Thursday, November 12, 2020

What I Find Depressing About the Election Outcome

From a short term standpoint, the outcome was about as good as I could reasonably hope for, assuming that the Republicans will win at least one of the two Georgia Senate runoffs. I was mostly worried that one party, more probably the Democrats, would end up with control of both houses and the White House. Since I expect either party to do mostly bad things, divided government is the least bad alternative.

In the longer run, the situation is depressing. Trump did well enough so that, whether or not he tries to run again, the coalition he created will survive. That means that we will have, for the foreseeable future, two parties neither of which has even a rhetorical commitment to the free market. The Republicans are against free trade and immigration, and the Democrats are against practically everything else.


Thomas L. Knapp said...

The silver lining: The Republicans are moving away from pretending to be "libertarian-leaning" while never putting that into action.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the Libertarian Party will be able to exploit the abandoned niche and move into the big leagues (Duverger's Law says that's a long shot), but it might create room for movement (instead of just occasional posturing) of SOME kind.

Eugine Nier said...

The massive amount of fraud doesn't bother you?

Benjamin Cole said...

Cursory examination reveals there is no such thing as "free," "fair," or "foul" trade. What macroeconomists call "comparative advantage" is now almost exclusively the result of government actions and manipulation.

Immigration is routinely sacralized, yet one will find upper classes everywhere like immigration, and the lower classes do not. Why? Upper classes like cheap labor.

The upper classes chatter a lot less about eliminating property zoning, probably the largest anti-free market structural impediment embedded into the US economy.

Trump has been denigrated, usually justifiably, yet his views on immigration and "free-trade" are worthy of serious contemplation.

Anonymous said...

Demography is destiny.

There just aren't enough libertarians. Not enough to change things by voting. Definitely not enough to start our own country. Ideas are hard to spread.

From my point of view, the most effective way to increase the amount of libertarians is to make it into a whole lifestyle. And by that I mean copy what the Amish do.

Impressive growth numbers!

William H. Stoddard said...

My sympathies are with free trade and free immigration too. But they do both have problems in the larger institutional and geopolitical environment.

What is the moral standing of free trade in a world where some countries have coerced labor? I've read that in the nineteenth century, British factory workers, including those in textile factories in places like Manchester, were strong opponents of British support for the Confederacy. It's not self-evident that wanting Britain to favor the Confederacy was the more libertarian position.

As for immigration, I believe it could be put like this: open immigration, a welfare state, a functional economy—choose two. The Swedes, for example, seem to be confronting this choice; their anti-immigration parties seem to be supportive of the Swedish welfare state. Of course libertarians want to get rid of the welfare state, but it's not obvious that the best way to do so is to have it overwhelmed by mass immigration; that might do major damage to the economy.

There are times when on one hand, something is the right thing on libertarian principles, but on the other, it's not the right time to push for that particular application of those principles.

Thomas L. Knapp said...

Q: What is the moral standing of not committing homicide when some people get away with it?

A: It's still right to not commit homicide.

William H. Stoddard said...

Knapp: That's a nice bit of rhetoric but I don't see that it's a convincing analogy.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, it seems the problem, to me, with the LP is simply that they either are, or are perceived to be the "drug" party. All I ever really hear from them is about drug legalization. Don't get me wrong, I agree with this policy, partly because I believe in the whole "your body your choice", and partly because of the horrendous consequences of the war on drugs. I have no personal interest in consuming many of these substances. But there are a lot more important issues to deal with.

My biggest partisan fear is with Biden who, as far as I can see is DEEPLY compromised by the Chinese government. My biggest fear about the election is the apparently complete abandonment of he press to try to offer a balanced picture, and the dangerous domination of information by a few, highly partisan sources. (By no means am I suggestion regulation to fix either).

MY biggest general fear is that Trump's actions in response to Covid means that MASSIVE overspending by the government is now normal, and nobody can expect it ever to go back to the already outrageous numbers from 2019. I suggest that the new saying in Washington is "a trillion dollars here a trillion there, soon it adds up to real money".

We have been saying that such spending is unsustainable for a very long time, but surely now we can expect a really serious collapse of the economy, especially since so many people are locked up and unproductive. Spending more and making less has only one inevitable end.

DeliciaOrtega said...
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Mercy Vetsel said...

Libertarians are simply deluded about:

1. Just how unpopular our ideas are among both the electorate and the DC swamp.

2. How much more libertarian the Republicans are than the Democrats.

Voters and swamp creatures are motivated by self interest and are ideologically stuck on default-setting leftism learned from school and the media.

The overlap between ideological conservatives (Ted Cruz) and ideological libertarians (Rand Paul) measured in voting records is nearly 100%, but the problem is that we libertarians tend to culturally fit in with the leftists and we tend to be two cowardly to go against the cultural grain.

So instead of allying with political conservatives and political Christians to fight to undo the creeping fascism that we've been experiencing for the last 100 years in this country, we just lock ourselves in a political silo of utter irrelevancy.

What we should be doing is providing the intellectual firepower for the conservative movement. Instead we just drift impotently towards Venezuela.

Thomas L. Knapp said...

Rand Paul stomped his foot and demanded people stop pretending he's an "ideological libertarian" a full decade ago. And his subsequent record bears out the claim.

Neither Paul nor Cruz evidence much in the way of ideology of ANY kind, unless "say whatever I think the group of people I'm talking to at any given moment want to hear and hope they like me enough to get their checkbooks out" is an "ideology."