Saturday, March 5, 2011

Three interesting things about libertarians

1. They like diamonds.

2. They intimidate major economics bloggers out of criticizing their favorite politicians.

3. They published a proposal for an individual health insurance mandate in Reason magazine in 2004.


  1. Daniel, I want you to follow me here.

    Back in the 1990s, Clinton had a plan somewhat similar to Obama's, right? And Republicans opposed the plan and brought in their own counter-proposals, right?

    And those counter-proposals included many ideas such as mandatory health insurance, right?

    But the whole attempt was a failure in the 1990s, because of lack of compromise, right?

    And the older Republican proposals were later included in Obama's healthcare plan, right?

    But this time, the Republicans opposed it, right? Even their own plans from back in the 1990s? And those plans now had to be axed out of Obama's legislation to make it more bipartisan, right?

    But after the Republicans won elections with a few more seats, they started proposing alternatives to Obama's plan, right?

    And this time during bipartisan hearings on reforming Obama's legislation, they again brought up the exact same proposals they had already rejected? And those were the exact same proposals they were proposing back in the 1990s, right?

    I was discussing this with my cousin in the car recently. It was a discussion on political tactics. Here in India, the opposing party will use obfuscatory techniques against ruling party for doing the exact same thing they would have done anyway. It's actually a brilliant tactic, no matter how shallow it may seem.

    Republicans are excellent political tacticians. They calculated that the Democrats were passing a popular, politically profitable legislation. They knew it was also tailored according to what "market-oriented" social democrats wanted. But they wanted to pass it with themselves in power, with themselves in initiative, and with themselves taking credit for it.

    What Reason and Republicans were doing was proposing an idea that would

    a) bring a lot of money from insurance claims to insurance companies that they support

    b) call it socialism when the other side does the exact same thing

    These people only support "market solutions" or "market oriented social democratic solutions" when it puts money in the pockets of big corporations. I don't like class warfare rhetoric, but it's true.

  2. I can't believe it Daniel. A guy calls Ron Paul a "pinhead" and his supporters get upset. Go figure.

  3. Hello, Dr. Murphy.

    Here is the actual quote:

    "I can appreciate Ron Paul’s libertarian philosophy. And because this is so, it pains me all the more to say what I am about to say. The guy can be a real pinhead at times. And this is never so evident as in his persistent “attacks” against the Fed."

    The response to just one word "pinhead" is extremely disproportionate, considering that the gentleman repeats several times that he is libertarian-leaning in other respects.

  4. I'm really offended by being associated with a bird-brain like climate change harpy Ronald Bailey. Why would we think that he's a libertarian anyway?

    BTW, my Reason collection goes back to 1974, before the big Rothbard-Koch dust-up:

  5. It seems odd that you'd get offended simply by the fact that I recognize a self-identified libertarian who gets published by a broadly recognized libertarian publication as a libertarian.

    And it's especially ironic that someone who goes around calling people "bird-brained harpies" is so easily offended.

  6. Desolation JonesMarch 5, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    I once got chewed out by some Austrian folk for having the audacity to refer to Milton Friedman as a libertarian.

  7. Prateek,

    I doubt that is what "Reason" was doing. Ronald Bailey no more represents "Reason" on this issue than he did way back when he supported the invasion of Iraq (the majority of Reason writers then and now opposed the war).


    One libertarian advocating this sort of stupidity says nothing about libertarians - except that we're into free speech more than anyone else.

  8. Daniel,

    As for the Ron Paul thing, weren't you the one recently bemoaning the state of political discourse?

  9. Meanwhile...

  10. Gary - what's wrong with calling someone a pinhead and then proceeding to make an argument against his claims?

    Really, you're better than this Gary. It's a problem with political discourse when someone compares a leader to the fascists and use violent imagery. "Pinhead" and several paragraphs of argument is fantastic, not something to flip out over.

  11. Gary - how does that show you're more into free speech than anyone else? I don't know, if this guy writes regularly for a libertarian magazine it says something. It's not exactly news what Prateek points out - that for many at least they were for it before they were against it.

  12. Daniel,

    I didn't read the original piece, so all I have to go on is the "pinhead" remark. And really, we're all aware that one untoward remark can poison and otherwise well reasoned argument.

    Well, I think you need to differentiate Republicans from Reason magazine for one thing - anyone who regularly reads Reason realizes this.

    He writes regularly as the main science writer for Reason - and Reason is basically "big tent" libertarianism.


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