Libertarian Think Tank Abandons Libertarianism

Richard Stanley

As a former libertarian I eventually had to abandon the concept in favor of a more balanced approach across the board. It seems like a few others are coming to the same conclusion:

For millions of people, ideology is the lighthouse in a dark sea of politics. An uncompromising vision of how the world is supposed to work, and how to fix it, is just too alluring for partisans to ignore. Political parties’ most frenzied supporters are demanding ideological purity from their candidates as they push out moderates, especially on the right. As a result, ever fewer temperate souls are left to hold the middle ground in politics.

Yet the libertarian think tank Niskanen Center in Washington, DC, argues the moderate middle is the future. Niskanen president Jerry Taylor wrote in an Oct. 29 essay that he is dropping the libertarian banner the center has shared with the likes of the more conservative Cato Institute. In a 3,595-word farewell to the libertarian world, he says libertarianism, and ideology itself, is a dead end. “I have abandoned that libertarian project…because I have come to abandon ideology,” writes Taylor, who invites readers to flee the “clean and well-lit prison of one idea.

The future of American politics, he argues, is principled compromise, even if the present couldn’t seem further away. ”I think we’re living in a world in which moderation has virtually disappeared,” he says in an interview with Quartz. “And how’s that working out? I’m skating to where the puck is going to be.” ...