A liberal on libertarians

Joshua Cohen:

We think that politics is more than an unfortunate necessity required
by our inability to live together without killing each other. We think
it is, can be anyway, an arena in which we work out and pursue,
sometimes with notable success, large and constructive purposes. When I
think about the history of democracy in the past century, and think
about its greatest achievements of domestic policy, the areas of real
moral progress, I think of civil rights, women’s equality, and the
halting fight against a class society. With respect, classical liberals
were in the rearguard in every one of these struggles. And for a simple
reason: in each case, the struggle depended on a willingness to fight
against inequality, subordination, exclusion through political means,
through the dread state. And if you mix your classical liberal values
with the classically conservative predisposition to think that politics
is at best futile, at bad perverse, at worst risks what is most
fundamental, then you will always celebrate these gains when the fight
is over: always at the after party, inconspicuous at the main event,
and never on the planning committee.

Hat tip is from Henry, who adds commentary and another link.


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