When thinking about fiscal issues, like taxes and government spending, do you consider yourself to be: Very conservative, Somewhat conservative, Somewhat liberal, or Very liberal? When thinking about social issues, like abortion and gay marriage, do you consider yourself to be: Very conservative, Somewhat conservative, Somewhat liberal, or Very liberal?Tarrance leaves out the "moderate" option, but a few respondents volunteer it. The results were interesting. While 69 percent of respondents described themselves as conservatives on fiscal issues, only 53 percent said they were conservative on social issues. When you combine the responses, you find that 23 percent of respondents described themselves as fiscally conservative but liberal or moderate on social issues. That's pretty close to the estimates of the libertarian vote that David Kirby and I presented in "The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama." See pages 4-7, especially Figure 3, in the full study. Using fairly strict criteria, we declared 14 percent of the electorate to fall into the libertarian category. But three other studies yielded 23 to 26 percent who gave libertarian answers to questions about both fiscal and social issues. Tarrance presented the results to GOPAC this way (the "moderate" category includes both those who volunteered the word moderate and those who declined to pick either liberal or conservative as a label): Read more...
Posted on January 29, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Obama's leitmotif is: Washington is disappointing, Washington is annoying, Washington is dysfunctional, Washington is corrupt, verily Washington is toxic -- yet Washington should conscript a substantially larger share of GDP, and Washington should exercise vast new controls over health care, energy, K-12 education, etc.Mark your calendar for May 13, when George Will keynotes the biennial Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty Dinner here in Washington. I anticipate similarly acerbic analysis.
Posted on January 29, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Just because people did not have English freehold property rights is no reason to chase them off land to which they held a clear customary right. Some people seem to assume that only English freehold counts as property, by which they mean individual property. But there is family property, village property, and many other forms of property, which are defined by the exclusion of others. (Elinor Ostrom has written extensively on how common property arrangements are governed and when they are efficient, and when not.) The critique of "collective property" is certainly not Lockean. In the Second Treatise's chapter on property (paragraph 28) he writes (not entirely clearly), "We see in commons, which remain so by compact, that it is the taking any part of what is common, and removing it out of the state nature leaves it in, which begins the property; without which the common is of no use." Then in paragraph 35, he notes, "It is true, in land that is common in England, or any other country, where there is plenty of people under government, who have money and commerce, no one can inclose or appropriate any part, without the consent of all his fellow-commoners; because this is left common by compact, i. e. by the law of the land, which is not to be violated. And though it be common, in respect of some men, it is not so to all mankind; but is the joint property of this country, or this parish." Thus Locke would say that the Na'vi, even if they do not have any separate plots, have a joint property in the land, "And though it be common, in respect of some men, it is not so to all mankind; but is the joint property of this country, or this parish."David Henderson, editor of the Concise Encylopedia of Economics, discussed this point about "collective property" in his own essay on "Avatar":
Now, [Ed] Hudgins could argue that the analogy with the Kelo decision doesn’t make sense because this is tribal property, not individual property. OK. So imagine that some civilization more technologically advanced than ours discovers that there’s a rare mineral below the hills and mountains of Yosemite, which, in a sense, is tribal property. Our government has refused to sell. To get at the mineral, this other "civilization" must blast and bulldoze Yosemite down to nothing. If that more advanced group comes in and uses violence to grab Yosemite, would Hudgins say that was fine? I think not.As I noted originally, "At least for human beings, private property rights are a much better way to secure property and prosperity. Nevertheless, it's pretty clear that the land belongs to the Na'vi, not the Sky People." P.S. For a French version of my article, click here. At UnMondeLibre you'll find many more ideas about liberty, too.
Posted on January 28, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on January 27, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Conservatives see this as anti-American, anti-military and anti-corporate or anti-capitalist. But they're just reacting to the leftist ethos of the film. They fail to see what's really happening. People have traveled to Pandora to take something that belongs to the Na'vi: their land and the minerals under it. That's a stark violation of property rights, the foundation of the free market and indeed of civilization.... "Avatar" is like a space opera of the Kelo case, which went to the Supreme Court in 2005. Peaceful people defend their property against outsiders who want it and who have vastly more power. Jake rallies the Na'vi with the stirring cry "And we will show the Sky People that they cannot take whatever they want! And that this is our land!"Economists may wonder about the claim that "Avatar" is the highest-grossing film of all time. The Hollywood Reporter estimates that so far it may only have sold half as many tickets as the 1997 "Titanic," and Box Office Mojo says that adjusted for inflation "Gone with the Wind" remains the movie with the highest U.S. revenue, followed by "Star Wars."
