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Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 07 Jan 2019, 21:12
by JasonL
Will Wilkinson, Jacob Levy, and Brink Lindsey are all Niskanen heads now.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 10:27
by JasonL
Andrew wrote: 07 Jan 2019, 16:45 That statement sounds like the usual "let disinterested technocrats run your life and everything will be great." Add in some pro-social justice language and some "what's so great about liberty anyway?" and I think I'll pass.

I don't think it's exactly a love letter to technocrats as it is a recognition that it's better to shape the technocracy than to surrender the field. There are some versions of taxation that are WAAAY better than others from a growth standpoint and even a liberty standpoint. If you go full Harry Browne with eliminate the IRS and let it sort itself out - a) that's not going to happen and b) the costs of revolution are pretty high if you could make it happen. So, I'm again stuck not between technocratic manipulation through taxation and no technocratic manipulation, but between better and worse versions of technocracy in that regard. You could say the same thing about Medicare vs ACA vs Single Payer. Currency based on gold or fiat. Oh no we can't be manipulated in our currency, but France totally did that to us under the gold standard. And so on.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 10:54
by Hugh Akston
Think of it more as being in the Friend Zone with the status quo. Once you show them how reasonable and level-headed you are by going along with whatever they do, they're bound to start respecting your views.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 10:59
by Warren
I'm amenable to "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" arguments, but abandoning ideology is saying "Hey, let's just let our prejudice be our guiding star".

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 11:02
by JasonL
Hugh Akston wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 10:54 Think of it more as being in the Friend Zone with the status quo. Once you show them how reasonable and level-headed you are by going along with whatever they do, they're bound to start respecting your views.
Are you actually willing to burn it all down? If not, you're right in there too. If so ... the costs of revolution are high.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 11:04
by JasonL
Warren wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 10:59 I'm amenable to "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" arguments, but abandoning ideology is saying "Hey, let's just let our prejudice be our guiding star".
Agree. It's too far. More like "abandoning ideology as the only thing".

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 11:46
by tr0g
The last time I remember seeing anything by Will Wilkinson it was an "I'm all in favor of free speech, but..." argument. I don't remember the specifics (hate speech, maybe?) because I tend to tune out buttmonkeys and their arguments. If he's involved over at Niskanen, I'm not surprised they dumped principles.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 12:30
by Number 6
Warren wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 10:59 I'm amenable to "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" arguments, but abandoning ideology is saying "Hey, let's just let our prejudice be our guiding star".
I think the point being made is that at some point, ideology is just letting prejudice be one's guiding star.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 13:07
by Warren
Number 6 wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 12:30
Warren wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 10:59 I'm amenable to "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" arguments, but abandoning ideology is saying "Hey, let's just let our prejudice be our guiding star".
I think the point being made is that at some point, ideology is just letting prejudice be one's guiding star.
Well that's not much of an ideology. It certainly doesn't describe libertarianism. It may describe some libertarians but it's not a defining feature.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 13:16
by Dangerman
I'm with Eric.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 14:04
by D.A. Ridgely
I distinguish ideology from theory in that the first is normative and the second descriptive, albeit usually only in a hypothetical sense. And, yes, this is an idiosyncratic distinction that I freely admit is, itself, only a heuristic distinction. It's the difference between "this is what a libertarian society would look like" and "this is what a libertarian society must look like" where "libertarian" as I use the term means little more than "less government control, more protected individual liberty." And it's why, having spent no small portion of my life reading theory, I've come to dislike libertarian ideologues as much as ideologues of any other variety.

Now, you can say that's just the long version of "I'm a libertarian, but..." where the consequent phrase merely asserts some prejudice inconsistent with ideological libertarianism, but I've yet to see a full-blown libertarian theory that is both ideologically consistent and that envisions a society in which anyone would actually be willing to live, never mind their protestations to the contrary. Anarcho-Capitalists, as my prime example, are simply delusional if they believe it will result in a society that protects children with abusive or unconscionably negligent parents.

