A Decent Pick

Libertarians could do worse than Sarah Palin

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is certainly one of the more interesting and controversial characters to emerge in the national political scene of late. Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) selection of her to be his running mate was widely reported to be last-minute, a compromise choice when advisers and party insiders expressed concern over his preferred pick, independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman. The pick smacked of desperation, and it seems clear now that McCain's camp didn't have time to vet Palin in the way it might have liked.

But it may ultimately go down as a serendipitous oversight—and provide guidance to future candidates to eschew the overly risk-averse vetting process and be willing to take chances—to look outside the Beltway establishment for political talent. Palin wowed the GOP convention last week, may have united the party, and won begrudging praise from the very punditocracy and media elites she skewered in her speech.

If Palin helps McCain get elected, he'll of course have no regrets about having selected her. But it's worth wondering whether if McCain's campaign had vetted Palin more thoroughly, she'd have made the cut. I suspect not.

It's now been widely reported that McCain's biggest selling point on Palin—that she's been a trailblazer on pork-barrel spending, one of McCain's pet issues—was off-base. Palin did eventually oppose the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," but only as of late last year, only after initially supporting it, and only after the two Alaska politicians most associated with the bridge—Republican Sen. Ted Stevens and Republican Rep. Don Young—were under federal investigation. Palin then still took the money for the bridge, she just diverted it to other projects. This was hardly political courage.

Over the course of her brief career, Palin has also had no qualms about working with Young and Stevens to procure federal dollars for local projects—at least until she was savvy enough to realize that public sentiment had turned sour on the process. Under Palin's stewardship, Alaska still leads the nation in per capita spending on federal pork projects, and under her tenure as mayor, the town of Wasilla raked in $26 million in federal earmarks.

Now, you could argue that a governor or mayor who's able to deftly game the earmark system to the advantage of her constituents is only doing what's expected of her. The problem, of course, is that McCain introduced Palin as a maverick reformer of the earmark process—someone who risked her career to fight waste and abuse and to take on Alaska's GOP establishment. That simply isn't true.

But perhaps Palin has learned from the experience. She is at least on the right side of the issue now. And as a libertarian, there's plenty I like about Palin. I don't agree with many of her culturally conservative positions, but she has for the most part declined to enshrine those views in public policy. Her lack of experience doesn't bother me much at all. Washington's in desperate need of fresh blood and fresh ideas, not the promotion of another five-term senator who's found a permanent home in the Beltway morass.

But what I like about Palin should bother McCain. Palin actually has staked out unorthodox positions on a number of interesting issues, and they're issues that McCain and the Republican base that has embraced her would probably find troubling. Palin's taken a lot of heat, for example, for her (relatively loose) ties with the Alaska Independence Party, an organization that favors a vote on whether the state should secede from the union. Palin has also been friendly with the state's Libertarian Party. Palin's willingness to engage pro-liberty, deeply anti-federal political organizations—even fringe ones—is refreshing. But it's wholly at odds with John McCain's "country first" nationalist fervor.

Palin was also one of just three governors in the country to issue a proclamation in support of "Jurors' Rights" day, an event sponsored by the Fully Informed Jury Association, which encourages the doctrine of jury nullification. Nullification is an idea abhorred by tough-on-crime conservatives.

Palin also comes from a state whose constitution has one of the strongest privacy provisions in the country. Alaska's traditional reverence for privacy and personal autonomy is reflected in a number of issues that would likely be at odds with the national Republican Party—or at least the Bush administration—including a rejection of the Real ID Act, and the de facto decriminalization of marijuana.

Palin supported both the Iraq War and the surge, but in the past she has said she also supports a defined "exit strategy," an approach explicitly rejected by McCain, who has said we may well be in Iraq for decades.

Palin's persona thus far seems to be more in the tradition of Alaska's frontier, individualistic conservatism than John McCain's Weekly Standard-style national greatness conservatism. It's a philosophy that's skeptical of government, instead of what Repubilcans stand for now, which is to embrace government, so long as Republicans are running it.

Of course, John McCain is still at the top of the ticket. If he's elected, it will be his policies and philosophy that determine public policy, not Palin's. And there's the strong possibility that Palin's views will morph during a McCain administration to align more with his—indeed, on foreign policy that seems to have already happened.

But of all the aspiring politicians McCain could have boosted into the national spotlight of a presidential campaign, he could have done a lot worse than Palin. If she manages to hold on to her more individualist, limited-government instincts, she'd be a welcome force in a party that has generally abandoned its "leave-us-alone" constituency—thanks in no small part to the man at the top of the ticket. She's certainly a world away from Joe Lieberman, McCain's reported favored pick.

In short, John McCain may have actually made a good pick this month—in spite of himself.

Radley Balko is a senior editor of reason. A version of this article originally appeared at FoxNews.com.

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.

  • a name before submitting the f||

    reason sux

  • ||

    Twenty Bucks

  • ||

    Yes! A great choice in the tradition of the past eight years of conservatism. Give me a break, Radley. Did you lose a bet?

  • ||

    If she manages to hold on to her more individualist, limited-government instincts

    From within the administration? I'd put dollars to donuts against it.

  • ||

    The facts that Radley cites actually show that Palin simply does whatever is expedient at any given time. So while running a small town, she reaches for the pork. To build connections for statewide office, she cozies up to some interesting and eccentric local groups. If she ends up in national office as the darling of the religious right, and as a leader in George Bush's Republican Party, what do you think she'll do? Bite the hand that fed her? I see no evidence of that at all.

  • Terry Michael||

    Radley... Now that is REALLY putting lipstick on a pig. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing. LOL

  • ||

    Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing

    This coming from a guy who claims to be a "libertarian democrat". Irony FTW.

  • TallDave||

    Any governor of a state where an oz is legal is fine by me, esp. when she shoots moose, put the governor's plane on Ebay, fired the governor's private chef, cut the budget 10%, and cancelled the Bridge to Nowhere (even if she did support it at first).

  • ||

    I have been a big fan of Radley Balko for a long time. I think I started reading The Agitator 6 years ago and have read most of his stuff for Cato, foxnews.com, and reason.

    That said, maybe he should just stick to his police militarization, civil liberties, Drug War stuff.

    Sorry but it seems like there is a big disconnect between all the great work there and the ventures into political analysis.

  • Fixed for Tall Dave||

    "Esp. when she shoots moose, sold the governors plane to one of her top contributors at a loss, changed the name of the position of Governors chef but kept him cooking for her, and left her hometown $20 million in debt, and lied about the bridge to nowhere".

  • ||

    I have to agree with John C. Jackson. Radley has developed a niche in which he is the best commentator in America, and doing a great service to his country. He should stick to it. As a general political pundit, he is mediocre at best.

  • Andy||

    All criticisms aside, it would be interesting to see if they get elected, whether Palin will take some heat from conservatives for McCain's quirkier policies. It seems right now as if they finally found their Obama, who can do no wrong.

  • ||

    Damn. You guys are harsh. Without being even a middling Palin fan, I can admit that it could be worse. She is clearly a Republican, but when set up next to McCain, she doesn't look so bad.

    McCain, Palin and Barr have all done their share of plank shifting, although I suspect that Barr's is a bit more principled. I won't vote for McCain or Palin, but there's no need to jump on Balko for an accurate observation.

  • duster||

    A lot of wishful thinking going on with Palin....keep wishing.

  • ||

    I'm another fan here of Balko's heroic work on the criminal drug war and police militarization.

    I'll try to contstructively communicate why I don't like this article.

    1.) it seems to be written with the goal of helping to satiate libertarians that "McCain Palin is not too bad for us"

    we read libertarain stuff because we want to be pissed off and motivated to "do something" or to at least be able to explain to dumbass republican and democrats why they are such idiots for voting for criminals who only seek to expand the power of the government. If we wanted to be lulled into thinking change for the better is coming or some crap like that we could just turn on ABC news or listen.

    2). ya we all love jury rights and we all want lower spending by governemnts...but we also wanted "a humble foreign policy"....I know you rememember that lie too. I also wanted "read my lips no new taxes"....I also wanted "the era of big government is over".

    We can all see that McCain obviously is aware that their are taboo subjects not to be brought up, we all know he is a bitch to certain interest. Their actions are decided top down...just because Palin once said or did some libertarian things doesn't meant that she hasn't already changed her tune and it certainly doensn't mean the Palin will be directing McCain on lots of covertly libertarian missions...no it means that McCains campaign was aware that some libertarian elements that have strengthened int his country over the last year could hurt his election results and he is trying to stop it by making cosmetic changes. He thinks cosmetic change is all that is needed...I say ramp up the hostility, ramp up the infowar...they are trying to make concessions out of weakness.

  • ||

    sorry...maybe i'm too much of a "cosmo-libertarian" (even though i live in virginia) but her belief in no abortions for even rape and incest victims trumps any supposedly good small government cred she may have. it's a dealbreaker..i don't like her. this article and tim cavanaugh's (who i do like)that praise her annoy as much as the slight slant towards obama i see in other reason writers. i know there's a lot not to like about bob barr but it's time to be partison liberatians for the party and not try to find libertarian-ish qualities in the major party candidates.

  • BDB||

    The fact that she inherited a balanced budget in Wasilla and left the town $20 million in debt belies her claim to being for "small government".

    $20 million, in a town of 10,000. I didn't even know that could be possible.

  • Ummm...yea||

    Haratio Hack

  • The Extispicator||

    Your comments all reflect why libertarianism is stalled in American politics. Incrementalism isn't all that bad. The Republican party didn't become the big-government loving bastardized form of its (long-ago) former self overnight, and it won't turn into a libertarian haven overnight (if at all) either. Our only hope for a party that represents our philosophy is in gradual shifts on a policy-by-policy, individual-by-individual basis.

    I'd love it if the LP weren't so screwed up and especially if it were a viable third-party option, but right now the only political hope I have is that the R's slowly skew libertarian.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Palin is like a Rorschach test for libertarians.

    Palin-leaning libertarians vs. Obama-leaning libertarians could join paleo vs. cosmo, minarchists vs. anarchists and Objectivists vs. everyone else as the next great libertarian schism.

    Of course, Palintarians vs. Obamatarians would be more fun if Palin were actually on the top half of the ticket. Especially since, you know, she probably likes being on top.

  • ||

    If Palin had mentioned jury rights in her convention speaches I'd be way more interested. Of course we know what McCain meant when he said he vetted her well....the conversation went like this

    McCain:"I'll let you be VP, but you sure as hell better not bring up any of that shit about juries rights! I didn't do time in Hanoi for 7 years so some puck slut could ruin my chance at comander in chief with some nut case conspiracy theories, when someone asks about courts or something you put your fingers in your ears and repeat "we need a strong rule of law". I got my jury right here(kisses left bicep) and it says we need to militarize the police and shoot up more blacks in the gehtto if we have reasonable suspicion that they ever touched any MARIJUWANNA!"

    Palin says: "You have my word sir. you have to understand I was just talking to some nuts in alaska, local politics up there can put you in some tight situations you know, However, that is where I think I can help you. I know how to talk to some of those nuts over at that convention in St Paul that is actually bigger than your convention that is filled with republicas who hate you."

    McCain:"your hired honey(playfully pats her on the ass), I like how you think....now tell me how you justify pre-emptive nuclear war to christians again?"

  • ||

    But perhaps Palin has learned from the experience. She is at least on the right side of the issue for now.

    Fixed that for you, Radley.

  • ||

    "Your comments all reflect why libertarianism is stalled in American politics. Incrementalism isn't all that bad."

    I would agree but there is nothing incremental about McCain Palin ticket. Here are the following social/economic rights and foreign policy issues that will not advanced:
    Gay rights
    Abortion
    Privacy (what? do you think Palin is going to have the Patriot Act repelaed because she is from Alaska)
    Fire arm rights (see the privacy issue)
    Protection from domain abuse
    Withdraw from Iraq
    Peaceful overseas policy (Palin will be just ask hawkish as McCain)

    What am i missing? Just because the VP has a few issues in common (kind of sort of) with libertarians that = more freedom?

  • jasno||

    This article misses the biggest problem with Palin: She's the candidate for VICE president. Who gives a shit what she believes? She won't have a chance to implement any of her beliefs.

    Why didn't Biden get this kind of press?

  • joanne ||

    Wow, she's almost as libertarian as Bush was in 2000

  • Elemenope||

    I've taken to referring to Palin as the Grob's Attack of politics.

    It is a great method for inexperienced and/or amateur players to knock a far more experienced player "out of book", with instinctual or obvious play leading into very nasty traps. A careful experienced opponent won't get stuck but will have a harder time than normal responding effectively, losing tempo and position in the process.

    The other thing about Grob's Attack is that it only works once. Once you've seen it, you can prepare for it, and there are some easy (and vicious) counter-gambits that shut it down nicely.

    Sarah Palin is McCain's way of opening the main campaign "out of book", making all of the traditional and rote strategies for Obama's camp to be filled with traps or otherwise be ineffective.

    It is true that it is a strategic masterstroke. But it is utterly lamentable that the strategy comes at the cost of us being stuck with a leader of questionable record, character, and qualifications, if it works and they win.

  • zoltan||

    A little hiccup of a sentence for someone's position on Iraq. If that doesn't count for something, I don't know what does.

  • Radley Balko||

    Palin-leaning libertarians vs. Obama-leaning libertarians could join paleo vs. cosmo, minarchists vs. anarchists and Objectivists vs. everyone else as the next great libertarian schism.

    As someone who prefers Obama to McCain (but will likely vote for Barr), but who also thinks Palin could be a lot worse, I'm not sure where I fit in.

    My point was not to "dress up" the GOP ticket. or to imply that Palin is in any way libertarian. I think McCain is abominable. But between Romney, Giuliani, Pawlenty, and the host of other contenders for McCain's VP, Palin at least has the possibility of being a reasonable Republican.

