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Brexit Victory, new reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, and a communication problem for libertarians

28 Jun
Some libertarians, like Katherine Mangu-Ward, the new editor in chief at reason (speaking last week on the Kennedy show) favored “remaining” in the EU, as a form of maximizing free trade.

In a way it’s a curious position for Ms. Mangu-Ward, a non-electoral libertarian who believes “voting only encourages them,” yet thinks international governmental organizations and agreements are a good path to free trade.  It may be a minority position too – not only conservatives but libertarians like Ron Paul as well as those in England and elsewhere favor Brexit.

It also highlights a problem area for libertarians, who often appear on C-Span, in the form of lawyers and scholars affiliated with CATO etc, arguing for free trade to an audience, if judged by the callers, who don’t get the economic arguments about gains of trade and then view the libertarians as a subspecies of the pointy headed technocratic elite that populates the government and wants to tell them how to live their lives.


In on line discussions among members of the British Libertarian Alliance, opinion was something like this:

“…The death of the UK to be replaced by being a sub-state of the EU is a libertarian nightmare. By rejecting the EU we have taken a major step in the direction of libertarianism.

This was not the intention of most Leave campaigners but it means that the UK is now more… vulnerable, one might say, to libertarian campaigning. The EU is no longer there to impose its own laws from outside. Now all that we, as libertarians, have to contend with is the infrastructure and bureaucracy of British government. This is by no means an easy job but it’s a lot easier than having to cope with the EU too!

Our job of bringing about libertarian change has just because a little bit easier.

All of a sudden, there is a lot less state for us to deal with.”


I fear libertarians have a communication problem they don’t know how to deal with here.  I saw one clicktivist in a group of gay Trump supporters recently damn all libertarians for looking down on people and thinking they are smarter than everyone else.  One of Gary Johnson’s main media people, as well as a Republican delegate to the GOP nominating convention who wants to campaign for Johnson, have both expressed to me their exasperation with me when I ask if Libertarian candidates should not find a way to appeal to the concerns of Trump voters.

I’m picking on Ms. Mangu-Ward a little, as she dislikes me.  She’s also a smart woman and might have some ideas about this communications problem.



Brexit Wins: Why That’s Great News for Europe, Too

British voters have elected to leave the European Union in a national referendum. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage declared Friday Britain’s “independence day.” That is quite a statement given British history. A little over two and a quarter centuries ago, America had its own first Independence Day, and the British Empire was the super-state from which Americans declared independence.
Independence is not isolation.
History has come full circle; in a sense, today we are seeing the American Revolution in reverse. In many ways, the European Union is a lever of US global hegemony. By seceding from the EU in spite of threats from Washington, Britain is declaring partial independence from America.
It must be noted that independence is not isolation. This is the key distinction that is intentionally blurred by the “Better Together” rhetoric of the “Remain” camp. When they scaremonger about “leaving Europe,” it conjures images of Britain abandoning Western civilization. But “the West,” as in the US-led alliance of neo-colonial powers, is not the same thing as Western civilization. And the European Union is not the same thing as Europe. Exiting a mega-state in defiance of an imperium is not withdrawing from civilization. In fact, such an exit is propitious for civilization.
Small Is Beautiful
Political independence fosters economic interdependence.
Advocates of international unions and super-states claim that centralization promotes trade and peace: that customs unions break down trade barriers and international government prevents war. In reality, super-states encourage both protectionism and warfare. The bigger the trade bloc, the more it can cope with the economic isolation that comes with trade warfare. And the bigger the military bloc, the easier it is for bellicose countries to externalize the costs of their belligerence by dragging the rest of the bloc into its fights.
A small political unit cannot afford economic isolationism; it simply doesn’t have the domestic resources necessary. So for all of UKIP’s isolationist rhetoric, the practical result of UK independence from the European economic policy bloc would likely be freer trade and cross-border labor mobility (immigration). Political independence fosters economic interdependence. And economic interdependence increases the opportunity costs of war and the benefits of peace.
The Power of Exit
Super-states also facilitate international policy “harmonization.” What this means is that, within the super-state, the citizen has no escape from onerous laws, like the regulations that unceasingly pour out of the EU bureaucracy. But with political decentralization, subjects can “vote with their feet” for less burdensome regimes. Under this threat of “exit,” governments are incentivized to liberalize in order to compete for taxpayer feet. Today’s referendum was a victory both for Brexit and the power of exit. That’s good news for European liberty.
During its Industrial Revolution, Britain was a beacon of domestic liberty and economic progress that stimulated liberal reform on the European continent. An independent Britain in the 21st century can play that role again. In doing so, Britain would help Europe outside the EU far more than it ever could on the inside. Brexit may be a death knell for the European Union, yet ultimately a saving grace for the European people.
Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at FEE, developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org, including articles and courses. His articles are collected at DanSanchez.me.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Monday’s recommended reading – Libertarian Girls (and Boys) Cooking Class

3 Aug

For only a couple of million bucks, you can live above Reason magazine…

22 Jun
…a few doors down on the same block, at 1737 Connecticut Avenue NW, in your pick of four lovely luxury condominiums.

