David Frum goes after faceless 'libertarians,' actual libertarian eats Frum's lunch 

I think it's a waste of time to critique "conservatives" in general, "liberals" in general, or "libertarians" in general. I've done it before, so I've made a resolution to stop doing it -- and I've invited others to join me in this resolution.

Today, I send a personal (if public) invitation to David Frum. He wrote on Twitter today, "I'd respect libertarians much more if they'd propose Medicare reforms instead of grousing about calorie counts on menus" in linking to this article on libertarians by non-libertarian Chris Beam.

I know it's Twitter. I know it's made for jokes and it lends itself to oversimplification. But this is a pretty silly and unnecessarily broad overgeneralization by Frum. In response, Peter Suderman at the libertarian Reason magazine has a good tongue-in-cheek response that links to 21 pieces by Reason, Cato, or the Mercatus Center treating Medicare reform as a serious matter.

A sample from Suderman's post:

After all, it’s not as if anyone at this particular libertarian publication has repeatedly praised elected officials like Rand Paul and Paul Ryan for talking about reforming Medicare. Come to think of it, libertarians haven’t defended the idea of voucherizing the program or examined bipartisan plans to do so. Nor have libertarians argued in favor of consumer-driven health care or supported folks proposing consumer-driven reforms.  

Neither has anyone here has written about how competitive HMOs might serve as an antidote to Medicare’s central-pricing woes, or why we ought to free doctors from the system’s federal pricing caps.

And by golly no one at Reason has ever, ever excoriated Republican leadership and Tea Party activists for their timidity on making Medicare reform a priority.

Let me clarify my broader point. I'm not a "No Labels" type -- I think that's silly talk. And I agree with Frum that many libertarians and libertarian outfits often have priorities which I think undermine the cause (for instance, Reason's Ron Bailey on embryonic stem-cell research [here's a critique I share]). But if you're going to make such a criticism, you should name and link to the libertarian or publication you're going after.

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Timothy P. Carney

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