Where is the Evidence?

Why, Michael Lind asks, hasn’t any country fully adopted libertarianism? It’s a difficult question to answer, but I don’t think that the answer damns libertarian political philosophy. That libertarian policies have worked, even in isolation, is good evidence that some of it is right and that it’s worth considering the rest. But also, a good libertarian theory of social change, informed by the theory of spontaneous order, may think that a “libertarian” society has to be developed over time. This answer isn’t a cop-out, because it’s what an advocate of democracy would have needed to say during the Middle Ages (and democracy, at first, was tried and failed!). Lind’s is a difficult question with a difficult answer, but Lind’s isn’t the only right answer.

Before defending the main argument, allow me to first tackle another problem with the question: what do we mean by libertarianism? One answer is that libertarianism is a comprehensive political philosophy that advocates unique political institutions, and this is what I assume Lind has in mind for the bulk of this response. But, libertarianism (‘big L’ Libertarianism) can also be a political platform that looks to inform policy through current institutions. And this isn’t only reserved for politicians and those who simply support the party. Academics could also fall in the same group. Milton Friedman, I think, was one example. Ludwig von Mises, a supporter of modern democracy, is another. The few libertarian policies implemented — privatized social security in Chile, the deregulation of the air-travel industry in the U.S, et cetera — have been mostly successful. These are the kind of things libertarians want to do: changes at the margin, with the hope of one day becoming a major political force.

Given the success of many of the libertarian policies experimented with so far, why hasn’t this general approach been more ubiquitous in our legislation? We live in a democracy, and to one extent or another our laws and style of governance reflects on the majority of American opinion. Libertarianism has certainly become more popular recently, but it’s still in the minority. Comparatively few people believe there should be no minimum wage, or that the financial industry should be completely deregulated. The latter, despite relatively strong evidence — see, for instance, C. Romer (1986) and H. Rockoff (1974) — that life without a central bank and extensive regulations wasn’t as bad as people think it would be. (Maybe some think that the recent financial is unambiguous evidence of the instability of the banking industry, but there are good reasons, with some probability of being right, that the evidence is not so strong.)

What about those who advocate more radical, comprehensive political reforms, including institutional changes? But, aren’t the past 200–300 years strong evidence in favor of the libertarian position? Let me explain the “libertarian position,” or at least how I see it. Libertarians are essentially liberals, but with strong “anti-government” priors which reveal themselves when they make short-term policy recommendations. Like all liberals, libertarians look forward to greater pluralism, which is exactly what happened during the transition from autocracies to democracies. They think that the transition towards greater pluralism isn’t over, and they search for institutions of governance that will make some part of society (for example, bleeding hearts with a concern for social justice may want to maximize the well-being of the worst off), or all of society, better off. I think — and I’m not the only one — we should be a little bit more agnostic with regards to where we expect governance to go, but in this broad respect they’re much like all other liberals. The big differences are in our policy recommendations, and this has already been explained above. If most people disagree with us, and always have, then there’s not much we can do about it.

But, there is evidence that things may change in the future. Despite the early failures of democracy, in ancient Athens for example, the past 300 years have witnessed the gradual replacement of the relatively autocratic and authoritarian political regimes that were the norm for much of political bureaucracy’s history. It was a victory for classical liberalism, whether of the continental strand (e.g. Rousseau)  or the Anglo (e.g. Hume; for the difference see the first chapter of Hayek’s Individualism and Economic Order). Since libertarianism is part of this tradition, democracy is undoubtedly a great victory (even if we’re not the only victors) and a great vindication of the ideology. This gives some legitimacy to the belief that things will get more “libertarian” in the future.

The strongest evidence against libertarianism is the fact that, for some stretch of times, many countries did approximate what a libertarian society would have looked like with past standards of living. The U.S. and Australia, for example, had free banking systems for at least part of their financial history, and ultimately replaced them with central banks. The modern welfare state did not begin until the late 1880s, but it has become the norm for the developed world. We did try something like libertarianism, and it looks like it has failed — although, some would say that its own success was its undoing, given that the rapidly rising standards of living between 1870–1920 allowed for, to a large extent, the modern welfare state (I think this is implicit in, for example, T.H. Marshall’s “Citizenship and Social Class“).

Changes in Pluralism

[Edit: Yea, the y-axis is mislabeled. Absolute pluralism, or something like that, would be at the origin, and the higher up the y-axis the point is the less pluralistic.]

