Brink Lindsey on Liberal Fusionism
by Virginia Postrel • Dec 5, 2006 at 12:45 am
Writing in TNR, Brink Lindsey calls for "a politics that joins together under one banner the causes of both cultural and economic progress," a fusion of people the headline writer unfortunately calls "Liberaltarians." The historically inclined might simply call them liberals (and I have my own neologism, hence this site's name). It's a provocative piece and well worth reading (the Cato link is subscription-free), especially by Clintonite liberals. But the alliance Brink proposes requires three difficult shifts:
If it's going to happen, such an alliance can only start among honest intellectuals who are not interested in scoring partisan points. How many of those are left, I'm not sure.
UPDATE: Maybe because I did something similar in TFAIE (developed further here), it seems much clearer to me than to other commenters that Brink is proposing an intellectual and policy alliance/debate, along the lines of the fusionism on the postwar right, not a short-term partisan political coalition to win the 2008 election. The stuff about 13 percent of the vote is mostly news-peg boilerplate. That's how you get TNR and the WaPost to pay attention. It's as irrelevant today as it was in the 1950s just how many libertarian-identified voters there are. The point is to talk seriously about policy ends and means and the role of market processes in serving liberal (in all senses of the word) values.
Demonstrate your support for "big books." Pre-order Brink's forthcoming book, The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture. And, of course, there's always The Future and Its Enemies.
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