Libertarians do not deny the importance of community any more than they deny the importance of moral virtue. What they deny is the necessity or appropriateness of centralized state coercion in bringing about either.
The libertarian vision of a society is one of free and responsible individuals, cooperating on their own terms for purposes of mutual benefit. It is a vision that draws its support from a wide variety of moral and empirical beliefs with deep roots in the public political culture. And it is one that contemporary critics of the market would do well to take much more seriously.
Wow. Just wow. The New York Times runs an opinion piece on Obamacare that could have appeared in the Wall Street Journal or on Reason.com. It’s by Lori Gottlieb. It is a frontal assault on the ideologically greedy presumptions that fuel support for Obamacare. (If you don’t get my claim about “ideologically greedy presumptions,” read my colleage Bryan Caplan’s 2007 book, The Myth of the Rational Voter). (Thanks to my dear friend Frayda Levy for the pointer to Gottleib’s essay.) Here’s a slice from Gottlieb:
Along with the smug insureds, President Obama doesn’t care much about the relatively small percentage of us with canceled coverage and no viable replacement. He keeps apologizing while maintaining that it’s for the good of the country, a vast improvement “over all.”
And the “over all” might agree. But the self-employed middle class is being sacrificed at the altar of politically correct rhetoric, with nobody helping to ensure our health, fiscal or otherwise, because it’s trendy to cheer for the underdog. Embracing the noble cause is all very well — as long as yours isn’t the “fortunate” family that loses its access to comprehensive, affordable health care while the rest of the nation gets it.