Progressive Insurance

Why libertarianism matters more than ever in Obama's America

Does the election of Barack Obama represent the triumph of progressivism and the end of libertarianism? Many on the left seem to think so. Obama's victory, argued blogger Matthew Yglesias, represents a "resounding victory for progressive ideals." The "old assumptions of free-market fundamentalism," declared The New Yorker's George Packer, "have, like a charlatan's incantations, failed to work."

But what the current vogue for the term progressive fails to acknowledge is that the original progressives embraced the worst abuses of state power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Libertarians, by contrast, stood as consistent defenders of individual liberty in all spheres of human life.

Consider the Jim Crow South. As historian David Southern has written, disfranchisement, segregation, race baiting, and lynching all "went hand-in-hand with the most advanced forms of southern progressivism." Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court decision that enshrined the doctrine of "separate but equal" and serves as perhaps the most potent symbol of the Jim Crow regime, dealt with a Louisiana law forbidding railroads from selling first-class tickets to black customers. That's not the free market making life worse. It's the government.

Moreover, as economist Tim Leonard points out, progressives believed in a "powerful, centralized state, conceiving of government as the best means for promoting the social good," a belief that directly contributed to the widespread progressive support for eugenics, racial collectivism, and various coercive "reforms." Progressive darling Theodore Roosevelt, for instance, held notoriously racist and imperialist views, including the notion of "race suicide," which held that the white race faced the risk of being out bred by its "little brown brothers." He also believed that the 15th Amendment should never have been ratified since the black race, in his words, was "two hundred thousand years behind" the white.

In opposition to all that stood libertarians like Moorfield Storey, the great lawyer and activist who helped found both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Anti-Imperialist League. A proponent of the gold standard and laissez-faire economics, Storey argued and won the NAACP's first victory before the Supreme Court, a 1917 decision that relied on a defense of property rights to squash a residential segregation law.

The New Deal-era saw some heroic resistors as well. Among them was Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland, one of the "Four Horsemen of Reaction" (along with Justices James McReynolds, Pierce Butler, and Wiliam Van Devanter), so named for reliably voting against New Deal regulations. An advocate of property rights and liberty of contract, Sutherland was also an outspoken defender of women's rights who, as a U.S. Senator from Utah, introduced legislation that became the 19th Amendment.

In his majority opinion in Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923), one of the precedents later overturned by the New Deal Court, Sutherland struck down Washington, D.C.'s minimum wage law for women, arguing that it violated their liberty of contract under the 14th Amendment. As historian Jim Powell observed, this law had thrown numerous women out of work, including elevator operator Willie Lyons, one of the figures in the case, who was promptly fired and replaced by a man willing to work at her old wage. In his majority opinion, Sutherland denounced the law for encouraging such perverse consequences. "Surely the good of society as a whole," Sutherland wrote, "cannot be better served than by the preservation against arbitrary restraint of the liberties of its constituent members."

Sutherland's most famous vote, however, arguably came without comment in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, the 1935 decision that struck down the National Recovery Administration (NRA), which at that point was the centerpiece of the New Deal. Specifically, NRA price controls and other "codes of fair competition" had made it illegal for the Schechter brothers, who maintained a small Kosher slaughterhouse in New York, to set their own prices and let their customers pick out their own chickens. (Similarly, dry cleaner Jacob Maged would spend three months in jail in 1934 for charging 35 cents to press a suit, rather than the NRA-mandated 40 cents.)

"Extraordinary conditions may call for extraordinary remedies," Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes held for the unanimous Court. "But the argument necessarily stops short of an attempt to justify action which lies outside the sphere of constitutional authority. Extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional powers." The NRA was finished.

But Roosevelt, who denounced the ruling for its "horse and buggy definition of interstate commerce," would have the last laugh. Two years later (two months after FDR threatened to "pack" it with more sympathetic justices, in fact) the Court overruled Sutherland's Adkins decision to uphold another minimum wage law for women, arguing this time that the state had a duty to "preserve the strength and vigor of the race" by protecting current and future mothers—a line that hasn't exactly sat well with feminist legal scholars. As historian William E. Leuchtenburg put it, "the Court was now stating that local and national governments had a whole range of powers that this same tribunal had been saying for the past two years that these governments did not have."

From that point on, the Supreme Court proved ready and willing to defer to FDR's vision for the country. Which might sound great to today's progressives, until they recall that FDR ordered the wartime internment of Japanese Americans, an executive action that the pliant Supreme Court upheld in Korematsu v. United States (1944). Sutherland, who died in 1942, at least did what he could to oppose the Rooseveltian juggernaut.

Indeed, as Sutherland and Storey's careers demonstrate, libertarian ideas have long served as a crucial check against the illiberal impulses of progressive majorities. The Jacob Weisbergs of the world notwithstanding, libertarianism matters now more than ever.

Damon W. Root is an associate editor of reason.

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

  • Seward||

  • ||

    Start mattering now, dudes, before it's too late:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/hopeful-signs-on-health-care/

    "But now Max Baucus - Max Baucus! - is leading the charge on a health care plan that, at least at first read, is more like Hillary Clinton's than Barack Obama's; that is, it looks like an attempt at full universality. (The word I hear, by the way, is that Obama's opposition to mandates was tactical politics, not conviction - so he may well be prepared to do the right thing now that the election is won.)"

  • ||

    I see no silver lining. We are doomed and that's all there is to it. Sure libertarianism matters more now than ever. It matters because we're all about to get fucked by the progressives. And when we're all good and fucked, the country will simply turn towards whatever fucking fuckers are calling themselves conservatives, who will by then be back to preaching the libertarian line so they can fuck us again once in power. We're still living with the shackles of the New Deal and Great society, even if they've been loosened a bit. But we haven't even begun to feel the pain of the coming Obamanation.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    The recent market disasters, combined with Obama's election, seems to have driven Reason mad. How about investigating ways to preserve free markets in light of the recent two-by-four upside the head evidence that they can fail in a catastrophic manner instead of desperately blackguarding the New Deal, which, as I recall, ended about 70 years ago?

    I half-expect to see Reason to start running articles explaining that you don't have to pay taxes because script that isn't convertible into gold isn't "currency" and thus no one in the U.S. has any income, or that the War Between the States was about states' rights rather than slavery and that the South had a right to secede.* Sad, sad, sad.

    *And that the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments aren't part of the Constitution because they weren't approved by three-fourths of the states.

  • kinnath||

    How about investigating ways to preserve free markets in light of the recent two-by-four upside the head evidence that they can fail in a catastrophic manner . . .

    The recent failing are in no way related to "free markets", because the current system in the US is highly regulated where the regulations have been scripted by the highest bidder.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Wasn't Vanneman blathering earlier about how much better off we are now than before the death of disco?
    Oh, wait. That was me.

  • ||

    How about investigating ways to preserve free markets in light of the recent two-by-four upside the head evidence that they can fail in a catastrophic manner instead of desperately blackguarding the New Deal, which, as I recall, ended about 70 years ago? [italics added]



    NEW DEAL LEGISLATION REPEALED!

    Funny, I missed that headline. Let me go check a pay-stub. ... Nope, FICA still takes out a hunk of cash every week.

  • ||

    How about investigating ways to preserve free markets in light of the recent two-by-four upside the head evidence that they can fail in a catastrophic manner

    Vanneman, you should really stick to reviewing Free Willy if you think the markets are actually free.

  • BDB||

    Alan wants this to become LewRockwell.com?

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    The recent market disasters, combined with Obama's election, seems to have driven Reason mad. How about investigating ways to preserve free markets in light of the recent two-by-four upside the head evidence that they can fail in a catastrophic manner . . .

    The recent failing are in no way related to "free markets", because the current system in the US is highly regulated where the regulations have been scripted by the highest bidder.

    Alan Vanneman,
    Before accusing people of madness, please listen to them carefully. Reason has been saying just that all along.

