Today, again, we have become aware of factions within humanity who feel so strongly that we must adhere to their belief system, whether Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu or secular that we are all in peril.

Yes, people should be accorded decent living conditions but how do we define decent around the world. My definition of “decent” is mightily different than the current Islamofacists would allow. The question seems to me to be: how do we get rid of evil in all its manifestations in order to achieve anything good?

And Keith Mitchell in Indianapolis, IN., has a few thoughts about the tone political conversations can take. His remarks are in line with the thinking of other Progressive libertarians:

I do find that the somewhat condescending tone of these pieces gets in the way of trying to win over peoples “hearts and minds.” Here are two recent
pieces which dive into this subject, here and here. If you are trying to win peoples support of your ideas, bashing them, or the people they’ve allied themselves with (for political expediency) isn’t wise thing. We could do with a lot less mud slinging, and a good deal more discussion about what we have in common, and what separates us.

What is needed in these times is a political party (the organism which gets people elected) that can get past the name calling and old ideas, and get to
actually governing the country. Unfortunately, as soon as a person is elected, they are more or less beholden to the party to keep them there. Each party has its special interests, whether it is corporate leaders or union leaders, those interests are now getting in the way of actual governance.

So, what are we left with? I consider myself a classic liberal, and those values are what I seek to conserve and protect. Now, if you want labels, I am a fiscally conservative, small-government, social libertarian. Neo-libertarianism comes closest to describing my political philosophy but isn’t anywhere near complete.

I would bet (heavily) that we could personally come to agreement on many issues. But, if we were to go strictly by the labels we put on ourselves, or each other, and the stereotypes that go along with them, we would not find agreement on much.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 5:02 PM | Permalink

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