But, someone may have passed the same judgment on democracy after witnessing its “success” in ancient Athens. Yet, like Democracy in the past, there is some evidence that libertarianism may be on the rise. In parts of Europe, the welfare state looks different from what most might expect. Countries like Sweden and Germany may have universal healthcare systems and low cost public education, but they also enjoy a relatively free business environment. It’s those that still retain the strong anti-business political bias, such as France and Spain, who are doing the worst in the crisis. The U.S. is a very different country today than it was between ~1933–70, and despite the crisis, it’s not clear that Obama’s “New New Deal” will inspire anything like Roosevelt’s New Deal did. Immigration laws may be relaxed, more drugs may be legalized, and society will become more liberal, but this is in line with the libertarian philosophy. Even if something like universal healthcare is eventually introduced, the welfare system may elsewhere move in the opposite direction. Take, for example, the recent revival of the school voucher system.

Why wasn’t democracy a smashing success in Athens? Maybe because democracy wasn’t the “optimal” institutional framework given those times’ economic conditions and the relatively unequal distribution of power. Maybe libertarianism isn’t “optimal” given our framework, but what if it could be at some point in the future? Perhaps institutions will evolve in such a way to restrict the power of the state to decision-making within a relatively narrow spectrum. In fact, I don’t think this position is strictly libertarian. Other liberals ought to be in full agreement, even if their priors suggest a transition in a different direction. We all recognize that governments make bad decisions — even if we don’t all agree on what a bad decision is —, and if governments gradually improve, then the impact of bad decisions, over time, should fall. Libertarians have good reason to keep their priors. Libertarian policy that has been implemented has, on average, turned out to be positive.

I think Daniel Kuehn is right to argue all of this suggests that libertarians know better than other people. If you’re of different opinion than someone else you must believe that your opinion is right, otherwise there would be no reason for you to believe in it. But, this is no different from Daniel, who thinks he knows libertarians are wrong. When reasonable people think they’re right they imply a more probabilistic approach, where being “right” is really being a certain percentage sure. Reasonable people include most libertarians. We have strong priors in certain directions, just like non-libertarians have strong priors in other directions. And, it’s clear that libertarians have good reason to have strong priors (even if they’re not the only ones with good reasons). In other words, there’s nothing obviously wrong with libertarian ideology.

In summary, the evidence can be reasonably interpreted to be in favor of libertarian ideology. At the very least, it is not obviously contrary to libertarian ideology. Therefore, it’s reasonable that some people may attach strong priors to whatever is considered a libertarian position. Non-libertarians may not agree. Reasonable people can disagree. But, what is clear is that Lind’s argument is not as good as some may think.

26 thoughts on “Where is the Evidence?

    1. valueprax

      When you say “best”, you’re making a comparative value judgment. “Best” in what sense? What need of yours did JCat’s article meet?

      1. Sam Smeaton

        No straw men, fair in it’s engagement of Lind’s argument, precise, real world examples of libertarian reforms, well cited and substantiated in it’s points and claims.

  1. valueprax


    You use the words “good” and “bad” quite often in your writing. This moral tone pervades your writing. But “good” and “bad” aren’t absolute categories. They’re relative to a set of values. You would be more clear and easier for people to understand as to what your values were, if you prefaced your judgments with them. That is, explain in what sense you mean something is “good” or “bad”, the “right” or “wrong” way to do X or Y or Z.

    Have you ever thought about this?

    Have you ever looked into the “Non-Violent Communication” paradigm as advocated by Marshall Rosenberg and others? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBGlF7-MPFI)

    1. JCatalan

      I’d be the first one to argue that “good” and “bad” aren’t self-defined words! But, I thought that what I mean is more or less implicit from the context. If I spend time defining what I meant by “good” or “bad” in posts like these, I’d probably bore readers by being overly pedantic. Do you find part of this article confusing? Maybe this will make it easier for me to recognize whatever rhetorical problems my writing may have. (The reader is usually always right.) I just assume I can skip some steps for the sake of saving space for other points I may want to make.

      And, I’ve heard of “non-violent communication” before, but I’ve never really looked into it. Thanks for the video.

      1. valueprax


        If what you mean by “his argument is not as good as some may think” is “it contradicted itself logically” or “it didn’t meet my standards for empirical support” or whatever, couldn’t you just specifically say that instead of adopting a moral tone?