  • ||

    Er, Alan, you might have noticed that the recent failures happened with all New Deal policies in place, and that the proposed solutions look an awful lot like a New New Deal. I think its perfectly relevant to examine whether the Old New Deal actually helped with the financial crisis of the '30s, in evaluating whether the New New Deal will help with the financial crisis of the '00s.

    I wouldn't confuse the need for libertarianism more than ever with the idea that it will matter more than ever. I suspect it will matter not at all, in the sense of making a difference in our current lunge toward a bigger, more intrusive state.

  • ||

    I agree with Alan.

    Obama is no FDR. If you actually listen to him, the most striking thing about him, beyond all of the bullshit, is the befundled perplexity about the economy. He doesn't know what to do. He doesn't have a plan beyond giving away goodies to his supporters, which isn't a plan. He can't come up with a new deal where the government tells people what chickens they could buy. The country would revolt.

    The conservative doomsayers all pointed to how Obama could do all this crazy stuff because unlike FDR, there already is a big government in place for him to start making mischief. Actually, the opposite is true. The big government hems in Obama's options. When FDR took over none of this stuff had ever been tried. There was tons places to go and new programs to try. Now, the government is 20% of the economy and is doing nearly everything you can imagine. All of the obvious sollutions have been tried before and failed or already are being tried.

    The best thing Libertarians can do is to let Obama flail around and keep arguing for the free market.

  • ||

    Should be: all New Deal policies (except Glass-Steagall) in place.

  • ||

    John, I have to disagree:

    All of the obvious sollutions have been tried before and failed or already are being tried.

    That is no bar to saying that we just need to do them more and bigger. In fact, that is the traditional response to a failed government program of any kind.

  • alan||

    R C Dean | November 12, 2008, 3:47pm | #
    John, I have to disagree:

    All of the obvious sollutions have been tried before and failed or already are being tried.

    That is no bar to saying that we just need to do them more and bigger. In fact, that is the traditional response to a failed government program of any kind.


    In fact, as insane as it is on the face of it, Krugman has made the argument recently that the New Deal failed because it did not go far enough.

  • ||

    Obama is no FDR

    For the sake of my Japanese-American friends, I certainly hope not.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Krugman has made the argument recently that the New Deal failed because it did not go far enough.

    Krugman is trying like hell to be a latter-day Keynes. He'll say anything that promotes the concentration of power, no matter how asinine it is.

    -jcr

  • ||

    "That is no bar to saying that we just need to do them more and bigger. In fact, that is the traditional response to a failed government program of any kind."

    But they can only get so big. At some point you just can't pay for them anymore. We are seeing that right now with the bailouts. We are going to bailout a few industries and then quickly run out of money and get out of the bailout business.

    As far as regulations go, what exactly could we pass short of mandatory ritualized suicide for failed exectutives that would be worse than SARBOX? Further, many of the really strong regulatory controls, things like carbon controls and the like, even their proponents admit will cost a lot of money to impliment. Those types of things are luxuries of a growing economy, not what you can do during a recession.

    You can hand out welfare to the unemployed, but we already have a pretty generous welfare state. If you get past the nuts and look at the serious people in the Democratic Party, I don't think they know what to do now either. They know they can't raise taxes or impliment a bunch of crazy enviro regulations during a recession. They also know we are at war and running a huge deficit. Their options are very limited. Good luck explaining that to their wacky supporters, but that is reality. They are in a hell of a bind.

  • alan||

    Krugman is trying like hell to be a latter-day Keynes. He'll say anything that promotes the concentration of power, no matter how asinine it is.

    -jcr


    Which begs the question of how far the plump little butterball wants to take the US economy in a state directed direction. Would pre-deregulation India suffice?

  • ||

    RCD, every govt program is both enough of a success to show the govt deserves more money and power, and enough of a failure to show the govt needs more money and power.

  • John McCain||

    Obama is no FDR

    Senator, I served with FDR, I knew FDR, FDR was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no FDR.

  • ||

    "Would pre-deregulation India suffice?"

    That is about what it would take. Good luck winning elections after you do that. Most people are not old enough to remember how bad the 1970s really were. Hell, Reason is always waxing poetic about how great it was and how Ford was an under rated President. The 70s were terrible. The best way to turn people against big government is to give them a dose of it, a real dose, nut just a buch of pork spending and defense bills.

  • Andy||

    The only way I see libertarianism mattering is how it can now test the conviction of liberals who screamed about torture, wars of choice, executive power, on and on. Their guy is in the White House, will they keep the same views?

    Obviously the conservatives failed this test, if libertarians push their way (back) into the GOP and actually keep some influence, that would also give them relevence.

  • ||

    Would pre-deregulation India suffice?

    For Krugman? I think he wouldn't be happy until we were living like Cubans and listening to Obama lectures for five hours a day.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Ford was an under rated President

    Ah, those were the days. Remember how inflation just went away because we all put on "WIN" buttons?

    It wasn't until many years later that I realized just how much of a mediocrity Jerry Ford really was.

    -jcr

  • ||

    We are going to bailout a few industries and then quickly run out of money and get out of the bailout business.

    Well, we've long since run out of money, but the feds are still in the bailout business. The question is just how much longer the freshly inflated dollars will be of any use to the bailout recipients.

    -jcr

  • kinnath||

    There was a great political analysis on a comedy/variety show back then that explained how we nominate candidates for president.

    The analyst started with a blank sheet of paper then wrote down the population of the US. He then proceeded to subtract the number of women, blacks, latinos, etc, etc, etc.

    The conclusion was you get down to two white men: a peanut farmer and a guy the used to play football without a helmet.

  • ||

    Presidents in my lifetime performances in office.

    1) Eisenhower
    6) Kennedy
    8) LBJ
    9) Nixon
    4) Ford
    7) Carter
    2) (tie) Reagan
    5) Bush I
    2) (tie) Clinton
    10) Bush II

    Maybe I should swap Kennedy and Bush I. Either way, Ford stacks up fairly well among the competition.

  • BDB||

    It is hard to judge Kennedy since he was in such a short time, but I mostly agree with your rankings J Sub.

    It is sad that Clinton and Reagan are tied for second.

  • BDB||

    John--

    The best strategy for him is to do little stuff that costs little or no money and wait out the recession.

  • ||

    J Sub D,

    Kennedy came the closest to getting the country in World War III. His attorney general also routinely used FBI wiretaps against political opponents. He was embarassed by the March on Washington and did little to actually help the civil rights movement.

    You bitch and moan about Bush, and then you put Kennedy who did things Bush never dreamed of doing number 2?

    You put LBJ and Nixon above Reagan? LBJ and Nixon both used the national security and intelligence communities for political purposes and actively spied and tried to blackmail their political opponents.

    Do you give a shit about civil liberties or just like to bitch about whoever is in office? No one who cares anything about the abuse of the power of the Presidency could rank Kennedy, LBJ and Nixon that high on any list.

  • kinnath\'s dad||

    Nixon, the only man that when talking out of both sides of his mouth was lieing out of both sides of his mouth.

  • ||

    After all the whining you have done over the last few years J Sub D, you should be ashamed of yourself for not rating LBJ and Nixon lower. Read the history books for God's sake. Lying us into a war? Ever hear of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident? It was totally fake and made up by Johnson to get us into Vietnam. Oh by the way 50+ thousand Americans died in Vietnam. It was Iraq times 10.

    Do you hold Democrats accountable for anything?

  • BDB||

    John--

    The order he has them placed in from top to bottom is chronological. The numbers next to him are the ratings. Eisenhower is number 1, Clinton and Reagan tied for second, etc.

  • BDB||

    Numbers. Look at the numbers next to their names.

  • Hogan||

    john - i think he listed them in chronological order and then gave numbers next to them for the rankings. i pretty much agree, though i think i would shuffle them around a little at the bottom.

