Monday, 21 August 2006

Not a conspiracy theory

Every time I feel like I’m making progress in turning “the damn strategic voting chapter” into a final paper worthy of submission, I stumble across a new bug in Zelig. I’d theorize that Gary King doesn’t want me to publish anything, but I’m afraid I’m far too insignificant a microbe in the whole political science universe to be squashed so deliberately.

If I were better organized, I’d spend the time I’m waiting for the bugs to be fixed writing up the changes I’ve made already—most notably, tossing the interviewer measure of sophistication in favor of an item-response theory model. That would probably cover the real reason I don’t seem to be able to publish anything—well, besides my lack of a research budget, RAs, and course releases for research, and a computer on my desk at work that probably was the cheapest thing Dell marketed to its education customers three years ago.


Megan asks:

How did I end up on the Libertarian circuit anyway? I am quite the bleeding heart; I give change to homeless people and play team sports and volunteer in a community garden and shit. It’s like I’ve fallen in with a bad crowd, just ‘cause they’re all funny and cool. Marginal Revolution is totally a gateway drug.

I’m not sure any of those things would qualify or disqualify anyone from being a libertarian (or even a Libertarian), since none of them have to do with the use of the government’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force to coerce certain individual behavior. No libertarian I’m aware of would forbid† Megan from giving change to homeless people, playing team sports, or volunteering in community gardens; nor would any* make her do any of those things.

† Hardcore Objectivists would probably make fun of her for doing some of these things, but one need not subscribe to Objectivist beliefs to be a libertarian. Thank God.
* Well, except a few liberals who like to call themselves “libertarian” because they’re for some unfathomable reason embarrassed to be known as liberals, like Bill Maher. But that’s a whole other kettle of fish.