The wheel of politics

You’ve all seen the 4-quadrant diagram used by libertarians; here’s  a six-sided diagram that I think might be more useful:

                                    Idealistic Progressives

-

-

Corrupt Democrats                                              Pragmatic Libertarians

-

-

Corrupt Republicans                                            Dogmatic libertarians

-

-

                                    Idealistic conservatives

Update#2:  Vlad Tarko sent me a couple much prettier version.  His preferred labeling is at the bottom, below is a version closer to my terminology:

My goal here is to set things up in such a way that each group has a values affinity to those on one side, and an ideological affinity to those on the other side.  So you could circle any two adjoining groups, and describe a common feature:

1.  Progressives/Pragmatic libertarians:  Both tend to be secular utilitarians, or at least consequentialists

2.  Pragmatic and dogmatic libertarians;  Both favor very small government

3.  Dogmatic libertarians and idealistic conservatives:  Both are nostalgic for the past, and revere the (original intent of) the Constitution.

4.  Idealistic conservatives and corrupt Republicans:  Both are Republicans.

5.  Corrupt Republicans and corrupt Dems:  Both believe in realpolitik, are disdainful of fuzzy-headed, idealistic intellectuals.

6.  Corrupt Democrats and idealistic progressives:  Both are Democrats:

Thus on values the there are three pairings:  utilitarian, natural rights, and selfish.  On ideology there are three different pairings:  Democrat, Republican and libertarian.  Let’s apply this political scheme to public policy issues.  I would like to argue that most of the really important public policy issues are not even part of the ongoing debate in the press.  Here are some examples:

1.  The huge rise in occupational licensing.

2.  The huge rise in people incarcerated in the war on drugs, and also the scandalous reluctance of doctors to prescribe adequate pain medication (also due to the war on drugs.)

3.  The need for more legal immigration.

4.  The need to replace taxes on capital with progressive consumption taxes.

5.  Local zoning rules that prevent dense development.

6.   Tax exemptions for mortgage interest and health insurance.

These 6 policy failures impose enormous damage on the country, far more than the issues typically discussed on the evening news.  Why aren’t they discussed?  I would argue that it is partly because the disagreements tend to break down on values, not ideology.  Most idealistic intellectuals agree with me on all of these issues.  They are not issues that divide the left and the right.  It’s also true that most real world politicians agree on these issues.  However their views are exactly the opposite of the views of intellectuals.  Hence there is no “policy debate” in either the political or intellectual arenas, and hence no “fight” for the media to report.  They become invisible issues.

The media likes drama and conflict.  They will report on those issues where corrupt Democrats and corrupt Republicans disagree, and not where they agree.

BTW, perhaps I should explain what I mean by “corrupt.”  I don’t mean politicians taking bribes that violate existing laws.  I mean Republicans who support various special interest groups like doctors and seniors (Medicare), farmers, energy producers, car dealers, bankers, and the rich, even if it goes against their supposed “small government” ideology.  And the same would be true about Democrats who support various special interest groups like teachers unions, trial lawyers, government workers, etc, for non-utilitarian/non-egalitarian reasons.

I should add that most people I know do not fit neatly into any of the six categories I listed, but rather are a composite of two or more categories.  Also, the reason there are four right wing and only two left wing categories is because US politics is dominated by the right.  The missing categories are non-utilitarian leftists, such as Maoists who hate the rich, or radical environmentalists who care more about “The Earth” than human welfare.

PS.  I am a pragmatic libertarian.  Is it self-indulgent to devote two of six categories to libertarians, given that they receive less then one percent of the vote in presidential elections?  I suppose, but recall that the Libertarian Party is strictly a dogmatic libertarian organization.  Pragmatic libertarians probably constitute at least 1/6th of the intellectual elite in public policy.

Here’s the original version Vlad sent me:


Tags:

 
 
 

69 Responses to “The wheel of politics”

  1. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    13. February 2011 at 17:21

    Scott,
    I took one look at the compass and knew right away I am a pragmatic libertarian. I then read the article and was gratified (but not surprised) to find that you consider yourself to be the same.

    In short, I know that I’m right, but, unlike some, I seek empirical evidence to confirm that that that is so. QED

    P.S. I tend to vote and support idealistic progressives these days mainly to tilt the wheel. (Too much imbalance is unhealthy.)

  2. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    13. February 2011 at 17:42

    Scott, I should explain what I mean by “corrupt.” I don’t mean politicians taking bribes that violate existing laws. I mean Republicans who support various special interest groups like doctors and seniors (Medicare), farmers, energy producers, car dealers, bankers, and the rich, even if it goes against their supposed “small government” ideology. And the same would be true about Democrats who support various special interest groups like teachers unions, trial lawyers, government workers, etc, for non-utilitarian/egalitarian reasons. I believe the word you are looking for is ‘patronage’, practitioners of patronage (i.e. interest group) politics based on an exchange of benefits for votes and donations. (If it is just benefits for donations, that is client or crony politics.)

  3. Gravatar of Full Employment Hawk Full Employment Hawk
    13. February 2011 at 17:59

    Where are the pragmatic progressives? And where are the dogmatic progressives?

    An example of the difference between the two was recently shown by the attitudes toward the compromise on extending the tax cuts.

    Pragmatic progressives concluded that this was the best deal that the Democrats could get and that extending the tax cuts for the rich was a price worth paying to get the tax cuts for the rest passed and the stimulus items included.

    Dogmatic progressives opposed the compromise even though it was clear that the votes were not there to pass the bill without including the tax cuts for the rich. The fact that letting the tax cuts expire would have a strong contractionary effect on the economy and that in the next congress, with the additional Republican seats, the Obama administration would have to settle for a poorer deal did not seem to register on them.

    I am a pragmatic progressive on most issues.

    On two issues:

    1. The ubiquitessness of asymmetric information makes occupational licencing neccessary to protect consumers.

    2. The most harmful effect of smoking pot, by far, is prison,which ruins people’s lifes.
    The softer drugs, like pot should be legalized for adults.

    Imprisioning drug addicts is a classic case of punishing the victims. The use of harder drugs should be treated as a medical problem, not as a criminal problem.

    People suffering from intractable pain should be allowed to have the strongest narcotics, such as heroin, available.

  4. Gravatar of John John
    13. February 2011 at 18:01

    I agree with @Lorenzo that “corrupt” doesn’t seem like quite the right word. I guess my vote (if I’ve understood correctly) would be to call this political philosophy “corporatism.”

  5. Gravatar of Liberal Roman Liberal Roman
    13. February 2011 at 18:08

    I think what issues movements focus on are very important.

    The right and conservatives can claim that they are for small government, but the issues they tend to focus on have nothing to do with making government small.

