The Human Action Podcast

James Ostrowski: The Illiberal Progressive Mind

James Ostrowski on Mises Weekends
James Ostrowski Jeff Deist

Our guest this week is uniquely qualified to discuss modern progressives from a libertarian perspective. Jim Ostrowski, whom Murray Rothbard called “one of the finest people in the libertarian movement,” is a lawyer, writer, activist, and chronicler of progressive dysfunction in his native New York. He’s the author of Progressivism: A Primer on the Idea Destroying America, which explains progressivism more as personal psychology than a coherent view of the world. If you’re interested in how progressives managed to capture the 20th century, stay tuned.

Modern progressives believe the state should control, or at least involve itself, in nearly every aspect of human activity. They believe countless things about government and human nature that are manifestly not true. Deeply hostile to liberty, they never accept responsibility for the disasters caused by the political, economic, legal, cultural, and social policies they advocate.

But should libertarians engage with progressives? Should we attempt to match their long march through the West’s great institutions? Or should we write them off as hopelessly statist products of the dominant culture?