Peaceful Devolution

Ian Freeman is embarrassing.

It’s a view you rarely never see on this blog, but it’s a view held by myself and a serious portion of liberty activists in the Keene area. (Not to mention the overwhelming majority of Keene residents.) Lately it’s been the senseless pestering of city bureaucrats, the quixotic school outreach, and his involvement in the war on grandmas. Yes, he does other things which are more legitimate and professional, but, for as long as I’ve been in New Hampshire, it seems that Ian has always been vocally supporting activism that’s jarringly wrong-headed.

I joined this blog in 2010 in order to openly criticize certain activist tactics that struck me as counterproductive. At the time, I was worried that the suppression of criticism was creating an atmosphere of groupthink— a situation where the systematic lack of criticism leads groups to make wildly irrational decisions. Since then, I’ve changed some hearts and minds with regards to criticism, and caused people to look twice at things they’ve taken for granted. This has been very satisfying.

But, where it really matters, I have failed. (more…)

The NH House is “a bunch of part-time real-estate agents throwing monkey feces at a wall”

So charges Ilya Gerner at Comedy Central:

New Hampshire Legislators Introduce Freedom to Beat Your Spouse Bills

One thing to keep in mind whenever a presidential candidate suggests that some issue is best handled at the state or local level is the fact that this relegates lawmaking to state and local legislators and absolutely nothing about the history of governments suggests that is a good idea. Our “laboratories of democracy” are basically 50 self-contained arguments against federalism.

Take New Hampshire, which in some populist conceit has decided that every dozen residents need their own severely under-resourced and under-paid state legislator, who will somehow remain “close to the people.” Of course, the natural conclusion of “citizen legislatures” isn’t home-spun wisdom and incorruptibility, insomuch as a bunch of part-time real-estate agents throwing monkey feces at a wall and calling the result a “House Bill.”

Continue reading about “The latest in the New Hampshire legislature’s attempt to beclown their state as the Arizona of New England” at Comedy Central’s Indecision blog.

(HT: William Tucker.)

Can libertarians be liberals?

Working in Democratic politics can do strange things to libertarians. Part of the job is selling libertarian economics to hardcore liberals– and that’s a daunting task. Perhaps impossible. It led me to re-evaluate major aspects of my libertarianism (Liberals support x. Libertarians oppose x. But is libertarian philosophy really opposed to x?) and take a much closer look at liberal ideas.

When I started, I was already skeptical of some core libertarian arguments, due to my near-obsession with academic economics. My work with liberalism opened the floodgates. Eventually I was forced to admit that I was probably wrong in advocating free market anarchism and adopted a position awkwardly in between liberalism and libertarianism.

Since then I’ve struggled to find a way to describe my views. “Left-libertarian” was an obvious candidate, but it seems that most people using the term are anarchists, and I’m not nearly that radical. Taking a cue from Will Wilkinson, I started to use “liberaltarian“. But, in many cases, people simply interpreted that as “libertarian”, defeating the purpose.

For a while, if asked, I would just shake my head and laugh nervously. Finally I gave up and called myself a liberal.

So I was intrigued to find an essay at the Bleeding-Heart Libertarians blog by left-leaning libertarian Will Wilkinson, titled “Why I’m Not a Bleeding-Heart Libertarian“: (more…)