by Tyler Cowen
on August 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm
1. China speech of the day.
2. Welcome to Lagos, BBC special now on YouTube.
3. How to crack down on illegal posters? (Is it ethical?)
4. Very good defense of liberaltarianism.
5. Fat-fingered sumo wrestlers and what to do with them.
6. Obamacare threatens college health plans.
I’m not sure I understand Gabe’s post regarding torture and wiretapping. I’ll grant that Democratic politicians haven’t been fighting tooth & nail to stop torture and wiretapping (at least, not as much as they were a couple years ago), but I still believe that they oppose those things. Non-politician left-wingers certainly oppose torture & wiretapping. I don’t think they need much convincing on that topic. Maybe they just need convincing to fight harder for it.
And on states rights, generally liberal opposition to the idea comes from the worry that states will pass laws that take away individual rights (e.g. Jim Crow, abortion, etc.). In other words, liberals often oppose states rights from a libertarian standpoint (of course, they aren’t always consistent on this point–see gun bans which liberals insist is a state-level decision. But conservatives aren’t really consistent here either–see gay marriage and abortion).
Anyway, their position is quite similar to Arnold Kling’s affinity to the idea of legal limits on what kinds of laws government may pass. For example, the Supreme Court found that the 14th amendment restricts states from passing laws that infringe upon the rights granted in the first 10 amendments. This decision means that (among other things) states may not ban flag burning. But isn’t this idea at odds with states rights? Ditto for Roe v. Wade and for the recent Supreme Court decisions on gun ownership, all of which found that states don’t have the right to make laws on these issues. All of these are anti-States rights, pro-libertarian decisions. This post may have been a bit rambling, but my point is simply that states rights often work against libertarian ideas and goals.
“I’m not sure I understand Gabe’s post regarding torture and wiretapping. I’ll grant that Democratic politicians haven’t been fighting tooth & nail to stop torture and wiretapping”
It seems you understand perfectly, congrats.
The war is bigger than ever too…I think libertarians will need to convince democrats that MORE troops in the middle east is not any LESS war mongering. Changing the naming convention for “combat troops” does not change the reality of blowing people up…this is another thing libertarians will have to teach democrats.
On states rights you still seem to think the argument for states rights and decentralization of power is put forward by people who want to return us to Jim Crow laws….I don’t have time to explain here, why the centralization of rulemaking is a bad idea…but you are wrong in your assumption.
Libertarians also need to teach democrats some policy comprehension tools. The success or failure of a program is not based on the stated goals.
HAMP has been a succes for the oligarchy. It has kept them in power and richer than ever thus far. That is the lense through which ALL government policy must be viewed to understand what happens in this world.
Was the war in Iraq/Af/Pak a success? of course it was for Goldman Sachs/JP Morgan/Lockheed Martin/General Dynamics/Carlysle group/Kissinger Associates/Haliburton/OPEC/Shell†¦was it a success for Iraqi people or US soldiers? Of course not, they have had there families killed and/or torn apart through divorce/separation/crippling injuries†¦all while raising the price of our energy. The naive framework though which the MSM(and democrats) wants us to analyze policy would be laughable if so many people didn’t actually take it seriously.
When democrats finally realize that pushing for government control of resources is actually putting the resource control directly into the hands of the biggest baddest (government assisted)corporate monopolies then maybe I’ll feel better about our progress.
Attempting to convert liberals into liberaltarians is futile. Jonathan Swift said it best – “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into†.
Gabe said, “On states rights you still seem to think the argument for states rights and decentralization of power is put forward by people who want to return us to Jim Crow laws….I don’t have time to explain here, why the centralization of rulemaking is a bad idea…but you are wrong in your assumption.”
I’m not making that assumption. Your motivation for supporting states’ rights has nothing to do with what states later decide to do with those rights, just as well-intended government regulations can have negative unintended consequences. For example, if you criticized the minimum wage for causing unemployment, it wouldn’t make sense to dismiss that criticism by saying “you seem to think that the argument for the minimum wage is put forward by people who want to cause unemployment.” That veracity of that statement has nothing to do with whether the minimum wage causes unemployment.
The idea of states’ rights was surely formed not so that states could, say, stop people from using contraceptives. But that is what Connecticut used it for. Of course, the Supreme Court found that law unconstitutional, which was a victory for liberty but a defeat for states’ rights. I’m just saying that the two are often (though of course not always) incompatible. This is for the simple reason that states’ rights often means that state governments can legally enact whatever laws they want to, even if those laws restrict individual liberty.
Education in public choice is about the only thing that can push liberals into the libertarian camp.
Even then there will be plenty who resist public choice analysis and insist that we just need to put “the right people” in the relevant positions of power and make some weak reference to democracy and civic duty.
Or even worse, they’ll try to fight regulatory capture with ever more intrusive and heavy-handed regulations (e.g. stringent campaign finance laws restricting free speech — the fault lines between liberals and libertarians are pretty stark when it comes to reactions to ‘Citizens United’).
In answer to the ethics question: I think so. The “CANCELLED” poster includes notification that what is being canceled is the illegal poster. The qualifying phrase is much smaller than the headline, but it is readable.
3. It won’t take long for event organizers to counter the government mis-information campaign. The website for the event can easily say, “This event has not been cancelled.”
Is it ethical? That’s a VERY interesting question. I think it is unethical because a) it’s a lie, b) it provides misinformation about a legal event even if the advertising is illegal.
How about actually canceling the event if an illegal poster is put up? Ah, but some mischief maker or competitor could just put up a poster in a false flag operation.
I wrestled with a similar question regarding street trash. In San Francisco, local businesses plaster cars and home doors with their menus and fliers. Most of these end up in the street. The city could ban the practice, but then it would have to enforce it.
If City Wok spreads their menus around, you could fine City Wok. But what if Panda Garden spreads around City Wok menus to get their competitor fined? The city still faces an enforcement/information problem.
Would a businesses’ marginal benefit of getting a competitor fined outweigh the cost of printing fliers and paying someone to spread them? Maybe not. It could easily backfire.
In what way do they have no choice? I didn’t see any chains in the video. Are you objecting to the existence of poverty? I object to it as well, but I don’t blame it on a garbage dump that supplies a living to many people who seem to live reasonable lives.
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