So I now describe myself as a dispositional libertarian; that is, I'm inclined in any generalized situation to favor markets, minimal state interference and maximum protection of individual liberty, but I'm fine with saying, e.g., that the global industrialized economy creates negative externalities such as global warming the remediation of which can only be done given the current state of technology by government action such as a carbon tax. I am, of course, aware that enforcement of such a tax and use of the resulting revenues for actual remediation are a country mile away from being a simple fix, but there aren't any simple fixes and, worse yet, in a libertarian world, there aren't any fixes at all.

I can up to a point defend dispositional libertarianism on utilitarian, deontological or even value ethics grounds, but there is no world in which purely utilitarian, purely deontological or purely virtue ethics theory lead by themselves to acceptable results. Similarly, there's no world in which, say, simplistic robust application of the NAP leads to a society reasonable people would actually choose to live. If you're not willing to concede "okay, it doesn't really work in this particular case," you're not a theorist, you're an ideologue.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 14:17
by Warren
Eric the .5b wrote: 07 Jan 2019, 20:41 There's only so much I can read about how many/most things the government does are painfully wrong and what they should do instead that nobody is going to actually do.
That nobody's going to do tomorrow.
But we don't have a draft in this country. And homosexuals enjoy real full citizenship status. And tomorrow marijuana prohibition well be history.
These things happened because us ideologs wouldn't settle for what we could actually do and stop tilting at what isn't going to happen.
Having principles doesn't mean burning it all down.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 14:55
by Number 6
Very definitely team DAR. He speaks my mind better than I could.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 15:00
by lunchstealer
I see standard libertarianism as a means for approaching/analyzing policy questions. It's a series of questions to ask of a political question.

"Is this a problem?"
"Is it a bad enough problem for government to attempt to solve it?"
"What is the least interventionist method for government to use in that attempt?"
"What are the unintended consequences?"
"Are those unintended consequences mild enough that they do not counterbalance the problem at hand?"

It's sort of consequentialist in action, but also founded on general NAP is better than not NAP.

EDIT: to amend:

There are, however, some principles that should/must not be violated even if it means a bad outcome.

No content-based restrictions on speech outside of ones that cause direct harm or risk immediate direct harm - again subject to least interventionist methods for those few special cases - torts excepted but again with extreme prejudice against sanctioning speech.

Criminal and civil justice cases must respect privacy and property, and err on the side of non-intervention.

The government must not engage in race/religion/gender favoritism or favoritism based on content of speech or exercise of other rights.

And generally the bulk of the bill of rights.

I'm less militant about the 2nd than I perhaps could be, but ultimately I'm willing to risk some 'preventable' deaths at the hands of bad actors and some suicides and accidents in exchange for drawing the line of government well back from 'too far'.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 15:44
by Hugh Akston
JasonL wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 11:02
Hugh Akston wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 10:54 Think of it more as being in the Friend Zone with the status quo. Once you show them how reasonable and level-headed you are by going along with whatever they do, they're bound to start respecting your views.
Are you actually willing to burn it all down? If not, you're right in there too. If so ... the costs of revolution are high.
It doesn't matter what I'm willing to do, it matters what I'm able to do. Not much, as it turns out. So why not be a radical?

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 16:01
by JasonL
Hugh Akston wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 15:44
JasonL wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 11:02
Hugh Akston wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 10:54 Think of it more as being in the Friend Zone with the status quo. Once you show them how reasonable and level-headed you are by going along with whatever they do, they're bound to start respecting your views.
Are you actually willing to burn it all down? If not, you're right in there too. If so ... the costs of revolution are high.
It doesn't matter what I'm willing to do, it matters what I'm able to do. Not much, as it turns out. So why not be a radical?
Thin soup. You aren't a radical if you won't even stake out a position. What do you want to happen to healthcare, go crazy say whatever you want to happen.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 16:24
by Eric the .5b
Warren wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 14:17Having principles doesn't mean burning it all down.
That you think that needs to be said in response to what I wrote means you have absolutely no idea what I've said in this thread.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 16:31
by Warren
Eric the .5b wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 16:24
Warren wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 14:17Having principles doesn't mean burning it all down.
That you think that needs to be said in response to what I wrote means you have absolutely no idea what I've said in this thread.
I wasn't responding to you in particular. That line was directed at JasonL.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 16:37
by JasonL
Should the Fed exist? Should the IRS exist? Is taxation literally the same as theft? Should any portion of the regulatory state exist? Should patent exist? Copyright? Medicare/Medicaid/SSI? Public provision for education in any form?

