Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Been a Curmudgeonly Day and Don Boudreaux Drags Me Out

And gets me really ready to enjoy Dancing with the Stars with this letter.
A theme that runs with approval throughout Jonathan Alter’s review of recent books on modern “liberalism” is that “liberals,” in contrast to their mindless Cro-Magnon opposites, overflow with ideas (“The State of Liberalism,” Oct. 24).
Indeed they do. But these ideas are almost exclusively about how other people should live their lives. These are ideas about how one group of people (the politically successful) should engineer everyone else’s contracts, social relations, diets, habits, and even moral sentiments.
There is a deep conflict here between what 'liberal' means in North America with what it meant classically; classical liberals, with whom I symathize utterly, like John Stuart Mill, actually thought liberty was important.
North American liberals are those described so well above.
Put differently, modern “liberalism’s” ideas are about replacing an unimaginably large multitude of diverse and competing ideas – each one individually chosen, practiced, assessed, and modified in light of what F.A. Hayek called “the particular circumstances of time and place” – with a relatively paltry set of ‘Big Ideas’ that are politically selected, centrally imposed, and enforced not by the natural give, take, and compromise of the everyday interactions of millions of people but, rather, by guns wielded by those whose overriding ‘idea’ is among the most simple-minded and antediluvian notions in history, namely, that those with the power of the sword are anointed to lord it over the rest of us.
Yup and that sure ain't what 'liberal' means in any sense I admire, but it is what we see in the US and Canada, ironically even more now in the US than in Canada.
Oh and by the way if the people don't like the ideas the overseers want to impose on them they are ungrateful, bitter, ignorant, or just do not understand their betters, who after all have been engaged in Ivy League Universities.
Oops - I meant to be cheerful but something happened.


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