Where Do Libertarians Belong?

A reason Debate

For those who cherish the ideals of free minds and free markets, 21st century politics in the United States has not been a particularly welcoming place. The big-government conservatism of George W. Bush has been followed by the bigger- government liberalism of Barack Obama. The twin crises of 9/11 and the 2008 financial meltdown spawned the twin leviathans of national security hyperextension and the never-ending bailout. The nation’s political class has rallied around the economic ideas of John Maynard Keynes, and the country’s short-term financial picture only looks tenable when compared to the long-term fiscal nightmare that just about everyone agrees is coming.

So where should libertarians drop anchor and forge alliances within the famous four-sided Nolan Chart spectrum of political beliefs and groupings? In this exchange, Contributing Editor Brink Lindsey argues that it’s time, once and for all, to sever the libertarian-conservative alliance that dates back to the New Deal while remaining skeptical about the illiberal populism of Tea Party activism. In response, a conservative writer—National Review Online Editor-at-Large Jonah Goldberg—disputes Lindsey’s portrayal of the right and contends that the only major party giving free market economics the time of day is the GOP. Meanwhile, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe tells Lindsey and his think tank fellow travelers to climb down off that high horse and celebrate the most promising limited-government popular uprising in generations.

Right Is Wrong
Libertarians need to disengage from Republicans and conservatives once and for all.

By Brink Lindsey

By the waning years of the Bush administration, the old “fusionist” alliance between libertarians and social conservatives seemed to be on its last legs. After the inglorious collapse of Social Security reform, the political agenda of the right was more or less free of any contamination by libertarian ideas. The GOP sank into ruling-party decadence marked by borrow-and-spend fiscal incontinence and K Street Project cronyism. The broader conservative movement, meanwhile, expended its energy on gay-bashing, anti-immigrant hysteria, fantasies of World War IV, meddling in the Schiavo family tragedy, and redefining patriotism as enthusiasm for mass surveillance and torture.

Now, however, opposition to Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress has sparked a resurgence of libertarian rhetoric on the right, most prominently in the “Tea Party” protests that have erupted over the past year. “Libertarian sentiment has finally gone mainstream,” wrote Chris Stirewalt, political editor of the conservative Washington Examiner, in a column this April. “After two wars, a $12 trillion debt, a financial crisis and the most politically tone-deaf president in modern history, Americans may have finally given up on big government.”

Such talk gets many libertarians excited. Could a revival of small-government conservatism really be at hand? After the long apostasy of Bush père et fils, could the right really be returning to the old-time religion of Goldwater and Reagan? Could the withered fusionist alliance of libertarians and conservatives channel today’s popular disgust with statist excess into revitalized momentum for limited-government reform?

In a word, no. Without a doubt, libertarians should be happy that the Democrats’ power grabs have met with such vociferous opposition. Anything that can stop this dash toward dirigisme, or at least slow it down, is a good thing. Seldom has there been a better time to stand athwart history and yell “Stop!” So we should rejoice that at least some conservatives haven’t forgotten their signature move.

That, however, is about all the contemporary right is good for. It is capable of checking at least some of the left’s excesses, and thank goodness for that. But a clear-eyed look at conservatism as a whole reveals a political movement with no realistic potential for advancing individual freedom. The contemporary right is so deeply under the sway of its most illiberal impulses that they now define what it means to be a conservative.

What are those impulses?

First and foremost, a raving, anti-intellectual populism, as expressed by (among many, many others) Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Next, a brutish nationalism, as expressed in anti-immigrant xenophobia (most recently on display in Arizona) and it’s-always-1938-somewhere jingoism. And, less obvious now but always lurking in the background, a dogmatic religiosity, as expressed in homophobia, creationism, and extremism on beginning- and end-of-life issues. The combined result is a right-wing identity politics that feeds on the red meat of us versus them, “Real America” versus the liberal-dominated coasts, faith and gut instinct versus pointy-headed elitism. 

This noxious stew of reaction and ressentiment is the antithesis of libertarianism. The spirit of freedom is cosmopolitan. It is committed to secularism in political discourse, whatever religious views people might hold privately. And it coolly upholds reason against the swirl of interests and passions. History is full of ironies and surprises, but there is no rational basis for expecting an outlook as benighted as the contemporary right’s to produce policy results that libertarians can cheer about.

Groupthink and Fever Dreams

Modern conservatism has always had an illiberal dark side. Recall the first great populist spasms of the postwar right—McCarthyism and opposition to desegregation—and recall as well that National Review founder William F. Buckley stoutly defended both. Any ideology dedicated to defending traditional ways of doing things is of necessity going to appeal to the reactionary as well as the prudently conservative. And since, going all the way back to Buckley’s God and Man at Yale, the right’s adversary was the nation’s liberal intellectual elite, conservatism has always been vulnerable to the populist temptation.

But prior to the rise of the conservative counter-establishment—think tanks, talk radio, websites, and Fox News—the right’s dark side was subject to a critical constraint: To be visible at all in the nation’s public debate, conservatism was forced to rely on intellectual champions whose sheer brilliance and sophistication caused the liberal gatekeepers in mass media to deem them suitable for polite company. People such as Buckley, George Will, and Milton Friedman thus became the public face of conservative ideology, while the rabble-rousers and conspiracy theorists were consigned to the shadow world of mimeographs, pamphlets, and paperbacks that nobody ever reviewed. The handicap of elite hostility thereby conferred an unintended benefit: It gave conservatism a high-quality intellectual leadership that, to some extent at least, was able to curb the movement’s baser instincts.

Now, however, the discipline of having to fight intellectual battles on the opponent’s turf is long gone. Conservatism has turned inward, like the dog in the joke, because it can. The result is what reason Contributing Editor Julian Sanchez has called the movement’s “epistemic closure.” The quality of the right’s intellectual leadership—the people who set the agenda, who define what “true” conservatism means at any given time—has consequently suffered a precipitous decline. What counts today isn’t engaging the other side with reasoned arguments; it’s building a rabid fan base by demonizing the other side and stoking the audience’s collective sense of outrage and victimization. And that’s a job best performed not by serious thinkers but by hacks and hucksters. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Joseph Farah, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin: they adorn the cathedral of conservatism like so many gargoyles.

Yes, there are still many bright and inquisitive minds on the right, but they are not the movement’s stars and they don’t call the shots. On the contrary, if they stray too far in challenging the conservative id, they find themselves cast out and castigated as heretics and RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). Bruce Bartlett and David Frum (who are friends of mine) are only two of the more prominent victims of that intolerant groupthink; both were sacked by conservative think tanks shortly after loudly expressing heterodox opinions.

As the worst get on top, they bring out the worst in their loyal followers. Goaded by the conservative message machine’s toxic mix of intolerance and self-pity, mass opinion on the right has veered off into feverish self-delusion. Witness the “birther” phenomenon. According to Public Policy Polling, 63 percent of Republicans either believe Obama was born in a foreign country or aren’t sure one way or the other. A more recent poll by the same outfit shows that 52 percent of Republicans believe that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama with voter fraud, while another 21 percent are undecided. This polling outfit is closely tied to the Democrats, so take the exact numbers with some grains of salt if you wish. But it is beyond doubt that paranoia is rampant in right-wing circles these days.

The return of small-government rhetoric does not signal a break from the right’s illiberal commitments. Rather, those same commitments are simply being expressed in a different way to suit the changing times. We’re in the midst of a deep slump, and economic issues always come to the fore during tough times. Furthermore, Washington is now under Democratic control. When their own gang was in power, conservatives rallied “us” against a grab bag of “thems,” most notably gays, Mexicans, and “Islamofascists” and their liberal “appeasers.” Now the us-versus-them game has gotten much simpler. Barack Obama—Harvard-educated, left of center, the son of a foreigner, a suspected Muslim who (according to Palin) “pals around with terrorists”—pulls together all the hated “thems” in one convenient package. Opposing Obama and his agenda may sound libertarian, but it’s also the perfect outlet for the same old distinctly anti-libertarian mix of populism, nationalism, and dogmatism.

Let’s look in particular at the Tea Party movement, whose sudden rise is what has sparked all the talk of a fusionist revival. In April The New York Times published a detailed survey of Tea Party supporters, and the results are telling. First, this movement is definitely a right-wing phenomenon. Of those polled, 73 percent said they are somewhat or very conservative, 54 percent called themselves Republicans (compared to only 5 percent who confessed being Democrats), and 66 percent said they always or usually vote for the GOP candidate. When asked to give their opinions of various public figures, they gave favorable/unfavorable splits of 59/6 for Glenn Beck and 66/12 for Sarah Palin (though a plurality said the latter would not be an effective president). And in the single most depressing result of the whole poll, 57 percent of Tea Party supporters expressed a favorable opinion of the big-government president George W. Bush—as compared to Americans overall, 58 percent of whom gave Bush an unfavorable rating.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Tea Partiers hold distinctly unlibertarian views on a wide variety of issues. According to the Times poll, 82 percent think illegal immigration is a very serious problem, and supporters of decreasing legal immigration outnumber those who want to liberalize immigration by 42 to 14 percent. Only 16 percent favor gay marriage (compared to 39 percent of the country at large), and 40 percent call for no legal recognition of same-sex unions. Meanwhile, 77 percent support either banning abortions outright or making them more difficult to obtain. 

But at least the Tea Partiers are dedicated to reining in government spending, right? After all, it’s the movement’s defining issue. Well, put me down as a skeptic. If you really care about restraining the growth of government, the number one priority has to be restructuring the budget-busting Medicare program. Yet during the health care debate the GOP sank to shameless demagoguery in defending Medicare’s sanctity. The short-term goal was to score points against ObamaCare, but the most likely long-term effect was to make needed reforms even more difficult to achieve. And how did Tea Partiers, and movement conservatives generally, respond to this irresponsible pandering? They scarcely said boo.

Authoritarian and Unpopular

Notwithstanding the return of libertarian rhetoric, the right today is a fundamentally illiberal and authoritarian movement. It endorses the systematic use of torture. It defends unchecked presidential power over matters of national security. It excuses massive violations of Americans’ civil liberties committed in the name of fighting terrorism. It supports bloated military budgets, preventive war, and open-ended, nation-building occupations. It calls for repressive immigration policies. Far from being anti-statist, it glorifies and romanticizes the agencies of government coercion: the police and the military. It opposes abortion rights. It opposes marriage equality. It panders to creationism. It routinely questions the patriotism of its opponents. It traffics in outlandish conspiracy theories. If you’re serious about individual freedom and limited government, you cannot stand with this movement.

In any event, conservatism in its current incarnation looks like a political dead end. Its wildly overheated rhetoric, with cries of socialism and dark hints of impending dictatorship, alienates the moderate center of American public opinion even as it thrills the hardcore base. That base, meanwhile, is in long-term demographic decline. White, married, churchgoing, with kids—all those categories associated with a right-of-center orientation have been shrinking as a percent of the population, and all are expected to continue shrinking. In analyzing the impact of demographic change on the 2008 election, the journalist Ron Brownstein looked at six basic groups: whites with college degrees, whites without degrees, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and other minorities. If each of those group’s share of the electorate had remained unchanged since 1992, McCain would have beaten Obama by 2 percentage points instead of losing by 7.

At the same time, younger Americans have decisively repudiated the contemporary right’s illiberal social values. The Pew Research Center’s 2007 survey of Americans aged 18–25, dubbed “Generation Next,” is illustrative. Pew’s polling reveals that young adults are dramatically less religious and less nationalist than their elders. Twenty percent say they are not religious, compared to only 11 percent of Americans 26 or older. They favor evolution over creationism by a 63 to 33 margin. Supporters of gay marriage in this age group narrowly outnumber opponents (47 to 46 percent), while among everyone older opponents carry the day by a 64–30 spread. Among young adults, 52 percent say immigrants strengthen our country, while 38 percent say they are a burden; by contrast, Americans 26 and up embrace the anti-immigrant view by a 42–39 margin. In the rising generation, only 29 percent agree that “using overwhelming force is the best way to defeat terrorism,” while 67 percent think that “relying too much on military force leads to hatred and more terrorism.” Among Americans 26 and older, though, hawks beat doves 49 to 41. God-and-country populism may still appeal to a large number of Americans (though certainly not a majority), but its future looks bleak.

Back in the Cold War, when socialism remained a living ideal and totalitarianism was a leading force in world affairs, an anti-socialist alliance between libertarians and social conservatives may have made sense. It doesn’t anymore.

Does that mean I think that libertarians should ally with the left instead? No, that’s equally unappealing. I do believe that libertarian ideas are better expressed in the language of liberalism rather than that of conservatism. But it’s clear enough that for now and the foreseeable future, the left is no more viable a home for libertarians than is the right.

The blunt truth is that people with libertarian sympathies are politically homeless. The best thing we can do is face up to that fact and act accordingly. That means taking the libertarian movement in a new direction: attempting to claim the center of American politics. If that move were successful, ideas of a distinctly libertarian cast would define the views of a critical swing constituency that politicians on the left and right would have to compete for.

Make no mistake, though: relocating to the center would make for a very different movement than the one we’ve got now. The organized libertarian movement began with the goal of offering a radical alternative to conservatism and liberalism. But ever since the main vehicle of that aspiration, the Libertarian Party, fizzled into irrelevance in the 1980s, the movement has tilted heavily to the right. However much individual libertarians like to think they transcend the left-right divide, the actual operating strategy of organized libertarianism has been fusionism.

In particular, a great deal of libertarian talent and energy has gone into building a “free market” movement of organizations that focus more or less exclusively on economic issues. These organizations include fundraising groups such as the Club for Growth, activist outfits such as FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, legal shops such as the Institute for Justice, and state-level think tanks such as the Mackinac Center and the Goldwater Institute. By steering clear of social issues and foreign policy, the free-market movement has shunted aside the questions that divide libertarians from conservatives and instead institutionalized the ground they seem to share.

Expressly libertarian writers have spent much more time engaging conservative audiences than reaching out to liberals. They have written more frequently for right-wing outlets such as National Review, The Washington Times, and The Wall Street Journal than for their counterparts on the left. They have regularly identified with the Goldwater-Reagan current of conservatism, notwithstanding the profound differences between that strain and libertarian thinking on a number of fronts. And they have often couched libertarian arguments in conservative terms, venerating the timeless wisdom of America’s founding principles while conveniently ignoring the fact that another set of founding principles included the enslavement of blacks, subjugation of women, and expropriation of Indian lands.

Declaring independence from the right would require big changes. Cooperation with the right on free-market causes would need to be supplemented by an equivalent level of cooperation with the left on personal freedom, civil liberties, and foreign policy issues. Funding for political candidates should be reserved for politicians whose commitment to individual freedom goes beyond economic issues. In the resources they deploy, the causes they support, the language they use, and the politicians they back, libertarians should be making the point that their differences with the right are every bit as important as their differences with the left.

The first step, though, is recognizing the problem. Right now, like it or not, the libertarian movement is a part of the vast right-wing conspiracy—a distinctive and dissident part, to be sure, but a part all the same. As a result, our ideals are being tainted and undermined through guilt by association. It’s time for libertarians to break ranks and stand on our own.

Contributing Editor Brink Lindsey (blindsey@cato.org) is vice president for research at the Cato Institute.

The Non-Existent Center
Disparaging conservatives is no substitute for recognizing that only the right takes economic libertarianism seriously.

By Jonah Goldberg

Brink Lindsey is both brilliant and sensible. That’s part of why I admire his work so much. But I must say I find those qualities largely missing in his case for Liberaltarianism 2.0.

Under Liberaltarianism 1.0, Lindsey endeavored to forge a new fusionism between liberals and libertarians. The old alliance between conservatives and libertarians was either ill-conceived from the outset or had reached the point of diminishing returns. An “honest survey of the past half-century shows a much better match between libertarian means and progressive ends,” he famously wrote in December 2006 in The New Republic (the magazine that should be blamed for the un-euphonious moniker “liberaltarian,” which, alas, has stuck). Lindsey proposed “a refashioned liberalism that incorporate[s] key libertarian concerns and insights” and “make[s] possible a truly progressive politics once again.” 

As flawed as I thought that project was, I wished Lindsey luck in at least some of his endeavors. While I think severing the fusionist bond with conservatism would be bad for libertarians, conservatives, and the country, at the same time I would like nothing more than to see libertarians convince liberals to become less statist and less culturally bullying. Moreover, his core point had much merit: The wealth and freedom created by libertarian policies are the best means toward “progressive” (at least in his benign use of the term) ends.

But that’s all moot now because under Liberaltarianism 2.0, Lindsey doesn’t call for a new “lib-lib” fusionism so much as a libertarian breakaway movement whereby libertarianism fashions itself as the “new center.” This new move is apparently necessary because Lindsey has realized how inhospitable progressive soil is to the flower of libertarianism. Suffused with deference to planners, reverence for the state, and a predilection for running other peoples’ lives, contemporary liberalism is largely (though not entirely) liberalism in name only. 

Lindsey concedes this fact in an awkward way when he writes: “I do believe that libertarian ideas are better suited to the language of liberalism rather than that of conservatism.” Which is another way of saying that liberals talk a good game about freedom, but their policies have nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, maybe Lindsey is right that the language of conservatism needs to be reinvigorated with libertarianism, but it seems to me that’s exactly what the Tea Partiers he so disdains are busy doing.

Many of Lindsey’s core assumptions about conservatism’s relationship with libertarianism are just wrong. For starters, why should libertarianism be so hostile to culturally conservative values? Isn’t libertarianism about freedom, including the freedom to live conservatively if that’s what people choose? Secularism in politics is a perfectly admirable and libertarian value, but using the state to impose secularism on society is not. One gets the sense from Lindsey that the greater threat to freedom in this country comes from conservatives imposing their “benighted” religious outlook on the citizenry, rather than from the state scrubbing society of religion while imposing narrow conceptions of “diversity” on every institution and hamlet. Which worldview has more state and corporate power behind it in America today, Christianity or—for want of a better term—political correctness? Lindsey is supposed to be making the case for freedom, and yet so much of his uncharacteristically intemperate essay simply reads like he has chosen sides in the culture war and thinks that a host of political and policy questions should therefore be settled.

Not all of Lindsey’s complaints about the right and the GOP are without merit, but there’s so much ill-willed tendentiousness and ad hominem embedded in his description of political reality, it’s hard not to conclude that his emotions have gotten the better of him. Again and again, Lindsey grabs the most convenient, negative, and often clichéd, interpretations of Tea Parties, “birthers,” rightwing paranoia and the usual parade of horribles (sorry: “gargoyles”) in order to make his case that libertarians need to divorce themselves from conservatives. Worse, he singles out sins of the right as if they are not also sins of the left—and libertarians as well. (I would submit that the distribution of “outlandish conspiracy theories” is fairly uniform across the ideological landscape.)

For instance, I was particularly sorry to see him buy into this “epistemic closure” nonsense. I’d strongly argue that he’s simply wrong on the facts about David Frum’s departure from the American Enterprise Institute. But even if he weren’t, are we really to believe that the Cato Institute is more accommodating of heterodox ideas within the framework of libertarian thought? I would be curious to see how long a scholar at Cato would endure after coming out in favor of, say, socialized medicine. And pray tell, when said scholar was given the heave-ho, would Lindsey decry the “intolerant groupthink” that led to the decision? I wouldn’t call that “epistemic closure,” but I am at a loss as to why Lindsey wouldn’t. As for Bruce Bartlett’s wildly overplayed plight, it’s at least worth noting that the think tank he was cut loose from could just as easily be described as libertarian as conservative. It’s hardly as if the free-market National Center for Policy Analysis has ever been a bastion of social conservatism.

Lindsey’s telling insinuation that the libertarian position is de facto pro–abortion rights would draw objections from those many people who describe themselves as pro-life libertarians. More practically, I think Lindsey misapprehends the “libertarianism” of actual American voters. Even if the majority of people who (accurately) describe themselves as libertarians favor legalized abortion, it is quite clearly not the case that most care about the issue very much. Meanwhile, a great many of the conservatives who are willing to votefor libertarians do care about it very much. I don’t know what Brink Lindsey thinks of Ron and Rand Paul, but it is quite obvious that their political fortunes would be nil were they not pro-life. Either their popularity with conservative Republicans suggests that the right isn’t nearly so hostile to libertarianism as Lindsey thinks or it means that the Pauls have sold their souls to the party of Comstockish illiberalism.

There’s real merit to Lindsey’s claim that the “spirit of freedom is cosmopolitan.” But today’s champions of cosmopolitanism are hardly champions of freedom and devotees of the quintessentially cosmopolitan libertarian Albert J. Nock. Rather, they are the transnational progressive technocrats of Davos and the U.N. who, with increasing frequency, express contempt for democratic sovereignty because the people can’t be trusted to handle such problems as climate change. 

Lindsey makes a perfectly fine and correct observation that libertarians—at least true-blue ones—are politically homeless. But it’s worth stressing that this is not the case where it actually matters most: economics.

I am perfectly willing to concede that the GOP’s free- market record has been fraught and festooned with disappointments and betrayals. But at the intellectual level, even among most of the people Lindsey describes as “gargoyles,” economic libertarianism remains largely synonymous with economic conservatism. The Mount Rushmore of libertarian economics—Hayek, Friedman, Mises, Hazlitt, et al—quite simply is the Mount Rushmore of conservative economics. Cato’s economic prescriptions are respected by only one of the major political parties, and it’s not the Democrats.

And yet, as a matter of practical politics, Lindsey would have libertarian spokesmen and advocates alienate conservatives in the hope that this would earn credibility with liberals. It seems far more likely that liberals would pocket libertarian attacks on the right—of the sort found in Lindsey’s essay—while continuing to ignore libertarian arguments on economics and other key areas of public policy. Left-wing environmentalists will not suddenly embrace property rights because libertarians vilify the Christian Right. But the Christian Right may well stop listening to libertarians if they all started talking the way Lindsey does here. 

Lastly, this talk of turning libertarianism into centrism is intriguing but no less ludicrous for it. Simply put, centrists aren’t libertarians and libertarians aren’t centrists. Ending the drug war is at the heart of contemporary libertarianism (and has long been the official position of the “benighted” National Review, by the way). But how does Lindsey plan on making that centrist? How will he make an open-borders immigration policy centrist? Social Security privatization? Free-market health care? I know Cato has invested heavily in arguing otherwise, but the reality is that centrists, just like almost everybody else, hold libertarian views on some issues and not on others. And many views held by libertarians simply are not centrist. Like it or not, in America, the more libertarian you are on most economic questions, the more “right wing” you are. Period. (But it is not always true that being libertarian on social issues makes you “left wing.” Progressives embrace speech codes, racial quotas, state intrusions into the right of association, etc.)

If you take all of Lindsey’s talk of being “centrist” and replace it with “popular,” it clarifies his argument enormously. Basically, Lindsey wants full-blown libertarianism to be popular. I do too! But no amount of wordplay, poll-data-torturing, or bridge-burning will make this philosophy genuinely popular, never mind the new hinge for our two-party system. This is not an argument, it’s a wish. 

Wishful thinking also lurks under his claim that the right is dying away. This is not only untrue as a matter of public opinion (as of this writing, polls show women, independents, etc. moving back to the GOP), but it’s untrue as a matter of policy as well. One of the main reasons conservatives have emphasized their “illiberal” policies on such issues as national security and abortion is that they are popular (even, dare I say it, centrist). Nowhere does Lindsey provide evidence that support for, say, military tribunals is unpopular, because he can’t. The Obama administration has been learning this lesson the hard way. In fact, both parties have emphasized their more illiberal facades in recent years. Nonetheless, I would still dispute that the GOP is less libertarian today than it was, say, at the beginning of Bush’s first term, when the libertarian-rebuking “compassionate conservatism” was all the rage.

I wish Lindsey had spent a lot less time disparaging conservatives and aping the punditry of The New York Times and more time concentrating on the philosophical argument behind Liberaltarianism 2.0. It’s a fascinating topic with many avenues for agreement and disagreement. Personally, I think he has it wrong in his attitudes toward religion and social conservatism. From the founding, religion was a great engine for liberty. Our constitutional order rests on the conviction that we are endowed by our creator with certain rights. Both the abolitionist and civil rights movements were religious in nature. 

As for social conservatism, I think the real way to deal with Lindsey’s disdain for it is to pursue a more plausible and principled solution to the problems affecting both libertarianism and the country: federalism. As Thomas Jefferson knew, big cities will always be cosmopolitan. But there’s no reason why one narrow definition of cosmopolitanism needs to be imposed across the land. Social conservatives and libertine libertarians—and some practical progressives—should be able to find common cause in a campaign that allows people to live the way they want to live in communities that reflect their values. But that is a subject for another day and, hopefully, Liberaltarianism 3.0.

Jonah Goldberg (JonahNRO@gmail.com) is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (Doubleday).

Drink Your Tea
How could you not celebrate the spontaneous emergence of a decentralized movement aimed at rolling back big government?

By Matt Kibbe 

I can’t help but wonder what planet Brink Lindsey has been living on for the last 18 months. Lindsey’s harangue against the good men and women who make up the Tea Party movement —utterly dismissive of their important work against an entrenched political establishment—seems disconnected from reality. This massive grassroots revolt against big government is the greatest opportunity that advocates of limited government have seen in generations, yet libertarian intellectuals like Lindsey seem content to sit on the sidelines and nitpick. While the Tea Party builds a whole new infrastructure to house a massive community organized in defense of individual liberty and constitutionally constrained government, Lindsey would rather quibble over the color palette of the wall tiles in the guest bathroom.

His attitude is too typical, I fear. Lindsey views the world from the rarified vantage point of someone perched in a perfectly calibrated, climate-controlled Ivory Tower. From that high up he can’t possibly see what is actually happening on the ground.

Casually confusing the terms “conservative,” “Republican,” and “Tea Party,” Lindsey borrows liberally from the left’s caricature of knuckle-draggers to knock down one strawman at a time. He’s made a hash of the whole thing, but I’ll just make a few observations from the vantage point of someone who, as part of FreedomWorks, has been working with the Tea Party movement from its inception.

Lindsey grants some value in our opposition to government-run health care, allowing that “at least some conservatives haven’t forgotten their signature move” as the Loyal Opposition to the Democrats’ wild expansion of government. But where was he when this movement was being born out of principled disgust with Republican spending, with the corruption of earmarks as a source of campaign financing, and most notably in opposition to the TARP bailout? What is now called the Tea Party was forged during the first bailout, when angry citizens actually killed the first TARP proposal on the House floor by standing up and pushing back against a Republican president. We all could have used more help then, before the bill became law, opposing the most outrageous expansion of government power in my lifetime. That genie’s not going back in the bottle. When it mattered most, many think tank intellectuals were scarcely seen or heard from.

Lindsey says that true libertarianism is far more “cosmopolitan” than the rabble-rousers he sees on the streets. That sounds more than a bit like a certain president I could name, a guy who wants America to be more like Europe. Lindsey even ridicules those of us who venerate “the timeless wisdom of America’s founding principles.” I for one hope we maintain our difference from Europe in continuing to live by the radical principles of individual rights and limits on collective government power. Is that trite? If so, I got my triteness from a guy named Howard Roark: “Our country, the noblest country in the history of men, was based on the principle of individualism, the principle of man’s ‘inalienable rights.’ It was a country where a man was free to seek his own happiness, to gain and produce, not to give up and renounce; to prosper, not to starve; to achieve, not to plunder; to hold as his highest possession a sense of his personal value, and as his highest virtue his self-respect.”

Call me provincial, but I always loved that speech. I suppose fictional characters are not serious intellectual leaders, though.

But who is, exactly? Practicing conservatism in the worst sense of the term, Lindsey pines for the days prior to the Internet and talk radio when network oligarchs and taxpayer-funded television forced the right to rely on a few “intellectual champions” of “sheer brilliance” who covered for the inelegance of the unwashed masses behind them.