        For people who do understand the context, your writing will become more clear and less “rah rah, go my team” sounding.

        For people who don’t understand the context, your writing will become more clear and less “rah rah, go my team” sounding AND it will potentially be less offensive because, again, if they think the same way Lind does, then you just told them they’re “bad” (or “not good”) and that’s going to immediately cue someone to be defensive and rationalize rather than to consider the merit of what you’re trying to say.

        I just don’t think in most of the ways you use good and bad (nearly always to critique people’s reasoning/arguments) that you gain something greater than what you save in terms of efficiency of thought and language. And often times you may cost yourself something enormous and not realize it.

        Besides, adopting the moral tone, even if you do it “right”, can create an air of pretentiousness anyway. But maybe you want that? I notice you’re quite concerned with “sophistication” (a word that would feature quite prominently if your blog had a word cloud generated by frequency).

        I hope MY point has been clear and I’ve done a “good” job of communicating it, but if not feel free to pick at it some more and I’ll do my best to clarify as I can.

        And the video is quite long but it’s the best introduction I’ve found there to the NVC ideas short of reading Rosenberg’s book. I challenge anyone who isn’t familiar with it to watch it and not find themselves rethinking various communications-gone-wrong with friend and foe alike.

        1. JCatalan


          That’s the concluding sentence. The whole article is why the argument is not as good as he thinks! The whole article is the context! What are you talking about? Did you read the Lind article?

          You write,

          I just don’t think in most of the ways you use good and bad (nearly always to critique people’s reasoning/arguments)…

          That’s not the way I use good/bad in this article, most of the time.

          I hope MY point has been clear and I’ve done a “good” job of communicating it, but if not feel free to pick at it some more and I’ll do my best to clarify as I can.

          I don’t think you’ve done a good job, because it doesn’t really seem as if you even read what I wrote.

          Look, I appreciate the advice. I don’t want to turn this into a debate about my writing.

          1. valueprax


            My specific point was about the use of a moralistic tone, which I do not think adds anything to your point and which I think can lead people to psychologically reject what you’re saying without considering it because the tone will be offensive.

            I find you often question my level of reading comprehension. It is puzzling to me. When I was in the 5th grade, I was informed after a reading test administered by my teachers that I was reading a college freshman level and should have no trouble reading the front page of the New York Times. I never received anything less than an “A” grade from any English teacher at any point in my life. I write my own blog where I review books regularly and I get many readers who thank me for my digestion of materials and my ability to cut straight to the meaningful points. I have had numerous people specifically request my participation in debate and study groups (academic and professional) because they value my high level of reading comprehension.

            Yet when I come here, I am so often scolded with “Did you even read my article?!” and I find myself constantly confused by just what it is you think you’re trying to say.

            I think I’ve done enough self-doubting on this topic and my suspicion is becoming increasingly concrete that perhaps I read and comprehend just fine and it is you who don’t write (and maybe even think) clearly. I believe all there is left for me to do now is to return to quiet obscurity as far as participating in your blog goes, because my attempt to seek communication and understanding with you has consistently failed again.

          2. JCatalan

            I didn’t accuse of lacking reading comprehension. I doubted whether you read this piece at all. You cited the very last sentence and asked what the context is. To me, this made no sense, because the context is provided by the preceding 1,000+ words that makes the substance of the article. The last sentence is… the last sentence. It’s just a way of closing the article (and the conclusion is just a paragraph that imperfectly summarizes the substance in the middle).

            I agree that using the words “wrong,” “bad,” et cetera can be off-putting. I don’t think my use of these terms was so bad. I would hope that whoever disagrees with me will form his/her response on the basis of the substance of the post, not on the very last sentence (which by itself doesn’t say anything of use). So far, Lord Keynes (who you call “moronic”) has been able to offer a reasonable criticism, despite our differences (and despite our share of heated conversations in the past). This seems to provide evidence that you may be overexaggerating your criticisms just a little bit.

            You’re entitled to your opinion about my writing. I respect your opinion. I just disagree with you (and I admitted that I might be in the wrong). Maybe I’m just a “violent communicator,” or maybe you’re just not presenting your case in a convincing matter. Maybe I’m not interested in cluttering the comments to this post with a debate on my writing and what the “right” form of communication is. Maybe continuous questions on minor parts of my point frustrate me. There’s no doubt that I will probably internalize some of your writing advice, just for the sake of avoiding these incessant questions on context (context I assumed people could fill in on their own, based on the rest of the writing).

