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Aug 18, 2006


Craig Goodrich

I dunno. Maybe Lind is right; on the other hand, by the time FDR had completed his task of prolonging a sharp recession into a decade-long major depression, the largely-libertarian Old Right -- led mostly by Taft, who represented a minority even among the minority Republicans -- seemed pretty much dead.

Then with the defeat of Goldwater, the libertarian wing of the Right was once again declared dead, to be replaced by Nixon/National Review Cold War conservatism. I remember Nixon's "we are all Keynsians now," and his establishment of the EPA and floating exchange rates. Yet a decade later Reagan managed to make some actual progress reducing the size of the Federal Government -- at least in terms of raw volume of regulations.

Then the managerial-bureaucratic mild conservatism of Bush I was followed by Clinton, to the huzzahs of the Left, who pronounced conservatism dead yet again, only to have Clinton "triangulate" and reestablish a Bush I bureaucratic hegemony.

Then Bush II ran -- as Republicans tend to run -- on a largely libertarian platform, similar oddly enough to FDR's 1932 Democratic platform, which called for reduced taxes and smaller government. W changed course -- partly voluntarily and partly forced by circumstances and politics -- so Lind's description of the current state is not inaccurate, unfortunately.

But it rather strikes me that there is a long history of declaring this or that political faction dead in the US, only to have it reappear. The Left was declared dead in '94, but the putative corpse still seems to twitch violently now and then.

So perhaps Lind is right -- but, as we say out here in Vegas, don't bet the farm on it...


Hi, Im from Melbourne Australia.
These 2 related essays provide a comprehensive critique of so called libertarianism----and its devastating consequences.


2. (especially the Fundamentals section via the sidebar)

John Wilkins

Craig, I think you have FDR mixed up with someone else. FDR's policy led to a 1% unemployment rate right before the war, leading to much greater happiness than at the beginning of his administration. Keynsianism was, in part, responsible for the immense prosperity we built until 1973.

Anyone who has gone to a public school, used a public road, or taken medicine or used the internet is the beneficiary of government largesse.

Look, I'm a libertarian in my private life. But when it comes to macro economics, "in the long run we are all dead" I'm not very patient with it.

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