Arnold Kling Doesn't Get It
By Arnold Kling
For some (clearly not all) libertarians opposition to the “state,” even the constitutional democratic nation-state leads to an affinity to transnational (as opposed to international) politics. Indeed, on Cato’s website, adjunct scholar Arnold Kling…“proposes” an “alternative ideology” that “might be called transnational libertarianism.” Ideally, in this regime, Kling declares, “governments would be local rather than national.”
Fonte’s argument is that the nation state is the only protector of individual rights, and that because I do not want a strong nation state I might just as well be a transnational progressive.
I’m not frightened of foreign influence. Mexicans do not scare me. The typical, law-abiding American Muslim does not scare me. The Eurocrats in Brussels don’t scare me. Unless our own intellectuals join with or appease the worst of the foreign elements, I think we’re safe.
In my view, the existential threat to the dignity of the individual in the United States is entirely internal. I am frightened by Americans who look with favor on every expansion of government power and every centralization of government authority (hence my strong reaction in defense of small governmental units from John Corzine’s merger mania). The view, well articulated by Spencer in a comment on this post–that our modern society requires conscious direction from government–is, alas, the majority view.
I hear the modern liberal saying, “I believe in free markets, but…” The problem is that what follows “but” is so extensive and overwhelming that it appears to utterly negate the clause that precedes it.
John Fonte thinks I don’t get it. He thinks I need a to leaven my libertarianism with more nationalistic fervor. Maybe. Still, I keep thinking that “free markets, but” + nationalistic fervor = China.
I was planning on attending the symposium where Fonte will be speaking tomorrow. I hope we do not end up on unfriendly terms. After all, we may end up sharing the same jail cell in Obama’s second term, assuming that by then Congress has passed a law imprisoning anyone who would question man-made global warming.