In the spirit of Shaun’s recent (hilarious) post on how not to run a recruitment table, here’s Steve Horwitz on how to be taken seriously by progressives:
Stop treating Progressives as either evil or stupid….let’s work on the assumption that Progressives are, in Hayek’s words, guilty of nothing more than “intellectual error” about the way the world works (and the economy in particular). Seize this opportunity to teach, without condescension, rather than calling names. Yes, I know this is hard when you head over to the Daily Kos and see libertarians called racist, homophobic, cold-hearted pawns of the corporations. So be it. We need to take the high road.
Second, libertarians have a tendency to do something that drives Progressives nuts, as it should: They blame the victim. Too often I hear self-described libertarians blame poverty on the culture or morality of the poor. Similar generalizations about racial and ethnic groups have been known to escape the lips of libertarians…. Progressives are right that these social pathologies are largely structural, but they are wrong about which structures cause them. Why don’t libertarians start by agreeing with the premise, then engaging our Progressive friends in a conversation about how government intervention is responsible for most of what they are rightly concerned about? That’s more interesting and productive than trying to defend ourselves from charges of bigotry.
Finally, libertarians need to be attentive to the difference between being “pro-market” and “pro-business.”