    Yes, it is true that they are against Obamacare. But once you take that away, they are for more wars, more “protecting our social values” and more restrictions on immigration.

    This is why I continue to call myself “Liberal” Roman eventhough I am against a lot of Democrat party policies, specifically on stupid business regulations.

    Also, Scott, just take a look at those six issues and see which party looks more favorably upon the issues:

    1. The huge rise in occupational licensing.

    Republicans: I’ll give this one to Republicans, but it’s not like they have ever even brought this issue up.

    2. The huge rise in people incarcerated in the war on drugs, and also the scandalous reluctance of doctors to prescribe adequate pain medication (also due to the war on drugs.)

    Democrats: Yes, both parties seem to be against legalization right now, but the Democrats are much more inclined to treat drug users more leniently and much more open to legalization than the “protecting our social values” right.

    3. The need for more legal immigration.

    Democrats: OBVIOUSLY!

    4. The need to replace taxes on capital with progressive consumption taxes.

    Republicans: This one is definitely a weakness for Democrats.

    5. Local zoning rules that prevent dense development.

    This is a local issue, so it’s hard to say which national party is better. Still, on the whole, I think it is people on the right and who are for “small government” that have more of a NIMBY attitude towards dense development. And of course want government regulations to protect them from dense development.

    6. Tax exemptions for mortgage interest and health insurance.

    Democrats: They have brought up both issues in the debate on how to balance the budget and how to reform health care. In the saner days of the Republican party, they too seem to like the idea of getting rid of both the exemptions. Not anymore.

    So, out of the six big issues that a “pragmatic libertarian” has, Democrats would be better in solving 4 of them. Also, I think a lot less Democrats would have a problem with with getting rid of the capital gains tax and replacing it with a progressive tax if it in the end was revenue neutral.

  6. Gravatar of Full Employment Hawk Full Employment Hawk
    13. February 2011 at 18:13

    “The most harmful effect of smoking pot, by far, is prison, which ruins people’s lives.”

    I had a close call with that myself, which has heightened my awareness of this.

    A long time ago, when I was in my 20′s I attended a party at a high-rise apartment building on Chicago’s near North side. Some of the people there brought pot, some of which I smoked. One of the neighbors called the police, complaining that we were keeping his dog awake. Fortunately the police did not answer the call, because the apartment reeked of pot. If they had, I would have been arrested and ended up in prison and my life would have been ruined.

    As a result I have been contributing to organizations working to have pot legalized.

  7. Gravatar of Richard A. Richard A.
    13. February 2011 at 18:42

    IMO, Republicans support Medicare excesses not for the senior vote, but rather for campaign contributions from the medical pharma complex.

  8. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    13. February 2011 at 18:53

    I think you need to remember that in a democratically elected republican form of government, one of the fundamental features (and strengths) is that minorities (special interest groups) horse trade to get what they want by agreeing to what other minorities want. It’s a bit of a misnomer to describe this as corruption….it’s fundamental to the process. We just need to make sure the horses are trading at the right price.

  9. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    13. February 2011 at 19:21

    Mark, Glad you are also a pragmatic libertarian.

    Lorenzo and John, Yes, I knew ‘corrupt’ wasn’t exactly right, but I wanted to make a strong point. Yes, it’s business as usual for politics, but it’s still wrong.

    Full Employment Hawk, Good question. I have an answer, although I don’t know if you’ll buy it. I believe pragmatic and dogmatic libertarians differ on basic values, like whether taxation is theft. The differences you point to seem more tactical, and both types of progressives have similar utilitarian goals in the end. Unless they veer into the “hate the rich” neo-Maoists.

    You said;

    “1. The ubiquitessness of asymmetric information makes occupational licencing neccessary to protect consumers.”

    You obviously haven’t studied the issue closely. These laws have nothing to do with competence, it’s all about protecting insiders. Consumers almost never press for these laws, it’s the people in the industry, who don’t want competition. The market does this sort of sorting much better than regulators. I could be the best driver in the world, and drive a safe modern Mercedes, and I still wouldn’t be given a Boston taxi license. Do consumers need to be protected from incompetent florists and hair stylists and interior designers and casket makers, or can they judge quality themselves? And who really loses if a casket leaks? The dead guy?

    Liberal Roman, You said;

    “The right and conservatives can claim that they are for small government, but the issues they tend to focus on have nothing to do with making government small.”

    Yes, but that’s equally true of Dems. America spends more money on K-12 than any other country except Switzerland. Yet the Dems want much more spending on education–insisting it will solve some sort of “problem.” Raise your hand if you think they are sincere. Now how many think they are trying to curry favor with teachers unions?

    Only a tiny percentage of spending goes toward the poor, even in states where the Dems have complete control.

    I strongly disagree with your observations on points 1 through 6. Among intellectuals you may be right. But among elected officials both parties are almost universally wrong on all these issues. There is almost no support for positive change. For instance you said the GOP is better on occupational licensing. But the problem has been worsening dramatically in Texas, despite the stranglehold the GOP has on that state.

    Full Employment Hawk, Thanks for contributing to a worthy cause.

    Richard, That’s right.

    dtoh, I strongly disagree. Unless people support the right policy for idealistic reasons, you end up like Italy or Greece or Russia or Mexico. Lots of rent-seeking. If people are willing to put aside self-interest for the greater good you end up more like Denmark or Sweden or Switzerland or Canada or Australia. Nobody is perfect, but some societies are much more civic-minded than others.

  10. Gravatar of Rien Huizer Rien Huizer
    13. February 2011 at 19:53

    Scott,

    First, an entertaining diagram. No doubt one that will play a role in your future posts. Also, I do not know many people well who would disagree with most of your six points. But most of my acquaintances do not live in the US and they tend to be well educated and secular or at least open minded about the impact religion and values should have on other people’s space. I can assure you that your typical European politician (but west of the old Iron Curtain) considers all of these issues eligible for public debate, and that the media tend to cover and participate. But in Europe, the controversial issues would be: (1) to reduce consumer protection (I assume that is what #1 is about), (2) to increase incarceration (Europe has variety but in general incarceration is much lower than in the US, as is violent crime and maybe substance dependence) (3) how to better control immigration (lots of intra EU migration sparking xenophobic and labor resistance), legal/illegal, humaniratian/unskilled/skilled) and the debate is quite robust, with a dose of islamophobia mixed in (4) consumption taxes in Europe are already uniformly quite high (especially on gasoline/diesel) and capital (and inheritance) taxes quite mixed. But there is resistance to flattening the income tax structure further and in general there are inefficient social security negative taxes, leading to a situation that the vast majority pay at least half their tax via consumption, with a pigovian element) (5) Dense development is a feature and zoning laws tend to be anti-development (thus perpetuating density and preserving open space), with a great deal of intra-EU variety (6) Mortgage deduction is often absent or limited and health insurance often part of the gvt benefits repertoire, but highly variable. But I guess if it was framed as an “unfairness” issue that renter and non-insured do not get a benefit that borrowers and insured healthcare consumers get, probably the politicians would try to cut the subsidy rather that extend it.

