A Pragmatic Libertarian

Pete Abel re-thinks small government:

Many of us have had a change of heart about government action when we encounter unexpected and otherwise insurmountable challenges. Consider the value that my friend, Dennis Sanders, found in Minnesota’s Medicaid program when he needed its assistance back in 1996. Or my experience, when I realized that had it not been for government action, our only child, who suffers from a severe case of Tourette Syndrome, might never have had access to the medications that help him lead a reasonably normal, productive life.

These cases and others suggest that “pure” libertarian conservatives are comprised of those who have not yet hit the brick wall of non-solutions; have not yet needed (nor had an opportunity to appreciate) just how valuable government “interference” can sometimes be.

On the other hand, despite the groups and individuals who have been helped by government action, I’m not ready to label myself a progressive. For every example of government doing good, there are multiple examples of government wasting precious resources and implementing counterproductive programs – failures that have been thoroughly documented by the likes of Barry Goldwater in 1960, Philip Howard in 1994, and Paul Ormerod in 2005.