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.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://spectatorworld.com/.
That’s right, the Grinch (Joe Biden) is coming for your pocketbooks this Christmas season with record inflation. Just to recap, here is a list of items that have gone up during his reign.
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