Non-Insane Center-Right Stuff

Since such a thing doesn’t currently exist in our political system, such a thread hadn’t been created yet. But I figured this was as good a time as any, and it serves a good place to throw this article.

This is an interesting piece about the Niskansen Center, named after an economist who worked with Reagan but came to doubt the efficacy of many of the economic principles embraced by the GOP. They’ve gone on to abandon a lot of the dogma surrounding the GOP and Libertarianism, while still pushing for increases in liberty. But they’ve performed studies that support the idea that increased social safety net programs are not at odds with this idea, and instead increase overall personal liberty.

The pathological character of the Republican Party is the most important problem in American politics. It has taken decades to develop to its current deformed state, and will not be solved quickly. There is no way to imagine the current incarnation of the GOP getting to the place Niskanen envisions any time soon. Niskanen’s manifesto contains multiple points of overlap with the prevailing orientation of the Democratic Party, and almost none with the prevailing orientation of the Republican Party. One can imagine a future in which the Democrats move toward socialism, opening a void in the center for the ideas espoused by Niskanen to take hold in something that perhaps shares the name, but otherwise none of the important ideological traits, of today’s Republican Party.

That distant point probably lies years, even decades, away. It can only happen after today’s Republican Party is destroyed, rendered incapable of wielding power at the national level, and its governing philosophy discredited completely. The Niskanen Center is the one institution planning for what can follow after the cleansing fire.

It always surprises me when I (re)realize libertarianism is considered somewhat right wing in the US. Here we have a diferent history:

But anyway, yes, more of this would be good.

Good thread.

In order to change the GOP it needs to be repudiated. It certainly has been repudiated by the intelligentsia but it’s not clear it has been by industry, and it’s certainly in its swan song by its followers. Certainly from a money point of view it happy to functionally and eagerly be a mostly corrupted party for deregulation and tax cuts and damn the consequences, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. It’s also going to have to have it’s “de-Trumpization” moment, which i’m not at all certain it will. (Things moved toward Sarah Palin, Tea Party and Shaun Hannity, not away from them, and with GOP politicians embracing the crazy rather than running from it.

The question in my mind is what the GOP looks like when Gen X is over 65yo. Not every Gen X loves the Breakfast Club and Grunge and Ethan Hawk poetry, and there are many religiously minded, evangelical Gen Xers (though proportionately much smaller than before). But i think Gen X has a different baseline as to what is and is not acceptible. But i don’t think the GOP will really change until they are the ones in the driver’s seat.

OTOH, Gen X is the smallest cohort, and the ‘neu-GOP’ alt-right trololol Jordan Peterson loving crazies behind them might not be the agents of change we hope for

I’d love a party which followed such things. It wouldn’t be my party, as I’ve shifted over time further left as the GOP has gone psychotic-right. But still, I wouldn’t cringe if such a politician came to power, and I may even vote for a few (ah, how I long for the halcyon days of not doing straight-party tickets).

But yeah, it’s going to take a long time as the psychos both need to leave power and the desire from conservatives to have such moderate leadership needs to build to critical mass so these types would replace them.

Don’t quote me, but i believe it’s because it evolved out of “drug legalization” culture of the 60s into some kind of amorphous anti-government, anti-tax crank store. The actual Libertarian platform sounds just fine; in practice Libertarians tend to have apsie-adjacent, often misogynistic, tone deaf and kooky ideas. The Google Engineer that was fired for his internal memo discussion about women in engineering and the 60s granddad with a ponytail that wants to legalize both all guns and all drugs might be considered the “platonic ideals” of American Libertarianism. In practice then a lot of “pro regulatory” frameworks that modern Progressives advocate go against Liberatarian values, while blowing up the state appeals to both Libertarians and Conservatives because in that world the Libertarians can smoke dope and the Conservatives never have to pay taxes again.

Of course there are thoughtful Libertarians who have principled reasons for their politics. But today Libertarianism is quite adjacent to the goals of Conservatives, except with a lot more sex, drugs and rock and roll.

An interesting wrinkle in that article is the realization that it is local government which to a large extent is responsible for maintaining race and economic inequity — by controlling zoning, housing permits, policing etc in such a way as to maintain economic gains by the haves — and that the federal government is the instrument to combat that. This is a far cry from the ‘smaller and more local government is always better’ mantra we’ve heard for decades. It’s hard to believe that revised view will gain much purchase in the GOP anytime soon.

