Libertarianism, Classical Liberalism, Right Wing Populism, and Democracy

Notes On Liberty

An interesting exchange has occurred between Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Center and Ilya Somin writing for the Washington Post on the issue of the influence of libertarianism over the modern Republican Party’s erosion of liberal democratic norms. Inhis initial piece, Wilkinson seemed to argue that the Libertarian view of absolutism in regards to property rights which was a way to offer an emotionally gratifying alternative to socialist redistribution was responsible for the Right’s adoption of a populist outlook which eroded democratic norms, for example, policies like Voter ID and Gerrymandering. Ilya Sominresponded by pointing out that the libertarian “absolutist” conception of property rights had next to nothing to do with why many libertarians Wilkinson cites are skeptical of democracy. Wilkinsonresponded by saying his initial argument was confusingly stated, not that absolutist property rights is driving democratic erosion on the part of the right, by trying…

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