  • ||

    I take that back. You put them in chronological order. i thought you had Kennedy and LBJ two and three.

  • BDB||

    Carter, while sucking on a lot of things, did roll back the Johnson/Nixon abuses if nothing else.

  • kinnath||

    Actual lede from Time magazine during the Carter years:

    More Mush from the Wimp

  • ||

    J Sub D,

    You are idiot if you would not put Nixon last. He abused the Intel and LE communities in ways Bush never dreamed of. He also instituted wage and price controls and created the EPA. He was big government personified in a much more fundemental way than Bush. He also abused the governmental powers in much more profound and dangerous ways than Bush ever did. Show me where Bush ever used the CIA to gather information on Democrats in hopes of black mailing them, and then maybe I will agree with you.

    As I explained above, LBJ and Kennedy were much worse on civil liberties than Bush. They also created the great society and were just as bad or worse about spending. They got us into Vietnam and Kennedy almost destroyed the world during the Cuban missile crisis.

    You only think Bush is 10 because you don't fully understand what Nixon, LBJ and Kennedy actually did.

  • ||

    One other thing J Sub D,

    Before you start whining about GUITMO and water boarding, go back and read about US SOGs in Vietnam and how they treated detainees and how they fought over there. Bush really has played by the Marquis of Queensberry Rules compared to past wars.

  • BDB||

    Is Bush the next Harry Truman, John?

  • kinnath||

    I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Nixon because he pulled out of Vietnam when I was 17. However, it is a very, very small spot.

  • ||

    "Is Bush the next Harry Truman, John?"

    Domesticlly no. But as far as foreign policy, he will be rehabilitated to a large degree as the Dems find that they have to do many of the same things he has done and continue many of his policies. Mark my words in two three years Democrats will be saying with a straight face "no one ever said Bush wasn't good on the war on terror."

  • Pac||

    It sounds like Reason is jumping on the Republican bandwagon in terms of calling Obama a socialist. I do expect to see new regulations and a strengthening of new deal safety nets with Obama, maybe even bailouts for the debt strapped working poor to middle class. Hell, i think he may succeed in passing some form of universal healthcare. In essence, i expect him to head eurowards in regards to social policy.

    Sadly, i can't hyped up scared or mad by this.

    Why?

    American Express became a bank this week, or was it last week. This type of corporatist garbage, regulations controlled by and for corporations, and now with the bailouts is what has been passing for free markets for quite some time.

    To cry about "socialist Obama", and the unholiest of nightmares....GASP...European style healthcare, sounds pathetic, and a bit disingenuous.

    Oh i forgot, Reason doesn't think anything is wrong with the economy, we're all whiners.

  • BDB||

    "Oh i forgot, Reason doesn't think anything is wrong with the economy, we're all whiners."

    I wouldn't call us "whiners" but saying this is the worst crisis since 1932 is ridiculous hyperbole. I'm really sick of hearing that. This is like 1991, not 1933 or even 1982.

  • kinnath||

    Pac, get a life

  • kinnath||

    Ah the Carter Years. I have fond memories . . .

    10% inflation, 10% unemployment, 12% mortage interest rates, and Dan Akroyd talking down a drug overdose victim . . . .

  • Pac||

    Kinnath, you first

  • kinnath||

    Kinnath, you first

    Got one already. Wife, kids, grandkids, good job, the whole works.

    And I don't misrepresent what the reason staff say or any other person that posts here.

  • kinnath||

    adios

  • Pac||

    Where do i misrepresent?

    I gave a calm opinion about what i think Obama will do, about the reactions to what he might possibly do, and Reason's commentary about the said economic situation thus far.

    I don't think i misrepresented a thing. But you're welcome to your opinion. if you'd rather talk about my life, i think i'll pass.

  • ||

    John, now that you got my complicated ranking system figgered out, yes I easily put Bush below Nixon. We got out of 'Nam and opened up China to the west during Nixon's terms in office.

    Tell me about Bush IIs and his successes.

    NCLB?
    Medicare presription drug benefit?
    Iraq?
    Bailouts, bailouts and more bailouts?
    Raiding medical MJ clinics?
    Gitmo? (at least Nixon tried to hide his illegalities)

    Name one fucking thing the Bush II administration has accomplished that you find laudable.

  • ||

    Given that about 67% of young voters went for Obama, the chance that "voting with your heart" will be replaced by "voting with your brain" is pretty poor. To these 67%, government doing a lot more - heck it is only 20% of the economy, why not 40% - sounds like a plan. Those who can't remember history,,,,etc.

  • Pac||

    Free markets?!?!?!?.....really?!?!?!?!.....where?

  • egosumabbas||

    The editors at Reason are having buyer's remorse over Obama already? Where were they 6 months or even a year ago, trying to keep "progressives" out of office?

  • ||

    Katrina?
    Signing statements?
    Patriot Act?

    C'mon, one fucking accomplishment from the current administration that you'd put on a resume.

  • BDB||

    J sub D you're going to get a long rant from John now on how the Iraq War was the best thing since sliced bread.

  • Pac||

    Jsub D


    OH, I know, making Socialism look good.

    Oh wait, wrong answer

    I'm going to look for that chorus of Doomsayers, see if they need a new buddy.

  • ||

    I don't think feeling that Obama may have socialist leanings is entirely a Republican monopoly. And I have no idea why Amex becoming a BHC is a problem.

    There's something wrong with the economy all right, and too much government intervention is a big part of the problem.

    J sub D,

    Not to wade into this, but I suspect that Bush may get some credit if Iraq works out. And it may. I still oppose the intervention and oppose the idea of playing games in the Middle East in general, but there it is. The cost and the domestic problems that arose from the WOT are a whole 'nuther issue, of course.

    Oh, and he might look better if we suffer more domestic terrorist attacks during the Obama administration, though I think that would just be happenstance, not a cause-and-effect situation. But history is silly in handing out warm fuzzies and cold pricklies.

    Bush sucks, by the way. Thought I should say that.

  • ||

    I just realized that Obama-nation sounds almost exactly like "Abmonination". Thought I would mention that.

  • egosumabbas||

    "Name one fucking thing the Bush II administration has accomplished that you find laudable."

    Opened up offshore drilling? Reduced taxes? He also vetoed a bunch of spending bills (though that's totally negated by the bailout). Not saying he was a good president, just it's a little ignorant to say he done absolutely no good.

  • ||

    Not to wade into this, but I suspect that Bush may get some credit if Iraq works out. And it may.

    Wanna bet? A demoratic republic with respect for basic human rights one year after the US pulls out and you win.

    Loser has to read lonewacko's links and report on them for a month.

  • BDB||

    At best, Iraq will end up like present day Lebanon after we pull out. At worst, Yugoslavia circa 1992.

  • ||

    Opened up offshore drilling?
    Seen any of those platforms getting built?

    Reduced taxes?

    Without a reduction in spending all he's done is make the young pay later.

    He also vetoed a bunch of spending bills (though that's totally negated by the bailout).

    When the GOP controlled congress (75% of his presidency), how many spending bills did GWB veto? I'll give you a hint, the number was less than one.

  • ||

    J sub D,

    Your terms are too fearsome. . .I must decline.

    I'm not sure what I expect in Iraq. I think things will remain reasonably stable after we leave, but for how long, well, that's the $2 trillion question. If oil stays low, that could create more trouble.

    Here's a mostly unrelated question: Which country(ies) will Obama invade and/or attack? None is not an acceptable answer, because he'll do it. They all do it.

  • BDB||

    "Which country(ies) will Obama invade and/or attack?"

    Sudan.

  • ||

    Actually our resident blue teamer joe would, if he were here, point out that the Bush IIs handling of sub-saharan Africa is a plus.

  • Pac||

    Wow Pro, don't see a problem. Maybe because they wouldn't have done it if not for the bailout loans, but i guess there's no problem there either. I wonder who will be next?


    This site has gotten pretty weird since the whole economic shenanigans started.

