Tag: Libertarianism

TBC: Morning Musing 6.8.15

Well, I have 3 articles for you this morning!

We’re very fickle apparently when it comes to climate change:

8 maps that reveal Americans’ incoherent opinions on climate change

Opinion surveys on climate change are often reported as national averages, but national opinion is not the most important thing to most politicians. They respond to regional and local opinion, the opinions of their constituents. With that in mind, a new study attempts to map public opinion on climate change and climate policy in geographic detail, down to the level of counties and congressional districts.


Quote for Discussion: The Libertarian Case for Barack Obama

War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of consent, voluntarism and trade.  With every war in American history Leviathan has grown larger and our liberties have withered.  War is the health of the state. And now, fulfilling the dreams of Big Brother, we are in a perpetual war.

A country cannot long combine unlimited government abroad and limited government at home. The Republican party has become the party of war and thus the party of unlimited government.

…Have libertarians gained on other margins in the past eight years? Not at all. Under the Republicans we have been sailing due South-West on the Nolan Chart – fewer civil liberties and more government, including the largest new government program in a generation, the Medicare prescription drug plan, and the biggest nationalization since the Great Depression. Tax cuts, the summum bonum of Republican economic policy, are a sham. The only way to cut taxes is to cut spending and that has not happened.

The libertarian voice has not been listened to in Republican politics for a long time. The Republicans take the libertarian wing of the party for granted and with phony rhetoric and empty phrases have bought our support on the cheap. Thus – since voice has failed – it is  time for exit.  Remember that if a political party can count on you then you cannot count on it.

That is GMU Economics Professor Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution.  Read the whole thing.

We often speak about the case for or against Obama based on the merits of the Obama campaign alone, or based on its preferable comparison to a McCain administration.  I think that both those models are false.  While Tabarrok ought to also address the question of why vote at all, he makes an excellent case why people who are not inclined to vote for Obama still ought to support his candidacy.  

Quote for Discussion: 2.3.2008

Don argues in the book and in the podcast that to point to an American steel worker put out of work by imports of Brazilian steel and say that he is “harmed by trade” is to misunderstand the nature of trade and its winners and losers. He says it’s like saying that a man whose wife leaves him for another man is harmed by love. After all, the man married because of love. The man is the product of his parents who were touched by love. So it is with the steel worker. His steel job exists because of trade. His whole life is supported by trade of various kinds. So in what sense is he “harmed by trade?”

It’s a profound point. It forces you to see just how trade and specialization and the division of labor create the incredible lives we lead, lives of wealth and health unimagined by previous generations.

But having said that, I think there is something else to add, something about the way our self-worth and pride and satisfaction are tied up in our work. An out-of-work steel worker still has a very good life compared to generations past and the success of his life up until the loss of his job is indeed due to trade (and sometimes to the protectionism that worker would like to see made stronger). But there’s no denying that it’s very tough on a person who has invested most of his life in a particular skill to suddenly find that there’s no demand for that skill. Yes, it’s the price of progress and it’s a price worth paying. Yes, it’s not particular to foreign trade, as Don points out, but is the result of all kinds of economic change. But there is something deeply poignant about it, nevertheless.

It is a mistake to use protectionism to keep that worker from having to deal with change. But that doesn’t change the potential sadness of the situation. I’ve argued that the real consolation for that worker who loses his job and struggles to find another that is as satisfying is knowing (if he knows any economics) that his children and grandchildren will lead better lives because we tolerate economic change.

Russell Roberts, Café Hayek

The Great Dem/Libertarian Alliance: One Too Many Kooks and Up in Smoke!

Ahhh…it always hurts when something which seemed so promising comes crashing down around you, well…not me…but you know what I mean.  Even more so when the person who proposes the something promising seems very cavalier in bringing it down.  Oh well…let’s see the end of the Great Dem/Libertarian Alliance even before it really began!