Liberaltarianism may be an interesting political development, but without reference to the Sex Vote, it is an incomprehensible one; with reference to it, it is an unappetizing one.
In a culture where to be interesting is to be laudable, this argument already fails. Slap at the kairos nevertheless. Jonah Goldberg thinks the “first principles” of liberaltarianism “aren’t aligned.” John Hood thinks “the private sphere must give way as costs are socialized and power is centralized.” Meanwhile Reihan endorses Will’s desire to “help create the possibility of a popular political identity that takes the value of human liberty, in all its aspects, really seriously.”
Liberaltarianism agrees to take the value of certain aspects of human liberty more seriously than others, wisely or blithely recognizing that we already do:
The liberaltarian idea, as I understand, is to start rethinking coalitions that appear to be natural because they’ve been in place for so long. — Reihan
But Reihan, like Goldberg, Hood, and many others, ignores the centrality of the Sex Vote, which is a snappy name for people who are generally willing or even eager to trade away political and economic freedoms for broad (in terms of scope, variety, protection, and enforcement) social and cultural freedoms — i.e. for the pink police state, which I named in honor of Marilyn Manson (“cops and queers / make good-looking models”) for a reason.
Poulos: Are you concerned that young people won’t care what the government does as long as they have ‘lifestyle’ freedom?
Frum: It will be hard to afford much lifestyle freedom as payroll and income taxes rise to pay for the Obama administration’s hope and change.
Is this answer persuasive? How many hipsters are too poor to party? The liberaltarian bargain, with the state as cool parent, does have a first principle: we should help create a popular ‘private sphere’ that can, should, and does expand as costs are socialized and power is centralized.
It is the allure of this promise, already planted within the popular culture, which is making lots of young people more liberal and more libertarian — this principle, and nothing else. It, not any narrow point of political economy, is the true and only threat to Conservatism Today. But you would not know it from reading Sam Tanenhaus, either, who at least accurately revealed, by compounding their silence on the Sex Vote, exactly in what way the Movement Cons and the Beaconsfielders are waging a phony war.