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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Realistic libertarianism

Matthew Yglesias argues that the "alternative to reasonably effective democratic institutions and a viable left-wing political movement isn't free markets but the capture of the state by large economic interests as during the Gilded Age or, indeed, the Bush administration."

Tim Lee offers a thoughtful reply. Here's part of his conclusion:

Libertarianism, then, isn’t a fantasy about a government that’s magically free of the corruption of concentrated interests. Rather, it’s about finding institutional arrangements in which the powers of government are constrained by clear rules limiting the damage they can do. It’s certainly unlikely that we’ll resurrect the strictly limited federal government of the 19th century. But there’s nothing crazy about seeking new limitations on government power that work in ways analogous to the constitutional and jurisprudential limits of the 19th century.

Well worth reading in full.

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