The doctrinaire answer to these questions get indistinguishably close to burn it all down in my experience. The doctrinaire an cap answers are actually burn it all down.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 17:56
by Shem
Hugh Akston wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 15:44
JasonL wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 11:02
Hugh Akston wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 10:54 Think of it more as being in the Friend Zone with the status quo. Once you show them how reasonable and level-headed you are by going along with whatever they do, they're bound to start respecting your views.
Are you actually willing to burn it all down? If not, you're right in there too. If so ... the costs of revolution are high.
It doesn't matter what I'm willing to do, it matters what I'm able to do. Not much, as it turns out. So why not be a radical?
"No snowflake ever feels responsible for the avalanche."

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 18:14
by Jennifer
Warren wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 14:17
Eric the .5b wrote: 07 Jan 2019, 20:41 There's only so much I can read about how many/most things the government does are painfully wrong and what they should do instead that nobody is going to actually do.
That nobody's going to do tomorrow.
But we don't have a draft in this country. And homosexuals enjoy real full citizenship status. And tomorrow marijuana prohibition well be history.
These things happened because us ideologs wouldn't settle for what we could actually do and stop tilting at what isn't going to happen.
Here's the thing, though -- specifically regarding the suggestion that marijuana prohibition is hopefully on his way out -- arguably, what progress we've seen in THAT field is because the "libertarian ideologues" (for lack of a better term) did NOT get their way.

I've mentioned before about a certain more-libertarian-than-thou acquaintance of mine who was actually opposed to marijuana legalization or decriminalization attempts -- IIRC, it was something like "His state had a ballot initiative that would make marijuana effectively the legal equivalent of alcohol: taxed and regulated far more heavily than 'ordinary' consumer goods, not remotely the libertarian utopian ideal -- but at least you'd no longer see of-age adults arrested for having or using it in their homes." And he opposed that ballot initiative on the grounds that it would be un-libertarian to admit that the government had the right to pass marijuana or alcohol regulations in the first place. The fact that, if the initiative passed, there would immediately be far fewer harmless people arrested and having their lives ruined over weed did not seem to compute with him--he'd see them all continue to rot in prison on libertarian-purist grounds.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 18:19
by Eric the .5b
Warren wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 16:31
Eric the .5b wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 16:24
Warren wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 14:17Having principles doesn't mean burning it all down.
That you think that needs to be said in response to what I wrote means you have absolutely no idea what I've said in this thread.
I wasn't responding to you in particular. That line was directed at JasonL.
Then in the future, respond to Jason.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 18:20
by Eric the .5b
Shem wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 17:56
Hugh Akston wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 15:44
JasonL wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 11:02
Hugh Akston wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 10:54 Think of it more as being in the Friend Zone with the status quo. Once you show them how reasonable and level-headed you are by going along with whatever they do, they're bound to start respecting your views.
Are you actually willing to burn it all down? If not, you're right in there too. If so ... the costs of revolution are high.
It doesn't matter what I'm willing to do, it matters what I'm able to do. Not much, as it turns out. So why not be a radical?
"No snowflake ever feels responsible for the avalanche."
Except that there's no avalanche. There's a palm-sized spot of water rapidly evaporating on the hot asphalt.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 22:43
by JasonL
For clarity I don’t subscribe to the avalanche metaphor. I’m more saying that in aggregate taken at their word on policy after policy what ideologically consistent and pure libertarianism looks like is burning it all down.

Re: Libertarian Diskanen

Posted: 08 Jan 2019, 22:50
by Warren
JasonL wrote: 08 Jan 2019, 22:43 For clarity I don’t subscribe to the avalanche metaphor. I’m more saying that in aggregate taken at their word on policy after policy what ideologically consistent and pure libertarianism looks like is burning it all down.
There is no consensus on what "pure" libertarianism looks like. I reject yours.