I haven’t entirely given up on my libertarian past, but years in Boston have definitely dragged me further left. Getting out of school has helped, too. I’d be hard pressed to say when exactly I crossed the line from “conservative libertarian” to, well, wherever I am now. The PATRIOT Act and the gradual Sovietization of a notionally free country was probably a key step. Learning that “feminism” isn’t a punchline also helped. Learning about public choice theory and economics certainly carried me along.
But if I had to pick the day I stopped trusting in capitalism to solve all ills, it’d be the day someone told me, “The marketing department’s worried that we won’t spend their entire budget this month.”
There are a lot of pundits and bloggers out there who will tell you about how free markets produce accountability, match incentives to results and eliminate wasteful spending. I can point you to them if you’re interested. But very few of them punch a clock.