And there is an InsomniacLibertarian discount.  If you use me (Bruce Majors) as your buyer agent, I will give you a rebate and make a donation to a libertarian cause of your choice.  As well as one of mine.

From this perch you can watch Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie and other reason staffers’ comings and goings.

Oversexed at CPAC

9 Mar

Dredging up coverage of sex at CPAC is nothing new.  For years leftovers have been shocked, shocked!, that 23 year old gay guys, away from home in the big city at nice hotels with like minded people and a lot of booze go online to hook up with each other – which has led me for two years to post a spoof Craigslist ad:

 CPAC – m4m – 43 (National Harbor)

age : 43
Radical libertarian would like to tie up and abuse proglodyte and leftover journalists.

Boys who look like Sally Kohn or Chris Hayes who need to be tied up, slapped around and fucked.

Also any Rick Santorum supporters in the closet or younger versions of Lindsey Graham or John McCain.

Or if you are just a decent constitutionalist type, we can have regular non-hate sex, or even a drink.

Your place


    I thought I’d had an oversexed CPAC by Saturday morning – 

    On Friday at CPAC  the former Wonkette, Ana Marie Cox, flirted with me.  I had media credentials as a blogger and was sitting in the front row of the media section, when a cute, slim, strawberry blond woman asked to sit next to me, at a seat where I was charging my second IPad.  I was confused as to why she would need that seat, since I thought the rest of the row was empty (turned out people had left bags or laptops at every seat), so I quizzically said “Sure, I guess…” and Ms. Cox said “Oh, did you think I just wanted to sit by you?” not realizing I suppose that her gaydar is rather faulty.  Later, as I recorded the crowd reaction to Rand Paul’s speech with my other IPad, which is what she had swooped in to take notes on, she helpfully pointed out that my arm must be getting tired and C-Span would have it all recorded.  I don’t think it crossed her mind I wanted to record the crowd.  I started to take her photo but I just recorded a few seconds  of her in my Rand Paul video.  (I find leftovers often assume you are stupid and that they can explain to you how you might better use your time.)  Ms. Cox is famously, among other things, the gal who tittered with Maddow on her show about “teabaggers.”


    Then at dinner a libertarian conservative boy told me stories about his hilariously clueless youth not knowing women were coming onto him when they would do things like get into an elevator with him and tell him they weren’t wearing panties.  I have now collected enough silly sex stories like this, a fair portion from socially awkward libertarian boys, I may publish them as a paperback.

    Finally, a drunken grad student girl at the very classy, SCOTUS -adjacent Breitbart party on Capitol Hill (every tall, beautiful opinion commentator from FOX News, champagne flowing until 1 pm, a 10 piece band) gave me a vodka martini, climbed up on me, and ground her pudenda into my Johnson.

    So I felt that was a pretty sexualized day at CPAC.



    But then on Saturday I learned of Rainbow Beaver.  You might think this is something cooked up by Angela Keaton of Outright Libertarians at Libertopia, some wild libertarian lesbian rave.  It would be closer to say it’s the womens’ auxiliary of GOProud though, since the newly reconstituted, and somewhat more conservative (in its PR approach) GOProud was the target.



    Those lovely Catholic homophobe boys who wear red sashes at their booth at CPAC (perfect, I’d imagine, for tying up the wrists and ankles of your lover before pounding his manhole) were circulating a graphic depicting a malevolent rainbow beaver eating one of the legs of Ronald Reagan’s stool of conservatism: family values, free markets, and a strong military.  Rich Lowry of National Review went into the stool crap on the panel he shared with reason’s Katherine Mangu-Ward.



    Why do these idiot conservatives insist on this metaphor?  First of all, “stool” sounds like you are talking about unpleasant medical specimens.  Second, a stool has three legs and they often start talking about three stools.  Third, this is not conceptual thought – it’s like idiot Keynesians discussing how the economy is like a water balloon or a pump.  The three legs are in conflict they do not support each other – the conservative belief that only state engineered and approved families support the market economy is in conflict with the market economy.