    Except for their commentary on the drug war and various civil liberties this place looks a lot like townhall.com

    Reason sucks

  • ||

    "Which country(ies) will Obama invade and/or attack?"

    Sudan.


    The only question is when the troops leave Iraq, will they get some R&R before be welcomed as liberators in Darfur?

  • ||

    Sudan's definitely a possibility.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Carter had airline deregulation, naming Volcker to the Fed, ending the draft, and ending the laws against home beermaking to his credit. Had he legalized marijuana like he threatened to, he'd probably be in my top ten. As it is, he's mediocre, but mediocre is better than most presidents the last forty or fifty years.

    OH, I know, making Socialism look good.

    Not really, since according to someone who'd know, Bush is a socialist.

  • ||

    being welcomed.

    Damned dyslexia.

  • ||

    Pac,

    I think the bailout was stupid and think we should've allowed the dumber banks and financial services firms to fail. How's that?

  • ||

    Clinton did NAFTA.

  • ||

    Your terms are too fearsome. . .I must decline.

    *wipes brow* WHEW!

  • BDB||

    Clinton did NAFTA, welfare reform, balanced the budget, and got a minimal number of soldiers killed in the hare-brained foreign interventions he DID carry out.

  • ||

    C'mon, one fucking accomplishment from the current administration that you'd put on a resume.

    Ummmmmm.....

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    He fucked the country over more than the previous 4 presidents combined?

  • ||

    Clinton did NAFTA.

    NAFTA was negotiated by Bush I. Clinton made some largely irrelevant mods to it to placate some of his supporters and then wisely got it approved. Botrh of them deserve credit for it.

  • ||

    Reason sucks

    Drink!

  • ||

    I can't think of a single thing Bush has done domestically that I would count as a major accomplishment except the tax cut, and even that gets vitiated by his total lack of spending restraint.

    On the overseas front, the initial Afghan campaign was a success, although that's been allowed to slide, and I think its fair that Iraq has turned into a success (although some would refuse to count it at all on the basis that we should have just left the Iraqis to plot, or rot, depending on their station).

    Any major trade deals, maybe? Congress killed the Colombian deal, so maybe he gets partial credit for getting it as far as he could?

    Pretty thin, but I have been frustrated with Bush domestically since, oh, about the time the Patriot Act showed up. Or that prescription drug benefit. Whichever was first.

  • ||

    Make no mistake--the only accomplishments of Clinton were those he made when he decided jumping on the Contract with America bandwagon to get reelected was more important than being a Democrat. He also was obsessed with that whole legacy thing, which meant that doing something was critical to him, even if that something went counter to, well, the wishes of all of the people who voted for him.

  • ||

    Oh, I have one. Well, sort of. I do give Mighty Joe Bush credit for attempting to reform Social Security. He was betrayed and murdered in that effort by his own party, but it was one good thing he tried to do.

  • SIV||

    Carter had airline deregulation, naming Volcker to the Fed, ending the draft, and ending the laws against home beermaking to his credit.

    Hold on there BP !

    Nixon ended the draft and Selective Service.
    Jimmy Carter revived SS and reinstituted draft registration


    Apologies for the bold but I don't want anyone thinking you are correct.

  • ||

    Quick questions, J Sub D:

    1) In what way did the initial Afghanistan campaign rank as a success? Tangentially, at what point did the initial campaign give way to the the current quagmire, and did that impact on the initial campaign's success? In what way?

    2) In what way has Iraq turned into a success? Have we found those WMDs? Are we safer from terror?

  • ||

    Oh, I have one. Well, sort of. I do give Mighty Joe Bush credit for attempting to reform Social Security. He was betrayed and murdered in that effort by his own party, but it was one good thing he tried to do.

    Do failed attempts count? The attempt to repair a broken system, commonly referred to the third rail of American politics, deserves some acknowlegement for bravery I guess.

  • ||

    D'oh! I meant R C Dean ... your fancy schmancy initialed names confuse me.

  • SIV||

    Actually I should be crediting Gerald Ford.
    I didn't realize he had this accomplishment:

    On March 29, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed Proclamation 4360, Terminating Registration Procedures Under Military Selective Service Act, eliminating the registration requirement for all 18-25 year old male citizens. Then on July 2, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed Proclamation 4771, Registration Under the Military Selective Service Act, retroactively re-establishing the Selective Service registration requirement for all 18-26 year old male citizens born on or after January 1, 1960. Only men born between March 29, 1957, and December 31, 1959, were completely exempt from Selective Service registration.

  • ||

    Clinton "balanced the budget" by slashing military spending so that when Dubya went on his harebrained escapade, our soldiers were unprepared. Yep, that sure is a check in his plus column...

  • ||

    List of Bush horror stories ... roughly in the order of importance I place them

    Gitmo
    Wall Street Bailout
    Abu Ghraib
    Iraq
    Farm Subsidies (amoung other subsidies)
    Steel Tariffs (among other protectionist measures)
    Budget Deficits (and general financial prolifigacy)
    Prescription Drug Benefit
    Stem cells
    Katrina
    Wiretapping
    Gay Marriage


    That runs the gamut of issues from foreign policy, to civil liberties, to economics.
    I don't think there's a single fucking thing on which Bush has aligned himself with libertarianism.

  • BDB||

    "Clinton "balanced the budget" by slashing military spending"

    Bush I started that bi-partisan process. "Peace dividend" and whatnot. None other than Dick Cheney started proposing those cuts as Secretary of Defense!

  • ||

    Quick questions, J Sub D:

    1) In what way did the initial Afghanistan campaign rank as a success? Tangentially, at what point did the initial campaign give way to the the current quagmire, and did that impact on the initial campaign's success? In what way?

    2) In what way has Iraq turned into a success? Have we found those WMDs? Are we safer from terror?


    Err, that weren't me, but what the hey, I'll take a stab at it.

    1) We got the taliban removed from power and held elections (if that really matters in Afghanistan). We underewstimated the difficulties of pacifying an essentially medieval state (with plastic explosives and AK-47s), but I don't think we had a choice about getting involved. Maybe we could have caught bin Laden in Tora Bora, maybe not. The rest of NATO may not like it, but foreign occupation of the country should last decades. This would be easier to sell if GWB hadn't invaded a country under false pretenses while dissing our allies.

    2) It hasn't. The factions that will bring down our imposed democracy are just biding their time till we leave. Islamic Republic or a return to thugocracy is Iraq's future. I hope I'm wrong.

  • BDB||

    Also, in a convention war, we would still have kicked the shit out of anyone in 2001. Its when you get into non-conventional warfare that the problem starts, and money doesn't fix that.

  • BDB Copy Editor||

    "Conventional", not "convention".

  • ||

    Carter did pardon the "draft dodgers".

    That man is a national treasure.

  • ||

    Yeah Clinton "slashed" the defense budget pretty good. Instead of spending eight times more than any potential enemy did on defense we were spending like 7.5 times. Shit, we're lucky Cuba didn't invade us and make us stop watching football and only watch baseball...

  • BDB||

    "That man is a national treasure."

    If by "national treasure" you mean "all-purpose GOP scarecrow" then sure.

  • ||

    They sure do hate that man BDB.

    Which makes me think he must be very special.

  • BDB||

    You have to be real, real "special" to be attacked by a wild rabbit I guess.

  • SIV||

    Hazel

    Stem cells -Bush did nothing to outlaw this research.I credit him with not funding it.I just wish he had extended this to all science not related to a Constitutionally mandated function of government.

    Katrina-Bush should have ignored the Sovereignty of the State of LA and gone in immediately but he didn't create the problem.Nature and the elected offficials of LA are to blame.
    Gay Marriage- I thought this one was all Clinton and the Congress.
    I don't consider it an "issue" at all as I am opposed to all State recognition of marriage.

  • ||

    I've been thinking and thinking about good things Bush has done...

    Well, there is that part of NCLB that allows some limited school choice if your kids school fails enough times to meet the benchmarks. That's a good thing.

    "I do give Mighty Joe Bush credit for attempting to reform Social Security."

    Yeah, that would have worked out GREAT in our current financial situation, eh? All those seniors with their savings in Wachovia stock counting on the dividend check to buy Depends...

  • ||

    "Katrina-Bush should have ignored the Sovereignty of the State of LA and gone in immediately but he didn't create the problem.Nature and the elected offficials of LA are to blame."

    Yeah, it's just that the Bush White House and GOP led Congressional reports on the Executive's handling of that situation say that's a bunch of bullshit! Failures were widely acknowledged and certainly not limited to undue respect for LA statehood...

  • SIV||

    Crow Eating Dumbass,

    But what if all the privatized social security $$$ was shorting the market? :)

  • BDB||

    Good thing Bush did?

    He didn't demonize Arabs and Muslims after 9/11. He could have easily done an FDR there if he had been a real bastard. Which makes me think he isn't am evil person (Nixon), just totally incompetent.

  • ||

    ROFL. Is this a joke? I'm pretty sure that Democrats do not need libertarians as a "check" to avoid implementing Jim Crow laws or eugenics programs. What a crock!

  • BDB||

    Oh, on that note, the attempted immigration reform. But it was a failure (again, his incompetence coming into play).

  • ||

    J sub D (fer realz):

    Err, that weren't me, but what the hey, I'll take a stab at it.



    Thanks! I agree with you while waiting for R C Dean's attempt at justification, except that the Taliban just moved out of town for awhile and now they're back, so we really didn't get rid of them.

  • Johnny Nowhere||

    my contribution to the "Bush Successes" list:

    that speech he gave on the rubble of the Twin Towers, standing on a fire truck bumper with a bullhorn.

    I liked him in that moment.

  • Paul||

    And when we're all good and fucked, the country will simply turn towards whatever fucking fuckers are calling themselves conservatives, who will by then be back to preaching the libertarian line so they can fuck us again once in power.

    fuck me...

  • ||

    And when we're all good and fucked, the country will simply turn towards whatever fucking fuckers are calling themselves conservatives, who will by then be back to preaching the libertarian line so they can fuck us again once in power.

    It's pretty much a gang bang, when you think about it.

  • ||

    Why did Dick Cheney really shoot that guy in the face? Was it, as the conservative mainstream media would have you believe, a "hunting accident?" Or was that man about to spill the beans about Dick Cheney's secret gay sex affair with George Bush?

    Fact: Cheney goes by "Dick" (many homosexuals use "dick" as a codeword for penis, which they put in their mouths!)

    Fact: Cheney has publicly stated that he "stands behind" Bush "100%" (and is it just coincendence that this is exactly where gay men stand when they are having gay sex with their partners?)

    Fact: Cheney has relatives that are in fact gay (a direct lineal descendant no less!)

    Fact: Cheney has been admitted to GW hospital several times in the past few years (while the public reason given has been "heart trouble" that is of course hard to buy, a man with such troubles would have been eliminated at the vetting stage of the VP selection process, but what would you say if I told you that hospitals often provide treatment to gay men whose anuses have been harmed through gay sex? It's TRUE!)

    When is Reason and other conservative media outlets going to ask the real questions about Cheney's consumated love affair with a man who is also the President of the United States?

    A videotape explaining all these interesting facts overlooked by the conservative media outlets that report "the news" can be bought at a local progressive or afro-centric bookstore near you! Know the truth!

  • Paul||

    recent two-by-four upside the head evidence that they can fail in a catastrophic manner instead of desperately blackguarding the New Deal, which, as I recall, ended about 70 years ago?

    What failure? Oh, you mean that market correction which showed the true value of all those complex debt instruments? I'm sorry, we must have a differing version of the definition of 'failure'. Some of us live in a world where that's referred to as a "market success".

    For instance, some people refer to the recent A.S.S.R.A.P.E. legislation as a "Rescue" act, others refer to it as a "Bailout".

    If I buy pork bellies on the commodities market and lose my shirt, that's not a market failure, that's the market merely telling me that I probably made an unsound investment.

    The ultimate point here is that it's not about a market 'failure'... or even a market 'success', it is about the failure of a group of institutions to heed the market signals (and observe market fundamentals) that were ever so clear to a few curmudgeony market 'fundamentalists'.

    Talking about market failures is the wrong conversation. Maybe we could start talking about our overregulated market which has flood-walled our market so completely, that we can't see the signals for what they are... until it's too late?

    Nah, because that totally kills the vibe for New Deal II, the Revenge of the New Deal.

    Oh, and on this:

    desperately blackguarding the New Deal, which, as I recall, ended about 70 years ago?

    Do us a favor, let the Democrats know. Because the Democrats have recently taken on these 'new' ideas which are so 70 years ago.

  • Bingo||

    Two words: Terri Schiavo.

  • BDB||

    "Two words: Terri Schiavo."

    Weird how that was the moment his whole Presidency started making its long trip down the shitter.

  • Bingo||

    BDB, it's pretty analogous to the Bush's entire presidency. A whole bunch of hand-wringing and rhetoric, aggrandizement and moralizing, blatant disregard for the Constitution, and, in the end, the subject of all that consternation ends up fucked.

  • BDB||

    Good point Bingo. I was going to say Iraq would be, but Terry Schiavo fits even better.

    Please don't fuck us worse than Bush, Obama...

  • ||

    BDB,

    It's people saying prayers to Obama that's the whole problem ☺

  • short, fat bastard||

    Only men born between March 29, 1957, and December 31, 1959, were completely exempt from Selective Service registration.

    March 6th, 1957 -- Missed it by that much ;-)

    Last group of 18 year olds to register for the Vietnam era draft.

  • BDB||

    Honestly, Pro L, as long as things don't get WORSE than they are now I'll consider him a success. Is that really too much to expect?

  • Seward||

    I think we should remember what Friedman concluded about the Great Depression; namely that it was the fault of the Federal Reserve via its omissions.

    Paul,

    You are right; market failure to a lot of people means any time an individual, corp., etc. has financial problems. Of course what it really refers to (in a rough way) are those parts of life where markets are so ineffecient that government intervention provides a greater effeciency. When one puts it that way its pretty obvious that market failure is less common than is generally understood.

  • Bingo||

    BDB, look at Detroit. The worst is yet to come.

  • economist||

    "And when we're all good and fucked, the country will simply turn towards whatever fucking fuckers are calling themselves conservatives, who will by then be back to preaching the libertarian line so they can fuck us again once in power. "
    AARRGGH! MAKE IT STOP. My ass will be bleeding for years as it is.

  • Seward||

    Bingo,

    A lot of the rhetoric around the U.S. auto manufacturers' problems seems to assume that it is vital we make cars and car parts in the U.S. (of course we will whether those companies survive or not) and that somehow the jobs associated with that industry are some sort of sinecure, or more accurately, if those jobs "disappear" they will not be replaced by anything else.

  • economist||

    Generally, the definition of market failure involves a systemic flaw in the decision-making process that makes the market inefficient, such as externalities.

  • economist||

    Concerning the auto industry bailout:
    "We can't have dem Japs takin' ur jebs!"

  • economist||

    Sadly, I fear that we libertarians are doomed to irrelevance.

    But I'd rather be right than be relevant.

  • Bingo||

    Seward:

    I grew up in Detroit and the amount of political hold the unions have is unbelievable. Additionally, the auto companies are run in the most ridiculous way by the management. They basically follow whatever trend there is a year ago and pump all their production and money into it. Add onto that the pensions and retirements and health care for the retired baby boomer auto-workers and you have a recipe for disaster.

    The Dems are the union party and they will essentially shovel money into that burning inferno. It's not about the jobs, with the pension and retirement funds there is almost no way to quench the unions desires. It's a perfect storm that will inflate the currency, result in expansive federal policies, and fuck over the people that have actually tried to act frugally and intelligently.