    The question then is, why is the US so different from other rich countries? Are the politicians different? I do not think that the Europeans are less corrupt (in your sense). Maybe the public is (and has been) less exposed to relevant information via family,education, media, moralizing organizations (like churches). Maybe the Europeans are wrong and the Americans right or vicce versa. One thing is clear, Americans are different from what you want them to be and their leaders make no attempt to change that. Very strange for a country where politicians use the word “liberty” so often..

    A related and even more puzzling question is why is the US so different from Canada?

  11. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    13. February 2011 at 20:43

    People who like pondering this kind of issue will probably enjoy watching this remarkable recent speech from the pragmatic Indiana Governor:

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/MitchDan

    I suggest moving to the 11:00 point (to spare yourself the introductory remarks). It includes a clever update on the old Adlai Stevenson joke; even if all right thinking people vote for us, it’s not enough; we need the Sportscenter viewers too. And a punch line that’s a pun on ‘raison d’etre’. Not to mention some substantive proposals.

  12. Gravatar of honeyoak honeyoak
    13. February 2011 at 21:29

    “A related and even more puzzling question is why is the US so different from Canada?”

    The US is not that different from Canada. we are much closer the US than we are to Europe (Quebec excluded). the best way i can describe it is that if Wisconsin/Minnesota were its own country. We love our exurbs/walmarts/4-way stops. And while we are much more welfare state-loving and less capitalist than our southern brethren, it is very hard to notice the difference. Unlike Europe, there is no “canadian” way of doing things and take pride in tolerating other cultures. this is true in the states as well though the manifestation is a bit different. our Political competition is actually very american with abortion/the military/freedom being raised to public prominence in a way that is not done on the continent.

  13. Gravatar of cassander cassander
    13. February 2011 at 21:36

    Honestly, I don’t see a lot of difference in the policy preferences between pragmatic and dogmatic progressives, just a different assessment of what they think they can get away with. By contrast, I know a lot of libertarians who would like to keep some social insurance, don’t want a gold standard, etc. But that might have more to do with the post college crowd I run with than what people are actually like.

  14. Gravatar of Liberal Roman Liberal Roman
    13. February 2011 at 22:26

    I don’t really see what you disagree with on my assessment of the six big issues.

    I’ll grant you that neither party is on the right side of the occupational licensing debate.

    But on drug legalization, immigration and getting rid of market distortive tax deductions, it is the Democrats that are on the right side of the debate.

    They are also on the right side of the debate when it comes to QE and monetary policy.

    I would also add that Democrats are on the right side of the debate on a host of other libertarian issues.

    So, since we are talking about pragmatic, if you are a libertarian, on net, the choice is clear. Hold your nose and vote for the Democrats.

  15. Gravatar of Full Employment Hawk Full Employment Hawk
    13. February 2011 at 23:43

    I still think you should modify the diagram to make room for me, a pragmatic progressives on most issues. Pragmatic progressives can, after all, support the continued use of expansionary monetary policy to restore the economy to potential outut when the federal funds rate has hit the zero interest floor and NGDP targeting.

  16. Gravatar of daily links 02.14.11 « increasingmu daily links 02.14.11 « increasingmu
    14. February 2011 at 04:09

    [...] Sumner makes his own political graph… thing. It’s neat, but I don’t agree with all of it. He splits the Republican party in two: [...]

  17. Gravatar of Mattias Mattias
    14. February 2011 at 04:12

    Just a side issue. What is the American system for tax exemptions for mortgages? In Sweden 30% of interest rate payments are deductible from taxes and we have a debate about if this is too much (it’s said to feed a housing bubble). I thought most countries had some kind of similar system.

  18. Gravatar of Tweets that mention TheMoneyIllusion » The wheel of politics — Topsy.com Tweets that mention TheMoneyIllusion » The wheel of politics -- Topsy.com
    14. February 2011 at 06:00

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adam Gurri, Founder Fire. Founder Fire said: #teaparty #912 TheMoneyIllusion » The wheel of politics: On ideology there are three differen… http://tinyurl.com/4r2xkpa #LIBERTARIAN [...]

  19. Gravatar of Sumner’s Six Issues «  Modeled Behavior Sumner’s Six Issues «  Modeled Behavior
    14. February 2011 at 06:06

    [...] ~ February 14th, 2011 in Uncategorized | by Adam Ozimek Scott Sumner has a post on, among other things, the six most important public policy issues. I completely agree with Sumner [...]

  20. Gravatar of OGT OGT
    14. February 2011 at 06:33

    Based on your six points, you’ve been reading a bit too much Yglesias. If the climate scientists are right, carbon pricing should be well above occupational licensing or zoning. (And don’t come back with any silliness about density and carbon emissions, sixty percent of carbon emissions are based on out side the home purchases, with the other 40% split between home climate control and commuting. In addition, the turn over rate in housing creation is appoximately 1% per year).

    Don’t get me wrong. I am all for increased density and supported the local Mayoral candidate that promoted increased density near T stations (He lost, of course).

  21. Gravatar of vt vt
    14. February 2011 at 06:34

    It seems to me that you should use a less loaded terminology (betraying your own personal preference for pragmatic libertarianism):

    dogmatic libertarians -> idealistic libertarians
    corrupt Democrats/Republicans -> pragmatic Democrats/Republicans

  22. Gravatar of Indy Indy
    14. February 2011 at 06:35

    This is a very American-Presentism biased chart. The advantage of the Nolan Chart is that it seems to allow us to place the political-philosophies of people from various times, places, and contexts. I can find Mussolini on Nolan’s chart, but it’s not obvious where he is on yours.

    Though, even the Nolan Chart, I think, is purposefully designed to mislead Americans into concluding they are libertarians, because how many people really think of themselves as being “against freedom”? If you relabeled the economic axis “market-fundamentalist deregulation” and relabeled the personal axis “cultural decay and collapse of morals and values”, you’d get different answers, I’m positive.

    Also – the “corrupt” Democrats and Republicans, I think, don’t share any actual value or ideological “affinity”, they merely share the tactics of political success in our system of Democracy. They would probably call themselves “Pragmatic Conservatives” or “Pragmatic Progressives” and call you a “Corrupt Libertarian”.

    Also, I really don’t think there’s only one Pragmatic Libertarian take on immigration issues like you seem to imply.

