When Coalitions Dissolve

As the GOP breaks apart, some blame the vanishing breed of free market Republicans.

“Victory has 100 fathers,” the Italian proverb goes, but “defeat is an orphan.” It’s an old battlefield saw, trotted out by blame-taking commanders after ignominious defeats, such as President John F. Kennedy following the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco. But it’s no less true when it comes to politics.

Anxious conservatives this year are evincing a powerful nostalgia for Ronald Reagan, giving the former president credit for fathering the modern era of consistent Republican victories. Reagan, the myth goes, kept together the three “legs” of the GOP “stool”: social conservatives, free marketeers, and national security hawks. As a result, Republicans held the White House for 20 of the last 28 years, broke the Democrats’ stranglehold on the House of Representatives, cut income taxes, and won the Cold War.

But in 2008 the stool seems on the verge of breaking apart. Less than two years after holding the White House and both houses of Congress, the Republican Party is threatening to squander all three. Already down 33 seats in the House of Representatives, Republicans are losing 26 incumbents to retirement compared to the Democrats’ five and as of early March were behind on congressional fund raising by a ratio of 5 to 1, according to The Wall Street Journal. Democrats are widely expected to extend their 51-49 advantage in the Senate, and President George W. Bush is maintaining a dismal approval rating of around 30 percent. The party that once brought forth such tepid poindexters as John Kerry and Michael Dukakis is on the verge of nominating a charismatic fellow preaching change, who, not coincidentally, also happens to be that rare national politician on the public’s side against the trillion-dollar war.

This prospective defeat has 100 fathers, if you listen to the nation’s pundits. During the presidential primary season, the GOP abandoned decades of precedent by failing to coalesce around an Establishment front-runner, leaving each leg of the stool kicking viciously at the others in a contest for the party’s soul.

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson attempted to claim the Reagan mantle, attacked big-government evangelical Mike Huckabee for running against the other two legs of the Reagan coalition, and then promptly dropped out. Huckabee strategist Ed Rollins, a former Reagan official himself, declared to The New York Times that the coalition was “gone” and deserved to “go by the wayside” because of its insufficient social conservatism. Conservative talk show giant Rush Limbaugh predicted that either a Huckabee or a McCain nomination would destroy modern Republicanism as we know it.

And the libertarian long shot in the race? “I don’t take Ron Paul’s ideas seriously,” Daniel Casse wrote on the website of Commentary magazine, “but his presence in this debate really is the best proof that…the Reagan coalition is gone.”

Paul’s candidacy—which drew the eye-rolling treatment from McCain, Rudolph Giuliani, and “serious” conservatives nationwide—showed just how marginalized libertarianism has become in the party of Barry Goldwater. Paul’s lonely apostasy on foreign policy was greeted with hoots of derision on one debate stage after another. His calls for abolishing the Internal Revenue Service and hacking back the federal bureaucracy rolled right off the standard-bearers of a party that retook the House of Representatives in 1994 on a platform of reducing government.

Yet despite raising $30 million, Paul and his limited-government supporters got their clocks cleaned by Huckabee and the social cons, who were treated with much more deference by eventual nominee McCain and the party establishment. Twenty-seven years after Ronald Reagan famously said that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” the GOP’s appetite for rolling back the regulatory state appears as dead as the era of federal budget surpluses. Even former revolutionary Newt Gingrich agrees. “The Republican Party cannot win over time as the permanently angry anti-government party,” he writes in his latest book, Real Change.

In Comeback, one of several new whither-the-party books by traumatized Republicans, former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum points out that the very Bush policies that fiscal conservatives like him despise—the prescription drug entitlement, the No Child Left Behind Act, campaign finance reform—were overwhelmingly popular among the American people. “On issues from Social Security to healthcare to environmental protection, conservatives find themselves on the less popular side of the great issues of the day,” Frum writes.

The solution? Surrender: “There are things only government can do, and if we conservatives wish to be entrusted with the management of the government, we must prove that we care about government enough to manage it well.” Republicans should cave on new spending and regulations, says Frum, in exchange for tax cuts. “This is not 1964,” he writes. “The ideal under threat today is not the nation’s liberty, but the nation’s security, its unity, its effectiveness, and…its equality and beauty.”

As Sasha Issenberg wrote in a perceptive Boston Globe story last November, “With Republicans no longer preaching suspicion of Washington, a new consensus has emerged, as both parties have come in their ways to stand today for a more robust, aggressive federal government. As a result, Goldwaterism is without a natural home in the two-party system.”

The remaining libertarians in Reagan’s shrinking big tent aren’t just being ignored or marginalized; they’re being blamed for the Reagan coalition’s crackup. While John McCain was heading toward the nomination in January, The Weekly Standard published an online piece by the political scientists Benjamin and Jenna Silber Storey slamming McCain’s critics as “strict free-market” ideologues whose rigidity jeopardized the conservative movement. “The moral vacuity of dogmatic libertarianism is poisonous to public life,” the Storeys wrote. “Conservatives who forget that the free market is properly a piece of policy rather than an ideological end-in-itself not only obscure the importance of individual virtue, they undermine it.”

Intentionally or not, the blame-economists argument mirrors a popular critique of George W. Bush from the progressive left: that his presidency is an example of free marketeers run amok. In her best-selling book Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein lays the original sin of Bushite misgovernance at the feet of an unlikely source: Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman, the “grand guru of the movement for unfettered capitalism and the man credited with writing the rulebook for the contemporary hypermobile global economy.” Never mind that Friedman, in his 10th decade on the planet, exerted little or no influence on the free-spending, government-growing Bush administration.

On some level, there is no use worrying about other people’s economic fantasies. But on another, Klein’s rant points to the downside of joining big-tent coalitions: Even if your ideological bloc-within-a-bloc is dwindling and disrespected, when it supports the party in power it will inevitably be branded with that government’s failings.

Voting and political party membership are deeply personal and arguably bizarre public signaling rituals. There is no right or wrong way to do them. My own bizarreness tends toward single-issue obsessives and third-party long shots, and away from political parties (which I’ve never joined). Meaning, I’m much more likely to write in Ron Paul than let the dog whistle of Supreme Court appointments lure me grudgingly back to a major-party nominee. Not the most responsible approach, I agree.

But I wonder how responsible it is to add libertarian votes to a shrinking coalition whose dominant rhetoric and political standard-bearer stand in increasingly explicit opposition to the party’s libertarian strand. McCain, whose National Greatness conservatism is openly hostile to individualism, has recently hit some encouraging free market notes. Nonetheless, a Republican defeat this November might just leave fiscal conservatives more orphaned than people yet realize.

Matt Welch
is the editor in chief of Reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • T\'Surakmaat||

    "social conservatives, free marketeers, and national security hawks."

    Social Conservatives: moving you swiftly back to the 15th century.

    National Security Hawks: promulgating an invasion of a country near you.

    There is only one "leg" of the Republican party that should stand, and that is Free Markets.

    Defense of the Motherland should be left to the Executive branch.

    Social engineering should be left to the people.

    Peace and long life,
    T'Surakmaat

  • ||

    wonders if the libertarian-Republican marriage is worth saving

    No.

  • TallDave||

    You would think the GOP would be more naturally inclined to understand free market distortion vis a vis the drug war, and gov't intrusion in regards to other rights. Sadly, it often hasn't worked that way, due to the moralists.

  • Episiarch||

    wonders if the libertarian-Republican marriage is worth saving

    If it were saved, the "marriage" would be taking on aspects of Battered Wife Syndrome. Why stay in a relationship where you keep getting beaten up and then blamed for it?

    Not that the Dems would be any different.

  • Bingo||

    The GOP wants everything to be exactly like it supposedly was during the Eisenhower administration. "The good ol' days", what a fucking farce.

  • TallDave||

    Paul's lonely apostasy on foreign policy was greeted with hoots of derision on one debate stage after another.

    I have to point out again that not every libertarian believes liberty is just for Americans or that attempts to expand or defend other people's liberty are a mistake.

  • ||

    "But I wonder how responsible it is to add libertarian votes to a shrinking coalition whose dominant rhetoric and political standard-bearer stand in increasingly explicit opposition to the party's libertarian strand."

    Hear, hear!

    I'd add my own wonder at how responsible it is to add libertarian votes to the other major coalition either. Vote if you have to, but if you're voting for either coalition's nomination for shepherd in chief, then you are part of the problem.

    Some of these kooks think winning an election gives them a right to make decisions that affect our daily lives! Why would a libertarian condone such a process? ...and, yes, that's what you'll be doing if you vote for either of the candidates from the two major parties.

  • ||

    wonders if the libertarian-Republican marriage is worth saving

    No.


    Not just 'No', FUCK NO. The Republicans have fucked us every chance they've had for the last forty years. And for the past decade, dry fisting the libertarians has moved up in priority.

  • economist||

    TallDave,
    Fueling costly (in both lives and money) wars also does little for the liberty of Americans. And it hasn't even made us well-liked, either.

  • ||

    I hate to break it to you -- but the GOP saw libertarians as just like the fundies.

    You tossed them a verbal bone now and then, and ignored the hell out of them otherwise.

    The problem was, unlike the fundies, there's simply not that many of you. So you guys got token lip service at best and flat-out ignored the rest of the time.

    What are you going to do about it? Vote Democrat? Ha.

  • TallDave||

    Fueling costly (in both lives and money) wars also does little for the liberty of Americans.

    It does wonders for people in other countries, though.

  • Man In Crowd||

    Why, I believe I'll vote for a third party!

  • Kang||

    Go ahead! Throw your vote away! Hahahahaha!

  • Kodos||

    Mwahahahaha!

  • ||

    TallDave,I hate to point out that there is nothing libertarian about your foreign policy views.

    Oh and fuck the republican party.

  • ||

    So your defending Pakistani peasants liberty by making a military dictator more powerful? That is going to pay off as well as giving Sadam Hussein chemical weapons and training the Shah's police force in secret police tactics. It will pay off as well as supporting the Taliban with 43 million dollars in 2001. It must make you proud to spread all that freedom and liberty to Saudi Arabia by supporting a bunch of Royal Caligula goons. Well Cheney and Bush are family friends with them so we know they are cool.

    When are you "freedom spreading" preachers going to understand that taxing hard working Americans to pay for BS dicatator support is not spreading freedom as much as your destroying it in this country? The two don't balance. For every real instance of freedom that is spread in another country your destroying 10 times that freedom in america....the place that should be a the real golden goose of freedom....don't kill the golden goose to support corrupt regimes.

    Why won't you people even admit the gamble your taking here? admit it is a socialist thought....hindering the feeding and education of and living standards of american workers on the whim that the money won't be wasted under crony-capitalism no-bid contracts and murderous dictators.

    Secondly, you destroy the leadership factor of America that really could be a force for spreading freedom.

  • Travis||

    "What are you going to do about it? Vote Democrat? Ha."

    How about libertarian for a change.

  • TallDave||

    TallDave,I hate to point out that there is nothing libertarian about your foreign policy views.

    Supporting freedom and democracy in other countries isn't libertarian?

    I guess if libertarianism is defined in a narrow nativist sense. I prefer to think every human being deserves liberty.

  • ||

    This is why I'll be kicking down McCain political lawn signs this year instead of Obama political lawn signs!

    If were going to piss away tax money we might as well let the dems do it here instead of letting the repubs piss it away over there!

    Stupid fucks!

  • economist||

    Actually, TallDave, over a hundred thousand Iraqis have died. And by your philosophy that one should be willing to violate the rights and liberties of some to enhance the well-being of others, pretty much the entire welfare state is A OK.

  • ||

    Supporting freedom and democracy in other countries isn't libertarian?

    It is if you write a newspaper article about it.

    It's not if you send troops.

  • ||

    Talldave, "It does wonders for people in other countries, though."

    Do you not acknowledge the fact that Sadam offered to leave iraq for 1 billion dolalrs and the Bush regime refused?

    Do you not acknowledge that we have killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq? do you not acknowledge that we have not helped the average Cuban by enforcing a trade embargoe...that we have only hurt them AND US citizens?
    Do you not acknowledge that the Shah was a murderous Caligula like thug that we put into power in Iran? it isn't surprising to see fundamentalist nuts come into power when they had to put up with trash like teh Shah for 30 years...don't you see that we have done nothing but shit there?

  • Robert||

    So what? How many other than libertarian voters ever get to vote for a candidate who goes along with everything they want either? Nobody gets just what they want, so what makes libertarians so special?

  • ||

    TallDave,

    I am all about spreading freedom and liberty, but not at the point of a gun. The notion that can we bomb people to freedom is offensive and dangerous. It ultimately undermines liberty.

  • TallDave||

    It is if you write a newspaper article about it.It's not if you send troops.

    Interesting. I guess South Korea is lucky we weren't "libertarian." Europe, too.

    Do you not acknowledge that we have killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq?

    Not us. Terrorists. We are not the ones setting off car bombs in markets.

    it isn't surprising to see fundamentalist nuts come into power when they had to put up with trash like teh Shah for 30 years...

    Actually, the ayatollahs and liberals were allied in the revolution. Then the mullahs turned on the liberals, and we got what we have now. Had the U.S. been more involved, we might have shaped a better outcome. We have helped other countries transition from strongmen to democracies.