            But, if you expect my responses to questions like the ones you’ve been asking over the past few days to significantly change you’re expectations will have to be reversed. So, maybe you’re right, and you and I simply can’t communicate in an effective matter. Hey, it happens!

  2. John S

    Fantastic post. I read about 100 comments on the Lind article–compared to this, the level of discussion was disturbingly poor, on both sides.

    Off-topic, but I wrote this comment on LK’s blog re: Mosler debate. I think it’s a pretty good idea, perhaps you could organize this among some other bloggers.

    “Cato-unbound is a pretty good format, imo. Maybe 3 essays on each side: intro, rebuttal, closing remarks.

    A tournament of bloggers would be a pretty good publicity generator for the econosphere. Pick an issue, then four econ bloggers out of a hat. Two-round tournament, readers vote on the winners. Do it once a month. Would generate buzz.”

    1. JCatalan

      Actually, I think that’s a great idea. Do you mind if I steal it? I’ve been trying to do something with the home page of this website, and I think that’s a great idea — it would be a great niche. I don’t know how I’d get people to use it as a venue for debate, but I could just experiment and see where it takes me.

      1. John S

        Please, steal it for your homepage (the site is perfectly titled for this)! I’m sure a few people would oblige you if you set up a good infrastructure (polling buttons, nice graphics). Whichever blogger gets out the gate first with this would prob get some nice buzz at Marginal Revolution.

  3. valueprax


    Here’s something I find confusing about your article, and I could see any number of serious thinkers on any “side” of these issues seeing the same problem, as well as quite a few trolls who might show up just to poop on the parade: you characterize and label things as “libertarian” or “privatization” or “deregulation” or “an example of democracy” that the various critics would likely take issue with.

    An obvious example (besides Athenian “democracy”, which by my understanding covered a small swath of the total population and disenfranchised most) is talking about the “privatized social security in Chile”. I read the following in the Wikipedia article: “For all citizens who are legally defined as workers, employers must pay a proportion of the earnings to a pension fund.”

    I also read this: “The establishment and the operation of the private pension funds are regulated by law. For e.g. any pension fund must deposit minimum reserves. The types of investments that are permitted are defined by law. The compliance of the private pension funds are supervised by a government regulator, the Superintendencia de AFP.[8]

    There are government guarantees for the following cases:[9]

    All citizens who have contributed to a fund for at least 20 years are guaranteed a minimum pension. The difference between the minimum pension and the pension entitlement from the investment fund is paid by government.

    If a pension fund is unable to perform a defined minimum profit, it will be liquidated and the collected assets will be transferred to another fund. In this case, the government solves the assets gap.

    In case of bankruptcy of a pension fund the government pays out the pensions on public expenses.

    The government pays a fixed amount as social assistance for those citizens who are not even entitled to minimum pension, the Pensiones Asistenciales (PASIS). But the provided amount of money is usually not nearly big enough to cover all people in need.”

    Finally, I read this: “All workers and employees must pay into the system. Mandatory contributions amount 10% of the monthly income, the part of the monthly income that exceeds $ 2,800 U.S. (60 UF) is non-contributory. […]

    Within a transitional period lasting until 2015, self-employed individuals are also to be integrated into the pension system.”

    Now, my question is, how would a pension scheme whose terms, conditions and participation are dictated by law, which compels people by force of law to participate whether they want to or not, be considered “privatized”? In what sense is the word “privatized” being used? In the conventional sense meaning, elements of the private sector are being asked to help the State administer it?

    Or in the “libertarian” or “laissez faire” sense meaning “There is no longer a government law/policy dictating anything in this area of the economy”?

    My answer seems baked into my question as quite obvious. But this is just what I could imagine people taking issue with in how you go about discussing the issue here.

    1. JCatalan

      My response would be to point out that it’s one small example, and that it’s more important to focus on my argument in its entirety. This article is not about the privatization of Chilean social security. I used it as an example of a policy that goes in a libertarian direction. I think most (maybe not you) would agree, precisely because it has widely been used as an example (see Lind’s article!). But, my point doesn’t rise or fall based on whether or not Chilean social security privatization is “true libertarianism.”