    What the Feds *should* do is tell the unions to fuck off and let Detroit fall into a shitstorm of rioting and save the rest of us from fiscal destruction. What they will do is funnel more and more money into a bunch of failed companies whose management is completely incompetent and whose workforce is a bottomless pit of unfulfillable desires.

  • kinnath||

    A lot of the rhetoric around the U.S. auto manufacturers' problems seems to assume that it is vital we make cars and car parts in the U.S.

    I remember when Zenith died. There was much hand-wringing about the fact that there would never be another US manufactured TV.

    But shipping a couple of of jillion TVs across the pacific is a smaller problem that shipping all the cars the US needs across the pacific and atlantic.

    Cars will continue to be manufactured in the US (or at least in North America). The CEO may just live somewhere else. Big deal.

  • economist (scared economic nat||

    But kinnath, that means that the Japs and Koreans would have control over a signifcant part of our economy. It would be the end, you hear me? The end!

  • mike farmer||

    I started my first small business in the 70s and lost my first small business in the 70s.

    I bought my first house shortly after the horrors of the 70s, eary 80s -- 11% interest rate if I remember correctly.

    I was in New Orleans in the late seventies, stranded, out of gas, trying to get on through to Texas -- I had to hunt for gas like looking for a dope man in a new town.
    I don't remember much about the late sixties or most of the seventies, so I was there, I think -- what I remember was an economic mess. Obama will likely be another Carter, without the accent and crazy brother.

  • Seward||

    kinnath,

    Well, government policy shouldn't be to promote assembly line work in the U.S.

  • kinnath||

    Well, government policy shouldn't be to promote assembly line work in the U.S.

    You lost me there.

    I said logistics dictates that some manufacturing of automobiles will stay "close to home" for the US market.

    I didn't say anything about government involvement.

  • Seward||

    economist,

    You know, South Carolinians shouldbe freaking out that most of the TV shows in the U.S. are made in California. They have a TV show gap that must be filled!

  • BDB||

    I'd just like to know why we're the only first world country that can't seem to have companies that make stuff like TVs and decent cars anymore.

    I'm not saying it is bad that we don't, I'd just like to know why Holland and Japan can do it, but not us.

  • Seward||

    kinnath,

    Yeah, that wasn't directed at you.

  • kinnath||

    Holland

    I don't think the Netherlands manufacture anything of significance after Fokker died.

  • Seward||

    BDB,

    Why didn't a Japanese company create Windows?

    Something I found about MITI the other day was interesting. Apparently in the 1950s it made the decision to have only two manufacturers of cars in Japan; Honda protested and it retained the right to make cars (but without any subsidy). Imagine a world without the Honda Accord.

  • BDB||

    "I don't think the Netherlands manufacture anything of significance after Fokker died."

    Look here.

  • ||

    "I'd just like to know why Holland and Japan can do it, but not us."

    It must be those greedy silly unions which they don't have in Holland.

    Oh wait, 25% of their workforce is unionized and 3/4 are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

    So I guess it's not that, eh?

  • Seward||

    kinnath,

    Well, the Netherlands remains one of the world's busiest centers of trade. Then there is their truly awesome flower and vegetable industries.

  • BDB||

    CED, what do you think of company unions?

    They're the most common kind of union in Japan, but FDR outlawed them here.

  • kinnath||

    . . . and it employed 128,615 people in more than 60 countries

    Don't know enough about Philips to say for certain, but I would wager that the foundries for integrated circuits are in Asia.

  • ||

    BDB
    I'm against them.

  • kinnath||

    Well, the Netherlands remains one of the world's busiest centers of trade.

    Amsterdam is an important port city, and it's gorgeous. Interesting red light district too.

    But I would take Singapore over Amsterdam for climate and scenery (but the coffee houses have their own special appeal).

  • BDB||

    Why is that, CED?

  • ||

    I think it's an oxymoronic term.

    A person is only represented rightly by a group independent of the other bargaining party.

  • BDB||

    I tend to think they're the best middle ground. The Japanese economy has done very well with them.

  • ||

    Has the Japanese worker? Do they have more on the job liberty than their counterparts that are members of independent unions?

  • ||

    I like unions because for many people they are the best chance for realizing any significant liberty at their workplace.

    A truly voluntary agreement is more likely realized when the two bargaining powers more closely equal one another in bargaining power. For most workers unions further this.

  • ||

    Corporations allow folks to pool themselves to give themselves more efficacy, and there are legal protections to promote them (limited liability for example), much like unions. I have no problem with the corporate form either.

  • ||

    My dad was in a union. At his job the workers were not at the mercy of the arbitrary whim of the boss. There were contracts in place, bargained for with the collective might of the workforce, and the boss and the worker went by them. If it said they get three breaks a day they got it. In non-union jobs the authority of the boss over the worker is much greater and the worker is put into the much heralded by libertarians position of compliance with the will of the boss or quitting. Of course in real life very significant hits are taken when a person quits their job and thus people often sacrifice their liberty on a daily basis and comply...

  • BakedPenguin||

    SIV - my bad. Ford also told New York to "Drop Dead" when they asked for their bailout.

    Given recent events, I think that was farsighted of the man.

  • BDB||

    CED--

    Your Dad's union is a big reason GM is in the shitter.

  • ||

    My dad was not in an UAW union.

    And I think GM's woes have more to do with management than with their unions.

    Baked
    Ford was, I think, the last President to have played college football. I doubt we'll see another one of those in my lifetime...

  • ||

    Please, folks, "CED" is not going to ever be convinced by anything you tell him. Just let him alone.

  • BDB||

    I still laugh every time I see the moniker you have to wear for 22 more days, CED.

  • BDB||

    Please don't tell me you favor a bail out then, CED.

  • BakedPenguin||

    CED - If Sarah Palin can get with in 6% of the popular vote, anything can happen.

  • Seward||

    CED,

    A person is only represented rightly by a group independent of the other bargaining party.

    Unions are not "independent" (they have their own vested interests in other words) and they certainly don't represent the best interests of every person in a union. Indeed, that is one of the main problems with unions and why they are so incredibly ineffecient on average; they tend to close down interaction between an individual employee and employers.

  • Seward||

    CED,

    A major reason that GM is doing so poorly is due to the pension system which both management and the union agreed to many decades ago.

  • ||

    # John McCain | November 12, 2008, 3:58pm | #
    # # Obama is no FDR

    # Senator, I served with FDR, I knew FDR,
    # FDR was a friend of mine. ...

    More of a godchild than a friend, methinks. But at heart a true statement, I'm sure. ;-)

  • ||

    # Only men born between March 29, 1957, and
    # December 31, 1959, were completely exempt
    # from Selective Service registration.

    But that doesn't mean we KNEW we were (going to be) exempt. It just turned out that way. We sweated the damned draft "lottery" like everyone else. Indeed, had the war continued much longer, I also would have had to register and (given my unfortunate number) serve. It's one of the few times in my life I can honestly say I caught a big, lucky break. Makes up for all those dud California lottery tickets I was later to buy, I gotta say.

    Unlike many of my g-g-generation, however, I never hated the warriors, only the war. The upper echelon officers and civilian brass that brought us the wartime travesties of my youth should all burn in the seventh circle of hell -- the one said to be reserved for traitors and other abusers of trust.

  • ||

    xxx sorry, "upper echelon brass and civilian 'leaders'" -- emphasis on the quotes around 'leader.' I'm glad I kept those quote marks around: they're just as handy today, for the very same reasons.

  • Douglas Gray||

    "It's a perfect storm that will inflate the currency, result in expansive federal policies, and fuck over the people that have actually tried to act frugally and intelligently."

    Two excellent economists at UCLA recently verfied this thesis for the Great Depression, showing how FDR's Policies actually made it worse for the majority of those most in need. What happens is they showcased the few that were helped.

