Once in a while the mainstream media recognizes that libertarians exist. So yesterday there was a brief mention in Peter Berkowitz’ Wall Street Journal Opinion piece.
The title barely hints where he’s going: Conservative Survival in a Progressive Age. But the subtitle screams it:
Big government and the social revolution are here to stay. The conservative role is to shape both for the better.
And a few paragraphs in he mentions libertarians explicitly:
Conservatives should … come to grips with two entrenched realities that pose genuine challenges to liberty, and whose prudent management is critical to the nation’s well-being. The first entrenched reality is that big government is here to stay. This is particularly important for libertarians to absorb.
Libertarians are unlikely to fall for Berkowitz’ call. Some of the comments expressed themselves well. One wrote:
In other words, the US, once beacon of freedom and prosperity to the world, is a thing of the past. The author may accept this, but he is looking at the short term expecting the future to repeat the past.
What is missing in this article is the simple truth that the model that exists today is not sustainable because it costs more than all the wealth the country holds….If we don’t shrink the central government by a wide margin, we will see the value of our money disappear under the guise of quantitative easing. A return to sovereign states is the only way to hold the country together. It will happen when the money dies.
Another used an elegant metaphor:
His political “moderation” exalts the “wisdom” of the frog sitting in the increasingly hot pot of water, waiting patiently (and oh so moderately) to be boiled alive.
One more hit a historical tone:
When he says, “the first entrenched reality is that big government is here to stay,” Berkowitz shows that he lacks the most basic understanding of history. The loudest and clearest message that history delivers is that nothing is “here to stay”. The US, as it increasingly accommodates the policies that have led to the collapse of every civilization before it, seems well on the way to confirming that history does repeat itself.
At least one libertarian joined in the fray:
If I understand his argument, Berkowitz is saying to libertarians (like me) that we should stop telling people that big government is gradually choking off both our freedom and our prosperity and arguing that we must either go cold turkey on welfare or suffer societal convulsions. That’s because most people have made up their minds that they like big government, won’t think about its long-run damage, and will just get mad at those who say that it is poisonous to the future. Maybe he thinks we should be like preachers who don’t say that sinful conduct is wrong, but merely advise against too much of it. I don’t agree. Our goal should be to retake the education system and infiltrate the media so we can tell people the bitter truth about the welfare state.
So yesterday libertarians got a brief mention. Perhaps next year the Journal might offer a full sentence, even a paragraph. And somewhere down the road an article? More likely Berkowitz and the WSJ will regret using the word and do their best to avoid mentioning us again. The NY Times will continue to treat Greens similarly.