  23. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    14. February 2011 at 07:46

    You need to stop talking about macro, and do more posts on this stuff. It’s good link bait.

    (Also, your blog needs better ads, ad placement, some minor social sharing functions, and disqus.)

    Its stuff like this, that more clearly spells out your policy ideals, which give people a far clearer picture of what you are proposing with macro and why.

    Otherwise you are a blank slate with all kinds of projections.

  24. Gravatar of ProfElwood ProfElwood
    14. February 2011 at 08:52

    Rien Huizer: “A related and even more puzzling question is why is the US so different from Canada?”

    Our lobbery has a bigger pot, so there are more players. That also means the rest of us have less of a chance to win.

  25. Gravatar of Overcoming Bias : The Big Failure Overcoming Bias : The Big Failure
    14. February 2011 at 09:21

    [...] Scott Sumner: [...]

  26. Gravatar of Sean Brown Sean Brown
    14. February 2011 at 09:22

    OGT, carbon pricing and increased density have a very close association. For example, if the price of gas doubled, would people want to live closer to or further from the central business district? Would people want a bigger or smaller dwelling if the price of electricity and gas doubled? If there is “carbon pricing” without laws allowing for increased density/removal of restrictions preventing density, it will make our society much, much poorer.

  27. Gravatar of srb srb
    14. February 2011 at 09:41

    My objection is similar to Full Employment Hawk – there needs to be something between libertarian and progressive on the right hand side. I think this typology leaves out a large chunk of the economics profession – those of us who believe that (a) externatilities and other market failures are important and there is an important role for government in addressing; but (b) they are best addressed through incentive-based than command-and-control mechanisms. Viz – belief that global warming is a very important problem that needs to be addressed, but should be addressed through carbon tax rather than mandated auto efficiency standards. I don’t see how the “libertarian” label can be affixed to anyone who sees externalities as relatively widespread; but your typology makes it look like “idealistic progressives” have no cynicism about the ability of government bureaucracies so doesn’t fit there either.

  28. Gravatar of A New Political Spectrum? « Seeing Complexity A New Political Spectrum? « Seeing Complexity
    14. February 2011 at 09:54

    [...] Scott Sumner, we have a new way of visualizing the political spectrum. I wonder how many people would self-identify as a corrupt [...]

  29. Gravatar of Ben Ben
    14. February 2011 at 11:14

    Is “libertarianism” or “classical liberalism,” as it’s commonly called, even taken seriously outside the US?

    I used to be a libertarian, but travel abroad has opened my eyes to some of libertarian philosophy’s shortcomings. Libertarianism seems to be particularly at home in the US (particularly among relatively intelligent white males).

    Hence an honest question for Europeans: Outside the relatively safe, privileged, meritocratic realm in which these white males operate, is libertarianism considered a serious political philosophy?

  30. Gravatar of bernardo bernardo
    14. February 2011 at 11:28

    Also missing are selfish libertarians. For example entrepreneurs who want as little state as possible for the whole reason to retain as much of their profits as possible without having to pay taxes.

    I also do not see where rule-utilitarians would be on the circle. By this label I mean people who think that the ultimate reason for laws and government is that they increase the well-being of the citizens by solving social problems, but who (in part because they recognize knowledge problems) favor reforms of the “rules of the game” over more interventionist social engineering kind of government action. Maybe this is similar to what srb has said above.

  31. Gravatar of Blackadder Blackadder
    14. February 2011 at 12:00

    The thing about the six issues you list is that the case for the status quo can be given in about 30 seconds, whereas the case for the enlightened view takes a lot longer. Most people can’t afford to spend much more than 30 seconds thinking about occupational licensing or capital vs consumption taxation. They have more important things to do, like take the kids to soccer practice. So it’s not surprising that voters (and hence politicians) tend to gravitate towards the views that are most plausible in sound bite form.

  32. Gravatar of David N David N
    14. February 2011 at 12:03

    Scott, was my earlier comment held for moderation?

  33. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    14. February 2011 at 12:41

    Scott, you said “Unless people support the right policy for idealistic reasons, you end up like Italy or Greece or Russia or Mexico.”

    The problems you list resulted from policies that were initially pursued out of a sense of idealism but with insufficient understanding of their costs. The resistance to now changing those policies is primarily because of the disruption it would cause to the very large minorities who benefit from them.

    If you want to fix these problems, you need to do two things. One – Make sure this disruption is minimized or spread over a long period of time, and two – make sure people fully understand the costs that these policies impose on society.

  34. Gravatar of Mark Phariss Mark Phariss
    14. February 2011 at 12:56

    Riffing on a recent piece of Tyler Cowen, I’d replace the ideological affinities with ‘State’ for the progressives, ‘Family/Society’ for the conservatives, & ‘Individual’ for the libertarians.

  35. Gravatar of srb srb
    14. February 2011 at 13:20

    Quick follow-up on my previous comment – the following from Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic put me very much in mind of this discussion:
    “The opportunistic rush to elide hard problems, in order to disparage imperfect, and perhaps even wrongheaded, solutions is an essential feature of modern conservative.”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/02/somewhere-someone-black-is-getting-away-with-something/71204/#

  36. Gravatar of MERLIN MERLIN
    14. February 2011 at 13:45

    Comical. Reflects the warped mental gymnastics of a Chicago PhD trying to be socially acceptable at Berkeley.

  37. Gravatar of dieter dieter
    14. February 2011 at 15:14

    bernardo answered Ben’s question.

    Europe has a lot of market liberal parties, including a strong faction in the european parliament as well as among the commissioners. They talk idealistically, yet their actions are corrupt, as Scott would call them.

    The campaign of the German FDP was heavily neoliberal, with a heavy emphasis on deregulation, opposition to bank bailouts and the promise to shut down entire branches of government. Precisely the kind of thing Scott would support.

    The first news that got out of the coalition negotiations in Germany was that what little deregulation had been undertaken by the Social Democrats and the Greens in the Pharmacy market was to be rolled back. Pharmacists are literally protected from competition in their neighborhood, as well as from internet pharmacies. Pharmacists are part of the traditional backbone of the FDP.

    Rainer Brüderle ended up in asking for an expansion of his ministry; the very ministry he had always wanted to abolish.

    And bank bailouts continue apace.

    So Europeans are cynical about market liberal talk, precisely because we are able to judge them by their deeds.

    ***

    I would like to defend the “corrupt” though. These politicians are actually in contact with real people on the ground and might understand a thing or too about the viability of the schemes put forward by the idealists.

    American libertarian idealists, like Thomas Sowell, lambast Intellectuals, while imagining themselves to be populists on the side of the people and don’t consider that their own schemes could result in unintended consequences, if put into practice.

