March 25, 2005

Re: Re: A Republican Crack-up?

Carroll Andrew Morse

On Managerialism: Managerialists do not possess the fundamental skpeticism about government power that libertarians do. Managerialists are perfectly happy to increase the size and influence of government, so long as it serves their economic interests at a given moment.

Do you remember when James Baker, as Secretary of State, said that the first Iraq War was about “jobs, jobs, jobs”? I am not sure what he meant, but whatever it was reflected a managerialist point-of-view.

I would guess that the bankruptcy legislation that passed congress this week is a triumph of the managerialists over everyone else, but I don’t know enough details to be sure.

On Libertarians vs. Theocons: Optimist that I am, I think there is room for agreement between theocons and libertarians. Here is the basis. One of the few proper roles for government that most libertarians agree upon is enforcement of contractual arrangements freely entered. For this concept to work, there must be a shared sense of morality within a society. A system of voluntary arrangements in a society where people do not honor their commitments will either fall apart or degenerate into a police-enforced order.

There are two philosophies that create people willing to honor their agreements, the philosophy that morality is defined by obedience to the laws of the state, or the philosophy that says humans have duties towards others that transcend their laws. I am skeptical that libertarians will ever be comfortable with a philosophy that says “you must honor a contract because the state says so”.