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Arnold Kling talks about something I am very familiar with:

from Ed Kilgore, of the Progressive Policy Institute.

Certainly, few self-conscious libertarians have much tolerance for racism, but they are encouraging a point of view about “welfare” that has long been catnip to racists. And that’s a problem for liberals. How can an alliance last in a climate where a progressive think tanker has to look down the rostrum at that nice Cato Institute colleague and wonder if he or she privately thinks the poor are “looter scum”;

People like Wilkinson, Lindsey, and myself have indeed spoken out against “welfare” of the auto bailout and the “looter scum” of the bailed-out financial industry. On the other hand, when people criticize my pro-immigration stance on the grounds that we will be adding to the welfare burden and thereby enlarging the state, my reply is that welfare is not the state enlargement that I fear. What I fear is the state’s control of education, health care, the financial industry, and so on.Ed Kilgore exemplifies what Thomas Sowell calls “using the poor as mascots.” That is, when a libertarian opposes a statist agenda, Kilgore comes back and accuses us of being racists and hurting the poor.

I am disappointed but not at all surprised to see this attitude expressed. In fact, I am glad to see this rhetoric out in the open. If the rest of the Progressive movement wants to rally to this flag, it helps clarify the situation for libertarians.

I, too, am glad this is out in the open. In fact, much of what I aim to do is get this stuff out in the open. To add one small comment, I would add that a good number of  “Progressive” critics of a classical liberal position have no idea what the underlying economics are in the first place. More often than not, the criticisms are ad hominem and not of much substance. In any case, count me among the folks the PPI gives the salute to. For the record, say what you will about the likes of Wilkinson, et al, but at least they are not, themselves, “looter scum.”

One Response to “Then Give Me the Finger Too”

  1. […] 14, 2010 by Aaron PPI via Kling via Unbroken Window: from Ed Kilgore, of the Progressive Policy Institute. Certainly, few self-conscious libertarians […]

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