    The notion that individuals should arrange their own retirement pensions by gambling in the stock markets for example seems outlandish to me.

    Drug liberalization, like for example in Portugal, is to a large extent actually drug nationalization.

  38. Gravatar of Jon Biggar Jon Biggar
    14. February 2011 at 18:00

    Perhaps rather than “corrupt”, they could be described as “captured by special interests”

  39. Gravatar of Jon Biggar Jon Biggar
    14. February 2011 at 18:03

    Or maybe, since they are on the opposite side of individual liberty, perhaps “special interest promoters”.

  40. Gravatar of liberalarts liberalarts
    14. February 2011 at 18:28

    Thomas Sowell is a libertarian idealist? Isn’t he a straight up conservative?

  41. Gravatar of Rien Huizer Rien Huizer
    14. February 2011 at 19:46

    Ben,

    “Hence an honest question for Europeans: Outside the relatively safe, privileged, meritocratic realm in which these white males operate, is libertarianism considered a serious political philosophy?”

    Good and bad question: Good: “is libertarianism..philosophy” . I am not so sure these boxes fit well with Europe (as is clear from my European view on Scott’s six issues (I like the issues better than the boxes and if I had to work on developing Nolan’s chart into something more seriously academic, I would make a long list of known controversial and/o wedge issues for a limited number of adherents of political philosophies. For instance, gun control in the US is an issue, in Europe it is a given. Politics in Europe are robustly secular (even more so after the rise of demonstrative religion by moslems) and tending to become anti-religious (since the main religion actually practised publicly in NW Europe is Islam).
    Bad: “educated meritocratic white males” I do not think that there are real gender/racial (ethnic yes) differences,in political philosophy in Europe but there are of course differences between more or less well-educated people (and I assume that ignorant indifference (one of the philosophies I would definitely add to Scott’s categories) with latent potential for mobilization on trivial issues, like one can see in the rise of political movements with extraordinarily contradictory and hence necessarily vague “principles” combined with clear hostility to “Islam” in hitherto “educated meritocratic” governed countries like France, Benelux, the Nordics and -under the radar- Germany. Like in the US political philosophy tends to be an elite activity, but I believe that the European public -I hoe you do not mind making an exception for the Mediterranean ones where political culture tends to be more populist and still under the influence of the past conflict between left and church, and the former CMEA countries with their great diversity (maybe Poland is a bit like the US) but generally secular, political economy-wise polarized (quite a few old bad leftists still around and also quite a few very bad rightists)

    So, to answer the question: (1) political philosophy is less interesting than actual clustering on controversial issues. I believe that the US public has different controversies than Europe, but that depends on also on what you define as Europe. Belgium may actually be a good proxy for Europe. So I would find the clusters first and then see (a) to what extent this links to positive “philosophical” content (what do we do with the overwhelmingly “postmodern” allegiance one finds in large areas of Europe’s public sector; clearly not liberal, not pragmatic, not conservative, offended if called corrupt, etc). And I would certainly include boxes for people with no actual allegiance, but susceptible to mobilization by polticians peddling issues (you may find this a bit postmodern) (2) like in the US, political philosophy is an elite phenomenon, but political preferences are more widespread and may contain a core of personal beliefs (usually not internally consisten) that is difficult to change, but can be manipulated and mixed so that the individual can be made to function in political movements. In many cases and cisrcumstances, that would take a lot of effort, and in other cases (NIMBY for instance, discrimination, denial of existing privileges) very little. Just look at the realized political preference trajectory of a hypothetical 120 year old average German male and compare it to his (white males both) US peer..

  42. Gravatar of Liberal Roman Liberal Roman
    14. February 2011 at 21:32

    The more I think about it, the more I find it ridiculous that libertarians think they have a home in the Republican party.

    Scott mentioned that his 6 issues would find almost unanimous agreement among the general populace and it’s just the corrupt politicians that stand in the way of proper solutions. But when it comes to immigration, it’s not even the “corrupt” politicians that stand in the way of a solution, it’s the “freedom loving, small government” “conservatives” that stand in the way of a solution. I would argue they stand in the way of a solution on drug use.

  43. Gravatar of John John
    14. February 2011 at 21:36

    Scott, I’ve noticed that these pop-y political posts are much more popular but also the commenter quality drops off a cliff… I think we may have stumbled on why MY’s comments are so horrible.

  44. Gravatar of Shane Shane
    15. February 2011 at 06:14

    “Hence an honest question for Europeans: Outside the relatively safe, privileged, meritocratic realm in which these white males operate, is libertarianism considered a serious political philosophy?”

    Here in Ireland – a European country with a relatively small government already – absolutely not. We have inherited a curious situation where the two biggest parties (Fine Gael and Fianna Fail) are not divided along left/right economic policies, but mainly on which way they voted over a treaty with UK in the 1920s. Both parties are broadly populist, pragmatic parties, what are called “corrupt” in the above post.

    The biggest, Fianna Fail, has led government coalitions with the left-wing Labour Party, with the Greens, and with the right-leaning Progressive Democrats, hinting a little at their ideological flexibility!

    In recent decades the state tried to encourage foreign investment with low corporate taxes. These policies have been derided by some on the left as “neo-liberal”. However they are not libertarian by a long shot. No major party advocates seriously decreasing the welfare state. Drug legalisation is rarely discussed. Increased regulations, such as a smoking ban in all workplaces (including bars and restaurants) were enacted in recent years.

    I hadn’t even heard of libertarianism until I started encountering foreign libertarians and anarchists online. In university “right wing” was often interpreted as being pro-war, sexist, racist and pro-business corporatist. The idea of a state that generally leaves people alone isn’t a part of most mainstream political debate here.

  45. Gravatar of Sumner’s Six Issues | Brucetheeconomist's Blog Sumner’s Six Issues | Brucetheeconomist's Blog
    15. February 2011 at 08:13

    [...] Sumner’s Six Issues. Scott Sumner has a post on, among other things, the six most important public policy issues. I completely agree with Sumner [...]

  46. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    15. February 2011 at 08:28

    Rien, You said;

    “1) to reduce consumer protection (I assume that is what #1 is about),”

    No. In the US occupational licensing is to protect producers, not consumers.

    You said;

    “inefficient social security negative taxes, leading to a situation that the vast majority pay at least half their tax via consumption”

    I don’t follow, the most efficient tax system is where 100% of taxes are on consumption (including payroll taxes.)

    It’s not clear to me that the European case is all that much different, except perhaps that the right wing is smaller. But you know more about it than I do.

    If it is different, the biggest factor may be the prevalence of parliamentary systems, which might reduce corruption in governance (at least in Northern Europe.)

    Thanks Patrick.

