Limited Alliances, Ctd

by Patrick Appel

Timothy Lee makes some smart points in response to Julian Sanchez:

I agree with Julian’s take on this: political alliances are built by concrete actions toward shared goals, not by abstract statements of philosophical agreement. But I think his point can be made stronger with some specific examples.

In 2005, I was a founding employee of the Show-Me Institute, a “free market” think tank. What we meant by “free market” is that the organization devoted itself exclusively to those issues where conservatives and libertarians agreed. We wrote about taxes, school choice, property rights, health care policy, and so forth. We had an explicit policy that we didn’t do work on “social issues,” which in practice meant any issue where libertarians sided with liberals. So we avoided writing about immigration, gay rights, free speech, abortion, drug prohibition, prayer in schools, the death penalty, and the like.

And the Show-Me Institute is hardly unique. There’s a nationwide network of think tanks called the State Policy Network, with member organizations in almost every state, that are built on this same premise. 

He later gets into why there is no liberal-libertarian equivalent.