I’m left first and libertarian second. Why? Quite simply, I consider that combination of priorities to be an under-served market. The opposite set of priorities has enough spokescritters and doesn’t need the addition of my voice to their choir.
I’m also, nominally, an American. In my country the word “libertarian” has been distorted to mean “laissez-faire capitalist,” so maybe instead of saying I’m “a libertarian second” above, I should just call myself an antilibertarian. My reasons for identifying with the older, more authentic idea of what libertarianism is, are rooted not in anti-statism, but in anti-authoritarianism, which is a completely different set of emphases.
With the exception of anarcho-syndicalists, I am very skeptical of people who claim to be simultaneously for (or even not against) the unions and against the public sector. Disingenuous at best. Doesn’t pass the smell test.
I am not bothered by the fact that a democratic electorate offers better job security and bennies to its employees than does their country’s business community, which will not waste any opportunity to lean on the contingent workforce, or better yet, desperately cheap labor in/from the developing world. The public policies of a democracy reflect the people’s values, so of course the public sector ends up being the people’s idea of an “exemplary employer.” I just know someone is now waiting in the wings to roll out the “republic not democracy” canard. There’s a Bircher or two in every issues discussion, it seems. Just stuff it, already.
The current situation is that the private labor market has more or less completely decimated the tacit social contract of post-war America, that gainful employment should be the norm, and the public sector has managed to dodge that bullet, largely, I think, because the voters (due to their basic decency and humanity) don’t want to play the role of managerial hatchet-person. The question isn’t why public employees are over-paid, but why private employees are under-paid.
At the risk of being called a fan of post-war America, please allow me to point out that I’m only pointing out that it had at least (perhaps at most!) one thing right. Think “mend it don’t end it.” Make gainful employment as social norm inclusive for minorities and women, rather than dismissing job security itself as a racist and sexist institution.
That’s all for now.