links for 2009-05-02
The Strange Vicissitudes of Global Warming Policy: Washington Post Crashed-and-Burned Watch

Cato Institute Crashed, Burned, and Smoking Watch

Every time Gene Healy and Brink Lindsey lead me to regard the fellows of Cato as real women and men, they pull me back down again.

One presumes that Cato knew what it was getting when it decided to showcase Peter Theil:

Cato Unbound: The Education of a Libertarian: I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years: to authentic human freedom as a precondition for the highest good. I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual. For all these reasons, I still call myself “libertarian.” But I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible....

The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron....

[T]he mode for escape must involve some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered country.... (1) Cyberspace.... (2) Outer space.... (3) Seasteading....

[W]e are in a deadly race between politics and technology. The future will be much better or much worse, but the question of the future remains very open indeed. We do not know exactly how close this race is, but I suspect that it may be very close, even down to the wire. Unlike the world of politics, in the world of technology the choices of individuals may still be paramount. The fate of our world may depend on the effort of a single person who builds or propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for capitalism.

The "vast increase in welfare beneficiaries" as a reason to believe that freedom and democracy incompatible I take to be code for "granting the franchise to African-Americans." And "the extension of the franchise to women... [has] rendered the notion of 'capitalist democracy' into an oxymoron" hardly needs explanation.

But Jason Kuznicki spins, spins, and spins himself into mendacity:

Cato Unbound Update (Cato @ Liberty): Thiel’s claim is not that women should be denied the vote...

But Theil's claims are that (i) the last hopeful time for politics was before women and African-American "welfare recipients" got the vote, and (ii) democracy and capitalism are now incompatible.

Of course women should be able to vote. It’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise...

Well, yes it is. But this tells us not that Theil did not say it but rather that Theil is thoroughly ridiculous.

See DJW. And see Ken Houghton.