How Much Does Punditry Matter?

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.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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