      1. valueprax

        Here’s a fun anecdote:

        Once I spoke to an executive of a company I worked for about my conviction that inter-employee communication could be drastically improved. I had observed that there was a lack of trust which was impacting everyone’s ability to get their work done, and no one had found a way to address it and move on. To help illustrate my point, I picked an interaction between two individuals, John and Jim (names withheld out of respect), and explained how these two individuals had managed to piss one another off to the point that each mistrusted the others intent, all caused by their poor communication choices with one another. I specifically emphasized that this was NOT about John or Jim specifically, but about the general idea of communication culture at the company.

        The executive thought about it for a moment and then said, “Yes… John certainly has a way of upsetting people with how he communicates” and proceeded to launch into a 5 minute digression about all the offensive ways John communicates. I couldn’t believe it!! I was just using John to illustrate, it wasn’t about John, it was about everyone, the total culture.

        I think your response is a great example of this dynamic. Only it’s ironic because you’re accusing me of something I didn’t do, but which you are doing– focusing on one small example.

        The example I chose (Chilean SS) was to illustrate the larger problem inherent in the terms you chose to discuss this issue. You called something that someone like myself would not suggest represents “privatization” in a libertarian sense, although perhaps it makes sense to use it in the conventional sense. But your audience here at this blog is a smorgasbord of libertarians and statists alike. Each group will read it how they like and take issue.

        I attempted to substantiate this claim by citing numerous pieces of evidence in support of this specific example, because I know you’re a real substantiation fetishist (at least when other people are making claims… your claims, eh, not so much, people are expected to work with your point). What do I get for my trouble? An accusation that I am narrowly focused on one tiny point of your bigger point!! (Funny, this theme comes up A LOT in your responses, too… somehow I never manage to get your “big idea”, I am always narrowly focused on some small bit of it).

        For your reference, I read Lind’s article. I read Murphy’s take. I read yours. This is not an appropriate club with which to beat me over the head. Neither are most clubs you try to wield.

        Your article is called “Where is the evidence?” My response was “Some of the ‘evidence’ you cite, would not be accepted as evidence by various people, for reason X.” You attack me for missing your point.

        How about considering other people’s for a change?

        This blog is really weird for me to read. I have been studying these issues longer than you. I am older than you. I may even be wiser (who knows). Yet, I can never find a thoughtful way to contribute to the discussion. I always miss your point and get accused of not reading things. I think that’s a pretty good response to a moronic partisan troll like Lord Keynes. But I am making an honest attempt to interface and figure out what the hell you’re talking about and I just get slapped in the face every time.

        It gets tiring after awhile, and as I said before, I think it’s time I move on. Good luck on your intellectual journey.

        1. JCatalan

          Don’t take it so personally. My point is that you can substitute the examples with whatever alternatives you prefer. The point of this article wasn’t to list examples of evidence. It was to provide a broader interpretation of the evidence. Like I said, my point doesn’t rise or fall on the basis of any one example being right or wrong. (You could argue that all libertarian programs, however these are defined, have failed, and this would be a strong case against my article. But, this isn’t about a confusing; it’s about a genuine disagreement with what I wrote.)

        2. Kevin

          I think one answer for both of you is to provide more examples up front, so that when your executive focuses on just one example, you can point out the other ones that prove it is systemic, ideally along with your proposed solution.

          Your argument is good that Chile’s SS is not very libertarian, but Catalan’s main point is that libertarianism is a direction, not solely an end state of perfection, so his examples only need to be slightly more libertarian than the previous, more statist alternative.

  4. Lord Keynes

    “Since libertarianism is part of this tradition, democracy is undoubtedly
    a great victory (even if we’re not the only victors) and a great
    vindication of the ideology.”

    Democracy is not a necessary part of Austrian libertarianism at all. Consider Hoppe’s rejection of democracy

    1. JCatalan

      Well, you are probably aware of how vehemently I disagree with Hoppe. I think there are non-liberal libertarians, and these people probably couldn’t be defended by what I write here. But, I think these non-liberal libertarians are mostly wrong and that the evidence is not in their favor (especially, for example, with regards to Hoppe). But, how representative are these libertarians of the ideology? Even Rothbard, who I tentatively consider to be a non-liberal, is losing sway over the movement. The “Rawlsian” bleeding hearts are becoming more popular, and most of the top libertarian political philosophers don’t seem too Rothbardian (see the department at the University of Arizona, for example). Hayek’s strand of liberalism should also be considered.