    Honeyoak, You said;

    “And while we are much more welfare state-loving and less capitalist than our southern brethren, it is very hard to notice the difference.”

    Interestingly, the new Heritage economic freedom rankings show Canada as being more capitalist than the US. I’m not saying that’s correct, it’s a subjective call, but it does suggest the difference may not be as big as people assume, just as you said.

    cassander, Note that I don’t have any category for dogmatic progressives, as I rarely meet them. They all seem pretty pragmatic to me (although some are blinded by ideology.)

    Liberal Roman, You said;

    “But on drug legalization, immigration and getting rid of market distortive tax deductions, it is the Democrats that are on the right side of the debate.”

    I have no idea what you could mean. Almost all Democratic politicians oppose drug legalization, indeed almost all oppose even marijuana decriminalization, one reason it was defeated in California.

    Democrats favor tax distortions at least as much as the GOP, maybe more. The vast majority of no deduction/flat tax supporters are Republicans.

    You may be right about immigration, but I don’t recall hearing Democratic politicians calling for much higher rates of legal immigration. But I can’t say it’s an issue I watch closely.

    Liberal Roman, You said;

    “They are also on the right side of the debate when it comes to QE and monetary policy.”

    It depends on which debate. One of the most important debates was whether easy money in 2008 could have boosted NGDP growth. The right was much more likely to say yes than the left. You are right about the point you raise, and perhaps its the most important point. But it’s hardly the only relevant issue. In any case, my point had nothing to do with comparing which party was better, so it can’t be criticized on those grounds.

    My point is that politicians in both parties completely ignore some important issues. And I think everyone would agree that monetary policy was completely ignored by both parties in 2008, when monetary stimulus was desperately needed.

    Full Employment Hawk, You are there. I meant idealistic to mean non-corrupt. I include pragmatists who are consequentialists in a broad egalitarian sense. People who want what’s best for society overall, not special interest groups. Unfortunately if I explained everything in the needed detail, the post would have been 1000 pages.

    Mattias, It’s 100% deductible.

    OGT, I agree with you and Yglesias on carbon taxes, but I couldn’t include it because most on the right don’t agree. I wanted issues where the left and the right agree.

    vt, I didn’t mean dogmatic in a normative sense, merely descriptive. I don’t mean to suggest that dogmatic libertarians are worse than pragmatic libertarians. On the other hand I did mean “corrupt” in a normative sense.

    Indy, Yes, Nolan’s chart works better for Mussolini and mine works better for America today. I’m happy with that.

    You said;

    “Also – the “corrupt” Democrats and Republicans, I think, don’t share any actual value or ideological “affinity”,”

    I strongly disagree. Both are selfish. That’s their value system. The other 4 want what’s best for the country. Read this:

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2011/02/15/an_engine_fueled_by_pork/?p1=News_links

    There is no way to sugarcoat this. They vote for pork because they’ll get more votes in the next election. It’s not legal bribery, but it’s morally indistinguishable.

    You said;

    “Also, I really don’t think there’s only one Pragmatic Libertarian take on immigration issues like you seem to imply.”

    No, I said in the real world no one fit perfectly into my boxes. Some idealistic libertarians oppose immigration.

    Thanks Morgan.

    srb, You said;

    “My objection is similar to Full Employment Hawk – there needs to be something between libertarian and progressive on the right hand side. I think this typology leaves out a large chunk of the economics profession – those of us who believe that (a) externalities and other market failures are important and there is an important role for government in addressing; but (b) they are best addressed through incentive-based than command-and-control mechanisms.”

    That’s me, and I consider myself a pragmatic libertarian. I also said in the real world people fall in between two points. Most economists are on the progressive/pragmatic libertarian spectrum. Economists are mostly utilitarians, which unites the two.

    Ben, Not as much as in the US.

    Bernardo, Very few people are libertarians for selfish reasons. And I’d say the same about Marxists, to show that it’s not my own bias. These groups can’t win in America, and they have no power. Selfish businessmen give money to the Dems and the GOP, or run for office in one of those two parties. All one gets for joining the Libertarian party is ridicule. Why do it unless you sincerely believe it?

    You said;

    “I also do not see where rule-utilitarians would be on the circle. By this label I mean people who think that the ultimate reason for laws and government is that they increase the well-being of the citizens by solving social problems, but who (in part because they recognize knowledge problems) favor reforms of the “rules of the game” over more interventionist social engineering kind of government action. Maybe this is similar to what srb has said above.”

    Very good question. I’d put them in the pragmatic camp, but I agree it’s a tough call. If dogmatic libertarians insist that a strict rules libertarian system is best on utilitarian grounds, then the two forms of libertarianism collapse into one. But the categories sure do seem different. One side argues taxes are theft, on the other side that taxes are a disincentive to work. The latter group is more open to some income redistribution.

    Blackadder, Good point.

    David, I don’t know, as I don’t control that. Perhaps it had a link.

    dtoh, I agree about resistance to change. That’s why the fastest economic reformers (Denmark, New Zealand) tend to be the most civic-minded countries, and vice versa.

    Mark Phariss, Very good observation.

    srb, Good point about some modern conservatives. But to play the devils advocate, weren’t the biggest mistakes of Bush his failure to elide hard problems? (Iraq, Medicare drug benefit, homeland defense, No Child Left behind.)

    And to be fair, conservatives aren’t the only ones who avoid scientific findings they don’t like. Consider studies showing throwing more money at education doesn’t help, or Head Start doesn’t help, or studies showing innate differences in the brains of men and women. How well does the left take those scientific findings? Or how about the consensus that taxes on capital are a bad idea?

    dieter;

    “So Europeans are cynical about market liberal talk, precisely because we are able to judge them by their deeds.”

    You should be skeptical–about all ideologies. Hitler called himself a socialist, and that didn’t work out too well either. I think you must discriminate between market liberal talk and market liberal actions. Denmark is more market liberal than Germany because Denmark is less corrupt than Germany. Actions speak louder than words. Politicians are somewhat corrupt everywhere, it is a matter of degree.

    I’m not going to tell Germans who to vote for, as I don’t know enough about German politics. If I was a German, I’d vote for the group most likely to implement pragmatic libertarian ideas.

    You said;

    “I would like to defend the “corrupt” though. These politicians are actually in contact with real people on the ground and might understand a thing or too about the viability of the schemes put forward by the idealists.”

    Actually, the evidence suggests otherwise. Check out the link above on the engine factory in Massachusetts. There is no way our two senators are so stupid that they actually believe this is a good idea. It’s pure corruption.

    You said;

    “The notion that individuals should arrange their own retirement pensions by gambling in the stock markets for example seems outlandish to me.”