Today, Lindsey worries, serious intellectuals “don’t call the shots.” The best of the bunch, like his friends Bruce Bartlett and David Frum, have been sacked by the enforcers of “intolerant groupthink.” Bartlett, a former Reagan official, is quite popular these days in the White House and on the left because of his vocal support for a value added tax, which he defends on grounds that “the U.S. needs a money machine” to fund the spending requirements of big government. Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, was particularly outraged by the recent vanquishing of the “perfectly good” conservative Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) by the Tea Party hordes. Anticipating Bennett’s defeat, state GOP delegates, mostly new to the political process, chanted “TARP, TARP, TARP!” from the convention floor. The now–lame duck senator had unapologetically voted for the Wall Street bailout, aggressively defended Senate appropriators’ culture of earmarks, and introduced health care reform legislation requiring that all Americans buy government-approved health insurance. 

It may be intolerant to say so, but these are all intolerable policy ideas, and the Tea Party movement isn’t tolerating them.

Down here on terra firma, things look dramatically different from what Lindsey so dislikes. From my perspective, the Tea Party movement is a beautiful chaos, or as F.A. Hayek would put it, a spontaneous order. Ours is a leaderless, decentralized grassroots movement made up of people who believe in freedom, in the government not spending money it does not have, and in the specialness of our constitutional republic. They have arisen from their couches and kitchen tables and self-organized a potent countervailing force to the cozy collusion of political expediency, big government, and special interests.

One of the virtues of this decentralized world today is that citizens are no longer dependent on old-school institutions such as Congress, television networks, and even think tanks for information and good ideas. Like the Tea Party movement itself, access to information is completely decentralized by infinite sources online. Like the discovery process that determines prices in unfettered markets, these informal networks take advantage of what the philosopher Michael Polanyi called “personal knowledge.” Bloggers and citizen activists on the Internet now gather these bits of knowledge and serve as the clearinghouse for the veracity of facts and the salience of good ideas.

Do Tea Partiers read? You bet they do, and with a focus and discipline fitting a peoples’ paradigm shift away from big-government conservatism. One woman who marched in D.C. on September 12, 2009, had draped a big white banner, almost as big as she was, over the crowd control barricade. It stated, succinctly: “Read Thomas Sowell.” They listen to Glenn Beck and study Saul Alinsky. They also read Rand, Friedman, and Mises. They even read the Constitution of the United States, as timeless as it is, risking the erudite wrath of their cosmopolitan betters.

The Tea Party movement, if sustained, has the potential to take America back from an entrenched establishment of big spenders, political careerists, and rent-seeking corporations. The values that animate us all—lower taxes, less government, and more freedom—is a big philosophical tent set at the very center of American politics.

Brink, you should come on down and join us. You might get your hands dirty, but the good people of the Tea Party could sure use the help.

Matt Kibbe (mkibbe@freedomworks.org) is president of FreedomWorks and co-author, with Dick Armey, of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, to be published by HarperCollins in August.

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.

  • Skid Marx||

    "Where Do Libertarians Belong?"

    In the camps, silly.

  • ||

    Thread. Over.

  • Charles||

    Just Goldberg...

  • In day care||

    relearning how to share.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    It's kind of unfair to win the thread in the first post, but...there you go.

  • ||

    Yep. The coveted Thread Win Right Out of the Fucking Box TM.

  • Robert||

    Anybody who would be influential belongs at the center of gravity, where people agree with you 50%. If you're too close to people who agree with you more, you're preaching to the converted. Too much truck with those who agree with you less is wasted because your chance of moving the body is insignificant. Aim for the middle.

  • Dividist||

    Aiming for the middle does not quite cut it. Nor does aiming to shoot the right as Lindsey does, nor aiming to shoot the left as Goldberg does, nor aiming at both as Kibbe does.

    It is less important where libertarians "aim", or asking "where they belong" than it is figuring out how they will organize - regardless of where they are standing and aiming. A predictable centrist libertarian swing vote is the key. The rub - for a swing vote to be predictable - it has to be organized. And nobody yet has figured out how to herd these cats. This is sometimes referred to as the "Hot Tub Libertarian" Problem.
    There is an answer. There is a way to herd these cats. Paraphrasing from my post "Curing Libertarian Electile Dysfunction":

    Libertarian swing vote organization is going to have to look different than traditional political organization. After all, it is something we will have to accomplish while sitting in the hot-tub. What is needed, is an organizing principle. Ideally, a principle that is so obvious, so logical, and so clear-cut, that no leadership is needed, no parties are needed, no candidates are needed, and no infrastructure is needed. Ideally it is this easy: You think about the principle, and you know how to vote.

    That organizing principle exists. It is Divided Government. It is absolutely clear-cut and easy to understand. Divided Government is documented by Niskanen et.al. to work in a practical real-world manner to restrain the growth of the state. As a voting strategy it can be implemented immediately. More importantly, it can collectively be implemented individually as we sit in our hot tubs and ponder the sorry state of the world. Whatever the percentage of the electorate that libertarians represent, whether it is 9% or 20%, if they vote as a block for divided government, they immediately become the brokers of an evenly split partisan electorate. They arguably become the single most most potent voting block in the country, specifically because they are willing to vote either Democratic or Republican as a block. Specifically because they are not fused to one party or the other.

    If the libertarian "divided government vote" is shown to swing elections for two or three cycles, then libertarians will no longer be inchoate, their message no longer be diffused, and their political clout no longer flaccid. As long as the bulk of the electorate remain polarized and balanced, even a small percentage libertarian swing vote organized around divided government will be enough for libertarians to display the biggest swinging political "hammer" in town.
  • Videovexa||

    Libertarians belong at the Tea Party rallies. Reason and Libertarians should be setting up a table, passing out flyers and booking their own speakers at these rallies! The REASON Libertarians have not gained ground is because y'all are waiting for them to come to you, while y'all pontificate on some cushy couch! Get out there! This is a grass roots movement of the People! Don't throw in the towel before you even give REASON a chance to change things. The Tea Parties are the PERFECT opportunity to inform people what Libertarianism is. I believe this so much, that I want to start organizing "Liber-tea" meetings. Don't underestimate the power of knowledge. Please email me if you are interested in supporting this or if you would like to collaborate on some meetings.

  • Irving House||

    Hey Hi, Matilda Fairbourne Foster! Hope you're doing well. Stop on by sometime!

    Your Steadfast Friend,
    Irving House

    http://www.facebook.com/people/Irving-House/1528444788

  • Wesley||

    If Lindsey would have shortened his three pages to "I don't like religious people", he would have got the same point across.

  • ||

    Yeah, I like this one.

    "And, less obvious now but always lurking in the background, a dogmatic religiosity, as expressed in homophobia, creationism, and extremism on beginning- and end-of-life issues."

    Lindsey is amazingly un self aware. His anti-religiosity is more dogmatic than the worst fundamentalist. And of course I doubt he has ever bothered to consider if perhaps it is his views on abortion and euthanasia could ever be extreme. Nope, only Lindsey's critics are extreme never him. It is the kind of shit that gives Libertarianism a bad name.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    No -- it's conservatives pretending to be libertarians that gives libertarianism a bad name, or at least confuses folks about the brand. I enjoy your comments John, but you are no more a libertarian than I am a conservative.

  • ||

    No - it's libertarians pretending to be conservatives pretending to be libertarians that gives libertarians a bad name.

  • ||

    What if people weren't any one thing, and that trying to fit them into little boxes usually didn't work?

    I'm conservative on some things, liberal on others, and liberatrian on a good deal more.

    I look at different positions, and then agree with what I like. No matter which side is comes from.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You're a pragmatist. See, they've got a little box for everything.

  • ||

    doh

  • Rudan||

    Amen. (pun apologized for)

  • ||

    Uh, pot...kettle...black, John.

  • How dare you suggest ||

    John is oblivious ;-)

  • ||

    There is a difference between disagreeing with someone and thinking everyone who disagrees with you is just an unthinking fanatic. Lindsey is a shit because he doesn't get that distinction, which makes it unsurprising that he is so popular around here.

  • ||

    And John wins.

  • D||

    Beginning and end of life issues are tricky and emotional and I can understand how there can be division over them. I am still pro-choice in all ways, shapes, and forms, but I do understand where pro-life people are coming from. At the end of the day, people should have the right to believe in whatever they want, just don't force your religion on me or on anyone else.

  • Brad P.||

    It is especially hard to grasp Goldberg's rhetorical question:

    "Secularism in politics is a perfectly admirable and libertarian value, but using the state to impose secularism on society is not."

    It is not libertarian to make sure that people do not use government to promote their own religious beliefs?

    Why would Jonah Goldberg even be invited to express his opinion when he plainly doesn't even understand libertarianism.

  • ||

    Secularism in politics is a perfectly admirable and libertarian value, but using the state to impose secularism on society is not."

    It is not libertarian to make sure that people do not use government to promote their own religious beliefs?

    Jonah did not say that. He said that the state should not be used to strip religiosity from society. Society being the operative world. Government should be secular--society should be whatever the individuals that make it up want it to be.

  • Brad P.||

    In that case he doesn't understand secularism and is completely detached from reality.

  • ||

    That's bullshit though. No libertarian is going around railing about the need to eliminate religion from "society," and Lindsey never hinted at such a mission. Any objections tend to involve the use of religious doctrine to somehow inform government rules or procedures.

    Trying to re-instate secularity in governmental affairs has nothing whatsoever to do with religion's place in "society."

  • Brad P.||

    Right.

    Plus secularism is the rejection of religious authority, not the rejection of religion.

  • Fluffy||

    Well, government has never done that in the United States.

    It's starting to do that in Europe, but it has never done it here. Not even for a second.

    A lot of religious people feel that their vision of "society" requires that "assets paid for by the state" be put at their disposal, and that's where a lot of the confusion arises.

    "If you won't let us use our majority status to turn all public property into a celebration of our religious festivals, we feel like you're stripping society of religion! WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"

  • ||

    Well, if historically those assets have been used, and then now they are not, doesn't that count as stripping?

  • ||

    If it were just about that, you would have a point. But, it is about a lot more than that. Suppose the government extends all the protections for homosexuality that it does for race and sex. If that happens, that means saying that homosexuality is morally objectionable in the work environment becomes an actionable tort. That means that saying you don't want to rent your house to a homosexual couple becomes a crime. You are basically criminalizing religious or opinion. Look at all of the trouble the boy scouts have gotten into for saying they do not want have homosexual scout leaders. That is what people are upset about.

    It is funny. I am not religious. I have beliefs. But I don't go to church regularly and am not a member of any church. I am anything but a fundamentalist. And frankly I don't like most fundamentalists and have no desire to live around them or be a part of their culture.

    But I can emphasize with them and I can understand they have a right to believe and live however the hell they want even if I don't like it. You in contrast are just a horrible bigot. You value freedom only insofar as it protects people and things you like. You for whatever reason don't like religious people, which is no big deal to me I don't like a lot of them either. But what is a big deal to me is your complete inability to understand that they have rights and concerns as well. You really do have a horrible blind spot.

  • Brad P.||

    Strawman much?

  • Lurker||

    Suppose the government extends all the protections for homosexuality that it does for race and sex. If that happens, that means saying that homosexuality is morally objectionable in the work environment becomes an actionable tort.

    Thats more of a problem with tort law than secularism, isn't it?

  • Brad P.||

    Exactly.

    Equating equal rights for homosexuals with further degradation of property rights is similar to equating immigration with increased social spending.

    It basically uses poor legislation to discriminate against a group.

  • JoshINHB||

    Brad P -"Equating equal rights for homosexuals with further degradation of property rights is similar to equating immigration with increased social spending.

    It basically uses poor legislation to discriminate against a group"

    Foolish ideological consistency is leading "thinking" libertarians into an alliance with socialists.

    You people are nothing but usefull idiots to the statists. You all will be quickly discarded if they ever crush conservatives.

  • ||

    "You people" nuff said ,could you be more of a douche?

  • Dr. King Ali Khan the Terrible||

    "You all will be quickly discarded if they ever crush conservatives."

    How ironic.

    Hooray for the Enabling- er, PATRIOT Act!

  • ||

    Look at all of the trouble the boy scouts have gotten into for saying they do not want have homosexual scout leaders. That is what people are upset about.

    But that's because the Boy Scouts receive massive federal assistance and are tantamount to a state-sponsored organization. Stop funding them, and I think most libertarians would stop worrying about their enforcement of religious ideals.

    It's not the existence of religious thought that rankles secularists; it is the state sponsorship of said thought.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    So you are against public schools?

  • ||

    So against them you could almost call me fanatical.

  • ||

    I go around railing about the need to eliminate judeo-christian religion from society (of course, to be replaced with norse pagamism), sometimes. Not in an intellectually serious manner, mostly just to vent my frustration with the stubbornness of Christian folks, which honestly isn't any worse than the progressive-statist's stubbornness. I suppose that disqualifies me from being a Real Libertarian.

  • ||

    Well I'm the same way in my personal affairs; I just think religious belief is counterproductive and factually incorrect. But I wouldn't seek to legislate against private religious activity.

  • ||

    What policies is the religious right pushing today which has you so worked up? Organized religion has lost more power in the last hundred years than any other cultural force has ever lost. Why do people insist on acting as if Americans are in thrall to their churches?

  • ||

    Rhayader: That's bullshit though. No libertarian is going around railing about the need to eliminate religion from "society," and Lindsey never hinted at such a mission.

    Goldberg was saying that that tends to be the liberal ideal in politics, which is unacceptable. He wasn't accusing Lindsey of following that brand of thinking, but because Lindsey thinks libertarians should "coalitionize" with Liberals instead of Conservatives, that's what he was attacking.

  • ||

    mj86 - I know a good number of people with pretty large emotional problems which I feel are a direct result of their strict religious upbringing. A big one for me in the personal sphere is sex attitudes and premarital sex. I think when your philosophy preaches something that is borderline impossible and completely contradictory to human nature and desires, like waiting till marriage to have sex, or eschewing sex completely, you are asking for a disaster. If Christianity makes you happy and well adjusted, great. In my personal experience most people are unhappy, but it seems like a greater proportion of Christians are miserable. Basically, I just don't want my friends to believe in something I think makes them miserable.

    In the public sphere I definitely think government should be indifferent to religion, or lack thereof. This gets tricky with the argument that lack of religion is a form of religion, but I think that can be remedied in large part by getting government out of things it should not be in (public schooling monopoly, for example)

  • ||

    rustedangel - So you seem to be agreeing that the religious right, for all that you disagree with how they choose to live their lives, have no initiatives in danger of passing which threaten anyone. So why is the "religious right" such a ridiculous bogeyman to libertarians?

    We have a clear danger from the left in the form of confiscatory taxes, redistributionists, regulatory warriors, and nanny police. These groups push real policies which will negatively affect everyone with increasing magnitude as time goes on. But instead I'm supposed to fear a group of people with zero ability to effect my life?

  • ||

    mj86 - At the federal level in this moment in time, there are no initiatives from the religious right I consider harmful. That does not mean they do not back policies I strongly disagree with. For example, proposition 8 in California, banning abortion, getting even tougher in the war on drugs(if the results are bad, just do more of the same!), ditto for immigration, and interventionist foreign policy. Maybe these aren't specifically Christian initiatives, but I do find that Christians tend to favor them overwhelmingly.

    I agree with you that keeping more of my money (and keeping my gun rights) are probably more important, at least to me, and my short voting record reflects that. That doesn't mean I wouldn't oppose a conservative politician because of one of these issues, however.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    Based on your list of issues you find important, you are a liberal and not a libertarian. A liberal who cares about how much taxes he pays, but still a liberal.

  • Eisenhower||

    "I strongly disagree with. For example, proposition 8 in California, banning abortion, getting even tougher in the war on drugs(if the results are bad, just do more of the same!), ditto for immigration, and interventionist foreign policy."

    How does caring about these issues make him a liberal? Especially, considering most libertarians probably agree with him.

    Examples: Ron Paul, Nick Gillespe, Walter Jones, Gary Johnson, the late Senator Barry Goldwater was a social liberal, William Buckley opposed the Drug War and turned against the War in Iraq before he died. I could name many others, but before I do, I have to ask: What is your definition of a Libertarian? There have always been Libertarian Hawks and Doves, social liberals and social conservatives in the movement. But, usually they tend break from the mainstream conservative movement on more than a few issues (social issues, civil liberties, etc.).

  • Mike DeSoto||

    It is not libertarian to make sure that people do not use government to promote their own religious beliefs?

    No, it's not. That's liberalism. If "people" want to use "their" government to promote religious belief, libertarianism has nothing to say.

    I notice a great many liberals around here who want to equate their own pathological dislike of religion with libertarianism. But you can read Smith, von Mises, Hayek, and Friedman till you go blind without ever encountering that sentiment.

  • Thomas O.||

    Some of these people seem to forget the First Amendment of the Constitution of "their" government. Denying gays the right to marriage or equal marriage-ish benefits, based on what their god dictates, sounds like "respecting an establishment of religion" to me. And imposing this on people who may be part of a church that believes gay marriage is fine and dandy? That's definitely "prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

    And theorizing that I would approve of human sacrifice as part of someone's religion is a weak argument, as that would be considered murder or manslaughter. Homosexuality, meanwhile, never killed anyone... or ruined anyone's marriage.

  • Brian||

    No, it's not. That's liberalism. If "people" want to use "their" government to promote religious belief, libertarianism has nothing to say.

    WTF?????? Hell no! Libertarianism means shrinking the government to as little interference with peoples' lives as possible. If someone wants to use the government to promote their religion, ie push their beliefs onto others, THAT IS UNNECESSARY INTERFERENCE WITH OTHER PEOPLES' LIVES. Get the fuck out! You are in no way a libertarian, you are a conservative.

    If "people" want to use "their" government to promote religious belief, libertarianism has nothing to say.

    And what if that means Sharia law??? Fuck you of course I have a right to object as a libertarian.

  • Brad Potts||

    Mike, you make no sense.

    First off, your scare quotes around "their" doesn't even correspond with anything I said. If you are making some appeal to self-government and people using their own self-government to promote their religion, I have no problem with that. But I also don't really see how that is relevant to this discussion.

    When I refer to the government I refer to the state that currently sits on top of American society (and its peers around the globe), not to some vague libertarian ideal of self-government.

    When referring to a state, the libertarian MUST recognize that it rests on coercion. Very little gets done through the state without coercion or the threat of coercion. Therefore, the use of government to promote religious belief is coercion to promote religious belief.

    I cannot believe any libertarian can coherently hold the opinion that one should use government to promote any religious belief. In fact I would imagine libertarians would obligated to oppose such attempts strongly.

    Also, Hayek went beyond a link between church and state and separated just about everything spiritual and temporal. He was very hostile to anyone using the government to promote religious belief, and was adamant that any conflation between "God's Will" and the will of the state was extremely dangerous.

    Also, do you always rely on economists to provide you with your ethical opinions?

  • VicRattlehead||

    Can't tell if Trolling or brainwashed

  • ||

    ...just don't force your religion on me or on anyone else.

    So you won't force your religious views about human sacrifice on others then. OK.

  • ||

    Human sacrifice, of course, has a nasty habit of producing human victims. Asking to be left alone regarding imaginary sky-men is not the same thing as asking to be allowed to commit murder.

  • ||

    I would be perfectly fine with it as long as the sacraficee is there voluntarily.

  • VicRattlehead||

    But then how will we summon the dread lord Chthulu from the sunken city to consume all mankind?

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    But if all those stupid rednecks would just stop screwing everything up with their identity politics, we'd be fine. They are just too stupid to understand that freedom is cosmopolitan.

  • Brad P.||

    If Lindsey would have shortened his three pages to "Don't follow dogmatic authoritarians" he would have got the point across.

    Is he wrong that the right today panders so much to our religious and nationalistic undercurrents as a country, that it has completely abandoned libertarian principles?

    Does the right rely on reason or dogma when it considers issues of abortion, gay rights, immigration, American exceptionalism, xenophobia, and the teaching of creationism?

  • ||

    "Does the right rely on reason or dogma when it considers issues of abortion, gay rights, immigration, American exceptionalism, xenophobia, and the teaching of creationism?"

    To say that no one on the right relies on reason regarding those issues is to say there is no reasonable arguments the other way. That is why Lindsey is such an offensive jackass. There are lots very reasonable and even libertarian arguments for the other side of those issues. Lindsey just doesn't like them. But rather than admit that his critics make arguments he doesn't agree with or feels are flawed, Lindsey just calls them unthinking fanatics and pats himself on the back about how smart he is.

    That essay really made me want to punch him in the face, and I agree with him on most of the things he is talking about. But the method of argument is so flawed and offensive, the substance gets lost.

  • Rudan||

    There's no reasonable argument for teaching Creationism or Xenophobia. If you're saying rejection of gay rights are generally motivated by reason instead of religious dogma, you're kidding yourself.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Creationsim - freedom of religion.

    Xenophobia - strawman.

    Gay rights - which rights do you mean? Just the question begging "positive rights" or somehting a libertarian would actually b 4?

  • ||

    Rejection of gay rights is a function of innate human xenophobia--it was rationalised into religious dogma.

    Humans are socialising themselves out of this particular xenophobic reaction.

    Unfortunately, most religious doctrine relies on books written thousands of years ago. Hard to change.

    Human will have disguised their xenophobic reaction to homosexuals under a pronounced societal acceptance long before established religions are able to adjust.

  • Brad P.||

    Ok. I will concede that there are libertarian arguments in favor of some of those.

    However, I do not think the vast majority of conservatives are loyal to those principles as much as they are loyal to the ulterior principles that Lindsey mentions.

    The same is true of the left as well. They speak of freedom of choice and what not, but almost always thats just cover for technocrats and elites thinking they know better how to live another's life.

  • ||

    [citation needed]

  • Max||

    On the margins, which is exactly where they want to be. Theory is always safe on the margins.

  • ||

    No one is going to be charmed by a so-called libertarian trying to appeal to conservatives. The way to go is to ask the question, are you a man of liberty or are you a slave to the state?

  • Ray||

    Three essays, and I found not a single one of them the least bit convincing.

  • ||

    Great...another 300 post thread where everyone gets to establish their "libertarian" bona fides.

  • ||

    this post was supposed to be in response to Citizen Nothing....damn threaded comments.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Ah. I see. Everyone is a libertarian. Cool.

  • kinnath||

    I can haz liberty?

  • ||

    Libertarians should embrace the role of court jester.

  • T||

    I prefer to think of us as Cassandra, sitting in the back row pointing out how the proposed policies will fail. And they inevitably do...

  • JoshINHB||

    I see "intellectual" libertarians more as Garfield to their corporate statist masters.

    They fantasize about being warriors for freedom.

    But they're really nothing but neutered pussies that are afraid to leave the house and come running whenever they hear their dinner bowl being reloaded.

  • Tony||

    If you're a cosmopolitan libertarian who is against torture, phony wars, and a police state, then you should have long ago rejected the GOP and the traditional conservative movement. That's not even mentioning the xenophobia, nationalism, and anti-intellectualism. It's kind of a no-brainer.

    The problem with the tea partiers and a lot of libertarians, if I may, is that they claim economic philosophy (though certainly not economic policy actions) are paramount to everything else.

    I think the focus on spending and debt is cynical: we are trying to recover from a massive recession and it's a weak spot for the administration. But you can be legitimately concerned about that. It's just that there are so many other things that are important to the cause of freedom, and frankly the tea party is only willing to criticize Bush on spending, and that's just simply evidence of completely misguided moral priorities.

  • ||

    Tony, not bad, not bad at all. I don't know if you should get an all out atta-boy, but your post is easily the most balanced one I can recall you have penned.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Blind hog, meet acorn.

  • ||

    It's probably the other Tony who works with food, Tony B.

  • ||

    Well I mean if we're going to sit here and read an article by Jonah Goldberg, who's directly said that he basically wants our votes but doesn't want us to have any influence on policy, then Tony's comments can't really be seen as anti-libertarian. And actually, I tend to agree with Tony here. I see the Tea Parties as a useful tool to get our message out to some Republicans who may not be down with the militancy and religious zealotry of a lot of the conservatives, I won't associate myself with them other than occasionally going to their events. Although I think Tony is also misunderstanding the goal of groups like Campaign for Liberty and similar libertarian groups within the Republican Party is not to be all buddy buddy with the war/torture/xenophobia/homophobia-mongers, but more to tear off a chunk of the Republican party to claim for ourselves. I rarely actually go vote for a mainstream Republican. I voted for Bob McDonnell, but not because of ideology. I just slowly realized that Creigh Deeds was a complete moron.

  • Jen||

    "It's kind of a no-brainer."

    So are you.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Oh, fuuuuuuuuck, Tony made another decent post. But one can actually debate Tony, unlike, say, Max/Edward/Lefiti.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I could agree up until this point: "I think the focus on spending and debt is cynical: we are trying to recover from a massive recession." It's not cynical if you think that government spending utltimately destroys, instead of creates, private sector jobs. Because the private sector is the ultimate source of all government funding - either through taxation and fees, or through the stealth tax of inflation. Furthermore, the government, through it's activites, can create uncertainty about the future that causes economic actors to hold off on new ventures, or adding jobs. (See: any good history of the Great Depression).

  • Brad P.||

    But the government can be fiscally prudent in spending when borrowing is extremely cheap and paying it back when the economy has improved. There are costs and benefits to government spending, just as with any economic activity, and right now the costs are low and the potential rewards are fairly high.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brad P,

    But the government can be fiscally prudent in spending when borrowing is extremely cheap and paying it back when the economy has improved. There are costs and benefits to government spending, just as with any economic activity, and right now the costs are low and the potential rewards are fairly high.

    Here's a first taste of SOUND economics for you:

    The government cannot borrow "cheap". Government has NO assets, does not produce ANYTHING. What it does is borrow against FUTURE wealth created by productive individuals, i.e. US, the idiots.

    Second, government borrowing places a demand on current goods, making them more expensive.

    Third, government borrowing places a higher demand for current savings (since capital comes from savings), which SHOULD rise the interest rate. The reason the interest rates are currently LOW is because of the Federal Reserve pumping dollars into the economy (by buying government debt) in an effort to keep them low. This pumping of dollars is debasing the currency, which means it automatically makes current savings LESS VALUABLE, thus ROBBING from the current generation.

    Ergo, there is no such thing as "cheap borrowing" when we talk about the government.

  • Brad P.||

    I'm not sure how that counts as economics, but I can address it.

    First, the interest rate is low because of a great deal of risk aversion caused by uncertainty. There is very little private investment for risk of a second downturn, and foreign currencies are facing far greater risks than the dollar. Therefore investors are throwing money at government bills like its the only thing going.

    Furthermore, I'm not sure anyone, including conservative economists like Arnold Kling, Tyler Cowen, or Scott Sumner sees any evidence that monetary expansion is about to cause inflation.

    Lastly, saying that the government cannot borrow is like saying a mutual fund cannot borrow. A mutual fund can borrow against managed assets in the hope that the return on the investment offsets the cost of the investment.

    Government can do likewise. If they borrow now, when rates are extremely low, generate some growth above the rate of interest(I am likewise skeptical of the government's ability to do that, then future tax revenues will outweigh the costs of todays borrowing.

  • Sarah||

    Thank you for stating this so well. :-)

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The problem with the tea partiers and a lot of libertarians, if I may, is that they claim economic philosophy (though certainly not economic policy actions) are paramount to everything else.

    I don't understand - what's "economic philosophy"? There's SOUND economics and there's the philosophy of freedom (which is what libertarians espouse and which includes sound economics or free-market economics.)

    I think the focus on spending and debt is cynical: we are trying to recover from a massive recession and it's a weak spot for the administration.

    Correct: Like recovering from a hangover, a weak spot for an alcoholic. What Sound Economics (e.g. Austrian, Classical, free-market) theory indicates is that you do not cure yourself from a hangover by bilging (which is what Keynesian economics prescribes, foolishly.)

