Obstruction Cuts Both Ways

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David Boaz attempts to mount a libertarian defense of the filibuster:

In the long run, though, establishmentarians like the New Yorker’s George Packer think that the purpose of government is to pass new laws, regulations, and programs; and they complain when the Senate or any other institution stands in the way of such putative progress. Those of us who prefer liberty, limited government, and federalism appreciate the constitutional and traditional mechanisms that slow down the rush to legislation.

That’s a bizarre argument. Bills to reduce taxes are “legislation.” Bills to relax regulations are “legislation.” People who want to move public policy in the United States in a more libertarian direction support the idea of having congress pass legislation. As I was able to get Jonathan Bernstein to agree, the impact of the idiosyncratic elements of the American political system is to enhance the influence of interest groups and decrease the influence of ideologues and technocrats. Libertarians shouldn’t like that very much, it seems to me.