    History will repeat itself. Worst case scenario; Obama will try things, they won't work, things will get worse as they did under FDR, He won't be blamed and will remain popular; people still won't get it, that statism doesn't work, and a libertarian approach minimizes the harmful effects of corruption and excesses better than any other approach.

  • ||

    "Except for their commentary on the drug war and various civil liberties this place looks a lot like townhall.com"

    That's a pretty low blow, don't you think?

  • geniusiknowit||

    These so-called libertarian ideas are untenable. Arguing for a mini-statist approach to government simply gives legitimacy to the inevitable totalitarianism toward which our government is slowly but surely headed. You're not arguing any logically discernible differences between right and wrong. You're not showing there are any black and white differences between good government and bad government, but merely advocating for a different shade of gray.

    It's okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing the courts, police, and military to protect the general welfare, but not okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing doctors, hospitals, and insurance to protect the general welfare? It's okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing the creation of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, but not okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing the cost of education, employment, and retirement for the same people who create or use that infrastructure?

  • ||

    1) In what way did the initial Afghanistan campaign rank as a success?

    I think J sub handled it. Sure, the Taliban is now over the border in Pakistan, but they're not the government in Afghanistan. Whether they come back in and take over depends on how well Obama does, doesn't it? Hard to lay their return at Bush's feet.

    In what way has Iraq turned into a success? Have we found those WMDs?

    Saddam is gone. How quickly people forget that he was a major sponsor of terror, how he corrupted the UN and our Euro allies, and how weak and likely short-lived were the international sanctions keeping his WMD program dormant.

    AQ in Iraq is broken. The major cities have been turned over to the Iraqis. They have a democratic government with as much claim to legitimacy as most. At this point, it really looks like we succeeded in creating a viable society there. Still a little early to say, and nothing that can't be lost if Obama screws the pooch in Iraq. But, again, that will be hard to lay at Bush's feet, won't it?

  • sfb||

    It's okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing the courts, police, and military to protect the general welfare, but not okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing doctors, hospitals, and insurance to protect the general welfare?

    Correct

    It's okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing the creation of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, but not okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing the cost of education, employment, and retirement for the same people who create or use that infrastructure?

    Correct again

  • ||

    I like unions because for many people they are the best chance for realizing any significant liberty at their workplace.

    I don't know many union members, but I'll never forget one guy who told me that being in a union was like having twice as many bosses, all telling you different things.

  • ||

    It's okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing the courts, police, and military to protect the general welfare, but not okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing doctors, hospitals, and insurance, housing, automobiles, food, wages, employment benefits, consumer credit, and professional sports teams to protect the general welfare?

  • geniusiknowit||

    It's okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing the courts, police, and military to protect the general welfare, but not okay to coerce everyone into subsidizing doctors, hospitals, insurance, housing, automobiles, food, wages, employment benefits, consumer credit, and professional sports teams to protect the general welfare?

    Well, what is the sense in doing something only half-assed?

  • economist||

    RC,
    You're normally very rational, but when you start posting about Iraq, I can imagine you suddenly developing a wild look in your eyes and screaming "NO, it's not a failure!"

  • ludwig||

    Good work stopping telecom spying under Bush, libertarians!

  • AW||

    This is a good site for intellectual ammunition.

    http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=media_new

  • economist||

    My $0.02 worth,
    I like unions as long as they're voluntary, and as long as they can't use force (or the threat of force) to make employers deal with them. I think that both Taft-Hartley and the Wagner Act sucked.

  • economist||

    "people thus sacrifice their liberty on a daily basis and stay at their jobs"
    Uh, no. Doing something that's necessary to survive doesn't count as "sacrificing one's liberty". The vast majority of people have to work to survive. Sometimes work can be a pain in the ass. Like going to the doctor, buying groceries, and dealing with the goddam fucking DMV (sorry, it's just that I went in to get my license renewed yesterday, and had to wait four hours before my number was called.)

    Some things in life aren't fun. That doesn't make it the same as tyranny. Really, you should be smarter than that, MNG.

  • economist||

    Then again, you are currently the "Crow-Eating Dumbass".

  • ||

    You're normally very rational, but when you start posting about Iraq, I can imagine you suddenly developing a wild look in your eyes and screaming "NO, it's not a failure!"

    Because I read sources other than coastal media on Iraq, I don't think it is.

    Just what about the current situation in Iraq is failing? AQ in Iraq is beaten. US casualties are at an all-time low, and are nearly at the level of casualties from accidents in other overseas postings. The Iraqi government is still democratic, and now has sovereign control over almost the entire country. Even the cities are being turned over to Iraqi security. They are legitimately negotiating a status of forces agreement.

    Sure, it can all still go into the shitter. Bad neighborhood and all that. But if it does, it will be because Obama blew it, not Bush (setting aside the question of whether we should be there at all, of course). Bush is actually leaving Iraq in pretty good shape, considering.

  • ||

    But but, when we wrote the history books we were always always the good guys.

    /progressive off

    Anyway, good job mentioning what actually happened...

  • Ravac||

    A person is only represented rightly by a group independent of the other bargaining party.

    Or, y'know, himself.

  • ||

    But if it does, it will be because Obama blew it, not Bush (setting aside the question of whether we should be there at all, of course). Bush is actually leaving Iraq in pretty good shape, considering.



    I want some of what you're smoking ... as long as it doesn't turn me into a Bush apologist, like you are.

    You fail to take into account the goals of both the Afghanistan and Iraq forays, neither of which have been satisfied and both of which have increased problems in other areas. One cannot claim "success" for goals that have not been met be pointing to background noise and saying that it's somehow been made better.

    1) The goal of the war was to remove weapons of mass destruction. Removing Saddam was NOT the goal. Remember that "nation building" is not something Americans do, according to Bush. If we are currently engaged in that practice, it in no way signifies "success", but rather abject failure. We were supposed to remove the WMD and get out, not topple the government and then build a new one. You also neglect to remember that AQ was not even in Iraq before we attacked, and that "AQ in Iraq" is a new organization that is only tangentially connected to the AQ proper that we began to pursue in Afghanistan following 9/11, again without success. FAIL

    2) Afghanistan is a failure due to the Bush administration's complete inability to craft a plan and follow through with it. Taliban were never defeated, just moved, where they now wait until we withdraw to move back in. Again, a complete failure. Add to that the fact that opium production has increased significantly since we attacked in search of Osama Bin Laden, and we can say definitively that the Bush administration's strategy has not only failed to accomplish our goals for going into Afghanistan in the first place, but they have also seriously damaged its goals in the WoD. The Taliban did much better. Massive FAIL.

    Lastly, I take it you have never subscribed to any of the theories that the previous administration leaves messes for the next administration? The huge piles of crap left by Bush will have no impact on the Obama administration, because it's all on Obama, now? Blind, man. Purposefully blind.

    Sorry, R C Dean. You've got to get out of the Kool-Aid tank more often.

  • ||

    Warren,

    Of all the periods in our recent history for Obama (or 'a' Obama) to come to power--with a 'mandate', no less--now is the worst time.

    Just as with FDR, he will have more power than usual to institute profound changes.

    And remember, he is building on FDR and LBJ's legacy.

    (shudder)

  • ||

    Oops, that Name should have been "matthew" not lefiti's Sock puppet--that joke is done.

  • ||

    And that one!

  • ||

    Butler,

    Removing the WMD's was only one issue. Saddam was and was continuing to be a destabilizing influence in the middle east. The coalition most certainly wanted him and his regime removed from power.
    He, his regime, and much of AQ in Iraq are gone and/or dead. Success, not FAIL (also, this isn't fark.com)

  • ||

    RC Dean

    I don't know many union members, but I'll never forget one guy who told me that being in a union was like having twice as many bosses, all telling you different things.

    And they take money out of your paycheck.