    It looks like a much safer gamble than relying on our public pensions, which are about to be cut back. It’s certainly worked much better for me. In any case, that observation has nothing to do with my post.

    Jon, You said;

    “Perhaps rather than “corrupt”, they could be described as “captured by special interests””

    I don’t see the difference.

    Liberal Roman, You said;

    “Scott mentioned that his 6 issues would find almost unanimous agreement among the general populace and it’s just the corrupt politicians that stand in the way of proper solutions.”

    I said nothing of the kind. I said intellectuals differed from politicians on these issues.

    John, You said;

    “Scott, I’ve noticed that these pop-y political posts are much more popular but also the commenter quality drops off a cliff… I think we may have stumbled on why MY’s comments are so horrible.”

    Are you excluding yourself? :)

    Shane; You said;

    “The idea of a state that generally leaves people alone isn’t a part of most mainstream political debate here.”

    Yes, that’s an interesting difference. Even more interesting is the fact that Europe has done more privatization and deregulation than the US.

    Everyone, I suppose you could argue that politicians who help special interests sincerely believe that the harm done is offset by the gains they provide in other areas of public service. I don’t buy that argument, but I suppose some might believe they are acting for non-corrupt reasons.

  47. Gravatar of David N David N
    15. February 2011 at 09:40

    Scott,

    What I tried to post was that while I suppose I’m a pragmatic libertarian, I can’t go along with eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Many, if not most homeowners with mortgages receive an imputed benefit that is far smaller than the interest they pay and there are many costs associated with maintaining a residence that are not deductible. Some homeowners may even have an imputed loss when you take all their non-deductible expenses into account. Perhaps it’s dogmatic of me to argue for restoring the deductibility of all personal interest, but I don’t understand why any libertarian, or any progressive for that matter, would favor providing more tax advantages to corporations and landlords.

  48. Gravatar of Roderick T. Long Roderick T. Long
    15. February 2011 at 09:50

    So where would the Alliance of the Libertarian Left fit?

  49. Gravatar of Jacob B Jacob B
    15. February 2011 at 09:56

    I would like to question how Realpolitik has anything in common with Corruption. Realpolitik, and its 17th Century equivalent, Raison D’etat, is simply the advocating of realistic (pragmatic) national interest. Sure its cold hearted but thats what Realism is, as opposed to Classical Liberalism. If anything Realpolitik should not be included in this ideological spectrum because it lies in the international arena, which this spectrum fails to account for. Also I would care to point out that Realpolitik is very intellectual, so grouping it with anti-intellectuals is frankly stupid.
    Perhaps self-interested instead of corrupt would be a better term, but then again Nationalism is by definition a nation self interested in itself. How does that make it corrupt or a person corrupt if all they are trying to do is better the nation? The term corrupt is politically loaded. I don’t see it opposite pragmatic or dogmatic at all.

  50. Gravatar of D. Watson D. Watson
    15. February 2011 at 13:44

    Scott,

    Others have brought up the corrupt vs. pragmatic issue. I’ll mention that it looks like you flipped the progressives around. It ought to go idealist-pragmatic-idealist-pragmatic-idealist-pragmatic. Putting pragmatic/corrupt people next to each other is less interesting than your points about how one idealist is similar to its neighboring pragmatists.

    At thee risk of being more complicated, I think it would be better still to make a nonagon with the three value systems and three ideologies in groups. As is, it seems you ignore one third of the categories (e.g. selfish libertarians who want no government interference because they assume they would be the strong who survived and would get a yet bigger share of the pie rather than because they believe minimal government produces the greatest economic growth for future generations of the poor).

  51. Gravatar of Rien Huizer Rien Huizer
    15. February 2011 at 17:19

    Scott,

    You said;

    “inefficient social security negative taxes, leading to a situation that the vast majority pay at least half their tax via consumption”

    I don’t follow, the most efficient tax system is where 100% of taxes are on consumption (including payroll taxes.)

    It’s not clear to me that the European case is all that much different, except perhaps that the right wing is smaller. But you know more about it than I do.

    If it is different, the biggest factor may be the prevalence of parliamentary systems, which might reduce corruption in governance (at least in Northern Europe.)

    Re taxes: I put this completely the wrong way, what I meant to say is that the combined effect of high income taxes and inefficient social security (negative taxes) plus very high consumption taxes (and of course those are not inefficient), results in most people paying at least half their tax in the form of consumption taxes.

    And yes, parliamentary systems may have something to do with this. I think education and media play a role as well. But your attempt to order political styles, tastes, philosophy, whatever might benefit from collecting dominant controversies (all the pollsters have them) and then mapping national prrofiles re those controversies would be more interesting than a debate about the number of points etc. It is a multidimensional thing where one has to simplify once relevance has been established by ordering observed controversies and then see what political philosophies (and, keep in mind, political philosophy is not homogeneous as a genus, the “species” may not contain to many interchangeable/shared elements and features. Some “philosophies” for instance (say “militant Islam”) are highly exclusive re a narrow range of issues and silent/undefined in many others, while that philosophy also tries to drive a completely different, transformative public agenda. Of course they are all bundles of ideas looking for expression in politics, but a single flat diagram (and one that is essentially closed for species that do not fit between a single pair of already present species, like, for instance, political Islam (not quite mainstream conservatism) probably not the best way to represent reality. And if this is not meant to represent reality, maybe as a stepping stone to ordering the economic political philosophies related to currents of political thought, then I wonder what a monetary economist is trying to achieve here. Although, it seems to attract a new audience to the blog…

  52. Gravatar of The Money Illusion Manifesto | anotherpanacea The Money Illusion Manifesto | anotherpanacea
    16. February 2011 at 18:49

    [...] the gist: I would like to argue that most of the really important public policy issues are not even part of [...]

  53. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    16. February 2011 at 18:52

    David, I can’t imagine how a pragmatic libertarian could support a mortgage interest deduction, it’s about the most un-pragmatic libertarian policy I can imagine.

    An efficient tax system does not tax capital at all, only consumption.

    I do not favor any tax advantages to corporations. We have that now with all the loopholes, I want to abolish the corporate income tax and provide a level playing field.

    Roderick, I’m not sure, I don’t know that group.

    Jacob, Fine, use “self-interested” instead. The terms are not important.

    D. Watson, I can’t imagine how someone could be a selfish libertarian. Wouldn’t you favor government policies that helped you, if you were selfish? Like tariffs protecting your industry? Or subsidies? It seems to me that most selfish libertarians end up being corrupt Republicans. At least that’s my experience.

    I prefer a simple set-up, even if 9 groups might capture more nuance. I’ll try to re-label to make the ideas clearer.

    Rien, I’m interested in the American political scene, and the fight over economic issues. Hence that’s the focus of my set-up.