    And the main point of the column was to note that the stuff she's good on is the stuff that likely would have gotten her blackballed had McCain properly vetted her.

  • ||

    I think we need to be aware that the jury nullification cuts both ways. While we all imagine it could only possibly ever be used in the interests of justice, I don't think that's necessarily the case. I'm guessing that jury nullification wouldn't look like such a cool idea in a case where a white man that was clearly guilty of killing a black man in 1950s Mississippi was tried in front of an all-white jury.

  • ||

    Sadly, the only mainstream "libertarian" magazine in the country is not immune to the same stupidity one seems to find among the press in general at the moment. For the sake of fair and dispassionate political coverage, Reason is under no obligation to run columns simply because they incoherently support this ridiculous VP candidate. Where is the legitimate criticism and analysis? Consistently re-running stupidly partisan columns from Fox News, surprisingly, does not add to Reason's journalistic or political credibility.

  • LarryA||

    I keep remembering an exchange in Species. Egghead Xavier Fitch is explaining how they got space DNA and created a monster which inevitably escaped, and finishes with, "We made it female, so it would be easier to control."

    World-weary Preston Lennox, the hired gun, responds, "You don't get out much, do you?"

  • kinnath||

    . . . her belief in no abortions for even rape and incest victims trumps any supposedly good small government cred she may have.

    This is the test I use to see if pro-lifers really mean it or not. If you believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder, then the circumstances of conception are not relevant.

    Any pro-lifer that says "I'm against abortion accept for . . . " is taking a cop-out.

    While I have seriously mixed feelings over abortion, I do respect the rare pro-lifer that says "no exceptions".

  • vault_dog4||

    She put a windfall profit tax in place on the oil companies while in Alaska and gave "deserving" Alaskans a $1,000 or $1,200 rebate from that fund.

    Big time libertarian there.

    Of course, even the mightiest of Libertarians have something un-Libertarian about them.

  • ||

    The word "libertarian" has jumped the shark. Now I know how black folk feel when whitey co-opts their slang. Will you beltway boys promise not to use the term "classical liberal" if we bring that back to prominence? Please?

    Reason is wiggedy-wiggedy-whacked, yo.

  • ||

    MSM writes articles explaining the lesser of two evils all the time. Libertarians don't like it. Explain how it is that two small groups of people can control the issues allowed to be debated before the people so tightly as the CPD does.

    I'm anarcho libertarian, but I'd rather have a honest socialist than a Obama or a McCain...then we wouldn't have as much corporate welfare, maybe the schools wouldn't be as horrible as they are with millions of illiterate highschool grauates etc. Maybe we could have honest debate on the drug war...isn't it interesting that if you take all the somewhat honest socialist(people who want government healthcare and some income redistribution ) and libertarians and others disappointed with the two candidates in some way that we are a clear majority and one thing that this large group of people agrees on is the need for more honest and open debate by candidates who are not phony scamsters? could more open debates actually skew polling numbers dramatically in a very short time frame?

  • ||

    I think we need to be aware that the jury nullification cuts both ways. While we all imagine it could only possibly ever be used in the interests of justice, I don't think that's necessarily the case. I'm guessing that jury nullification wouldn't look like such a cool idea in a case where a white man that was clearly guilty of killing a black man in 1950s Mississippi was tried in front of an all-white jury.

    Dr N, Point taken, and that's why I've written to ask my Senator (who happens to be Barack Obama)to discontinue funding for the time machine project at area 51.

    Seriously though, better a hundred guilty men go free than...you know the rest. The jury system is fundamental to our justice system and it has been thoroughly trashed. Judges hand out instruction telling the jury to behave in a manner the exact opposite of what the founders intended when they gave us the right to a trial by jury as a final check and balance by the people to (this sentence is getting long - time to wrap up)... a stupid fucking set of laws. Juries are "forced" to send young stupid 19 year old kids to prison to damn near life for possession an amount of drugs that would fit in a pack of cigarettes. Getting back to your racism example, I would point out that a disproportionate number of these ludicrous sentences are handed out to minorities. They would stand to benefit most from allowing one juror to vote his or her conscience.

  • ||

    And that, typos and all, is why I'm voting Palin/McCain. I'm Bigbigslacker and I approve this message.

  • Observer||

    Does all this peanut-gallery punditry qualify as the "Chapmanization" of our dear Radley?
    Careful, Mr. Balko. They have torches and pitchforks and a hangin' judge in their pocket.

  • ||

    This is one of the best comment threads, ever.

    And as a libertarian, there's plenty I like about Palin. I don't agree with many of her culturally conservative positions, but she has for the most part declined to enshrine those views in public policy.

    Palin's CC credentials are what scare me the most. I just can't bring myself to trust fundagelicals to not impose their personal beliefs -- burned too many times in the past by them. Plus, Palin's library incident, which might have played out differently had the librarian been less brave.

    Radley, this article is competently written, but doesn't shine out above the many other articles written here and elsewhere on this topic. Unlike your reporting on the drug war, loss of due process, etc, which are exemplary.

  • ||

    It's OK Radley, we all make mistakes.

  • ||

    Sounds like the comments made by me and others came out harsher than intended, so here's the truth: This country will be a little more just and decent than it otherwise would have been because of the time Radley Balko spent on this planet. Of how many writers, or people in any other endeavor, could you say the same thing? So more of that, and less of this: that's all I meant.

  • JMR||

    Wait a second, where does the article say she changed the job title of the chef but kept him/her cooking for her?? That might be news, if it's real, but it's nowhere I saw in the article...

  • ||

    jbd,

    Good point, and it deserves to be seconded - Radley's work (showcased on TheAgitator.com) is wonderful. It's unfortunate his boss requires him to shill for neocons, but all of us who aren't self-employed can relate.

  • ||

    I won't vote for McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden. But I view her much less creepy than the other three.

    What an endorsement.

  • ||

    A version of this article originally appeared at FoxNews.com.

  • ||

    I don't see it. There's nothing in her record to indicate she supports small government policies or principles, any more than John McCain or Ted Stevens or Mike Huckabee or Bush. And her social conservatism is extreme and authoritarian even by modern Republican standards. The jury nullification support is the only vaguely libertarian thing she's done.

    Radley's argument seems to be, "Alaskans have usually been thought of as libertarianish, so we can assume Palin is libertarianish". Weak.

    If anything, this VP pick tells me that the Republicans have completely written off the small-government crowd.

  • SIV||

    Balko damns Palin with faint praise and the colloidal silver drinkers and liberaltarians go bonkers.

    I think she was vetted much better than you think.They would have been aware of her "fringe" party associations for example.

    The worst thing about Palin, from a libertarian perspective, is that she is on the bottom of a McCain ticket.Together they are marginally better for liberty than Obama.

  • SIV||

  • ||

    Mr. Balko. You're so fired.

  • cevian||

    She tried to ban books from the public library.
    enough said.

  • ||

    "Palin also comes from a state whose constitution has one of the strongest privacy provisions in the country."

    That's a good one. North Carolina has the most military members. Does that make me pro war? She didn't write her state's constitution, she just lives there.

    All of your examples are anecdotal and read far too much into a very short career. If anything I think her haphazard record, which you're calling independent, belies a complete lack of political philosophy.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And there's the strong possibility that Palin's views will morph during a McCain administration to align more with his-indeed, on foreign policy that seems to have already happened.

    I have an email from a friend of a friend that lives in Wasilla and knows Palin. She describes her political views thusly.

    She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just 'puts things out there' and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

  • Jeffersonian||

    http://bidinotto.journalspace.com/?entryid=774

    Robert Bidinotto has blown away the smears against Palin in his article here. No reason for me to expand on it. Just read it.

  • Pre-LP Libertarian||

    I suppose you could always do worse whoever you pick.

    But let's not be ridiculous. Her whole political philosophy smacks of merging her religious beliefs with government. That's about as far from libertarianism as you can get.

    Why does Radley even get to write for this magazine?

    The government is going crazy. They're micro-managing everything on every level, from local to state to federal. This has just got to stop. If Balko is willing to countenance this non-stop trend, stop publishing him here please.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Jeffersonian,

    From your link...

    the "bridge to nowhere" that Governor Palin finally wound up killing off.

    She didn't kill it off...she is just taking credit for killing it off. I think that is an important distinction.

  • Neu Mejican||

    And trust me, my 6 degrees of Sarah Palin score is 4.

  • ||

    So now libertarians are okay with book banning and zealous anti-abortion views?

  • ||

    'Libertarians could do worse than Sarah Palin'?

    Ture, but I could do worse than getting gonorrhea. I could just get the clap.

    But what about 'none of the above'?

  • ||

    Abortion is not a libertarian issue. Ron Paul and Bob Barr are both pro-life. Book banning is a bit strong. A true libertarian would abolish the public library or privitize it.

  • ||

    So in other words libertarians are as useless as they seem?

    Why is it better for corporations to control what we read than a government who is banned from doing so?

  • Outdoor cracker||

    "So now libertarians are okay with book banning and zealous anti-abortion views?"

    Hell yea and she loves guns and killing stuff too

  • ||

    And there's the strong possibility that Palin's views will morph during a McCain administration to align more with his-indeed, on foreign policy that seems to have already happened.



    Probably because she had no (public) foreign policy views prior to being selected as McC's VP choice. I do see where you were headed, though, Radley.

  • News Analyst||

    Folks, I think Radley is just reminding us that he is human like the rest of so we don't fall in the trap of thinking he is so great an expert that we elect him to a position where he can use expertise to tell us what to do.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "What am i missing? Just because the VP has a few issues in common (kind of sort of) with libertarians that = more freedom?"

    I'm going to say this again: Conservative Libertarians give a shit about taxes. Everything else, such as socially liberal issues are merely negotiable.

    The Libertarian demographic is not made up entirely of people who care about much else than finances. It's merely veiled Conservatism.

    How anyone could entertain voting for a party that has a such a shitty outlook on civil liberties, and is almost entirely propped up by religious goofs is beyond me, but that's the way a good portion of so called "Libertarian" thought leans.

    It's always shocking to me how many Libertarians say that they don't really care about the abortion debate. I find that ridiculous, and it's further evidence as to the true nature of their concerns.

  • ||

    Relatively loose ties with the Alaska Independence Party

    friendly with the state's Libertarian Party

    issue a proclamation in support of "Jurors' Rights" day

    a state whose constitution has one of the strongest privacy provisions in the country

    supports a defined "exit strategy


    Now that there's some f*cking A Libertarian Street Cred that. She might have even read some Rand.

    I'm not a big or little L but Jesus Radley, put down the bong. Evangelical, fundie, female rights regressionist,empty headed welfare state Barbie doll, one melanoma away from the nuclear football. Are you freakin' kidding me.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Libertarians need to get their heads out of the clouds.

    Should you vote for those who are anti-earmarking and have a fairly strong fiscally conservative record OR Two Senators who DID VOTE FOR the bridge to Nowhere, who had nearly $1 billion in earmarks last year and have generally extreme big government view?

    Libertarians generally grasp that Mccain is not a true libertarian, free market conservative. How can they not grasp how unlikely it would be for Mccain to select such a person as VP? Let's face it, I agree that Mccain is a Neoconservative/Roosevelt Progressive. Libertarians and conservatives need to ask themselves a simple question: Based on this reality, Is Palin one of the most libertarian/conservative candidates that could have been picked?

    Let's compare her generally pro-capitalist, freedom record to the other "named" VP candidates:
    Lieberman: PUH-Leeze
    Ridge:Nope
    Romney: Nope
    Pawlenty: Nope
    Only Bobby Jindal is a comparable person who was mentioned.

    And yet Balko claims to prefer Barack Obama. I mean, do you understand how inco-fucking-herent that is?

  • Cream Crackered||

    If Alaska cannot elect a libertarian-friendly governor, why does anyone here think the Fifty States can elect such a person to the Oval Office?

  • wylde bill||

    Yeah, I might would even vote for the current Republican ticket- if it were Palin/McCain instead of McCain/Palin.

    Fuck John McCain's policies and political philosophy.

  • ||

    Let's look at it this way - the purist libertarians will turn up their noses at her because - oh Lord - she's actually tried to govern within the existing structures rather than take up arms against them.

    The personal-liberty types will get all prejudiced against her about her personal belief and ignore what she's actually done.

    Please don't make the perfect the enemy of the good and condemn us to a decade of runaway statist Democrats.

    McCain is a step in the right direction if only because he is, solidly, a fiscal conservative.

    And, if in four years she's still the pragmatic libertarianish Republican with a seasoning of populism that she is today, I think she'd be a damn good President.

  • ||

    Jeffersonian - Jindal is damaged goods. He grabbed with both hands that third rail of political discourse called 'Creationism' and will now have to spend a couple years on the sidelines being rehabilitated.

    Once again, I'll point to Palin's political sense. She's more or less kept arm's-length from that issue, sensibly so. Whatever her personal beliefs, she quit a Pentecostal church in '02 - about the time she might have started thinking about broader political ambitions - in favor of something mainstream.

    All of this points toward her having a fair understanding not just of the need to separate church and state at the administrative level, but at the image level as well.

  • People For the Ethical Treatme||

    Religious people living strict moral codes are capable of representing libertarians because many of them are in fact libertarians. And as part of their moral code they believe abortion is wrong.

    They are attracted to libertarianism NOT because they want to impose their version on everyone else BUT because they don't want the STATE to impose its version of the truth on them.

    So when we group all religious people in one giant 'fundamentalist' category aren't we the one's being fundamentalist Libertarians?

    It's a big tent for all the varieties of religious nuts, gun freaks, conspiracy theorists, atheists, etc with rest of us without any of those proclivities who are against corporatism and statism.

    Palin's willingness to run on a McCain ticket is deal-killing lack of judgement to me. But having an opinion about abortion especially when she'd really have no way to change the status quo seems petty.