  • ||

    I also want all people to have freedoms protected. It is wrong to imply that we don't. We jsut disagree with the methodology of doing so. You seem to have so much trust in teh governemtn that you advocate decreasing freedom in america so that politicians can take our money and spend it under the banner of "spreading freedom". In the mean time we see trillions of dollars taken from middle income people going to Bechtel, GE, Halliburton, Blackwater and General Dynamics to create a pretty realistic simulation of HELL ON EARTH(ABU GRAHB) GUATANAMO BAY....raining bombs on women and children busting down doors and raping women and plastic cuffing the men and taking them off to prison. Thousands of first hand accounts of machine gunnning thousands of random unarmed Iraqi citizens! In the meantime turning the legal machinary of a complete police state straight around to US citizens. THAT IS NOT SPREADING FREEDOM so please rethink your rhetoric.

  • TallDave||

    I am all about spreading freedom and liberty, but not at the point of a gun. The notion that can we bomb people to freedom is offensive and dangerous. It ultimately undermines liberty.

    Well, you don't give people liberty at the point of a gun, you give people liberty by pointing the gun at the people denying it to them.

  • ||

    I guess South Korea is lucky we weren't "libertarian."

    I guess so.
    Europe, too.

    The Nazi's declared war on us. They got what was coming to them.

  • ||

    Well, you don't give people liberty at the point of a gun, you give people liberty by pointing the gun at the people denying it to them.

    I couldn't give two shits about giving people in other nation-states liberty, whether by arms or by food stamps.

  • ||

    Walk away from them, and file for divorce.

    What are you going to do about it? Vote Democrat? Ha.

    Maybe, sometimes.

    Small-L libertarians are a large enough group that our votes should be able to decide close elections. Hitching our wagon to either the donkey or the elephant gets us what we've gotten in the past -- a whole lot of nothing.

    Practical Strategy:

    1) Vote for Libertarian candidates who stand an actual chance of winning, or as a protest if the incumbent is unbeatable.

    2) If #1 not practical, vote for the best, or least bad R/D candidate.

    3) Work for individual candidates, but not for parties. Make it known early and often that libertarian support is conditional, and will switch if a better deal comes along.

    Hopefully, this would motivate both parties to adopt more libertarian platforms.

  • ||

    If we had been more involved we might not be here because my dad could have been killed in the ensuing war. If we had been less involved we wouldn't have supported a secret police reign of Terror on Iran for 20 years. We'd also be a better symbol of freedom today becuase our economy would be in better shape.

    If you have so much faith in governemnt that you think it is justified to take tax money to pay for your social engineering schemes then fine...but that doesn't make you libertarian, it makes you a statist.

  • Travis||

    Gabe Harris,

    The Fundamentalist nuts also got access to all the arms that we had supplied the Shah's regime. Like F-14's, tanks, assault rifles, etc.. which they used to impose their fanatical religious beliefs on the Iranian people. Guess that all doesn't matter because the Shah was anit-communist & the democratically elected gov't the CIA overthrew was backed by the Soviets. We all know there couldn't have been anything worse than an socialist Iran.

  • Ashley||

    You put "stool" in quotes… Gross, Matt.

  • Neil||

    The Freedom Agenda is on the march, whether the liberals like it or not.

    The Enlightenment is coming to the Middle East and American armies are bringing it there!

  • ||

    TallDave | April 4, 2008, 4:00pm | #

    I am all about spreading freedom and liberty, but not at the point of a gun. The notion that can we bomb people to freedom is offensive and dangerous. It ultimately undermines liberty.

    Well, you don't give people liberty at the point of a gun, you give people liberty by pointing the gun at the people denying it to them.

    Anybody I've talked to who has actually been in a war says they can't tell who is denying liberty, so in the itnerest of not dying they just shoot as many people as they can and feel guilty afterwards. Your polyanna war glorification is about as useful as Bush's splurge.

  • TallDave||

    The Nazi's declared war on us. They got what was coming to them.

    The Nazis declared war on us because we were shipping huge amounts of war materiel to their enemies, not to mention the oil embargo on Japan and our freezing of Japanese assets. Our involvement in WW II began long before Pearl Harbor or Germany's declaration of war.

  • ||

    "I prefer to think every human being deserves liberty." - TallDave

    Not if they voluntarily prescribe wholeheartedly to a religion whose name and philosophy directly translates to "Submission".

  • TallDave||

    Anybody I've talked to who has actually been in a war says they can't tell who is denying liberty, so in the itnerest of not dying they just shoot as many people as they can and feel guilty afterwards.

    Um. I don't think our troops are just shooting as many Iraqis and Afghanis as they can.

  • ||

    Ok, so we all agree that the GOP would lose if they adopted a smaller-government platform, right? There's no real dispute that the most popular parts of Bush's domestic agenda are the medicare expansion, etc.
    So what exactly do you expect the GOP to do? Regardless of ideology, if they make more concessions to libertarians, they lose, and the government gets bigger.
    On the other hand, if you exclude yourself from both political parties, then you have no meaningful voice, and government also gets bigger.

  • TallDave||

    OTOH, our troops did set up to protect Iraqis and Afghanis as they braved car bombs and bullets to vote in four free and fair elections.

    And we'll be protecting Iraqis this September when they vote in provincial elections.

  • Bingo||

    Goddamn, Gabe. Well said.

  • ||

    Libertarians should fight on all fronts. If you're a quasi-Democrat, fight there. If you're a quasi-Republican, fight there. The reality is that the Libertarian Party isn't going to be a major party in the short term. Doesn't mean that we give up on it, but we have to keep the libertarian voice alive wherever we can in the meantime.

  • ||

    The Shah's regime had some marxist backing, but not much more than a Hillary Clinton campaign or for all practical purposes not much more than the Neo-Cons or a Matt Welch (government should supply non-market goods).

    The real crime was taking some assets from the big oil companies and threating to pay off all debt...that kicked the Rockefeller-Rothchild machine into full war mode. Communist smears flew to justify killing women and children in false flag attacks(Operation Ajax).

    To rub salt in the wounds David Rockefeller personally ask Jimmy Carter to give "the Shah" refuge when the criminal finally has to flee the country. Kissing dictator ass is not spreading freedom TallDave.

  • ||

    TallDave,
    No offense but the poeple they voted on in those elections were pieces of shit. It doesn't make me proud to have helped Iraqi's vote for pieces of shit.

    If those same pieces of shit had been in power in 2002 then Goerge Bush would have had no problems digging up good reasons to go over and bomb the hell out of the current pieces of shit.

  • TallDave||

    No offense but the poeple they voted on in those elections were pieces of shit.

    LOL I don't know why Iraqis and Afghanis should have better democracies than ours.

  • Travis||

    Jaime,

    The reason the GOP is losing is because the American public knows their full of it. When they took power in '94 they were for term limits, balanced budgets, cutting wasteful gov't programs, against nation building, what the GOP did after they got in power was to turn away from everything that got them elected in the first place. If the American public wants politicians to bribe them for votes they can vote for the democrats that party is much better at it.

  • ||

    Talldave,
    You seriously think the neo-cons give a good god damnded about elections in Iraq? is that why they were giving Sadam Hussein chemical weapons in the 1980's?

  • ||

    So your defending Pakistani peasants liberty by making a military dictator more powerful?

