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Friday, March 11, 2005

I suppose I share a lot of common ground with libertarians onmany grounds, but at the end of the day I am not one of them. For reasons of clarity I always call myself conservative, which is not really all that clear when you think about it, but it’s better than mumbling something about-sort-of-centrist-but-I-don’t-want-to-be-tagged answer.
Anyways, what brought this to my attention was this daily comment from the Cato Institute on energy policy.
I agree with virtually everything they dislike about Bush’s new energy bill, even though I’m still very sceptical about the ability of market driven technology changes to deal with environmental problems alone, as Ronald Baily argued recently. But that’s not really my point here.
The authors quote Bush as saying that

we need an energy bill, one that encourages reliability for electricity, and one that encourages conservation and helps us become less dependent on foreign sources of energy

Read this commentary from this point onwards and notice what’s missing: independence from foreign sources of energy. That is of course one thing the market left to itself cannot deliver. Now if you’re a Cato-style libertarian you’re probably more inclined to ignore this issue because it can only be solved by state intervention. As a conservative I find the idea of the state intervening in the economy for the national interest entirely acceptable, and government action to lower the dependence on Middle Eastern oil is an idea I already endorse.

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