A libertarian is a conservative who has been oppressed
By Scott Sumner
When I was young, there was an old saying that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. I suspect that the debates between liberals and conservatives are especially fierce precisely because they are generally based on genetics and random life experiences, not rational thought.
Along these lines, a Politico article by Rich Lowry caught my eye:
The intellectual fashion among populists and religious traditionalists has been to attempt to forge a post-liberty or “post-liberal” agenda to forge a deeper foundation for the new Republican Party. Instead of obsessing over freedom and rights, conservatives would look to government to protect the common good.
This project, though, has been rocked by its first real-life encounter with governments acting to protect, as they see it, the common good.
One of its architects, the editor of the religious journal First Things, R.R. Reno, has sounded like one of the libertarians he so scorns during the crisis. First, he complained he might get shamed if he were to host a dinner party during the height of the pandemic, although delaying a party would seem a small price to pay for someone so intensely committed to the common good.
More recently, he went on a tirade against wearing masks. Reno is apparently fine with a much stronger government, as long as it never issues public-health guidance not to his liking. Then, it’s to the barricades for liberty, damn it.
Ouch! Lowry and Reno are both conservatives, but I’m guessing they are not the best of friends.
PS: Tom Wolfe’s version is pretty close to the sentiments in this post:
If a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged, a liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested.