Ever feel like an outnumbered ideological minority? And/or that your ideas are growing strong enough that the establishment is now impelled to strike you down? Either way, today's New York Times op-ed page is for you.
Four op-eds, four assaults on the libertarian senses. Starting with Mark Binelli–"Can a libertarian island paradise rescue a blighted city? No":
Belle Isle was recently at the center of a different moneymaking scheme. A group of wealthy libertarians suggested that private investors buy the island from the city [of Detroit] for the nice, round, Dr. Evil-ish sum of $1 billion and transform it into an independent, self-governing territory. With the price for citizenship set at $300,000, the Commonwealth of Belle Isle would exist as a sort of free-market paradise; within 30 years, the group's Web site predicted, the island would be known as the "'Midwest Tiger,' rivaling Singapore as an economic miracle." One can order from that Web site a novella about this future Belle Isle, which describes the commonwealth's low taxes, minimal government, even its own currency (called — seriously — "the Rand").
The book — a preview of its opening chapter has the hero landing on the rooftop helipad of the commonwealth's 57-story Four Seasons hotel — makes the entire scheme very easy to mock as Objectivist fan fiction. But it's not entirely a joke: private foundations and deep-pocketed members of the local business elite exercise an outsize influence in a city as broke as Detroit, providing financing for everything from a much-needed light-rail line to the ambitious Detroit Future City plan, which would entirely remap the city.
Paul Krugman–"Now is not the time for spending cuts":
Given the state we're in, it would be irresponsible and destructive not to kick that can down the road.
Start with a basic point: Slashing government spending destroys jobs and causes the economy to shrink.
This really isn't a debatable proposition at this point.
Ross Eisenbrey–"Why we don't need more foreign high-tech workers":
Bringing over more — there are already 500,000 workers on H-1B visas — would obviously darken job prospects for America's struggling young scientists and engineers. But it would also hurt our efforts to produce more: if the message to American students is, "Don't bother working hard for a high-tech degree, because we can import someone to do the job for less," we could do significant long-term damage to the high-tech educational system we value so dearly.
And David Brooks–"Machiavelli in an age of terror":
Acting brutally abroad saves lives at home.