    It's just that there are so many other things that are important to the cause of freedom, and frankly the tea party is only willing to criticize Bush on spending, and that's just simply evidence of completely misguided moral priorities.

    Don't be a fool, Tony. Leviathan feeds itself through spending and it is through spending that it gathers the power to encroach on our civil and personal liberties, so of course sound economics will be as important if not more than the fight against other encroachments on our freedoms. You first starve the monster before you can defeat it.

  • Tony||

    For someone who drops Logic 101 terms like rabbit crap you sure do a lot of overt and unapologetic question begging.

  • Old Mexican||

    Really? Just like that?

    Not enough, Tony. You cannot simply make an unsubstantiated assertion and then expect to ride towards the sunset.

  • Brad P.||

    What the hell is "SOUND economics"?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brad,

    SOUND economics: Firmly rooted on logic and reason.

    UN-sound economics: Deeply rooted in Statism.

  • Brad P.||

    That is an incredibly useless answer.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brad P,

    Exactly what do you want?

  • Brad P.||

    Something that isn't worthless rhetoric.

    Logic and reason can lead to many different economic models and policies, depending on the inputs.

    Anti-Statism can result in profoundly bad economics, as displayed by anti-state communists.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brad,

    Logic and reason can lead to many different economic models and policies, depending on the inputs.

    Balderdash. It does NOT depend on the inputs, Brad: The premises must be VALID, first. You can arrive to a correct conclusion even with invalid premises but that does not mean the argument is SOUND.

    Anti-Statism can result in profoundly bad economics, as displayed by anti-state communists.

    Nonsense, you're begging the question.

  • Brad P.||

    The subjective premises that inform economics can never be true or false. We decide what we want, then we use reason to fulfill that want.

    And I don't really know how I am begging the question. Anti-state communists think that their economic model would provide for a functioning society. I consider that to be decidedly unsound economics.

  • Soonerliberty||

    The point is that all statist-based economics are a broken-window fallacy, b/c they rely on the destruction of wealth through taxation, borrowing, and printing (monetizing debt). These are the only things gov't can do, b/c it produces no wealth. All of these things are destructive of wealth.

  • Brad P.||

    I'm not going to deny that a great deal of American liberal economics relies on the broken window fallacy. I'm also not gonna say that it is appropriate to look at the market as approximating the desires of the public.

    However, I have already explained how borrowing does not necessarily result in wealth destruction. Also management of a monetary system is gonna be done by someone, and it is legal tender laws that you should be focused on in that case. And finally, a free market does not universally lead to the optimal outcome. There are various factors that do lead to the failing of a market.

    Have governments consistently made things worst throughout history? Yes.

    Can governments provide a useful function in an economy? Also yes.

  • Soonerliberty||

    When gov't borrows and must pay back the interest, with whose money does it pay it back? You can say that it borrowed it cheaply, but it ultimately pays back the interest with either stolen money or printed stolen money. That does not change the fact that it destroys wealth either way.

    What is the optimal outcome? How would one divine that? Name some market failures.

  • Brad P.||

    Of course it pays back money with either tax revenue or printed money. But right now the economy is not functioning well. If government borrows and spends now in a way that promotes economic growth, then revenue will increase even if it stays at its current proportion of GDP.

    I am not particularly concerned with deficits, rather I am concerned with overall government intrusion. If some investment into some technology or education whose transaction costs are prohibitive to private actors can cause a boost in GDP, then government can sustain itself with lower tax rates.

    For examples, look at highways or perhaps internet infrastructure.

    The best utilitarian argument for the free market is that it trends toward Pareto optimality. Pareto Optimality or efficiency is basically a situation where no one person can be made better without making another worse off. If an economy is not Pareto efficient, then it is basically underperforming.

    Market failures are factors that keep a market from reaching Pareto efficiency and include things like externalities, where costs are being paid by people who are not a party to a transaction, information asymmetry where transactions are skewed away from being mutually beneficial, or transaction costs.

  • Soonerliberty||

    I am familiar with Pareto optimality or efficiency, especially as David Friedman explains it in Hidden Order, but the point is to get around that you need some sort of force by gov't intervention, and that is either immoral or highly inefficient and/or ineffective.

    It sounds as if you prefer the Chicago school. Did it ever occur to you that the economy is not functioning well as a result of intervention (artificially low interest rates leading to malinvestment and a boom, fiat money, housing regulation, etc.)?

    How can gov't promote growth when its very existence destroys wealth? How can we ever know how the great robbery has really perverted and manipulated our economy?

    Greece wasn't worried about deficits, either.

  • Soonerliberty||

    There is no rational basis under which one can say that highways or internet infrastructure should be separated from any other private good.

  • Brad P.||

    I'm not much into any school, but I do believe that there are huge structural problems to our economy caused by artificially low interest rates and subsidies.

    I completely believe that the government is mostly responsible for the depths the economy has fallen to, and that our future well-being is dependent on a vast departure from the last century of policy towards a free market approach.

    I also, however, believe that past governments and societies have not left us with the freest of societies to work with, and that common sense policies can improve the situation. Always, of course with an eye towards eliminating the policies in the future.

    Ultimately, I just don't think that we would be freeing up a just market right now.

  • ||

    Broken window fallacy? Should the government stop collecting taxes to stop funding national parks, highway system, airports, military forces, rail lines, water and sewage, power distribution network, state universities?

    In 1995, about 8% of the budget went to the poor. The rest of Your Money (three quarters of it) is spent on defending you, supporting you in old age or unemployment, protecting the money you have in the bank, keeping farmers and big business happy, and paying interest.

    The most liberal years were the most successful. The last 60 years can be divided into two parts: the New Deal era (1933-1975) and the corporate special interest era (1975-present). America experienced its greatest economic boom in history during the New Deal era.

    With only a few brief exceptions, Democrats have been in control of Congress ever since, a period of six decades, not four.

    However, more important than whom controlled Congress was the governing philosophy of the nation. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was laissez-faire. After 1933, the New Deal created a broad safety net for workers and the poor. The New Deal era actually ended in 1975, with the rise of the corporate special interest system.

    The Reagan Revolution constituted a full-scale assault on the New Deal. The top income tax rate was slashed from 70 to 28 percent. Corporate taxes as a percentage of all federal tax collections dropped like a rock: from 27 percent in the 1950s to 8 percent in the 1980s.

    The following chart shows the effectiveness of a progressive tax system. When the top rates were truly high from 1950 to 1978, American income at all levels grew at about the same pace. But when progressivity was lost in the 80s, income inequality soared. Under the corporate special interest system, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer:

    Income Growth by Quintile

    Quintile 1950-1978 1979-1993
    Lowest 20% 138% -15%
    2nd 20% 98 -7
    3rd 20% 106 -3
    4th 20% 111 5
    Highest 20% 99 18

    Even though the social values of the 50s were conservative, the economic values of the time were in fact thoroughly liberal. The top income tax rate fluctuated between 88 and 91 percent until 1963, when Kennedy lowered it to 70 percent.

    One of the greatest accomplishments of the New Deal era was the vast reduction of poverty. Roosevelt immediately began redistributing wealth more equally. By the 1950s, the poverty rate had been reduced to 20 percent. Johnson's Great Society reduced this even further, to an all-time low for this century: 11.1 percent in 1973.

    Poverty has generally risen. The rich have greatly reduced their charitable giving, causing the poor to increase theirs.

  • ||

    What the heck is an "anti-state communist"? All communist systems are Statist and require a powerful central state to enforce their utopian vision on society. Do you mean they oppose the existing state so that they may take power??

  • Soonerliberty||

    Anti-state communist would be someone who opposes the state and would organize in communities. Would it work? No, b/c you still need force.

  • Brad Potts||

    You still need force in a completely libertarian society, it is justified, however, in upholding contracts and preventing subjugation.

    The problem with communism is that there is really no reason to assume that the society would spontaneously order itself as a free market society would.

    Plus people naturally value and understand the utility of capital. Communists just like to abstract the term from the common sense reality behind it.

    Communism (like all lefty economics) is easy when you can take everything and divide it up neatly and act like your models represent reality.

  • ||

    That's sophistry -- they are only anti the EXISTING State and want to replace it with their own Statist, tightly controlled system!!

  • ||

    The Tea Party is an economic only association. Expecting them to address other matters is akin to criticizing NARAL because they refuse to condemn eminent domain for private use.

    And further, libertarians who assume opposition to their policies is driven by xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, etc belong with the rest of the dogmatic autocrats of the left. You're no different than those who cite god as evidence.

  • Fluffy||

    Who assumes that?

    I don't have to assume it. I just wait five minutes and my opponents inevitably demonstrate their xenophobia and anti-intellectualism.

  • ||

    being against illegal immigaration does not equal xenophobia, no matter how many times you repeat it.

  • Sudden||

    Exactly. Although there is no doubt a significant portion of xenophobes in the anti-immigration camp, there are also a significant number of people who are simply uncomfortable with the importation of a permenant underclass that drains social welfare spending like WIC and FICA and increases their tax burden exponentially.

    And to some extent, xenophobia is (although irrational and stupid) sometimes a response to such feelings of victimization.

  • ||

    Okay, fine, then you're a different kind of stupid.

  • ||

    What Kronborge said. And criticizing ideas you don't like doesn't make you anti-intellectual.

  • AA||

    Actually agree Tony. Those are the things that turn me away from most of the GOP and Tea Parties. That and talking a good game on economics only to do the opposite. If the Republicans do win a majority in congress this Fall, I expect not much will change, just a bunch more rhetoric though talk, and more debt.

  • ||

    The Tea Party is exactly what libertarians have wanted from conservatives for decades: the willingness to prioritize their economics over their social policy preferences. But now that we get what we want we're so determined to remain electorally irrelevant we have to find new reasons to hate conservatives?

    Disappointing.

  • ||

    I'm not sure it's accurate to attribute a "willingness to prioritize their economics over their social policy preferences" to the Tea Party. Their big-picture rhetoric may give that impression, but these people admire Sarah Palin and freaking Joe Arpaio. Socially agnostic they ain't.

  • ||

    agreed, but at the moment, they are priotizing economic policy over social policy.

  • ||

    Well we know how that "at the moment" stuff works. The "moment" ends as soon as the interested party gains any sort of power.

  • Sudden||

    Meanwhile, the Dems have failed to prioritize the positions they have in common with us above massive fiscal foolery. So do we throw our lot in w the Pubs who seem interested in cutting govt spending (even if they lack the testicular fortitude to address the things that matter like Medicare and SS) or do we throw our lot in w the Dems who seemed to have conveniently forgot they're supposedly anti-war and for ending the drug war?

  • ||

    Uh, neither. I'll keep my "lot" to myself, thanks very much.

  • ||

    The question isn't who they admire, it's what policies do they support.

    Do you see rallies against civil unions? Promoting federal subsidies of christian universities? No, they're all for less spending and less taxation, just like we want. I suspect they do believe in more socially conservative policies than libertarians. But the whole point of the TP is that they've agreed not to pursue that agenda in order to further their economic concerns. This is their promoted value proposition, and if they abandon it they will lose everyone attracted to them from that proposition. It seems to me we should encourage that as best we can.

    Consider the Nevada Senator who lost in the primary. Of course Krugman'sa spin was that he's very conservative but not conservative enough for the Tea Party, but Krugman's a Democratic Party hyper-partisan. Bob Bennett was a social conservative, but not an economic conservative - neither a free marketer nor for small government. That's why they voted him out, which was perfectly consistent with their brand.

    So we seem to have two choices, an unrepentently autocratic nanny state pushing as far left as it can at every opportunity. Or a party that may be moving in the right direction. I understand this isn't conclusive, but choosing the other side makes no sense. At least one way we have a chance.

    I hear leftist whispering campaign fears in too many criticisms of the Tea Party. Obviously there will be attempts to coopt it. But why reject something because it might not work? We should support it to see how it plays out.

  • ||

    The question isn't who they admire, it's what policies do they support.

    It's tough to admire Joe Arpaio without supporting some pretty disgusting shit.

    I don't necessarily disagree with your "lesser of two evils" reasoning, but I don't believe for a second that, collectively, the Tea Partiers would be at least as socially conservative as the Republican party.

  • ||

    Again, you don't see them rallying for Arpaio. So painting them with the sins of someone you don't even know they support seems a pretty weak criticism.

    And I doubt they would be as conservative. The entire point of moderating the social side is to attract independents. To the extent they do that I would expect more moderate social goals.

    Maybe someone will be smart enough to realize this combination wins. If not, we'll vote them out and do it again.

  • ||

    Arpaio was asked to be a keynote speaker at a major Tea Party rally just a few months ago. The original link appears to be dead now, but here is Balko bitching about it:

    http://www.theagitator.com/2010/04/24/and-im-out/

    And again, I don't buy the idea that they're easing off on the social issues. To me it seems like a ploy to drum up mainstream support, and I see no reason to think Tea Partiers wouldn't happily support whatever gay-bashing, anti-immigrant, police state asshole can beat the Democrats.

  • ||

    With those comments it's obvious you haven't given them a fair hearing.

  • ||

    Yeah ok, whatever you say. I remember in Bush's 2nd term, when liberals and libertarians were all supposedly setting their economic policy differences aside, and working together to oppose egregious civil rights violations and aggressive foreign policy. Then, the very second that Democrats got power, they were cramming economic statism straight down our throats.

    Unless Tea Partiers come out in favor of socially libertarian positions, then their "prioritizing" is nothing but bullshit power-grabbing.

  • mj86||

    Anyone who refers to those who disagree with him as "gay-bashing, anti-immigrant, police state asshole[s]" just isn't serious. It's the kind of closed minded nastiness liberals substitute for reason.

    And your insistence that everyone must support your every position is self-defeating.

    It's strange you cite Democratic failure to live up to your hopes as a reason not to consider Republicans. But it's even stranger considering that the Tea Party is an anti-establishment group. This has been proven several times during the primary season where establishment candidates haev been defeated by outsiders. To concusively state what their goals are when you clearly know so little about them is simple dogmatism.

  • AA||

    "And again, I don't buy the idea that they're easing off on the social issues. To me it seems like a ploy to drum up mainstream support, and I see no reason to think Tea Partiers wouldn't happily support whatever gay-bashing, anti-immigrant, police state asshole can beat the Democrats."

    I'm with Rhayader on this one.

    "It's strange you cite Democratic failure to live up to your hopes as a reason not to consider Republicans."

    You can't be serious. When exactly have they proven otherwise? How long should we keep hoping and giving chances?

  • mj86||

    What Republicans deserve is not contingent on something Democrats failed to do. The simple fact that failures of one party are not transferrable to the other is hardly objectionable.

    And if the Tea Party burns us we're certainly no worse off. Better as long as Obama is in office. Likely better after, since it's unlikely Reps would ever get to 60 Senators.

  • AA||

    I never said base what Red Team might do on what Blue Team does. I said Base what Red Team does on what Red Team has done.

  • mj86||

    AA - You need to reread Rhayader's post. He stated that Reps can't be trusted due to the Dems actions. You criticized my pointing out that this is illogical. By doing so you agreed that Reps should be criticized for Dems actions.

  • ||

    Thanks for letting me know I'm not "serious." I have no interest in other people supporting my "every position" ether; I can't even tell where you got that from.

    Sorry man, the Tea Party thing isn't convincing to me. Republicans in libertarian clothing -- and yes, skepticism of Republicans is as warranted as that of Democrats.

  • mj86||

    Rhayader - You're not skeptical, you're absolutist, as where you claim here that their ""prioritizing" is nothing but bullshit power-grabbing."

    Millions of people, but they're all power grabbing liars. None are for their stated goals.

    Your requirement that everyone agree with all your views is obvious. TPers generally agree with libertarians on economic issues. The Tea Party doesn't take positions on non-economic issues. But you cannot accept agreement with them because a position they don't advocate might be different than yours.

  • ||

    But you cannot accept agreement with them because a position they don't advocate might be different than yours.

    I'm not sure how else to say this. I don't buy the idea that Tea Partiers as a group "don't advocate" positions that I find bothersome: support (and even escalation) of prohibition, legislative enforcement of religiously derived social norms, animosity toward immigrants, etc. These may not be the stated goals of the party -- or at least the stated priorities -- but I haven't seen a thing from them to dissuade me that it'll be front and center again as soon as they get any sort of power.

    Also, you can stop reading into what I can or cannot accept, and what sort of confirmation I do or do not need. Let's stick to debating the issues at hand.

  • mj86||

    Rhayader,

    I don't think you need to say it any other way, I understand your position perfectly.

    It's a simple fact that the Tea Party doesn't advocate the positions you mention. (Today's WAPO has an article on them declining to take a position on the DOMA court ruling). Suspicion that that individual Tea Partiers or whatever leadership emerges hold some of those views is natural, but policy advocacy is a matter of record. It's quite odd that you continue to assert your requirement that TPers publicly announce support for your positions before you will even consider supporting them while still objecting to my pointing out that you require this.

    As far as debating the issues at hand, you're the one continually bringing up illegal immigration and "legislative enforcement of religiously derived social norms". If you want to stick to the debate at hand please do so.

  • ||

    It's quite odd that you continue to assert your requirement that TPers publicly announce support for your positions before you will even consider supporting them while still objecting to my pointing out that you require this.

    Considering that I made it plain above that the "lesser of two evils" sort of reasoning is ultimately where I stand on this, your characterization is patently off-base. Given the choice of a Tea Party candidate versus an old-guard Democrat, I'd almost certainly vote for the former. But I'm not for a second lulled into some complacent blanket support for a group that has some troubling tendencies to say the least.

    As far as debating the issues at hand, you're the one continually bringing up illegal immigration and "legislative enforcement of religiously derived social norms". If you want to stick to the debate at hand please do so.

    Haha -- I meant we should avoid personal inferences and assumptions about each other, not that we should avoid mentioning tangentially related issues. My point was that we shouldn't let the debate center around the debaters, not that we need to stick to some strict list of allowable topics.

  • mj86||

    "I meant we should avoid personal inferences and assumptions about each other,"

    So you can give this respect, just not to anyone from the Tea Party? Your assertions that the TPers believe this and that are nothing but inferences and assumptions. Of course your assumptions will be true of some, as it would be for any large group. But there is plenty of evidence it isn't true generally.

    I'm not advocating blanket support, I'm saying we should not try to invent reasons to marginalize them. This is the left's goal, which is exactly why their surrogates are pressing this line of attack. The left can't defeat the Tea Party, only the center/right can. As long as the Tea Party limits itself to economic issues it is the best thing we could possibly hope for.

    I don't understand why a libertarian would want to kill the TP in favor of the status quo. Even if the TPers turn out to be the caricature you fear is it any worse than the status quo? At the very least we could expect gridlock.

  • Sarah||

    When I started reading Lindsey's piece, I thought there was no way either of the two later ones could convince me otherwise. Upon reading them, they were both more powerful than I had anticipated. But ultimately, I'm with Lindsey.

    Which is just a long way of saying that I agree with you to an extent: Libertarians do themselves a disservice when they downplay that an essential element of libertarianism is freedom on social issues and a committment to secular government (not a secular society).

    That being said, however, I truly believe that the greatest threat to our country right now is our fiscal irresponsibility. I don't think it's fair to downplay our concerns. I am afraid of a country in which incentive has been destroyed either by the instilled belief that things should come for free or by intolerable tax burdens that make it more attractive to be a consumer than a producer. I'm also afraid of what will happen when we default on our debt. Will we actually have violence in the streets? Armed conflict with our debtors? Or will we forced to return to an agrarian lifestyle in which only those with land can survive? Alternatively, are we going to try to inflate our way out of debt, something that no country has ever successfully done before, and which might still mean the collapse of life as we know it?

    I take heart from the fact that Europe seems to be coming back from the brink without experiencing an apocolypse. But, I am still very, very concerned.

    Yes, there are lots of other important issues. I'm also upset that we have non-violent offenders in prison. I'm upset that homosexuals do not have equal rights. I'm upset that there are still alot of people who want to use the power and might of the government to enforce their religious, cultural and social preferences on others.

    All of these things matter a great deal. But they do not threaten the very existence of our nation. So I'm gonna keep fighting for what's right on those issues. But the one that seems really at a breaking point is the debt and the spending.

  • Sudden||

    It becomes at some point a matter of priorities. Its not that we view one thing as less important as another from a philosophical basis, but the coming demographic deluge from the boomer retirements is going to bankrupt the entire fucking system, rendering any good faith disagreements on social policy issues relatively moot.

    Quite simply, if this country defaults, experiences hyperinflation combined with economic stagnation, and the combination of massive tax increases and inability to pay current liabilities to present retirees, we're likely to experience the political ascendency of someone that makes Bush and Obama look like Calvin Coolidge and Chester A Arthur... a demogauge with little interest in civil liberties or economic liberties. Extreme crises are always the fertile breeding grounds of genuine tyrants, the kind that dispatch with the formalities of constitutional checks and limited tenures. For that reason, it seems entirely logical to me to focus on aligning oneself with the side of the spectrum that we think could best avert the worst-case scenario.

  • Sarah||

    What he said. :-)

  • Willie Mays Haze||

    So in other words, like, *real* tyranny.

    Not this I'm-mad-my-side-lost-the-Presidential-election bullshit.

    "Wahhh! President _______ is JUST LIKE Adolf Hitler!"

  • Tony||

    I don't expect you to buy into Keynes but the idea is that without an increase in debt now in order to stimulate growth, the debt problem in the future will be all the worse. That is, addressing debt when the economy on its own would be contracting is counter-productive.

    I definitely can't say people are dumb for caring about debt, but they are ignoring the history of recessions. There are always very smart people calling for austerity and debt reduction in these times, and to the extent they are listened to, the problems tend to get worse.

  • Sarah||

    Well, I just flat out disagree with you on the economics. :-)

    But, we're conflating separate issues. I read your post as observing that you find it annoying that libertarians harp upon economic issues to the neglect of others.

    You may also find it annoying that libertarians find the Chicago School to have a more accurate economic model than Keynes. But that's a separate issue than identifying the most compelling problem facing our nation today.

  • Tony||

    True, I just believe that libertarians are not only focusing on the wrong things, but their way of addressing those things they do care about are counter-productive.

  • AA||

    Your are right again, we do tend to be counter productive in the way we address the things we care about. Which is again, the reason I never support Red Team outside of Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and maybe Jeff Flake. Not that I support much of Blue Team. But Sarah and Sudden are correct, the economy IS the big issue now, and fixing the other things wont mean a whole lot if we experience the worst case scenarios they described.

  • Jen||

    I believe you, too, are ignoring the history of recessions if you support spending our way out of one. Japan's lost decade should be instructive on how that works out.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    There you go, trying to impose your own moral priorities on everyone else!

  • JoshINHB||

    Tony - " It's just that there are so many other things that are important to the cause of freedom, and frankly the tea party is only willing to criticize Bush on spending, and that's just simply evidence of completely misguided moral priorities."

    Epic Fail.
    What the fuck have Barry and the obamanauts ever done to advance freedom?

  • Tony||

    Stopped torturing people?

  • JoshINHB||

    Where?

    In Guantanamo?

    Or the people still being renditioned.

  • ||

    Lindsey's article may not cover all the bases, but Goldberg's article is simply unreadable. For example:

    Not all of Lindsey’s complaints about the right and the GOP are without merit, but there’s so much ill-willed tendentiousness and ad hominem embedded in his description of political reality, it’s hard not to conclude that his emotions have gotten the better of him.

    He accused someone of ad hominem and then leveled an ad hominem attack in the SAME FUCKING SENTENCE!

    And John, since when was religiosity a necessary component of libertarianism? Obviously one should be free to worship (or not), but I have trouble reconciling that with the idea that being anti-religious disqualifies one as a libertarian (although it certainly disqualifies one from being a Libertarian).

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Good observation, Taktix. That's more hilarious than unbelievable, but only barely.

  • ||

    How about this:

    I don’t know what Brink Lindsey thinks of Ron and Rand Paul, but it is quite obvious that their political fortunes would be nil were they not pro-life. Either their popularity with conservative Republicans suggests that the right isn’t nearly so hostile to libertarianism as Lindsey thinks or it means that the Pauls have sold their souls to the party of Comstockish illiberalism.

    The bold words are news to me.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I guess it depends on how you define "conservative," but Ron Paul won the 2010 CPAC straw poll, and Rand is a tea party favorite. Obviously there is some significant support for them, particularly Rand.

  • Willie Mays Haze||

    Meh, Paul always dominates straw polls. Scientific polls and actual elections are another matter.

    But ANYONE who remembers the 2008 primary debates should remember how "Mainstream" Conservatives *really* feel about Ron Paul.

  • Mythical Canadian Libertarian||

    I'm pretty sure Jonah Goldberg is the least effective arguer of modern times.

  • Mo||

    I'm pretty sure Jonah Goldberg is the least effective intellectually honest arguer of modern times.

    FTFY

    I would like nothing more than to see libertarians convince liberals to become less statist and less culturally bullying.

    "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?"

  • ||

    Lindsey's article may not cover all the bases, but Goldberg's article is simply unreadable

    Yeah that's a pretty good summary right there.

  • Fluffy||

    Add Jonah Goldberg to the list of people with no idea what the term ad hominem actually means.

  • ||

    I wonder if he knows what begging the question means.

  • JB||

    Look up the word 'irony' please.

    He was being serious (because his statement about Lindsey was true) and ironic at the same time.

    Went over your head I see.

  • Justin Raimondo||

    For Brink Lindsay, of all people, to complain about conservative "jingoism" in the pages of Reason magazine has got to be some kind of sick joke: it was Lindsay, after all, who made the case for the Iraq war in the pages of this very magazine.

    "Cosmopolitan" my ass! Slimey little opportunist and careerist is more like it. And if that's "epistemic closure," then let Lindsay, Bruce "More Taxes" Barlett, and David "Ron Paul is a KKKer" Weigel make the most of it.

  • Toda||

    +1

  • ||

    Although I would side with Mr. Lindsey in the present debate, his piece calling for the Iraq invasion was a lesson in jingoism.

    Here is but one gem:

    The case for action against Iraq is further strengthened by the unfortunate facts that 9/11 did happen and Al Qaeda does exist. Here is the grim reality: Radical Islamism is in arms against the West, and its fanatical followers have pledged their lives to killing as many of the infidel as they possibly can. American office workers in New York and Washington, French seamen in Yemen, Australian tourists in Bali, Russian theatergoers in Moscow -- nobody is safe. However exactly this conflict arose, it is now in full flame. And let there be no mistake: This is a fight to the death. Either we crush radical Islamism's global jihad, or thousands, even millions, more Americans will die.

    What the words in the above paragraph have to do with Iraq is beyond my ken.

  • ||

    Probably the fact that Saadam's Iraq indoctrinated its citizens to hate the West. Just another Jihad factory that had to be destroyed.

  • JoshINHB||

    "his piece calling for the Iraq invasion was a lesson in jingoism."

    Give him a break. He was only writing what his master told him to.

    It's not like he believes any of his own bullshit.

  • ||

    Ron Paul nullified his racist tendencied by supporting Michael Steele.

    *dusts off hands*

    Even Steven...

  • Duckworth-Lewis||

    The only nice bit about Lindsey's piece - it was only three pages - let Justin write the article and you are talking a 30,000 word screed.

    But yeah - Lindsey loses a lot of credibility with me on the Iraq war issue and his warmongering...

  • Sudden||

    While interestingly enough Buckley opposed Iraq IIRC. Damn TEH warmongering backasswards spaghetti monster worshipperz!

  • JoshINHB||

    Brink's an even bigger douche than I realized. Which is amazing.

  • ||

    Like Drew Carey, I want to keep my money and still get high; however, if I am forced to make a choice - I'll pick keeping my money. I wish republicans were more liberal, but in the end the freedom of quiet enjoyment of property is the basis for all the others. Now if you will pardon me - the basement bong is waiting.

  • Freewheeling Franklin||

    Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.

