Faculty Writing: A Libertarian, Bear-Infested Enclave and the Endless Struggle for Democracy

For The New Republic, Patrick Blanchfield reviews Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling’s A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (and Some Bears), a recently published book about a libertarian fantasy town that came to be overtaken by bears. On the topic of this unique libertarian vision of freedom, Blanchfield writes: “The distinction between a municipality of eccentric libertarians and a state whose response to crisis is, in so many words, ‘Learn to Live With It’ may well be a matter of degree rather than kind. Whether it be assaults by bears, imperceptible toxoplasmosis parasites, or a way of life where the freedom of markets ultimately trumps individual freedom, even the most cocksure of Grafton’s inhabitants must inevitably face something beyond and bigger than them. In that, they are hardly alone.”

In Jacobin, Rafael Khatchaturian explores the incomplete project that is U.S. democracy. He writes, “There is no democracy in America apart from the multitude of struggles to bring in those who were previously excluded from political power by the system’s very design. In other words, to speak of democracy in America is to recognize the slow and uneven process of democratizing what was originally an oligarchic, settler colonial, slaveholding republic — a political project that remains incomplete to this day.”

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