Links 2017-7-16

The Libertarian Web Directory has been updated with some more interesting people, notably Ben Shapiro and Kmele Foster.

At the end of June, the libertarian academic world was alight in condemnation of Duke Professor Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains. The book tries to tie James Buchanan, the Nobel laureate economist who essentially founded Public Choice Theory (an important part of how I’ve defined postlibertarianism) to racist segregationists, the Koch brothers, and Donald Trump. It’s poorly researched, takes quotes out of context, and implies guilt by several degrees of separation. As it turns out, Duke University’s Political Science Department is perhaps the world’s best place to learn about Public Choice Theory with several presidents of the Public Choice Society teaching there, including James Buchanon’s frequent co-author Geoffrey Brennan. Professor MacLean decided against talking to any of them, favoring instead to try and fabricate a grand right-wing conspiracy. The reason I know this is because Duke Political Science Professor Michael Munger wrote a devastating response to MacLean’s book that I highly recommend reading. It’s not just great for inter-academic drama, but the piece does excellently summarizes and discusses the important parts of Public Choice Theory, and how James Buchanan created and utilized this model of government.

Speaking of defining postlibertarianism, I’ve amended my explanatory article to be version 2.0, since technically former blogger Joshua Hedlund defined postlibertarianism pretty well 6 years ago. We’ll call that 1.0.

The Economist has a nice short piece on the benefits and deficiencies of Medicaid, which apparently covers some 80 million Americans, and about 100 million people some time during each year. Republican efforts to target Medicaid back towards actual poor people now makes much more sense to me.

Towards the end of the month, developments will happen in Bitcoin. Either BIP 91 will be activated through the SegWit2x agreement, or SegWit2x will fail and BIP 148 will start to orphan blocks on August 1. Either way, it seems Segregated Witness has a high chance to be activated. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, this is a useful guide to the upcoming months. ┬áIf you have no idea why Bitcoin would need activate anything, read my last post on Bitcoin here.

Google has collected a group of “classic papers”, which are papers that were highly cited in the subsequent 10 years. These papers are from a vast array of subjects and areas. Whatever area you are interested in is there.

I’m sure I’ve been one of the libertarians disappointed by Rand Paul’s support of many of President Trump’s initiatives and ideas. Matt Welch writes for Reason both acknowledging that politicians will always disappoint us, but also arguing that we should not give up on libertarian politicians when they drop a small bit of ideological purity.

This post at the blog Otium defending individualist culture was really long, but very good.

Scott Alexander discusses whether elections are decided by turning out your own base or by winning over voters from the other side. There isn’t a ton of good data on it, but he still makes a pretty compelling case that a small but important segment of the population are really “swing” voters that switch sides. One of the more interesting studies simulates RCTs by looking only at elections where a politician wins a primary by a very small percentage (like less than 0.1%). This means the chances of the more extreme candidate having won the primary are essentially random. In those cases, there is a significant difference between general election popular vote percentage depending on whether the moderate or more extreme candidate won the primary. Very cool.

The Fifth Column podcast from the week Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia emails came out is excellent. I recommend listening every week, but this episode is especially good. Besides my own blog about it, Politico has a nice summary by Jack Schafer, The LA Times had an interesting point about how Robert Mueller’s investigation pushed this information out in the open, and the Washington Post points out that the President approved of Trump Jr.’s Sunday statement which blatantly lied about the meeting last June.

Julia Galef has a good rundown of the most important disagreements between NIMBYs and YIMBYs, specifically on whether San Francisco should allow more housing to be built.