Thursday, July 10, 2008

The pull of center-wonkery

Arnold Kling:
There was a time when I would have rooted for the center-wonks. Now, though, I prefer something more radical, like competitive government. So I'd rather escape from current reality by reading history or by reading David Friedman than get immersed in today's discussions over policy and political coalition-building.
This caught my interest because I've moved in precisely the opposite direction. There was a time, in my case roughly the late 1980s and early 90s, when I thought the key failings of conservatism and libertarianism were a willingness to engage in half-measures and "me-too"ism. Now I think their key failures are tendencies toward extremism and disdain for "current reality." As for "competitive government," I recommend the novel I'm reading, The Pillars of the Earth, with its narrative of 12th-century bloodshed committed by competing nobles.

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