  • economist||

    "Saddam was and was continuing to be a destabilizing influence in the middle east. The coalition most certainly wanted him and his regime removed from power.
    He, his regime, and much of AQ in Iraq are gone and/or dead. Success, not FAIL (also, this isn't fark.com)"
    So why isn't the region more stable now that Saddam is out of power and dead?

  • ||

    Most people are not old enough to remember how bad the 1970s really were.

    Ah, those were the days. Remember how inflation just went away because we all put on "WIN" buttons?


    I'm digging through my stuff now for my old WIN button. Don't need it quite yet, though.

  • ||

    I do believe that GW Bush nominated two Supreme Court justices who actually believe in the first and second amendments.

    Looks like GW batted 1.000 on SCOTUS appointments, topping Reagan .333, and Daddy Bush .500.

  • ||

    Libertarian ideals should be at the core of the "progressive" agenda, and people with libertarian leanings are too often excluded from the mainstream discourse. Unfortunately, the Republican party has never been a repository for real libertarianism, although it seems many libertarians drift towards a conservative agenda.

    Libertarians have for too long been aligning themselves with a so called conservative agenda, espousing "small government" with a tendency towards social conservatism. This has simply given the Republican party a rabid element that essentially marks it as a party of the Christian right wing, suppressing abortion rights, and, with the Bush administration, suppressing all constitutional rights.

    Libertarianism is not just the right to own and use whatever kind of machine gun you like, and other liberties become secondary to their discourse.

    What about a kind of libertarian progressivism, that encourages freedom of speech, free association, and grassroots community building? Jane Jacobs seems a core thinker within a kind of libertarianism with a liberal slant, criticizing top-down government for its failure to recognize the elaborate network of complexities that drive social and communal behavior, networks which serve better to regulate the community than de facto regulation.

    I am a libertarian, and I vote Democratic despite my frequent dissatisfaction with certain progressive attitudes, because they seem more inclined towards a core liberty.

    The constitution should not be interpreted strictly, it should be interpreted with the mindset of granting people the maximum possible liberty within the law, and restricting the power of government to impose itself on private individuals.

    The problem with certain strains of libertarianism is that it seems to think that private mercenaries are better than a national army, or that private corporations should have more rights than labor unions, when the reality is that both powers have the right to exist, and both are free associations of people.

    A GENUINE libertarianism, along with a GENUINE socialism, would look less like FDR or TR, and would essentially be a society with maximum liberty, and maximum freedom of association, operating within a non-coercive framework based on consensus and small, direct democracy, rather than top-down, coercive policies.

    There is something to be said that the two most free thinking states in the union are Vermont and New Hampshire. Each state seems to interpret itself differently, but both are libertarian, and both possess a kind of New England socialism that makes them each paragons of a different way of looking at the same situation.

  • ||

    It is not my experience that Libertarians respect individual freedom at all. Depends on who the individuals are and whether libertarians like what they beleive or not. I find them at the head of the parade when it comes to attacking individuals who don't beleive politically correctly. Which is why libertarians get no where fast and serve as a spoiler rather than a leader of power.

  • ||

    Until Libertarians become guided by actual thinking, instead of automatically referring to dogma, then they will never be able to run a government without getting in even worse trouble than the Republicans did when they ushered in a new Great Depression.

    Right now, the Libertarians are a cult of cranks.

  • jk||

    I find them at the head of the parade when it comes to attacking individuals who don't beleive politically correctly.

    Ayn Rand has properly corrected Jesus, "Judge, and be prepared to be judged."

  • ||

    My rankings on how I am feeling today about them. Upon reading about any of them on a given day, their score gets lowered.
    1) Reagan
    2) Eisenhower
    3) Bush 2
    4) Ford
    5) Nixon
    6) Bush 1
    7) Kennedy
    8) Clinton (tie)
    9) Carter
    10) LBJ

  • Deborah||

    Great article. It's good to be reminded of what previous libertarians did to keep our country from going off the rails. We must keep our powder dry because we'll need to fight hard during an Obama administration with a compliant Congress. Shudder the thought.

  • ||

    The recent bailout is just a bandaid to cover up a systemic flaw in our economy. That is, the fundamental inability of the American people, it's bankers, borrowers and lenders to develop accountable methods of personal responcibility in making wise choices. Without wisdom and intelligence, capitalism fails. And I think Adam Smith would agree with me on this. Donald Trump always mentioned that people should go to school and get a damn good education. I wonder why?

    Unfortunately, the goverment can't sit by and let people who make poor choices cause the entire economy to collapse and ruin things for everybody, when only 2-5% of the population were a part of the problem.

    And no, this isn't about poor people buying homes... This was mostly people flipping houses in Cali and Florida, and they got burned, not in the process of achieving the American dream. The American dream is to own a home, not flip them. The those flipping homes who got burned, I say they got what they deserved, to the rest of us, may god have mercy upon your soul.

  • ||

    Actually Deborah, the article is dead wrong on so many counts. It's fails to account for the State's Rights movement of the 50's and 60's (remember George Wallace). It was the doctrine of State Rights that was behind the whole idea of having the Jim Crow laws in place. The idea of having states having the liberty to pass oppressive laws was ridiculous, and it wasn't until the civil rights act of the 60's until the states no longer had this power.

    The article has a naive and distorted view of history. I won't say that they abuses of government are without consideration, governments having been abusing people since the dawn of human society when we first created civilization, a social order to organize the classes, etc.

    To lump nazism, progressivism, socialism, etc all in one category is ludicrous. To fail to account for the distinctive differences in approach, or to differentiate between politics is wrong.

    America began as a backward nation, and one of the most racist countries on Earth. (This is truth). We had a civil war over State's Rights... Yes, slavery was an issue, but State's Rights was the main motivation behind the south to seceed. Because the south wanted the liberty to set their laws as they see fit. (See how liberty gets twisted in there as an excuse to justify oppression) The South is dominated by backwards Evangelical belief systems even today, but that is another point entirely.

    Now, oppression exists in most organizations where their is a power differential, ie manager/worker relationship, etc. Read about bully victim relationships as well.

    This is what defined American history, the slow elimination of racism, by elimintating state's rights to do whatever the state wants. The federal government asserted itself with the civil rights act and told the states in the south that they couldn't do that anymore.

    Not to mention, does anyone see the irony in a black democrat as president. If you really know your American history, that irony would be fully understandable to you. And it shows how far the democrats have come to erase their past sins of supporting state's rights in the past.

    Paranoia over government abuses is always understandable, people are always a little paranoid about anyone who has slightly more power than them in some way or another.

    But put government abuses and trends into historical context. When this nation was first founded, we had endorsed slavery, we abused an entire race of people and the practice was endorsed by the federal government at the time. (Refer to the 3/5th law) We abolished that during the civil war. We advanced from that. During industrialization, many industries were abusive to workers, then there were the unions to help workers.

    The last extensive abuse of government was the internment of the Japanese during war world II. To compare that to now, I think the fact that we didn't throw all arabs in camps after 9/11 is a sign that we have improved as a nation.

    The paranoia has no justification, this nation has significantly improved over it's course of existance in terms of human rights and liberty.

    The progressives, have, at every step of the way, been advocating the elimination of slavery and eliminating the abuses of people with power from the 1850's onward. It culminated with the passing of the civil rights act in the 1960's, which this article conveiniently fails to mention.

    While progressives were strongly behind the passing of the civil rights legislation, it would suprise many, that a Virginia democrat ADDED sex to the bill in an attempt to make the bill fail. It was a strategic attempt to feign support for the bill in hopes that by adding sex to the bill, that it would fail. Note, that, at the time it was the southern democrats that were opposed to civil rights.

    I understand that most magazines are just think tanks trying to mold agendas, but I really hate misinformation. The next article I read comparing Hitler to progressivism will make me barf. Obviously there is a difference between what Hitler did, and the progressiv

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