Up until the weeks before I parted ways with Cato, I never felt any overt pressure to toe any sort of party line. But almost as soon as I left, I found that I was noticeably less reflexively defensive about anti-libertarian arguments. I found it easier to the see merit it in them! I feel sure that much of this has to do with the fact that at some level I had recognized that my livelihood depended on staying within the broad bounds of the libertarian reservation, and that this recognition had been exerting a subtle unconscious pressure on my thought. Once I became an independent operator, much of that pressure lifted. And as soon as that pressure lifted, I began to feel much less attached to the libertarian label. And as that sense of attachment waned, I became even less reflexively defensive about anti-libertarian arguments. It became hard for me to avoid the conclusion that my political self-conception had been interfering with my ability to evaluate arguments objectively. I had been letting people on my team get away with bad arguments, and I had been failing to acknowledge the force of arguments against my team's tenets. The fact that everybody else does this, too, doesn't make me feel any better about my own sins against Truth.
So I am resisting a strong sense of ideological identity. If pressed, I'll say I'm an inscrutably idiosyncratic liberal. This has been paying dividends! How do I know? Because I feel very confused.Read the whole thing. I've long felt that Mr. Wilkinson and I have been on parallel tracks, ideologically. He just has a lot more time to think and write about it than I do, and does so superbly.
Confusion breeds inquisition. Certainty breeds stagnation.
Don't get too comfortable.