Liberal Capitalism as the Ideology of Freedom and Moderation

“There are many who say that politics in America is dominated by ideological extremism, from “progressive” Democrats, on the one hand, to populist nationalist Republicans, on the other hand. It has been asked, would not a new non-ideological politics of  “moderation” and compromise be far better? But what does moderation and compromise mean in this context?

Jerry Taylor, president of the Niskanen Center, has called for the abandonment of libertarianism as an example of uncompromising political extremism guided by one idea: individual liberty. We live in a world of many, diverse views, he argues, and many social problems that can only be fixed by far more activist government than libertarians normally support.

I reply to Mr. Taylor’s argument by explaining that classical liberalism and libertarianism are, in general, the most “moderate” ideology on the political scene, because unlike virtually all others, friends of freedom recognize the diversity of views, the differences concerning desired ends and selected means to attain them, and say the only way such diversity can be recognized and respected is through the freedom of peaceful and honest action required and cultivated in a social system of freedom of association and free market exchange.

And that Mr. Taylor is seriously wrong that there are no or few libertarian means and methods to solve the social problems many in society are sincerely concerned with, as I detail and explain. Is liberty too extreme? No, the ideology of liberty is the most moderate and respectful of human diversity in comparison to all the other collectivist and statist alternatives with which Mr. Taylor wishes classical liberals and libertarians to compromise.”

By Richard M. Ebeling