Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Opportunity Cost of Libertarianism

If you only have $100 to spend on promoting liberty...how should you divide that $100 between libertarianism and pragmatarianism?  To answer that question let's consider one of Newton's Laws of Motion...

For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

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Action:  Matt Zwolinski writes an article (Libertarians: Stop Worrying About Ron Paul) arguing that libertarians should spend their limited resources supporting the Institute for Humane Studies rather than supporting the Ron Paul campaign.  Matt was basically making an opportunity cost argument.  If you only have $100 to spend promoting liberty...then you should spend nearly all of it on the IHS.

Reaction:   Brian Doherty, over at Reason, wrote this response... Ron Paul: He's Got the Kids, and He's Got the Numbers, and He's Furthering the Spread of Libertarianism  Clearly, if Brian Doherty only had $100 to spend promoting liberty...then he would spend nearly all of it on the Ron Paul campaign.

Reaction :  Matt Zwolinski writes this response Libertarianism, Political Action, and Cultural Change

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Action:  Ron Paul's campaign generates national interest.

Reaction:  Jeffrey Sachs writes this article in the Huffington Post...Libertarian Illusions...
Yet the error of libertarianism lies not in championing liberty, but in championing liberty to the exclusion of all other values. Libertarians hold that individual liberty should never be sacrificed in the pursuit of other values or causes. Compassion, justice, civic responsibility, honesty, decency, humility, respect, and even survival of the poor, weak, and vulnerable -- all are to take a back seat.
Reaction:  Steve Horwitz writes this response Why Libertarianism Needs our Adjective, Jeff Sachs Version

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Action:  Steve Walker, the Wisconsin Governor, champions a law that restricts the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

Reaction:  The Crooked Timber Liberal Harry Brighouse writes Goodbye Walker?
Prediction: once the Dems get a candidate this will be the most vicious, highest spending, election in Wisconsin history. I’ll provide links for non millionaire out of staters to help counterbalance the contributions of multi millionaire out of staters when the time comes.
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Action:  You spend $100 to try and narrow the scope of government

Reaction:  A liberal spends $100 to try and counterbalance your contribution

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Here's one of the questions asked at the end of the Tea Party Movement and Government discussion on C-Span...

...seeming to claim that this is a major historic moment and that what we are going to see is almost a permanent national commitment towards limited government. Um, I'm skeptical, and I'd like you to perhaps review what you think, Mr. Bell, since Mr. Tapscott is gone, is the key evidence that proves that a corner has been turned. And the reason that I am asking...the reason why I am skeptical is that you could look at Teixeira and Judis thesis, I think it was around 2005, when they were predicting a permanent progressive majority. You can look at some articles in 2003 after the first Bush mid term election arguing that there is a permanent Republican majority. You can go back all the way to 1912 when Taft drove out the progressives from the Republican Party and see that pro-limited government...pro-state activist government have been going at it all this time for almost 100 years now and it seems that one side periodically gains the upper hand and then the other side periodically gains the upper hand and each side, when they periodically gain the upper hand, claims a permanent victory. You can see these claims often. And then they go down in flames. So I'm wondering why you think that at this time the conservative limited government movement has won after 100 years of this and that the progressive state activist side has lost.

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Action: You spend $100 asking whether resources can be efficiently allocated by proxy.

Reaction: Some liberals recognize the value of some tax choice...Your Money, Your Choice

Reaction:  How will congress react when libertarians, conservatives and even some liberals support the idea of more tax choice?

1 comment:

  1. or... (shockingly original)

    Keep the money in your pocket.

    ReplyDelete