Here’s an odd thing for you:A few interns at the libertarian Cato Institute have been given the assignment of arguing — in a public forum, against senior Cato staffers — in favor of the following proposition: “the United States should substantially reduce its foreign dependence on oil through increased government support for the development of alternative automobile fuel technology.”

(The idea is to prep the staffers for a coming debate with folks from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.)

Now, mind you — these are libertarians. They loathe the idea of government handouts. Witness Cato’s energy page.

The interns are soliciting ideas and arguments at their blog, Catallarchy.

It’s fascinating to see them and their mostly libertarian readers cast about for arguments in favor of alternative fuel subsidies — the wisdom of which I, and I’ll wager most readers here, take for granted.

Go read the thread. If you come to it without a kneejerk hostility toward and propensity to dismiss the arguments of those who don’t share your political predilections (ahem) you might even be intellectually stimulated.

(via Jim Henley)