Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Libertarians

Prof. Volokh has some thoughts about a possible renewed Conservative-Libertarian coalition.

I can understand that, having to make a choice between free markets and free societies (think Wall Street deregulation versus ending the drug war), Libertarians would vote with their pocketbooks instead of with their consciences. But given that both parties are big spenders, have we seen any indication of Libertarians leaning Democratic? How big-government do Republicans have to get before Libertarians put the monetary issues aside and for a moment focus on social liberties? (Besides guns?)


Yes yes I know this post may not be my most eloquent, but it's late and I've been severely underslept all week, so gimme a break.

3 comments:

N said...

hi, i used to a 'moderate' libertarian, and therefore, leaned republican. then i realized i was gay, became less religious, and realized that maybe i care more about social libertarianism than monetary. then, at the exact same time (circa 2002-03), the republicans began embracing absurd wars abroad and huuuge spending at home, pushing me into the arms of the democrats.

i think the question you ask is a great one. where are the libertarians? and why do they always put money first? personally, my libertarian streak has been affected by the irrational behavior of market actors in the little collapse we just had. i'm curious to see where each party will head in the next six months, since both seem to be somewhat in panic mode, acting irrationally and without any philosophical underpinning about economics. it will be an interesting year...

saisai said...

Thanks N! I knew people like this must exist, but you seem to be a quiet bunch. :)

I'd like to think it would be apparent that markets fail--Alan Greenspan admitted as much in his mea culpa to Congress. I kind of wish that there had been no bailout, just to see what would've happened to the financial sector in the aftermath of so much lost value. But oh well--people gotta eat I guess.

N said...

i also wish there had been no bailout (sort of, same hesitation as you). i think i have a little bit more of a mean reason though--i thought the financial sector should have to deal with the consequences of their remarkably irresponsible actions. and it would be a lesson to future market actors.

but like you said, people have to eat, and not helping out would've been an even worse disaster.

i agree that its obvious that markets will go through hickups or corrections. they're not perfect, people become too optimistic, don't factor in risk, etc. the problem here was the strange mix of govt intervention in requiring fannie and freddie to make a certain number of low-income home mortgages available and banks knowing that fannie ultimately had their back no matter what crap they came in with. take that piece of intervention combined with a derivative market that was out of control and unregulated and you get this weird hybrid disaster that is the result of over government involvement and a lack of govt involvement at the same time. a situation that doesn't point clearly in one direction or the other.