|Sometime in the 70s, I spent a couple afternoons visiting David
Friedman, Milton Friedman's son. David complained that his father was
too much of the liberal and not libertarian enough.
The Marginal Revolution web site posted a piece from David's new blog.
What is sad is that he makes more sense than the Democrats:
Libertarians still tend to identify with the Republican party. Save
for historical reasons, it is hard to see why. The current
administration, despite its free market rhetoric, has been no
better--arguably worse--than its predecessor on economic issues. Its
policy on public schooling, the largest governent run industry in
the U.S., has been a push towards more central control, not less.
Its support for free trade has been at best intermittant. Reductions
in taxes have been matched by increases in government spending,
increasing, not shrinking, the real size and cost of government. It
has been strikingly bad on civil liberties. Its Supreme Court
nominees have not been notably sympathetic to libertarian views of
the law. Libertarians disagree among themselves on foreign policy,
but many support a generally non-interventionist approach and so
find themselves unhappy with the Iraq war.
The Democrats have problems too. While things have been looking up
for them recently, their ideological coalition has been losing
strength for decades, leaving them in danger of long term minority
The obvious solution to both sets of problems is for the Democrats
to try to pull the libertarian faction out of the Republican party.
How large that faction is is hard to judge, but it is clearly a lot
larger than the vote of the Libertarian Party would suggest. ....
How can the Democrats appeal to libertarian Republicans without
alienating their own base?...
I think I have an answer. In 2004, Montana went for Bush by a
sizable margin. It also voted in medical marijuana, by an even
larger margin. Legalizing medical marijuana is a policy popular with
libertarians, acceptable to Democrats, and opposed by the current
At the very least, prominent Democrats should come out in favor of
the federal government respecting state medical marijuana laws, as
it has so far refused to do. Better yet, let them propose a federal
medical marijuana law. That will send a signal to a considerable
number of voters that, at least on this issue, one of the parties is
finally on their side. It would be a beginning.