Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: libertarians

Are libertarians cultural free riders?

L’Hote accuses of libertarians of holding liberals in contempt even as they revel in the culture that liberals created:

Cosmopolitan libertarians live in liberal urban enclaves, surrounded by liberals, taking advantage of the kind of governmental cultural and transportation infrastructure that liberals created. They consume movies, novels, music, and theater crafted in overwhelming majorities by leftists. They operate in environments where the liberal spirit of tolerance and freedom from conformity underpins everything, yet they will identify again and again the liberal hand as the one of villainy.

It’s not just liberals, either. Plenty of conservatives certainly live in big cities and enjoy the best that blue states have to offer. Here’s his point:

I don’t understand why these people believe that they can express such disdain for cultural liberalism while maintaining the benefits of it. There’s a bizarre faith among this country’s rarefied political class that they can cede every major political battle to the the reactionary fringe and yet maintain their arty bohemian privileged lifestyles.

The modern pluralistic society that we appear to enjoy was built by people whose ideas were seen as radical in their day, and I assume they had plenty of scorned heaped upon them by their beneficiaries back then as well. That said, the next time you see a libertarian gushing about their favorite taco truck, you can feel free to make a rude gesture.

Tyler Cowen vs libertarian orthodoxy

One of the key pillars of libertarian orthodoxy is that foreign aid is bad. Tyler Cowen sets his readers straight:

I still believe that foreign aid does not raise economic growth rates, on average. But aid can alleviate human misery, such as when a visiting doctor gives vaccines or hands out medicine. (In fact per capita income may fall, as a result, if some “weaklings” are kept alive.)

I also believe that the U.S. military can make a huge difference in the immediate aftermath of catastrophes.

Imagine U.S. troops liberating Buchenwald. Would any commentators say the following? “Don’t give him that blanket, sell it to him!” “Hey buddy, get a job!” “Moral hazard: they’ll just go get captured again.” etc. I don’t think so.

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