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Does That Make Libertarians Chaotic Neutral?

10 Jun

Tybalt christens this response to Alberta Law School post about a speaking engagement at a Canadian Libertarian Party conference the comment of the year:

Bring your twenty-sided dice!

I’d find this a funny non sequitur if it weren’t for this aside in a recent post by George Mason’s Bryan Caplan:

One of Milton Friedman’s most famous lines: “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state.” He said it in a 1999 ISIL interview, and I’ve heard it quoted dozens of times. It even inspired me to write a Champions scenario, “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” (Want to play it? Email me for an invitation to Capla-Con, July 12&13!)

I hadn’t realized there was some sort of connection between libertarianism and role playing games (I had realized, however, that there is a strong correlation between blogging, comic books, wonkishness, and role playing games, insofar as I am representative of this trend).

And while I’m on the subject of D&D geekery, I might as well point out an interesting post by Tim Burke about the new 4th Edition D&D which was supposed to have integrated a new set of online tools, but has yet to actually make those tools available (and likely won’t for some time).

Also, this comment by Tybalt himself is pretty good:

I only find it believable because right now I find myself about 5 minutes of bullshit away from a half-hour rant about “whitey” myself… and I’m white.

Liberals and the Free Market

3 Jun

Will Wilkinson wrote a much linked to piece the other day that argues a real “liberaltarianism” wouldn’t look too different than the writings of Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and James Buchanan, which are not too far afield from the political commitments of “welfare liberals” (my term).  He concludes by saying:

So that’s where I’m at. An old-fashioned market liberal who thinks Hayek, Friedman, and Buchanan get it right, and who thinks Rawlsian welfare liberals should be able to recognize themselves in these thinkers.

For the most part, I think this is true, especially since both libertarians and liberals have reached a kind of intellectual rapprochement; liberals have come to accept Hayek’s insights about decentralization (as Matt Zeitlin pointed out) and libertarians like Wilkinson recognize that not every welfare state will descend into totalitarianism, based on the observation that many European countries with large welfare states didn’t actually descend into totalitarianism.

But I think part of what keeps me in the “liberal” column economically (besides particular moral and political commitments) is something this response Larry Summers gave in an interview:

[…]there are two kinds of offsetting errors that in a way lead me to be dismissive of people’s analysis.  One is the motive analysis that assumes that whatever the market produces will be for the best, that denies, if you like, that the phenomenon of a wasteful bank run where a healthy institution is felled by lack of confidence and that somebody needs to do something to coordinate to produce a better outcome.  The kind of analysis that denies that as a possibility and simply believes as an ideological matter that if you interfere in the market it will be worse.  I don’t find those types of analyses helpful.  I suppose the other type of analysis that I don’t find to be helpful are ones that commit the opposite error.  Something bad happened.  Therefore, the government should have a plan to stop it, and if only we had a better government the problem would not have taken place.

I believe markets can and do fail or that they produce outcomes that we’d rather not have (as Tyler Cowen has pointed out, its sometimes sad when we have markets in everything).  But they’re more efficient and often more neutral than any sort of directed institution or order that we could develop, which would come with its own host of attendant problems. But when it comes to policy, I have no a priori feelings about a market or government answer.

The Soft Bigotry of Conservative Expectations

17 Sep

Jonah Goldberg makes note of a conservative/libertarian blogging contest for college students (for which he is a judge) sponsored by America’s Future Foundation. If you win, you get $10,000, as determined by a panel of notable right-leaning/libertarian bloggers. This is from the press release:

– Jonathan Adler of The Volokh Consipracy
– Radley Balko of The Agitator
– Robert Bluey of The Heritage Foundation and
– Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online
– Mary Katharine Ham of
– Megan McArdle of

To enter, and for the complete set of rules, college bloggers canvisit There bloggers can enter their site for consideration. The deadline for entries is December 31, 2007. From the entries, AFF will choose ten finalists. The panel of seven judges will then track the blogs between January and April and will then choose a winner.

So far, so good. Seems like a nice little contest, if your political sympathies align with America’s Freedom Foundation, you have a blog, and are enrolled in college. But then AFF had to go and include this: Continue reading