By James Ostrowski
As zebras are fascinated by lions, libertarians are fascinated by communists, their polar opposites and sworn enemies for the last 150 years. If one believes that society should function with an absolute minimum of governmental coercion, one is curious to know the results of a philosophy which places its faith in the maximum possible use of governmental coercion, force, and violence, to achieve its goals. If communism worked, we libertarians would be forced to check our premises and watch our backs.
Can the laboratory of communism also shed light on the viability of a related political philosophy, which also relies on centralized governmental coercion to achieve its goals: modern liberalism? The communists did all at once what stealthy left-liberals apparently intend to do piece by piece while we sleep. We just lived through a century in which liberals enacted several recommendations of the Communist Manifesto and transformed a night-watchman state into a welfare/warfare state with a continual flow of "progressive" legislation and various "Democrat wars" and crusades with the result that no one in my law school class in 1983 could identify, in response to Professor Henry Mark Holzer's query, any aspect of life that was not in some way regulated or controlled by the state. Seventeen years later, are they through?
Has liberalism closed up shop? Will they ever be through? Not until they have established an egalitarian utopia where virtually all responsibility for living has passed from the individual to the state. In the liberal utopia, if I may pilfer Paddy Chayefsky's words, "all necessities [will be] provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused."
If you think I exaggerate, consider that liberals and communists share five critical… (Read the full article)