Sunday, October 12, 2008

On the other hand...

I've linked (approvingly) to several posts elsewhere about why libertarians and classical liberals ought to be supporting Obama, however reluctantly, this election. And I've by and large failed to link to stuff (including by my friend Todd Seavey on the other side. But I do feel compelled to point to this Ilya Somin post.

My core reasons for preferring any Democrat to any Republican this election are backward-looking. After the catastrophic (in policy terms and in moral terms) Bush Administration, the Republican Party needs to go to the penalty box, for its health and for the health of American democracy. A party must not be able to run eight years of policy-failing, power-grabbing, deficit-ballooning, separation-of-powers-shredding, torturing, detaining-without-charge government without consequence or punishment-- and, since presidents are term-limited out, the punishment must be partisan.

But I am deeply worried, in a forward-looking way, about the new historical moment the financial crisis brings about, and Ilya hits some important forward-looking worries. I've never been persuaded by the scare-tactic view that says Obama is, deep in his heart, some kind of nutty socialist. But that's not what Ilya stresses-- it's that a Democratic President, an expanded majority Democratic Congreess, and an economic crisis coinciding could lead to much longer-term damage to economic liberalism than libertarians-for-Obama like me are comfortable admitting.

I'm not changing my mind-- but I'm also not denying that I share some of his worries.