    Would that be the dictator who just got shown the door in elections that happened in part because of US pressure?

    The Nazi's declared war on us.

    Technically true, but only by a few hours.

    We had been at war with Iraq for over a decade when we invaded post-9/11. After we kicked Iraq out of Kuwait, there was a cease-fire, premised on conditions that he repeatedly violated. There was never any kind of peace treaty that ended the Iraq war; it just went kind of low-profile for awhile, although it never cooled off entirely.

  • ||

    So how can you morally justify taking money from a 50k a year single mother of two in NYC to help pay to get pieces of shit elected in Iraq? That is not spreading freedom it is striking a hatchet blow against the golden goose of freedom in America. If we demonstrate real freedom here then others will be free to copy it, we will be more free to spread it ourselves. If we destroy it here the money will be wasted by George Bushes and Bill Clintons on machine guns, cocaine and hookers.

  • TallDave||

    You seriously think the neo-cons give a good god damnded about elections in Iraq?

    Yes. It would have been much, much easier to install a friendly dictator, as many (Juan Cole for instance) claimed we would. Instead we've gone through a very difficult process of helping them develop some semblance of liberal democracy.

    is that why they were giving Sadam Hussein chemical weapons in the 1980's?

    We didn't. Saddam got very little military aid of any kind from us (notice he had Russian tanks and aircraft). Of course, we didn't exactly oppose hime either; the thinking in the 1980s was that Communism was a bigger problem than tinpot dictators, and anyway with them fighting Iran next door we had two awful regimes weakening each other.

  • ||

    He is facing political problems but he is still in power. It is highly likely he assasinated a politcal rival a couple months ago so don't count him down yet...he'd be long gone if it weren't for US aid and CIA/ISI friednly relations. If he does lose pwoer it doesn't magically make it alright to steal american taxpayer money to support him for the last several years.

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g-MDv7mWYSLoMbnpbGrmEAquljjw

    Pakistan's army is speeding up the transfer of power to the country's new civilian government, further isolating embattled US anti-terror ally President Pervez Musharraf, analysts say.

    Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, is confronting a hostile coalition government that won elections in February in the latest see-saw between army and civilian rule in Pakistan's 60-year history.

    But in a departure from previous years when ministers visited the army chief, current military supremo General Ashfaq Kayani came to new premier Yousaf Raza Gilani's residence on Wednesday for a security briefing.

    Later the same day Kayani, who succeeded Musharraf as army chief in November last year, replaced a key confidant of the president as head of the crucial Military Intelligence unit.

    "It is another step that isolates President Pervez Musharraf. He is increasingly isolated by the new political power set-up," general-turned-defence-analyst Talat Masood told AFP.

  • Travis||

    R C Dean,

    Good point, George W. didn't start the war in Iraq his father did. Clinton continued the war & George W. escalated the conflict.

  • ||

    The GOP apologists still defend the worst of the GOP policies out of blind loyalty.

    Their just like the aborto-freaks. Loyal despite getting constantly shat on. Any other position is tacit support for the evildoers on the other side.

  • AbortoFreak||

    Evildoer!

  • ||

    It also seriously damages pakistan society when they have to summon all their political forces to battle a US supported military dictactor.

    One of the few avenues of power that remains in society taken over by a tyrant is for people to concentrate power in some religous organization. Thus the religous leaders might help throw off the militaristic tyrant, but then they demand some extraordinary religous nut power....you see this can be damaging to the overall fabric of the society. Not really too surprising when you think about it.

  • TallDave||

    So how can you morally justify taking money from a 50k a year single mother of two in NYC to help pay to get pieces of shit elected in Iraq?

    I have this weird attachment to democracy.

    If Bush cancelled our 2008 elections and declared himseld dictator for life, would you rise up in arms? If another country offered to help fight him, would they be wrong to do so?

    Anyways, a person in that situation probably pays little or no income tax.

  • ||

    I have to point out again that not every libertarian believes liberty is just for Americans or that attempts to expand or defend other people's liberty are a mistake.

    I have no issue with any American picking up a rifle and going to help someone else overthrow a tyrant. What I object to is making that a taxpayer-funded enterprise.

    -jcr

  • Travis||

    "If Bush cancelled our 2008 elections and declared himseld dictator for life, would you rise up in arms? If another country offered to help fight him, would they be wrong to do so?"

    Yes, as long as Dictactor Bush had not attacked their country it would be none of their buisness. It would be just an excuse to establish imperialistic control on America.

    American citizens could take care of Bush.

  • ||

    Technically true, but only by a few hours.

    That few hours is the crucial difference between a justified declaration and an unjust declaration.

    And regarding TallDave's position, I continue to stand firmly by the notion that being a military aggressor only has moral authority under a libertarian umbrella if you are striking back from a direct assault.

    I do find it cute though that he attempted to play "The Nazi's had no choice but to declare war on America" card.

    TallDave said:
    The Nazis declared war on us because we were shipping huge amounts of war materiel to their enemies, not to mention the oil embargo on Japan and our freezing of Japanese assets. Our involvement in WW II began long before Pearl Harbor or Germany's declaration of war.

    Our military involvement prior to the declaration of war was non-existent. And that's what matters. If they felt politically pressured by commercial transactions, then tough titties.

  • Bingo||

    I have this weird attachment to democracy.


    What the fuck is wrong with you, how does this justify anything?

    If Bush cancelled our 2008 elections and declared himseld dictator for life, would you rise up in arms? If another country offered to help fight him, would they be wrong to do so?



    Gee, I don't know, what if China offered to help overthrow Bush and then hung around for the next 5 years for "security" reasons?

  • ||

    Talldave, such a person would pay the full payroll taxes...if they were self employed they would pay about 15% right of the top of all their income...and that money goes straight to the general fund of bombing brown people.

  • ||

    General Fund for Bombing Brown People?

    Actually, it is worse. There is an 'off the balance sheet' Special Purpose Entity for Bombing Brown People - designed as subterfuge to evade the auditors as to the vast expense of such activity.

  • ||

    Former Chief of NIST Fire Science Division.
    Dr Quintere, calls for a independent review of WTC 7.
    He says the NIST review needs to be made public and a new investigation needs to be done.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TGtV39iipQ

  • Fluffy||

    If Bush cancelled our 2008 elections and declared himseld dictator for life, would you rise up in arms? If another country offered to help fight him, would they be wrong to do so?

    There was a time, TallDave, when I would have employed rhetoric like this too.

    That was when I had never seen this kind of Trotskyitism in practice.

    The errors, atrocities, and offenses against liberty that the Bush administration has undertaken in the last several years aren't accidental, sir. They are the forseeable outcome of waging an offensive war to spread one's domestic revolution to foreign shores.

    We had some luck using war and occupation to export liberty and democracy to Japan, but have done a damn poor job of it elsewhere. We freed a lot more people just by demonstrating freedom ourselves than we have by crusading overseas.

