A Classical Liberal Case for Pete Buttigieg?
NOTE: While I did support certain candidates in the 2019–20 Democratic primaries because of their ideas (e.g. UBI, anti-war, broad tent approach), it doesn’t mean I endorse their other positions.
Welcome to Moral Libertarian View, a podcast style program where we discuss big ideas to see if they can contribute to more individual liberty and equal opportunity, values that are at the heart of the Moral Libertarian idea. Unlike many popular channels out there, this show is a dedicated non echo-chamber, where views from the left, right and center are all going to be considered without discrimination. I hope you subscribe if you are interested.
In the recent debate for 2020 Democratic candidates, Pete Buttigieg was one of the most noticed personalities. At only 37 years old, he is the youngest candidate in the field, but many people have found him surprisingly mature in his thinking. Here at Moral Libertarian View, we have a habit of analysing people and platforms from a classical liberal values point of view, to see if they are good for freedom or not. With the renewed interest in Mayor Pete, I think it’s time we look at him throughly from the freedom viewpoint.
If you visit the Pete Buttigieg 2020 website, you will see that he has divided his whole platform into three categories, with Freedom being one of them. So, at least from the surface, we see a man who says he is committed to freedom, which is already much better than many people these days. Pete says that his emphasis is on both ‘freedom of’ and ‘freedom from’, and I guess this means both things like ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom from a lack of health care’. Consequently, his website details many policies to do with social programs, like health care and education. As I frequently say, as a Moral Libertarian, my main emphasis is that everyone should have equal and maximum moral agency, and I believe this is the moral core of the classical liberal values as espoused by its 18th and 19th century proponents. This means that, while I generally agree with political libertarians on many social issues, when it comes to economic issues I think having a strong social safety net is valuable from an individual freedom point of view. I previously made my Moral Libertarian case as to why expanding health care and education programs is worth the money, so I am in general agreement with Mayor Pete here.
While Mayor Pete is for spending more on health and education, his plans have been criticized by those further to the left. For example, his ‘Medicare for All Who Want It’ is seen as a cop-out among those who believe in achieving ‘Medicare For All’ overnight. Similarly, while he clearly states that he wants public college to be free for middle income families, this is still not free college for all. However, I think that the important thing is to have a policy that does what it wants to do, and the objective here is to have health insurance coverage for all, and make the cost of college no longer a problem for all who want to attend. From what I see, Pete’s policies achieve these objectives. His plan for Medicare also appears to preserve an element of choice, which is good from a classical liberal perspective. I don’t actually understand why the left seems to have a problem with Mayor Pete’s policies here. I mean, if you can convince me otherwise, then I will listen, but personally I don’t see a problem there. Furthermore, Pete’s platform also states that he wants to put an end to the endless wars, which is encouraging to hear, even if he has not put much emphasis on this policy yet.
Overall, from what I can see, Mayor Pete is committed to freedom generally, and his social programs sound reasonable. I still have some concern about where he stands on critical theory, which comes from both his background and some of the statements he has made, but I am relieved that at least his policies don’t reflect this mindset. Otherwise, there don’t seem to be any red flags I can see in his platform either.
That’s all for today. I’ll be back next time to discuss another big idea. Subscribe if you want to follow our story. nd remember to resist the hive mind and stay individualistic. The world depends on it.
Originally published at http://taraellastylia.blogspot.com.
TaraElla is a singer-songwriter, independent journalist and author, who is passionate about free speech, liberty and equality. She is the author of the Moral Libertarian Horizon books, which focus on developing a moral case for freedom-based politics in the 21st century.