More than passing curious: Jonas and libertarianism

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George Jonas’ column in Canada’s National Post of January 19, 2013 is entitled: “Don’t call me a libertarian.” It starts off as follows: “A reader reached me through my literary agent. She didn’t want to buy film rights to my books, alas, only satisfy her curiosity. ‘Some people describe you as a libertarian,’ she wrote. ‘Well, are you? The question doesn’t keep me awake at night, so respond at your leisure.’ What a refreshing way to ask! It merits a speedy reply. No, I’m not a libertarian.”

Naturally, as a long time libertarian myself, I was interested in why a columnist for a major newspaper did not ascribe to the one and only correct view on political economy. He obviously knew how to spell the word “libertarian.” He even thought this philosophy important enough to write about it. I started reading with bated breath.

But before I did, I asked myself why oh why a seemingly intelligent person like Jonas would not be a libertarian. Could it be that he favored U.S. imperialism (with Canada as a junior partner)? Maybe he wants to prohibit drugs? Possibly, he opposes capitalist acts between consenting adults (although the regular writes for the National Post such as my friend Terrence Corcoran is pretty free enterprise, and my friend Karen Selick, an irregular but steady contributor is very market oriented)? Might it be that he took a position on abortion incompatible with the one adopted by libertarians (hardly, our community is split on this issue)? Is he a secret admirer of central banking? I was ready to defend libertarianism against any criticism Jonas might launch at it.

In the event, I was rather disappointed with this column of his, although not entirely surprised. Jonas did not mention a single solitary policy proposal of libertarianism. Not drugs, not war-mongering, not free trade and deregulation, not abortion, not banking, not nothing. Instead, he meandered all over the lot, discussing numerous issues that simply had nothing to do with support for, or detraction of, libertarianism. More than passing curious. Maybe, one of these days (hint, hint, Jonas) he will explain why it is that he opposes the freedom philosophy, the only just system, the last best hope for peace, prosperity and the very survival of mankind.

3:00 pm on January 20, 2013