  • ||

    Sarah Palin did not try to ban any books from the public library. Read the Snopes entry on the subject carefully.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/palin/bannedbooks.asp

  • ||

    PETA-B - once again, what I see in your post is a purity-test that doesn't make sense to me.

    Oh, and your 'big tent' didn't mention us anti-environmentalists.

    I would note once again that Palin, like anyone else, is entitled to a personal opinion about abortion. Her opinion is well-known. She has not, however, gone out of her way to influence the public discourse on the subject in her state. And she's made it clear that, absent Roe v Wade, in her opinion it would be the voters of the state that would decide where Alaska would go on the issue.

    An executive position gives you a bully pulpit, but in the end you're expected to govern according to the law.

  • bulbman||

    If being strong on national defense makes a politician an enemy of liberty then Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan were enemies of liberty.

    I don't think so. Ronald Reagan restored freedom of thought on half a planet.

  • Ritz Cracker||

    Strong on National Defense NOT National Offense.

  • PETA-B||

    Mrkwong,

    I was arguing against purity tests. I don't think demanding 'good judgement' of a candidate is a purity test though.

    Of course, now that I think about it, she did use good judgement (to run with McCain)because she'll at least get a lucrative book deal if she loses and conservatives will fund her to show how evil bullying press Lefties are. It's all borne out by the fact that in doubting her judgement I was really insinuating that she is a Zelig-like opportunist and as such she she showed good judgement true to her opportunism...okay to be fair, it's the hair.

  • ||

    The vitriol on these threads demonstrates why the LP will always be a fringe quirky pasttime for the disaffected folks that nobody listens to.

  • ||

  • ||

    PETA-B - let's look at it this way. No third-party is going to be a viable ramp to national office for the foreseeable future. So either you take the VP offer or you let someone else take it. A Pawlenty or maybe a Jindal gets it, if McCain wins they've now been slotted in ahead of you as the future standard-bearer for the party.

    You're from a small state, you've pissed off the big-money interests there, you're far from rich. Can you count on there being enough angry Republicans to fund you, help you do an Obama and crawl over the anointed successor? Not likely.

    So if you think the ticket has a chance, you take it. If McCain loses you've at least got a national profile you couldn't have otherwise gotten. If he wins, you just have to help keep the wheels on the GOP bus until 2012.

    There's a lot I don't like in McCain's positions but we don't have the luxury of designing a President, we take what's on the shelf.

  • ||

    During the Cold War the line between defense and offense was not always clear. It is even less clear today in the war against Islamofascism.

    Libertarianism has a lot to offer on domestic policy. I have learned a lot from the writers at the Cato Institute. But libertarianism is of little or no help when it comes to foreign policy.

    A hybrid of libertarianism and conservatism is what I find useful. It's messy, but it is useful in dealing the real world.

  • Bill Woods||

    McCain introduced Palin as a maverick reformer of the earmark process-someone who risked her career to fight waste and abuse and to take on Alaska's GOP establishment. That simply isn't true.

    While not involving earmarks, doesn't her service on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission qualify as "fight[ing] waste and abuse"?

    From Wikipedia:

    After resigning, Palin filed a formal complaint against Commissioner Randy Ruedrich, also the chair of the state Republican Party,[50] accusing him of doing work for the Party on public time and of working closely with a company he was supposed to be regulating. She also filed a complaint against Gregg Renkes, a former Alaska Attorney General,[51] accusing him of having a financial conflict of interest in negotiating a coal exporting trade agreement,[52] while Renkes was the subject of investigation and after records suggesting a possible conflict of interest had been released to the public.[53] Ruedrich and Renkes both resigned and Ruedrich paid a record $12,000 fine.[54][46]

  • ||

    "The problem, of course, is that McCain introduced Palin as a maverick reformer of the earmark process-someone who risked her career to fight waste and abuse and to take on Alaska's GOP establishment. That simply isn't true."

    He's pitched her as a "maverick reformer" who made her career fighting waste and abuse and taking on the GOP establishment, and that's absolutely true. She stopped what basically amounted to a wasteful giveaway to the oil companies, and demanded a more transparent, tax-payer friendly way of doing oil business, and she cut the state budget by 10%.

    If only she can get the federal budget cut by 10%!!! How sweet would that be?

    And at least she came around on earmarks... the other ticket, to this day, hasn't condemned the bridge to nowhere, and they both refused to support reallocating that money even after it became a scandal. Once the money is allocated, all Palin could do (presumably, at least) is use it for other things that aren't as wasteful.

  • ||

    People don't seem to understand just how radical Barack Obama is. He and his followers want to fundamentally change the nature of American society by getting rid of "American exceptionalism" and remaking the US on the model of the western European welfare state. Rather than seeing the US as the last, best hope of mankind, Obama's fans among the educated classes see the US as a backward country that could be hip and enlightened like France and Germany if it weren't for all those stupid rednecks.

    Yes, I know we have too much socialism already. Do you folks want it ten times worse? A government takeover of medicine. Affirmative action run amok. Compulsory unionism. Name your favorite nightmare.

  • PETA-B||

    Mrkwong-

    It's not worth it for small-gov't voters such as ourselves to even think about putting in a friendly into the Oval Office. The risks are larger than the payoffs. Let's look at what happened last time.

    Geoerge W. was touted as a God-fearing, abortion-foeing conservative that put the scare into Liberals. Many fiscal-conservative small-gov't voters saw the Brand-name and figured he must a conservative.

    Instead, he's was a big-gov't stealth bomb that dragged otherwise fiscally conservative congressmen and Senators into his profligate spending sprees by outright blackmail (no reelection for you buddy if you don't play.) Now we have lost the party to the War-on-Everything and the price tag that goes with thus undermining the whole idea of being a party for small-gov't.

    So I must say the Presidency is hardly something I'm really willing to gamble for considering that I have to expect McCain to kick off in an age where security cameras occupy probably every orifice and tube of a president and the annual physical becomes the weekly one. They can probably do it simultaneously with a press conference!

    Furthermore, while Palin seems exciting for the unknown qualities (the gist of Radley's article), remember who nominated Justice Souter for what he was suppose to be. Her lack of experience and the fact she was elected in Alaska is a draw but it's a two edged-sword. And McCain is just to risky.

    Palin's personal file, that's small potatoes to the risk.

  • Lefiti||

    Think of Palin as the Great White Hope. She may well be the next president.

  • SIV||

    Name your favorite nightmare.
    Comparable worth.

    She may well be the next president.
    Far better than any of the other three.

  • ||

    PETA-B - I'm sorry, but your attitude is "we had to destroy the country in order to save it."

    McCain is a known quantity. We know he's not great but we also know there's a limit to how bad he'd be.

    Obama's capacity for downside surprise is absolutely bottomless, especially considering he'll have a Dem Congress to work with.

  • Jeffersonian||

    A deal breaker for any libertarian should be Joe Biden's authorship of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. That is far more big government than anything Mccain or Palin have ever done.

  • PETA-B||

    Mrkwong,

    McCain is not just "not great", he is despicable. I guess we're at the crux of the argument now. And I'll respectfully disagree with you on that point.

    I fancied being a 'Republicans for Obama' advocate if such a message would carry full weight for its irony-contrarian message; but realizing that voting for Obama will only be perceived as love for every thought and action such a benign forthright man can conjure, caused me to shitcan that idea. The Third Way is the way this time in the Milky Way. Barr, Baldwin or Nader, doesn't matter because none will win but one will certainly cause the demise of Obama or McCain.

    As for destruction, ice or fire, doesn't matter; it already happened. I just don't see a heroic presidency as the way out. No one would understand the treatment except for us. No, federalism and keeping good people as representatives is the answer.

  • PETA-B||

    Biden himself was a deal-breaker because he is a dogma wrapped in catechism.

  • SIV||

    As for destruction, ice or fire, doesn't matter

    Ice is far less painful and it doesn't make bad smells.

    In short, John McCain may have actually made a good pick this month-in spite of himself.

    Radley, she was a terrible pick--for DemocRATS.

  • ||

    The LP is soooo Y2k. Here is an article that repeats multiple slurs that have been seriously rolled back or refuted [Bridge to nowhere WAS killed by her, a huge road project was also killed, she most definitely did fire her chef, she did sell the plane at the market rate through a broker, she doesn't believe in teaching creationism, or have "ties" to the AIP, and NO, she had nothing to do with all but $7Million of the pork requested by a town that grew from 5000 to 9000 in four years, (people can evolve on this issue you know), destroyed the careers of several corrupt GOP politicians, and opened up the Alaskan pipeline that has evaded her peers for 3 decades to competitive bidding.) Is she a libertarian: Of course not. But let's not pretend she's a corrupt handmaiden from socialist hell because of the uncontroversial consensus among all libertarians that killing a baby is the right of all right-thinking freedom lovers.

    I was a Libertarian through 1996, but realized before 2000 that a movement that masquerades as a party will never win more than 2% of the vote. No one ever bothered to decide what libertarianism meant, so pre 9-11, half the goofballs showing up at libertarian functions thought "libertarian" meant smoking pot and the other half were (rightfully) worried about the ever-expanding government and restoring core government functions like NATIONAL DEFENSE from BARBARIAN STATES.

    When one candidate offered big tax cuts and a willingness to take on that leviathon pyramid scheme of socialist insecurity, I decided that winning mattered, especially when compared with the statist tendencies of Mr. Gore.

    After 9-11 I REALLY felt that winning elections mattered, especially in an age where one party demonstrated an obvious willingness to politicize national security in the hopes of embarrassing the president. To anyone who would tell me how that is a betrayal of principles for pragmatism, let me remind you that Ayn Rand herself, the philosophical font of Libertarianism, urged the selection of Nixon (a price & wage fixing statist) over McGovern in 1972 because the dangers of socialism posed if it were to be introduced. (In stark contrast to those who are foolish enough to adopt Lenin's view of "the worse the better"). And let me remind the peacenik crowd that seems to be all that is left of the libertarians (judging from this year's convention), that none other than Leonard Peikoff suggested that the appropriate response to 9-11 was not to shrink into the shocking and shameful "time machine" rationalizations (we shouldn't have done 'x') that I saw pouring out of this party's publications but to take less than 30 minutes to immolate 5-6 cities in a certain part of the lesser developed world to remind them of the price of taking on a more advanced, liberal civilization that valued the lives of the people that built it.

    So I watched the LP convention this year out of perverse interest, and realize that most of the practical libertarians apparently have abandoned this shell of the LP I knew in 1996 and joined me in the party that disappoints but wins elections on the important issues, like existential threats to our society. Just sad and pathetic all around to see what is left. There's Bob Barr, the Waco apologist (boo), Patriot Act sponsor (yeah), Drug warrior (boo/yeah), Iraq Resolution voter (yeah) asking the suckers to believe that he had seen the light and was a good little wackadoo peacenik libertarian. There's Mike Gravel, the wacky democrat to the left of Kucinich, pretending he knows something about libertarianism. There is a moron wearing the Guy Fawkes mask. (yes, let's celebrate an excreble movie that equates terrorism==patriotism). There's the medical marijuana cult candidate, and over there is the poindexter doing his best impression of doctor evil/ernst blofield. There's the five other people who woke up one morning and decided they should be president. Just laughable. Sad and laughable.

    BTW, Anyone that would require more than a 10th of a second to recognize that Obama (feel good, race-baiting, big spending, economy destroying, poll driven Foreign Policy lefty fascist from the Chicago machine) is fundamentally antithetical to libertarianism IS NOT A LIBERTARIAN. Maybe they want to smoke pot without fear of jail?

  • Life, Liberty and the Pursuit ||

    Mark M

    Wow! You are pissed!

    First, Correct! The LP is about smoking pot (among other things)

    Second, libertarians generally don't disagree with National Defense (but do with National Offense)

    Third, Mr. Gore is a statist, and not going too far out on a limb you could have called him perhaps the biggest mongoloid that didn't have yellow skin to ever malign the honorable mongoloid race (that really doesn't exist if you understand genetics circa the right now)

    Fourth, how could you leave a Party so in desperate need of a base of normal people? Especially equipped with Obama-is-a-phony-Dar?

  • This is Jeapardy!||

    A tenth of a second: is that micro-, pico-, nano-....

    What is Canadian smugness?

    Ding! Ding!

  • ||

    Mark M - I'm sympathetic to your position, though I've been a Reagan Republican since the cradle, something about the orgasmic sense of satisfaction I got from casting that first Presidential vote of my life to expel Jimmuh from the White House has kept me there. I voted for Bush 41, I voted for Bush 43 the first time.

    The Libertarian Party has never seemed very serious to me, tacking back and forth between trying to Make A Statement and finding a candidate with fairly deep pockets.

    My foreign policy positions aren't interventionist per se, but they are very definitely based around the notion that the US has interests to defend. On trade, I guess I'd sum up my position by saying that free trade is a principle around which to build a trade policy, not a policy in itself. And on domestic issues, I'm pretty much libertarian, though with a bit of a populist streak; I regard the DMCA and the mindset that created it as at least as great a threat as USA PATRIOT. Christians don't scare me, I know a bunch of them, they mostly manage to function as real people in the real world, you'll find me in church half a dozen times a year.

    Oh, and I'm in the Michael Crichton camp - the environmental movement has gradually worked itself out of a job, but it doesn't realize it, and they're likely to do us more harm with this global warming buffoonery than all the good they've ever done.

    So my choice is easy: bMcCain is wrong on a lot of things, but he's right on some very important defense and foreign policy matters. Palin is right on a lot of things, but largely unknown in some. Obama's wrong almost across the board.

  • Life, Liberty and the Pursuit ||

    Good God Mark M,

    "Winning mattered"? I'll forgive you thinking that, we all make those mistakes.

    Simply put we all lost. This is not an endorsement of Al Gore, but I don't see how Al Gore, pitted against Republicans in the House and Senate would've reached our current state.

    This is not a fawning tribute to the Nobelist that made you wish Nobel was proud of pyromania and went on to rid the world of say...fire ants. Instead, it's saying for all of Gore's assault on reason, his anti-reason couldn't add up to the current rip-current against small-governmentism on display by W.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    IS NOT A LIBERTARIAN

    Drink!

    Here's the thing. There isn't any point in voting for someone who plans to stick a pitchfork in your eye instead of voting for someone who plans to disembowel you.

    You've got to vote for the person who most closely mirrors your personal values. Otherwise, it's a sell out. It's always a wasted vote if you don't.

    Throw away your vote you say!

    Good gravy. Are you pretty happy with GWB? How about all those Dems that voted for Pelosi so she'd end the war?

  • Not drunk on h8orade||

    Mrkwong

    the Libertarian Party is obviously not about voting in the next president or the next dog-catcher. In the age of internet it's about forming a secret cabal using a secret code even fluent speakers of Navajo would find baffling, it's called market economics and market information (something not even secretly taught in the dept. of Tibetan Languages). It's the sorta thing that can lead to market meltdown on United Airlines Stock in a day based on false info but once that info is proven false returns that stock price to its currently assessed value in less than a day. Imagine!

    If Libertarianism is McCain & Palin, great, then that's your Libertarianism. I appreciate your knocks at the door. Mine is elsewhere right now. Let's stay engaged, however. I'm not drinking the h8torade.

  • ||

    You sound like all the crap I keep hearing in the MSM. Palin was for the bridge and now she is against it. Do we need Reason Magazine to rehash old news. Give me a break. I used to read Reason religiously because of its freshness. It reeks of staleness now. I am mad at you guys because I am one of your supporters. I want you to be fresh again.

  • ||

    Let me get this straight: Since Palin has never shown any inclination to force her religious views on others using the government, are you to say that just the fact that she happens to be a Christian and is personally pro-life an automatically disqualification?

    Is the message, "Christians aren't allowed to govern?" Or "Christians aren't allowed to be Libertarians?"

    Which is it? If I'm going to get my stick and start poking people out of the party, I need to get the rules straight.

    Balko is right. Palin DID cut earmarks. Almost in half. For a state that in the past had been so firmly attached to the federal tit, you couldn't expect her to drop those earmarks to zero in a year or two. There are a lot of communities up there that have structured themselves around government largesse. You can't just cut them off cold turkey. But she cut them dramatically. When she became mayor, she cut her own salary.

    She sold the governor's jet, got rid of the limo and security detail, and she drives herself around in her Volkswagen. When she flies, she flies commercial. She's kicked a number of corrupt politicians in her own party right in the nuts.

    Despite her (horrors) religion, when her own party presented her with a bill that would deny spousal benefits to same-sex couples, she vetoed it on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.

    She's not perfect. But if you're going to wait for the 'perfect' libertarian to come along, you'll be waiting a long time.

    Oh, and by the way, isn't Ron Paul a devout Christian? And isn't he Pro-life? Why does he get a pass, and Palin doesn't?

  • Kendall||

    I have considered myself very Libertarian in outlook most of my life, and have voted for Libertarian candidates before.

    But some people seem to be getting confused with Libertarianism as a party in its own right, vs trying to increase the spread of Libertarian ideas.

    Given that, doing which of the following three things does the most to advance Libertarianism:

    1) Voting for Obama and having a federal Volunteerism department set up, shutting down all local efforts along those lines.

    2) Voting for Barr and attempting to be the butterfly causing a political hurricane through the power of Chaos Theory.

    3) Voting in McCain/Palin now, and having a real chance that Palin is at the top of the ticket in four years.

    Furthermore, let's pretend for a moment that she is as opportunistic as her detractors make her out do be. Does that matter at all if her MESSAGE is still Libertarian in nature? Is it not the case that we need someone in the national spotlight to make individualism glamorous to a generation of people that might take it up in politics?

    Obama is making Big Government, with a capital IG, glamorous. Do you wish that to be the norm? Do you want that to be the most appealing option?

    I have never donated to a presidential campaign before this year, but after Palin was picked and I did some reading to her McCain received my (meager) backing. I'm even considering helping out his campaign, which I've also never done before. And all this because I feel it's the best opportunity we have seen yet to reset the Republican party in the direction of Libertarian thought. If I thought the Democrats were easier to move I might do so, but it seems beyond thinking for that to be possible as that's not the direction the candidates they choose are drifting.

    No Palin is not the perfect libertarian. But in one of the most earmark loving sates she did reduce spending and waste to some degree. She also has managed a small business and who does not want THAT experience front and center with a president or VP candidate?

  • ||

    Hey, Balko. Write the article and *then* smoke the weed. I hope this helps.

  • HL Mencken||

    Don't mind me. I'm just here to enjoy the show.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Radley,

    And the main point of the column was to note that the stuff she's good on is the stuff that likely would have gotten her blackballed had McCain properly vetted her.

    You're assuming here, like the rest of the MSM. But I for one doubt that McCain has been surprised with what's gone public since he put her on the ticket. In fact, I think they knew exactly what they were doing when they picked her.

    I was going to say your article is good, I like and largely agree with it (unlike some of the Obama lovers here). But then you said you prefer Obama -- wtf??????

    I are utterly baffled......can make neither heads nor tails of who you are or what you think?

    And btw that does matter, because (I thought) you're supposed to get paid to think about this stuff.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    jasno

    This article misses the biggest problem with Palin: She's the candidate for VICE president. Who gives a shit what she believes? She won't have a chance to implement any of her beliefs.

    If McCain wins, you'll give a shit plenty. Because she's almost sure to end up president herself, sooner or later.


    Lane Honda

    The word "libertarian" has jumped the shark. Now I know how black folk feel when whitey co-opts their slang....

    You can say all that again. I had to stop calling myself libertarian and become a classical liberal. Because libertarians have (an earned) reputation for being f***ing lunatics.



    bulbman

    During the Cold War the line between defense and offense was not always clear. It is even less clear today in the war against Islamofascism.....Libertarianism has a lot to offer on domestic policy. I have learned a lot from the writers at the Cato Institute. But libertarianism is of little or no help when it comes to foreign policy.

    Wow. And I was starting to believe there was nobody on the planet except me, who thought this way. "Libertarian" foreign policy: "now be a good little ostrich and stick your head in the sand".

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    McCain is a largely unprincipled dope, who I suspect opposes steroid use because his manhood has always supplied him with quite enough, thank you (he likes a good fight, like Teddy Roosevelt).

    However, McCain will have lots to fight about with a Democrat controlled congress. At minimum he's "the other team" and they'll oppose him just for that.

    Palin is still an iceberg -- more unknown than known. Though so far she's the only one on the national stage that offers any hope of getting any kind of classical liberal values advanced.

    Obama is just wrong, every which-way you look at it. If he wins with a Democrat controlled congress in place, I strongly suspect this country will never recover from it.



    Of course, Bush was looking much like the Palin iceberg in 2000. Then 9/11 happened, and then some other stuff happened.....

    I still wonder what Bush would have done and been, if 9/11 had not happened. Far from perfect, but I suspect better than what we've gotten.

    Gore would have been a train wreck on the order of Obama.

  • ||

    Palin's approach to health care, from the Washington Post:

    "When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took office, she inherited a vexing health-care problem common to many states: whether to let small clinics compete freely against hospitals for such services as outpatient surgery and MRIs.

    Palin responded with an aggressive, uncompromising and, to date, unsuccessful push to promote competition -- an effort consistent with her free-market ideals"

    Got that, so-called Libertarians? Palin pushed for a no-compromise free market approach to health care. Can you name another politician around who could have been on the ticket who wouldn't just demand some variation on the statist proposals being floated by damned near everyone? Yet Palin's the one that comes in for scorn on Reason's web site, of all places.

    I swear, half the people who call themselves "Libertarians" these days must be Democrats in drag.

  • Ray||

    She fired a librarian for refusing to discussing book banning, and only hired her after public pressure. This magazine is a joke.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    You'd be right to swear that. If they aren't closet democrats it's because they're anarchists.

    So far I hear a a lot more to like about Palin than to dislike.

    I was going to sit this election out. CanNOT vote for Socialist Obama, Barr doesn't count (unless your smoking something every day), and McCain isn't senator caliber let alone presidential material. But if McCain wins, we almost certainly get Palin following on behind him.

    Unless she completely messes up somewhere along the way, but I suspect that isn't going to happen. So far her "goofs" with the media have made her look more human than anything. And I'll bet on average people are going to like that......that's a large part of her "bounce" effect to date, I'd argue.

    I'm afraid I may have to vote for McCain.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    btw, can anybody explain to me why it is that when anarchists have to choose (against their will of course) between Democrat or Republican, they tend to lean Democrat? I don't understand this at all.....

    Or is my perception wrong?

    Just curious, because I can make no sense of it.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    If that is statistically true, then my rationale would be that they care more about social issues, than they do about fiscal issues.

    The same phenomenon occurs on here with Left leaning Libertarians to whom I feel closest to.

    When you're interested in social issues, it's easier to excuse the well intended dupe, than it is to excuse what one might consider a callous disregard for others.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "I swear, half the people who call themselves "Libertarians" these days must be Democrats in drag."

    Did you just call Libertarians "girls?"

    I mean, "bitches?"

  • Famous Motimer||

    Honestly, the candidate who most closely resembles my personal views doesn't really exist. I feel less threatened by Obama, than I do by Republican foreign policy, and the party's incestuous relationship with the Religious Right.

    Philosophically, I feel that not voting is perfectly justifiable, since I don't feel that either candidate is necessarily apeing Hitler. Let's just call it a form of protest.

    However, I can understand the arguments about making your voice heard, and not merely dropping out of the system until the planets are aligned. As you can see, I'm in a bit of a pickle.

    Which begs the question: Would I be a bad person if I simply didn't want to get off my ass, and go down there to do it?

  • ||

    bulbman:

    "During the Cold War the line between defense and offense was not always clear. It is even less clear today in the war against Islamofascism.....Libertarianism has a lot to offer on domestic policy. I have learned a lot from the writers at the Cato Institute. But libertarianism is of little or no help when it comes to foreign policy."

    So bulbman...Where do things like The Patriot Act and the loss of Habeus Corpus fall in your analysis? Were these not implemented in the name of protecting us from the terrorists? What about insane unrestricted government spending on interventionist foreign policy? I don't see how you can put domestic and foreign affairs in their own neat little seperate boxes.

    P.S. When will people realize "Islamofacism" is not a legitimate term?!

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Famous Motimer,

    No, you wouldn't be a bad person. And you might help save the ENVIRONMENT because think of the ENERGY you won't be using.

    So far we've achieved moral neutrality.

    You also reduce your risk of getting into a fatal car wreck. So you may live longer for having stayed home. And you can't run over a small innocent child if you aren't driving.

    You also avoid the possibility of getting a speeding ticket during the trip, so you're potentially richer.

    Except, nowadays they have mail in absentee ballots.

    Man, I'm sorry. I really tried, but this just isn't going to be easy for you to justify.

  • ||

    WHAAAAT?????? Huh??? Mr. Balko, you're joking, right? This whole article was political satire, right?

  • ||

    Did I miss it--when did this site become a social conservative, economically liberal rag??
    I thought this was a libertarian site? Did my browser get hijacked?

    Yeah--unashamed pork spender and social conservative--could have done worse? Only reason to vote for McCain is probable gridlock. The rest of the shit is closet big govt republicans jacking themselves off on this site. I read limited gov't, spending, stay out of personal issues for 3 years and in year 4 this site is overrun with social conservative, "hey big spender!" closet republicans pretending to embrace 1 ounce of libertarian views. Admit who you are at least...sheesh

  • ANdrew||

    Bob Barr is horrible- they guy wants to lock em up and throw away the key for drug offenders and is against abortion. Oh yeh and you'll end up with Barack, I want to ban guns and socialize medicine, Obama.

  • ||

    If Ms. Palin is a hard-right, born-again social conservative who truly doesn't want to impose her personal and religious beliefs on others using the power of the state, then she doesn't belong at Number One Observatory Circle. She should be on display in the Smithsonian Institute since she's a rare specimen indeed.

  • Brett Pedersen||

    Sir, Credit where credit is due: McCain picked Palin, Obama picked Biden. Each should be given credit or demerit regarding his own pick, without qualification. Good decisions are usually made based on knowledge filtered through instinct.

  • Tim||

    McPain is hiding from the media, as is his prom date slash daughter, Palin. She's more silent than a Moslem woman in Purdah. Ever so like Bush-Cheney, no? More of the same, indeed. And McPain's handlers are so worried that he'll release his inner chimp on TV that they are saving that treat for the debates. I can't wait!

    These are the tactics of big govt. Manipulate and hide.

  • ||

    Dear Radley -- I read your piece on Sarah Palin and found your logic quite odd. Where's the evidence that Palin's "learned from the experience." It seems to me like she is just trying to present herself as someone against earmarks rather than someone who actually is against them -- she's continued to game the system for AK's benefit; I don't see that she's actually learned. Furthermore, her conservative beliefs on creationism and global warming are completely outside the mainstream -- I don't see how this shows her to be qualified to govern. Even though she may have shown some restraint on these issues as governor, I don't really know that I want a vice-president in office who has seems to have zero understanding of critical scientific principles. Why should we elect someone who's beliefs are completely at odd with enormous scientific evidence -- are we electing a vice president in the 21st or the 12th century?


    As you indicate, the choice of Sarah Palin also sheds light on John McCain's governing style -- impetuous and reckless. I can't see that a decision where he happened to choose the flavor of the month strengthens the public's confidence in his ability to lead. What happens when he happens to make the wrong decision next time? I just can't put much faith in this sort of process for decision making.

  • Jeff Perren||

    How sad that a movement and a magazine born from the philosophy of Ayn Rand should come to this. Concerned with trivialities like marijuana use? On the wrong side of the fight against the jihadists? Friendly toward looney-bin faux freedom movements? Claiming to be pro-liberty but bark against any practical move to protect or implement it? Sad.

    It's no wonder that so many genuinely pro-freedom individuals have found a much friendlier home in conservative circles. They are pro-freedom, not merely anti-government.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, I just am not convinced that someone so religiously motivated and socially conservative (well documented) is a good pick from a libetarian standpoint. that's a contradiction. If she makes a Ron Paul-type statement on the Drug War, maybe I'll be more open, but right now, she seems far from the Libetarian cause.

  • ||

    Jeff Perren, I just don't get how you can link modern conservatives with libetarianism. Way off. Traditional conservativism yes. Conservatives are pro-Drug War (an enormous invasion of the individual), want to tell people who they can sleep with, are religiously motivated, interventionists on the international scene...not even close to libetarian principles. The only freedoms they support are the right for the rich to pay low taxes, the right to pollute, and gun ownership (the only one they are right on).

  • ||

    Especially since, you know, she probably likes being on top.

    You just gave me a stiffy.

  • ESCartist||

    Does Palin's Involvement in a Church whose Ideology is Pro-Holy-War-Between-Russia-And-America-To-Bring-About-The-Rapture scare anyone else as much as it does me?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/9/143710/2371/534/592379

  • ||

    Pro choice here, means PRO choice...Love Palin's streak of freedom!

  • ||

    Bless you. I think you just sank Ms. Palin's nomination.


    The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) is one of those groups that provides a big tent for weird politics. If you support the idea that judges must tell jurors they have the right to acquit people even when the evidence clearly indicates they have broken the law, FIJA is the place for you. This concept has attracted support from across the political spectrum ranging from those who would legalize marijuana to militia leaders.

    But while FIJA leaders try to walk the fine line inherent in holding together a coalitions around a single issue, they seem to routinely stumble into the far right. Indiana militia leader Joe Holland blanketed Ravalli County with a mailing urging people to understand their "jury rights" after he was charged with threatening public officals in Montana. FIJA literature was disseminated broadly in Mississippi surrounding the trial of Byron De La Beckwith for the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

    Most recently, Dr. Nancy Lord resigned from FIJA in part she says, because of the anti-Semetic writings of Red Beckman. Lord's resignation has stimulated much debate within the organization about Beckman's role in FIJA and how the organization should handle FIJA activists who possess racist and/or anti-Semetic views.

    Time's up for Palin?

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "How sad that a movement and a magazine born from the philosophy of Ayn Rand should come to this."

    Take your religion elsewhere.

    If you were someone whose life was ruined over a insane drug law, I doubt that you would find it a trivial issue. You effectively prove my point about many self-described "Libertarians."

    But your taxes, now that's something to align yourself with the religious right over.

    Rich.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "Man, I'm sorry. I really tried, but this just isn't going to be easy for you to justify."

    Oh no, quite the opposite. You might have just become my spiritual guru.

  • jm||

    Fuck off. "Culturally conservative" views, as you so nicely call them, are the opposite of everything that libertarianism stands for.

  • ||

    Agree with your analysis except for this one point: "It's a philosophy that's skeptical of government, instead of what Repubilcans stand for now, which is to embrace government, so long as Republicans are running it."

    I think you are confusing the Bush administration with true Republicanism. As McCain said...they went to Washington and forgot what they were sent there to do. There's every reason to believe that McCain will not make that mistake.

    While Lieberman would have pulled him toward compromise (splitting differences, go along to get along, etc.), Palin presents no such problem. Give them a chance...you can't imagine Obama being an effective check on Pelosi, can you? That would amount to Big Government to the nth degree.

  • ClassicalLibUsedTobeLibertaria||

    Thank God for a few sane posters here. I noticed sometime in the war against Islamic nutjobs, I had libertarians questioning my loyalty to the cause. And here I thought there was room for a difference of opinion or degree on certain subjects!

    One thing that jumped out at me was the "blowback" theory, which never made much sense. Certainly, it happens, but to attribute 9/11 directly to blowback immediately made me question: What about the Sudanese blacks murdered by a jihadist government and janjaweed paramilitaries? What were they guilty of? What about Buddhists in southern Thailand? Or Christians in the Philippines? If it's provoked by AMerican policy, then where are all the Vietnamese, Serb, German or Japanese suicide bombers? Why only this one group?

    Hell, Sayyid al-Qutb developed his intense hatred for western 'decadence' after a barn dance in the Midwest. Give me a damn break. And this is just one example.

    Libertarians (capital L) seem to think that because there should be little to no government restriction on personal decisions that don't directly violate the rights of another that there should be little to no restriction or respect for values that kept the order in society. There are CONSEQUENCES to eroding those restraints, even if sometimes the benefits eventually outweigh the costs, there are always consequences.

    I can't fathom a party that talks about the sovereignty of the individual thinks it's forbidden to possibly conceive of the unborn as a human life (even Paglia admits this and simply believes the baby is the unfortunate victim of circumstance and that women have the right to murder) and that, at least at some point, that life is worth protecting.

    It's trite but true, all of you are able to post and rant because someone chose to have your ungrateful ass. Your ONE chance at existence, probably the only you'll ever have or know, was that pregnancy and birth. To pretend that even dissecting a late-term baby is an inviolable right (all while men have no such rights to terminate their parental obligations) is an absolute joke.

    The Drug War must end, yes. But look around you. The most you can get people to ever agree on is that no-knock raids should end and that MJ should be legalized and maybe the others decriminalized in some way. You have to work with the society you have, unless you guys are willing to run a stealth candidate who will institute Libertarian Martial Law and execute all statists, neocons, soc-cons, progressives and other 'enemies of freedom.'

    Stop being so damn obtuse and absolutist and embrace the power of incremental change, of reversing those political transaction cost reductions (read dependent on DC) and changing the manipulation of that process. McCain sucks but Obama is talking about armies of 'organizers' who will be just as strong as the military and this is someone that speaks of "collective salvation" being the only thing that can provide "individual salvation."

    And you think this guy is preferable? Is this a DC Comic? Is there some Universe where Obama is a moderate Burkean conservative or left-leaning libertarian? Did I not read his speeches, see his associations with pure-bred communist radicals, racists and his own speeches vilifying capitalist and the 'bootstrap myth?'

    Are you people insane?

    At least with a McCain win, you can make a bridge to SOMEWHERE with Palin or a Jindal or hell, anyone that is prepared to cut spending, cut out the old incentives for pork and government expansion for politicians.


    No, because Iraq is some kind of litmus test, let's pick the guy who really won't pull the troops out any quicker, will weaken our image around the world, is the pick of tyrants and terrorists, wants to nationalize health care, end gun rights (meaning the right to resist him and his coterie of tyrant-aspirants) kill live-born infants and appeal to the absolute worst re-hash of 60s era New Left statism and victimology.

  • ClassicalLibUsedtobeLibertaria||

    Something else sticks in my craw (can't edit my previous, sorry) now that I think of it. I've had more doctrinaire
    L's tell me that with unfettered trade, people will naturally become less hostile to us and that we don't need to engage in arms, sanctions or anything of the like.

    Really? China? Hello? These same people tell me you can't impose democracy at the point of a gun (no, not instantly but with the right application of firepower or merely material support in the case of Germany, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea) but have TOTAL CONFIDENCE in trade and capitalism. Nevermind the fact that the 'terrorists' were exposed to Western values and higher education (in this, they are like the far Left educated radicals) or that plenty of people embrace Disney while hating America and love IPods while hating capitalism (however, they define it) and loving the State while hating classical liberals as 'fascists' for not welcoming equal outcomes.

    The sheer inanity of it is breathtaking. Let's see, we have actual history and what worked or we have this fantasy that 'trade' will solve all problems, cultural, economic and ideological! These are the same people who would cite De Soto but then totally miss the point when it comes to commerce's ability to mold everyone at a pace commensurate with your nation's interests and welfare. No one disputes it has power but that's provided the state with which you trade is not "the State" but businesses.

    Oh yeah, one more thing. Stop with the Welfare/Warfare State. The biggest bunch of Welfare Statists are in Europe and they're hardly the Nazis reborn. Well, until the EU forces itself on what remains of free Europe and we get to see some kind of bizarre neocorporatist fascist bureaucratic nightmare foisted upon the West--by the way, they all love Obama there, he represents them.

    Sudan has oil but has relied on paramilitaries to do its genocidal dirty work and Sudan is hardly the archetypal omnipresent "State." Osama and Co. knocked down the WTC and have networks and affiliates that have killed scores of thousands and threaten the stability of states with millions yet are not the manifestation of some kind of all-powerful "Welfare/Warfare" state.

    If anything, I believe a true Welfare state saps the traditional martial values that a warring people need to face (or create) future conflicts. I don't buy into this concept, except in the elementary sense that mass social mobilization and regimentation CAN lead to mass mobilization in the cause of war (but hell, we have welfare statism and regimentation here and, if anything, are less martial and in support of war than ever before.)

  • ||

    Q: "how could you leave a Party so in desperate need of a base of normal people? Especially equipped with Obama-is-a-phony-Dar?"

    A: How could you stay in party so devoid of them? Winning matters because politics is a practical exercise of crafting policy, not a parlour debate.

    Come join the GOP (the party of Ron Paul), and you get to actually affect policy at the ballot box and via donations. *(Unless the special extra constitutional "right" to kill a baby for women in a state of gestation less than 6 months (unless she isn't, which then translates into a right to commit infancticide) more important than defeating "suicide by ballot box" (see quote #6 at http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/socialism.html)


    "When you're interested in social issues, it's easier to excuse the well intended dupe, than it is to excuse what one might consider a callous disregard for others."

    You mean human self interest? I thought that was the pragmatic moral basis of capitalism, the system of individual NEGATIVE rights.

    "When will people realize "Islamofacism" is not a legitimate term?!"

    Is a pseudo-religious movement based on the idealization and "restoration" of some mythical past that never existed which uses horrific violence against civilian targets and internal scapegoats to advance and secure collectivist goals at the expense of individual freedom NOT fascism?

    "If you support the idea that judges must tell jurors that they have the right to acquit people even when the evidence clearly indicates they have broken the law"

    Yes. I do believe that Judges should instruct juries as to what the law actually is, Jury nullification is the law, and has been a common law right (and even intention) of the jury for over 800 years: To customize the application of a general law crafted by a legislature to the particular circumstances of the case in front of them. Originally juries were both the finders of Fact & Law for precisely this reason. I believe that Tocqueville thought that the American jury system was more important then the ballot box as a check on legistlative, executive, and judicial abuse for precisely this reason.

    "How sad that a movement and a magazine born from the philosophy of Ayn Rand should come to this."
    Bingo Jeff.

    "Take your religion elsewhere"
    Yes, this forum is no place for people who wish to question how it is that the LP has come to value the recreational right to call up a terrorist in pakistan without fear of wiretapping, smoke pot to prevent AIDS and cure cancer, and ignore movements that are infiltrating free societies with the express purpose of destroying them MORE than the advice of its philosophical founder to vote practically to stave off disaster. (Because what Orwell and Rand understood but Lenin never did was that "the worse the better" just succeeds in finding a new worse.)

    If there are religious ideas at work here, it's many of the poorly thought out "Libertarian" causes on display at the LP convention and on this board.

    A few examples:
    "If you were someone whose life was ruined over a insane drug law"

    I wasn't aware that Libertarians believed they have the carte blanche to ignore "un-libertarian" laws that they have yet to convince their fellow citizens to repeal. Does this mean I can stop sending in the formerly unconstitutional head tax that renders me 40% slave every April 15th? Am I free to ignore those crypto-fascist traffic laws too?

    This is why the LP is not an effective party: A party strives to get elected (even if it means only concentrating on seats it has a fair chance of winning) because a party believes in getting elected and enacting Policy into law, not merely settling for a philosophical statement. (Belief: This is wrong; Policy Position: This should be repealed; Politics: This IS repealed)

    Another:
    People who talk about the gold standard. Should we just euthanize half the population now to save them from the messiness of starvation/cannibalism once we erase Trillions of dollars worth of electronic IOU's that are the life blood of the energy, commodity, and manufacturing marketplace (with a liquidity of $1Trillion per day at the CME alone), (that's 1/14 of the entire ANNUAL GDP) just so we can re-tie the entire outstanding full faith and credit of the US to a $200 Billion pile of gold in FT Knox?

    Another:
    Look at the hysterical criticism regarding the patriot act, which always seems to rely upon hyperbole and conflation, not unlike the methods of AGW proponents/pseudo-religious fundamentalists.

    Q: How could you tell that a AGW/environmental fundamentalist is lying? (other than his lips are moving and he like to draw a lot of bogus hockey sticks)

    A: It's the long history of over-the-top claims and penchant for emotional manipulation. (In AGW's case, the manipulation is the "We all wear white lab coats so this argument is over" Appeal to Authority style of argumentation.) Now, apply that to how so many people (especially supposedly respectable MSM sources) who attacked the Patriot Act on the grounds of "Warrant-less Domestic Wiretapping" when in fact no such authorization exists.

    [I freely admit there are things the Patriot Act can be attacked on, but this one seems to be by far the favorite, (with the possible exception of the "suspension of Habeas Corpus" claim, which was struck down by the Supreme Court. i.e., there IS a habeas Corpus right, even for "unlawful combatants".)]

    If the Patriot Act's detractors were not trying to distort the truth they would call this supposed *expansion* of surveillance powers the "Warrant-less *INTERNATIONAL* wiretapping AND Warrant-less DOMESTIC PEN REGISTRY SURVELLIANCE" power. Let's break this up and take on the International wire tapping first:

    If the state is permitted to dismantle a car at a border crossing that it would not be able to search during a traffic stop, than isn't the state permitted to eavesdrop on international calls? To come to any other conclusion is to determine that one has a right of privacy when calling Osama in Kashmere merely because the state is required to get a warrant if they want to wiretap you calling your dealer. If OTOH such a right exists, then the state has no right to examine the RV that suspiciously looks like a Russian T80 as it trundles across the border of South Ossetia. I do not see how such a "right" is consistent with the state's Primary responsibility: The organization of a society's resources to fend of external aggressors.

