Alex Tabarrok, not Tyler Cowen, and more…”rhetoric-filled” than the vast majority of their posts. But still worth a read.
First, war. 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.
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.
Also, here’s the link to Ezra Klein’s and Tyler Cowen’s talk on DailyIntel at nymag. EK is a liberal, TC is a libertarian.
Tyler Cowen and Ezra Klein on Palin’s Speech and What Obama and McCain Would Each Accomplish — or Not — As President
T.C.: So, Palin. People are missing one of her long-term implications, namely that she means the libertarian tradition in American politics is making a distinctly nationalist turn, just like Ron Paul. For my taste that is worrying. One of the most striking things in Palin’s speech was all the talk of energy independence. That is (a) bad economics from any point of view, and (b) an appeal to blatant nationalism. The left is acquiring more and more of a lock on cosmopolitanism, and, of course, Barack Obama personifies that.
E.K.: I’m actually surprised to see you fit her into the libertarian tradition. She seems more like a Christian nationalist sort, no?
T.C.: She is not a libertarian, in my view. She is a populist. But she is/will be soaking up lots of support that otherwise goes into quasi-libertarian causes. She will be turning those sources increasingly nationalist. Just like many current Ron Paul supporters might have been Ed Clark supporters in 1980, but now [libertarianism] is packaged with more “nativist” ideas.
E.K.: Though I think you get into why presidents only matter somewhat here: My hunch is that Obama’s economic instincts are actually more “conservative,” or at least “libertarian,” than McCain’s, but McCain isn’t interested enough in economics to construct an ideology that’s symmetrical to his gut beliefs. While Obama has merged his concerns about government into an appropriately big government framework: You don’t need that much administration to do redistribution.
And this is Ross Douthat and Tyler Cowen, again on nymag:
R.D.: I wonder what you think of her libertarian credentials? It’s hard to get an exact read on where she’s stood on a lot of issues, but her candidacy has been greeted with more interest from online libertarians than you’d expect from an evangelical pro-lifer, I think…
T.C: I doubt if she is very libertarian. I think of her as a populist with libertarian tendencies but really not a libertarian. I’m sure you heard about her trying to censor books at the local public library. Again, there is a lot here I am not comfortable with. I wonder about her attachment to moderation, most of all. For me that is a bigger question than experience per se. But she is also a breath of fresh air in a party which is falling apart.