  • Urban Hicks||

    Weed. It's what's for dinner.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I think you still have money to pay for the "dope" before it can make you feel good about not having any money.

  • ||

    See, I'd rather give up some of my money than support the mass incarceration of my fellow innocent citizens.

  • ||

    It's not like most dems are doing much to stop this either.

  • ||

    No fair. I came here to trash on Republicans, not to defend Democrats.

  • ||

    Please define "some".

  • JoshINHB||

    "I want to keep my money and still get high; however, if I am forced to make a choice - I'll pick keeping my money."

    I must have missed the part where dems came out in favor of ending the drug wars.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Raimondo is just pissed that Gillespie channels Fonzie so much better than he does.

  • ||

    I can haz liberty?

    No.

    You are suspected of heresy.

  • ||

    Raimondo?

    Was he in one of those BoyBands?

  • Toda||

    Was this a frail attempt at a sneer?

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    no. member of the Argentinian soccer team.

  • ||

    Was Brink Lindsey on the JournoList too? Or just Julian Sanchez? It's really hard to take the piece seriously after the author mentions the "epistemic closure."

    On the other hand, if Andrew Sullivan were still sane he could write that piece instead of Lindsey.

  • T||

    On the other hand, if Andrew Sullivan were still sane

    I question your assertion that he was sane at some point. I'm going with the theory he had a thin shell of reasonable over a boundless core of batshit nuts. Once the shell cracked, it was all over.

  • Esoteric||

    Brink Lindsey was also a JournoLister. Again, he's been noticeably quiet about the association.

  • ||

    Thank you, Esoteric, for being such an invaluable source on all things JournoList.

  • ||

    Wait, what? I was never on JournoList, and I can't imagine that Brink would have been either.

  • Beltway Liberal-tarian||

    Get over yourself.

    Everyone knows you both where.

  • ||

    Everyone except... people who were actually on JournoList. Really, though, if I'd been a member, I'd happily say so. Would've joined just out of curiosity if Ezra had ever invited me, but he didn't.

  • ¢||

    I would be curious to see how long a scholar at Cato would endure after coming out in favor of, say, socialized medicine.

    ...says Goldberg.

    Several there clearly favor and push it by denouncing its every enemy, treating principled opposition to it as moot and/or the sole province of icky racist Jeezo-losers, and offer only cost-benefit nigglings that presume the virtue of nationalized whatever—and the greater virtue of its proponents.

    They're not the "coming out" type, though.

  • St.V||

    I've read and watched a good deal of their junk on healthcare, and I don't quite see how you imply that people like Michael Tanner would be in favor of socialized medicine.

  • ||

    Liberal/conservative should be personality attributes and not political philosophies. There are only two genuine and distinct political philosophies - there are those who believe self ownership/personal sovereignty and individual liberty is the default, natural human condition ("self evident") and those who do not. Libertarian means a belief in personal, individual liberty and anyone who is not a libertarian simply does not believe in liberty and I just wish they would stop pretending otherwise.

  • creech||

    So true. And it excludes from its definition any attempt to attach particular religious (or irreligious) beliefs to libertarians, or approval or disapproval of gays, or desire to use drugs, or fashion commentaries, or enjoyment of porn, or a thousand other cultural views that may or may not be held by those who proclaim self-ownership and individual liberty.

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    This is nitpicking more than any sort of disagreement, but technically speaking "Liberal/Conservative" and "Statist/Individualist" are just two of a virtually infinite number of dichotomies into which political beliefs can be organized. There is no single "correct" division of ideas; no objective central axis along which all belief lies.

  • Mythical Canadian Libertarian||

    Someone who uses the word "intellectual" as a pejorative trying to tie his argument to Hayek. I threw up in my mouth a little.

  • ||

    In my country, Canadian is a pejorative.

  • T||

    It is in Canada, too. But they're too polite to talk about it.

  • JB||

    Really? Have you ever talked to people at "top tier" colleges?

    They are generally idiots who all read the same books and regurgitate the same group-think. Many of them have never heard of Hayek no less read anything by him.

    People should be hyper-critical of the so-called and often self-labeled "intellectuals"; usually they are narrow-minded twats.

  • ||

    Eight years of Bush the Lesser (six with a GOP majority* in congress) followed by the Dem landslide and all of the sudden the GOP is making libertarian noises. Why should I believe them?

    It's gonna take a whole lot more than pretty words to get me to even thinking about voting for the fiscally irresponsible, military adventurous, social engineer wannabes that is the GOP.

    Not that I'll be casting any ballots for Obama's party either. Fuck both of the players in the two party system.

    * Close enough for government work.

  • Old Mexican||

    First and foremost, a raving, anti-intellectual populism, as expressed by (among many, many others) Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.

    Being against academic socialism and radicalism is NOT the same as being anti-intellectual.

  • ||

    Calling education as "academic socialism" and "radicalism" is fairly anti-intellectual.

  • Old Mexican||

    Trixie,

    Calling education as "academic socialism" and "radicalism" is fairly anti-intellectual.

    You're not being intellectually honest, trixie - nobody said the word "education."

  • ||

    If only one could find that ocurring I suppose it might even be meaningful. Instead it has about the same import as observing that if the sun rises in the west we're likely to have a bad year.

  • D||

    You do have to admit that a lot of what conservatives hold as dogma make no sense. The idea that the constitution and all other American laws are somehow christian, the idea that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here, the idea that they hate us because we're free, the idea that tax cuts will help with the deficit while keeping social security and medicare intact, the idea that gay people are whats wrong with America, the idea that poor people just have to pull themselves up by the boot-straps and work harder. These are all fantasies that lie at the foundation of what many conservatives believe.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: D,

    The idea that the constitution and all other American laws are somehow christian, the idea that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here, the idea that they hate us because we're free, the idea that tax cuts will help with the deficit while keeping social security and medicare intact, the idea that gay people are whats wrong with America, the idea that poor people just have to pull themselves up by the boot-straps and work harder. These are all fantasies that lie at the foundation of what many conservatives believe.

    You pilled up one belief which is actually factual over other beliefs which are nothing more than paranoid talking points.

    The origins of the Constitution and many laws ARE Judeo-Christian. Take a look at the EU's constitution for a "taste" of laws that come from a secular source (don't forget to take Dramamine before you dare to read it.)

  • ||

    The origins of the Constitution and many laws ARE Judeo-Christian. Take a look at the EU's constitution for a "taste" of laws that come from a secular source (don't forget to take Dramamine before you dare to read it.)

    People seem to forget that the Constitution did not come out of thin air. There were centuries of history leading up to it. Especially the history in America itself from 1600 up to ratification and how things tied to traditions the new immigrants brought over.

  • Brad P.||

    Do we really give a shit about the religious origins of the constitution?

    If the constitutions calls for religious oppression, the proper libertarian response is to actively oppose the constitution.

    It seems to me that, if Thomas Jefferson or James Madison would hear the argument that the US was a Christian country because the founders were Christian they would be appalled.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brad P,

    Do we really give a shit about the religious origins of the constitution?

    I do, and that's coming from a non-believer.

    If the constitutions calls for religious oppression, the proper libertarian response is to actively oppose the constitution.

    Of course it is. Even if it were true that the Constitution calls for religious oppression, that would not invalidate its Judeo-Christian roots.

    It seems to me that, if Thomas Jefferson or James Madison would hear the argument that the US was a Christian country because the founders were Christian they would be appalled.

    That tells anybody that you have no idea of what Jefferson nor Madison thought. Both were religious persons, with beliefs deeply rooted in Christianity. What they were NOT was agnostic, like Paine.

  • Brad P.||

    I don't know how to quote and split it up like you are doing.

    You are correct that my argument doesn't invalidate the constitution's Judeo/Christian roots. It just invalidates the idea that those roots matter. I am not about to stand up for unjust law simply because it represents the beliefs of our founding fathers.

    And Jefferson and Madison were extremely religiously heterodox. I do not believe that they would support a "christian" reading of the consitution just because they were Christian. They were both keenly aware of the problems associated with religious governance.

  • Government of Wolves||

    Brad, when you adopt this aggressive attitude towards Judeo-Christian tradition, you fail to see that it is a crucial part of the American conception of liberty, and one of the principal reasons why individualism is so strong in this country. Christian notions of personal responsibility helped to forge the economic attitudes of America, in contrast to European secularism's contibution to statism.

    Economic libertarianism is hard: it entails taking responsibility for one's heathcare costs, one's job, for weathering economic storms through discipline and perseverance, rather than relying on the efforts of others. It relies on virtues like thrift, sacrifice and deferred gratification. These are the selfsame virtues that American Protestantism encourages (and this is from a lapsed Catholic turned agnostic). This is why Jefferson, a deist, believed that the Republic's liberty depended on a virtuous citizenry who took the lessons of Judeo-Christian tradition to heart.

    Concentrating on social libertarianism is easy: do as you like. This is an excellent attitude for government to adopt towards its citizens, but without a framework of virtue, it encourages the kind of lazy sense of entitlement that leads to mortgage bailouts and healthcare nightmares.

    Even if one wished a perfect libertarian state into existence, without the virtues that American religion fosters, and without a society that takes at least those attitudes if not the beliefs to heart, it wouldn't last a decade.

  • Brad P.||

    GovernmentofWolves:

    Economic libertarianism does not rely on any of the values you refer to. A libertarian society where people prefers more immediate gratification would simply have higher interest rates.

    Acting as if some certain value is vital to society is the same thinking that liberals want to throw out as showing why the market fails.

    The central benefit of the market and libertarianism in general is that the market and the government are flexible to the will of the people.

    Arguing that the will of the people must bend to meet the necessities of a free market sounds even more wrong-headed and dangerous than the statists who argue that the government must shape the behavior of individuals.

  • ||

    But it doesn't have to be hard. We have developed a system that is stacked against people be meaningfully self sufficient. We cultivated a culture of dependency and I don't just mean the welfare state, thought that certainly has produced a permanent underclass. Look at the hoops anyone has to jump through to start any sort of enterprise. There is regulation and licensing on top of regulation and licensing, much of it developed to stifle competition and to erect barriers to entry. Certainly smart, enterprising people can work hard and prosper, but for the vast majority there is no obvious outlet for industriousness. Even farmer's market are regulated.

  • shrike||

    Both denounced Christianity. Jefferson re-wrote the Gospels to take the miracles and resurrection out because he thought it absurd and a distraction from the peacenicking of historical Jesus.

    Both rejected the divinity of Jesus - so if that qualifies as Christian so be it.

  • Soonerliberty||

    I think deist fits the bill better, or they could be like me and despise organized religion for the same reasons they despise organized gov't. Both run by man and both equally ineffective and immoral.

  • JoshINHB||

    they could be like me and despise organized religion for the same reasons they despise organized gov't

    Did he idolize human run corporations like you do?

  • Soonerliberty||

    Massive corporations are a side effect of massive gov't . . .

  • HTML Fairy||

    I don't know how to quote and split it up like you are doing.

    Go to this website and click around for a while. You'll figure it out.

  • Mo||

    "The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills."

    "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors."

    -TJ to John Adams

    That doesn't sound like a religious Christian to me.

  • D||

    http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/

    I'm sorry, but bible God doesn't seem like a lover of liberty to me.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: D,

    You're talking about different things.

  • Fluffy||

    Put the crack pipe down.

    A polity that based its laws on the Ten Commandments would be the most totalitarian and destructive state ever formed.

    The EU sucks, but the distance between the Constitution and the EU is shorter than the distance between the Constitution and the bible.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Fluffy,

    A polity that based its laws on the Ten Commandments would be the most totalitarian and destructive state ever formed.

    You're not using your head. How could "Thou shall not steal", "Thou shall not kill", "Thou shall not bare false witness" lead to totalitarianism?

  • shrike||

    Since when does the Constitution address murder, theft, or lying?

  • Soonerliberty||

    He's addressing the above argument. It's not his argument. And those would have been left to the states under the 10th Amendment.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Actually, since taxation would be outlawed, it'd pretty much have to be ancap, wouldn't it?

  • shrike||

    There is absolutely NOTHNG Judeo-Christian about the Constitution.

    Name one Mosaic or Jesusy law contained in it - unless one of them packed heat and was for freedom of speech/press. Hell, even the Golden Rule is rightfully absent.

    It is more Greco-Roman and pagan John Locke liberalism than J/C.

  • Soonerliberty||

    They are not saying the Constitution is Judeo-Christian, but that those who wrote it were heavily influenced by it. The Declaration on the other hand seems littered with deist sentiment.

  • shrike||

    But they weren't.

    (they = Madison and to a lesser extent Jefferson).

  • Thomas O.||

    I don't dispute the Judeo-Christian roots of the Constitution. And I don't oppose civil, peaceful religions (those that don't impose their rules on non-believers or kill their believers for breaking those rules). But pointing out the religiosity of the Founding Fathers or the religious inspiration of the Constitution doesn't give you a free pass to censor or ban immoral materials, or deny equal marriage benefits to same-sex couples, just because it goes against your religion.

    "Freedom of religion" means just that: the freedom to follow your conscience based on a higher power, be it Jesus, Muhammad, the Earth Mother, Bob or whatever. And as long as others aren't harmed, killed or discriminated against in the process of practicing your beliefs, you're welcome to worship however you choose in America.

  • Strawman||

    Ow! Oof! Umph! Ouch! OW! Stop it, stop it, I give! I give!

  • ||

    DIE STRAWMAN DIE

  • ||

    D - Pretending for a moment that Conservatives hold as dogma what you claim they do, let's review:

    1) I can't even pretend on this one. Conservatives don't claim that the Constitution and all other laws are Christian. Perhaps the next time you're talking with one you can LISTEN, instead of waiting to talk, and then you won't be quite as confused.

    2) As a military man, I can tell you that taking the battle to the enemy's home is better than letting him bring it to yours. You deal with terrorism the same way you deal with a crackhouse. Proactively.

    3) They DO hate us because we're free. They've been quite clear about this. They consider our elevation of Man's law above God's law to be an abomination against God. And you claim WE'RE intolerant.

    4) Tax cuts WILL help with the deficit. It's called the Laffer Curve. Learn it, live it, love it.

    5) While I realize that there are people in the general "Conservative Community" who are hostile towards homosexuality, even THEY don't think that "gay people are whats wrong with America".

    6) I've got news for you. A lot of poor people DO need to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps". When a person goofs off during 12 years of Public Education, spends more time smoking pot and drinking beer than trying to make a life, and then blames "The Man" for his problems, I have trouble being sympathetic. Not that I or any other Conservative thinks ALL poor people fall into that category. That would be ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as your belief that NONE do.

    The only fantasy here "D", is the one YOU seem to have about what Conservatives believe. Or is that more accurately termed "hallucination"?

  • Joe||

    Sarah Palin is fairly anti-intellectual.

    I don't see enough Glen Beck to know if he is as bad as her.

  • Old Mexican||

    I haven't seen enough of Palin to agree, but I have seen Beck enough to know that he's not anti-intellectual in an absolute sense, only anti-socialist intellectual.

  • Brad P.||

    How is possible to be anti-intellectual against only intellectuals of one opinion?

    Wouldn't libertarian intellectuals be just as subject to anti-intellectualism as socialist intellectuals?

    Or is Beck just arguing that socialists cannot be real intellectuals?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brad P,

    How is possible to be anti-intellectual against only intellectuals of one opinion?

    Not anti-intellectual, only anti-socialist intellectual.

    And one can be against intellectuals that espouse truly horrible things like limiting one's freedom of speech and freedom to possess property.

    Wouldn't libertarian intellectuals be just as subject to anti-intellectualism as socialist intellectuals?

    Of course they can be, especially in the universities.

  • Brad P.||

    I see. I was thinking you were saying he was anti-intellectual against socialist intellectuals, when you meant he was anti-socialist against anti-intellectuals.

    He does strike me as anti-intellectual, but I'm not going to argue over Glenn Beck's opinions.

  • ||

    Haha. "Only anti-socialist intellectual." Classic.

    Beck is pretty much the textbook definition of an anti-intellectual. This is a guy who got his start as a "Whacky Morning FM Deejay" type -- pure lowest common denominator.

  • ||

    Ain't nothing wrong with that. I'm not a huge Beck fan, but that has nothing to do with his education, or lack there of.

    Judging someone by their fancy degress instead of their viewpoints is bullshit.

  • ||

    I never said anything about "degress," fancy or otherwise. Anti-intellectualism has absolutely nothing to do with education, and I never implied that it does.

    Beck is an image-driven populist, uninterested in subtlety or nuance. I couldn't even tell you what education he has, but that's irrelevant.

  • Soonerliberty||

    I think I have to agree here, though I share Beck's disgust at leftist, socialist, statist academia.

  • Sudden||

    Steyn got his start in the same manner. And though I'm not endorsing Steyn or his positions on a number of matters, I would suggest that he is not an "anti-intellectual" but rather a witty and well versed man in his own right.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    There is a difference bewtween anti-intellectual and stupid you know.

  • shrike||

    Not with Beck.

  • JoshINHB||

    Maybe intellectuallism is over-rated since all of the statist evils of the 19th and 20th century derived from intellectuals.

  • ||

    No, but celebrating ignorance is nearly the definition of anti-intellectualism.

    And Beck and Palin put ignorance on a fucking pedestal...

  • Sudden||

    And Maddow and Olbermann are equally ignorant. They simply speak with larger words and are have read their share of literature in their days, it doesn't make them bastions of intellectual fervor in any way shape or form.

    This debate over ignorance is ironically ignorant of the true barometer of intellect: logic. The logical mind is that which can take a few assumptions or predicates and from it, applying rules of logic, arrive at the appropriate conclusions. Neither Olbermann nor Maddow strike me as logical, nor does Obama for that matter (nor may I add Palin, and I'll have to defer on Beck having not seen enough of his show although the little I have seen causes me to doubt he is logical either). What pisses me off to no end though is the conflation of education/knowledge with logic/intelligence. It is true that some measure of knowledge about the world is mostly necessary for informing logic (one must have reasonable starting points or antecedents in their logic formulations), but such knowledge alone does not reliably predict a person's ability to rationally process those antecedents. Maddow, particularly, seems well informed and knowledgeable, but I trust her rational thought process about as much as I trust a sociopath babysitting my kids.

  • JoshINHB||

    What pisses me off to no end though is the conflation of education/knowledge with logic/intelligence

    What pisses me off is the conflation of education/knowledge/intelligence with moral superiority.

    Socialists always do that and it seems certain liberal tarians are too.

    Ironically that is the seed from which statist evil grows.

    It's quite ironic that liberal tarians are letting socialists seduce them with sweet nothings of "we're so much smarter than those people".

  • Old Mexican||

    Brink Lindsey:

    Cooperation with the right on free-market causes would need to be supplemented by an equivalent level of cooperation with the left on personal freedom, civil liberties, and foreign policy issues.

    Moronic. The left could not care less about "personal freedoms", unless you want to miscronstrue personal freedom to mean being free to fuck and get high (exclusively, but not in that order.)

    The left's disdain for life and property should give Lindsay a clue about their true motives: The left IS authoritarian by definition.

  • ||

    Libertarians could do a lot by calling out the left on their true authoritarian nature. Liberals abuse the language of liberty on social issues while Conservatives do same for economic issues.

    I get both kinds of yuck in my mouth at the same time! Lip service is yummy.

  • Brad P.||

    Libertarian-leaning liberals have been calling Obama out for his decidedly authoritarian strategies since the beginning of his term, and they are just as marginalized by "serious liberals" as right leaning libertarians are marginalized by "serious conservatives."

  • Brad P.||

    Right,

    I'm supposed to side up with the left when it comes to smoking bans, bans on ingredients in food, mandatory insurance, union membership and association.

    I'm supposed to team up with the left when it comes to the policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    I'm supposed to team up with the left that has even further attacked civil liberties by targeting the JSOC assassination program on American Citizens, has started a bill to revoke citizenship status for accused terrorists, and has repeatedly pushed the supreme court to defer to the executive.

    Doubt it.

  • Tony||

    Jesus. The left is defined as being the opposite of authoritarian. Now I realize you believe that any society that is civilized in the slightest way is the same thing as Hitler, but come on.

    Some of the biggest protests in the history of the planet occurred when leftists gathered to protest the shitstorm of liberty abuses that happened under Bush. Were you there?

  • Brad P.||

    That left does not exist in mainstream American politics.

  • Tony||

    Of course it doesn't. I bet there are more liberals in this country than teabaggers, though, but the mainstream media tends to ignore the former whilst having a camera crew at the ready for every time Sarah Palin farts.

  • Soonerliberty||

    The far left does oppose authority, but you're not part of that left, nor do they exist in America, as Brad notes.

  • Groaty Dick||

    And where is that throng of leftists protesting those same liberty abuses that Obama is prolonging?

  • Tony||

    Still protesting... Read The Nation lately?

  • Jeff Perren||

    "The left is defined as being the opposite of authoritarian."

    Uh, so Lenin and Mao were right wingers? Or, at least not 'left'?

    If so, the term has no meaning, other than whatever you want it to mean.

    Even constraining the use of the term to American history doesn't help you here.

    FDR's policies - and his advisers - were authoritarian. That's why, for the first few years, the Supreme Court struck them down.

    Ditto Obama. When Berwick says he doesn't think the American public is smart enough to make good health choices, and they must be left to the leaders, that is authoritarian. When Sunstein advocates forcing websites to offer opposing views that is authoritarian. When Rahm advocates forcing young people into to summer training programs, that is authoritarian. Mandating that individuals buy health insurance is authoritarian. Forcing auto company bond holders - contrary to 200 years of established law - to take second or third place in line - is authoritarian.

    The list could be extended almost indefinitely.

    Are we now to believe that FDR and Obama are not 'left'?

  • Tony||

    It gets kind of fuzzy when you jump back and forth talking about economic policy vs. government power. But at least to a leftist's mind, there is no real contradiction: being liberal means you favor individual liberty over central authority. Despite what you think, that can and does imply more redistributionist economic policy, as laissez-faire tends toward concentrated wealth.

    It's not that we think Americans are too dumb to make good healthcare choices, it's that many Americans are too poor to have the ability to make any choices at all. It's about the rich subsidizing the healthcare of the not rich, which, at least to liberals, means a great increase in individual liberty.

  • Brian Garst||

    "Despite what you think, that can and does imply more redistributionist economic policy, as laissez-faire tends toward concentrated wealth."

    That is one of the more nonsensical things I've ever read. Concentrated wealth and central authority are not synonymous. Redistribution, on the other hand, requires centralaized authority. The idea that redistributionist policy reduces centralized authority is absurd.

  • Tony||

    So money doesn't equal power in any way?

    As a modern liberal I'm okay with centralized power as long as it has strong checks on it. The entities that would fill voids in power over people left by a too-small government would not have as many checks--including accountability to the needs of people.

  • JoshINHB||

    Tony -"It gets kind of fuzzy when you jump back and forth talking about economic policy vs. government power. But at least to a leftist's mind, there is no real contradiction: being liberal means you favor individual liberty over central authority."

    How does a central authority banning unapproved foods, beverages and smokes advance individual liberty?

    How does a central authority prohibitting words and thoughts promote individual liberty?

    How does a central authority intervening in the agreements of two private parties promote individual liberty?

  • EMp||

    Hear, friggin' hear.....

  • ||

    Guess what the acronym for 'National Socialist' is asshole?

  • ||

    The left is defined as anti-authoritarian??? Then you are going to have to explain to me who the left is. Historically, who does the left align with??? Communism is leftist isn't it? And it damn sure is also authoritarian.

  • ||

    The best that libertarians can hope for is to have no single party in control.

  • D||

    We need election reform in this country. I like open-list proportional representation, but I am open to anything that brings in third-parties. More people than ever are independents and moving away from the two parties. The two parties are moving to the far right/left. Congress's approval rating are piss-poor. We owe trillions in debt. I think now is the time, if there is ever a time, for libertarians to start making the case as loudly as possible that a multi-party system would be beneficial.

    Look at AIPAC and evangelical christians. Evangelicals want a strong Israel so that Jesus can come back, take the true-beleivers up to heaven, and leave the Jews on earth to suffer and die, but AIPAC doesn't care why evangelicals support them. They just use that support for their own goals, and it seems to be working for them. Maybe instead of joining the tea party, libertarians should just use tea-partiers to get out that message. Even if you want to use liberals who are tired with the democrats with promises of a green party, in the end the system would probably benefit us since this is a center-right country.

  • Joe||

    "take the true-believers up to heaven"

    This is the same reason I support drug legalization and free trade!!

  • ||

    Evangelical support of Israel has nothing to do with the second coming. God doesn't need help.

  • ||

    God doesn't need help

    What's with the collection plates then?

  • Soonerliberty||

    Exactly, that's like saying gov't can survive without collection plates shoved up your ass once a year.

  • ||

    "First and foremost, a raving, anti-intellectual populism, as expressed by (among many, many others) Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck."

    huh? beck is not very smart, but his show is at a pretty high intellectual level. most of his guests are not talking heads in the malkin mold that frequent other fox shows, but assorted professors and scholars. he reads a lot of intellectually demanding material, recommends highly intellectual books (many of which are decent) and his audience demands from his guests things like justification of their views of teddy roosvelt. beck has some and maybe even many faults, but anti-intellectualism is not one of them.

    palin, on contrast, is smarter than beck, but less interested in intellectual content. at some point, beck did an interview with palin and asked her, with obviously great and genuine interest, "tell me... how is your favorite founding father?". this is the sort of stuff that really interests beck. and somehow he managed to make tens of thousands of people care about such esoteric themes.

    but palin is not one of them. she didn't really have an opinion about founding fathers because she doesn't know much about any of them. and in that, she was not different from 90% of ivy league professors. you know, the "sophisticated" types whose approval lindsey so desperately seeks.

  • Wesley||

    Yeah, it was pretty obvious that Lindsey has never really watched Beck's show. To be fair, he probably avoids all Mormons, so Beck may not be special. Not that I watch Beck very often (it's on when normal people work), but Lindsey's criticism seems to be levied more at the Jon Stewart caricature of Glenn Beck than the real thing.

  • ||

    I'm not a regular listener to Beck, but he's on the car radio during my drive to work on the days that I'm running late (about once every week or two), so I've had ample opportunity to listen to the guy. He seems MUCH more reasonable in context than the clippings you get of his statements in the Huff Post and elsewhere. I disagree with him about a lot of things but he sincerely encourages his audience to follow up on his sources and think for themselves, something you don't normally hear a "whacky morning DJ" do on a political talk show. He's populist, but hardly anti-intellectual.

  • Danny||

    Unfortunately, libertarianism in its current forms will never catch on because it doesn't offer any real alternative to republican-conservatives or democrats-liberals. Cato and others offer various policy prescriptions (drug legalization, free-market economics, reducing overseas military commitments) that appeal to individual liberty interests, but do not represent a broader, coherent philosophy with a strong ethical foundation. We could systemically deconstruct every republican-conservative platform, and at the end of the day the republican-conservative crowd will still take refuge in the religious justification for their actions, and not a single mind will be changed. Likewise, we could do the same for liberal-democrats, and at the end of the day they will still justify their actions with cries of social justice and the good of the "community." It is what Rand called the mystics of muscle vs. the mystics of spirit. People will change their political views only to the extent that they remain consistent with their morality. Until and unless libertarianism offers a moral and philosophical alternative to the various anti-individual mystics who underlie American politics, and demonstrates that libertarianism offers a society where the individual maintains primacy and can pursue his life as he sees fit (even if that means voluntarily collectivizing, just leave me out of it), libertarianism will remain a political dalliance before people return to their comfortable home on either side.

  • ||

    I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that libertarianism contains no moral or philosophical foundation? Or just that libertarians have not effectively communicated those foundations?

  • D||

    The best way to give everybody healthcare, education, a job, and a house while not taking on trillions of dollars in debt is the free market. Libertarianism can be very utilitarian when the arguments are framed properly. So one doesn't have to offer a different philosophy to a certain extent. One has to display how libertarianism does more for that philosophy than progressivism or conservatism.