    But let's set that aside and examine Pen registry checks: Examining a Pen registry has been legal for decades for the same reason that you have no expectation of privacy in your phone number, email address, or website URL. (Like a street address, it is a piece of information assigned to you by a third party and handed over to that third party so that members of the public can access you.)

    Now you may not agree with either, but the Patriot act did nothing to *change* the existing law regarding the privacy rights in telecommunications. It merely explicitly authorized the FBI and NSA to engage in legal behavior that prosecutors have used for decades when that behavior is applied to the cause of fighting terrorism.

    But telling you that the Patriot Act didn't represent a dramatic change of existing law doesn't bring in the fund-raising checks from the people who think the NSA is interested in what underwear they are buying, so conflating "International Warrant-less Wiretapping" with "Domestic Pen Registry Access" and compressing it into the far catchier compressed derivative of: "Warrent-less Domestic Wiretapping" is trumpeted from every NYT?WP/ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN article on the subject. Now why would such a conflation be necessary if the facts supported the argument?

    Finally: "cultural conservatism" is the antithesis of libertarianism"

    Nonsense. The Roman empire was a model of small government because it lived within the technological limits of the time and (wisely) let the locals mostly run their own affairs. (You could been running a libertarian paradise right under their noses so long as the tribute was delivered on time.) Totalitarian regimes can be no more totalitarian than their technical capability to monitor and control the small details. Social Conservatism == leave it to social mores. Modern Liberalism == We can't trust you to wipe your babies ass.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "Is a pseudo-religious movement based on the idealization and "restoration" of some mythical past that never existed which uses horrific violence against civilian targets and internal scapegoats to advance and secure collectivist goals at the expense of individual freedom NOT fascism?"

    Dear God, it's as if you just described social conservatism, and the will of the Republican Party.

    Considering the rest of your content in your religious manifesto, I assume that the irony is lost on you.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "I wasn't aware that Libertarians believed they have the carte blanche to ignore "un-libertarian" laws that they have yet to convince their fellow citizens to repeal."

    Of course they don't. It would be illegal, but that says shit all about whether or not it is the right thing to do.

    Laws are often changed, or abandoned when people no longer take them seriously. Rarely are they altered through logical discourse.

    The idea that ridiculous laws should never be ignored until we can convince the moral majority that they are offensive, is absurd for obvious reasons.

    If we applied the same logic throughout the Civil Rights movement, or history in general, then then they would have never been effectively challenged.

    Sodomy? Only when it passes through the state legislature.

    Do you even understand the concept of protest, or civil disobedience as a politcal tool? I thought not.

    "Does this mean I can stop sending in the formerly unconstitutional head tax that renders me 40% slave every April 15th? Am I free to ignore those crypto-fascist traffic laws too?"

    Roll the dice, son. It's your life. However, I would assume that your lack of desire to do so has less to do with some anti-civil disobedience principle, than the fact that your life could be ruined through imprisonment, or fines.

    Intererstingly, the fact that you're able to throw in yet another tax complaint, when comparing philosophies pretty much proves my point.

    "Social Conservative" should have its own section in the DSM. It's a predictable affliction.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "You mean human self interest? I thought that was the pragmatic moral basis of capitalism, the system of individual NEGATIVE rights."

    No, I mean a callous disregard for others.

    The Capitalism that you speak of is merely a personal fabrication that serves to the simplify human nature, and the history of human civilization.

  • ||

    In case everyone has forgotten what is at stake in this election, here is a sobering reminder... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnyUPktNIP0

  • ||

    Libertarians? But what about Librarians.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    Libertarians For Librarians?

  • Quelch||

    Bulbman:

    The LIST is incorrect. What that means is that those are not the books she tried to ban.

    She DID try to pull books from the Library, then fired the librarian when she resisted. It ended up being a pretty big deal there. I was living in Anchorage (very near wasilla) when this was going on, and had friends from Wasilla talking about their "Nazi mayor."

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "She DID try to pull books from the Library, then fired the librarian when she resisted. It ended up being a pretty big deal there. I was living in Anchorage (very near wasilla) when this was going on, and had friends from Wasilla talking about their "Nazi mayor."

    But wait, didn't the Librarian know that her "liberal" beliefs did not give her carte blanche to ignore "un-libertarian" laws that she had yet to convince her fellow citizens to refute?

    Does this mean I can stop sending in the formerly unconstitutional head tax that renders me 40% slave every April 15th? Am I free to ignore those crypto-fascist traffic laws too?

  • ||

    Neither Palin or lately modern libertarianism has done a decent job of convincing me that either believe in the enlightenment or democracy considering the extreme anti-science and pro-authoritarian positions both seem to embrace.

    Keep drilling your way to China, yeah right.

    Personally if I don't start seeing something other than "freedom is slavery" from the so-called movement, then I will be forced to renounce my membership in the party I have held since 1987.

  • ||

    Quelch:

    The library book banning is a discredited slur. Not only is the book list bogus, the librarian doesn't remember anything other than a hypothetical question regarding the library's policy on pulling a book.
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/157986

    Oh, and the librarian (a long with several other officials) was asked for her resignation before she took office, but she declined to accept the resignation.

    So your "friends" in Wasilla must have a faulty memory. Nice try though.

    You were saying Mortimer?

  • ||

    Me:
    "You mean human self interest? I thought that was the pragmatic moral basis of capitalism, the system of individual NEGATIVE rights."

    Mortimer:
    No, I mean a callous disregard for others.

    "callous disregard for others" is what collectivists bleat when they want to justify taking the property of the accomplished for the sake of themselves in the name of the indolent.
    Are you sure you're a libertarian? Maybe with a small "l"?

    "...The Capitalism that you speak of is merely a personal fabrication that serves to the simplify human nature, and the history of human civilization."

    A system of individual rights based on property is a "personal fabrication" that "simplifies... history"? What, like history is really best analyzed in terms of class struggle? Did you get that from Mao's little red book on the "true" cost of labor?

    Help me people, am I feeding a troll here? Or is this guy really a straight up "libertarian" that doesn't understand what economic liberty is?

  • ||

    Mortimer:
    What does a "political tool" like civil disobedience have to do with a philosophy that delineates what responsibilities and duties a government is responsible for. You're talking movement tactics. I'm talking philosophical goals.

    BTW, short of Ghandi's liberation of India (which promptly turned into a disastrous socialist experiment) how did "civil disobedience" help advance civil rights? Did you know that there was a highly successful and growing African-American entrepreneurial class that was growing within the "protected" market of segregation? Much like previous ethnic communities that had to rely on their own people for customers. This class was largely destroyed when de-segregationists exposed it to better funded, white-owned competition when people like King convinced many in the community that the "white man's ice is colder."

    What replaced it?: A clock-punching paycheck culture that became overly reliant on a government that was handing out jobs to make things "fair".

  • Ron C. de Weijze||

    When republicans run the country, and country comes first, then the philosophy would STILL be one of personal conservatism. For freedom of choice will always put the individual before the collective, and the individual will put his country before himself. Both Palin and McCain battle in their own way the politically correct elite that is only trying to keep its seat warm by drumming up electorate that hasn't learned to think and choose for itself.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "callous disregard for others" is what collectivists bleat when they want to justify taking the property of the accomplished for the sake of themselves in the name of the indolent."

    No, it really is just a callous disregard for others.

    You don't give a shit, but you're too cowardly to just put it bluntly. You have to rationalize it as some Randian-esque mission to ignite human potential.

    Let Rome burn as long as you have your gated patch of land, weapons, and cash under the mattress.

    "Are you sure you're a libertarian? Maybe with a small "l"?"

    I've never claimed to be a Libertarian. I'm not a bitter asshole, and I would prefer to keep my dignity intact.

    "What, like history is really best analyzed in terms of class struggle? Did you get that from Mao's little red book on the "true" cost of labor?"

    History is best analyzed from every direction.

    "Help me people, am I feeding a troll here? Or is this guy really a straight up "libertarian" that doesn't understand what economic liberty is?"

    Economic Liberty does not only work in one direction. Businesses are designed to destroy their competition, and if allowed to monopolize whatever area of interest they so choose. They have power that even governments don't have. Unmitigated plundering in the name of the "accomplished" is nothing more than a hideous form of Social Darwinism.

    If we had a strict Libertarian government, the U.S. would spiral into the shitter even quicker that it already is.

    Of course, like the Green Party, and any other fringe movement, you can claim to have the brightest vision for the future because most people are not reckless enough to support it, and put it to the test. In the meantime, you can sit around and tell them how stupid they are for not supporting you. It's a fantasy that does little to make any sense of human nature. Once gain, you just don't give a shit what the fall out is.

    Under your concept of economic Liberty, such results are excusable. It's every man for himself. It's nothing more than a hideous form of Social Darwinism.

    Thankfully, most people are closer to the center on such issues.

    Finally, your veiled suggestion that the Civil Rights movement didn't require civil disobedience (you know, the old the free market would have ended slavery routine) says all I need to know about where you're coming from.

    While I find Ghandi's character over-romanticized, your suggestion that the protests lead to a regrettable fate implies that you're nothing more than a good ol' boy. My God "sScialism" over an occupation? The horror! Anything but Socialism!

    Of course the knight in shining armor known as the free market would have fixed all of that, just like it did to slavery in bizarro world.

    Get out of here with this revisionist, paleo-lib bullshit. I know where this is going. I've been there before.

    In the end, your faith in the "free" market only ends up making you sound as fantastical as those who you claim to oppose.

  • ||

    Mortimer:
    "You don't give a shit, but you're too cowardly to just put it bluntly."

    Ok, short of the noble, individual choice to serve strangers, the country, etc., I don't give enough of a shit about others to let the government pick my family's pocket in the name of people who are asking for a handout.

    --Straight up 'nuff for you? Now admit to me that knowing there is a big fat welfare state assuages your misplaced guilt when you watch that nice flatscreen in a fancy house.

    BTW, the idea that the christian right is ready to cut off hands or heads, stone women for learning to read, or crushing homosexuals under walls is just ludicrous. There is no safer religionist on EARTH to insult than an modern Christian. That is why "artists" that claim to be champions of "freedom" by dropping crucifixes in beakers of piss are just mentally challenged cowards who know better than to flash an innocous cartoon in Khartoum.


    Mortimer:
    "History is best analyzed from every direction."

    Sure it is. Why shouldn't we give the fundamentally delusional view of history that killed 50 million in China and 30 million in Russia and 20 million in Germany or 2 million in Cambodia or 1 million in Latin America another chance? How about we keep giving that pseudo-scientific enviro-religion world-view that permitted 50 million third worlders to die with the resurgence of Malaria, (after DDT had made Malaria as rare as bubonic plague by the mid 1960's), some more time to prove it's bona fides? Let's keep the Polynesian rim in third world poverty in the name of Global Warming so we can keep losing 250K people every time a tsunami happens. Let's ignore the worldview that raised the world's population to 6B without massive starvation, doubled the per-capita caloric intake in the last 200 years, and raised the standard of living exponentially above a standard that was relatively flat since Augustus Caesar was alive. But hey, you're right, they are all equally worthy of our consideration.

    Economic Liberty does not only work in one direction. Businesses are designed to destroy their competition, and if allowed to monopolize whatever area of interest they so choose. They have power that even governments don't have. Unmitigated plundering in the name of the "accomplished" is nothing more than a hideous form of Social Darwinism.

    Economic liberty is a *negative* individual right to the fruits of one's labor. (Nothing in this definition permits violating the rights of others). The extent that restrictions (such as taxation) may be imposed is the extent to which economic liberty has been curbed. If the right comes with preconditions (other than not using one's property to harm another's negative property right) than it's merely a privilege extended by some poo-baa until he/she/it changes their mind (i.e., it is not a right at all.) Your two-way street sounds like a mix of negative and positive rights.

    As for monopolies, name me a naturally occurring monopoly that isn't subject to market pressure. Could MS survive if simply declined to make a new version of Windows for five years? How about the oil industry? Ma Bell? Cable? Airlines? With the exception of temporary "monopolies" that slip away if they ever stop competing, every monopoly that exists was either explicitly created by government (cable) or made into a monopoly by the unforseen consequences of well-intentioned regulation (Ma Bell, Airlines, Oil) -but even these are subject to market forces. Look at modern telecommunications, for-pay television, internet broadband, and soon... Oil.

    Mortimer:
    "You can claim to have the brightest vision for the future because most people are not reckless enough to support it"

    No I don't, but if I did you'd be absolutely right. I vote Republican because I care more about protecting individual liberty where possible than wasting my vote for the meaningless cause of ideological purity. And I've already slaughtered many libertarian sacred cows in my previous post, so we both have some contempt for those weenies who think we should let anybody build a nuke plant.

    "A hideous form of Social Darwinism."
    If individual freedom == social Darwinism than so be it. But isn't the purpose of civilization to protect and advance the species? Isn't society a collective survival strategy based on a semi-consensual social order? Many societies protect the vulnerable by choice. That is NOT a refutation of individual freedom. The most generous society in history (by far) is based upon individuals *choosing* to engage in voluntary, private acts of charity. (e.g. the private donations for the Indonesian tsunami & Katrina dwarfed the amounts handed over by government.

    Mortimer:
    Finally, your veiled suggestion that the Civil Rights movement didn't require civil disobedience (you know, the old the free market would have ended slavery routine) says all I need to know about where you're coming from.

