Reading Byron’s post about Kos wanting to crush the conservative movement (“Bring it on!” I say), not to mention the absurd ruby-slipper-clicking nonsense from Harold Meyerson, it occurs to me that liberals should be more careful about what they wish for. I agree with John Hood entirely (and T.S. Eliot) that the cause cannot be truly lost because no cause can truly be won.
But, what if these guys got their wish? What if the free market chorus was crushed and discredited entirely? Pelted from the public stage? Do these people really think there would be no “rightwing” in America? No Republican Party? That is moronic. What would happen if you got rid of the free marketers and fusionists is you would have an unadulterated party of populist, rightwing, progressives competing with a party of poplist, leftwing, ones. Our politics would be worse, not better, by liberalism’s own standards because the GOP would be taken over by Buchananites to the “right” of Buchanan who would make Mike Huckabee look like Milton Friedman. If everyone agreed on pervasive economic interventionism then politics becomes a question of who gets to benefit from intervention, elections become a contest to pick winners and losers, or beneficiaries and shakedown victims. In such an evironment, cultural factors become more central, not less.
I have always said (even in my more anti-libertarian days) that it always pays to have a libertarian in the room to ask the question “Why, and by what right, should government do this at all?” To listen to the “crush the capitalists” crowd, you’d think we’d all be better off if the libertarians were denied any voice at all and everyone simply agreed that the government is always the smartest party at the table with an unmitgated right to muck around in the private sector.