In the interest of keeping some fresh content on this site, I am republishing an essay that I wrote for Freedom Democrats . It is targeted at a left-libertarian audience and has has only been slightly updated for a general audience.
One of the most common arguments for the state is that some authority figure needs to mete out punishments to those who do not contribute to public goods, most generally by mandating tax payments. While most people take this as an obvious fact (probably due to a desire to justify the status quo), these arguments are little more than naive speculation.
In the interest of keeping some fresh content on this site, I am republishing an essay that I wrote for Freedom Democrats . It is targeted at a left-libertarian audience and has not been updated for a general audience. I also can't promise that I'll have time to respond to comments. It's easier to just preach to the chior.
In preparation for the G20 summit, some Pittsburgh activists convened the People's Summit to discus a global social and economic agenda without involving the global elite. Even as they claim to offer an alternative to a shallow commercial culture, they use vapid leftist buzz words that would comfortably fit into a corporate press release. As reported by the sympathetic G20Media , their rallying cry is:
"We share the conviction that another world is possible,"
During the Presidential campaign, Gene Healy at Reason wrote up an article about the Cult of the Presidency -- describing the unreasonable faith that many Americans place in the Presidency and its occupant* (covered by John here ). Despite the hypocritical right-wing hand-wringing over the implications of Obama's effectiveness in mass politics, Obama cannot take credit for inventing the Cult of the Presidency.
A number of recent events have vividly illustrated one long-standing aspect of the Presidential cult -- the idea that the President is the ultimate arbiter of cultural worth and the representative of a national consensus on cultural issues. These events showed that Americans expect the President to be the ultimate representative on issues as broad as military valor , piousness , and athletic accomplishment .
That's what I take from a couple of articles written by social democrats that I've read over the weekend. The pronounced and unmistakable willingness of some to justify having less as long as long as the better off have EVEN less in relation to the worse off is indeed troubling to me. The mental gymnastics that I see these people put themselves through with the full knowledge and implications of their wishes known to them is indeed cause for pause.
I'd been lightly following this Clive Crook story from afar without reading the actual article. Then I saw, via Will Wilkinson , that it's still growing and that Clive's original article even got responses from the two high profile macroeconomists mentioned in the article: Barro and Krugman.
This one will be rather short (well maybe not), but I was thinking about this more and more recently and wanted to get my thoughts down on some electrons while the idea was fresh.
When talking about economic transactions, one often hears the story of the two gentlemen who, without any coercion on either's part, come to an agreement. The buyer agrees to pay $X for a widget sold by the seller. Both men are ostensibly "better off" for the deal, which becomes a point for increasing free trade.
I suppose that both men are "better off" from their own point of view, but what about from an objective point of view? Is there even a way to objectively measure this? I'm bold enough to say there is!
Using a continuum, we can "visualize" the price at which a buyer would buy a good or service and at which the seller would provide the good or service. So long as their pricelines match somewhere, they will come to an agreement. I'll switch terminology and say that both are equally "worse off" if the area of overlap on the priceline is bisected; at this bisection is the objective "worse off" point. This would be the point at which neither person is, comparatively speaking, better/worse off than the other.
I'll also talk a bit about fairness here, too. This point of objectivity is also the most fair price point at which a good or service could be sold. Being that I'm still a philosophical liberal, I enjoy government intervention on behalf of whomever is getting the more raw deal. Nine times out of ten the seller, because he has a greater reserve of capital, can afford to be more discriminating than the buyer, which is why I support any government efforts (done within constitutional parameters, mind you) to level the playing field as it were.
Now this is under complete information assumptions. Under incomplete information assumptions a different definition of "objective" occurs. The "you paid WHAT for that?" is the very trival (and fuzzy) benchmark for objectivity there. Veblen comes to mind as well when thinking about objectivity.
What say you?
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During the GOP primaries I gravitated towards Romney and thought that he would make a much better candidate than McCain. In retrospect it is obvious that Romney would have been in his element during this economic crisis. Since there is nothing we can do about the past election, we can at the very least begin helping GOP to move towards remaking itself into the Romney party.
gWEw3F I loved your article post.Really thank you! Keep writing.
Take a look at this diary from Redstate.
Today is the first day of his polling track that includes all polling after the VP debate. 70 million people watched that debate, and the results are that Obama's lead increased to 8 points? How does that make any sense in a sane universe? Giving the MSM spin, at best it can be called "Biden held his own", which should have resulted in the tracking poll holding steady.
Quite obviously, everyone wants their party/candidate/issue to win or otherwise gain power. I wish to discover at what cost people are willing to ensure their candidate wins. The trend I'm beginning to see in our increasingly hyper-partisan and polarized politics is that this line is shifting, but in the wrong direction.
54rDz5 I think this is a real great blog.Really thank you! Fantastic.
Ender's video which featured the former Clinton supporter indirectly reminded me of the topic of judicial appointments and its effect on voters.
A common argument for McCain that has been used to shore up his support among the base is that he will appoint strict constructionist judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia while Obama will try to pack the court with far left ideologues. That, in and of itself, is a good enough reason to pull the lever for McCain, regardless of what views he may have on other issues. Indeed, a McCain presidency could finally be what overturns Roe v. Wade. Lets take a moment to dissect these arguments.
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked Sean Hannity for his recent declaration on FNC's Hannity's America that Obama;
"Can’t point to a single instance in which President Bush or McCain or Karl Rove or Sean Hannity or talk radio or any other major Republican has made an issue of Obama’s race." Because they haven't, it is Mr. Obama who continuously brings his race into the contest.
In 1968 anti-Vietnam war demonstrators ruined the Democratic national convention in Chicago, and thereby vanquished Hubert Humphrey's chances to become POTUS. So what did these "demonstrator's" and their accomplices do next?
Yeah, you're dead, and as Atheists we believe that it means the end, oblivion, nothingness. But, you know how we all are all the same, reluctant to give up connections with those we are fond of.
Wh6rrM Great, thanks for sharing this blog article.Thanks Again. Awesome.
In the commentary, Boaz challenges the notion, implicit or explicit, put forth by the presumptive nominees which states that we as citizens should commit ourselves to higher national causes.
Boaz is obviously not impressed with this vision.