Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Modesty, Gradualism, Balance

A couple years ago, I participated in a panel discussion on libertarianism in Michael Sandel's Justice class, along with my friend and colleague Jeff Miron.  Jeff is a true libertarian, and he defended that position with gusto.  By comparison to Jeff, I seemed lacking in conviction.  I described myself as a "libertarian at the margin."  By that, I meant that given our starting point today, I believe more reliance on individual liberty and less on governmental solutions is usually a step in the right direction, but I often recoil at more radical libertarian positions.

David Brooks's column yesterday offers a good explanation of skepticism about big radical ideas, such as pure libertarianism.  It made me feel better about my watered-down variety.