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Will Wilkinson and Brink Lindsey Get the Finger

Interesting when people are hoisted by their own petard–it’s terrible when those who oppose the leviathan are accused of being motivated by bigotry, ain’t it?

Arnold Kling

FEBRUARY 12, 2010

Will Wilkinson and Brink Lindsey Get the Finger
Arnold Kling

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.

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