Libertarians better shut up for the next four years

Arnold Kling compares the Obama and Bush administrations to gangs of thugs raiding his home.  James Wolcott accuses him of racism.

I know Arnold, and I've never met someone more mild-mannered and circumspect.  His idea of an excited polemic is about what I use to order my morning coffee.  I find it awfully hard to believe that he's trying to play on racist stereotypes to make a point.   It's hyperbolic, of course, but libertarians often refer to the government as thieves, thugs, and so on.  Indeed, when the topic turns to things like drug enforcement, liberals often join us.  Libertarians do not like coercion.  The government is coercive.  This invites invidious comparison between politicians and other professionals who use force to bend the "customers" to their will.

Now, of course, we have a black president, and James Wolcott stands ready to police any reference to him for signs of racism.  This is a charge so serious that it shuts down any possible discourse, and is thus much loved by people who do not care to be disagreed with. Would it be racist of me to note that Mr. Wolcott's accusations seem vaguely redolent of the tactics of one Senator Joseph McCarthy?

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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