Posted on January 26, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
We have met the new center, and it is us, the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll baby boomers and our younger Gen X siblings and children. Because of our advanced age, we are the “most likely voters” that pollsters and their political clients focus on. That is precisely the opposite of what happened in the first year of the Obama administration. The new center tilts liberal on social issues, like gay rights and abortion. It zigs left on national security, having seen two really bad elective wars in our lifetimes: Vietnam and Iraq. But it zags right on economic questions, empowered with the democratization of information, technology, and finance, eschewing one-size-fits-all fixes from Washington. The new center embraces individual choice in the marketplace.... Democrats need to free themselves from the AFL-CIO, K Street, DuPont Circle, share-the-wealth wing of the party and run to the center on money matters, while passionately playing to their base on social issues and vigorously pursuing a non-interventionist foreign policy.There's an interesting echo there of something Michael Barone wrote today:
What Brooks has described as "the educated class" -- shorthand for the elite, university-educated, often secular professionals who probably make up a larger share of the electorate in Massachusetts than in any other state -- turned out in standard numbers and cast unenthusiastic votes for the Democrat.... Members of "the educated class" are pleased by Obama's decision to close Guantanamo and congressional Democrats' bills addressing supposed global warming. They are puzzled by his reticence to advance gay rights but assume that in his heart he is on their side. They support more tepidly the Democrats' big government spending, higher taxes and health care bills as necessary to attract the votes of the less enlightened and well-off. For "the educated class," such programs are, in the words of the late Sen. Pat Moynihan, "boob bait for the bubbas."Could it really be that a lot of Democratic voters don't really like higher taxes and government-run health care, that they would respond favorably to a socially liberal, economically sensible program? We could only hope.
Posted on January 25, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on January 24, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
For more than a dozen years now, the Gallup poll has been using two broad questions to categorize respondents by ideology about economic and social freedom... Combining the responses to these two questions, Gallup consistently finds about 20 percent of respondents to be libertarian. In 2009 they found 23 percent libertarians, along with 18 percent liberals, 19 percent populists, and 31 percent conservatives (9 percent were unclassifiable). In a 2008–2009 panel study, ANES asked [two] questions... If we define “libertarian” as those who believe that the federal government should have less effect on Americans’ lives and do less to influence businesses, we get 25 percent of voters—slightly higher than Gallup’s 23 percent... Finally, we commissioned Zogby International to ask our three ANES questions to 1,012 actual (reported) voters in the 2006 election... We asked half the sample, “Would you describe yourself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal?” We asked the other half of the respondents, “Would you describe yourself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian?” The results surprised us. Fully 59 percent of the respondents said “yes” to the first question. That is, by 59 to 27 percent, poll respondents said they would describe themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” The addition of the word “libertarian” clearly made the question more challenging. What surprised us was how small the drop-off was. A healthy 44 percent of respondents answered “yes” to that question, accepting a self-description as “libertarian.”We summed all that up in this handy but not necessarily helpful graph
Posted on January 22, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Jonah says consistent libertarians are rare. Sure. So are consistent conservatives who would affirm every tenet of the Sharon Statement, or an updated Ten Principles of Conservatism for today, complete with policy specifics. What we are saying, and what I think no one has actually countered, is that there are some millions of voters — maybe our 14 percent, maybe Gallup's 23 percent, maybe even Zogby's 44/59 percent — who don't line up either red or blue. They don't buy the whole package from Rush or Keith, McCain or Obama, NR or TNR. They have real libertarian tendencies on both economic and personal issues. Does that mean they want to abolish public education and legalize drugs? Of course not. But they do oppose both health care "reform" and restrictions on abortion, or they like both lower taxes and gay marriage or civil unions. According to the 2004 exit polls, 28 million Bush voters supported either marriage or civil unions. And neither party typically offers that program. Which means that some of those people — like eight Seattle entrepreneurs who visited Cato today — are uncomfortable with both parties and don't vote consistently for either. Jonah says, "most of the talk about 'libertarians' switching sides has been exactly that, talk." Maybe he should read the study, or at least read Table 2 on page 8. A group of people who are identifiably outside the red/blue boxes did swing toward the Democrats in 2004 and 2006, and then swung back against Obama.Veronique's post also linked to Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy, who makes similar points in rather more scholarly language. For more debate, Katherine Mangu-Ward's report on the study drew more than 100 comments at reason.com.
Posted on January 22, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on January 21, 2010 Posted to Cato@Liberty