Neo-Liberal Rebrand By Wonks

adam-smith-institute-neo-liberal

Guido’s friends at the Adam Smith Institute are re-branding as neo-liberals. Many decades ago when Guido briefly interned at the ASI they self-defined as “libertarian“, nowadays that is apparently too radical a term, or so argues executive director Sam Bowman. He argues “libertarian” in Britain has a rigid meaning – “someone who is opposed to all but the tiniest night watchman state in every case”. The dictionary says libertarians uphold the principles of individual liberty, especially of thought and action.

Embracing neo-liberalism as your ideological descriptor might be good marketing, given it is so widely used pejoratively by teenage lefties to save them having to think matters through. They view neo-liberalism as akin to the political economy of Satanism. Bowman rightly points out that the words Tory, suffragette and Whig all began as insults but were adopted and appropriated by the people they were used against. The ASI setting themselves up as the defenders of neo-liberalism will guarantee plenty of attention.

However, something else is also going on here, Sam has for years been pushing wonky technocratic solutions like negative income taxes, a form of redistribution of which most libertarians are wary. He’s keen on printing money too and it comes as no surprise that he also backed the UK remaining in the EU. None of which is very libertarian…




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