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Friday, November 28, 2008

The Ideas of the Boston Teapot Tempest Party

Jim Davidson apparently doesn't know that "natural monopoly" is just a technical term in economics describing any industry with high fixed costs and vanishingly low marginal costs.  As the Wikipedia article notes, "there may, or may not be, a single supplier in such an industry."  To an economist, "natural monopoly" is a positive claim about an industry's cost structure, and not necessarily a normative claim about how many firms there should be in it.  Davidson knows the normative claim is strongly suggested by the positive claim, and so he just stamps his foot and denies the positive claim, calling it "socialistic drivel".  Everybody chant with Jim: there's no such thing as high fixed costs and low marginal costs.

Davidson apparently can't answer my arguments, so he calls me "scum" and "socialist" and suggests I might be an "enthusiast" for murders by agents of government.  Such is the sort of person who the BTP elects as its chair.  (In fairness, the BTP seems to get a new chair every few weeks, so one data point may not tell us much.)

Davidson says absolutely nothing to rebut any of the 9 reasons I gave in an earlier article why having multiple freedom parties is inefficient.  Instead, he says that an argument about his sandbox party is only valid if it's posted in the sandbox of his blog thread.

Davidson cites the LPTX as salvageable, but doesn't explain how the BTP can improve the LPTX by competing with it. Davidson doesn't try to repeat his claim that the BTP can improve the LPUS by competing with it, but instead says that "a strong case can be made for abandoning the national LP" as "unsalvageable".  This, of course, is what I argued must be claimed by any BTP advocate who doesn't want their party to be an explicitly anarchist one.

Davidson nevertheless says that the BTP is going to "compete directly with the LP in the market for ideas".   And what are the "ideas" of the Boston Teapot-Tempest Party?  Well, it is permanently stuck with a version of the World's Smallest Political Platform that author Tom Knapp admits has one mistake per sentence.  (WSPP 1.0 opposes only increases in government's "size, scope, AND power", but 1.1 broadens that to any increase in government's "size, scope, OR power".)  The only other idea of the BTP has been to say "me too" to four proposals co-endorsed by theocrat Chuck Baldwin and socialists Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader -- not exactly a bold act of product differentiation.  Davidson even admits that the BTP "is whatever you choose to make of it" -- a claim of market position that is sure to strike fear in the heart of a Party of Principle.

Davidson fantasizes that I want to keep libertarian radicals in the LP so that I can "discipline" them.  He apparently is ignorant of the how I've been chiding radical LP candidates (like Dan Grow, Tom Knapp, Susan Hogarth, and Morey Straus) for running stealth campaigns that hide their anarchism.  I have no need to discipline LP radicals, when electoral reality is already such a harsh mistress.