The Corner

Politics & Policy

Nobody Believes What Henry Olsen Says Libertarians Believe

Henry Olsen has an essay in the Washington Post about Tyler Cowen and the place of libertarian thought on the right.

Minor point: Olsen writes: “The holiday season marks the time in the Northern Hemisphere when the sun is farthest from the Earth and daylight is at a premium.” The earth is in fact farthest from the sun typically in midsummer; like much of what’s published in the nation’s op-ed pages, the question is one of angle.

Major point: Olsen writes: “[T]he underlying metaphysical assumption — government always bad, private action always good — pervades the thinking of most libertarians and libertarian-influenced people.” This is not true.

I would challenge Olsen to name one person — never mind most libertarians — who believes that government is always bad and private action always good. This is nonsense. It is a falsehood, and it is a disservice to the cause of useful and illuminating discourse.

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