Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Really the Liberal Trilemma

Yesterday we introduced the Rodrik Trilemma: How to reconcile democracy, national sovereignty, and global economic cooperation.

But it's not really Rodrik's problem. It's the Liberal Trilemma. We wouldn't have this problem if liberals didn't insist on running everything.

Democracy? Sure, the people should rule, through the rule of the politicians, as explained by Joseph Schumpeter. But the people (or rather the politicians) should not exercise the power to grab all the resources of the nation to distribute to their pals. Or more to the point, the politicians should be wise enough to insist on limited government. Because too much political power will end up destroying society.

National sovereignty? Sure, nations should be a power unto themselves. But they should be careful what they wish for. Absolute national sovereignty is national autarky, where a nation wants for nothing outside its own borders. But you can't have that in practice, nor should you want to. A nation should take its place in the family of nations, jealous of the others for sure, but anxious to lower the level of family argument.

Global economic cooperation and free trade? Sure. As much as you can stomach. It is, after all, only the desire to reward our supporters and flip off other nations that induces us to restrict the free flow of goods and services in this world.

It's not too hard is it? Everything in this world would be better if only liberals weren't messing things up with their Culture of Compulsion.

When liberals abandon their delusive dream of a world of liberals, by liberals and for liberals, then we can get on with the human project.

Right, all we seem to do is clean up liberal messes: the corrupt, cruel, unjust, and wasteful precipitate of liberal delusions.

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