Josh Blackman and Damon Root on Libertarians, Conservatives, and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson
At Josh Blackman's Blog: Wilkinson on "Libertarians" and "Traditionalists" in the "Conservative Movement" (discussing Judge Wilkinson's article in the Green Bag, The Lost Arts of Judicial Restraint).
Here's a bit from Wilkinson:
We tend to forget that conservatism has been a philosophy of multiple strains. The tension between libertarian conservatives and traditionalists goes back at least as far as John Stuart Mill and Edmund Burke. Mill’s On Liberty railed against what he termed “the tyranny of the majority” whereas Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France argued that reliance on tradition, venerable institutions, and time-honored custom was the best way of ensuring human happiness. It is important that these strains remain in balance and that one not crowd out the other.
At present, however, the libertarian view seems to be in the ascendancy among conservatives. Of course, this strain has a valued place, but I fear increasingly that libertarians seek that place at the expense of those who hold to a more traditional and communitarian faith.
Professor Blackman's comments include this observation in conclusion:
Every year I attend the Federalist Society Convention ... I often wonder how many of the people in attendance fall into the Wilkinson Camp, and how many fall into the Thomas Camp. I tend to think there is something of a generational gap. Those who came of age in the era of the excessive Warren and Burger camp with join Team Wilkinson (sign CJ Roberts up for that squad). Those who came of age after the appointments of Justice Scalia, and the growth of the New Federalism are more likely to be on the Thomas Camp. …
In any event, the fact that Wilkinson has to state this position, and defend it, tells me that the libertarian movement is on the rise.
RELATED: At Reason, Damon Root: Do Libertarians Have Too Much Influence on the Conservative Legal Movement? From his conclusion: "[Wilkinson] is undoubtedly correct that libertarian legal scholars and activists have pushed the conservative legal movement in a direction that’s more friendly to individual rights and more skeptical towards government assertions of power. Like it or not, libertarians have become major players on the American legal scene."