Reason on Mitch Daniels, Who Is One Step Closer to Running for President And Who Has Great Taste in Books


That Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has good taste in books is news once again thanks to a republished interview Daniels did last year with Jonathan Rauch of FiveBooks, in which the pocket-sized chief executive shared (what Brian Doherty called) his "hankering for Hayek, fetish for Friedman, and passion for Postrel."

Of The Future and its Enemies by Virginia Postrel (a former editor in chief of this publication), Daniels said,

I've cited [Postrel] many times in explaining to people who have looked at our approach to governance here in our little two per cent of America. They struggle to put a label on us because we look a little different and we don't throw around the terms that are usually used in politics. I sometimes use her nomenclature – dynamism versus stasism. And you're right, despite what I just said, there are plenty of people who we would describe as conservatives these days who are very uncomfortable with the risks and the uncertainties that come with an embrace of competition and change and simple rules. I think in general the Olson-like structures that we have to guard against in our country today tend to be those that favour the large interventionist state we built. I'm including here, by the way, the incumbent businesses who love the way in which it suppresses competition and puts up barriers to entry.

Daniels also gave two thumbs up to Milton Friedman's Free to Choose, which "expressed best to me the moral – I hate to say superiority – but the moral underpinnings of free economics, if one starts from the premise that the highest value is the autonomy and dignity and freedom of the individual." Perhaps this is where Daniels, who continues to "flirt" with a White House run, gets off talking about a "truce" on social issues: He believes in "autonomy and dignity and freedom of the individual." Then again, Daniels has declined to extend that truce to the drug war, in which he was very briefly a participant, but now cheerleads for the forces of law, order, and senseless prohibition.

Here's Reason on Mitch: 

-Brian Doherty on a "a politician who likes good books."

– Jacob Sullum on how "the Indiana governor's escape from prison taught him the importance of being tough on drug users."

– Peter Suderman on Daniels' plans for de-fanging Obamacare.

– Katherine Mangu-Ward on what happened after Daniels "conceded the inevitability of death."

– Nick Gillespie on the NYT's fetishization of Daniels.

– A review of the reviews of Daniels. 

– Gillespie on Daniels' "reading of equality before God as a pretext for political liberation."