13 Jun 2008

My Politics

I am in DC, and a number of people here are interested in politics. In the interest of full disclosure, here is my best attempt to define mine.

The place I work (The Mercatus Center) is associated with libertarian ideas, but the place I am going (UC Berkeley) is associated with "left" ideas. (I hate the vagueness of "liberal" and think "progressive" to be too self-congratulatory.) OTOH, I am conservative in my defense of the constitution, but many republican ideas (big government policy or pro-business legislation) drive me nuts. Here is how I introduced myself on Freedom Democrats:
I am basically a free-market libertarian, but I am no fan of "unbridled" capitalism. (I've been to China.) I think that the State does have a role to play wrt public goods -- either in their provision (laws, standards) or their financing (education, health care). I think that government charity can crowd out private charity, the 10th amendment has been abused too much, the drug war (and illegal prostitution) is a destructive waste of time, money and people, and that taxes should be reformed to reduce distortions (i.e., higher property taxes; zero taxes on corportations). OTOH, I think that corporations deserve no special treatment, and I would like all laws (including free trade agreements) to be one page long.

My number one goal for political reform is neutral redistricting (no gerrymandering). On top of that, I am in favor of gender quotas in the legislature, i.e., merge pairs of districts, then have women compete for the woman's seat and men for the man's seat.

The State should guarantee basic rights and security for people and then get out of the way. Often people claim that the State is "helping" but the State is really being manipulated by the powerful. See Baptists and Bootleggers.

All of this kinda sounds mish-mashy, but life is complicated and simple labels (e.g., democrat, libertarian, white, american, male, etc.) do not capture anyone accurately.
I took the political quiz here, and this is where I fall in the Economic Left/Right--Social Libertarian/Authoritarian space (little red dot at 2.38, -5.38):

Bottom Line: I reserve the right to have an opinion independent from any "movement" and change that opinion. Question Authority? Sure! Speak Truth to Power? You bet!