My Cato friend Gene Healy hits the nail on the head in his DC Examiner piece on libertarian paranoia. The paranoia czars are nothing without more laws and/or government. Mr. Nudge himself, Cass Sunstein, makes an appearance with tips on “How to Spot a Paranoid Libertarian.” Healy writes:
Recently, three prestigious academics have argued that you should be especially nervous about “Paranoid Libertarians.” Distinguished historian Sean Wilentz coined the term last month in a New Republic hit piece on Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald. These NSA critics “despise the liberal state and want to wound it,” he charged.
Picking up Wilentz’s term, Harvard law professor and former Obama administration regulatory czar Cass Sunstein offered tips on “How to Spot a Paranoid Libertarian.” And, writing at Slate, the University of Chicago’s Eric Posner warned that libertarian paranoia kills: “in fact, the fear of government is far more serious than the fear of flying.”
The three combined for nearly 10,000 words on “Paranoid Libertarians” without ever producing evidence that “libertarian paranoia” is a threat to much of anything besides overweening government.
Wilentz’s article is a comically inept exercise in guilt by association. Liberals shouldn’t make common cause with Snowden and Greenwald, says Wilentz, because, among other things, Snowden gave $500 to the Ron Paul campaign and made disparaging comments about Social Security in an Internet chat room in 2009. Greenwald has (gasp!) written for, and said nice things about, my employer, the Cato Institute.