  • ||

    TallDave, you really should look into getting a breathalyzer interlock for your keyboard. Seriously.

  • ||

    Ah, I see the drive to identify the Iraq war with WW2 has reached its logical conclusion: revising history to make us the aggressors in WW2. Good job, guys.

  • ||

    We should all be forced to buy them, it would help increase freedom for others and Steve Chapman, Joe and Cosmotarian overlord would be thrilled.

  • Neil||

    To all the "non interventionists" out there, who the hell is going to replace the United States as the policeman of the world were we to take your policy seriously?

    You want China, Russia, or the U.N. running things? Or would you just prfer general chaos?

  • ||

    Or would you just prfer general chaos?

    Actually, it's Professor Chaos and General Disarray. And yes, I prefer them over Team America: World Police.

  • Bingo||

    If its not affecting the US, who cares? Besides, our defense industries could probably make pretty good money from general chaos and as long as we are trading with others and no one is bombing us I could care less what they do to each other.

  • duster||

    Some great observations. One thing that I don't get is:

    Nonetheless, a Republican defeat this November might just leave fiscal conservatives more orphaned than people yet realize.

    Wars at home and abroad ain't cheap. McCain has indicated support for both. In other words, a Republican VICTORY this November will also leave fiscal conservatives more orphaned than people yet realize.

    Let's just be honest about the hopelessness of the situation.

  • ||

    "If Bush cancelled our 2008 elections and declared himseld dictator for life, would you rise up in arms? If another country offered to help fight him, would they be wrong to do so?"

    "Gee, I don't know, what if China offered to help overthrow Bush and then hung around for the next 5 years for "security" reasons?"


    Bush is an asshole to say the least. Still, I love the U.S. and if you all wanted to come overthrow Chavez (for real this time) and hung around for five years for security reasons, I know plenty of Venezuelans who would be very happy with this arrangement. :)

    That being said, I dont think it would be a good idea. I agree with Fluffy, Venezuelans need to take care of their problem and no American soldier should die here fighting a bunch of ignorant people who are only to eager to give up all their freedom to a Thug like Chavez. It is better to set the example and see if we can follow... (sigh).

  • DannyK||


    To all the "non interventionists" out there, who the hell is going to replace the United States as the policeman of the world were we to take your policy seriously?


    Well, there's a cheery thought as we head into Tax Day... I'm not just supporting the Government, I'm supporting the Empire!

  • Travis||

    "Still, I love the U.S. and if you all wanted to come overthrow Chavez (for real this time) and hung around for five years for security reasons, I know plenty of Venezuelans who would be very happy with this arrangement. :)"

    I think there would also be alot of Venezuelans who wouldn't be very happy with that arrangement.

  • ||

    "Actually, it's Professor Chaos and General Disarray. And yes, I prefer them over Team America: World Police."

    Ahhh, such easy words to utter in the freedom of the U.S.A.

    Honestly, do you have any idea what it is like living in an country where your freedom and rights are oppressed at whim? where you have nowhere to turn for justice?

    I'm sure you don't. Consider yourself lucky and stop being so smug.

  • Travis||

    "Honestly, do you have any idea what it is like living in an country where your freedom and rights are oppressed at whim? where you have nowhere to turn for justice?"

    No, but I bet the Iraqis do.

  • ||

    I'm sure you don't. Consider yourself lucky and stop being so smug.

    How is accepting the fact that shit happens and some people have it bad make me smug? And can't the same logic be applied to any social ill, in particular, poverty?

    It is not my responsibility, nor the responsibility of my immediate neighbors, to solve the problems of other people distant from mine and my neighbors' circumstances.

  • Jon||

    While I often give my vote to the third party, I think that, in the case of the Presidential race, the "dog-whistle lure" of federal judicial appointments argument is over simplified. For one, we really need to think long and hard about who we want to pick our next justice given the current state of the Court. I seriously doubt Stevens will stick around much longer and McCain's ideals make me wonder whether we will get another Alito or Roberts (that isn't to say that Obama or Clinton don't give me pause as well). Moreover, the federal judiciary is a hell of lot more than just the Supreme Court.

  • Elemenope||

    Well, you don't give people liberty at the point of a gun, you give people liberty by pointing the gun at the people denying it to them.

    And if the resulting hail of bullets just happens to mow down these peoples' families...

    ...Whoops?

    Honestly, are you really that blind?

  • ||

    What makes you smug is not the whether you support or want the US to be the "world police". What makes you smug is to think and actually SAY that chaos and disarray are preferrable alternatives. You know what happens in chaos, dont you? Thugs and bullies stomp all over those who cannot defend themselves. And you are OK with this because you really dont know what it is like to live in chaos.
    What also makes you smug is that you seem to look down on those who cannot defend themselves.

  • ||

    "Honestly, do you have any idea what it is like living in an country where your freedom and rights are oppressed at whim? where you have nowhere to turn for justice?"

    "No, but I bet the Iraqis do."

    You can also include North Koreans, Cubans, Zimbabweans, Venezuelans, etc...

  • Travis||

    Rana,

    At least with Chaos & disarray America isn't the thug & bully stomping on those who can't defend themselves.

  • SIV||

    Jon,

    Republicans are much more likely to appoint judges who limit the power of the State over individuals.Look at Raich and Kelo
    for example.

    Were any of the liberal Justices on "our" side on these issues?

  • ||

    My preferred solution is to have each Great Power (the USA, EU, Russia, China, India) keep order in each of their respective regions, and butt out of other regions. This is a multi-polar world and it should be re-structured to reflect that.

    The problem with the Middle East, of course, is that there IS no Great Power there. The most rational thing would be for the Israelis and Iranians to have an alliance against the Sunni Arabs there by both balancing out their power and encircling them geographically, but their stupid religions preclude that from happening.

    I guess the ME would be the job of the European Union. Now, if we could just convince them to pay for their own defense. They could have a world-class Superpower military if they wanted.

  • Travis||

    SIV,

    We're talking about justices appointed by McCain who just 7 years ago was thinking about becoming a Democrat.

  • John Galt||

    The Constitution of the Universe

    Preamble

    The purpose of human life is to live happily.

    The function of government is to guarantee those conditions that allow individuals to fulfill their purpose. Those conditions can be guaranteed through a constitution that forbids the use of initiatory force, fraud, or coercion by any person or group against any individual:

    * * *

    Article 1

    No person, group of persons, or government may initiate force, threat of force, or fraud against any individual's self or property.

    Article 2

    Force may be morally and legally used only in self-defense against those who violate Article 1.

    Article 3

    No exceptions shall exist for Articles 1 and 2.

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    The Constitution of the Universe rests on six axioms:

    1. Values exist only relative to life.

    2. Whatever benefits a living organism is a value to that organism. Whatever harms a living organism is a disvalue to that organism.

