This.

Avatar

Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

Related Post Roulette

17 Responses

  1. Avatar Sam M says:

    But do we spend an equal number of dollars on these programs? I will concede that torture is worse than CHIP. And obviously so. But social entitlements cost more than operating Gitmo. So much more that it deserves at least some mention in the discussion. Wouldn’t the proper question be, “What’s worse? Some money spent on immoral actions, or so much money spent on less morally tenous actions that they threaten to bankrupt the economy?” The answer is probably still obvious in some peoples mind, but less obvious.

    To take this to an individual level frame it this way: Who’s a worse husband, someone who spends a dollar on a hooker or a dollar on an office football pool? The answer is obvious. But what if the gambler doesn’t spend “a dollar” on gamling, but loses the mortgage money, the food money and the car payment every month for a decade?Report

  2. Wow. That’s a courageous stance.Report

  3. Avatar Koz says:

    Finally we get some belated acknowledgment that the commitment of some libertarians to limited government isn’t exactly as strong as they’d led us to believe.

    Two additional points. First, to quibble with Tim Lee’s post, size is important but a large part of the motivation for limited government has to do with purpose, not size. If we appropriate $10 billion to build an aircraft carrier, we can monitor and adjust the situation based on actually getting a carrier at the end of the rainbow. If we appropriate $10 billion for stimulus we’ll never know one way or the other. If the government is unlimited by purpose, the size will always tend to increase because nothing it does can ever be definitively said to fail.

    Finally, for this stripe of libertarian there seems to be little recognition of the finiteness of our ability to project our wants into the public square. Or put another way, the benefits of autonomy are exercised by the individual but the culture that underlies it is the product of the collective. These kind of libertarians seem to think they’ll be able to exercise their autonomy indefinitely while pissing on the people that underlie it. Why this can or ought to work is a mystery for me.Report

  4. Obviously, this is something that I likewise have been trying to say for a very long time. But I’ve never explained it nearly as clearly and concisely as Lee does here.

    A brief snippet from a Wirkman Virkkala post last February (unfortunately, the link doesn’t work anymore) seems appropriate here, though*:
    “From what I can tell, conservatives at their best are Size Queens: They dislike “Big Government.” They want “smaller government.” Actual liberty? Where people are truly free to choose? Nope. That scares them.”

    *Apologies in advance to anyone offended by the use of the term “Size Queens.”Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *