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Massachusetts Progressive Politics and other news of the world

 

Libertarian Spotting


So, I've been reading a lot of Libertarian Blogs lately. It seems like that's all there is out there, so it's pretty impossible not to run into them. My favorites so far are Diana Hsieh's NoodleFood and Eugene Volokh's The Volokh Conspiracy. Here's an interesting bit from The Volokh Conspiracy.

But there's no reason why helmet laws are the only solution to the Cost To Taxpayers (or Fellowed Policyholders) problem. If we're really serious about protecting innocent taxpayers *and* motorcyclists' liberty, the state can just set up two kinds of motorcycle license plates: An H series (e.g., H123456) for people who promise to ride wearing helmets, and an N series (e.g., N123456) for people who reserve the right to ride without.

To get an N license plate, you have to show proof of insurance for helmetless riding -- presumably that kind of insurance will be expensive to get, but that's fair given that your health care will be expensive, too. But if you get an N plate then you'll never be ticketed for riding helmetless.
[read the whole post]

Of course, I agree with this. I said here that you should be denied insurance payouts if you don't wear a seat belt. Inevitably, someone would offer supplemental "stupidity payouts" for those who don't want to wear one anyway. Volokh clearly has the right solution here. It is funny, though, when a Libertarian wants to add more government to solve a problem.
9/18/2002 10:03:00 AM [Link] |
 

Rise of Libertarianism


If you tried to gauge American politics from blogs, you'd think everyone in America was a Libertarian, but that's not true at all. Something about their personalities makes them more likely to blog. Or it could just be that the mainstream media doesn't represent them at all. As a liberal, I think their emergence on the net is the best thing to happen to American politics in quite some time, and I'm interested in helping their cause.

You see, for the most part, Libertarians are just Republicans who don't hate gays and like to get high. Since that's an improvement over prevalent conservative thinking, I'm all for it. All of the rest of their ideas come straight from the GOP (gun fetishism, tax avoidance, etc.), which is why so many Libertarians are ex-Republicans who have gotten sick of the radical right movement of the party (P.J. O'Rourke, for example). The funny thing is, they actually think that they are presenting a third alternative and do not want to align themselves with Republicans directly--therein lies their appeal.

Libertarians are to the GOP what the Green Party was to the Democrats. They will grow at the expense of the Republican party--and, if they are really successful, they can splinter the conservative vote so much that it will be impossible for each of them to win an election. Their penchant for advocacy and the emergence of the blogosphere (and their seeming dominance of it) separates them from other third parties. Also, unlike most third parties, they appeal more to reason than their closest alternative. It doesn't hurt that they also appeal to those with more hedonistic beliefs.

The next milestone for this party, one they must achieve to have any success, is large corporate donations. This should be a lay up considering their beliefs. The only reason they don't have it now is because they haven't shown they can win elections (so I guess the real next milestone is to win some elections). It's a chicken and egg problem. To solve it, get independently wealthy individuals to become Libertarians and run for something. This is essentially what Ross Perot did, and it almost formed a viable third party. In the end he realized he was a Republican and backed off. As a public service, here's a starter list of rich conservatives who are not obviously aligned with the radical right: Donald Trump, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, and gun nut numero uno: Charlton Heston.
9/17/2002 01:47:00 PM [Link] |
 

Gun Control for Dummies


I'm pro gun-control. Believing in gun-control does not mean that I believe that no one should own guns--it just means that I think that gun ownership should be controlled (this is usually beyond the grasp of most gunnies, which is why I have to state the obvious here--bear with me).

I find it unbelievable that it's possible to disagree with this belief, but so many do that I have to accept that and try to argue for the obvious anyway. The rest of this post assumes that you are anti-gun-control.

Imagine a world where the buying/selling/use of guns was not regulated in any way. I'm not saying that murder is legal in this world, there are laws against that, but none against simply owning or carrying a gun. Not only that, but there is a constitutional amendment in this world that says that the government cannot pass gun-control laws. Is this the world you want? That is the world without gun-control, and only those without imagination or an understanding of human behavior would choose to live in it.

Now, suppose I lift the amendment restriction and gun control laws can be made. What laws would you enact? Could I prohibit guns in my own home? How about guns in schools? How about private institutions--I own a business--can I prohibit guns in my own place of business? How about a community--could they prohibit guns in their town hall? Could a city decide that they wanted to curtail gun-toting in public places (like the subway or public parks)? How about registration, licensing, proficiency tests, and insurance. We require these for car ownership and no one complains. Is a gun less dangerous than a car? How about in the hands of a felon or in someone ignorant of its use.

I think if you looked into it, you'd find that most gunnies live in remote areas where they don't have to worry about your right to own a gun impinging on their right to live. If they thought about it, they probably wouldn't want to live in an urban area without gun control. But their single-minded focus on removing even minimal control gets in the way of anyone accepting the fact that law abiding citizens should have the (controlled) right to own guns.

Still confused? Take this simple quiz!
9/16/2002 04:37:00 PM [Link] |