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Heartland Institute friend Darren Nelson (an Aussie living in Wisconsin) shares with us an interesting post from the libertarian Mises Institute about a now-infamous December piece in New York magazine titled “The Trouble with Liberty.” We took on Christopher Beam’s flawed critique of libertarianism via a January 5 post by Sam Karnick, which I highly recommend you check out.
Sam began by pointing out that Beam’s examination of libertarian thought was “something of a caricature, but there is a serious critique to be found in his article.” And, on the whole, Karnick wrote, “that critique is seriously wrong.” Karnick explains why he thinks that in his full blog post that focuses on the differences between positive and negative liberty.
But everyone who is interested in a discussion about what libertarianism is (and what it’s not) should also read Jeff Riggenbach’s piece at Mises. For starters, Riggenbach notes that Beam is not yet 30, but did his homework on the libertarian movement. For the standard of a liberal publication like New York magazine, it is to Beam’s credit, Riggenbach writes, that “he didn’t set out to do a hatchet job on us.”
And I think that, by and large, he did an unusually creditable job, particularly for one so young and for a reporter working in the mainstream media.
While Karnick focused on a positive/negative liberty argument, Riggenback spends a lot of his time breaking down Beam’s examination of the easy and popular definition of libertarians as being socially liberal, but fiscally conservative. And if you’re like most libertarians, you’ll argue with not only Beam — but Karnick and Riggenback, as well. That’s what makes the libertarian movement so vibrant.