Libertarianism, a curious philosophy, has captured the imagination of the kids today. So Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne can see that the future of the GOP looks decidedly more libertarian. And that frightens him. What can lure these young people back from the edge? What will bring those wayward kids back to that tried-and-true statism — you know, the sort of system that lets smart guys like Dionne make decisions on behalf of the benighted and the misguided? Dionne has been looking for something — anything — to douse the fire.
Max Borders | All Articles
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Max Borders is editor of The Freeman and author of “Superwealth: Why We Should Stop Worrying about the Gap between Rich and Poor.”
Imagine you’re walking in a rainforest. It’s rich with life --- verdant, beautiful, and diverse. When you look up, you notice something striking. A few giant mahogany trees dominate the forest. Their canopy covers almost everything. After reflecting some on the presence of these trees, you give them reverence. They are towering, majestic, and they sustain life for a bewildering array of other plants and animals. And yet those smaller plants and animals help sustain the trees, too.
A few years ago --- shortly after the election of President Obama --- I was eating a sandwich and listening to a speaker at an event hosted by the John Locke Foundation. I got a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn’t the sandwich.
There is no denying it. Libertarianism is hot. This has a lot of people on both the left and right nervous. Some of the territory liberals and conservatives believed they had staked out long ago is being taken over by a new center --- one that seems to borrow from aspects of each of the dominant partisan tribes. But libertarianism has its own elegant symmetry, as we’ll see.
If I were the governor of a state, I would ignore any unconstitutional claims to executive power coming from the White House. That’s right. Ignore it. That’s an easy thing for a pundit to dash off. One would have to grow huge cojones to take such a stand. But isn’t it time somebody did? In fact, one lone governor might not do the trick. A coalition of governors, however --- I’m looking at you, Bob McDonnell --- could be just what the doctor ordered.
You don’t trust Mitt Romney. You vowed to follow Ron Paul to the ends of the earth. And all that’s understandable. But please don’t confuse the ends of the earth with the bottom of a ravine.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently had to discipline a professor after The Charlotte Observer reported that the professor didn’t teach a summer school course he was paid $12,000 to teach. The 19 students who enrolled in the course were to learn about North Carolina’s legacy of racism and slavery. According to The Observer:
Creative people working in the liberty movement often have a hard time getting their ideas funded. Let’s face it: much of the movement is controlled by big donors and small committees of stewards. These committees have good intentions, but sometimes they distribute their largess like charitable Keynesians. And in 1960s fashion, it’s often a game of “who you know.”
An availability cascade is a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception of increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse.
~ Timur Kuran and Cass Sunstein
The pundit class has spilled a lot of pixels about the so-called rich-poor “gap.” They spilled even more when the pup-tents started popping up in Zuccotti Park. But almost all of these gap-minders have failed to address the fact that there are two kinds of inequality. One kind matters and one doesn’t.
One of the cleverest things Justin Timberlake ever did was bring sexy back. After all, sexy never really went away. But once the song came out, it didn't matter. People welcomed sexy back with open arms.
How do you explain the gap between rich and poor? The social scientists and Wall Street occupiers have taken their crack at the question. Now it’s the physicists’ turn.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are sitting at a diner drinking malted milkshakes. This is not the first line of a joke. In 2010, someone snapped a picture of this scene in Omaha, Nebraska. The image appeared with a Forbes article about a plan the two were hatching. Two of the world’s richest men were discussing an idea that came to be known as the $600 Billion Philanthropy Challenge.
Would you let your mother, daughter, friends and neighbors continue to suffer unwarranted indignities at the hands of government agents if you had the power to stop them?
It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong.
-- Jeremy Bentham
The theocrats are angry. No, I’m not talking about Qaddafi or Mubarak. I’m talking about the Southern Baptists.
A few days after September 11, 2001, people started making fun of Francis Fukuyama. They claimed his book -- The End of History and the Last Man -- was wrong. The book’s thesis had been toppled with the towers, they said. But have recent events in Egypt, Tunisia and Iran partially vindicated Fukuyama?
I have to give props to my Jewish friends. Judaism seems to be the only belief system whose adherents aren’t out actively recruiting people. The Tribe doesn’t feel the need to have me as a member. And I appreciate that. Their lack of zeal is nice. I used to be able to say that about my fellow atheists. But not anymore. If they ever start coming to my door, I’ll tell them -- figuratively, of course -- to go to hell.
What if I told you that a single one of your genes and your high school popularity could predict your political persuasion? Faster than you can say, “liberalism is a birth-defect,” people are reading what they want into a new study.