Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Ain't Got Time to Lead!


So far, Jesse Ventura has said he’s not running for Senate against his fellow Minnesotans Norm Coleman (R) and Al Franken (D), but Scott Nybakken informs me that one of his co-stars from the movie Predator, Sonny Landham (Libertarian, porn star), is running for what is now Mitch McConnell’s Senate seat. That makes three (somewhat libertarian) politicians that have emerged from that film, oddly enough — and I’m pictured above with one of them, Arnold Schwarzenegger, at an event at Mayor Bloomberg’s apartment (Ventura and Alex Trebek also played Men in Black in my favorite X-Files episode, and I can only hope this Friday’s X-Files film will be a third as good).

As a libertarian, I have some natural sympathy for politicians who try to escape the usual right-left categories, but all too often centrism is an excuse to be even more mushy and unreliable than regular, ostensibly ideological politicians. Both Ventura and Schwarzenegger — much like former New York governor Pataki — started out sounding fairly libertarian but were soon cowed into behaving more or less like fiscal Democrats as their administrations progressed.

A related thought, on Ventura’s old Reform Party allies and their kind: If anything positive is ever to come from the populist impulse to distrust both big business and big government — which all too often just leads to demagoguery and ever more byzantine regulations passed in the name of the little guy — it will have to be wedded to a much more analytical understanding of business-government collusion, like that you’ll get from anarcho-capitalist law prof Butler Shaffer in his book In Restraint of Trade (about how regulations and taxes, thought of as means to help the poor, are in fact routinely pushed for by some businesses to hinder their rivals).

Not even the businessmen believe in free trade, and we are all worse off for it. Only consistent crusaders for strict property rights (in office and out) can remedy the situation. Let us hope Sonny Landham will be one.


Dylan said...

I plan on ordering In Restraint Of Trade. Saw it advertised over on the Mises page about a week ago, and I’m interested in checking it out.

Robert Higgs also touches on similar points in his book Crisis And Leviathan, which I just finished: how big business often benefits from regulation and other government intervention ostensibly designed to “protect” us common folk from same big business.

W.C. Varones said...

Schwarzenegger is far from libertarian. His spending is far more reckless than that of the man he replaced, Gray Davis.

Schwarzenegger is the worst governor we have had in my lifetime.

Adam Cohen said...

Clever title, playing on Ventura’s machomaniacal “I ain’t got time to bleed” line in Predator. Made me smile, Todd. Merci.