David Brin is interviewed by Tim Cavanuagh of Reason, and Brin, who says he's a libertarian but talks like a common liberal know-it-all, has advice for those libertarians who are too libertarian. Brin says that what libertarians must understand -- must understand -- is that our greatest societal problem is oligarchy, as if libertarians of any stripe promote oligarchs. Brin says we need fair competition. Wow. I've been so blind. Seriously, though, I suppose what makes Brin's ideas a little different than basic libertarianism is that he believes everyone should have a fair beginning in life, say, as they turn 25, so government must ensure that all kids grow up with proper nourishment, and that they have the ability to go to college, etc. -- in other words, a strong and powerful welfare state. Cutting edge stuff.
I suspect Brin is simply a modern liberal who cares about civil liberties. He says libertarians are too hung up on property rights, which probably means he's for wealth distribution, especially as it has to do with inheritance tax. To me, what makes a libertarian a libertarian is the belief that social problems can be handled in the private sector -- otherwise, a person is a conservative or a modern liberal. Perhaps it can be boiled down to statist or anti-statist, but, whatever, Brin doesn't seem like much of a libertarian. He sure is confident that he knows what's wrong with libertarians, though.