Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Libertarian Nation

Libertarian Nation?  We’re not quite there yet…
* 10% Self-identify as libertarian
* 23 % responded to questions about the role of government in a way that categorizes them as libertarian

A survey conducted by Zogby for the Cato Institute has put the libertarian vote at around 15 percent. Loosen the wording, and the pool expands. When the Zogby survey asked voters if they would describe themselves as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian, the number rose to 44 percent. When it simply asked if they were fiscally conservative and socially liberal, a full 59 percent responded yes. (
http://nymag.com/news/politics/70282/)
Libertarian Me

I have turned libertarian over the past few years. There are many strains, but I tend more towards the Hayek/founding fathers variety. That makes me an “impure” medium-core libertarian, although I’m an avid fan of anarcho-capitalist and modern-day libertarian patriarch Murray Rothbard. The man is brilliant and his logic is unassailable, but I still believe in a state as envisioned by the founders.


Christian Me

Social conservatives consider us turncoats and libertines, especially those of us who are conservative Christians. I make my moral decisions based upon my Christian beliefs, but I make political ones based upon our nation’s secular bible, The US Constitution. This leads me to personally oppose gay marriage, but to also declare that the state should not interfere. I also believe, based on the same constitution, that the state may not punish churches that refuse to conduct same-sex ceremonies.

“Libertarianism gets marginalized in American politics because it doesn’t fit into the two-party paradigm. Libertarians want less state intrusion into the market, which aligns them with Republicans, but also less interference in social choices, which aligns them with Democrats. As Massachusetts governor William Weld put it in 1992, I want the government out of your pocketbook and your bedroom.(http://nymag.com/news/politics/70282/)
The author goes on to note that “libertarianism is more internally consistent than the Democratic or Republican platforms,” which is what makes it so appealing to rational minded individuals. Tyranny is tyranny, regardless of which party wields it. If I oppose liberal democrats hijacking the power of the state in the name of social justice, how can I support George Bush’s Office of Faith Base Initiatives?
“At least the highwayman would take your money and leave you alone.  The government takes your money, then stands around and tells you what to do with it” -- Douglas French, President, Mises Institute
You may be more libertarian than you think.  Christopher Beam has written a pretty good article about libertarianism today entitled, The Trouble With Liberty.  He takes a skeptical view, but he's fairly even-handed, taking only a few gentle cheap shots.  If you're curious about libertarianism and the tea party tie-in, you should go read the whole article.

If you're hungry for more, here are my favorite libertarian links.  There are many, many more than these, but these best accord with my "brand" of libertarianism.

The CATO Institute is America's preeminent libertarian think tank.  CATO@Liberty is their blog.

Reason Magazine is my favorite libertarian publication.  Full of fun and interesting stuff updated daily, with writers such as Drew Carey, Penn and Teller, John Stossel and David Harsanyi.

The flagship of Austrian School Economics is The Ludwig von Mises Institute.  It's not just wonky economics, so don't be scared off.  Fresh articles on freedom and liberty daily, as well as classic writing from the past that are relevant to today's topics.

For a principled criticism of Austrian School Economics, you can read Professor Bryan Caplan's paper, Why I am Not an Austrian Economist

32 comments:

Always On Watch said...

Drew Carey? The television star?

I know that the above isn't the point of this post. But that name appearing in the context of this post surprised me.

Shane Atwell said...

Interesting statistics and observations. Count me in the 59% because I'm an Objectivist. Libertarianism fails in its amoralism. Also until the Tea Party came around I don't remember Libertarians being terribly interested in the Constitution.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Most libertarians I know have read and admire Ayn Rand. I notice she's missing from your post.

Do you consider her someone important in American libertarianism?

I tried, many years ago, to read her books, I just couldn't get through them. On a purely literary level, I found them to be turgid prose.

Still trying to understand her popularity with libertarians, I did watch various interviews with her on YouTube, and found her to be glib and self-absorbed.

Everyone who is an adherent of an ism believes it to be the one true ism--not unlike one's religion.

I could, I suppose, study the different links you've provided and read up on how, in an perfect world, one ideology or another would be the perfect solution to our many difficult problems in this very diverse country. The reality is that once human beings get involved, even the best ideas become corrupt.

I think having discussions on the merits of one political philosophy over another is a good thing.

Divine Theatre said...

Shane, what part of the Constitution do you think Libertarians failed to honor prior to the advent of the Tea Party? I have been a Libertarian for the last 15 years and I have NO idea what you are talking about. What part of "individual liberty" doesn't fit with the precepts of the Constitution?
Insofar as Ayn Rand is concerned...no offense, but if you have not read her work because it is beneath you then how in the world can you even begin to have an opinion? An informed opinion anyhow?! What's wrong with being glib and self absorbed? Does it somehow discredit Rand's point?

