Friday, January 11, 2008

From AoSHQ

I just posted something brilliant over at Ace's pad in response to a magnificent post of his, wherein he makes the best case against Ron Paul that I've heard—it's precisely what I've been thinking all along.

Hard-core libertarians like the Ronulans remind me of what Jonah Goldberg was telling Dennis Prager yesterday. He observed that the core difference between leftists (Liberal Fascists) and conservatives is that the latter recognize that we are all made from the "crooked timber" of humanity and can never achieve a perfect society because of our collective and several imperfections, most of which we can't get rid of, and if there's to be any kind of Utopia to be had, it will be in the next life.

Leftists, OTOH, want Utopia Now, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, and they believe that if you just tweak the system enough, that if you just set up the right kind of government and economic infrastructure, we'll all be Happy and United forever.

It would appear that the difference between Leftists and Libertarians is that Leftists believe that the state can be perfected thus to perfect the society it governs, and Libertarians believe that individuals will form their own Utopia if government would just get out of the way.

They're both wrong, of course, because they both seem to believe that most of humanity can be trusted to do the right thing most of the time, either in governing others or in being left to their own devices.

Enter the Classical Liberal, who recognizes humanity's weaknesses and tries to construct a society that will maximize our productive impulses and minimize our tendency toward self-destruction. The whole Constitution was based on a deep mistrust of people in power, so the federal government it circumscribed had limited power over the smaller state governments, and power was distributed three ways to prevent any one person or faction from having too much of it.

I'll paraphrase something I read recently, by someone whose name doesn't come to mind right away: We seem to have abandoned the dream of pursuing happiness and now want it delivered.

Goldberg's book is in the mail, BTW. I can't wait. I've been hoping for someone to put this all together for a long time.

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