How Much Does Punditry Matter?

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Yglesias finds a paper with "evidence that intellectuals reorganize the issues before parties realign around them." Timothy B Lee applies this finding to liberaltarianism:

Politicians, activists, and septegenarian billionaires are lagging indicators of ideological trends. The right-leaning politics of the Koch brothers are the result of intellectual arguments that happened in libertarian circles in the 1960s and 1970s. Contemporary libertarian politics is right-leaning because a previous generation of libertarian intellectuals (Friedman, Hayek, Rand) chose to focus primarily on “right-wing” issues like taxes and deregulation. But there’s nothing inevitable about this. If the present generation of libertarian intellectuals chose to focus on “left-wing” issueswar, civil liberties, immigration, urbanism, patent reform, gay rights, etcthen the next generation of libertarian donors, activists, and politicians would likely see the Democrats, rather than the Republicans, as natural allies.

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