Michael Lind started a kerfuffel by asking “Why are there no libertarian countries?” E. J. Dionne thinks this was a game-changer of a question. Others think it’s more akin to a “brain fart.” I’m in the latter camp.
In my column I try to explain why. An excerpt:
Lind sees it differently. “If socialism is discredited by the failure of communist regimes in the real world, why isn’t libertarianism discredited by the absence of any libertarian regimes in the real world? Communism was tried and failed. Libertarianism has never even been tried.”
What an odd standard. You know what else is a complete failure? Time travel. After all, it’s never succeeded anywhere!
What’s so striking about the Lind standard is how thoroughly conservative it is.
Pick a date in the past, and you can imagine someone asking similar questions. “Why should women have equal rights?” some court intellectual surely asked. “Show me anywhere in the world where that has been tried.” Before that, “Give the peasants the right to vote? Unheard of!”
In other words, there’s a first time for everything.
It’s a little bizarre how the Left has always conflated statism with modernity and progress. The idea that rulers — be they chieftains, kings, priests, politburos, or wonkish bureaucrats — are enlightened or smart enough to tell others how to live is older than the written word. And the idea that someone stronger, with better weapons, has the right to take what is yours predates man’s discovery of fire by millennia. And yet, we’re always told that the latest rationalization for increased state power is the “wave of the future.”
Meanwhile, more in the G-File, which I am starting . . . now.