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

I am a conservative but I had the exact same reaction / questions as Divine Theatre.

Those two comments are amazing in that they lack any evidence of actual and realative thought let alone research.

Actually what Shaw displays in her comment is the very definition of glib.

Shane Atwell said...

Divine, Its not that Libertarians didn't honor the Constitution. Its that they were too busy arguing whether there should be any government at all. The current Tea Party consensus behind a constitutionally limited republic is something new and not really due to Libertarianism. If anything I'd say it derives more from classical liberalism and a fundamental respect for our founding.

Divine Theatre said...

I have news for you Shane. You were talking to the wrong people. Libertarianism has always been about limited government. Always. Seems to me you were hanging out with Anarchists or the like. Another surprise...the Tea Party was instituted by Libertarians and subsequently co opted by the Right. Yes, that Tea Party.
Just because all this is new to you, Shane, does not mean it is new under the sun.
By the way, I would really like to hear your definition of "moralism", or lack thereof. Do you speak of morals as defined by your religion?

Shaw Kenawe said...

Christopher, you know nothing about me.

It would be nice if we could stick to the subject and not have you insert your personal biases against me into it.

My comment was directed at Silverfiddle, not you.

Divine Theatre said...

Okay, Shaw. That was odd. You have yet to educate the rest of us as to why you can critique Ayn Rand without having read her work? I urge you to google the word "glib". Why, it even has your photograph!

Shane Atwell said...

Divine, Libertarianism is only about limited government when its not about no government and competing 'governments'. And I wasn't hanging out with them. I've been reading their views off and on for 25 years. If you care to read my views on moralism you can check my blog.

Done here.

Divine Theatre said...

Shane, your logic is surpassed only by that of the Chesire Cat. He, too, left abruptly after spouting gibberish.

Silverfiddle said...

At the risk of being horribly flamed, I must admit my encounters with Rand's work resembles Shaw's.

Althought I find some of the followership cultish, I do respect the woman and her work, I just have had a hard time getting into Objectivism. I simply find reading the classics, as well as contemporaries like Thomas Sowell and Murray Rothbard more enjoyable and profitable to me personally.

Divine Theatre said...

Well, Silverfiddle, it is my opinion that one need not read Rand in order to be a Libertarian. Of course not. Rand is certainly not known as a literary figure so much as she is noted for her ideologies.
I do, however, believe that one must READ Rand before one can critique Rand!
I have seen cult-like behavior from Rand follwers although I believe the Objectivists tend to be college aged idealists who grab on to their newly found knowledge and attempt to let it define them before they move out into the real world...and start to notice shades of gray.
I would choose the works of Sowell, Walter Williams, David Boaz, Richard Epstein, Harry Browne, Charles Murray, Peter McWilliams, etc. over Rand.

Jersey McJones said...

It's very hard to take Rand seriously. Atlas Shrugged, her most famous work, was truly a work of hypocritical irony. The very actions the protagonists take in her little fantasy tale, are the same actions loathed by the right when done by the common man.

The greatest myth to come out of this work is the notion of the wealthy as de facto "producers." In fact, modern game theory and risk aversion studies have shown that the rich are mostly idle and not terrible productive, let alone "risk takers."

When you study the tenets of modern American libertarianism, essentially just classical laizzez faire economics, you see the castle was built on a swamp.

JMJ

Divine Theatre said...

I would like to see the results of those "studies" you mention. Further, to posit such a statement as Laissez Faire is a "castle built on a swap"...sounds cute and all...but back it up.

Leticia said...

To a certain degree I would think that most conservative Christians fall into the category of libertarian, maybe not full-fledged but enough that we agree on many issues, especially with government interference.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Divine:

I do, however, believe that one must READ Rand before one can critique Rand!

I agree, which is why I do not criticize her. In fact, although I ended up putting The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged down unfinished, I must laud her for bringing literally millions to libertarianism. Also, she was a staunch champion of free market captitalism, and the YouTubes I've seen of here I thought were excellent. Her logic was crystal clear.

Jersey: For a castle built on a swamp, look no further than... New Jersey! or New York, Illinois or California or Michigan. All failed experiments of liberal centrally-planned economics.

Meanwhile, the (relatively) laizzez faire south, including Texas enjoys unemployment rates half that of the liberal sinkholes I just mentioned.

The only part of your comment I even remotely agree with is that many of these business owners who tout themselves as risk-taking capitalists are in fact crying to the government for special favors and greasing it all with political bribes.

