[italic]All the re-brands and disguises in the world cannot obscure what this "new" ideology is really about [/italic] Question: What is a libertarian populist? Answer: A libertarian in disguise. That is my conclusion, after perusing much of the recent discussion of whether a new “libertarian populism” (or “populist libertarianism”) could prove to be a winning formula for the exhausted and discredited American right. At first glance, creating a common ideology to unite the libertarian and populist wings of today’s right must be an appealing idea for GOP strategists. But to succeed, both parents would have to contribute to the genetic makeup of the libertarian populist baby. The leading advocates of libertarian populism, however, look very much like run-of-the-mill libertarians to me. Ben Domenech, for example, tries to define libertarian populism by arguing that it takes “a few of its aims from the Rand Paul approach – a balanced budget amendment, flatter and simpler taxes, and more – but there is also a stronger focus on issues which cut across party lines, including reform of higher education, prison and justice systems, civil liberty protections, and an assault on D.C. cronyism from green energy to Big Banks.” But all of this is standard-issue libertarianism, including libertarian critiques of “prison and justice systems” and “civil liberty protections.” Nothing new here, folks, move along. What Domenech and others mean by “populist” appears to be “popular.” They want a popular libertarianism, a libertarianism that majorities of Americans might vote for, not a movement that has anything to do with actual historic populism in the United States, which has generally been, to coin a phrase, illibertarian. (more at the link)
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