The Libertarian Remnant

Shikha Dalmia is a libertarian, and as a libertarian who is true to those beliefs, she is necessarily opposed to the authoritarianism of Trump and in Trumpism. Because the definition of libertarianism has been distorted beyond any true meaning by opportunistic or ignorant rightwing donors, she’s lost her job Reason magazine. Conservative donors pay the magazine’s bills, and demand that libertarians remain silent about Trump. (It’s a private magazine and of course they’ve a right to demand what they want, however intellectually dishonest is their project to cut a libertarian foot to fit into a Trumpist slipper.)

Dalmia did not remain silent, so they’ve shown her the door.

She writes of her dismissal:

After 15 years, the curtains came down for me at Reason today. My views, I was told, had become too out-of-step with those of the organization. Defending my work to donors and stakeholders had evidently made me too much of a liability. Reason has some amazing writers who do great work on a whole host issues that I will continue to read and share. And it has been an honor and pleasure to work with them. However, I had a staunch and uncompromising anti-Trump voice calling out his authoritarian tendencies unambiguously. That this made many libertarians uncomfortable raises all kinds of interesting questions about the state of the liberty movement. Once the dust settles, I will reflect on those issues in future essays.

Libertarianism is political philosophy that holds liberty as fundamental value (and advocates for individual rights, limited government, free markets, and peaceful relations with other countries). It is not a comprehensive view of all life, but a political view, a view mostly about government (and the dangers of government encroachment against liberty).

By its very nature, a political view that advocates for liberty rejects autocracy as immoral and impoverishing. There is no rational way in which libertarianism is compatible with Trumpism’s dictatorial actions (in enlargement of federal force, in rejection of individual rights, in abridgment of the rule of law, and in that vile creed’s ceaseless appeals to nativism). 

For many years, libertarians have negligently allowed conservatives to distort libertarian terms and concepts beyond all reasonable meaning. (Walker, in Wisconsin, has been a conservative like this: talking free markets but seeking to extend government’s variously meddlesome or pernicious reach wherever possible.) We bear the primarily responsibility for our own failure of diligence. We have slept too much, and worked too little, in defense of our views.

As Trump’s autocratic nativism has advanced, too many who once professed libertarianism, conservatism, or membership in a normal Republican party have become cogs in a decidedly autocratic wheel.

Too many, but not all.

Dalmia was right to stay true to her better principles.

Never Trump.

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