Other than that, you're just barking in the wind. Bring the data. We don't believe you.

Divine Theatre said...

Silverfiddle, my comment was not directed at you but at Shaw. Sorry for the poor writing sklls!
Speaking of bastions of progressive success; you could not pay me enough to visit Camden, New Jersey!

Divine Theatre said...

@Leticia, although Libertarians and Republicans do share a common thread with regard to fiscal conservatism, there is the larger issue of the Drug War and marital rights, among other social divides, if you will.

Jersey McJones said...

Divine Theater,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_aversion

Here's a simple explanation of risk aversion theory.

Once you've reached your necessities, the more wealth you have, the less inclined you are to risk it. It really just comes down to that. It's the same old human tradition of hoarding. (Oh, and this is not just some "studies." It is a longstanding scientific disipline).

JMJ

Divine Theatre said...

If it is such a longstanding discipline and NOT a study as you earlier stated, then it is something you merely made up and hoped we were gullible enough to swallow?

Silverfiddle said...

Divine: Jersey's an OK guy, but he does this regularly. A wikipedia article on risk aversion does not prove the rich are idle.

And no offense taken. You'll find I am pretty hard to offend.

Divine Theatre said...

Silverfiddle, I have run into people like that more times than I can count...*sigh*
I actually have an entire thread in the Democratic Underground beginning with "Andie Pauly is a calloused..." It is a great source of pride! LOL!
I actually left Facebook because I was consumed by politics and debate, (also because someone with whom I disagreed sent me photographs of severed bodies being used in acts of necrophilia...a liberal, no less!)
Sooo...I decided to start a nice, trite design blog to keep me busy, but I just cannot stay away!

Silverfiddle said...

Divine: It's like trying to take your eyes off a car wreck.

Reply back with a link to your DU blog post. I got kicked out of that stinking sewer twice. They've got a pretty good troll detector.

Divine Theatre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jersey McJones said...

Divine,

I'm sorry that you missed the news, but...
http://registeredrep.com/wealthmanagement/ultra_wealthy_remain_ris_averse/?cid=nl_wm

It's been out there for a while. Risk aversion shows that the wealthier people are, once past the point of sustenance, the more risk averse they are. And that's from the mouth of the market.

And that right there destroys the Trickle-Down theory.

Like Silver says, I'm for real. If you want to test your conservative creds, take me on. I love a good debate.

JMJ

Divine Theatre said...

For reals? LOL! I'm not a conservative. I am a Libertarian. Classical liberal, my friend.
Silverfiddle, I cannot post the link. Just google "Andie Pauly is a calloused..." that should take you there! LOL!

Jersey McJones said...

"Conservative," "Libertarian," whatever. I just proved my point and you did nothing to refute it. Have I been "refutiated?"

JMJ

Divine Theatre said...

You never made a point worth listening to. Also, can you cut the juvenile antics and either make a statement based on fact or go play with your Barbies?

Finntann said...

Great post SF

"In fact, modern game theory and risk aversion studies have shown that the rich are mostly idle and not terrible productive, let alone "risk takers."

JMJ, I suggest you go back and reread
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_aversion

You choose to ignore risk-neutral and risk-loving behavior, and the limitations of risk aversion theory.

While you're at it I would suggest you read this too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_31000

Why don't you provide some links to these studies that support your point of view on the idle rich, because I've done a cursory look and can find lots of op-ed but little scientific studies.

In defense of Shaw, I would have to agree that Ayn Rand can be rather turgid on a literary level, but in Ayn's defense, people aren't reading her works as literature. Those who are fans of Any Rand are not fans of her prose but of her philosophy.

Finntann said...

And before you regurgitate the registered rep piece... a survey of 72 members of a social networking site does not a study make.

You ignore several salient points in the article:

"as baby boomers near retirement they see that cash outflows from the portfolio exaggerate the downside, making them more cautious"

"Nearly two-thirds of IPI members surveyed said they plan to increase allocations to global long-only equity."

“They are very skeptical about whether the recovery will last,”

“Clients are concerned about how there can be sustainable growth without job creation and a recovery in housing prices.”

“People are afraid that growth will stop if the Federal Reserve Board takes its foot off the gas pedal,”

So far from documenting the activities of what you classify as the "idle rich", it documents the perpective on market performance by active investors.

The Institute for Private Investors (IPI) is a private membership organization that offers social networking to its members through its website called Memberlink. It is open to ultra-high-net-worth individuals or families with minimum investable assets of $30 million or more.

Finntann said...

Oh by the way, I think you may have just been "refutiated"!