|Murray Rothbard's call to arms|
Libertarianism's Achilles' Heel | Commonweal Magazine:
by E.J. Dionne
We had something close to a small government libertarian utopia in the late 19th century and we decided it didn't work. We realized that many Americans would never be able to save enough for retirement and, later, that most of them would be unable to afford health insurance when they were old. Smaller government meant that too many people were poor and that monopolies were formed too easily.'via Blog this'
And when the Great Depression engulfed us, government was helpless, largely handcuffed by this anti-government ideology until Franklin D. Roosevelt came along.
In fact, as Michael Lind points out, most countries that we typically see as "free" and prosperous have governments that consume around 40 percent of their GDP. They are better off for it. "Libertarians," he writes, "seem to have persuaded themselves that there is no significant trade-off between less government and more national insecurity, more crime, more illiteracy and more infant and maternal mortality ... ."
This matters to our current politics because too many politicians are making decisions on the basis of a grand, utopian theory that they never can -- or will -- put into practice. They then use this theory to avoid a candid conversation about the messy choices governance requires. And this is why we have gridlock.