  • Danny||

    Utilitarianism is exactly the weak moral foundation that libertarianism (as it exists today) offers, and that I am arguing is insufficient and unsatisfying. Your point, D, is that libertarianism is but a more successful means to the same ends that republican-conservatives and democrat-liberals are attempting to achieve through statist means. Efficiency and results are not a proper means for weighing a philosophical or moral system, because they provide the basis for a consequentialist argument rather than an argument from (and defense of) first principles. In short, it is arguing that the ends justify the means. And again, broken down to its root philosophies, this fails to differentiate libertarianism from either of the mainstream political parties.

    @Rhayader: I think there are elements of both. Rand is the only author I know who presents a coherent philosophy- including first principles, ethics, and metaphysics- that enshrines the individual as the focus of morality, and individual liberties as the values by which life (spiritual as well as physical) is preserved. However, it would be sufficient for libertarians to point to Jefferson's inalienable rights endowed by the Creator to demonstrate that there is a moral purpose behind individual liberty. If you saw the Kagan hearings and her evasion on the question of natural rights, I think you can understand how squeamish such talk makes democrat-liberals, because discussing policy matters in such philosophical terms is finally fighting the fight on an equal plane, and one that actually poses a threat to mainstream political thought.

  • ||

    Yeah, I guess in my mind the moral case for natural rights has long been settled, and it seems to me that it's the obvious foundation of libertarian thought. I take your point though that this is probably not nearly as clear to philosophical opponents, and it's probably true that libertarians don't often make a strong moral case for their positions. I wouldn't say the general philosophy lacks for ethical justification at all though.

  • Sudden||

    To piggyback on Rhayader's claim, I'd also argue that the libertarian first principles of Natural Rights are also far more ideologically consistent than any of the platforms of the Dems or 'Pubs.

  • Tony||

    While first principles are probably necessary for any philosophy of government, I think that the more rigid and consistent they are, the less likely they are to apply to the real world.

    To my mind, the best political philosophy ever devised was founded in America by the pragmatists (Dewey, James, etc.) It's silly to have rigid first principles and then to expect a decent society to develop from them; you end up making all kinds of excuses when that fails to happen and it becomes a dogma rather than a useful tool. Better to have real-world outcomes in mind and to tweak your beliefs and policies so that they favor them.

  • ||

    Luckily for us, the most ethical situation -- freedom -- is also the most pragmatically useful one.

  • D||

    I have a hard time believing that people are going to turn down an ideology that will give them a job, an education, healthcare, and housing at the lowest possible price. Maybe people in the base a driven by philosophical principles, but independents/the majority of Americans want to be taken care of. Libertarianism can take care of them.

  • D||

    Also, the reason that the two major parties dominate isn't because of philosophy, it is because of the structure of elections. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.....ing_system

  • Brad P.||

    1. The major parties have no underlying coherency to their politics. They just make references to vague rhetorical ideals. Libertarians go beyond that. Even if there were no underlying philosophy, libertarians could succeed through their arguments on basic issues.

    2. I truly believe that the appeal to liberty, at least self-ownership, is a winning argument. Libertarians just tend to be too wonkish and exclusive to really promote the idea that you own yourself and that is that.

    Libertarians don't need the elitism of Ayn Rand or the extreme moral finagling of Rothbard and Hoppe to make their points, and that is a bit of the problem.

    Libertarians are at their best when smart people make arguments from a simple understanding of liberty. Libertarians need more Hayeks and Poppers to counter the DeLongs, Krugmans, and Michael Manns of the world.

  • Danny||

    @Brad P: You're absolutely right that the mainstream parties have no underlying coherency. But what they do have is a solid backstop, and that's what allows them to be so inanely incoherent but somehow survive. Your second point is also valid, and represents the kind of simple, straight-forward moral basis that libertarianism needs as its backstop. But like I said in my first reply (written before I saw yours), too often libertarians only offer efficiency- and results-based arguments rather. Liberty is remarkably simple, and therein lies its power. Because it can be approached and understood by any, it is a threat to those who want us to go through them (the intellectuals, academics, and politicians) for all of life's physical and spiritual needs.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Rothbard doesn't "finagle". If anything, his faults (IMO) lie in not finagling enough in certain areas (e.g. the child-parent relationship vs self ownership).

  • JoshINHB||

    You're assertion is based on a flawed premise. Namely that libertarian intellectuals want to see the US become less statist.

    What they really want is validation and

  • JoshINHB||

    remuneration from the political establishment.

  • Draco||

    Jonah pwned Brink. And then Kibbe just piled on (and the Howard Roarke quote was great).

    Brink sounds like a hysterical New York Times editorial-writer.

  • ||

    Yeah, either that or Goldberg's piece was pure useless drivel that contained no substantial explanation for the many diseased aspects of modern-day "conservatism" described by Brink.

  • Draco||

    So you seem to think. I guess you can't distinguish between an argument and an endless stream of question begging and package dealing.

    Think we need to use tough interrogation on enemies? Then you must be a torturer.

    Think the laws involving immigration need to be enforced and obeyed while we're having a debate on changing them? Then you must be a racist anti-immigrant redneck.

    And on and on.

  • ||

    Think the "right" has lost its way? Then you must be an elitist statist socialist communist academic big-government stooge whose "emotions have gotten the better of him" (to quote Goldberg).

    Works both ways.

  • ||

    Think we need to use tough interrogation on enemies? Then you must be a torturer.

    Because semantics are fun!

    Why is it that you have to use a euphemism like "tough interrogation" to make your point?

    Arguing against torture is simple. Arguing for it requires the term torture to be "packaged" in cute little terms like "tough interrogation."

    Why is that?

  • JoshINHB||

    If the interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorist are torture, then so is any form of imprisonment in the US, military and medical training, and public education.

  • MJ||

    Lindsey just threw out some secularist and leftits buzzwords, there was no substantive description of said aspects for Goldberg to pontificate on. Lindsey's complaints are substanceless.

  • ||

    Lindsey's article was poor and he incinerated whatever credo he had with his defense of Frum. It goes completely against any defense of free markets and free minds!

  • ||

    Yeah, I kind of noticed that too. How exactly to do make the intellectual journey from abandoning the conservative-libertarian alliance because conservatives have become to cozy with big government to attacking conservatism for casting out the fellow who coined the term "Axis of Evil" and whose intellectual career has been made arguing for a more government-friendly conservatism.

  • ||

    "In any event, conservatism in its current incarnation looks like a political dead end. Its wildly overheated rhetoric, with cries of socialism and dark hints of impending dictatorship, alienates the moderate center of American public opinion even as it thrills the hardcore base...The best thing we can do is face up to that fact and act accordingly. That means taking the libertarian movement in a new direction: attempting to claim the center of American politics."

    so, 40% of americans who self-identify as conservatives are doomed to political oblivion, but 2% who identify as libertarians are political future that is going to claim the political center. this is preposterous for so many reasons, one of most basic ones being that libertarians are much more extreme than conservatives and are, consequently, much less likely to capture the center.

    "The blunt truth is that people with libertarian sympathies are politically homeless."

    somehow the 'blunt truth' feels rather comfortable. the problem is that the real blunt truth is that libertarians are a group of minor electoral interest. the don't and never will hold any political power. people don't like - and never will like - what libertarians are selling.

    so, libertarians can either piggyback to some power with a group that is in fact popular, or embrace the role of powerless idealists. there is no 'third way'. lindsey's spreading of the false hope that there is does not only make him personally look delusional but is, in fact, reckless. there is a limit to how long a guy is going to wait for the girl who thinks he is not good enough for her.

  • Brad P.||

    I'm gonna stretch for an analogy here:

    I look at the messaging of parties similarly to the financing of government or businesses.

    The conservative side, at least right now, has engaged in hubris. They have amped up the rhetoric behind their ideas to basically an unsustainable level, as outrage only lasts for so long. People are going to become desensitized to the common conservative rhetoric at its current volume.

    Just like a business or government who overinvests in the present is likely to see crippling diminishing returns in the future, conservatives are gonna find that people aren't particularly upset about their cries of socialism, because the people they call socialists are not actually that bad or different from the conservatives.

    If libertarians maintain a steady, consistent, and coherent argument, libertarians could win over conservatives in the future.

  • JoshINHB||

    Libertarians will be seen a serious political movement when they, you know, start winning some political offices and applying their ideas.

    Until then it is not a political movement but a debating society, corporate propaganda organ and all around circle jerk.

  • Sudden||

    lindsey's spreading of the false hope

    Lindsey is into hope. I'd wager he even voted for it!

  • JoshINHB||

    And change.

  • Sarah||

    I'm with Brink to the extent that he concludes we have no home on the left or the right. I'm a little concerned about his desire to steal "the center." Our ideas are radical and there is nothing to be gained by trying to pretend otherwise.

    We simply do not fit anywhere on the right-left spectrum and suggesting we can claim the middle of a spectrum we do not fit within is nonsensical.

    Instead, we should be confident and assertive in encouring others to see beyond the restrictive right-left paradigm. We have a home already, and it is at the TOP of the World's Smallest Political Quiz.

    Fusionism will get us nowhere, because as someone calling themselves "Me" said above, the real choice is between a belief in self-sovereignty and community ownership of the self. None of the above (Democrats, Republicans or Tea Partiers) have demonstrated a trustworthy committment to self-ownership. Until they do, we should assume that we will be used until they are in power and then discarded in favor of big government power.

    Backing our own candidates and only our candidates is not very fulfilling, true. But we do have the power to move the other parties in close elections. And we do have the power to change minds one at a time. But only when we confidently differentiate ourselves from both the right and the left.

  • Brad P.||

    Libertarians are self-defeating if they think self-ownership and liberty are not centrist positions.

    How can we ever have a libertarian society if freedom is not a commonly accepted political base?

  • Sarah||

    Well, I agree with what you're saying.

    Perhaps I imbued Brink's use of the term "center" to mean something he did not intend.

    I differentiate between being "centrist" on the left-right paradigm - a paradigm that I think we should fight to move beyond not embrace a particular position thereon - and being "centrist" in the sense of reflecting mainstream Americans.

    And, on the latter, I am undecided as to how successfully we can claim such ground - though he is right we should try our hardest. On the one hand, I think of lot of people who call themselves moderates or independents are at least open to some libertarian ideas. But on the other hand, be honest: how many people do you know who are open to discussing decriminalization of heroin? Or, not only privatizing Social Security, but also doing away with public education altogether?

    We're pretty radical.:-)

  • MJ||

    Self-ownership and liberty are not "centrist", they are radical. Always have been. It's possible they can be made more popular, but they cannot be made less radical, as centrism is about compromise and deal cutting, you compromise with liberty too much, and you hav ean empty concept.

  • Tony||

    There's a fine tradition in libertarianism that rejects the left/right spectrum. But to get things done one generally has to ally oneself with the established political structure and influence one side of that from within. The question is, do you want to stick with the GOP and work on getting even more tax cuts for the rich, or do you want to be productive and help the liberals keep civil liberties protections strong, and perhaps checking them when they overreach on nanny state stuff?

  • Soonerliberty||

    I would rather not ally with either, honestly. But if I had to choose, I would take economic freedom over the right to sodomy, which seems to be the only thing the left protects (sarcasm). Economic freedom, as Old Mex pointed out, is the foundation of all freedom. If gov't can't tax and exploit the population, then it can't fund its anti-freedom legislation. Starve the beast first.

  • Tony||

    Yeah but OM's definition of economic freedom is letting the rich loot as much as they can without government looking over their shoulders. Your idea of economic freedom leads to the least amount of economic freedom possible for the most people.

  • Soonerliberty||

    The rich have looted more than either group not despite gov't but b/c of gov't. Since when have the little people written our economic legislation? Since when did anything not favor massive corporations? It is the great irony of your side that you entrench and enhance the rich's hold over the poor by regulating out competition, taxing, borrowing, and printing money, all of which keeps the poor poorer.

    On the contrary, somewhat free markets and capitalism have dragged more people out of poverty than any system known to man. It was technology and progress that brought us out of starvation, not laws. Your idea of freedom is so mixed up and confused with abundance that there is no separation for you. For you, a man who is given food at the expense of his liberty is freer than the man who is allowed to hunt on his own. The irony is that the man who becomes dependent on the food can no longer feed himself when the whims of the beneficent change.

  • Tony||

    The man who is given food is obviously more free than the man who has to hunt for it. He is free to spend the time he'd otherwise use hunting to pursue other things in life. Technology and progress are great, but there's no guarantee they'd ever be available to everyone, and frankly laissez-faire economies tend naturally to consolidate resources, and hence freedom, in the hands of a few.

  • Brad P.||

    Tony,

    1. Your first statement depends on how you look at it. The man who learns how to fish doesn't need anyone giving him fish. The man to whom the fish is given may think he is free, but he will find his freedom sorely lacking when his fish starts to come with conditions.

    2. Laissez-faire economies decentralize, it is political intervention that tends to centralize, as the decision makers do not bear the full costs of their decisions. They naturally progress into greater and greater positions of power.

  • Tony||

    Just to stretch the metaphor further, providing a bare minimum of fish to a man does not preclude teaching him to fish. In fact, it's easier to fish if he's not starving to death in the first place. Furthermore, if you're going to define freedom as the freedom to realize your potential without anyone attaching conditions, it'd be nice if that were actually possible for most people rather than a fairy tale told to them to keep them from starting the revolution. In the real world the already-rich are heavily subsidized, and I wish libertarians would focus on that before they attack poor people getting alleged handouts, but that's almost never the case.

    To your second point, natural monopolies are quite possible, and they undermine the very mechanism by which the marketplace is supposed to deliver all its benefits. But since there will never be a market in the absence of some form of government, it's kind of hard to test your hypothesis.

  • Soonerliberty||

    Who provides this fish? Someone has to work to provide the fish for the man who does not work, and that means someone's freedom is diminished in order to feed the man who gives up his liberty.

  • Soonerliberty||

    1. Freedom does not mean free from nature, which is the way you define it. It is true that the man who does nothing is living at the expense of others.

    2. Natural monopolies, even if they could exist without gov't intervention, would quickly break back down for many reasons (competition invited by low prices, corporation breaks up). Funnily, no one ever claims that monopolies have no competition. And even still, when prices are low, how do monopolies hurt consumers? When prices rise again, they invite in competition, unless gov't regulates out competition, which it is prone to do.

  • Tony||

    It's true that when you tax someone to provide someone else food, it's a decrease in person A's liberty. However, the total amount of liberty increases: not only does person B gain the liberty of not starving, person A gains the liberty of not having to worry about being robbed in order that person B can eat. Society is about tradeoffs. You sacrifice insignificant liberties (say a few pennies in tax money) to gain greater ones.

    Monopolies by definition bar competition. Anyone who competes is gobbled up. The only thing I know that prevents natural monopolies are laws restricting them.

  • Soonerliberty||

    If decreasing one person's liberty increases another's, then the Soviet Union was the freest and wealthiest place on the planet.

    Does A not have a gun in your society? I thought your assumption was that the rich are too powerful and run over society. Now, they are too weak to protect themselves against the poor robbers. It's absurd to watch your assumptions shift to fit your conclusions.

    Even leftist economists admit that all monopolies are still subject to competition. You know why? Because resources are limited, which you always scream. If a "monopoly" sets a price, it cannot demand any price. It is still limited by scarcity and opportunity costs, especially by those of its consumers. A monopoly cannot charge more money than exists. Lastly, if a monopoly raises its prices, it invites in competition. The only way this is not true is if gov't intervenes and kills the competition for it, which is the only kind of monopoly we have ever seen. So, yes, monopolies do exist with the help of gov't, not the other way around.

  • ||

    Monopolies are only stable because of government. That's the primary reason the progressive movement happened, to cartelize business. It still is.

    'Natural' monopolies, to the extent they exist, and for the periods they exist, are a primary impetus for innovation.

    Essentially your argument against potential natural monopolies in the future always boil down to creating government enforced monopolies immediately. The former have built into them the seeds of their own demise. The latter are systemically permanent as the rent seeking profits they derive are in turn used to pay the government to ensure they retain monopoly status.

    However, the total amount of liberty increases: not only does person B gain the liberty of not starving

    That's not liberty by definition. You are saying B gains the liberty of enslaving A, but it's only partial slavery so that's ok.

    But that's just the obvious, in enslaving A to whatever extent you can, you reduce the overall pool of goods and so there is ultimately more net privation in time.

    Subsidize poverty and you get more of it. Which is of course exactly what we've seen.

    That said there are ways to subsidize best that don't end up always profiting the corporate/government nexus at the expense of the taxpayer.

    Be sure that no Keynesian will ever propose those methods.

  • MJ||

    "However, the total amount of liberty increases: not only does person B gain the liberty of not starving, person A gains the liberty of not having to worry about being robbed in order that person B can eat."

    Under the threat of being robbed, or the threat of a protection racket? Morally, there's not much to choose between them.

  • Tony||

    MJ,

    There's always been a practical aspect to not looting all a country's resources for a small elite. Practical as in not getting yourself beheaded. It happens in authoritarian regimes, just imagine what the proles can do in a democracy.

  • Sarah||

    I dunno... Have you ever met people who've never had to work for anything? Without getting into a semantic debate about what it means to be "free," giving people things that they could earn for themselves is...unhealthy, to say the least.

    You can either think of it in terms of the mom character in Precious. Or in terms of trust fund kids. It's very hard to give people things they could earn themselves and have them remain emotionally healthy people.

    I don't know how you want to fold that into your concept of "freedom," but it's an important point.

    Besides, you are ignoring the other side of it. On the other side of the man being given his lunch is the guy being FORCED to work for it. Over and over again. Every day he gets up and works hard to try to achieve a dream only to have it always moved away from his grasp in order to help some other person, who might be equally capable, achieve "freedom to pursue other things in life."

    And, of course, there's also the problem of: It never works in the long run. Those who are given free lunch have less and less incentive to produce on their own behalf. Those FORCED to produce free lunches for others eventually lose the incentive to work so hard. And more and more people decide they would rather be a free-lunch recipient than a free-lunch provider.

    That's a problem you guys never quite address. I know you like to cast it in terms of these not-nice rich white guys with more than enough money (that they earned off the backs of hard-working very-nice people, probably not white or male) to go around to help the very, very few people who just really, honestly despite-all-their best efforts need a hand up.

    But that's just not reality. The reality is that there are a whole lot more people who want to consume more than they produce than there are people willing to work hard to produce a lot more than they need to consume.

    The numbers just never quite add up when you guys try to make this work. If you claim they do, then give me some numbers. Give me the tax brackets break down. What amount will you have to tax how many people to pay for all the social entitlement programs you think we should have and pay off our existing debt?

    I've looked into the numbers. The super rich don't make enough and even if you tried to tax them, they'd just stop earning income. You could nationalize all of the assets of the super rich today, every last penny and then tax them 100% of all of their income from every source. They wouldn't keep earning it, but even if they did, it still wouldn't be enough.

  • Tony||

    This is the central failure of all these economic stories, they are based entirely in theory and not in numbers. Whether some dude is productive or not, giving him payouts when he's unemployed helps the economy, while cutting a rich person's taxes doesn't really do all that much. For every dollar spent on tax cuts, you get about $1.02 in return, with unemployment insurance it's like $1.65. Let's not confuse our morally judgmental assumptions for economic realities.

  • Sarah||

    Tony,

    I'm sure it goes without saying that I've seen other numbers. You're not taking into account the cost of where the dollar you're spending on unemployment benefits comes from. Is it from debt and if so, what will we eventually pay in interest on that debt? Or out of the Social Security trust fund? Or general revenues?

    Anyway, you're mixing up arguments again. Before you appeared to be making a moral argument that there was some imperative that we protect people from the non-"freedom" of being poor.
    Now you appear to be arguing that we should do what works regardless of what's moral. Which is it?

    Anyway, what "works" in the short run and what "works" in the long run are not always the same thing. Spending other people's money on $8,000 refundable tax credit might "work" by giving a brief bump to the housing market. But, it does the opposite of "work" in the long run in that it prevents the market from finding a bottom, keeps buyers on the sidelines, and creates unsustainable expectations.

    For that matter, how 'bout not have subsidized wild inflation in the housing market in the first place? Not only would we have avoided the economic devastation we've just seen, but ordinary families might have been able to afford to buy homes.

  • ||

    As Penn would say...Numbers are bullshit!

  • Chad||

    Those FORCED to produce free lunches for others eventually lose the incentive to work so hard.

    Maybe at 70 or 80% tax rates. Not at our 25% rates.

    And more and more people decide they would rather be a free-lunch recipient than a free-lunch provider.

    A few marginally-attached low-income workers behave this way, but they don't amount to a hill of beans, especially when there are twenty others ready to tax their place.

    The super rich don't make enough and even if you tried to tax them, they'd just stop earning income

    Naah, the worst case is that they flee to a tax haven (which can and should be fixed by greater inter-state and inter-national tax synchronization). Remember, they ain't playing in order to earn money, they are playing in order to beat out the other super-rich. Cut all the peacock tails in half, and the pecking order doesn't change a whit.

  • Sarah||

    Okay, Chad. For the sake of argument I will pretend that I do not personally know small business owners who've closed up shop and gone back to work for someone else as a result of tax burdens associated with having employees. I will also pretend to not personally know people who are not looking for work because they would rather enjoy summer Montana on extended unemployment benefits. Okay.

    There are still some holes in this.

    First of all, at our current tax rates, we can't afford our spending and our debt. So I'm not sure what your point would be in defending our current tax rates. You and Tony seem to think we need *higher* taxes, not the status quo, so defend the higher rates not the ones we have now. But you guys can't even name the rate, much less defend it as having no impact on the tax base.

    Second, the problem with someone choosing to be a recipient in an entitlement society, rather than a provider, is not just the impact on the amount of production going on. It's also the increasing number of needy recipients.

    Third, that the super rich flee to tax havens is precisely what is having a devastating impact on state budgets. Unless you can convince the whole world that they need to help you collect taxes (and if we can't even get Europe to go along with us on that, I think we might have some faulty premises), you're making my point: as you try to raise taxes, the tax base shrinks. Just ask California and New York. And New Jersey. And some others.

  • Chad||

    Okay, Chad. For the sake of argument I will pretend that I do not personally know small business owners who've closed up shop and gone back to work for someone else as a result of tax burdens associated with having employees

    I thought companies pass their taxes onto customers? Haven't I heard right-wing fools make this argument again and again? The reality, of course, is more complex: the taxes are paid in part by the employer, the employee, and the customer, and assuming that the businesses' competitors are facing similar taxes, it really shouldn't favor one business over another.

    I will also pretend to not personally know people who are not looking for work because they would rather enjoy summer Montana on extended unemployment benefits

    So do I. Hell, I almost did that myself. But THIS DOESN'T MATTER UNLESS THERE IS FULL EMPLOYMENT, because right now there are plenty of willing and able people to take their place. Your friends' choice doesn't affect overall employment at all.

    First of all, at our current tax rates, we can't afford our spending and our debt

    Oh, I agree. That is why we have to get our tax rates out of the gutter where you freaks put them. You say I can't "name the rate" even though I have damned well done so a hundred times around here. Start with a fully-auctioned cap-and-trade (or equivalent carbon tax), a VAT of around 5%, and end to all corporate tax dodges, a lowering of the corporate rate to 20% but in return taxing capital gains as income, a closure of the carried-interest loophole, and a FICA surtax on incomes beyond the cap. That should do for starters.

    It's also the increasing number of needy recipients.

    In times of full employment, this is true. However, their aren't many such people at those times. At times of high unemployment, these people don't matter, as the number of willing and able workers is much greater than the number of jobs.

    Third, that the super rich flee to tax havens is precisely what is having a devastating impact on state budgets

    Devastating? Citation, please. I haven't seen any evidence that this effect is all that large. Aren't you guys constantly arguing that the rich don't have enough money to save us? How can they have enough to "devastate" us then?

    In any case, synchronization is happening. It is just painfully slow, and you morons aren't helping, precisely because you WANT the rich to be able to dodge taxes.

  • Sarah||

    Yes, companies do pass their taxes onto customers, but there is a limit to how high companies can raise prices without losing business. Especially in a time of already constricted consumer spending.

    Genuine apologies for accusing you of being vague. If you can point me to a comprehensive description of whatever plan you're describing, I'll read it. But, in general, guys like Tony *seem* to want to increase spending, not just balance the existing budget and pay off existing debt. The numbers I've seen, admittedly from libertarian sources, are that our current liabilities would require an 88% highest tax bracket, 65% middle class tax bracket, and 25% lowest tax bracket. If you also want to create new entitlement programs or expand existing ones, the numbers would obviously be higher. And the numbers will also go up as we live longer.

    If you disagree with those tax brackets, great. Point me to your source.

    Your focus on the filling jobs aspect seems constricted. What about the other side of it: the increasing numbers of people feeding off the public dole? At a time of unemployment (i.e., decreased tax base). Yeah, I fully get that when there are too few jobs to go around, some people voluntarily choosing not to work doesn't affect unemployment. But that's only part of the problem. The other part is finding the money, at a time of reduced production, to pay for all the people voluntarily choosing not to work. And, yes, I even grasp that your point is the numbers would be the same regardless because there aren't enough jobs to fill anyway.

    It's still missing the point. Because just as there are job-fillers who choose not to work, there are job-creators who make the same decision as a result of incentives, tax structure, etc. And, job-creaters choosing not to work do matter because there aren't endless job-creaters willing to take their place.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/l.....c0i6cd3UpK

    http://realestate.msn.com/blog.....=1,1780827

  • Chad||

    numbers I've seen, admittedly from libertarian sources, are that our current liabilities would require an 88% highest tax bracket, 65% middle class tax bracket, and 25% lowest tax bracket.

    That doesn't make any sense, because the federal government spends around 20-25% of GDP, and state/local is about 10%. The only reason one would need such high "rates" as you suggested is if they were riddled with loopholes that made the effective tax rates much lower.

    I don't believe in "job-creators". When you or anyone else spends money, THAT creates a job. Nothing else does. If (insert your favorite John Galt-wannabe here) disappeared from the earth tomorrow, a half-dozen other companies or individuals would take his place immediately.

  • Sarah||

    Well, I think we've identified the most fundamental of our disagreements: I don't agree that job creation is that easy.

    Your suggestion is that as long as people are demanding things to buy, jobs will be created to supply those things. But almost without exception the people I know who have actually created jobs did so at a great deal of personal financial risk, emotional energy, extraordinary time committments, etc.

    They didn't have cash flowing in that allowed them to create job positions at no financial risk to themselves. Instead, they used their own cash reserves to pay employees in order to invest in a business plan in the hopes that it would later pay off.

    It's kind of a chicken and egg argument, but the cash for people to spend does not come before the jobs they need to earn that cash. You say the only thing that creates jobs is spending. But I say the only that thing that creates spending is jobs.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "Aren't you guys constantly arguing that the rich don't have enough money to save us? How can they have enough to "devastate" us then?"

    As you take money from the rich, you're not just taking their luxury money, you're also taking capital. You imagine these Scrooge McDucks storing all their money in a room, but you ignore the huge portion of wealth that finances the businesses that pay the wages of those who are still employed. Businesses which, when drained of capital, shut their doors and lay-off those employees.

    They do not have anywhere near enough disposable income to save us and taking their invested income will devastate us.

    "you WANT the rich to be able to dodge taxes."

    I don't want the rich to be able to dodge taxes, I don't want them to even owe any in the first place. I want them to be free to invest all that money in commerce and hire more people. I don't want them to have to sneak anything past you whining vampires. I want America to be the place they WANT to do business, not because of duty but because it is the most business friendly place in the world.

    Wealth creation is happening. It is just painfully slow, and you cockroaches aren't helping, precisely because you WANT to shut down industry.

