Matt lewis wrote a reply to E.J. Dionne who made a claim that since Communist government's fail whenever applied, and since a Libertarian government has never existed, then Libertarianism should be condemned as Communism is condemned as unworkable, or something to that effect.
Before addressing Lewis's main point, I'd like to say that Dionne makes a dumb comparison. Communism is responsible for millions and millions of deaths and much suffering under totalitarian regimes. Anyone familiar with history knows the horrors committed in the name of Communism. We can rejoice that Communism has been shown by experience to be a failure. However, it's a tragedy that nations fall under the control of statism to such an extent that Libertarianism has never been given a fair shot, not even at the beginning of America. I wonder if Dionne can understand this? Lewis seems to understand it to the extent that he likes a few Libertarians around on the wall to scream about violations to individual rights, although he doesn't want Libertarians limiting government power to the point that government can't operate as Lewis thinks is necessary.
Lewis does make a good point that liberty will not last without diligence from the American people to protect freedom. Why is this? Because the natural evolution of the State is to expand power and control, and if left to its own devices the State will gain complete control. How is it that so many Americans have either forgetten this or don't know it? It's not a comfort to me, although it might comfort Dionne, that half of all Americans are willing to trust the State to limit its power and wisely use information about our private lives. It's sad really. It's sad that Libertarianism has never been chosen by any nation.
I suppose Communists could make the claim, and they have, that Communism proper has never been given a chance, but the principles of Communism necessarily lead to totalitarian control, while Libertarianism could exist without necessarily leading to totalitarian control. Libertarianism doesn't require coercion, but Communism does. Libertarianism allows any social arrangements that are voluntary and don't violate the rights of others, while Communism has to disallow by force certain social arrangements. It's conceivable, and ironic, that a Libertarian society could choose to live in a communistic way, or at least have large parts of society in certain regions living in communes, while a Communist society would prohibit Libertarianism that would permit capitalist activity and property rights secured by contracts. See Ludwig von Mises' Socialism. The path from Socialism to Communism leads to horrors. Right now, it would be enlightening to see where the path from Statism to Libertarianism leads. One can only hope -- and be diligent.