Friday, November 7, 2008

Liberals and Libertarians: Really?

•Since I’ve spent the week griping about libertarian apostasy — and will blog about climate change tonight, time permitting — my new article for may provide some balance.  It’s a look at a recent Princeton panel I attended aimed in part at replacing the defeated conservative-libertarian alliance with a liberal-libertarian alliance (and its title makes it something of a sequel to my early-2005 piece, downloadable as a PDF at this page, about whether libertarians fit in Bush’s world, as it then still seemed they might).

•I don’t know if a “liberaltarian” alliance will work, but it does seem more productive, intelligent, and civil than the site RedState’s reaction to Democratic dominance: the creation of Operation: Leper, their plan to spend the next few years reminding the conservative base which specific operatives from the McCain campaign badmouthed Sarah Palin to the media — and even working against any candidates who hire said operatives.  Yeah, that sounds…healthy…much like Salieri’s reaction to Mozart in Amadeus.

•And here’s an article by Jerry Bowyer, the one person who seems to share my opinion about exactly what point in time things went wrong for the right-libertarian coalition, in retrospect.  In short: I miss Steve Forbes lately.

•But I admit the free market, not just politics, can sometimes drive people insane: witness this strange clip of market analyst Charles Gasparino on CNBC.


Xine said...

Did you see Steve Forbes on the Colbert/Stewart election-night show? It was a thrill. I miss him too [sigh]. I almost ran to put on my “Forbes for President” pin.

Todd Seavey said...

I didn’t — but I still have my own Forbes hat, sitting in a heap in my apartment near a Star Trek teddy bear from Las Vegas (named J.T., replacing a near-identical earlier one named Tibearius) and a big pile of 1990s _New York Press_ issues. But you can’t go backward in time. _Or can you…?_ Nope, you can’t really.

One consolation, while it crosses my mind: Hillary Clinton is not the president-elect. We all owe Obama for that.

L.B. said...

Probably it’s because I haven’t been paying much attention, but I’ve really missed the libertarian/Republican response to the Financial Crisis.* There seems to be an unchallenged consensus in the press and in the country that the free market caused the mortgage meltdown and its subsequent economic disaster, and that those who brought about deregulation are to blame. Who’s rebutting these claims?

* Unless you count Mr. Greenspan’s quasi-surrender.

Todd Seavey said...

Reason had quite a few articles, including the ones in these search results:

One of the sad ironies of this election is that while Libertarians, who’ve long criticized the Federal Reserve, etc., were marginal and McCain, who sounded the alarm about regulatorily- and litigationally-mandated risky loans from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and associated banks years ago, lost, we now have a president elect whose main professional achievement before this was using community activism to agitate for neighorhoods’ high-risk loans and other subsidies.

Don’t be surprised if the Democrats leave untouched virtually every police/military program for which some libertarians wanted the Republicans punished, while focusing their newfound congressional/executive strength on pro-labor union regs, healtcare nationalization, still greater cozy-control of the financial sector, and more “disparate impact” regs and lawsuits that force businesses to underwrite more debtors and risky projects. But time enough for all that in the months and years to come.

As for the bailout, I claim no expertise and note that econ-savvy people I respect were not unanimous on the topic, but most seemed to think the bailout would simply replace abrupt pain with protracted pain and the retention of bad institutions that should rightly have collapsed and been replaced.

John Carney — who may be the same “Carney” I notice weighing in in the comments thread of my Reason article — may have had it right when he said (at a bar gathering mourning the closed _New York Sun_, as if we didn’t have enough problems) that the bailout is not only bad and corrupting but probably won’t work anyway: we’re still screwed.

Jacob T. Levy said...

Thanks for the good, fair coverage of the panel!

Gerard said...

Speaking of Reason, did you catch Steve Chapman’s latest homage to our president-elect?

Gerard said...

Not simply only regulations, but laws.

Any incoming Dem. administration would stack the NLRB with anti-capitalist political hacks, but Obama is deeply indebted to SEIU, UNITE HERE, and similar internationals, which will dictate how much a business can grow-or in most cases, shrink-how much you must pay your employees, etc., all under the Orwellian-sounding phrase “freedom of choice.”

Union thugs compelling membership in their declining enterprise-with the blessing of Congress.

With all due respect, anyone who thinks Obama has any libertarian inclinations with respect to public policy is probably also a pretty active member of the Marijuana Reform Party.

Todd Seavey said...

The Chapman piece is indeed troubling, and if, as seemed to become explicit only _after_ the election, so many people think the redemptive power of a black president is so great, one wonders why we didn’t hear more people openly saying “Vote for Obama: He’s black” during the campaign, especially if that’s what they were thinking.

And I wonder how many people feeling that way now would have been equally moved (in a world where the Iraq war went more splendidly) by a Condi Rice presidency?

I for one will strive to judge Obama by the content of his character — and policies — not the color of his skin.

But for conservative-averse libertarians, here’s an interesting hypothetical dilemma, just to see if I can make you feel dizzy: Which would you prefer, a Rice-Cheney ticket or a Huckabee-Palin ticket? And with that profound question, I must turn my attention to science-policy matters for the rest of the day…

Christopher said...

It would *almost* be worth watching the world end just for the great humor value Huckabee-Palin (or the reverse!) would supply. But the competently evil vs. misguided and stupid question is always a tough one. Let’s hope the Republicans can come up with something a little better.

I too miss Steve Forbes’s maniacal grin and sound fiscal policy.

Can Liberals and Libertarians Unite? — The Liber(al)tarian Network said...

[...] Todd Seavey asks the question here. [...]