06 Mar 2011

Who Ever Heard of "Bleeding Heart Libertarians"?

One of the things that has kept me from totally embracing the libertarian label at times is the supposed indifference of libertarians when it comes to the poor and disenfranchised.  There seemed to be talk about freedom, but no talk about how the concept of liberty can empower the poor.

Well, I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking about this because a new group blog has come to the fore called, “Bleeding Heart Libertarians.” Matt Zwolinski describes this strain of libertarianism:

I’ve created this blog as a forum for academic philosophers who are attracted both to libertarianism and to ideals of social or distributive justice.  Labels are often a greater source of confusion than insight in academic discourse, and no doubt most of the contributors to this blog will wish to qualify the sense in which they fit this description.  Some, for instance, will qualify their libertarianism with a label – “left-libertarian,”or perhaps “liberaltarian.” Others might prefer to think of themselves as “classical liberals” or even “market anarchists.”

But libertarianism, as I’ve argued elsewhere, is a broad intellectual tradition bound together more by rough agreement than by meeting a set of necessary and sufficient conditions.   What we have in common on this blog is an appreciati0n for market mechanisms, for voluntary social cooperation, for property rights, and for individual liberty.  But we appreciate those things, in large part, because of the way they contribute to important human goods – and especially the way in which they allow some of society’s most vulnerable members to realize those goods.

It’s been a good read so far and has been getting boatloads of attention. This is the type of conservation that needs to take place within libertarianism and I’m glad to see it taking place.

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5 thoughts on “Who Ever Heard of "Bleeding Heart Libertarians"?”

  1. This is the sort of approach taken by Jack Kemp when he was HUD Secretary and by Arianna Huffington when she was a conservative writer. It has a ton of potential and common sense, but the majority of Americans don’t seem to be able to put a word to the concept.

  2. I’m {see twitter profile} _NOT_ a New (2009-2011) Tea Party, NRA (Right of the people to keep and bear Arms), King George W Bush, Loyalist-Moneyed-Plutocratic-Corporatist-Conservative.

    I AM an Ol’ Time, 1775 Tea Party, Army Sergeant/Medic (Well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State), Theoretical Pragmatist, Deist, Independent, Socially-Liberal, Fiscally-Conservative, Republican-Democrat. Maybe I’m just independent (voting mostly Democratic) — an imperfect follower of George Washington; incapable of understanding straight-line, Left-Right OR Right-Left thinking. BUT it’s MY problem.

    I’ve considered circular thinking… most people near the center; fewer and fewer toward the perimeter. However, is it thinking ‘inside a line’? I’ve considered something very similar yet more expansive, spherical thinking… again, most people near the TRUE center; fewer and fewer toward the perimeter.

    Born 1954 in Jacksonville, FL, (moved ’54>>Russellville, AR, ’57>>Dallas, TX; ’65>>Fayetteville, AR; ’69>>Bel-Nor, MO—sales clerk [Venture-now defunct],’70-’72) graduated Normandy HS (Missouri, ’72). Tried Phillips University (undergraduate-now defunct), Enid, OK, ’72-’73 (summer worked wheat harvest); returned to Saint Louis, with my ‘tail between my legs’.

    Received employment thru Manpower at Monsanto CorpHQ (w/o benefits) from ’74-76. During this time, I took come classes at University Missouri-Saint Louis. I don’t remember the professor’s name but it learned at least two things: 1) write in active rather than passive voice, whenever possible; 2) delete every ‘that’ I can and if not, try substituting ‘it’ or ‘the’. I suppose he also taught critical thinking, only realizing it over time or word count, just succinct.

    When I returned to Saint Louis, I moved to my parents’ basement. My move was not just physical but also metaphorical. Earlier in the decade, my father bought an acquaintance’s Volkswagen Bug. I inherited it after a family discussion. After approximately a year, I moved about a mile to live with Mike. I’m four months older than Mike but his originally befriended my two-year-older brother…

    There’s much more, however, I’m tired… And graduated cum laude from UMSL 1995 (accounting, computer programming)… Suffered a stroke 5 December 2005 and retired to Raymore.

    1. Why did you have a giant list of twitter profiles in that post? I just took them out… this is for discussion, not spamming long lists of twitter account names. You’re certainly welcome to share about your life though.

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