  • Chad||

    As you take money from the rich, you're not just taking their luxury money, you're also taking capital

    ...and giving it to poor people, where it remains capital. Businesses, when drained of customers, shut their doors. And I can assure you, businesses problem nowadays isn't lack of capital (they are sitting on trillions) but lack of customers.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    OHH, So it actually helps a business when you take their money so long as you give it to people who will, in turn, pump the money back into the business it was taken from.

    It seems like fun! But why would I even need to involve the government or the customer at all? Since I'm essentially just giving people my own money to take my products off my hands, Couldn't I cut out the middle-men and stimulate my own business by paying myself the price of one widget for every widget I burn in my fireplace? I suppose I would also have to burn a hefty chunk of the money on every transaction to simulate government waste.

  • Robert||

    The only reason that the "left" protects the right to sodomy is that the "right" is against it but the "left" thinks it can't get away with making it mandatory.

  • ||

    Well, first of all, the GOP would need to be in favor of "tax cuts for the rich" and the Dems in favor of "protecting civil liberties" for us to work with them toward such aims...

  • Eisenhower||

    +10

  • Mike DeSoto||

    The question is, do you want to stick with the GOP and work on getting even more tax cuts for the rich, or do you want to be productive and help the liberals keep civil liberties protections strong, and perhaps checking them when they overreach on nanny state stuff?

    The liberals keep civil liberties strong? Perhaps, if you don't consider the right to bear arms, the right to free speech, the right to freedom of association and contract, the right to property, to be "civil liberties".

  • ||

    +1

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "It seems far more likely that liberals would pocket libertarian attacks on the right—of the sort found in Lindsey’s essay—while continuing to ignore libertarian arguments on economics and other key areas of public policy."

    This^

  • Fiscal Meth||

    @Tony|7.12.10 @ 3:09PM

  • ||

    "And we do have the power to change minds one at a time."

    The argument for evangelical Christianity. It doesn't have to be in-your-face. People just want to guide others towards what they think is the best option.

    Of course as with Christianity, Libertarianism gets dogged down by straw-men (you just want to legalize all drugs and let us become an anarchist state) and the bad representatives (I'm libertarian... but not in my backyard!). Nothing will ever get worked out as long as our society continues to be dominated by the soundbites and political correctness. Sometimes you have to speak outside the box to have people think outside the box.

  • ||

    Lyndsey's comments about conservatives and religiion sounded very similar to the liberal drivel. Concerned about hicks clinging to their guns and religion.

    Well, if you EVER want to accomplish any change in this country, you should realize that religion and faith play an important part in a large part of the country, and that is reflected in the types of laws they support. So, if you want to change minds, that means you need to learn how to communicate with them.

    Actually the some on the left have been trying this. For example, talking about God's command to be good stewards of the planet, when advocating environmentalism.

  • ||

    Lyndsey's comments about conservatives and religiion sounded very similar to the liberal drivel. Concerned about hicks clinging to their guns and religion.

    Well, if you EVER want to accomplish any change in this country, you should realize that religion and faith play an important part in a large part of the country, and that is reflected in the types of laws they support. So, if you want to change minds, that means you need to learn how to communicate with them.

    Actually the some on the left have been trying this. For example, talking about God's command to be good stewards of the planet, when advocating environmentalism.

  • Brad P.||

    And God's grant of free will represents the greatest act of libertarian governance of all time.

    If God allows us to sin, what right does government have to forbid it?

  • ||

    So it's impossible to "communicate" with religious people while advocating for a constitutionally secular government? First of all, I'm not sure why that's supposed to make me warm to the religious crowd.

    More importantly though, I'm not sure it's true. It seems to me that plenty of "change" has taken place in our history without an obvious appeal to religious conservatives.

  • ||

    "So it's impossible to "communicate" with religious people while advocating for a constitutionally secular government?"

    What Lyndsay does is go WAY past advocating a secular government, and instead seems more like all out war against people of faith.

    As for the big changes that have occured, without usually some type of religious component, I can't think of any, but maybe I'm missing one.

    ending slavery/segregation, HUGE regligious component.

    Prohibition (misguided yes) but huge religious componenet.

    This of course isn't to say that the religious side doesn't lose.

    But I think the surest way for libertarians to win ATM, is to learn how to reach out to the evanligicals. For example, tie ending the WoD to ending liberal nanny statism.

  • ||

    What Lyndsay does is go WAY past advocating a secular government, and instead seems more like all out war against people of faith.

    You'll need to provide some backup for that one, I didn't see any of that.

    But I think the surest way for libertarians to win ATM, is to learn how to reach out to the evanligicals. For example, tie ending the WoD to ending liberal nanny statism.

    But an objection to nanny statism has nothing to do with religion or evangelicalism. It may be an argument that evangelicals find appealing, but it doesn't require a libertarian to sympathize with evangelicalism.

    As for the big changes that have occured, without usually some type of religious component, I can't think of any, but maybe I'm missing one.

    Well a religious person is going to see a "religious component" to virtually everything. My point was that not all political activity depends on the support of the religious right. See the 2008 election.

  • ||

    "What Lyndsay does is go WAY past advocating a secular government, and instead seems more like all out war against people of faith.

    You'll need to provide some backup for that one, I didn't see any of that.
    "

    For example quotes like this
    First and foremost, a raving, anti-intellectual populism, as expressed by (among many, many others) Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Next, a brutish nationalism, as expressed in anti-immigrant xenophobia (most recently on display in Arizona) and it’s-always-1938-somewhere jingoism. And, less obvious now but always lurking in the background, a dogmatic religiosity, as expressed in homophobia, creationism, and extremism on beginning- and end-of-life issues. The combined result is a right-wing identity politics that feeds on the red meat of us versus them, “Real America” versus the liberal-dominated coasts, faith and gut instinct versus pointy-headed elitism.

    Do you think any person of faith will listen at all from that point forward? Insluting people, and especially insulting their core values is usually the quickest way to get them to tune you out.

    "But an objection to nanny statism has nothing to do with religion or evangelicalism. It may be an argument that evangelicals find appealing, but it doesn't require a libertarian to sympathize with evangelicalism."

    True to a point. I'm not saying that all arguments have to have a faith based component, but that libertarians need to learn how to communicate with people of faith if they want to make progress. Majorities both left, right and center have faith as a central componenet of their lives (admitadly more on the right). So it's important to learn to reach out.

    Lynsday's tactics just insure fringe status.

  • ||

    Do you think any person of faith will listen at all from that point forward?

    As far as I can tell, Lindsey decries the influence that religion has on the political climate -- in fact he singles out "dogmatic religiosity" in an apparent attempt to separate that mentality from religious belief in general.

    If that's enough to tick off a "person of faith", then it's not hard to understand why the religious right is so unappealing to me. Eliminating dissent does not make for a strong philosophy.

  • Sarah||

    "What Lyndsay does is go WAY past advocating a secular government, and instead seems more like all out war against people of faith."

    How so? I didn't get that out of it at all?

    I read his piece as complaining only about closet theocrats, those who would use government to enforce their personal religious views.

    I didn't read it as taking aim at religious people in general.

  • Tony||

    That's just propaganda to try to get the evangelicals to get their heads out of their asses and realize there are more important things to worry about than the gays. Rest assured environmental laws will not be biblically based.

  • Soonerliberty||

    Honestly, I don't get why religious conservatives don't understand that America was founded to escape religious statism. That they would do so now violates the very founding principles they pretend to worship.

  • ||

    Yes, they wanted to avoid the Church of America. That didn't mean they wanted to remove religion from every aspect of public life. Just look at how they lived and the laws they encated.

    Their version of society and government was more more religious than even most on the far right would embrace.

  • Soonerliberty||

    It is true that the states went overboard, but the federal gov't was never intended to be used as a tool of religious propaganda. Of course, it was never intended to be such a massive social state, either.

  • ||

    Witness the “birther” phenomenon. According to Public Policy Polling, 63 percent of Republicans either believe Obama was born in a foreign country or aren’t sure one way or the other. Blah, blah, blah...

    Brink condemns the right for having an inordinate number of nutjobs, but has he ever stopped to look at libertarians? Troofers run rampant, and tax deniers and joobankerphobes are a dime a dozen. When asked about conspiracies, Murray Rothbard gleefully proclaimed "They're all true!" Lew Rockwell is a grassy knoll afficianado. It's impossible to go to a local libertarian meetup anywhere in the country where there isn't some money crank handing out mimeographed leaflets.

    And so on, and so on, and so on. Hey Brink, your kettle is black too.

  • ||

    +1

  • LibertyBill||

    The whole jews run everything is exclusive to Paleoconservativism and some aspects of liberalism.

  • Sarah||

    Well, I'm not gonna defend nutjobs of any political persuasion. But I think the point he's making is that the Republic nut jobs give hints of possibly being xenophobic or racist. Whereas, tax deniers are harmless idealist kooks. :-)

  • ||

    sorry for double post

  • ||

    Beck is pretty much the textbook definition of an anti-intellectual.

    I dunno. His reading recommendations hardly strike me as being anti-intellectual.

    Does he have a populist metier? Sure. Does he bust on one rather bloated class of soi-disant intellectuals? You betcha.

    Does that make him anti-intellectual? Not necessarily, no.

  • Van||

    Maybe the problem is one of Identification?

    Supposedly there are two axes, one which measures belief in Capitalism vs Socialism, another which measures belief in Authority vs Freedom.

    Are there really people who believe in Freedom and Socialism?

    Why is it necessary to identify yourself and your opinions with a group or movement?

    Forming a Coalition with Necons and the Christian right might seem a Faustian bargain, but it is the only way to prevail on the real world implementation of capitalist economic policies, the truths of which transcend ideology.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Are there really people who believe in Freedom and Socialism?

    Definitely are people like that, although they tend to include "positive freedom" as a form of freedom while most libertarians do not.

  • Van||

    I agree that you can probably find a few, but I think their opinions will break down under scrutiny, that is, I don't think this can be shown to be a rational viewpoint.

  • Tony||

    Your idea that capitalism is the font of truth, wisdom, and beauty breaks down the moment you begin to reflect on the horrors it has caused in the world.

    Yes there are freedom-loving socialists. We just define freedom as more than freedom from taxes and government, which is an extremely limited definition and one that favors the already powerful.

  • Van||

    I rest my case.

  • Chad||

    If you are resting your case, Van, your case is doomed.

    Tony is precisely right: freedom is not solely composed of freedom from government and taxes. That is the epic logical failure of libertarianism.

  • Van||

    Stay off my posts Chadwick!

  • Mike Laursen||

    Of what horrors do you speak?

    Carrot Top movies? 'Cause I'll concede right there that you have a point.

  • MJ||

    You think capitalism holds a candle to the horrors socialism has visited and continues to visit upon some particularly benighted places in the world?

  • Tony||

    MJ,

    The system I favor, democratic socialism, has really not done that much bad. Especially not compared to yes communist authoritarian regimes and American capitalism and more laissez-faire examples of capitalism.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Hey, well, thanks for acknowledging a difference between American capitalism and laissez-faire.

  • Van||

    Tony, it is obvious to everyone but yourself that you believe in Socialism and Authoritarian government, hence your advocacy of "Democratic Socialism."

    You are a case study of the personality type I referred to earlier: "... but I think their opinions will break down under scrutiny, that is, I don't think this can be shown to be a rational viewpoint."

    You should seek counseling, of the type they used to offer at Esalen. I am not saying this to be hurtful, but out of humanitarian concern.

  • jacob||

    I'm still not sure how to reconcile the Tea party with Liberterians. After all, didn't they try and unseat Ron Paul in Texas earlier this year? And when Alan Keyes is a headliner for the Tea party, I have grave doubts.....

  • Mike Laursen||

    Not that difficult to understand if you realize that the Tea Parties are decentralized and have a lot of libertarian and Republican membership.

  • ||

    Mr. Lindsey's core argument falls at the end of his comments. Unfortunately, for someone who prides himself so much on his intellectualism, he makes some rather unsubstantiated assertions:

    The spirit of freedom is cosmopolitan.


    This seems to be the centerpiece of the "liberaltarian" argument. I have to disagree. Cosmopolitan views can be as collectivist and coercive as traditionalist views. In fact, I'd suggest that, in a nation defined by its historical commitment to freedom, cosmopolitan views can be far more anti-libertarian than traditionalist views. At the end of the day, taste and fashion are a poor replacement for a political philosophy.

    It is committed to secularism in political discourse, whatever religious views people might hold privately.

    I guess that would come as a bit of a shock to Gladstone and the Classical Liberals. Not to mention the abolitionists. Or much of the entire history of pre-1960 libertarian thought.

    And it coolly upholds reason against the swirl of interests and passions.

    Silly me. And here I thought one of the central tenets of libertarianism was the notion that no amount of intellect or reason was capable of determining what is the best of all possible worlds.

  • Mike Laursen||

    And here I thought one of the central tenets of libertarianism was the notion that no amount of intellect or reason was capable of determining what is the best of all possible worlds.

    I agree, but there are definitely libertarian schools of thought that think the best of all possible worlds can be deduced with pure logic from a few axioms.

  • ||

    Mr. Laursen,

    I understand where you're going. But, if we're talking the Objectivists, even they fundamentally acknowledge the central point that you can't measure another's pleasure, and the consequent need for "hands off".

  • Mike Laursen||

    So where should libertarians drop anchor and forge alliances within the famous four-sided Nolan Chart spectrum of political beliefs and groupings?

    In yet another dimension: the apolitical. We libertarians should spend more time involved in and building up the volunteerist aspects of society that are naturally opposed to politics: philanthropy, family, church, community groups, business ownership, etc.

  • Van||

    Mike, thanks for pointing out that there is more to life than politics. There may even be more to politics, and for that matter life, than money and the economy.

    +1

  • LibertyBill||

    I love how Goldberg says the Christian Right will stop listening. Since when did those statist ever listen to us? They are as authoritarian when they're in power as much as the left is.

  • Peter Jensen||

    What can you expect from a guy who argues Liberals are borderline Fascists.

    Agree or disagree with Liberals, but Fascists they certainly are not and Goldberg is either a crook or completely insane. (or both).

  • LibertyBill||

    Hes a Neocon I think that says it all.

  • mj86||

    "They are as authoritarian when they're in power as much as the left is."

    What policies did you consider when forming this opinion?

  • LibertyBill||

    Guess the Patriot Act doesnt ring any bells does it.

  • mj86||

    Maybe you could point out the differences between the parties on the Patriot Act?

  • Tony||

    They are far more authoritarian. Not only do they support literally authoritarian policies in the real world, their universe is governed by an absolute dictator.

    Favoring redistributionist economic policies does not traditionally fall under the scope of authoritarianism, however, though try telling anyone here that.

  • mj86||

    "Not only do they support literally authoritarian policies in the real world"

    Like what?

  • ||

    "Favoring redistributionist economic policies" = forcibly appropriating private property from disfavored constituency A and giving it to favored constituency B.

    Forcibly appropriating private property is pretty much the textbook definition of authoritarianism.

  • Tony||

    Um no, it's the definition of any functioning large society anywhere.

  • ||

    Except the really rich prosperous ones like Switzerland.

  • Brian Garst||

    You should try this hot new thing called Socialism. Everyone's doing it, man!

  • ||

    If that is said in a 50's adman's voice I give it +100!

  • MJ||

    Of course the school of thought that believes that God is Lord and absolute sovereign has a corollary that no mere human can legitimately claim such a title and authority. The notion subverts your desire to submit to such a human authority, which is part of the reason you hate it so.

  • Tony||

    Interesting. It does seem to prep them for submission to daddy figures in various forms, though.

  • Brian Garst||

    And yet they reject your authoritarian Redistributionist-in-Chief. Imagine that.

  • Tony||

    Right, by emasculating him like they try to do for all libs and Dems.

  • Peter Jensen||

    Brink Lindsey makes a good point on the necessity for Libertarians to address topics outside of free markets. (BTW they are very free, we are not on the verge of Communism!!!)

    The irony is that the preface to the debate is the kind of whining that makes Libertarians look completely out of touch with reality.

    There is no doubt that the increase in size and powers of government has to be checked. But as a whole Americans have never been freer, and as long as Libertarians refuse to acknowledge this fact they, will not be taken seriously.

  • Tony||

    Exactly... If libertarians are going to insist on restricting the definition of freedom to having low/no taxes, then they should have to stop abusing the word and instead admit that they are single-issue thinkers who don't believe in freedom but rather in low taxes and nothing else.

    Of course, taxes for everyone are at their lowest rates in generations, so I don't see what everyone is bitching about.

  • ||

    Taxes are about to go up, but taxes aren't the primary problem. People aren't complaining about taxes, yet, but about spending and debt. Our ability to float debt is coming to an end.

    Taxes will have to go up, which will create a depression, or the debt will be monetized, which is a draconian tax on the poorest, which will create an even worse economic catastrophe.

    Possibly the best thing that could happen is we repudiate the debt, and then no one would lend to us ever again. But this might also cause war, and this would destroy the ability of your corporate progressive masters to prey on the citizens anymore by borrowing against the future labor of your children.

  • Tony||

    You just can't be for reducing debt and not raising taxes at the same time in the current context. I realize that the GOP gets a lot of mileage for believing in these two contradictory things, but it just doesn't work.

    There's a convincing case to be made that raising taxes (on those who can afford them, of course) can be a boon to the economy, as they'd fund stimulative programs while not adding to debt.

  • ||

    Lol that's just moronic. You take from the demonstrably efficient (due to still existing) productive portions of the economy then give to the demonstrably inefficient.. to stimulate the economy? Pure Keynesian nonsense.

    That's essentially the same vapid Pelosi argument that subsidizing unemployment can do anything other than promote unemployment.

    You just can't be for reducing debt and not raising taxes at the same time in the current context. I realize that the GOP gets a lot of mileage for believing in these two contradictory things, but it just doesn't work.

    As a matter of fact, of course you can help the economy by subsidizing tax cuts with debt. It's the only thing that works, it's proven to work. Studies have shown it works. History has shown.

    However this doesn't mean it's advisable. Bush did just that, but it merely deferred the cost.

    What definitely never works is tax funded spending, and debt funded spending is only slightly better.

    None of it is sustainable in the long run.

    Fortunately most of the world has massive sovereign debt. Capital and jobs will flow back if we can reduce spending, at least more than other nations. Taxes will have to be raised, but if we can demonstrate more spending cuts and a decreasing debt/product ratio there's hope.

    We need to cut all corporate welfare and drastically cut entitlements. Stop subsidizing everything. Stop bailing out everything. Stop nationalizing.

    Of course the progressives control both parties so none of this will happen.

  • Tony||

    faithkills you are just completely misrepresenting reality to align with your biases. Tax cuts are one of the least efficient ways of stimulating growth, while unemployment insurance is one of the most direct.

    And that libertarian moral canard about how wealth=productivity doesn't fly with me. You're essentially saying we should tax based on your assessment of someone's moral worth. But what does that have to do with efficiency or growth?

  • ||

    In Canada, we have a much lower corporate income tax-18%-than you Americans have. And we are kicking your ass in the job creation department.

  • Tony||

    Not sure how that proves causation, and anyway Americans have a high rate, just low participation.

  • ||

    faithkills you are just completely misrepresenting reality to align with your biases. Tax cuts are one of the least efficient ways of stimulating growth,

    Lol you are clueless. It's not my bias it's emprical data. See Mountford and Uhlig. See Barro.

    Deficit funded tax cuts are the only thing that does does work.

    Anyone can look at the Reagan and Bush deficit funded tax cuts and see they work.

    Anyone can see now that unemployment benefits do not work. You don't need study, anyway. Common sense is you pay people not to work and they will tend not to.

    Deficit funded tax cuts patently work.

    That said, the price must be paid, and I don't recommend it. A hit of speed does get you through the day, but it's not sustainable.

    You're essentially saying we should tax based on your assessment of someone's moral worth

    Don't be an ass. This is below even your standards. I said no such thing, 'essentially' or actually.

    But what does that have to do with efficiency or growth?

    Nothing: because I didn't say that.

    Efficiency and growth is not protecting, bailing out, or nationalizing business that is ailing. Organic efficiency and growth result from businesses competing fairly without government intervention.

    Where I am sympathetic to government intervention is at the individual level. If people need help, help them. But you will note no progressive idea ever wants that. It's always directed help. Planned help, and the real recipient is some business that you have buy from or who is given the subsidy to hand out, or is paid to hire people into make work. (IE green jobs)

    Progressivism is simply corporatism/mercantilism in sheep's clothing.

  • Chad||

    "demonstrably efficient parts of the economy"? You mean the parts that just lost zillions betting on infinitely-leveraged condos 50 miles outside of Phoenix?

    The last thirty years has shown just the opposite - that the markets massively mis-allocate capital. Only a libertarian can look at the McMansion/SUV/CheapChineseShit we have bought (with borrowed money) and call it a wise allocation of resources. In your fantasy world, though, there needs to be no second-guessing of the market's almighty choices. If they look absolutely utterly craptastically @#$#@@#$ing stupid, it is only because we are not wise enough to comprehend the greatness and glory of the market's results. And in the case that someone manages to convince you that the resources ARE demonstratably mis-allocated, it clearly and automatically must be the fault of some government program somewhere, somehow, so help us God.

    Isn't libertarianism and its irrefutable logic fun?

  • JoshINHB||

    Of course that was a corporate-political allocation of capital, which is far from a free market.

    But what the hell.

  • ||

    The last thirty years has shown just the opposite - that the markets massively mis-allocate capital.

    You are profoundly confused or deliberately ignorant.

    There are very few sectors where a free market exists, but the main culprit is credit. We essentially have socialist planned prices for credit. The prices have been fixed, and fixed way below natural market levels for decades.

    When you price risk below the real level of risk you will have that money going into every market crevice, nook, and cranny it can find.

    We are experiencing a failure of socialism and planned markets.

    We are experiencing what only Austrians predicted. We will experience what only Austrians are predicting.

    Hoover/FDR proved it. Bush/Obama are proving it again. PIIGS are proving it now.

    Socialism and planning fails, and it fails disastrously.

  • Chad||

    You are making one of my points, fk.

    Every time the market bleeps up, you guys just blame it on some government program somewhere.

    Thus, your beliefs are nothing more than an unfalsifiable religion, and should be duly ignored.

  • ||

    That's rich from a Keynesian. Whenever you point out Disney economics fail the answer is not enough was spent.

    The truth is it's quite easy to observe more free markets perform better then less free.

    In any market comparison this is true. It's especially obvious in the health care markets.

    Moreover the mechanism of various government intervention pathology is trivial to explain.

    All the evidence shows the failure of Disney economics and the predictive ability of Austrian economics.

    But as I tell Disney economics religionists, by all means put your money where your mouth is.

    I suggest you start by shorting gold like the Fed is;)

  • MJ||

    You cannot be for raising tax rates and growing the economy out of the recession either. Higher tax rates does not equate to higher tax revenues. And you certainly cannot discuss getting a hold on the deebt without discussing controlling spending. Too high spending is the problem, not too low taxes.

  • Tony||

    Higher tax rates does not equate to higher tax revenues

    See there is an underlying problem here... the willingness to believe in complete absurdities.

    As for spending, I'm all for cutting it where it can be cut, but that's no reason to be against raising money when you need it as well. See your crazy BS is what leads to the debt problems, like how Bush didn't find it necessary to raise taxes to support a trillion dollar war; actually he lowered them, presumably thinking the war funding would somehow trickle down.

  • MJ||

    The absurdity is believing that tax rates, which are part of the costs of economic activity, have little or no effect on the volume of economic activity. Thinking that tax rates have a negligible effect is a sign of an overly simplistic worldview you are beholden to.

  • Chad||

    Well, except they do have negligible effects. For example, if you look at the 50 states, you find the ones with HIGHER taxes have HIGHER gdp. If you do international comparisions, you don't find much of a trend at all. It takes a lot of work to even measure the loss in revenue due to higher taxes, and even when it is found, it is not nearly enough to offset the tax revenue gained except at extraordinately high tax levels.

    We are nowhere near the peak of a the Laffer Curve with our ~25% tax rates. It lies north of 70%. Down here at ~25%, raising taxes by a billion dollars might decrease economic activitey by ~$100 million, reducing tax revenues by ~$25 million. For tax revenues to *decline*, you would need a decrease in gdp of $4 billion, which is patently absurd and not supported by the data whatsoever.

    Feel free to refute what I have said with peer-reviewed data of your choice.

  • Chad||

    Well, except they do have negligible effects. For example, if you look at the 50 states, you find the ones with HIGHER taxes have HIGHER gdp. If you do international comparisions, you don't find much of a trend at all. It takes a lot of work to even measure the loss in revenue due to higher taxes, and even when it is found, it is not nearly enough to offset the tax revenue gained except at extraordinately high tax levels.

    We are nowhere near the peak of a the Laffer Curve with our ~25% tax rates. It lies north of 70%. Down here at ~25%, raising taxes by a billion dollars might decrease economic activitey by ~$100 million, reducing tax revenues by ~$25 million. For tax revenues to *decline*, you would need a decrease in gdp of $4 billion, which is patently absurd and not supported by the data whatsoever.

    Feel free to refute what I have said with peer-reviewed data of your choice.

  • Brian Garst||

    "See there is an underlying problem here... the willingness to believe in complete absurdities."

    You're just spreading nonsense all over the place around here. Of course higher tax rates don't necessarily equate to higher revenues (notice how he did not say that higher rates never bring in higher revenues). If you don't believe it, ask yourself how much money a 100% tax rate would bring in.

  • Tony||

    Brian,

    We are nowhere near 100% or any other rate that would trigger these effects. This country saw its largest increase in prosperity under 70% rates for some.

  • Sarah||

    That's just not true. States are already experiencing these effects:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124260067214828295.html

  • Chad||

    Sarah, your data is nothing more than showing people have been moving southwest, which has been happening, oh, for the last 400 years.

    I do agree that the effect you are talking about exists, but it is minor even in the case of states, and even smaller when it comes to the US as a whole, because it is a lot easier for a New York banker to "move" to New Hampshire than it is for him to move to, say, the Cayman Islands.

    Again, synchronization fixes this. I actually wish the feds were able to mandate that all states must collect 33% of their taxes via income tax. It will kill this problem dead.

  • Sarah||

    Just do a little google research. As states raise taxes past a certain point, the tax base shrinks. That's why some of the states with the biggest budget problems are in such a quandry. They are already losing businesses at their current rates. If they raise tax rates higher, they lose more businesses.

    I mean, you can just use your common sense. If all of your income were taken from you, you wouldn't bother to earn it would. And, if 99% of your income were taken, you wouldn't bother to earn. And, if 98% of your income ...

    Do you see my point? Everyone has a point at which they lose incentive to continue producing. How much of your income do you have to be able to keep before you are willing to work to earn it? We may all have different cut-offs, but we do all have them. And the biggest earners are probably the most willing to just quit producing. Cuz they're already rich enough, you see.

    But, another group that might be willing to stop producing are those in the lower middle class who are just a few steps away from qualifying for a bunch a nice entitlement programs.

  • Tony||

    Sarah this is pure assumption. There are numbers that answer these questions, and the rate is quite high before the disincentive effect takes place. What really matters is what you end up taking home, right? As long as it's more if you make more, we're okay, we don't need the wealthiest elite the world has ever known in order to have a good economy; it is in many ways antithetical to one.

    But, another group that might be willing to stop producing are those in the lower middle class who are just a few steps away from qualifying for a bunch a nice entitlement programs.

    Again, numbers? Or just assumption? Do you really think there is a significant enough group that finds government entitlement programs the constituent of a lifestyle to aspire to?

  • Chad||

    Sara, our total tax rates are around 25%, not 99%. No one is suggesting raising them to anything like 99%. So it is utterly irrelevant what would happen there. The question is what happens at 30%...which is about nothing.

  • JoshINHB||

    Add in state, local and FICA and its more like 51%.

  • Chad||

    Doubtful, Josh. In most states, the income tax is 4-6%, and MAYBE reaches 10% for the very rich. But of course, they aren't paying FICA on their marginal income.

