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The Place for Pragmatism


I hit up the Reason magazine forum on libertarianism yesterday. (Mike Gravel was there! How could I resist?) As expected, it was pleasantly entertaining and somewhat silly – but didn't offer much hope for more practical-minded limited-government advocates. Much of the discussion got sidetracked on ancillary issues (Is it better to work in a factory than an office? Whither the poker vote?), and domestic policy was reduced, more or less, to talk about which federal agencies should be the first to get the guillotine. That's a lot of fun –- goodness knows the Department of Education is an under-performing bureaucratic behemoth, and getting rid of it used to be a conservative hobby-horse -- but it hardly takes into account current political realities. I'm certainly in favor of pushing boundaries, but it's unlikely to do much good unless it's grounded in something at least somewhat resembling the current political playing field.

And what that means is that advocates of limited government need to remain focused on reforming the system as it stands, praising those legislators who do right, and pushing the rest toward better policy.