Reason

Tyler Cowen on The Declaration of Independents: "This is the up-to-date statement of libertarianism"

|

Excerpt from the Marginal Revolutionary's mini-review:

This book is a excellent 2011 statement of what libertarianism should be, though I would say the title is more descriptive of the content than is the subtitle.  It's well written throughout, smart to focus on the areas where libertarianism is strongest, and remarkably for an "ideological" book it never ventures into the absurd or makes indefensible claims.

It stresses government as a dysfunctional institution which forces too much bundling, too little choice, and too little real accountability.  It explains why the dynamics of political power are so difficult to avoid.  It recognizes the numerous ways in which we are freer than in times past and it stresses the cultural dimensions of both recent progress and libertarian thought.  It reads like a book which is much smarter for having read blogs written by people of opposing points of view (just my speculation). […]

This is the up-to-date statement of libertarianism.  Not warmed-over right-wing politics, but real, true-blooded libertarianism in the sense of loving liberty and wanting to find a new path toward human flourishing.

Whole thing here.

So whaddya waiting for? Pre-order The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America today!

Bonus Tyler Cowen interview with Reason.tv:

NEXT: Reason Writers Around Town: Ronald Bailey in a New York Times Debate on the Geologic Age of Man

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

Please to post comments

12 responses to “Tyler Cowen on The Declaration of Independents: "This is the up-to-date statement of libertarianism"

  1. Since when is Tyler Cowen a libertarian?

    1. Where did anyone claim he was?

      1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T…..philosophy

        Wikipedia says he’s been described as a libertarian bargainer, which I kind of like.

        I think he’s more of a part of the discussion on economics than people give him credit for, and I think he definitely comes from a libertarian perspective, even if he doesn’t pass your purity test.

        1. Cowen’s economic strength is behavioral economics. He has a pretty solid grasp on the qualitative issues of incentives and a general understanding of how human behavior influences economics and vice versa. His strength is in that aspect of micro-economics. His recent macro-economic work The Great Stagnation is less compelling and persuasive overall than some of his other works, albeit an enjoyable and thought-provoking-enough read.

      2. Oh….

        Brian Doherty does, on page 617 of ‘Radicals for Capitalism’.

        “As libertarian economist, Tyler Cowen says…”

    2. Q&A with Tyler Cowan, libertarioidal econometricist:

      Question: how does libertarianism hold up to numerical analysis?

      Answer: BORING!

      I’ve just saved you from having to read Tyler Cowan’s blog.

  2. When I explain libertarianism to friends, they say ‘yes, that sounds good’. When the libertarian party talks people think ‘wow, they’re nuts’.

    I hope this book will work as an introduction to non-political types about what libertarianism stands for. I’m a little worried it might be too wonky, but I’ll have to read it to find out.

    Freedom baby, freedom.

    P.S. one thing libertarians should prepare for after the inevitable collaps of the two party system is to provide a road map. Our magical libertarian world won’t appear overnight, just like the socialist, statist nightmare didn’t. A libertarian world all at once will scare the shit out of people being used to mama government being there to fix their owies. We need to show how we can get to where we want in small steps.

    1. We need to show how we can get to where we want in small steps.

      Except that you’ll never convince anyone to give up massive government in small steps, because the payoff is small and the people losing their government goodies will be more organized and complain more effectively.

      Only with a massive cut in government spending and services will the benefit to the average voter be substantial enough for them to make the leap.

    2. The entire basis of American government is incrementalist in nature, preferring gradual change over revolutionary ones, so libertarians from a marketing perspective need to really focus on specific items of freedom and pitch reforms in that manner. It becomes somewhat problematic for first-principles guys like Ron Paul because he pitches his end vision from a philosophical viewpoint, and although I agree largely with it, I know that the vision is radical enough to frighten some. A guy like Gary Johnson is a consequentialist, and by that standard is better able to sell the libertarian philosophy in the present tense because he can market subtle and slight reforms and recognizes that trajectory matters.

      But trajectory matters more than anything right now. The incrementalist bias of our government’s checks and balances structure means that, even if genuine libertarians were to win a number of high ranking elected offices including the presidency with consistency over the next two decades, we can’t expect libertopia to arrive even then. The biggest thing we need to fix is trajectory. Namely, I will be consider it a massive, nearly unthinkable win, if the next president no matter what name or party, leaves office with a smaller annual budget (even if only in inflation adjusted terms) than was there when he was sworn in. I don’t think that has happened since Coolidge.

  3. Tyler Cowen is a technocrat, through and through. It comes through very clearly on his blog.

    1. This.

      I don’t know how you get to be called a libertarian wanting to MANAGE so many people’s lives.

  4. Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,229 in Books

    So is this good or bad for a libertarian political book which hasn’t even been released yet?

Comments are closed.