Huckabee vs. Libertarians

Mike Huckabee was always a curious fascination of mine; I very rarely agreed with him on anything, and his unrepentant Christianism should have scared me, but he was just so damn likeable. And he struck me on matters of fiscal policy as fairly sensible, Fair Tax aside, by modern Republican standards. Anyway, he took a great big swipe at Libertarianism that’s evoked some fevered response across the blogosphere. The part that stands out to me:

Republicans need to be Republicans. The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it’s this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it’s a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says “look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that elderly people don’t get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and healthcare, so be it.” Well, that might be a quote pure economic conservative message, but it’s not an American message. It doesn’t fly. People aren’t going to buy that, because that’s not the way we are as a people. That’s not historic Republicanism. Historic Republicanism does not hate government; it’s just there to be as little of it as there can be. But they also recognize that government has to be paid for.

And again, I find myself in some inexplicable agreement with Huckabee. While I don’t have a problem with general libertarianism in theory, today’s libertarians, or as a friend calls them “glibertarians,” strike me as being more or less intellectually unserious contrarians who find some chic acceptance in lazy, generalized, “gubmint sucks” rhetoric without any serious thought to application or common will behind it. And before any libertarians flame me for this, ask yourselves how exactly you’d manage the levers of government were anyone with your “ideas” in a serious position to gain power, how those absurd notions of abolishing the common framework established over the past 70 years would be implemented through the various levels and branches of government (and ultimately public will), and I think you’ll see what I mean.