Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Ron Paul

Why the Republican Establishment Cannot Recover This Time

For the republicans, this has been a weird election. For most of the race, the leaders have all been rebel candidates deeply unacceptable to the party establishment–Trump, Cruz, Carson–and with just a couple weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, there’s no sign of this changing. If you’d asked me in the summer, I would have told you that sure, a few extremely kooky republican candidates might spend a little time making ephemeral runs in first place, but sooner or later an establishment candidate has to win out, just like Mitt Romney did in 2012 and John McCain did in 2008. Herman Cain had his month in the sun, but no one ever took him seriously, right? Sooner or later everyone converges around a Jeb Bush. It looks like my summer prediction isn’t going to come true, and like any good politics PhD student, that has me wondering what I got wrong. Over the past month I’ve been pondering this, and I think I’ve figured it out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Candidate Evaluations: Rand Paul

One of the big problems in our election coverage is the tendency for journalists to focus on descriptive questions (who will be president?) rather than normative ones (who should be president?). This is understandable, given journalism’s focus on objectivity, but the result is that we often spend much more time talking about whether a candidate is electable than we do about whether or not the candidate would actually do a good job. Voters need to know which candidates support policies that will help them and those they care about–they don’t need to know which candidates pundits think are likely to prevail. So my response is to continue my Candidate Evaluations series, which considers a candidate’s background, policy history, and explicit statements to determine whether or not the candidate would actually be any good at being president. Previously, I did Ted Cruz. Today, I tackle Rand Paul, who declared his intent to run earlier this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Libertarian Party Platform

Some of the reaction to yesterday’s post, “Intellectual Hipsters: Libertarians” made the argument that yes, libertarianism has many defects in its theoretical intellectual foundation, but that perhaps real world libertarians are not deriving their policies strictly from that foundation, or that the policies of the Libertarian Party in America remain useful for other, non-libertarian reasons. I agree that this is a proposition worth considering, and so this post exists as a companion piece to yesterday’s–examining libertarian policy in practise to go along with yesterdays’ examination of libertarian political theory.

Read the rest of this entry »

Intellectual Hipsters: Libertarians

There’s another upstart group of intellectual hipsters in addition to the sceptics and the lovers of Nietzsche–the libertarians. You’ve definitely met these hipsters before. They wax romantically about Ron Paul, some of them voted for Gary Johnson, they tend to like theorists like Nozick and Locke, and some of them are Ayn Rand-embracing objectivists. You know the type. Like all hipsters, their ideas are much less sophisticated and clever than they imagine, and their position is neither novel nor socially helpful. Of course, I cannot merely assert these things, I have to prove them. Let’s go.

Read the rest of this entry »

Space Age Stimulus

Over the last few months, a few things have happened that have put space exploration on my mind:

  • Newt Gingrich proposed a lunar colony
  • NASA sent a new rover to Mars
  • Neil Armstrong died

As a result, space exploration’s political implications are the topic of today’s post.

Read the rest of this entry »