Hello all, I signed up for a pretty challenging final quarter here at school, so my postings will probably be scarce for the next two or three months. It seems Foreign Affairs, one of the more sober foreign policy journals out there, is finally starting to read us here at the consortium. I’ll get to that in a minute but first: editorial duties call!
- Be sure to read Dr. Delacroix’s Bush-worshiping piece for an example of how obstinate ignorance works. The very man who mocks smart, well-educated people for their acceptance of scientific consensus on global warming as ‘cultists‘ seems to believe that “there were very good reasons for any reasonable person to be misled about the existence of [WMDs] in Iraq.” You have to admit, the man has a lot of brass!
- I still have to get to co-blogger Andrew Roth’s recent comment chastising conservatives and libertarians for failing to recognize the many nuances associated with Bismark’s statecraft and Roosevelt’s New Deal.
- We’ve got a couple new writers who will be blogging here at the consortium. One is an economics major at UC Merced and the other is a Guatemalan national doing graduate studies in Denmark, so stay tuned!
Political scientists Roland Benedikter and Lucas Kaelin have a fascinating piece in Foreign Affairs focusing on the one bright spot in Europe these days: Switzerland. Libertarians who have read the political and legal works of Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and James Buchanan will recognize the gist of the arguments right away. To summarize: small, democratic states are the best form of government available to man, given our vast shortcomings, and these small states are, in turn, much better off operating within vast free trade zones that do not hinder the small-scale democracy at work in these states. From the piece:
Switzerland’s secret is that it is part of Europe — and it isn’t. On the one hand, it is a signatory to the Schengen treaty, and thus delegates the protection of its borders to the European Union. It has had a free trade agreement with EU nations since 1972. Accordingly, it sends 60 percent of its exports to the EU and gets 80 percent of its imports from the EU. The country is a member of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), which integrates the European financial industry, and its currency has been bound stably to the euro since 2011. At the same time, though, Switzerland is not part of the continent: it belongs neither to the European Union nor to the eurozone, so it makes its own fiscal policy and remains economically and politically independent […]
The Swiss system offers four lessons for the European project. First, small is beautiful. Switzerland’s emphasis on small-scale administration autonomy for the different cantons could serve as a model for a Europe of regions. The way Switzerland handles its four languages and their respective ethnicities is an example of the unity in diversity that Europe seeks […]
Fourth, success in an interconnected world depends on blending integration with autonomy. Switzerland is successful because it has integrated with Europe but has preserved its autonomy. Europe-wide, this would mean giving up on full integration and being more lenient about half-measures, as Switzerland is — if not as a definitive solution, then certainly as a viable pathway in times of crisis and transition.
Read the whole wonderful piece. For those of you haven’t yet dug into the classics of libertarian academic literature, I highly recommend starting out with Hayek’s “The Prospects of International Order” (Chapter 16 in The Road to Serfdom), Mises’s “Liberal Foreign Policy” (Chapter 3 in Liberalism) and Buchanan’s “Federalism and Individual Sovereignty” (Cato Journal). Of course, citing the likes of Hayek or Buchanan in academic work makes one an ideological extremist – even if they are Nobel laureates – so be careful what you cite in your work folks! There are decent people out there, after all.