      I think we also have to be careful when analyzing the libertarian position on democracy. There are a growing number of libertarians who think that democratic institutions, as they currently exist, are flawed. I’m one of them. There is a broad literature on the shortcomings to democracy, Hoppe’s probably being the least influential, but supplemented by public choice theory, Buchanan’s work on constitutionalism, Caplan’s Myth of the Rational Voter, Friedman’s work on radical ignorance and the inadequate economization of knowledge by part of present democracy, et cetera. But, I think that most libertarians — except Hoppe and his followers — would say that democracy is undoubtedly an improvement over past institutions. They’re just forward looking, and they criticize democracy for the sake of making a case that there is reason to believe that we can improve upon democracy.

      Nevertheless, you’re right to argue that there are some libertarians who couldn’t be defended by this post. I don’t mind. I think they should reconsider their position. (At the same time, by focusing on the narrow scope of differences, we may be exaggerating just how far away “non-liberal” libertarians actually are.)

  5. Unlearning Economics

    I like the general thread of this article, but I think this statement:

    “The few libertarian policies implemented — privatized social security in Chile, the deregulation of the air-travel industry in the U.S, et cetera — have been mostly successful.”

    Was quite sweeping and unjustified. I can think of plenty of examples of ‘libertarian’ policies failing, though of course I expect libertarians would tell me that they weren’t libertarian enough. In any case you’d need more citations for ‘mostly successful’.

    1. Damien S.

      That line was also problematic since privatization is seen as something of a failure in Chile, with lots of people left out and high administrative costs that make it unprofitable for the non-rich. Both presidential candidates in 2006 — including the brother of the reformer — agreed it needed to be fixed. The 2008 reforms don’t revert back to a Social Security model, but they do seem to increase the mandatory participation and the baseline guarantees at the bottom.

      As for airline deregulation, it has lowered prices a lot on major routes. It’s also seen rising prices or termination of service in smaller cities; part of the point of regulation was evening out prices across the country. Whether this is a success depends on your goals, and how much you like free market transportation networks favoring travel or communication between big cities and leaving out more dispersed areas.

      Athenian democracy didn’t fail so much as get conquered by the Macedonians and then Romans. Not the same as modern citizens voting to raise their taxes and institute welfare states.

      1. JCatalan

        I don’t know enough about Chilean social security to comment, although I do remember reading that continued reforms are necessary (in whichever direction). I don’t think your other two objections are quite right, though. Large air carriers may have sacrificed small city routes to focus on filling large aircraft to fly between large cities, but this is exactly why small air carriers (like Southwest Airlines) rose to take their place, by flying smaller aircraft between smaller cities. So yes, temporarily, there was a slight cost in that sense because airline companies didn’t know what the best strategy was to maximize profit, but it’s not an enduring aspect of air transport deregulation. With regards to Athenian democracy, there were more problems than just Macedonians and Romans. The system was not entirely stable; there would be periods of anti-democratic sentiments, temporary periods of dictatorships, et cetera. Very similar to democracies in the developing world, precisely because institutions there are weak; but, someone who only has the example of Athenian democracy might conclude that democratic institutions can’t get any stronger.

        1. Damien S.

          I haven’t studied Athenian history that closely, but the main intermediate undemocratic period I know of was an oligarchy imposed by Sparta — once again, external conquest. Sparta didn’t stick around and democracy was back within a year.

          Athens was democratic (with its various flaws) for around 200 years, which is longer than Latin American countries pulled off apart from Costa Rica. And again, it ended by conquest, not internal failure.

          As for airlines, I’ll just link to (my summary of and link to) an article or two: http://mindstalk.livejournal.com/318375.html

    2. JCatalan

      Alternatively, we may disagree whether the policy was libertarian at all, or because something “bad” (however we define the term) happened because of the policy (e.g. the financial crisis).

  6. jacoblyles

    In my opinion, the optimal policy regime for most jurisdiction is far more libertarian than the status quo. However, that doesn’t make me a “libertarian” and it doesn’t mean I believe a libertarian society would be a nice place to live. Rather than use libertarian purity as my touchstone for policy judgement, I use the phrase “good governance” as it more closely captures what I value in policy.


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