Blogs > Liberty and Power > Michael Munger Interviewed

Sep 7, 2008 11:04 am

Michael Munger Interviewed

The Raleigh News & Observer featured the Libertarian Party today in its editorial section, including a Q & A with Michael Munger, Libertarian Party candidate for governor of North Carolina. Munger is the economist who chairs the political science department at Duke.

Great interview! Munger’s top issues:

A moratorium on capital punishment

Increasing the number of charter schools (the number is capped at 100 in the state, despite long waiting lists) and coming up with a voucher program

Improving roads by creating a commission to decide on highway priorities (comparable to the federal military base closing commission).

Among many good quotes:

Q: Tell me why a vote for you on Nov. 4 wouldn’t be a wasted vote.

A. All votes are wasted unless the election is decided by a single vote. The question is, how are you going to allocate that single vote that you have? Are you going to honor your principles or vote for the lesser of two evils?

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Jane S. Shaw - 10/25/2008

Sorry for the long delay in responding (I couldn't get to the comments at one point; still working on the mechanics of blogging). I like your last comment especially: that's journalism for you, and journalism as we know it will probably implode before that ignorance changes. But maybe it is imploding.

Russell Hanneken - 9/7/2008

I've enjoyed some of Dr. Munger's writing, and I'm sure he'd be a better governor than anyone else who's running. I understand that he's a moderate libertarian, and I don't expect him to call for anarchy in North Carolina. Still, I'm disappointed with a couple of the answers he gave to the interviewer's questions.

First, there are his remarks on immigration: "Illegal immigration is a problem in the United States because we don't allow people to immigrate legally. The simple way to put it is this: Libertarians are in favor of a high wall, and a wide gate. Let's police the borders, and stop illegal immigration. But then we should also allow people who want to work here, to share the American dream instead of the American welfare state, to enter legally."

Exactly what kind of immigration does he have a problem with? Is it "illegal immigration"--i.e., whatever immigration the government has decided to pass a law against, for whatever reason? Or is it immigration for the sake of suckling at the teat of the welfare state?

If it's the former, then the solution is relatively simple: make currently illegal immigration legal. If it's the latter, then wouldn't it be easier and less intrusive for the state to stop giving welfare to immigrants--as opposed to screening out immigrants who came for welfare, either stopping them at the border or hunting them down once they're in the U.S.? Why do we want "a high wall?"

Second, there's this comment about drug users: "[E]ven if you think that taking drugs is wrong, as many people do, jail is not the answer. Let's not put people in jail, let's send them to treatment for addiction. It's cheaper, and it gives them a chance to live productive lives."

What if a drug user doesn't see himself as having a problem, or at least not a medical problem requiring "treatment?" Does Dr. Munger think he should be coerced?

By the way, is anyone else annoyed that there are still journalists who think it's unfathomably weird that some people are "conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues?"

David T. Beito - 9/7/2008

I met Munger at a Liberty Fund conference. He's a bright guy.