The Election of 2020 and LP Participation

From: Alejandro Hernandez

Sent: Friday, November 13, 2020 12:52 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Regarding your opinion piece in the WSJ

Dr. Block,

Hope you have been well. I read your piece regarding the libertarians vote in this election cycle.

Block, Walter E. 2020. “Libertarians Spoil the Election; Jo Jorgensen exceeds Biden’s margin in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia.” November 9; https://www.wsj.com/articles/libertarians-spoil-the-election-11604867668

“Jo Jorgensen accepts the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president in Orlando, Fla., July 10.”

file:///C:/Users/WBlock/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/CKHU6Y6I/Libertarians%20Spoil%20the%20Election%20-%20WSJ.pdf

I was wondering if you could provide further into your piece as it seems your main argument was a utilitarian claim that the republican party was closer to the libertarian party than the Democractic party so in swing states, libertarians should choose Trump over Biden and the impression I got was it was subtly blaming libertarian voters for the Biden victory.

Given our previous discussion on utilitarianism and the infamous Util-monster, how could we be so sure that libertarians should have voted for Trump over Biden in swing states if someones util of social policy (such as decriminalization drugs) is exponentially high that the meter would swap in favour of the democrats. It seems to me the only people here to blame for not garnering the libertarian votes are the Republicans (and Democrats in some states like Florida) for not picking a candidate who is more inlign with libertarian principles. I am looking forward to your response.

P.S. As I’m starting the application process for grad school, while I plan on applying to George Mason, I was wondering if you had any input on the econ programs at Notre Dame or Northwestern.

Best Regards and Stay Safe,

Alex Hernandez

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Friday, November 13, 2020 1:18 PM

To: ‘Alejandro Hernandez’

Subject: RE: Regarding your opinion piece in the WSJ

Dear Alex:

Good to hear from you. I don’t think my thesis was a utilitarian one, at least not fully. That philosophy states that virtuous acts are the ones that bring about the most happiness, although I can readily see why you draw that conclusion.

The way I interpret what I wrote in the WSJ is that 1.Trump is closer to libertarianism than is Biden by far; 2. The closest to libertarianism was Jo Jorgenson, the LP candidate. 3. she was unlikely in the extreme to win the election. Therefore, IF libertarians want to promote a free and just society, 4. they should favor Trump over Biden at least in purple states.

Would this promote utility? Yes. Is the utility monster (we should all become his slaves since he values our  servitude more than we value our freedom) refutation of utilitarianism still correct? Yes, it is. But, speaking non philosophically, I can still maintain, roughly, that the country would be a better place, more liberty, with Donald continuing at the helm, than with Sleepy Joe.

As a matter of technical economics, there can be no such thing as indifference, since human action consists of preference. Yet, the word “indifference” is a perfectly good English word; we all know what it means, how to use it. In similar manner, as a technical matter, utility, happiness, cannot be measured. But it is not gibberish to say that there is more of it in South than North Korea, more in West than East German, more in the US and Canada than in Cuba and Venezuela. Yes, only 99.99% of the voting with the feet is in the direction I mention; there is some traffic in the other direction. But still…

Best regards,

Walter

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3:34 am on April 3, 2021