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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.

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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. Avatar Mike Farmer says:

    Wow. That’s a courageous stance.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

        @Michael Drew,

        Huh? No really. Huh. Am I missing something here?Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew says:

          @Jason Kuznicki, I was going to write Really?, but then I decided Mike had to be being facetious, so I went with that. But I don’t really know.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

            @Michael Drew,

            The trouble is that I can see a facetious reading, but I can also see a non-facetious, slightly gushing reading too. From either of you, which didn’t help.

            But I hope no one thought any of it was terribly surprising. This is what I believe, after all.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew says:

              @Jason Kuznicki, I initially was prepared to gush very slightly to myself (no need post) because it’s not like, but then I was like, wait. Is that much of a high bar he’s setting himself at all? So then to the idea it was courageous I was like, Really? And then I was like, Oh I get it. …But I might be wrong!Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew says:

              @Jason Kuznicki, …Sorry — “it’s not like” ‘…it’s not like it’s not a laudable sentiment’ is what I meant to finish with there.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                I don’t think of it as a particularly courageous stance. But it is very important to say and to get right, however, given the current intellectual climate, in which someone could do or say virtually anything, and someone, somewhere, would reply: “Oh, it figures. He’s a libertarian.”Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew says:

              @Jason Kuznicki, Enthusiastically adopting a self-conscious label for one’s ideological inclination that others also embrace thus forming a well-defined group of enthusiastic self-identifiers with whom people can lump you, and then advertising that adoption, does carry certain risks in terms of public perception.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer says:

          @Jason Kuznicki, Jason, he has picked the absolute worst aspects of Tea Party/Republican/conservative limited-governmentism and says he wants nothing to do with them. It’s like saying he against hypocrisy. That’s good, but it’s not exactly controversial or interesing for the matter — I thought David’s response below the post was appropriate. I didn’t mean to be snarky — I hate that when people o it to me, but it seems like he’s taking a righteous position that appears too manufactured. Of course we should condemn anyone who promotes torture and violation of privacy — we should also condemn presidents who continue a war which is wasting precious lives for political reasons. His outrage is selective and it fails to show the conflicts in positions between libertarianism and what the administration and congress are doing — considering his social group, this would have been the 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