Being Out

Kevin Williamson has left The National Review (and NRO) to write for The Atlantic.  It is a loss for the former and a massive gain for the latter.  Otherwise we would be stuck with only Bad American Habits I Kicked In Finland.  Really, we are not making this up.  Kevin weighs in for we think the first time (clicking on Kevin shows only one article) with The Passing Of The Libertarian Moment where he says:

It was only a few years ago that the editors of Reason magazine held [Rand Paul] up as the personification of what they imagined to be a “libertarian moment,” a term that enjoyed some momentary cachet in the pages of The New York TimesThe AtlanticPolitico (where I offered a skeptical assessment), and elsewhere. But rather than embodying the future of the Republican Party, Paul embodies its past, the postwar conservative era when Ronald Reagan could proclaim that “the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism,” when National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. could publish a conspectus of his later work under the subtitle “Reflections of a Libertarian Journalist,” and young blue-blazered Republicans of the Alex P. Keaton variety wore out their copies of Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose.

We shared Kevin’s skepticism on the moment and recommend you read all of Kevin’s piece in The Atlantic and anything else he writes there.  The Venn Diagram of politics for Kevin and MWG has a substantial overlap.  We disagree on a number of areas like the growth fairy, we believe and he doesn’t, but we mostly agree.  We would like to continue his discussion being out as in out of the current political moment.  We think in the US with two major political parties most folks are going to be out much of the time.  Kevin thinks it is worse now concludes:

 If the Democrats were more clever, they might offer the libertarians a better deal on trade, criminal justice, and civil liberties. Instead, they are dreaming up excuses to sue or jail people for their views on climate change, and the United States is for the moment left with two authoritarian populist parties and no political home for classical liberalism at all.

We would have put it differently: If the libertarians cared about winning elections they could have taken over the Democrats.  The Democrats care too much about winning elections and he libertarians care too little.  It would be great if Kevin and MWG had a choice in the election rather than a choice to vote or not vote.

The problem is that almost all folks that spend some time thinking about politics are going to be unhappy with both parties.  Reducing taxes would be a core belief of most conservatives and libertarians but all recent GOP presidents have disappointed us on taxes.  We are sure those on the left and center could recite their own litany of woes.  The point is that most of us that spend some time thinking about politics are out most of the time.  Political parties need to generate a majority so approximately zero people get all that they want.  Then there is the need to compromise among the folks in Congress.

For example, because of our differences on the growth fairy, Kevin was out on the 2017 tax reform and MWG was in and especially in on corporate tax reform.  This year is different and The Donald’s tariff foibles have Kevin out and MWG doubly out because we agree on zero tariffs but disagree on the growth fairy.  Politics is always going to vary from philosophy.  Neither a corporate tax rate of zero nor zero tariffs are going to happen soon.  We can still fight to move in the right direction but we are going to be out most of the time.

Buck up Kevin, it will get better but it will not get much better because you need a majority to win elections.   You won’t find a majority based philosophy.  Make sure you check out Kevin at The Atlantic.


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