...in which we chronicle Arnold Kling's bizarre obsession with and ideas about li'brulz.
Bruce Bartlett shares his experience with the otherwise brilliant Kling's preoccupation with the detailed description and taxonomy of modern American political ideologies. Essentially Kling botches the reporting of what Bartlett said about his normative position on marginal tax rates and how he reported the results of the paper he was citing. But that isn't what Kling focuses on in these posts, so that isn't what Kling bothers to check up on.
This is what Bartlett has to say about his ideology:
"On the question of where I place myself on the political spectrum, I will have more to say as time goes on. In my own mind, I have the same political philosophy I've always had--basically libertarian but tempered by Burkean small-C conservatism. But I am no longer a member of the Republican Party and no longer consider myself part of the "conservative movement." That's not because I changed, but because I believe that they have. The Republican Party of today is not the party of Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan that I was once a member of; it stands for nothing except the pursuit of power as an end in itself, with no concern whatsoever for what is right for the country. In a recent interview with The Economist magazine, I characterized the Republicans as the greedy, sociopathic party. I stand by that...
...Anyway, I am happy to classify myself, politically, as an independent these days; nothing more, nothing less."
That sort of "I've criticism for all sides" approach never goes down well with true believers.
Kling also recently had this post on the three dispositions of modern liberals. This is one of his more taxonomical posts. In it, we learn that liberals would be libertarians if they were more than "modestly" concerned about the impact that state power has on freedom.
And speaking of crazy fears of and conspiratorial attitudes towards liberalism, maybe Kling could write a few posts for Conservapedia, which holds that the theory of relativity is a liberal conspiracy. Actually, I was somewhat impressed that the author of the article on relativity in Conservapedia made something of a reference to "spukhafte Fernwirkung", or "spooky action at a distance", which gave Einstein pause and violates certain principles of relativity. He mangled the critique, of course, but it's pretty clear from the subt-text that he at least googled "problems with relativity" before writing the Conservapedia article.
Politics as a mise on scène
6 minutes ago