Isn’t one of the problems in the US that there are basically only two parties and anything that neither of them currently wear on their banners goes completely unheard?
From the outside, it really appears more like a two-party rotating autocracy than a democracy in which different parties have to find together and find compromises to form a majority.

I know there are, in theory, other parties in the US, but they never seem to gain any traction, which just seems a bit weird to me.

I’ve never met a poor libertarian.

All of the libertarians I know fall into that same creepy category as preppers, the sort where I can see them staring off in the distance and imagining the horrible future where they’re actually forcing their neighbor’s wife to have sex because they’re the one with the gun. Only with libertarians, they’re forcing their neighbor’s wife to have sex as part of a freely exchanged bargain/contract in exchange for food… I think they actually get erections at the notion of having disparate economic power over people, and being able to contract for whatever they want.

I, for one, really do not want a completely free market, as I do not want to have to bargain for things at “free market prices” in a hurricane, for example. Or have to decide whether getting the best cancer doctor is worth giving up all my worldly possessions. Because hey, it’s my choice to value my life at that level - I could always just die instead, right? And the doctor shouldn’t have to treat me unless he gets what he freely bargains for.

I think when a lot of people say Libertarian, what they really mean is a leaner government with more individual freedoms. Which would be fine. I’d be more than happy if the right kicked out the massive block of idiots who seem to need to try to govern every individual action and freedom such as homosexuality, drug use, and contraception, but then for some reason want every economic interaction to be based on “free market economics” in a market of gross economic inequality.

In other words, I’m not cool with the branch of conservatism that seems to be, “I’ve got a lot of money and/or I make a lot of money, so let’s not regulate that at all - free market baby, but I don’t like that gay sex/libertine women/drug thing, so you don’t get to do that.”

That’s a pretty good summation of how I view libertarians too. :)
Interesting article, but I’m not entirely sure where the ‘center right’ diverges from the current Democratic party. The assumption made by Chait is that Democrats will continue to move towards socialism, but I’m not really seeing that yet.

Here in my view are the ‘big ticket’ policy priorities for Democrats:

Massive infrastructure bill
Paid college tuition
Paid family leave

While these are ‘socialist’ type policies, they’re not divergent from what we already have with unemployment, social security, Medicare/Medicaid, and a fairly bare bones safety net. Support for those doesn’t IMO make someone a socialist.

The only thing that would really be socialist is the guaranteed job or UBI (a few are supporting the former, none so far as I know the latter.)

Wow, you just managed to put exactly the right words to a concept that has been until now formless in my mind. Thank you.

You’ve had amorphous libertarian chubbies floating about your mind? You poor man.

Ah, but remember, I am gloriously blessed by a complete lack of visual imagination!

Please, allow me to help.


I mean I consider myself pretty extreme, but microwaving libtertarians’ dicks is pretty out there, Kevin.

I mean, something has to power your grave defecation rituals? I’m all about optimizing processes.

When the Revolution comes, you will have an open post as Wall Organizer and Regimen Optimizer waiting for you, Comrade.

What a strange article. The entire conference could have been reduced to just 2 words: “Vote Democratic.”

Every suggestion he makes boils down to the GOP incorporating the policies that are already pursued by Democrats. Why not just switch parties, ya dope?

Me too! Every one I’ve known has been upper middle class or somewhat wealthy and most, in some bewitching ultimate irony, got to where they are due to public funds. Public education as a youngster, University education as an adult, parents who benefited from the public good, etc. But they have money and conveniently forget how they wouldn’t be where they are without the regulations and taxes that put them there.

But then again, right-wing now a-days is all about selfishness and hypocrisy.

And the party is almost completely white too, like 90s kind percentages, the kind of people that think they got to where they are despite all the people around having more advantages than they have which means every other race is essentially excluded.

The Republicans lamenting the “sudden” loss of their party can’t a) admit there is nothing sudden about it and b) look at a functioning party and recoil because there a few things they don’t like but at the same time don’t really understand it’s partially that recoil response which led them to where they are in the first place.

They talk a good game when they leave but that’s about it.

This is what many of us actually did.

But I’m not sure if you fully understand what the article is saying or suggesting.

Do you understand that, even within the Democratic party, that you have a spectrum of political beliefs? It’s not a monolithic ideological block. Certainly people coming on board from the Republican party wouldn’t necessarily hold the same ideas as folks on the extreme left of the Democratic party.

What this group is talking about, is essentially having the GOP entirely disappear, and be replaced with a more rational party which is effectively carved off from the right wing of the Democratic party.