Bryan Caplan  

Tyler's Crisis Mentality

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Education: Practicality vs. Ra... Libertarianism's Crisis...

Tyler has a podcast about what he calls "the intellectual crisis in libertarianism." Again, I'm baffled. To say we're in a crisis strongly suggests that things used to be better for us. But as far as I can tell, as an intellectual movement libertarianism is doing better today than ever before.

If someone were to argue that libertarianism "remains as irrelevant as ever," I'd understand his point. Yes, there are a lot more of us than there used to be, but that doesn't change the fact that we're a tiny quixotic minority. Point taken. But to say that libertarianism has entered a crisis period is silly.

Personally, I think Tyler needs to spend less time reading newspapers and more time reading The Onion, starting here and here.


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COMMENTS (7 to date)
MattS writes:

Part of the appeal of libertarianism to me is that it takes human nature into account when constructing the ideal polity. If Professor Cowen is correct about it being part of human nature to desire a kind of paternalistic government, I think his essential point is right. We don't think the new socialist man is coming anytime soon, so waiting for a new libertarian man is probably going to be just as successful.

Nacim writes:

Thank you for once again stating exactly what I had in mind. I didn't understand Cowen's alarmist attitude either.

Rue Des Quatre Vents writes:

Tyler Cowen: the prophet of good enough.

Daniel Klein writes:

Nice post.

Buzzcut writes:

In an economy where health care is 15% of GDP and growing rapidly, where government directly controls 40 to 60% of that healthcare spending, and where there is a serious movement towards socialized medicine, how can AN ECONOMIST argue that libertarianism is still on the upswing?

No one is arguing that libertarianism is on the decline in every sphere. No one is arguing to nationalize GM or US Steel, thank God. Libertarians won that argument quite convincingly.

But in education and health care, the new commanding heights of the economy, socialism is thriving, and in fact rapidly expanding.

The fact that Arnold Kling is the only man making libertarian arguments against the spread of socialized medicine indicates to me that libertarianism has a big, big problem making more headway in this society.

Bill Stepp writes:

Yeah, I've come to the conclusion that at least half of Tyler's posts should be dressed up (or down) a bit and inserted into The Onion. The back page, which makes I'm told makes good loo paper.

Steve writes:

You need to remember that Tyler is a fatalist. What he needs to remember is that he is destined for liberty.

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