    I’m beginning to think the rainbow beaver image isn’t about destroying the wood (calling Dr. Freud!) in the Reaganite stool – it’s fear of the libertarian porcupine.



    Adad

    Roger Stone, LBJ, and Public Choice Theory: Notes from my homework

    20 Nov
    I’ve recently been in a graduate school course that surveys both microeconomics and public choice theory, which led me to observe that the standard critique of voting proferred by some libertarians  is actually a simplifying, and perhaps overly simplistic and fallacious, model of reality, in much the same way the neoclassical model of perfect competition is.  (Though to be sure, paedagically useful in demystifying democracy.). Voters, like consumers, exist outside of time or at a point in time, performing a function statically; there is no discovery process, learning, ignorance, asymmetric information.  Voters are like the neoclassical price taking producers, whose actions have no effect on outcomes.

    I once asked one of my favorite frenemies, reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, if her critique of voting (derived from the work of economist Bryan Caplan and others), wasn’t arithmetically and logically unassailable, and yet false and irrelevant.  It’s not voting that is worthwhile, but campaigning:  it’s an empirical issue of whether 100 hours or $1000 donated to reason magazine, or the Mercatus Center (where public choice theory is articulated), or to a candidate or referendum calling for ending the drug war, stirs more people to rethink the issues.  The critique of voting abstracts from candidates, canvassing and campaigning, just as the neoclassical model of perfect competition leaves out innovating firms, consumers discovering new needs, desires, goods and services, entrepreneurs discovering new factors of production, etc.

    Which leads me to wonder if public choice theory has also been over simplifying things.  I don’t know since after years of reading articles about it, or even hearing James Buchanan speak (to my senior high school math class actually, long ago), I’ve only just started reading it.  But I am struck by how in initial formulations the public choice theorist analyzes her “market” of interactions between voters, politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups, and simplifies the way they actually behave.

    For example, there are “profit-making” behaviors of politicians that seem to be left out of introductory public choice discussions, in which politicians are simply described as lying for votes and buying votes and donors by stealing from taxpayers to give out subsidies.  I am struck by how this model leaves out two or three major aspects of politician behavior.

    The first is how politicians create barriers to entry for competitors, from ballot access laws, character assassination by digging up dirt on potential rivals, and above all, by amassing a huge war chest in a candidate PAC so that no one will waste time running against them.  A politician doesn’t need to buy votes if instead you buy donors who fund such a huge war chest that no serious rival will emerge even if voters don’t approve of you.

    Second is how politicians and political assemblies themselves are examples of the regulatory capture public choice economists use to describe bureaucracies.  Recently there has been a lot of evidence that the stock portfolios of elected officials always outperform the market, because they possess insider information about what laws and policies they will promulgate that change the values of firms and stocks.  Aren’t legislatures themselves now bureaucracies that are captured by a politically connected subset of the investor class, who will always inflate the currency to keep stock prices up, and pass laws that favor the stocks they invest in, knowing that those stocks will be favored by their legislation?

    And then there is assassination, the ultimate barrier to entry, which Roger Stone now tells us LBJ committed (he also used the FCC to enrich his wife).  How do these large, historically specific, institutional features of particular national political processes fit into public choice theory?

    Robert Caro Sins By Omission

    ROBERT CARO SINS BY OMISSION
    Robert Caro

    By Roger Stone

    As my book The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ has become an Amazon Top 100 best seller (# 18 at this writing) I have been asked again and again how Lyndon Johnson’s definitive biographer Robert Caro could have missed LBJ’s role in an assassination plot.

    Yet, Caro’s masterful biography is flawed. There were two enormous scandals surrounding LBJ in the fall of 1963. One involved Secretary of the Senate, Bobby Baker, once described by Johnson as “my strong right arm” and the other involved the Texas wheeler-dealer, Billie Sol Estes. A review of news coverage of both scandals reveals substantially more column inches dedicated to coverage of the Billy Sol Estes scandal, yet nowhere in his biography does Caro even mention Sol Estes. Perhaps this is because Baker never testified against Johnson and served his prison sentence without comment while Billie Sol Estes served his prison term but later testified before a grand jury detailing Johnson’s role in the murder of U.S. Agriculture Department official Henry Marshall and President John F. Kennedy. Sol Estes also wrote to the Justice Department outlining the serial murders committed by LBJ. Time for Robert Caro to ‘fess up.

    TO READ MORE go to: The StoneZone

    To order the Man Who Killed Kennedy – The Case Against LBJ,
    by Roger Stone with Mike Colapietro —
     Go Here