    3. The basic value against which all values are measured is the conscious individual.

    4. Morals relate only to conscious individuals.

    5. Immoral actions arise from individuals choosing to harm others through force, fraud, deception, coercion -- or from individuals choosing to usurp, attack, or destroy values earned by others.

    6. Moral actions arise from individuals choosing to benefit others by competitively producing value

  • ||

    "At least with Chaos & disarray America isn't the thug & bully stomping on those who can't defend themselves."

    huh? there's logic for ya... Yup, I suppose it is time to let other countries do the stomping... but wait, what do you say? THEY ALREADY DO stomp on their own citizens who can't defend themselves?! Ohmy!

  • ||

    What makes you smug is to think and actually SAY that chaos and disarray are preferrable alternatives.

    A: Chaos and disarray are unlikely results of the US retracting it's Team America: World Police initiative.

    B: Even if the entire world outside of the US collapsed into chaos and disarray, it wouldn't be my moral responsibility to fix it. It is the people living within chaos and disarray who have the responsibility to work to return order.

    And beyond all that, you're making a moral argument based on sympathy, not based on libertarianism, which was the original debate here. Are you claiming, as TallDave tries and fails to, that being a libertarian obligates one to interfere in the affairs of other nation states in order to "promote freedom"?

  • Travis||

    "I guess the ME would be the job of the European Union. Now, if we could just convince them to pay for their own defense. They could have a world-class Superpower military if they wanted."

    Which they probably would end up using on us in the future.

  • ||

    Travis that is *extremely* unlikely. We share so much in common we basically have nothing to fight over. Besides they have Russia on their border.

  • Travis||

    Cesar,

    I don't know about that we have been fighting countries in europe ever since this country was founded. Just because a country or region is friendly now doesn't mean they will be 50 years from now.

  • ||

    "And beyond all that, you're making a moral argument based on sympathy, not based on libertarianism, which was the original debate here. Are you claiming, as TallDave tries and fails to, that being a libertarian obligates one to interfere in the affairs of other nation states in order to "promote freedom"?


    Nope. I do not think the US is obligated to be the world police or intervene in other countries... in fact, if you read my first post you would know that.
    My argument was towards your exact words: "Actually, it's Professor Chaos and General Disarray. And yes, I prefer them over Team America: World Police."

    Clearly, you think that chaos and disarray is preferable alternative. And, while I will repeat that Im not in favor of US intervention, to state something so ignorant while in the comfort of a country where an individual's rights are protected (as compared to truly oppressed people), where you have no idea of what these people suffer, well, it's smug and arrogant.

  • Scott||

    Weak influence on a winning coalition beats total control over one that doesn't stand a chance.

  • ||

    You can also include North Koreans, Cubans, Zimbabweans, Venezuelans, etc...

    rana, most of the world is run by oppressive governments. Are you suggesting we invade ALL those countries?

  • ||

    Scott,

    The trick is to get both, as the Socialists did in the early 1900s. Also, "weak" is a gross overestimation of the amount of influence we have on the GOP.

  • ||

    "rana, most of the world is run by oppressive governments. Are you suggesting we invade ALL those countries?"

    No. Didn't I already anserwed this?

  • Travis||

    Rana is trying to have it both ways she's argues that Venezuelan's wouldn like if if we invaded & occupied their country for 5 years & then turns around at the end says that it wouldn't be a good idea.

    If Iraq should have taught us one thing it's that oppressed people may hate their ruler, but that doesn't mean they want foreign countries interfering & telling them how to run things.

  • Travis||

    "If Iraq should have taught us one thing it's that oppressed people may hate their ruler, but that doesn't mean they want foreign countries interfering & telling them how to run things."

    I meant to delete the IF

  • Brandybuck||

    What libertarian-Republican marriage? I don't know what universe you live in Matt, but it ain't this one!

    The old right was very good on economics, being fans of Mises, Hayek and Hazlitt. And they were fairly good on foreign policy matters. But Buckley put a stop to all that. Antagonizing the commies was to take priority over everything else.

    The Republican party stands for an interventionist foreign policy (just as the Dems do), domestic micomanagement of the economy (just not as much as the Dems), and a moralist social policy. The only reason many libertarians (such as myself) remain within the Republican Party is in a vain hope that its statist course can be slowed and altered. This isn't a marriage.

  • Jennifer||

    The Nazis declared war on us because we were shipping huge amounts of war materiel to their enemies, not to mention the oil embargo on Japan and our freezing of Japanese assets. Our involvement in WW II began long before Pearl Harbor or Germany's declaration of war.

    So ... World War Two happened because we goaded the Nazis and the Japanese into it?

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    The hawks seem to be revising history in the hope that if WW2 was a pre-emptive war on our part, that will somehow justify the current war(s).

    I don't get it either, truthfully.

  • Douglas Gray||

    The Republicans have become almost Maoist in their social engineering machinations overseas; the results have been disastrous. Then they give special privelges to their friends domestically, creating a Soviet-style nomenclatura. The scary thing is that Ron Paul was considered so radical. Considering all three areas, he is still much closer to Reagan than McCain.

  • SIV||

    Travis | April 4, 2008, 6:07pm | #
    SIV,

    We're talking about justices appointed by McCain who just 7 years ago was thinking about becoming a Democrat.



    I'm not saying he is going to appoint great justices, just better ones than a Democrat would.
    the base has some influence here as well.
    We got Alito and Roberts, not Justice Harriet Miers or Justice Alberto Gonzales

  • SIV||

    Before the liberal trolls start accusing me of being a "Partisan Republican" I hope to cast my POTUS vote for a fellow Georgian, Bob Barr.

    He initiated the impeachment of President Clinton after all!

  • Chamdar||

    What's hilarious is that Matt Welch is accused of being a pro-war, Republican-loving neo-con by disgruntled paleo-libertarians despite writing things like this (while Neil accuses the Reason folks of being pro-terrorist liberal peaceniks who hate America).

    Oh, and Neil, your Dear Leader Bush still supports most-favored-nation trading status with China, so your Sinophobia is hypocritical to say the least. Go back to Little Green Footballs and stop trolling a libertarian site.

  • Chamdar||

    I think Republicans made it clear that whatever libertarian/GOP existed was over when they decided to scapegoat Libertarian Party candidates for Republicans losing control of Congress.

  • Chamdar||

    "libertarian/GOP coalition", I mean.

  • ||

    People forget. The libertarian-conservative alliance was about opposition to the New Deal. ...to what FDR and Johnson had wrought.

    As recently as our current president... People forget that George W. Bush's first election campaign was about a) personal integrity (I'm not like Clinton.) and b) "compassionate conservativism". ...the latter of which had to do with reforming Social Security and replacing the Great Society with private charity.

    We could rebuild that alliance if someone in the Republican Party wanted to tilt at those windmills again. ...but in a post-republic presidency, everthing's top-down--and there just aren't any candidates who care about that anymore. ...so who would the little bleaters in the party follow into such an alliance?

