Libertarian Welfare Statism

I agreed with the first half of Jessica Flanigan’s essay on “A Feminist Libertarian Dilemma,” but then nearly choked on my invisible coffee when I read this:

Bleeding heart libertarianism doesn’t rule out public policies that help women with families succeed in the workforce, like affordable public childcare, subsidized family leave, elder care, or a universal basic income.

So how exactly does bleeding-heart libertarianism differ from mushy-pated, Swedish-style social democracy?

8 thoughts on “Libertarian Welfare Statism

  1. Ah yes, the best and brightest of ivy-league political thought. Well, at least she’s not out of Princeton yet. I think I’ll go cry now.

  2. By severing the link between women and the home, thereby allowing them to compete with men on the same plain, as simple individuals, as this woman seems advocate with little craftsmanship, as opposed to free lunches for all?

    1. The possible merits of such policies notwithstanding, opposition to the “welfare state” as usually conceived has always been a core component of classical liberalism, as distinct from egalitarian liberalism or social or Christian democracy. I can see how a “bleeding-heart libertarian” could endorse a universal basic income, but I don’t see how libertarianism of any sort could be consistent with the dirigiste social engineering inherent in “public child care, subsidized family leave,” and the like.

      1. Here, here. I’d hate to see “bleeding heart libertarianism” of this sort come to be associated with a meaningful libertarian brand of political thought. Will W’s liberaltarianism is a far better construction as it is more honest (though it turns out to be far less libertarian than it suggests).

  3. My thoughts on the matter conform more to yours, gentlemen, than to the statement posted above. I was simply trying to answer the question posed.

  4. She isn’t really suggesting anything that is all that far away from Hayek’s safety net measures or Friedman’s negative income tax proposal.

    1. I respectfully disagree. These aren’t safety-net measures aimed at preventing extreme poverty; they are middle-class benefits aimed at manipulating (I use the term non-pejoratively) social values and the size of the labor force.

  5. The existence of a strong universalist constitution and a tradition of individual rights is most likely prerequisite to any long-term authentic equality of the sexes. It is, after all, only within the liberal system that reproductive technologies and modes of power outside of brute physicality can come to life and thrive in the first place, both of which are the foundation of the deconstruction and inevitable rejection of gender as a relevant means of discriminating between individuals. Liberalism’s emphasis on the individual is the very root of feminist theory.

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