    So for someone making $100k, he is paying perhaps 28% federal, 6% state/local, and 8% FICA. Above 100k, the 28% and 6% figures increase but FICA is gone. It more or less offsets.

    And most truly rich people pay mostly capital gains, which is only taxed at 15% at the federal level, with no FICA or state tax.

    And it is really not obvious that FICA is a "tax" anyway. It is little different from your 401k contribution that appears right along side it.

  • Sarah||

    My point wasn't that it's anywhere near 99%. My point is that you can ask any individual person to choose a cut-off and everyone has one somewhere. You say the effect is negligible at 30%, but I'm not exactly sure where you're getting that number. I'm assuming that you are referring to a single corporate tax bracket under federal law, not taking into account total taxes that people pay.

    And if you aren't talking about raising somewhere higher than 30%, you're also not talking about balancing the budget unless you're also endorsing massive spending cuts.

  • Chad||

    Sarah, over the recent decades, the feds have been spending ~22% of GDP and collecting ~19% of GDP. Why the heck do you think we need insanely high tax rates to pay our bills?

  • Van||

    I think that many, by believing in or being influenced by the ludicrous philosophy of Objectivism, refuse to vote for or associate with those who are not ideologically pure.

    This strong identification with Libertarians leads them to love those within the group and especially their leader, and to despise all those outside the identity group.

  • ||

    And its ludicrous why? Do you hate having a philosophical foundation for freedom?

  • Van||

    Because Rationalism is ludicrous; try reading Karl Jaspers, Robert Nozick, David Hume, Kant, and others.

  • ||

    Americans have patently not never been freer.

    The reason many libertarians focus on economic freedom is because it is exactly this aspect of freedom in which we are less free than we ever have been.

  • Tony||

    How so? Tax rates are at historic lows. I don't get where people are getting this idea.

  • ||

    Asked and answered.

    Just because you haven't paid your loans doesn't mean you don't have to.

    But please stand corrected about tax rates. We had over a century with close to nil tax rates. During which period we turned from an ex colony into a world power.

    All with no income tax, and in the middle of the 19th century the national debt was actually zero.

  • Tony||

    Ever think that maybe a recovery from a potential depression might have not been the best time to start bitching about debt?

    And as I'm not sure that preindustrial America is relevant to 2010, I'll not bother to verify your claims, which I'm sure are totally without merit.

  • ||

    Trust me Tony I never expect you to correct your ignorance, of history or of economics.

    Nevertheless my statements are accurate and easily checked. Essentially free markets failed to give would be mercantilists the monopoly rent they were seeking. There was increasing production, banks couldn't freely inflate so workers had ever increasing purchasing power and in this environment wages changes necessarily lag falling prices. Natural deflation is wonderful for workers.

    But that is all around bad for bankers, industrialists, and other wannabe plutarchs.

    The problem was the US had a cultural antipathy to mercantilism and central banks and an affinity to freedom.

    This had to change. The decades long propaganda campaign to get government to grant cartels and monopolies is the Progressive movement.

    From the beginning it was to benefit the plutarchs under the guise of protecting the 'little guy' from the plutarchs.

    They succeeded. And here we are.

    Ever think that maybe a recovery from a potential depression might have not been the best time to start bitching about debt?

    Ever think that you can't borrow your way out of debt?

    This isn't a potential depression. Current policy is merely forestalling it while making it worse when it comes.

    Fed policy specifically is encouraging people to use resources in enterprises many of which will never come to fruition. The overall pool of stuff that people need is being pillaged.

    We've been living on amphetamines. You think there will never be a consequence. You are wrong.

    Capital goods are being destroyed now because of current policy. The depression is merely when you see the results, and when you see them it's too late.

  • Brian||

    "we have never been freer"
    ????????? WTF ?????????????

    Have you ever read anything Radley Balko has written. 5% of the world's population, 25% of the world's prisoners. Ya sure we have never been freer.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "It seems far more likely that liberals would pocket libertarian attacks on the right—of the sort found in Lindsey’s essay—while continuing to ignore libertarian arguments on economics and other key areas of public policy."

    I like this.

  • RC||

    Matt and Jonah do precisely what they accuse Brink of doing. They compare the reality of modern democrats with some idealize view of what they want republicans and tea partiers to be. Jonah goes off about how democrats want nothing more than to tell people how to live their lives, but conveniently ignores the fact that the republican party does exactly the same.

    This libertarian will *never* have anything to do with the republican party, their nutjob christian puppet masters, nor the present incarnation of the tea party, which seems to simply consider the republican party as not-right-wing-enough. As long as Sarah Palin is seen as an icon of the tea party, the tea party will have nothing to do with liberty.

  • ||

    + ~1 Million

  • ||

    I'm atheist as atheist can be, yet anyone who advises non-engagement with the right or the left is advocating continued libertarian failure to effect positive change.

    Ultimately arguments over taxonomy are fruitless.

    We need to identify similarities and conceptual affinities in the target audience and utilize those for our communication.

    At base both 'sides' wish to be 'free' from the statist impulses of the other 'side'.

    We can equip them with devastating philosophical tools that negate the other 'sides' justifications for those collectivist/coercive impulses.. but those tools also intrinsically undermine their own collectivist impulses.

    Right now the 'right' is more receptive. Right now is an opportunity for us to engage.

    I question the motives of anyone who says we should not engage.

  • ||

    Absolutely.

  • ||

    THIS

  • johnl||

    When is the last time anybody in the GOP talked about Jonah Goldberg? Or even Bill Buckley? This much Lindsay is right about, that the type of conservative that libertarians can understand are marginalized by the GOP.

  • LibertyBill||

    Goldberg is no Libertarian, he is a neocon that is just smelling an opportunity.

  • Brian Garst||

    When is the last time that anyone in the Democratic part has talked about...what, who are their intellectuals again?

    The dishonesty of this argument is apparent by its selective application. The "epistemic closure" crap is nothing more than a schoolyard insult delivered under the guise of concerned intellectualism. I'd have more respect for Lindsay if he just insulted honestly and says he thinks conservatives are big poo-poo heads.

  • johnl||

    The word I was looking for is "useful idiot".

  • Mike DeSoto||

    The big-government conservatism of George W. Bush has been followed by the bigger- government liberalism of Barack Obama.

    Objection, your honor! Bush can't be described as a big government conservative. But given his passion for open borders, he can be described as a big government libertarian. They run the modern GOP.

  • ||

    I have to say that this forum exchange, and Lindsey’s article, is what makes it difficult for me to become a Libertarian. It seems that there’s a huge divide between Economic/Political Libertarianism and Libertine Libertarianism – and most of what I see called “Libertarianism” expressed here is the latter.

    The Libertine Libertarian wants his party, wants his toys and doesn’t want anyone criticizing him -- the “I want to take whatever drugs I want and have sex with whatever I want to and don’t you dare judge me, or have a value system that conflicts with mine!!” brand of thought. Oh, and let’s not forget the elitism factor – quite core to the Libertine Libertarian, “I’m more cosmopolitan, more educated, and just plain better that you!” In some cases this is bolstered by a declaration of atheism to prove the person isn’t a knuckle dragging sky-god believer. In my estimate these folks are one step off from being a Progressive. It seems to me their core drive is gratification and self-image, which powers a lot of the Left, so they often end up being hostile to the Political/Economic Libertarian and trend towards favoring State controls on certain kinds of speech and ideas. Oh. Emotional. Libertine Libertarians tend to get emotional, same thing Progressives do, and end up letting emotion drive their reactions.

    Witness the visceral hatred of the Tea Party movement here on this thread. Have these commentators ever been to a Tea Party rally? There’s social conservatism in play to some level, yes, but the only thing keeping the movement together is that it has by and large eschewed social issues and focused on individual freedoms over the State, on core LIBERTARIAN political and economic issues!! If it drifts from that and starts to adopt positions on social/culture issues it will fly apart.

    Lindey’s “argument” was difficult to wade through because he’s an elitist and a Libertine Libertarian whose gut anger at the Tea Party and presumed anti-intellectuals like Beck drive him nuts, and this emotion overrides common sense and prevents deeper examination of this issue.

    Honestly, I don’t care what you do in your bedroom (so long as you keep it between consenting adult humans), or what floats your boat – do you believe in God or have faith in atheism, call yourself a Jedi or a Jesuit. Fine by me. But don’t forget that the only thing that empowers and enables your social Libertarianism is the core SUCCESS of Economic/Political Libertarianism.

    So drop the dripping condescension, get real and find allies where you can. Look at the Tea Party movement as an opportunity to help steer the country back towards Libertarian economic and political ideals and practices and work towards common ground. You may not agree with those “Sky God” people but they aren’t the ones trying to seize the fruits of your labors through high taxes and debt, restrict your speech, dictate what you can and cannot eat, and build the State’s power out at the expense of the Individual.

  • LibertyBill||

    No but those people typically support endless warmongering and destroying our civil liberties.

  • ||

    Strawman!! And WHO CARES!? Honestly, there are people who may not agree with EVERYTHING you do, but have enough of a core belief in Libertarian ideals that their support can move the country. What you're doing is acting on a stereotype based on EMOTION rather than REASON...which happens to be the name of this publication!!!

  • LibertyBill||

    Your the one being emotional. This debate article isnt even that good it has a wishy washy moderate, a neocon an one of Dick Armey's lackeys. Hardly a group that really understands Libertarianism.

  • Brian||

    Those Sky-God people are trying to use the power of the law to enforce their beliefs on others. Nothing wrong with being judgmental of certain behaviors, but throwing people in jail those certain behaviors if they dont hurt anyone is.

  • ||

    You are hurting the English language. Does that count?

  • ||

    "Those Sky-God people are trying to use the power of the law to enforce their beliefs on others."

    Examples. What example can you point to? If its an abridgement of individual liberty, then if we as a society manage to hang onto an Originalist visionn of the Constitution they can file suit and most likely win. So whats a specific example??

  • Brian||

    Lawrence vs Texas. I believe the Originalist viewpoint was the dissent there. And if you dont care about that cuz you're not gay, it criminalized certain straight acts as well.

  • Brian||

    *straight acts were criminalized as well under the law that was struck down

  • Mike DeSoto||

    I think that telling the sovereign people that they may not enact those laws "as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness" is an abridgement of civil liberties.

  • Tony||

    Just not the people nation-wide?

  • Brian||

    No way! This is why I reject the federalism argument. What if Utah started stoning women for adultery tomorrow? Fuck that Im not going to just cross my arms and say federalism!

  • Brian||

    No freedom of the individual comes first! The civil liberties of the people convicted under these laws comes first to me. You are really starting to show your true colors.

  • Bo Darville||

    It seems these "libertine libertarians" really like science fiction and other dorky things.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    The broader conservative movement, meanwhile, expended its energy on gay-bashing, anti-immigrant hysteria, fantasies of World War IV, meddling in the Schiavo family tragedy, and redefining patriotism as enthusiasm for mass surveillance and torture.


    Do you get your talking points direct from David Axelrod? The reality is that Reason has long been a bastion of left-libertarians, the sort of people who regularly vote Democratic.

  • ||

    It does seem that way, and given how the current Democratic Party has morphed into a Statist Party I don't understand it. How can you be a Libertarian and support Obamacare with its policy of forcing the individual to purchase a State mandated product? Or the government take-over of GM?

  • Brian||

    How can you be a libertarian and support Republican policies that have given us a ridiculous incarceration rate (on average around 10 times higher than the other western civilized countries in the world), prevented sick people from taking their medicine, and absolutely eviscerated property rights far more than any environmental leftist would have ever dreamed of (they'd just want you to plant more trees on your property, not forfeit your whole damn home). Compared to that, buying up GM is something I can live with.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    Bullshit. It is the left which supports government confiscation of property via eminent domain.

    As for incarceration rates and drug laws, wake up. The Democrats are the ones making the law, at present and for most of the last fifty years.

    buying up GM is something I can live with

    I'm sure you can live with it very easily indeed.

  • Brian||

    How much money was spent to take over GM? Does it even compare on a scale with the money spent in the war in Iraq, the money spent every year on housing federal prisoners (apparently only 7% of whom are in for a violent crime) never mind the state ones, and the DEA's yearly budget?

  • Mike DeSoto||

    How was anything you said supposed to be a response to what I said? I pointed out that the policies you are upset about are just as much the responsibility of the Democrats as of the Republicans. More so in some cases. And you just ignore it and carry right on with your preprogrammed talking points.

  • ||

    "Compared to that, buying up GM is something I can live with."

    Wow. So as a Libertarian you can live with the STATE seizing private assets and directly controlling private companies?

    And the environmentalists "just want you to plant more trees on your property" by using the power of the State to force you to...and you're a "Libertarian"!?!?

  • Brian||

    Um first off I dont believe they just seized a healthy company. GMs options were either get taken over or let the market work and go under. Its not the same thing as the cops seizing someone's home.
    Now you can argue that it was a big-government expenditure and a waste of tax-dollars: fine. But on a scale with existing spending, that particular expenditure was extremely minor.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    So as a Libertarian you can live with the STATE seizing private assets and directly controlling private companies?

    He's not a libertarian. He's a liberal troll making libertarianish noises when he thinks it helps him.

  • ||

    "GMs options were either get taken over or let the market work and go under."

    So you choose that the STATE step in and sieze a company, eh, rather than let the market dictate what happens? Isn't that the ULTIMATE government subsidy, to assume direct ownership of a company?

  • Brian||

    EasyEight, no I wouldnt. I was just saying that on the scale of boondoggles, this is low on the list.

  • Brian||

    No you are a conservative troll who is distorting the individual freedom argument to suit your purposes.

  • Brian||

    (above comment at Mike DeSoto)

  • ||

    "the type of conservative that libertarians can understand are marginalized by the GOP."

    Don't ya get it?? The "GOP" as a party is in turmoil because there's a HUGE schism between the party structure, and the rank and file membership. The GOP PARTY has trended Statist, been comfortable moving that way. The MEMBERSHIP are more Libertarian in terms of their core devotion to the principles of limited government and individualism. So forget "the GOP" and the political party baggage that's distracting you and focus on the INDIVIDUAL who has been attracted by things the they here at Tea Party sites or Glenn Beck about limited government, curbing the power of the State, empowering the individual, etc. This is a natural ground for common cause.

  • Brian||

    Ive never heard Glen Beck say one word about civil forfeiture, not one word about one of the main reasons for California's fiscal crisis (massive spending on prisons), not one word about police drug raids and he is generally dismissive of the drug war issues saying we should only legalize when we can leave some junkie lying on the street and offer no form of assistance (i.e. never).

  • ||

    Sorry, Brian, the primary reasons for California's crisis are (a) overly powerful Public Employee Unions and (b) Illegal Immigration.

    The net cost to California of illegal immigration, which means taxes from wages minus outpayments in social services, is about $20 Billion/Year -- roughly the entire current state deficit. Add that to the explosion in public employee costs. The State has seen public employee growth of 300% in the last 8 years, and your complaint about the prisons is a consequence of this -- the California Prison Guards are the single most powerful union lobby aside from the Teachers Union and spend tax payer money like water to get more prisons built.

    The state, Leviathan, will devour everything if you keep feeding it. Including your rights.

  • ||

    Calling total bullshit on B.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    California is a one party state, and that party if the Democratic one. If you don't like that CA's prison policy, good for you. But have the wit to blame the right people for what you dislike. Right-wing Christianist conservatives are not running your state - corrupt big government liberals are.

  • Brian||

    "California is a one party state, and that party is the Democratic one."

    Right and Schwarzenegger is from what party? Meg Whitman is from what party? Duncan Hunter is from what party? Reagan? Nixon? The whole state isnt San Fransisco just so you know.

  • JoshINHB||

    Schwarxzy made peace witht he public employee unions after his initiatives crashed. He more demo lite that republican at this point.

    Meg Whitman is from what party? Duncan Hunter is from what party? Reagan? Nixon?,

    Which one of them has been running the state for the last decade?

  • ||

    ...saying we should only legalize when we can leave some junkie lying on the street and offer no form of assistance

    And this is inconsistent with libertarian theory, how? Why am I responsible to subsidize the junkie's bad choices? The fact of the matter is that inherent negative consequences are a crucial element of the feedback loop on which the notion of limiting state power relies.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    In any event, conservatism in its current incarnation looks like a political dead end. Its wildly overheated rhetoric, with cries of socialism and dark hints of impending dictatorship, alienates the moderate center of American public opinion even as it thrills the hardcore base.


    There's the problem. This allegedly "libertarian" web site does not regard America as slouching towards socialism, and it seeks to defend the Democratic Party from that charge.

    When will Reason drop the mask and admit to being just another arm of the left? It seems like the "hardcore base" of the conservative movement is more libertarian than the hardcore base of Reason.

  • ||

    Go over to Lew Rockwell bro.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    The editors of Reason support the most left-wing President in US history. And when somebody points that out, the best response you can come up with is "Go over to Lew Rockwell bro"?

  • ||

    Yeah, I guess we're not all as clever as you Mike. I promise I'll do my best to pander to your paranoid bullshit in the future.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    Brink Lindsey endorsed Barack Obama in the last election. And he thinks that conservatives favor big government?

  • LibertyBill||

    Not that he thinks, the evidence is there that they do.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    The evidence is there that Brink Lindsey favors bigger government.

  • LibertyBill||

    Never said that he didnt but to say Cons dont favor big government is full of shit.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    Look, you illiterate little fuck, nobody here has said "Cons dont favor big government". So stop giving that strawman a BJ for five seconds and try to pay attention to what IS being said - that Brink Lindsey is so Big Government that he makes conservatives seem libertarian.

  • Troll Patrol||

    Conservatives who think that they're libertarians are kind of funny. You're just on the wrong site Mike. Check out World Net Daily, they're right up your alley.

  • JoshINHB||

    I know lots of republicans that were against the invasion of Iraq.

    What was Brinksy's position on that?

  • ||

    Look, you obtuse big fuck, nobody here cares about you and your incoherent crap.

  • ||

    I found Lindsey's writing pretty insulting and I'm not even religious. He sounds as Kibbe described in an Ivory tower.

    I do agree with Goldbery and Kibbe.

    The Tea parties mean issue - and yes they are conservative which doesn't mean GOP - is they want a smaller government. Under Bush, their was frustration with the growth of government. Now under Obama, it's explored and enough is enough.

    The GOP leaders don't get the message and that's why they are being voted out.

    Easyeight, looking at your comment I totally agree.

  • Tony||

    I must have missed all those Tea Party rallies under Bush...

    enough is enough

    January 20, 2009 was as good a time to declare this as any, I suppose.

  • JB||

    TARP

    I know it's hard for you to read and all.

  • Tony||

    So because Bush passed TARP, Obama's not allowed to do anything without it being called evil socialism?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Bush's TARP was evil socialism.

    The spending protests began after Bush passed TARP. Libertarians can't change the fact that only a few Republicans were on board while a Republican was in office. So yes, the protests gained popularity among Republicans(and became large enough for the news to cover) when a Democrat took office because...drumroll...partisanship plays a large role in politics! TADA!!

    So where was I during Bush's binge. I was protesting to anybody who would listen while also telling them not to vote for Obama or McCain because they would just do more of the same.

    This libertarian-is-Republican shit is dishonest and you need to knock it off.

  • Tony||

    And I'm sure if you'd all shut your whiny faces if we were in Great Depression II right now and not complain about anything.

  • ||

    Lindsey got pretty well mauled by Goldberg and Kibbe. He really is ensconced in an ivory tower.

  • ||

    "I must have missed all those Tea Party rallies under Bush..."

    It may not have been organized, but the protesting had already occurred as GOP membership tanked and conservatives and independents and fled the party. You'd have thought the GOP would have seen the warning signs about their support for big spending, big State policies -- losing slow but steady ground in Congress in 2002 and 2004, then a BIG hit in 2006!! It took 2008 major losses to jolt more of them, but much of the brain dead leadership still doesn't get it.

  • ||

    My T-Bagg relatives and neighbors simply flipped out after a black president was elected.

  • Brian Garst||

    Maybe they just flipped out because a bad president was elected. If you weren't so racially obsessed (read: a racist), you might acknowledge that as a more likely explanation.

  • ||

    And of course you know they are racist, because???

    1. They left their hoods drying on the clothesline
    2. The knocked on your door to ask for a spare cross for the burnin'
    3. They practice rope work on the old Maple tree in their front yard

    So my point is do you know WHY they flipped out or are you assigning motives that don't exist? have you actually SPOKEN with your neighbors? Probably not if you dehumanize them with a pejorative term. Perhaps you should, hmm?? Start close to home and all that, eh?

  • Tony||

    "Racist" may be pejorative but I wouldn't call it dehumanizing. Humans tend to be racist. So forgive us if we don't buy that old, white Republicans are harp-strumming innocents here.

  • MJ||

    If all humans tend to be racist, then all groups are racist to a similar degree, then why should "old, white Republicans" be taken to task for being racist.

    Your argumnet proves way too much or way too little to be of any use in criticizing your opponents.

  • Tony||

    I say humans tend to be racists, some more than others. Let me add young Republicans too. White is of course redundant.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "humans tend to be racists, some more than others...White is of course redundant"

    HAHAHAHAHA!!! Was this a spoof Tony? Are whites genetically predisposed toward racism? You side with Hitler that the white race is unique but you just quibble over whether it's genetically destined for greatness or doomed to eternal evil.

    Both the "white supremacy" group and the group that looks at them and concludes that white's are racist are obsessed with nonsense and will distract yourselves into obsolescense.

  • Tony||

    No no no. White Republicans.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Oh...oops. Wasted a perfectly good rant there.

  • Ray||

    Lindsey is OUTRAGED that staunch Libertarian David Frum isn't popular with the Tea Party?

  • ||

    ""Racist" may be pejorative but I wouldn't call it dehumanizing. Humans tend to be racist. So forgive us if we don't buy that old, white Republicans are harp-strumming innocents here."

    By making such an assertion without evidence (perhaps he has some, I dunno, he just threw out an accusation) you close ALL possibility of dialogue and joint action. You've got a very blinkered stereotype operating in your head about "the Other." To recap your stated viewpoint:

    "ALL Republicans must be old racist white guys who hate Obama because he's black."

    This pathetic stereotype, historically and practically blind in so many ways limits you and prevents you from seeing that working with others to limit the power of the State and maximize human liberty is a good thing. Absent hard proof of racism or other aberrant behavior, that they may not agree with you on everything is irrelevant. Indeed, to be a Libertarian should mean that we honor different lifestyles and points of view so long as we hold certain core principles to heart -- mainly, the Individual trumps the State.

  • K.T.||

    Mr. Lindsey makes many good points, but it's difficult to even stumble upon them given the extreme hyperbole. He writes in the very rage-driven, anti-intellectual tone he criticizes. It's quite perplexing.

  • ||

    As a practical matter, I find little reason to believe that, even setting economic liberties aside (roughly equivalent to talking about life setting breathing aside), the left is somehow or another more favorable to individual liberty than the right. It's the progressive elements, not religious fundamentalists telling me that I'm not allowed to have margarine or transfats other transfats in my food. It's the progressive elements, not religious fundamentalists, bound and determined to limit my salt intake. It's not Christian conservatives, but the progressives, telling me I'm not allowed to light up in a bar. I'm more likely to be damned and scorned by feminists than by fundamentalists if I want to go out and buy a porno. Social conservatives are far less likely than progressives to tell me I can't defend myself with a gun. If someone wants to take responsibility for their own children's education, it's progressives, not religious conservatives, who will fight them most vehemently. As a practical matter, the continuing infantilization of our society "for the children" has been such a hallmark of the modern left that it is a regular point of derision among conservatives.

    Does the right have it's stupidities and blind spots? Of course. But, let's not kid ourselves. The stereotype of the bible-thumping fundie hell-bent on dragging you in chains to the nearest church is largely a fantasy of popular culture. A popular culture in no small part dominated by the very progressive elements violating individual liberties in so many other ways. Frankly, I'm growing a little tired of being told to look for the fundie under the bed by very people assaulting my liberties in so many demonstrable ways.

  • ||

    And lest I forget, I don't see any conservatives lining up to force me to sort through my garbage.

  • ||

    EXCELLENT post. Brink=destroyed.

  • ||

    Seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if Brink was physically knocked unconscious by that one.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Outstanding.

  • Van||

    Bill you have articulated what I was alluding to in an earlier post; Socialism/Progressivism is incompatible with personal freedom, not because of its theoretical elements, but because its implementation brings it into conflict with real world common sense freedoms.

    The Socialist-Libertarian quadrant is occupied by those who live in a fog of cognitive distortion, for example Tony, Chad. The compassionate thing to do is offer Gestalt Therapy as a personal choice for their own benefit.

    The Socialist-Authoritarian quadrant despises Conservatives and Christians for the same reasons they despise us here in the Capitalist-Libertarian quadrant. We cannot allow these individuals to run the country.

    Thanks.

  • ||

    Correction:

    "It's the progressive elements, not religious fundamentalists telling me that I'm not allowed to have margarine or transfats other transfats in my food."

    Should read

    "It's the progressive elements, not religious fundamentalists telling me that I'm not allowed to have margarine or other transfats in my food."

  • zombiebot||

    More accurately you're not allowed to have transfats at a restaurant.

    If you love it so much, you can still cook it yourself.

    Some snobs like truffles, others caviar, yours: transfats.

  • ||

    So, what exactly is your point? It's somehow okay to tell people what they can eat, as long as it's in restaurants? So, I guess you'd be okay with a public ban on profanity, since, hey, you can still curse at home.

  • zombiebot||

    You don't have a right to make a restaurant serve you anything you want.

    Your rights aren't violated.

    The restaurant's rights are.

  • ||

    And in what way is that okay?

  • ||

    By the way, zombiebot, I'm hardly impressed with the little semantic games. It really doesn't matter to me whether the state tries to control my life by violating my rights directly or violating those of otherwise freely contracting counterparties. By your reasoning, Jim Crow laws were just honkey-dorey because they didn't violate the rights of black people, only the rights of businesses to serve them along with white people.

  • zombiebot||

    The Jim Crow laws did not violate the rights of black people. They violated the rights of businesses to serve whomever they want.

    The solution of requiring businesses to serve everyone, also violates the rights of businesses to serve whomever they want.

    You might be *personally* troubled that businesses lost the right to serve transfats, but just as blacks might have been *personally* angry about Jim Crow laws, from the libertarian perspective you have no right to have a right to be served, and what matters are the rights of owners of businesses.

  • Commentator||

    Zombiebot and Dalasio square off in the first round...Zombiebot starts the action with a solid right hand lead...Dalasio counters with a good left hook....

  • zombiebot||

    I'm libertarian, but I'm also a dietitian for a hospital, and agree with the transfats ban.

    Most people can't even taste the difference, and indeed many corporations have replaced transfats in their menu voluntarily, as to not be compared unfavorably to those who have banned transfats. But it had to get started somehow, which is where the transfat ban comes in.

  • ||

    zombiebot,

    And on the merits of transfats, you might be 100% dead on right. I won't fight you on that. The point is, though, the state ought not to be in the business of telling us how to run our lives, even if what they are forcing us to do is completely the sensible and reasonable thing to do. That's the very point of freedom. Part of freedom is the freedom to do really stupid s**t. Most people could well do with working out a couple of times a week. But, I'd hope you'd agree with me that the notion of the government having a drill sargent show up at our doors to take us for a 5-mile hike would be a bit of a problem.

  • Commentator||

    Zombiebot swings and punches himself in the face...Dalasio looks confused and then a jab to Zombiebot's jaw....

  • Commentator||

    Zombiebot retaliates by punching himself in the nuts...ohh a big right hand by Dalasio...

  • Commentator||

    Zombiebot looks dazed... he doesn't appear to know what's going on...he might go down...Wait... now there's a strawman in the ring... Zombiebot starts beating his head against the strawman.... Dalasio looks annoyed and...yep he's walking out of the ring.