    Meanwhile, why would any libertarian participate in an election for a post-republic, top-down president?

  • ||

    yeah, we need to elect a democrat who will enact another economically disastrous policy. Democrats can persuade the people through eloquence and good intentions, that's their forte. But fiscal conservatives unfortunately only serve as a last resort. We clean up after the Democrats when good intentions go bad. So let Obama win!

  • THX1138+1||

    Well, I can only speak for myself and the dozen or so other former GOPers I know.

    It's the religious BULLSHIT. We couldn't take the fucking "Jesus" crap showing up in EVERYTHING. When they stuff everything from school prayer to pissified whining about stem cells being human (or whatever) up their collective asses, I'll consider taking another look.

    The latest idiocy with trying to get "intelligent design" into the schools as science and the anti-evolution fuckheads (I'm looking at you, Ben Stein) tell me that's not going to happen any time soon.

    Drop the religion. That's the price to get people back. Drop it like the fetid poison that it is.

  • Pablo Escobar||

    Hey ya'll,

    I say America should just follow TallDave's foreign policy and invade the following countries:
    - Most of Africa, but especially Zimbabwe
    - North Korea (who cares if they have nukes, the "Coalition of the Willing" can take 'em)
    - Iran (stupid theocrats)
    - Russia (they ain't a democracy - we believe in freedom for all)
    - China
    - Pakistan (military dictatorship)

    Did I miss any?
    The other libertarians will see ya in the military when we all get drafted TallDave! It's perfectly libertarian to die for the State. Keep on enlightening us till then!

  • John||

    Despite the detour into Iraq and nation-building in this thread, it started out as "why libertarians can't rely on Republicans" and the few responses to that were of the "what are you going to do? vote Democrat?"

    My answer is yes. They seem closer to me on personal liberty issues, they aren't anti-science, they aren't obsessed with secrecy and for all the "big spending" talk they don't seem to spend more money in the real world. I'm not clear how Republicans are ever the lesser evil.

    I'm starting to think most self described libertarians are not interested in liberty at all but just single issue voters on their own tax bill.

  • Rational Jesus||

    "It's the religious BULLSHIT. We couldn't take the fucking "Jesus" crap showing up in EVERYTHING. When they stuff everything from school prayer to pissified whining about stem cells being human (or whatever) up their collective asses, I'll consider taking another look.

    The latest idiocy with trying to get "intelligent design" into the schools as science and the anti-evolution fuckheads (I'm looking at you, Ben Stein) tell me that's not going to happen any time soon."

    Amen, brotha!

  • Travis||

    "I'm not clear how Republicans are ever the lesser evil."

    Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.

  • robc||

    Or would you just prfer general chaos?

    Hail Eris!

    Wow, I got to post that in a non-sub-prime mortgage thread.

  • robc||

    Pablo,

    You missed Venezuela. And Cuba.

  • robc||

    Ive said before that IF we were to adopt the idea of spreading democracy thru force, Cuba would have been the obvious starting point, not Iraq. Hell, on my list, Saudi Arabia was before Iraq.

  • ||

    This same question has been asked at reason and other places every election cycle as long as I can remember- or at least since GWB has been in office.

    The answer was "No" 4 years ago and the answer is "No" today. I think reason should hire me to write a column. I will write 3 or 4 and just rotate them for the next 8 years.

  • Chad||

    One large advantage that Democrats have over Republicans is that while Republicans are generally formed from a coalition of three groups (hawks, free-marketers, and social conservatives), who only have so much in common and are not strongly bound to one another, the Democrats are at their core only formed from two groups, who ARE dependant on one another.

    The first are the poor, lazy and stupid, who want other peoples' money spent on them.

    The second are fairly well-educated and well-off, and want to spend other peoples' money on the first group.

    They go together hand in hand.

    I do admit, though, there is an ultra-small element of the Democratic party who actually believes THEIR OWN taxes should be raised to pay for all the programs they advocate. I actually met one once.

    Once...

  • ||

    You would have to be delusional to think that there is still any relationship between the GOP and libertarian values. In case the increase in the national debt, the formation and sudden influence of the DHS, and the presidentially backed spying program didn't didn't make it clear enough, the modern GOP has no relationship with libertarians. Libertarians are a third party in an inherently two-party system. The only way to ever gain enough power to make the kinds of changes we want to make is for the Libertarian Party to completely take down the GOP.

  • Chad||

    "I'm not clear how Republicans are ever the lesser evil"

    My logic on this matter is pretty simple: Which party ACTUALLY restricts my freedom more. No hypotheticals. In reality.

    Hmmm....Democrats force me to send 15% of my income into a black hole that I will lose massive amounts of money on. They put massive restrictions on my (and my children's) education and health care choices, both of which interfere with what I think is best for us.

    As for Republicans. I suppose if I ever got the itch to call a terrorist-friendly Pakistani overseas and chat in Farsi about nuclear weapons, there is that hypothetical chance that an NSA supercomputer might flag the conversation. Or what about the "bedroom" argument. I don't know about you, but no law has ever in any way affected who I screwed or how I screwed them.

    Long story short: Democrats ACTUALLY restrict my freedom significantly. Republicans generally don't.

  • ABC||

    "I have to point out again that not every libertarian believes liberty is just for Americans or that attempts to expand or defend other people's liberty are a mistake."


    Ah, you mean libertarians who don't actually believe in the non-aggression principle, who trust the government enough to think that it can undue the effects of culture and history in a short period of time, or that launching pre-emptive wars to engage in Wilsonian nation-building is somehow consistent with libertarian principles.

    I'd love to see so called libertarians reconcile their supposed distrust of the state with support for such an overarching state program as the Napoleonic attempt to spread liberty by gunpoint.

    It's not just about wanting to be able to buy weed at Walmart.

  • zoltan||

    Democrats AND Republicans force me to send 15% of my income into a black hole that I will lose massive amounts of money on.

    Iraq War as opposed to social programs, that is.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, the people of Washington state, with the support of the Supreme Court, are forcing me to become active in the Republican Party. WA state now has a "top two" electoral system that basically destroys any third party. And, since the Democratic Party is dominant in this state, that means the only rational partisan activity is to try to revive a libertarian wing of the GOP.

  • ||

    "Or what about the "bedroom" argument. I don't know about you, but no law has ever in any way affected who I screwed or how I screwed them."

    Well, then, you're lucky enough to be hetero. Unfortunately, we all are only as free as the least free among us. As long as people risk being refused hospital visitations with the person they built their life with as they lay dying, the bedroom arguement stands.

  • ||

    "Matt Welch wonders if the libertarian-Republican marriage is worth saving."

    Today you dissolve the marriage, tomorrow it's all man-on-dog.

  • ||

    The so-called progressives are falling over each other blaming everything that wrong with the outgoing administration on nonexistent free market worship.

    Meanwhile, the mighty righties want nothing less than the return of Reagan - minus all that "libertarian" stuff...

