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Liberal Capitalism as the Ideology of Freedom and Moderation

Nowadays, many along the political spectrum seem to agree that America increasingly has become a polarized society. Ideological and public policy discourse has been gravitating more toward the extremes: progressives and the Democratic Party with a more explicitly socialist rhetoric and proposed government agenda, and conservatives and Republicans who increasingly appear to be moving in the direction of populist, and especially economic, nationalism under the presidency of Donald Trump.

If such ideological extremism is politically tearing the country apart in the eyes of many, then what could and should be a “non-ideology” of compromise and moderation? This is a question that Jerry Taylor, president of the William Niskanen Center, asks and answers in a recent article, “The Alternative to Ideology,” in which he directly challenges the premises and policy perspective of many libertarians.

Mr. Taylor insists that those who espouse a political philosophy of individualism, free markets, and strictly limited constitutional government are out of touch with reality and make themselves irrelevant in contemporary political discourse. Having long been a proponent of libertarianism himself, Mr. Taylor believes that he understands its asserted weaknesses from the inside.

Doubting Market Solutions to Global Problems

His first doubts, he explains, emerged with his conclusion that libertarians have little or nothing to contribute to the leading problem of our time: global warming. In Mr. Taylor’s view, this demonstrated to him that there needed to be answers outside the mantra of individual liberty and free markets. How else could this threat to humanity be tackled other than through extensive and combined governmental intervention, regulation, taxation, and possibly organized planning?

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