Libertarians for oppression?

One for the beyond wrong file:

The libertarian logic is that, since personal freedom and the existence of free markets are inextricably intertwined, and since as [Robert H.] Bork puts it ‘vigorous’ economies are vulnerable to being ‘enfeebled’ by particular cultural practices, then the champions of personal freedom have a licence to police cultural practices – in the interests of freedom and economic vigour. Thus libertarians can reason that difference (for example multiculturalism, homosexuality) must be eliminated so that the economy can function better…

That’s from Christine Wallace’s ‘Libertarian nation by stealth’, in the latest Griffith Review. In the unlikely event that you want to read a dozen or so pages of ignorance and silliness, you can download it here. This is normally a reasonably good magazine, but Julianne Schultz must have been sleepediting when she approved this article for publication.

10 thoughts on “Libertarians for oppression?

  1. Paul Monk is in the same issue as this airhead. That makes for an IQ range of contributors spanning what? 80 points?


  2. Well, isn’t this the mentality behind the so-called debate on ir?
    That “efficiency” must somehow precede fairness and that labor has somehow “gaffed” for reversing the neolib equation back to something remotely humanistic?
    80 points?
    Way too generous- lets subtract the zero and see if we are not then approaching a more realistic tally.


  3. I found that bit you quote confusing since she blends Bork with the libertarians, whereas they don’t really go together.
    I also wondered about this on the previous page:

    “The central difference between the Howard Government and the Hawke/Keating Governments is that the Labor governments saw a crucial role for the public sector … especially in relation to issues of economic inequality; about which libertarians are unconcerned. (Witness the widening wealth gap which occurred during the Thatcher and Reagan years in Britain and the United States, and in Australia during the life of the Howard Government)”.

    If I remember the gap was widening in those Hawke/Keating years as well, so it’s a bit misleading to present it as a feature of just the Howard Government.

    But yes, the Griffith Review is usually a really good magazine – a rival for Eureka Street in my affections.


  4. The gap widened an awful lot more under Hawke and Keating, actually. And has actually started to decline in the last few years of Howard’s government, for the first time in decades.

    But we mustn’t let facts get in the way of a rant.


  5. This quote might make sense if Wallace had place libertarianism in inverted commas. There are some free market radicals who like to claim the name libertarian even though they are nothing of the sort on non-economic issues, and her argument may have some validity if applied to that grouping. However, to suggest that this is genuine libertarianism is pretty woeful.


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