The Vanderbilt Hustler ran an op-ed today asking the all important question, “Are Libertarians and Communists any different?” By describing grossly impoverished versions of both philosophies the writer concludes that they’re not. For example:
Like communists, libertarians have an essentially economistic worldview that tends to dismiss cultural and moral issues as unimportant or irrelevant. I can recall, for example, reading an interview with a former editor of The Torch, in which he argued that all drugs should be legalized and sold in stores, because (I am quoting from memory) “its all just supply and demand.”
No, that wasn’t me. The quote is from a February 2003 interview in Versus Magazine with The Torch’s contorversial columnist Brett Austin. Here’s the full quote, which is a bit more nuanced than the author gives Brett credit for:
ED: What about legalization of pot or other drugs?
BA: I think all drugs should be legal. Drugs and prostitution. I think it is all supply and demand. People are going to demand these things. So, there is a market for it, obviously, and we might as well legalize it and regulate it. It is a lot better than to have a black market trade.
Cato also gets a mention in the Hustler op-ed:
Libertarian philosophy also is casually indifferent to what we might consider national issues. Libertarian think-tanks like the Cato Institute routinely publish papers extolling the virtues of massive, unrestricted immigration and global free trade, regardless of how such policies might impact a nation’s culture, sovereignty or security.
I may submit a response to this later but will let it pass without comment for now. Thanks for the tip go to Anne Malinee, current editor of that libertarian/communist rag, The Torch.
[Update 2/2/05: Kevin McNish writes a rebuttal.]