    It does? Slavery in the U.S. was ended by a massive war, which only became politically possible when the economic dependency of the midwest upon the deep south's river system was broken with the construction of the Erie canal in the 1830's. Yes, African Americans would have risen to predominance regardless of what racist whites wanted by means of their economic clout (as every single other despised minority did). -But the civil rights movement hijacked this upwardly mobile trajectory, undermined it, and replaced it with a seductive substitute: good, safe, but financially unrewarding government jobs that created a non-entrepreneurial working class dependent upon their government employer. Many respected black historians have pointed out this unintended consequence.

    I don't fault India with achieving independence. I do think they would have been much better off if Naru hadn't been educated in European schools to value socialism as the next wave of "progress".

    But it doesn't matter. Obviously you're no libertarian and you admit that. I would suggest that this forum is for the discussion of libertarian ideas and politics, so I'm not sure why you're here other than for the social libertarian pet causes of drugs and gay rights, -but whatever and have a good weekend.

  • ||

    Ron:
    Exactly. As much as I was appalled by campaign finance, welfare state amnesty, cap and trade, and other stupid ideas, I am looking forward to a fiscally conservative Republican that walks the walk and promises to veto where possible and embarrass porkmongers whenever anyone will listen. May $3Trillion be the most outrageous budget ever.

  • anonymous coward||

    Mark M., Dan, and "ClassicalLib"UsedtobeLibertarian, take your statist, neo-con bullshit and get lost. You trolls are about as libertarian an Lenin.

    And SIV can do the same, too.

  • anonymous coward||

    What I find really hilarious and ironic is that Mark M. questions Mortimer's libertarianism when he's the furthest thing from a libertarian himself.

  • St. V||

    Could have done worse? Is Lenin running as Veep? Then again, I'm more worried about the statist at the top of the ticket... perhaps that's just me though.

  • St. V||

    Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh though, eh?

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "Ok, short of the noble, individual choice to serve strangers, the country, etc., I don't give enough of a shit about others to let the government pick my family's pocket in the name of people who are asking for a handout."

    Oh, enough with the "theft" angle. Your taxes are taken out of your paycheck before your receive it as an understood aspect of living within the country. I'm all for reducing pork, and not increasing taxes, but the job you chose to do has a wage that is set in light of the government's tax schemes. Do you honestly think your job would pay you the same wage if most taxes were eliminated? No. Like any sensible business, they will pay what the economy, and the public would let them get away with. The idea that if taxes were lowered, or eliminated that you could throw your paycheck on the bed, and wallow in the extra cash is a sexy Libertarian fantasy, but it doesn't logically follow.

    "--Straight up 'nuff for you? Now admit to me that knowing there is a big fat welfare state assuages your misplaced guilt when you watch that nice flatscreen in a fancy house."

    Yes, thank you workers of China!

    "BTW, the idea that the christian right is ready to cut off hands or heads, stone women for learning to read, or crushing homosexuals under walls is just ludicrous. There is no safer religionist on EARTH to insult than an modern Christian. That is why "artists" that claim to be champions of "freedom" by dropping crucifixes in beakers of piss are just mentally challenged cowards who know better than to flash an innocous cartoon in Khartoum."

    Well, that's a strawman if I've ever seen one. However, with the Right Wing's history of abuse, I would claim that it's an ironic assertion.

    "Sure it is. Why shouldn't we give the fundamentally delusional view of history that killed 50 million in China and 30 million in Russia and 20 million in Germany or 2 million in Cambodia or 1 million in Latin America another chance? "

    Another fine strawman. A refutation of your archaic social outlook somehow equates mine with Soviet style Communism?

    "television, internet broadband, and soon... Oil."

    The cable industry is a perfect example of a lack of competition. The market certainly hasn't affected that area of business well. I receive terrible support from Time Warner. I don't know if MS could survive. I'm sure that we would be forced to take whatever we can get if there weren't other options available. All I know is, just like with other social experiments, I certainly wouldn't want to test it.

    "No I don't, but if I did you'd be absolutely right. I vote Republican because I care more about protecting individual liberty where possible than wasting my vote for the meaningless cause of ideological purity. And I've already slaughtered many libertarian sacred cows in my previous post, so we both have some contempt for those weenies who think we should let anybody build a nuke plant."

    Lowering taxes is not the only liberty issue on the table, nor is the stock piling of assault weapons. You seem to think it is. Coincidentally, those two areas of "liberty" seem to coincide with the paleo-lib idea of telling the rest of the world to fuck off while they sit in a bunker, and wait for the Black Helicopters to arrive.

    I would love to know what other area of Liberty Republicans are suppossed to be stalwarts in? Do tell.

    "If individual freedom == social Darwinism than so be it. But isn't the purpose of civilization to protect and advance the species?"

    If it results in infrastructures being reduced to chaos, rampant crime, and businesses gleefully abusing their power by preying on the weak, then that's not protecting and advancing the species. Again, that's a truly naive, and dim view of how human beings evolved, and the reasons that they are engaged in relatively cooperative societies. It doesn't mean that we must indulge a Communist fantasy, but it also doesn't mean the opposite extreme either. What you are promoting is a social experiment that has no significant precedent in human history. I don't want another social experiment that society will take generations to recover from. Fortunately, I know that Americans would never support such a hair-brained scheme.

    Societies will always have social safety nets, and other regulatory principles inherent within them to lessen the chance that those with greater resources cannot dominate, and blow it off as "Too bad, so sad!" Not everyone is poor because they're lazy, and not everyone is wealthy because they're an uber mench. Economic resources are not infinite.

    "It does? Slavery in the U.S. was ended by a massive war, which only became politically possible when the economic dependency of the midwest upon the deep south's river system was broken with the construction of the Erie canal in the 1830's.

    This is the height of cherry picking, and is yet another example of you claiming certainty as to how the struggle would have played out. What a fine luxury.

    I'm sure that if you only read revisionist right wing authors, you can find a justification for any hideous concept. It doesn't make it true. Southern whites were not simply going to give up free agricultural labor in the midst of segregation, and blacks were not going to suddenly become educated entrepreneurs allowed to compete with whites in business. I mean, how fucking dishonest can one person get? It's as if you think slavery was just a fad that society would grow out of. Unbelievable.

    We'll have to disagree, but I'm quite sure that I'm not alone in thinking that you're insane to suggest such a thing. Once again, it's the complete lack of understanding of human nature that leads people to these bizarre conclusions; or maybe it's just willful ignorance.

    "I don't fault India with achieving independence. I do think they would have been much better off if Naru hadn't been educated in European schools to value socialism as the next wave of "progress".

    Look, not every population wants to live like you do. European countries are free countries. They get along fine, and the general public, for the most part, supports their vision of government.

    I'm not interested in mimicking them in every aspect, but I also don't think that the way that many of them govern is necessarily outrageous.

    "But it doesn't matter. Obviously you're no libertarian and you admit that. I would suggest that this forum is for the discussion of libertarian ideas and politics, so I'm not sure why you're here other than for the social libertarian pet causes of drugs and gay rights, -but whatever and have a good weekend."

    Yeah, I'm just some drugged up "faggot" who refuses to believe that the market will effectively protect individual rights, and that civil disobedience is never required to affect change.

    Whatever label places me the furthest from you, I will gladly accept.

  • CLUtbL||

    anonymous coward, get stuffed, jerk. I'm not some ideologue whose idea of political purity is NOT getting anything accomplished with what is available to you.

    You're like some asshole who wants filet mignon, can't afford it and decides he's going to starve himself or drink poison (Obama) since he can't have his ideal.

  • Lee Cruz||

    I'll be writing in Radley Balko from Afghanistan

  • ||

    While I hear much talk of straw men, I don't hear any serious refutation of my points: i. All methods of analyzing history are NOT equal, as demonstrated by the horrific death tolls of the 20th century collectivist movements. ii. It is simply ridiculous to compare loony christian fundamentalists with a dangerous fascist movement that wants to kill as many infidels as possible. iii. winning at the ballot box is a prerequisite for the alteration of policy.

    Other points:
    1. There is nothing "Free" about slave based agricultural labor. Slaves were extremely expensive do to the suspension of the slave trade, (a male in Virginia sold for nearly $2000 in the 1850's) and you had to cloth, feed, and shelter human beings or lose the value of your investment. This is why slavery IS an economically disadvantaged system where individual productivity is important. (wage earners such as paid migrant workers are far more productive because they are compensated for higher output, and the only way to "incentivise" a slave was to beat them harder, which negatively impacts their productivity and risks their health). The south would eventually have abandoned slavery to increase crop yields as the technology became available.

    2. Cherry picking? IT WOULD BE INCONCEIVABLE FOR THE MIDWEST TO POLITICALLY ALIGN ITSELF AGAINST THE SOUTH AND VOTE THE GOP INTO POWER IN 1860 WHEN THE ONLY MEANS OF GETTING CROPS TO THE MARKET WAS TO FLOAT IT ON A BARGE DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI, LOAD IT ON A SHIP IN NEW ORLEANS, AND SEND THE SHIP UP THE ATLANTIC SEABOARD TO NYC. The canals broke that dependency, and the trains (which immediately rendered the canals obsolete) mirrored the same paths cut for the canals. (Hence the "Erie RR") This all occurred between 1820-1840's.

    2. The idea that lower taxation would not produce an upward pressure on wages is just supply & demand 101. If the FICA tax were doubled from 15.3 to 30.6% then workers would be looking at a pay cut because the government does not provide the employer the additional funds to pay the employers share of the tax or the 15.3% higher payroll. Budgets are based on what an employer can afford, so lowering taxes permits more hiring or higher wages, and since this means that other employers can hire more or pay more, the labor market tightens (less workers are available) and wages go up.

    3. Cable is the classic example of a government created monopoly. Are you not aware that cable companies negotiate with the local municipality for a "franchise" which grants them an EXCLUSIVE right to provide cable services in that area? Until Satellite dish & Fiber provided market alternatives, (which is dependent on rollout availabilty) you are stuck with whatever they offer in your area and they don't have to compete, so why should they do anything more than meet the bare minimum standards to meet the terms of the franchise?

    "I would love to know what other area of Liberty Republicans are suppossed to be stalwarts in? Do tell."
    4. How about the prevention of socialist programs that are inherently economically inefficient and the antithesis of economic & perdsonal liberty? (This is 20x more important than taxes or guns). Example: Nationalized health care means either non-competition (which leads to increased costs and/or rationing) or govenrment subsidized "competition", which leads to increased costs and restricted choice associated with the fact that any would be solution has to get the approval of a government gate-keeper (which rarely has an incentive to approve what will amount to an increase in government costs) to be viable in the market.

    Putting aside the Dem's total abrogation of responsibility on national security, I vote republican to vote against these programs, which expand the power of the state at the expense of personal choice.

    examples:
    1. Social Security is an unfunded, pay as you go pyramid scheme that will endanger your retirement and restrict your options for making alternative arrangements.
    2. Medicare is a ballooning socialized medicine program that will require Trillions of taxation dollars to pay for. The program ALREADY spends an average of $27K PER YEAR ON EACH AND EVERY SENIOR. (A group which is expanding rapidly in the next 20 years.)
    3. Public schools spend significantly more per student than private schools (NJ & NY spend between $18-20K per student per year) and a tremendous portion of this goes to the administration, not textbooks, classrooms, or teacher salaries. So while the cost of education has easily outstripped inflation since the 1960's, the results (literacy, graduation rates) have fallen remarkable in the same time period. Since you must pay for public schools via property taxes, (which are exorbitant in many parts of the country) you have less to spend on private education, so private education gets crowded out and must be more expensive to be viable with a smaller pool of potential "customers" who can afford it.
    4. adopting a "single payer" health care system like those in the UK and Canada would result in limited budgets determined by act of Congress even as the cost of healthcare would go up due to demographics. (more elderly living longer) This would result in artificial restraints that require rationing of some kind. In Canada, this means less money for expensive CT machines, (unlike their ubiquity in the United States based on a profit model) which means being wait listed for several months to get a CT scan if you have a "non-critical" issue (i.e., you don't have blood pouring out of you). In the UK, this means that your dialysis treatment gets cut off once you reach 60. Kidney disease is a death sentence in the UK. I cannot think of a more disturbing restriction on freedom than the right to pay for any medical treatment when I need it.

    I think it's fine that you support libertarian social issues, but I think economic liberty is far more important for the reasons I stated. I don't see a lot of Libertarians in the LP. That was my original point.

  • ||

    Anonymous coward's arguments are too forceful and convincing to ignore. I must give up writing now that some phony libertarian hack has dropped the dreaded "N" (neocon) word on me. Coward: you are what has rendered the LP as inconsequential as this discussion.

  • ||

    i gotta disagree with this point

    "Nullification is an idea abhorred by tough-on-crime conservatives."

    not really. nullification is an idea abhorred by people who tend to overemphasize the importance of the "elites" (to use an overused word) in the judicial system vs. the commons, which is represented by the jury.

    judges and legislators are professionals, and part of the legal elite. many liberals as well prefer to defer to them vs. the "dumb american idiots" that make up juries.

    when a judge overturns a law, that's "part of the process", but when a jury nullifies, that's a threat to the legal elites, SPECIFICALLY lawyers, and certainly lawyers tend to lean left not right.

    everybody hates the result of nullification when they disagree with the particular case, and loves the concept, when they like the result.

    as a anti-drug war cop myself, i'm a big fan of balko, and a big supporter of jury nullification. the jury is the ULTIMATE arbiter of "truth"/fact in any jury trial, and the judge is supposed to be the finder of law. however, jury nullification makes juries the ultimate arbiter of law as well, because no matter what the law SAYS, a jury can rule against the law, if the law is (to quote...) "an ass".

    and there is far more historical support, as well as structural support (it's built into the system implicitly) for juries to nullify bad law than there is for the all too common process of (so called) judicial activism, wherein a judge rewrites laws he disagree with, or invents non-existent rights out of whole cloth because of what they wish the constitution said vs. what it actually says.

