Most folks don’t realize it – even people who know me fairly well – but I used to be a Republican. Back when I was younger and, one supposes, more naïve about the relevance of certain kinds of economic theory, I was a pretty mouthy GOPper. I voted for Reagan twice and Bush the Elder once, and while I can defend myself by saying things like “Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis,” I think it’s now clear that history will regard those voting decisions as, at best, insufficiently considered.
As time passed and I grew more … educated … I became more and more conflicted. There were things about Republican philosophy that appealed to me: fiscal responsibility was one, and also a live-and-let-live approach to how people pursued their own lives. Social libertarianism, in other words. And while most now regard me as pretty darned progressive, the fact is that I remain committed to fiscal responsibility and am more socially libertarian than I ever was. (More…)