    So tell me again how liberty has a future in this country...

  • ||

    "So tell me again how liberty has a future in this country..."

    Dont'cha know? The former liberals who now realize that government intervention is wasteful and ineffective are going to cozy-up to the GOPers who now realize that God+War does not equal super-awesome-America. Oh, wait. That would be practical.

  • ||

    Kang | April 4, 2008, 3:43pm | #

    Go ahead! Throw your vote away! Hahahahaha!
    _____________________________________________

    I think that people like Kang miss the point.

    It's not about throwing your vote away, it's about not giving your vote to the republicans.

    When enough people vote for a 3rd party, it'll force a three party system.

  • ||

    I think that people like Kang miss the point.

    Not a big Simpsons fan?

  • ||

  • Chad||

    ""Or what about the "bedroom" argument. I don't know about you, but no law has ever in any way affected who I screwed or how I screwed them."

    Well, then, you're lucky enough to be hetero. Unfortunately, we all are only as free as the least free among us. As long as people risk being refused hospital visitations with the person they built their life with as they lay dying, the bedroom arguement stands."

    A few un-enforced, archiac laws do not stop gay people from screwing. The hospital argument has nothing to do with a bedroom, and I agree, it is stupid. However, it is the hospital's stupid rules, not the law, which are the problem. True, the law does not FORCE the hospital to NOT have stupid rules, but I honestly doubt it should.

    You could always handle it the libertarian way and simply refuse to patronize hospitals with bigotted rules.

  • ||

    C'mon, Welch. You can't expect me to take your article seriously. On the one hand, you talk about McCain and Giuliani "rolling their eyes" at Ron Paul. On the other hand, Dave Weigel makes a post just a day or two ago (in the same blog!) outing Ron Paul for being a tinfoil-hatted John Birch Society supporter!

    I know you have a visceral hatred for McCain and, apparently by extension, for the GOP, but keep it real, eh?

  • Robert||

    Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.


    Yeah, but it's also voting against evil, and it's voting against more evil than it's voting for.

    since the Democratic Party is dominant in this state, that means the only rational partisan activity is to try to revive a libertarian wing of the GOP.


    You're going to have to explain why, because ceteris paribus it would seem in such a circumstance to be best to form a libertarian wing within Democrats, since they have a leg up. Why not climb onto a higher stage for your act if the elevator goes to both as easily? If something else tips this decision, it needs explaining.

    "Or what about the "bedroom" argument. I don't know about you, but no law has ever in any way affected who I screwed or how I screwed them."

    Well, then, you're lucky enough to be hetero.


    No, just lucky enough that bedrooms are on private property and walls are opaque, and the person in question doesn't solicit partners in bathrooms. Financial privacy is far less achievable.

    As long as people risk being refused hospital visitations with the person they built their life with as they lay dying, the bedroom argument stands.


    Not if it's a private hospital.

  • Edward||

    That Matt welch "more likely to write in Ron Paul than let the dog whistle of Supreme Court appointments lure me grudgingly back to a major-party nominee" doesn't say much about his principles. Better not to vote at all than write in the name of a loony old fuck who is now inextricably associated with with Nazi-like racist rhetoric.

  • Heinrick||

    "Fueling costly (in both lives and money) wars also does little for the liberty of Americans.

    It does wonders for people in other countries, though"

    Specifically who?

  • ||

    The Turks have finally been able to invade Northern Iraq to hunt down Kurds, they seem happy.

  • T\'Surakmaat||

    rana wrote:

    Honestly, do you have any idea what it is like living in an country where your freedom and rights are oppressed at whim? where you have nowhere to turn for justice?

    I'm sure you don't. Consider yourself lucky and stop being so smug.


    Perhaps you and other like-minded Venezuelans should get off your collective duffs and overthrow Mr. Chavez.

    Instead, you take cheap shots at American's alleged "smugness".

    Much easier to criticize those who have fought for democracy, and continue to fight for democracy, than implement it yourself.

    Peace and long life,
    T'Surakmaat

  • T\'Surakmaat||

    Chad wrote:

    The hospital argument has nothing to do with a bedroom, and I agree, it is stupid. However, it is the hospital's stupid rules, not the law, which are the problem.

    this is incorrect. the "hospital argument" is based on laws which force the hospital to behave that way.

    if a hospital were to give a homosexual partner (they must be called "partners", because they cannot be married) the same rights to a dying patient's decision-making as the patient's family, then they would be violating the family's rights, and that would earn them litigation.

    for example, if a dying man has a man as a life partner, and also has a brother, under all state's laws now (except Massachussett's), the brother has the right to pull the plug, not the life partner.

    if the hospital were to give that right to the life partner, it would certainly be a civil matter, if not a criminal matter - for both the life partner and the hospital - as well.

    Peace and long life,
    T'Surakmaat

  • ||

    T'Surakmaat,

    I'm curious to know where I started taking cheap shots at "American smugness". My argument was not diercted at Americans but at one poster's smugness.
    As far as Venezuelans taking Chavez out of office, well we are working on that...
    And to make things clear, for those who are being obtuse, while I personally would be happy if the U.S. helped overthrow Chavez, I also reason that just because I might want it, many others dont, and it is not a good idea. Wishful thinking vs reality. Appreciate the difference?

  • ||

    "Much easier to criticize those who have fought for democracy, and continue to fight for democracy, than implement it yourself."

    Geez. Care to point out how I have "critized those who fought for democracy" or have not fought for democracy myself. huh?!
    You can take up this argument with the voices in your head...

  • ||

    War is collectivist and lefty.

    Shame on Matt Welch for being a lefty warmonger.

  • zoltan||

    No, just lucky enough that bedrooms are on private property and walls are opaque, and the person in question doesn't solicit partners in bathrooms. Financial privacy is far less achievable.

    Robert has an excellent point. Good thing the government never barges into private property on suspicious grounds of law-breaking. Well, not here in Texas at least.

  • ||

    "Never mind that Friedman...exerted little or no influence on the free-spending, government-growing Bush administration." This is a significant half-truth...none of the points made in the article in support of this are wrong, but there's an awful lot left out: this Administration (and the Supreme Court whose majority it created) has spent its time aggressively reducing government regulation that used to benefit individuals and restrain big oil, big finance, big pharma, big ag, etc. Frankly, I can't see how a libertarian could applaud a quantum leap in foreclosures; is someone really willing to argue that the wild west mortgage business' lack of regulation benefited individuals? Doesn't this prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are an awful lot of folks in this country who would walk down dark alleys with $50 bills falling out of their pockets? Yes, some portion of regulation is wrong, misguided, inefficient and power-seeking. But do libertarians really believe that slashing regulation that demonstrably makes individuals' lives worse on the altar of "less regulation" is a good thing? Is it really OK to structure our society to completely benefit the powerful and the savvy, and the devil take the hindmost?

  • nfl jerseys||

    bntr

  • Nike Dunk Low||

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