  • Capt. Obvious||

    The only way to get the Republican Party to return to abandon the Neo-Cons and return to their roots, is for them to lose when they run a big government neo-con. McCain is a big government neo-con and Palin is his puppet. She is to new, inexperienced and previously unheard of for her to be otherwise. She will toe the neo-con line and government power and spending will expand under her VP term, and the republican party will see that it has won 12 years of elections by touting big government and concentrated executive power, and that is what they will continue to do. The ONLY hope libertarians have is for the Neo-Con Republicans to lose, and lose badly.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    Return to what roots? What precedent do Republicans have of being intensely interested in protecting all Constitutional rights?

    Neo Cons? You are aware that the primary support system for Republicans is the religious right, don't you? It's been that way from the beginning. The religious right has little interest in strict Constitutional rights outside of gun rights, and anything remotely associated with religious expression.

  • Famous Mortimer||

    "It is simply ridiculous to compare loony christian fundamentalists with a dangerous fascist movement that wants to kill as many infidels as possible. iii. winning at the ballot box is a prerequisite for the alteration of policy."

    Who's comparing? Again, you employ a strawman to fill space.

    "There is nothing "Free" about slave based agricultural labor. Slaves were extremely expensive do to the suspension of the slave trade, (a male in Virginia sold for nearly $2000 in the 1850's) and you had to cloth, feed, and shelter human beings or lose the value of your investment. This is why slavery IS an economically disadvantaged system where individual productivity is important. (wage earners such as paid migrant workers are far more productive because they are compensated for higher output, and the only way to "incentivise" a slave was to beat them harder, which negatively impacts their productivity and risks their health). The south would eventually have abandoned slavery to increase crop yields as the technology became available."

    You've essentially equated the cost of keeping slaves, with the cost of keeping cattle. You also seem to think that slaves were taken great care of. There are greater costs to dealing with a worker with rights who may seek a set number hours, require health care, worker's compensation, paid vacation, or any other requirement laid out as a contractual agreement between employer and employee. Dictating the terms of your employee's entire life so that they can work for you is the very definition of free (slave) labor. You're not paying them a wage, you're spending money on sheltering them so you can force them to work for you. Your inability to form appropriate analogies is incredible.

    The South would have eventually abandoned slavery? Revising the past with such certainty is a luxury that you now have. In the meantime, the slaves would have been forced to wait for this cultural shift that you seem to think was a sure thing. You do realize that we are speaking of human beings here, and not some promise of new technology.

    "2. The idea that lower taxation would not produce an upward pressure on wages is just supply & demand 101. If the FICA tax were doubled from 15.3 to 30.6% then workers would be looking at a pay cut because the government does not provide the employer the additional funds to pay the employers share of the tax or the 15.3% higher payroll. Budgets are based on what an employer can afford, so lowering taxes permits more hiring or higher wages, and since this means that other employers can hire more or pay more, the labor market tightens (less workers are available) and wages go up."

    What an employer can afford is based on the set standard of their profit margins. If an employer can afford to pay people less to its employees, and create a larger profit margin, then it will. The faith that you place in business is as comical, and startling as the faith that a leftist might place in the state.

    "3. Cable is the classic example of a government created monopoly. Are you not aware that cable companies negotiate with the local municipality for a "franchise" which grants them an EXCLUSIVE right to provide cable services in that area? Until Satellite dish & Fiber provided market alternatives, (which is dependent on rollout availabilty) you are stuck with whatever they offer in your area and they don't have to compete, so why should they do anything more than meet the bare minimum standards to meet the terms of the franchise?"

    This is irrelevant to the discussion. Monopolies, whether created by the government, or by a ruthless company offer the same results. I never stated that the government should be the sole source of commerce. You asked whether or not MS could survive as a monopoly by making people wait for desired changes in service. I offered the example of a monopoly creating poor service because they don't have to care enough to change significantly. The government is big business, and business within the free market acts similarly to big government when monopolies are formed.

    People like you don't care about those similarities because your taxes aren't involved, or you're a business that wants to be able to plunder the public without regulation.

    "4. How about the prevention of socialist programs that are inherently economically inefficient and the antithesis of economic & perdsonal liberty? (This is 20x more important than taxes or guns). "

    How does this response constitute other examples that I requested? It's the same old "taxes, taxes, taxes" mantra that I've already addressed, and you continue to reinforce it in each and every reply.

    Social programs are the antithesis of personal liberty? No, they're merely an attempt to help people who would otherwise suffer from a lack of resources. You seem to be applying your own deifnition to "Liberty." Taxation alone does not erase personal liberty. You're opinion that it is 20x (Your ass seems to be a prime supplier of statistics) more important, is just that. I certainly don't feel that it is 20x more important, and the general public doesn't seem to think so either.

    "Example: Nationalized health care means either non-competition (which leads to increased costs and/or rationing) or govenrment subsidized "competition", which leads to increased costs and restricted choice associated with the fact that any would be solution has to get the approval of a government gate-keeper (which rarely has an incentive to approve what will amount to an increase in government costs) to be viable in the market."

    Where did I argue for National Health Care? I think the government should play a role in health care, but I don't think that they should be the prime supplier of health care. I'm all for competition in health care, and education. I simply don't feel that the markets can effectively offer health care to everyone as has obvious by our current health care situation. Of course, you don't believe that everyone has a right to health care. Tough shit, right?

    "Putting aside the Dem's total abrogation of responsibility on national security, I vote republican to vote against these programs, which expand the power of the state at the expense of personal choice."

    Abrogation of responsibility? They haven't even been in power. The war in Iraq has nothing to do with national security, nor has Obama made any suggestion that he is not concerned about Nationl Security. If anything Republicans have held a child-like understanding of human nature, and diplomacy that has made the country less safe. To equate Obama's call for a better dialogue with abandoning any responsibility in regards to National Security suggests that you'll find any reason to vote Republican.

    "1. Social Security is an unfunded, pay as you go pyramid scheme that will endanger your retirement and restrict your options for making alternative arrangements."

    It does no such thing. These arguments regarding S.S. have been made by Reoublicans for quite some time, and it's a classic scare tactic. If you can't get the public to agree that they shouldn't give a shit about other people, then scare them into believing that the actual system will ruin everyone's retirement.

    If you want to make alternative arrangements, then invest money. However, suggesting that the only alternative is playing the casion (the stock market) is even more ridiculous. That's not ensuring that S.S. will be available to everyone. But again, you don't care if it's available to everyone, you just want the tax burden erased for YOUR benefit.

    "I think it's fine that you support libertarian social issues, but I think economic liberty is far more important for the reasons I stated. I don't see a lot of Libertarians in the LP. That was my original point."

    The reasons that you stated have to do with your own financial situation, which is not relevant to everyone.

  • ||

    Keep on him Mortimer!

    3. Public schools spend significantly more per student than private schools...

    Yes, public schools spend more than small, illiberal, "bible-believing" schools that constitute the vast majority of "private schools". The elite private schools (which is what people typically think of when "private schools" are mentioned) are far fewer and spend much more. Much, much more.

    So if you think memorizing bible passages and learning to do as you are told (exactly as you are told) constitute an adequate education for a free people who are expected to think for themselves, then, sure, you can get away with paying a lot less in property taxes.

    Of course, you can kiss liberty goodbye.

  • ||

    this is what libertarianism is?
    are you people serious?

    palin is a joke, and she's an autocrat, to boot.

    oh, and support for whacko fringe movements and book banning in alaska doesn't make you a libertarian. maybe a crypto-fascist kleptocrat, but that's about it.

  • CLUtbL||

    When I hear crypto-fascist, I know I'm talking to a leftist. How the hell did it come to this on REason? We have someone cheering on a guy who is ANTI-ECONOMIC LIBERTY!!

    WTF?!

  • ||

    So, if anybody is still on this thread, here's where my "straw man arguments" (by which we mean the refutation of mortimor's socialist cheerleading) ended up:

    "You've essentially equated the cost of keeping slaves, with the cost of keeping cattle. You also seem to think that slaves were taken great care of."

    No shit. Farmers take pretty good care of their extremely expensive cattle too. I guess Mortimer would have problems understanding economics in any century.


    "There are greater costs to dealing with a worker with rights... Dictating the terms of your employee's entire life so that they can work for you is the very definition of free (slave) labor. ...you're spending money on sheltering them so you can force them to work for you."

    The beatings will continue until productivity soars! Good luck with that. It is easy to get more productivity out of a wage earner: Treat them nice or pay them more. Slavery is the army game: The Sgt. tries to work the Pvt. as hard as possible, and the Pvt. tries to look busy and do as little as possible. Wage based economies are based on positive incentives, and slave based economies are based on negative ones. This is why wage based economies replaced slave based ones even where the government doesn't give a crap about exploitation and there is no expensive safety net. (See Asian Tigers)

    "we are speaking of human beings here, and not some promise of new technology."

    So, I guess the point that the free market would have eventually ended slavery isn't such bullshit after all.

    My original point was that the civil rights movement undermined it's own goals by short-circuiting the same route to prosperity that virtually every other hated minority group took. [self reliance]

    "If an employer can afford to pay people less to its employees, and create a larger profit margin, then it will."

    Yes, because that's is what they are worth. But it must pay them what they are worth or lose them to the competition.

    "The faith that you place in business is ...comical"
    Yes, it's as silly as believing in an "invisible hand".

    "3. Cable is the classic example of a government created monopoly. Are you not aware that cable companies negotiate with the local municipality for a "franchise" which grants them an EXCLUSIVE right to provide cable services in that area? Until Satellite dish & Fiber provided market alternatives, (which is dependent on rollout availabilty) you are stuck with whatever they offer in your area and they don't have to compete, so why should they do anything more than meet the bare minimum standards to meet the terms of the franchise?"

    "You asked whether or not MS could survive as a monopoly by making people wait for desired changes in service. I offered the example of a monopoly creating poor service because they don't have to care enough to change significantly."

    I'll answer for you. No, there are no naturally occurring, permanent monopolies. Microsoft must strive to convince it's current customers that desired changes are coming, because their customers have alternatives. Cable's government franchise meant customers had no real alternatives until very recently.

    "[the prevention of socialist programs] ...It's the same old "taxes, taxes, taxes""

    I guess you missed the part about not getting health care because of rationing. That's not a tax issue.

    "Social programs are ...merely an attempt to help people who would otherwise suffer from a lack of resources."
    So is bank robbery. Why don't just cut out the middleman, give the poor guns and make them work for their benefits?

    "the general public doesn't seem to think so either"
    The lack of popularity of libertarian ideas is irrelevant to their value, but it does point to the feckless nature of a party that can't appeal to a broader audience.

    "I ...don't feel that the markets can effectively offer health care to everyone."

    Neither can government programs. The difference is that private programs allow the individual to determine the level of coverage, and in government programs it's a bureaucrat and a rulebook.

    "Of course, you don't believe that everyone has a right to health care. Tough shit, right?"

    You catch on fast. But neither do the purveyors of nationalized health care. A 60 year old who needs dialysis shouldn't feel better as they wheel him to the door just because they didn't say "tough shit" on the way out.

    "They [Dems] haven't even been in power."
    Somebody better tell the most ethical congress in history.

    "If anything Republicans have held a child-like understanding of human nature"
    Yes, they understand that bullies exist and must be confronted.

    "[Social Security is an unfunded, pay as you go pyramid scheme] ...These arguments regarding S.S. have been made by Republicans for quite some time...then scare them into believing that the actual system will ruin everyone's retirement."

    It is really uncontroversial that pyramid schemes fail catastrophically. When SS was instituted, there were 40 workers for every recipient. It is currently 3 for every recipient and it will be 2 for every one within 10 years. Unless a lot more workers are added or recipients are reduced, you will achieve the failure point of a pyramid scheme: When there aren't enough new suckers to offset the old ones.

    "If you want to make alternative arrangements, then invest money."
    Yes, make us work harder just to get keep from starving in retirement. Ummmm- smells like freedom.

    "...suggesting that the only alternative is playing the casion (the stock market) is even more ridiculous"

    You mean the investment that's averaged a 9% annual return through 1 Great Depression and 6 recessions?

    "That's not ensuring that S.S. will be available to everyone."
    Much like health coverage, the government can't ensure that SS will be available to everyone either.

    Alan | September 14, 2008, 10:09pm | #
    "[Public schools spend significantly more per student than private schools...] Yes, than ...small, illiberal, "bible-believing" schools that constitute the vast majority of "private schools".

    Moron: Have you ever heard of the Roman Catholic Church? It runs the vast majority of private schools, they spend significantly less than the public schools in their neighborhood, and the critical thinking taught at a typical RC school is vastly superior to the glorified "who you know" + 3R's education that is the reason d'etre for most "elite" private schools.

    "The elite private schools (which is what people typically think of when "private schools"

    Ridiculous. Unless by most people you mean clueless, east coast bubble dwelling snobs who would rather believe that a decent education is extremely expensive so they feel less responsible for their unthinking political support of a completely corrupt and disfunctional public school system that they would NEVER subject their own kids to.

    [Now let's wait for the argument as to why Barack and Michelle deserve to send their kids to private school because they support "better" (i.e., more squandered money) public education]

    "So if you think memorizing bible passages and learning to do as you are told (exactly as you are told) constitute an adequate education for a free people who are expected to think for themselves, then, sure, you can get away with paying a lot less in property taxes."

    Yes, repeating an obviously idiotic stereotype to justify the ABYSMAL failure of the public schools is the hallmark of a well "educated", free thinking man like Alan. Which public school did you graduate from?

    The New LP: We like Social Security, Socialized Medicine, and Government Schools. I rest my case. No wonder Ron Paul refused to endorse a pompous phony like Bob Barr.

    P.S:
    Hey, If you guys want to join a party that supports all those programs you like, likes pot smoking, and actually has won an election or two then why don't you check out these guys...
    http://www.democrats.org/

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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