Strong opinions, weakly held

A short argument for libertarianism

Matthew Yglesias and Tyler Cowen tag team to put together the short argument for leaving as little up to the government as possible. To condense it to one sentence: most politicians put making sure they keep getting elected ahead of even trying to do the right thing in terms of policy. It’s sad that our only hope is that somehow the collective product of many politicians acting in their own self-interest will lead to an acceptable outcome, and it’s amazing that it ever happens, even though sometimes it does.


  1. It’s sad that our only hope is that somehow the collective product of many politicians acting in their own self-interest will lead to an acceptable outcome

    What, you don’t believe in the free market? πŸ™‚

    What libertarianism is just small town anarchism, in that it misses the importance of an explicit mutual aid morality because its proponents generally fail to understand how much implicit shared culture/morality they grew up with, and how it greased the gears.

  2. Seems simpler to just forbid elected officials from having consecutive terms.

    Libertarians always seem to be like Republicans but without the fundamentalist baggage: less Acts, more Atlas Shrugged. πŸ˜‰

  3. What is missing from that as an argument for libertarianism is the fact that people in any position of power/wealth/influence anywhere often or mostly behave to perpetuate their own situation.

    At least with politicians you get to kick them out every so often.

    Further, the behavior of public institutions is not the same as the behavior of politicians. Politicians have a limited ability to direct an organization with a particular purpose away from that purpose and towards their own gratification. This ability tends to be much greater in corporations, whose operations are mostly secret and tend to give much more authority to the top managers. Senators, for example, could not direct some unit of the Social Security bureaucracy away from its purpose and into illegal market manipulation the way that Enron’s managers did.

  4. I’d add that if you believe the collective product of politicians to be no good,then surely the collective product of people can’t be good either !

    What surprises me is the amount of time those discussions get in the US – this ideology, like most, is an extreme simplification that couldnt work alone for 5 days. Its good to have a bit of everything ! How people fail to see that and sometimes spend their life cherishing their abstraction of choice is beyond me πŸ™‚

  5. I thought we’d debunked the Libertarianism Economic Model for at least the next generation, but I guess our collective memories aren’t even long enough for the present situation to make an impact!

    Libertarian: Keep Government out of controlling and regulating private enterprise!

    Reality: AIG, GM, Ford, Stanford Financial, etc.

    Libertarian: Keep Government out of policing private enterprise!

    Reality: Pollution is just another way of saying “flavored drinking water” — sugar is the healthy alternative to HFCS!! See also: Airborne.

    I’m not saying that our present system of representative government is working well–far from it. I’d much rather have it than the Libertarian laissez-faire approach, though.

    If only there was some way to vastly reduce corporate influence on politicians and in turn make them more responsive to their constituents…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2024 rc3.org

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