  54. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    16. February 2011 at 19:05

    Scott wrote:
    “David, I can’t imagine how a pragmatic libertarian could support a mortgage interest deduction, it’s about the most un-pragmatic libertarian policy I can imagine.

    An efficient tax system does not tax capital at all, only consumption.

    I do not favor any tax advantages to corporations. We have that now with all the loopholes, I want to abolish the corporate income tax and provide a level playing field.”

    No ill will intended to David of course but those statements express my tax policy beliefs in a nutshell (tax policy is the main focus of my research on growth so far). And as I said previously, I’m a self described pragmatic libertarian who currently mostly votes for idealistic progressives.

  55. Gravatar of Wheel of Politics, Turn, Turn, Turn – Big Tent Revue Wheel of Politics, Turn, Turn, Turn - Big Tent Revue
    16. February 2011 at 20:47

    [...] Tyler Cowen an interesting diagram on politics in [...]

  56. Gravatar of David N David N
    16. February 2011 at 21:02

    Can you explain the libertarian argument against the exemption of personal interst? Interest is always taxed once, as income to the recipient. Why tax it twice? If you have a small amount of mortgage interest (or none) you benefit from the standard (i.e. minimum) deduction. If you have a large amount of mortgage interst (or simply own a house in a in a coastal state) you’re capped out? How is that libertarian?

  57. Gravatar of Leonard Leonard
    17. February 2011 at 10:56

    The “need for more legal immigration” is tenuous at best. It also doesn’t fit into your model: the establishments of both parties and the corporate and academic elites are plumping hard for legal and illegal immigration.

  58. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. February 2011 at 20:27

    David, I oppose all taxes on interest, and all deductions for interest. But the implicit income from owner occupied houses isn’t taxed whereas the explicit income from rental units is taxed. Allowing both owners to write off interest on mortages gives owner occupied houses and advantage over rental units. But I agree, interest income should not be taxed.

    Leonard, It doesn’t fit as well as the others, but there is far more support for extra immigration among the elites outside of Congress, than within. Otherwise Congress would do something.

  59. Gravatar of Who Am I? Who Are You? « Among the Poseidonians Who Am I? Who Are You? « Among the Poseidonians
    18. February 2011 at 08:41

    [...] This is useful. I’m a pragmatic libertarian, for what it’s worth, which is why I, like Wilkinson, can talk to the parts of the Left that are actually interested in governing: we’re adjacent. [...]

  60. Gravatar of R. Kevin Hill R. Kevin Hill
    18. February 2011 at 12:34

    Short version: no.
    Long version: http://poseidonian.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/who-am-i-who-are-you/

  61. Gravatar of TheMoneyIllusion » The wheel of Politics: Reply to my critics TheMoneyIllusion » The wheel of Politics: Reply to my critics
    19. February 2011 at 10:36

    [...] I knew my “wheel” post would attract so much attention, I would have spent more time on it.  And BTW, perhaps it should [...]

  62. Gravatar of Tomaž Štih Tomaž Štih
    19. February 2011 at 13:22

    Scott, I propose a slight modification.

    At present all sides are of the same length. Why don’t you do a wheel where length of the side (or colored area which can span through many sides) is proportional to % of population pertaining to category.

    This way you can also show domination of political ideologies on the same chart.

  63. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. February 2011 at 15:39

    Tomaz, Two problems. Many people are in multiple categories. And I don’t have any idea on the numbers.

    It’s a good idea, but I just don’t think I could find good enough data.

  64. Gravatar of Show Me the Cheddar! « Renaissance Roundtable Show Me the Cheddar! « Renaissance Roundtable
    24. February 2011 at 13:16

    [...] to the alter of political consistency, but as a “secular consequentialist” (via Scott Sumner) I think even if this counts in the negative column, more good comes from allowing legislatures to [...]

  65. Gravatar of Matt Matt
    4. March 2011 at 12:56

    @Scott – I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this post. I have a question or two about:

    2. The huge rise in people incarcerated in the war on drugs, and also the scandalous reluctance of doctors to prescribe adequate pain medication (also due to the war on drugs.)

    I could not possibly agree more with you about the disastrous effects of thoroughly unwinnable war on drugs. As a recovering drug addict (who actually managed somehow to evade arrest and incarceration, though not a totally miserable lifestyle followed by rehab and ongoing recovery), I raised my eyebrows a bit at the line about “the scandalous reluctance of doctors to prescribe adequate pain medication”. I don’t know anything about the policies doctors follow with respect to pain meds, but I do know a vast number of people who were able to con doctors into prescribing them scandalous amounts of pain meds.

    When I was a using addict, I would have done just about anything to avoid even the slightest inkling of physical pain, and I found it to be pretty easy to convince a doctor than I needed something. As a recovering addict, I avoid narcotic pain meds whenever possible, and I’ve discovered that my tolerance for pain is much higher than I ever expected it could be. Obviously there are times that pain meds simply cannot be avoided. When I had my wisdom teeth removed, I was gladly doped up during the operation. During the recovery, however, I used nothing stronger than 800 mg ibuprofen.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, since I assume you’ve got data to back up the assertion about doctors and pain meds. I am saying that the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen suggests otherwise.

  66. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. March 2011 at 11:20

    Matt, My observation is based on reports I’ve read, and all personal observation of people I’ve known who were in pain. It’s not scientific.

  67. Gravatar of The Certification & Licensing Racket The Certification & Licensing Racket
    18. March 2011 at 16:41

    [...] — also correctly — as “rent-seeking“. But today’s conservatives (with some exceptions) tend to be mostly mute on this large and growing problem. If John Boehner or Scott Walker or Paul [...]

  68. Gravatar of The imaginary political « Phil Ebersole's Blog The imaginary political « Phil Ebersole's Blog
    3. November 2011 at 10:06

    [...] on The Wheel of Politics for another libertarian-centric chart, this one a hexagon showing libertarianism in relation to [...]

  69. Gravatar of If you liked that checkout this All 44 US Presidents are linked and compared in this Epic historical doumentary on American Presidential Politics.A great reference tool for the 2012US Presidential election with Obama vs Romney.It will change the way you v If you liked that checkout this All 44 US Presidents are linked and compared in this Epic historical doumentary on American Presidential Politics.A great reference tool for the 2012US Presidential election with Obama vs Romney.It will change the way you v
    30. April 2012 at 12:16

    If you liked that checkout this All 44 US Presidents are linked and compared in this Epic historical doumentary on American Presidential Politics.A great reference tool for the 2012US Presidential election with Obama vs Romney.It will change the way …

    [...]TheMoneyIllusion » The wheel of politics[...]…

Leave a Reply