December 16, 2011 | 8 comments
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December 14, 2011 | 39 comments
December 14, 2011 | 4 comments
Via Tyler Cowen, I see that Daniel Klein and Jason Briggeman, two George Mason economists, have published a paper (pdf) claiming that conservative magazines, including The American Spectator, are not pro-liberty.
They review the records of the Spectator, National Review, The American Enterprise, and the Weekly Standard on pro-liberty stances regarding sex, gambling and drugs. They find that National Review is generally the most pro-liberty on these issues, but that overall all the conservative magazines lean anti-liberty. They conclude:
This investigation underscores that nowadays the menu of major public philosophies offers three options: conservatism, social democracy, and classical liberalism/libertarianism. Only the third upholds the presumption of liberty.
This is a sweeping, sweeping generalization. This conclusion reduces all kinds of arguments about the nature of liberty and the role of government in upholding liberty to grossly oversimplified terms.
In reaching such a conclusion, Klein and Briggeman employ big and questionable assumptions about which positions in policy debates about sex, gambling, and drugs are the pro-liberty positions. In fact, they don’t even make it clear what exactly they consider the ideal pro-liberty position to be But to state outright that, for example, advocating regulation on prostitution or pornography is a clear violation of liberty (as they seem to do) requires an intellectual defense. I would have thought it obvious that there are conservatives who espouse those “anti-liberty” positions because they believe they are the true pro-liberty positions. For example, although I am personally anti-drug war, it is not apparent to me that any conservatives who argue for the drug war are secretly authoritarians. I know of plenty of folks who could provide an intellectually honest pro-liberty defense of all the positions Klein and Briggeman consider anti-liberty as a given.
So in short I experience no cognitive dissonance when I label myself both conservative and pro-liberty, nor for that matter when I write for The American Spectator.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?