Liberaltarians and Wall Street Versus Main Street

Brink Lindsay has a post at Cato-at-Liberty which makes a lot more sense if only certain sections are read. To start with the best part:

Last year, in a piece called “Liberaltarians,” I wrote that conservatism’s crackup had created the possibility that libertarian-leaning “economically conservative, socially liberal” types might shift their loyalties to the Democratic Party. I was urging liberals to meet them halfway, and that certainly hasn’t happened yet. But maybe it doesn’t matter.

After all, if small-government voters come to think of themselves as Democrats because of social and foreign policy issues, sooner or later they’ll try to make their influence felt on economic matters as well. Will they be able to make a discernible impact on the Democratic Party’s longstanding love affair with Big Government? Who knows, but the very idea is giving Harold Meyerson heartburn — and, surely, that’s an encouraging sign.

Whether I continue to vote Democratic depends upon a couple of factors. One is whether they really support liberal positions on social and civil liberties issues, or whether they compromise on these issues in hopes of attracting more conservative voters. The other, which Lindsay stresses, is whether Democratic economic policies will be acceptable to those of us who are “economically conservative, socially liberal.” If the Democrats should nominate someone like Edwards who is conservative on social and civil liberties issues and populist on economic issues, I would have no use for the Democratic Party.

Where I disagree with Brinkley is on the issue of Wall Street versus Main Street. The reason the Republicans have nothing to offer is not only that they are conservative on social and civil liberties issues, but that in recent years their economic conservativism has been a different type than I’m interested in. As Harold Myerson notes there is a difference between Wall Street and Main Street. While I don’t share the knee jerk hatred of Wall Street which some on the left have, my concern is for small businessmen on Main Street who are hindered by big government and not for continuing Republican policies of using government to shift more wealth to the rich.

Many of us who are socially liberal and economically conservative may have some reservations about some Democrats, but that does not mean we desire the corporate welfare policies of the Republicans. As Myerson asks, “Why does America need two parties that represent Wall Street?”

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  1. 1
    absent observer says:

    I can’t think of an example of an organization that sought to minimize it’s power/size/income. Constitution be damned, the federal government is going to continue expanding until it pops.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    That’s the eternal struggle in a liberal democracy. One goal is to resist those forces which lead to increased government control over the individual.

    The difference is that libertarians push for virtually no government, while libertarian minded liberals push to find a balance between the necessary services of government while maintaining freedom. (Of course extreme libertarians would argue that by definition this is not freedom, but I’m not overly concerned with those who occasionally post here complaining that having things like public schools and Medicare equals socialism.

    Republican government claims that its goal is to minimize power, but in reality they do the opposite.

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