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Freaky Libertarians


Easily, the most readable book on economics in this young century is Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner.  There is also a Freakonomics podcast (which is available in the App Store).  I often listen to one of those podcasts when running.  A recent one concerned the Libertarian political party, complete with an interview by Gary Johnson, who ran on the 2016 ticket and garnered a slightly surprising 3.2%.

Libertarians are usually those who prefer less government in their life, both in their wallet and their bedroom.  This is in contrast to the stereotypical Republican who wants less government in their wallet but doesn’t care how much government is in their bedroom.  It is also in contrast to the stereotypical Democrat who doesn’t care if the government gets a little deeper into their wallet, as long as the government stays out of their bedroom and personal life.

Don’t you wish life was that starkly simple?  That’s why stereotypes are occasionally useful — for drawing contrasts.  But, which is worse — stereotypes or purists?

This podcast focused on the purist or extreme positions of Libertarians.  They would abolish most of the Departments in the President’s cabinet, including the IRS, in favor of a regressive tax on consumption.  They would legalize most currently-illegal recreational  drugs.  The U.S. would practice isolationism from the rest of the world, like it was a religion.

The conclusion was that the purists of the Libertarian party have more control over that party than the purists in either the Republican or Democratic parties, but there is now a movement among Libertarians to shed their purists.  Maybe then, they can garner 3.3% of the popular vote?

I hope so!

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