Lou Dobbs’s “Libertarian Fatalism” Fallacy

Dems/Repubs Capitol HillLou Dobbs has an article over at CNN that tries oh so hard to confuse readers by associating the utter failure of Republicans and Democrats (I won’t disagree on that point) with some kind of “libertarian fatalism” (which isn’t really explained well). It almost seems that Dobbs is pulling a quick one in making any comparison of free market libertarian philosophy to what’s actually occuring in America. He’s not wrong in his assessment of both major parties’ failures, but to call them libertarian anything is completely off the mark and wrongly associates two diametrically opposed philosophies.

Here’s some quick rebuking of his poorly constructed lede (Thanks Dennis Anthony Porto!):

Libertarian fatalism has infected and afflicted the leaders of both political parties, and none of us should take seriously the partisan posturing from either the Republicans or Democrats.

President Bush believes in the mystical power of free markets to solve seemingly every domestic public policy issue, and the president’s faith-based economic policies, including so-called free trade, have led us to higher record trade and budget deficits.

With Bush, his rhetoric may indeed sound somewhat libertarian when it comes to economics, but the reality is usually paternalistic and authoritarian at best, and reeks of corruption and cronyism at worst. Bush’s “free market” solutions are a complete sham to any casual observer, because instead of removing controls from the inept fingers of government bureaucracy, it has increasingly empowered them.

Of course, Bush loves the word “freedom.” But Republican freedom is never the genuine liberty of limited government, low taxes, personal sovereignty and peace. It is always the false liberty of nationalism, state-business partnerships, centralized police statism and war.

But even though Dobbs is wrong in lumping their failure under the banner of “libertarian fatalism,” he does acknowledge that both parties are increasingly out of touch with what we’ll call “libertarian realism:”

How are we supposed to take these political leaders and the parties they represent seriously?

The answer is obvious.

Indeed, if you want libertarianism, and not pigs playing dress-up, then it’s time to actually vote for real libertarians. Not these fake rhetoric-wielding fatalists.

Update: A great comment from the Hit & Run peanut gallery: “I love how we get blamed even when we can’t get a guy elected to dogcatcher.”

  1. I agree. I doubt the Libertarians (I am one btw) will win the Presidency in my lifetime.

    Dobbs is the most hardline authoritarian I have ever seen. I can take about 5 minutes of him. His only solution is to isolate the US with walls and no trade. Well maybe he would trade with France but God forbid any competitive country.

  2. Most dems and reps are communitarians. They share the same agenda with minor differences on the surface.