The Great Liberaltarian Alliance

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Will Wilkinson hopes that libertarians and liberals will find more common ground in the future:

In particular, I predict Democrats will become somewhat more receptive to arguments that certain less centralized, more market-oriented policies do a better job of achieving liberal goals than do the more heavily centralized, technocratic policies favored by current Democratic opinion elites. This kind of increased openness to fresh thinking is especially likely if there is an organized effort to articulate a moderate libertarian philosophy in terms attractive to liberals, which is precisely what Brink Lindsey and I are in the process of doing.

….I don’t expect liberaltarian arguments to be enthusiastically embraced by those who cannot tell the difference between successful liberal social and economic policy and the preservation and extension of New Deal/Great Society institutions. But I do expect a future Democratic Party less dismissive of policies such as school choice and defined-contribution social insurance schemes — policies that have been successfully implemented in a fair number of countries rather less libertarian in spirit than the U.S.

As a liberal who is — tentatively, cautiously — sympathetic to arguments for both school choice and a role for private accounts in Social Security, I guess I’m the target audience for whatever they’re cooking up. So I’ll be curious to see what they propose, especially since I’ve long been skeptical of Lindsey’s past efforts in this direction. But if Will and Brink have anything new, I’m all ears.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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