James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Yes, Dialog is Possible

From e-mailer David Axelrod:

As a long time veteran leftist and former SDS member who long ago moved away from the democratic party and has recently learned a lot by reading Rockwell and Rothbard, I can tell you, its more than possible.
I will try to summarize what I've learned, and what I now try to teach my leftist friends:

There IS a definite historical connection between big government and imperialism.

It was US (the left) who drove americans into the arms of the new right with our conceit. We thought that because we could diagnose a problem via sociology, we also could and should "fix" it. (Note that this is the exact mistake made by a brilliant sociologist named Karl Marx). But we cannot fix everything.

We do not have the right to use the coercive force of government to make people participate in our pet social experiments. We were blinded by success in the civil rights movement. It made us come to believe that the federal govt could solve problems. I now believe that was an anomaly. We made the same mistake that the generation that won WWII made when they "learned" from their experience that the application of military force could solve foreign policy problems. They misapplied their lesson in southeast asia and in the middle east. We misapplied ours in forced busing and affirmative action. We caused the backlash that enabled the neoconservatives to gain power.

I believe this is (or can be) the point of compromise: Let us have a government that is prudent and recognizes its limits. Let it be as small as possible. Let it undertake nothing unless it has overwhelming concensus. This will greatly reduce the number of projects it undertakes. Let it govern both domestic and foreign policy by the AMA principle "First Do No Harm". I.e., if you are not absolutely sure that what is proposed will do more harm than good, then do nothing.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I am coming from the opposite end of the spectrum - namely, I am the very person you are asking to dialogue with, and I have to say I agree with Mr. Axlerod completely. I am a follower of Christ, first; a constitutionalist, second; but I believe that if we put down our swords and preconceived notions about the enemy for a little while, we just might find that we could actually work together. I'm willing to try - are you?

  3. I believe a large degree of differences between libertarians and the left are economic. In the next few days I will add some posts and links that may challenge both "sides" in their economic thinking.