  • Brian||

    Bill its not just religious fundamentalists, its law and order fascists as well. I agree the religious fundamentalists really arent that influential as far as getting actual laws passed, although it does happen from time to time. But the law-and-order fascists in the Republican party are.

  • ||

    Brian,

    Depending on what exactly you mean, you may have a point. Yes, there are Republicans and conservatives willing to support laws against victimless crimes, and there are Republicans and conservatives all too happy to give the state all too much benefit of the doubt in the prosecution of laws. But, again, let's not kid ourselves, either of those statements, at this point, could just as well replace "Republicans and conservatives" with "Democrats and progressives". Just to take the War on Drugs as one elementary example, I can think of multiple influential conservatives off the top of my head (Buckley, Friedman, Schultz) who have urged the repeal of drug laws. Honestly, not so much progressives. Really, aside from vicarious support for those in opposition to our society (e.g. "Free Mumia"), I really don't see a whole lot of opposition to the excesses in the name of "law and order" from the left. I mean, don't you see just a little irony in the fact virtually all of the excesses of the Patriot Act were extensions of state powers in the drug war, yet we hear narry a peep from the left on those excess of state power?

  • ||

    Also, Brian, I think you leave unmentioned all the assorted ways that the left and progressives in particular keep assaulting our liberty. No disrespect, but when does this become little more than buying into a never-ending parade of right-wing bogeymen.

  • ||

    "But the law-and-order fascists in the Republican party are"

    Read your history. Fascism is a Leftist ideology, created by a committed Socialist (Mussolini) after becoming disenchanted with The International. He created a nationalist socialist movement that used Corporatism (de facto State control of industry via controlling the Industrialists and the Unions) as its core economic practice. It holds liberal democracy as an enemy, holds the concept of individual rights as the enemy -- all rights are granted in the context of the State. At least use the terminology properly.

  • Commentator||

    Dalasio and Zombiebot square off to do battle...

  • Commentator||

    We seem to be experiencing some time delay issues.

  • Brian||

    Jonah writes "Even if the majority of people who (accurately) describe themselves as libertarians favor legalized abortion, it is quite clearly not the case that most care about the issue very much. Meanwhile, a great many of the conservatives who are willing to votefor libertarians do care about it very much."

    Ok but then he goes on to say: "It seems far more likely that liberals would pocket libertarian attacks on the right—of the sort found in Lindsey’s essay—while continuing to ignore libertarian arguments on economics and other key areas of public policy"

    Anybody notice the irony there?
    What he is right about is that libertarians are not centrist. Not at all. We are hard right economically and hard left on social issues. You cant really put us on the right-left political spectrum. Which is why I think the only strategy is to form alliances on an issue by issue basis.

  • mechanicalturk||

    Under Democratic administrations the deficits have been lower than Republican administrations, and the economy better. Most economists also tilt towards Democrats.

    I also don't believe libertarians are hard left on social issues, but only left. In fact you are far right on some social issues, such as the Civil Rights Act. Or net neutrality, where you believe AT&T ought to have the right to inspect our internet messages via deep packet inspection.

    I think the libertarian party can be more accurately described as the capitalist party, protecting business rights, as evidenced by the oil spill response where the majority of the criticism was a the administration, simultaneously criticizing the Obama administration for being unprepared and also criticizing the Obama administration for the moratorium asking more time to study the policy!

  • Brian||

    Id say we're pretty extreme left on social issues: legalize drugs, prostitution, gambling, same sex marriage, leave tobacco alone and stop the ridiculous state commercial alcohol regulations - that goes far beyond what most people on the left would consider acceptable to advocate.

    Im fine with the Civil Rights Act...I certainly cant think of any instances where it has been abused beyond the spirit of the law, and it is pretty simple law to follow (as opposed to the over-broad "honest services" law that Bush signed).

    As for net-neutrality, you are seriously naive if you think that is about helping you over the corporations. Its about stifling innovation of the internet. Why do you think that Google is lobbying hard for this law? Its to squeeze out any potential competitors.

    We are about protecting an environment for competition and innovation, not protecting big business. You guys with your regulations are the ones that favor big business (unintentionally perhaps, but still) because they lobby like hell to tailor your legislation to serve their interests and put their competitors at a disadvantage or squeeze them out of the marketplace entirely.
    AT&T will be fine with whatever net-neutrality regulations come out. Its the smaller start up firms that want to compete with AT&T that will be most negatively affected.

  • ||

    "Id say we're pretty extreme left on social issues: legalize drugs, prostitution, gambling, same sex marriage, leave tobacco alone and stop the ridiculous state commercial alcohol regulations "

    Except that those are LIBERTARIAN positions, not "Left" positions -- let mentally competent adults decide for themselves what they want to do without State interference, unless such activity will harm others. That's perfectly consistent with the "Right" position as you incorrectly label it to freedom of property ownership, smaller government, fewer taxes and burdens on individuals and businesses.

    It boils down to Statist vs Individualist, not "Left" vs "Right" IMHO.

  • ||

    @ Brian, re: "We are hard right economically and hard left on social issues."

    I don't know how you can make that claim when you've already declared on this thread that its perfectly OK for the State to step in and take over a private company, replace its CEO, screw over its shareholders and then run it. You've also agreed that it's OK if someone else can dictate to you what you can plant on your property. That's hardly "hard right" economically.

  • Brian||

    I didnt say that it was perfectly OK...I said it was a waste of taxpayer dollars and if I were running the government I would have let GM go down. What I said was that it wasnt as bad as (among other things) the war on drugs and that opposing the war on drugs was a far bigger priority than another opposing another stupid government subsidy. I oppose both...but Im not going to throw my support behind a party that is much more pro war-on-drugs because Im mad at the other party over some stupid subsidy.

  • JoshINHB||

    Im not going to throw my support behind a party that is much more pro war-on-drugs because Im mad at the other party over some stupid subsidy.

    When have the dems called for an end to the WoD?

    In CA dems all over the state are working to subvert the will of the people regarding medical marijuana.

  • ||

    @ Brian, re: "We are hard right economically and hard left on social issues."

    I don't know how you can make that claim when you've already declared on this thread that its perfectly OK for the State to step in and take over a private company, replace its CEO, screw over its shareholders and then run it. You've also agreed that it's OK if someone else can dictate to you what you can plant on your property. That's hardly "hard right" economically.

  • Brian||

    What I mean is that getting rid of this kind of shit http://www.cracked.com/article.....w-you.html
    for me takes priority over getting worked up over yet another useless government subsidy.

  • JoshINHB||

    "What pisses me off to no end though is the conflation of education/knowledge with logic/intelligence

    What pisses me off is the conflation of education/knowledge/intelligence with moral superiority.

    Socialists always do that and it seems certain liberal tarians are too.

    Ironically that is the seed from which statist evil grows.

    It's quite ironic that liberal tarians are letting socialists seduce them with sweet nothings of "we're so much smarter than those people".

  • ||

    Wrong, Libertarians need to be very vocal and try to help nominate libertarian leaning constitutionalist candidates in GOP primaries. That is how change will come and they can influence debate. I am a libertarian and fully support stopping illegal immigration. Until there is no more welfare state we simply can not have open borders. Milton Friedman concurs...No more pheasants from Mexico please. I for one do not think the Mexican nationals streaming across the border millions every year are going to help me stay free and prosperous, I believe they will by and large suck from the welfare state, and vote for more statist Democrats as polls regularly show the Mexican population votes Democrat 2-1. So it is therefore in my self interest to oppose illegal, and even legal immigration.

  • ||

    I have no problem with pheasants coming here. They are like turkeys, only they're better dressed.

  • ||

    Wow, opposed to legal immigration too? So should legal immigrants have their citizenship revoked because they might vote for a Democrat?.....

  • Charles||

    Brink Lindsay voted twice for George Bush and supported the Iraq War. He now admits those were mistakes.

    Two years ago, he supported Barack Obama, who hasn't exactly turned out to be either a government cutter nor a non-interventionist in foreign policy.

    Explain to me again why anyone interested in limited government should take anything he has to say seriously.

  • JoshINHB||

    Because he's much smarter than you.

    And he's rich from sucking corporate cock.

  • ||

    Yeah seriously, I mean the guy has changed his mind! Unforgivable.

  • ||

    Mr. Lindsey,

    We certainly do have a difference of opinion on what Libertarian is. Yours, is convenient for you, rigid when you like it that way, and subject to only you and your friends telling us what it is.

    Allow me to do the same. I believe in free markets and free minds. I want the United States to be a nation operating on libertarian principles with tolerance for all. That said, reality intrudes with constraints.

    As a practical matter, that means that we can't have open borders. Libertarian thought requires education and acculturation to sustain.

    People with little education, and what little they have socialist in nature, require immersion the the prevailing culture and the opportunity for education. The teeming masses of humanity pouring into the United States preclude this process and fuel additional growth in that nasty fusion of populism and socialism.

    You demand that pro-life positions are incompatible with libertarian thought. I find that position (and the opposite one) simply silly.

    Do you assert that murder should be a purely economic issue in a libertarian society? If not, how then, can you escape a reasoned discussion with those who see abortion as murder? It is not necessary to agree, but your position is that all who chose a different break point than yours are inherently non-libertarian.

    Your choices of friends to call libertarian, such a Frume are also puzzling. How do you give them passes for massive breaks with core libertarian thought, but rake the Tea Party movement for theirs?

    My conclusion is not that you are so much a libertarian as you are a snob. A man convinced of the moral and intellectual superiority of his group of friends. Go then, join them, but please cease calling yourself a libertarian. You make us look bad.

  • ||

    I can understand where Mr. Brink is coming from to some extent. In theory it would be nice to distance myself from hardcore moralists on the right whose social policies are something in diametric opposition to my own as someone who is socially liberal.

    However, I believe our unity with conservatives that is based around economics is something we should accept as reality... and not feel antipathy towards.

    Being in the punk scene I see all types of different ideologies, even people are anarchist-communists, etc, and though I agree with a lot of other punks on social issues, I think what destroys a lot of them is their hatred of "capitalism"; a hatred bred out of misunderstanding since a lot of the kids today are in college and exposed to incomplete politically correct rhetoric and Marxian economics that ironically restrict the freedom they intend to fight for.

    Basically, I believe that economic liberty is the most important thing to fight for. Free-Market philosophy naturally precludes a lot of social injustices that the kids today whine about (sexism, racism, homophobia being the most common).

    Even if someone is completely hated socially; if they can make their own life and prosper economically, then eventually they'll find peace with those who hate them (as long as they're buying and selling).

    Some of the bikers here hate the fact that foreigners are running businesses in America, but they never cease to buy their coffee from dunkin donuts that's franchised by people from Pakistan.

    It's simple: Without economic liberty, it is pointless to speak of "liberation"... I hate big government policies on both the left and right, but fiscally I'm infinitely more conservative so I will probably keep voting for the republicans who've "secretly" transcended into libertarians.

  • ||

    "However, I believe our unity with conservatives that is based around economics is something we should accept as reality... and not feel antipathy towards."

    More than that, they also believe in the ideal stated in the Founding documents that "All Men are Created Equal." This appeal to core principles is what moved people to enfranchise women, pass the Civil Rights act and move society positively. SO you ask them, how does preventing someone who is Gay from getting married uphold the principle of equality you hold so dear?? They will squirm because logically they must accept equal rights for all under the law, even if they have a moral code that puts them at odds with homosexuality -- and this conflict is the opportunity for change. Constant appeals to equality, not in your face extremism and anger.

  • ||

    Exactly. I really admired the economic approach of Ronald Reagan in a lot of respects. Small government, less taxes, better economy. I wasn't old enough to vote, but in retrospect it makes sense. ..

    but then when he made the move to start the drug war, I part ways philosophically, and I think a lot of republican-conservatives are missing the point when it comes to these moral crusades. They increase the size of government, and it costs more tax money to fund, and is clearly negative to the economy... therefore the principles of less government, less taxes, more freedom are negated.

    How can we demoralize the agendas of the left who want to increase spending and the size of government, then accept it when the right does it? See what I mean? It's not saying, "I have a problem with big government, and economic submission", but rather, "I don't mind if the government interferes as long as I like it".

    It becomes a sort of moral relativism in politics, and I think a lot of the times the social policies and agendas of the right contravene the principles of real conservative economic theory.

    That is why the libertarian party appeals to me, because it's all of the best economic science from the conservatives, with principles that are objective, and does not open the floodgates for totalitarianism on either side of the political spectrum.

  • ||

    "How can we demoralize the agendas of the left who want to increase spending and the size of government, then accept it when the right does it?"

    Why would you accept it when the Right does it? But keep in mind the goal of the Left is Statism and control over all aspects of society, and their spending is oriented to achieve that.

  • Matt||

    "Even if someone is completely hated socially; if they can make their own life and prosper economically, then eventually they'll find peace with those who hate them (as long as they're buying and selling)."

    Yep. Just like the Jews in the 30s.

  • ||

    Allow me to attempt a logical foundation for libertarian thought.

    Libertarians believe that each person owns himself.

    If a person can be told what he may do, or not do, that does not directly infringe on another, and/or can have the fruits of his labors taken from him fully or in part, he is a property of another.

    All other points of libertarianism flow from these basic points.

    Why is taxation wrong? Because it takes one's work product. It asserts that ALL of one's work product belongs to the government, even if they allow some to be retained, it is only to manage their resource better.

    (You will notice that Big Government fans will propose to lower taxes in order to grow the economy. This demonstrates not that they count you as free, but believe they can get more work from the horse if they feed it more.)

    Why is it wrong to regulate individual behavior? Because each owns himself, and has the right to use, or abuse this own resource. To do otherwise is to assert ownership over him.

    (For the Christians who disagree, the LORD gave each free will, how can you assert to know better than HIM.)

    In short, there are fundamental values and logic that underpin Libertarian thought. Libertarianism is the opposite of slavery, the foe of statism, and proponent of freedom. We need to infuse society with our ideas at every opportunity.

  • Tony||

    So your world would work as long as everyone agreed with your first principles and followed them exactly, according to the honor system (police telling me I can't murder is slavery!). Bet that'll work.

  • a.huxley||

    Pretty much everyone agrees with you, until reality strikes.

    Then you can adapt, or become irrelevant.

    Extreme, rigid ideology will find itself in the dust in this fast- paced, modern world.

  • Metamorf||

    I've put up an extended comment on Lindsey's section here. Excerpt:

    "Lindsey thinks, as he says, that libertarians are "tainted" by their association with conservatives -- I think, on the contrary, that the people who favor smaller government, regardless of the label they choose to pin on themselves, form a natural political alliance against those who wish, from a smorgasbord of agendas, to advance the intrusive power of the state. Such an alliance is good, not tainted -- and more than that, it actually carries with it some real hope."

  • ||

    I read your blog post. Well said, thanks for presenting a clear view on this issue. I frankly have run into so many "Liberal-tarians" who seem to value lifestyle over core personal freedoms to the point that I wonder if there are many "Libertarians" out there at all.

  • Metamorf||

    True, but I also think most people will never fit neatly into categories. I'd like to see us thinking more in terms of incremental change, and steadily making the case for less bureaucracy, less nanny-statism, less taxation, less intrusion -- and as a result, more real diversity. That way, even the liberaltarians might be brought around before they realize it.

  • ||

    Indeed. I was probably what you call a "Conserva-tarian" in many ways, but examination of my core principles have led me closer to being a Libertarian. Case in point -- how can you really believe that all men were created equal as a core belief, but then say, "Oh well, but not Gay people who want to get married." It's inconsistent. You can't be for equality for just those you agree with or approve of. Once you make that leap, more follows. That's why I tell my more "progressive" friends (who mostly have no idea what their real political philosophy is other than they have strong feelings about some cultural issues) that if they want to see Gay Marriage legitimized then confrontational, angry in your face tactics will continue to backfire since it reinforces negative imagery about Gays. However, if they do a consistent, disciplined appeal to equality under the law they will ultimately be successful in forcing votes on a State by State basis, and in the long run (another 20 years, perhaps) most States will approve of Gay Marriage in some form or other.

  • ||

    Perhaps in understanding the social conservative framework for the opinion that "all men were created equal" and the tenant that "gay marriage should not be allowed" you should examine further the actual biblical roots of the founders, the founding principles, and such inferences. The founders meant to create a balance in government power between that of tyranny and anarchy. This increasingly common concept that anything goes in the name of libertarianism seems to me to be flawed.... What laws, if any, could have any meaning in such societies? These societies certainly wouldn't be a civil.

  • ||

    Lucy.
    Charlie Brown.
    Football.

    'Nuff said.

  • ||

    Goldberg: "the bloating of the Security State was popular!"

    ...So? If a proposed act involves a violation of rights, then it does not matter if it gets 99.99% approval, it should not be done.

    As an anarchist, I'm not the type to think the Bill of Rights served its purpose. But at least I realize what its purpose was: acknowledgment that sometimes the majority is just plain fucking wrong.

  • ||

    "For those who cherish the ideals of free minds and free markets, 21st century politics in the United States has not been a particularly welcoming place."

    The good old 1990s: of Ruby Ridge and Waco, of Brady, the AWB, and Brady II (thankfully stopped), of Clinton breaking his own anti-gun law to establish an illegal gun registry, of anti-gun lawsuits intended to end--de facto--the 2nd Amendment, of IRS audits against the NRA and Paula Jones, of private detectives hired to get information on the Clinton dictatorship's opponents, of Clinton stealing the FBI files of prominent and not-so-prominent Republicans, of Project Echelon spying on e-mail, of Janet Reno having a little boy seized away from his family and sent to a Communist country, of suing Microsoft for the crime of not giving money to Josef Clinton's reelection campaign, of the federal government poking into vital matters of national import such as smoking and--seriously!--cable bills.

    Now THOSE were the good old days of true liberty!!!

  • Willie Mays Haze||

    I thought this was going to be a 3-way debate, but instead its a handicap match.

  • ||

    As a confirmed Libertarian, I disagree with Brink Lindsey. I support the Tea Parties and the recent immigration law in Arizona.

  • b-psycho||

    Um, yeah, because libertarianism is just fine with gun-toting folks in uniforms demanding a Permission to Exist document from anyone they think "looks" foreign...

  • ||

    Anyone who has a problem with any gun-toting folks, at all, is not a libertarian.

    Or, for that matter, in tune with the 75% pro-2A majority of the American people.

    But hey, have a good time with your reactionary, antilibertarian 25%!

  • b-psycho||

    I'm anti-COP, not anti-gun, dumbass.

  • ||

    "Your post (#1797697) has been marked as spam by a third-party spam filter. If this is a mistake, please email webmaster@reason.com."

    Complete text of aforementioned post:
    "1st comment is great!"

    Addendum for the libertarian pope or whatever:
    Would this have anything to do with my website entry (www.americanlettermailcompany.biz)? Why do you hate freedom? lol'ing, sincerely,
    -80sfan

  • ||

    Brink Lindsey's column reminds me of why I stopped subscribing to Reason Magazine in the early 2000s. The Tea Party is the closest thing to a mass Libertarian uprising that we are likely to see. So how does he respond? In disgust. He even suggests that Libertarians start deemphasizing the free market/limited government values that they share with the Tea Party and create some new centrist movement based on individual rights.

    My suspicion is that he doesn't like the ugly masses. He wants to hang out with the cool people - the sort of people that Barack Obama hangs out with. If the Conservatives start taking Libertarian ideas seriously then he discards them. That way he can continue to hang out with the cool people and decry Sarah Palin and Glen Beck.

  • ||

    I very much agree with your analysis. Well said!!!

  • David||

    I think I get where Lindsey is coming from. The Tea Party movement sounded awesome at first. But it's hard not to assume that the conservative politicians trying to lead the movement aren't just being opportunists. And I think Lindsey is just frightened by the prospect of Ron Paul's movement being taken over by Sarah Palin. So am I.

  • ||

    The "anti intellecual populism of" "Glenn Beck"?

    Pardon?

    Mr Beck mocks phony "intellectuals" (people who have never had a doubt cross their minds,who just mindlessly repeat whatever their teachers and lecturers told them, but pretend to be great thinkers), but he has brought more serious books (on history and economics) to the attention of more people than any other person living. And he has introduced the authors of these books (real intellectuals) to the people.

    That is only "anti intellectual" if Mr Lindsey uses the same definition of "intellect" that the Time magazine people (and so on) would use.

    As for the Tea Party people - they attack REPUBLICAN big spenders (such as TARP supporters) as well as Democrats.

    If libertarians reject Tea Party people then there will be no "libertarian movement" worth talking about.

    Libertarians have a choice to make. Are we interested in talking to people who are open to ideas about the moral and practical failings of statism (i.e. people such as the Tea Party people) or are we interested in being considered "civilized" by the leftist elite which controls the education system and the mainstream media (and so much else).

    If being considered "intellectual" by the left is our objective we might as well cease to exist.

    "But if I just sneer at Glenn Beck and Tea Pary people some more, I will get on the Jon Stewart show, or be invited to a New York Times social event....."

    Sorry that is NOT being an "intellectual" (in any true sense). Useing one's intellect means dealing with serious ideas - for example by reading books critical of establishment opinions and discussing their contents.

    What is a good way for a libertarian to measure success?

    A good way is to see how much the establishment (i.e. the left) HATE us. If they are ignoring us (or, worse, if they are friendly) it means the left do not see us as a threat.

    Only if they are showing hatred of us (falsely claiming that we are "racists" or "are violent" - screaming abuse whenever they see us.... and so on) only that will show that we have the left running scared.

    Remember the whole point of "Progressivism" (Marxist or non Marxist) is mega government - the destruction of civil society.

    If "Progressive" people do not hate us - then we are not doing our job of opposing mega government, we are not defending civil society.

  • ||

    "Anti state Communist" or "anarchist".

    For Pete's sake (or for Paul's sake)this nonsense was refuted way back in the 1960's - am I the only person who remembers what a farce Murry Rothbard's "left and right join hands" was?

    Of course Marxists say that the state will "wither away" as we move from the "socialist stage" to the "advanced Communist stage" and the communal "anarchists" say "we do not believe in a state at all".

    But (to quote the evil "anti intellectual" Glenn Beck) it is all "bullcrap".

    What Marxists and communal "anarchists" do is RENAME the state (that do not really want to get rid of organized violence). The state becomes "the people" or whatever - but anyone who tries to protect their private property or engage in acts of voluntary trade with other people still gets a bullet in the back of the head.

    That practice never "withers away".

    To treat these people (the sort of people who smash shop windows, and other private property, during G20 and other protests) as if they were sincere anti statists is STUPID (not "intellectual"). And to try and make friends with them by going on about Western "imperialism" and "oppression" is both stupid and evil.

  • ||

    The more I think about Mr Lindsey's article the worse it is.

    For example, he implies that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are guilty of "illiberalism" (presueably this means opposition to free speech), but does not provide a shred of evidence for what he is implying.

    Also Mr Lindsey attacks Senator Joesph McCarthy, not for his support of Federal housing subsidies (which a libertarian SHOULD oppose McCarthy for), but for something called "McCarthyism" - which, I guess, means opposition to Communist agents working in the United States government.

    Have you even read such works as "Blacklisted By History" (M. Stanton Evans, Random House, 2007) or do you bring up "McCarthism" WITHOUT KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT? Hardly "intellectual" in any real sense.

    Mr Lindsey even tries to link Joe McCarthy to "opposition to desegregation" - as if Joe McCarthy was in the habit of going down south (rather a long way from Wisconsin) to support the Jim Crow laws (by the way PRIVATE discrimination, whilst a very bad thing to do, is NOT something a libertarian would call in the power of the state to ban).

    Does Mr Lindsey not even know the real reason that Senator Flanders hated Joe McCarthy? It was because the "intolerant" McCarthy promoted Roy Cohn - a JEW and a HOMOSEXUAL. These are hardly good reasons for a libertarian to hate the man.

    I repeat Joe McCarthy was no libertarian (he voted for FDR for a start) and his support for such things as housing subsides and so on SHOULD be attacked.

    But try to pal up with the left (with the mainstream media and the education system) by attacking something called "McCarthyism" (as if the Communist movement did not and does not exist) is contemptable.

    No doubt Mr Lindsey would claim that the life long Marxist links of Barack Obama are just a "consipiracy theory" whilst not bothering to look any of the evidence.

    If covering up for the Marxists (and attacking anyone who seeks to expose them) is "libertarian" then ice is hot and fire is cold.

  • ||

    As a conservative…this writer exemplifies exactly why I can't stand a significant portion (NOT NEARLY ALL!) of self proclaimed libertarians. Too often they wind up pontificating from their presupposed positions of “ideological superiority” spewing nothing but venom toward anything conservative all the while feigning indignation at liberal philosophies. You're not fooling anyone.

  • Justen Robertson||

    "only the right takes economic libertarianism seriously."

    R-O-F-L! The right takes economic freedom seriously like the left takes gays seriously: good thing to talk positively about in the right crowd, but when it comes to actually taking a hard stand they turn to mushy waffles. Does this sound familiar? "I have to violate the free market to fix it". Again I repeat - R-O-F-L.

    You are living in a fantasy world. I'm tolerant of minarchist libertarians (i.e. those who still have some excuses for statism) but it's time for this kind of self-deception about conservatives to end. If you're going to give sanction of the victim, at least do yourself a favor and stop begging on your knees for more.

  • Bruce||

    Oh boy! Sadly, this Libertarian's view carries the same condescending elitest stench that is characteristic of so many on the extreme left. Having "done the Libertarian thing" some 30+ years ago and reading some of this article today, it's easy to see why the L party has gone nowhere since then. Success in returning the country to a free enterprise, capitalist, secular republic will only happen when subsets on the right learn to work together. Like it or not this is a two party country. From a pragmatic standpoint, that's not going to change anytime soon. Diminishing so-called Populist Conservativism by denegrating those who feel strongly about moral social values ALONG WITH libertarian socio-economic and Constitutional principles will only consign both to a permanent seat in the bleachers while progressives reform America into just another Euro-styled socialist state. Now is the time to unite in defense of the principles and policies upon which we can agree. Not to engage in intellectual snobbery and petty name calling. Lindsey may have some legitimate points, but his approach is divisive and disastrous both for Libertarians and mainstream Conservatives.

  • AnthonyPavelski||

    I found Brink Lindsey’s article to be rather bitter and it reeks of closet Progressivism. It is odd that a member of the Cato Institute would quote Progressive sources, (The New York Times, Public Policy Polling) as proof of his theories. The issue of the Tea Party being anti-abortion is quite simplistic. Government-funded abortion is anti-Libertarian in principle. Using tax dollars to fund Rhinoplasty, or late term abortions, is elective surgery, in most cases. I am pro-choice, as most libertarians are, and having the Government fund elective procedures is a great example of redistribution of wealth. Letting this LINO (Libertarian in Name Only) of a man, publish an article in this magazine is beyond reason (pun intended.)

  • Pistolette||

    Another defense of Brink Lindsey here. Excellent points about the current state of libertarianism, as hard as they may be to hear. Goldberg just sounds like an angry neo-con.

  • Knarf Black||

    This whole debate sounded an awful lot like a liberal getting dumped on by two conservatives. Maybe libertarians should stop pondering 'taking sides' entirely. It always seems to end with the 'side taking you'. (Like in Soviet Russia.)

  • ||

    Libertarians should distance themselves from the low brow, fear mongering, tea-party. This isn't what being a Libertarian is. This is not less government, more freedom, I believe that this almost goes directly against the Libertarian movement. If you have to sacrifice so much to get elected as Libertarian, then you are by no means Libertarian. The Tea Party is not the way to go, it's the flavor of the week or maybe weak! They need the Libertarians not the other way around. Sarah Palin? She is nothing more than someone who quit her responsibility that she had with the people of Alaska. The people that donated their time, money and lives to her candidacy. Then after their failed Presidential Campaign she realized, or probably was told because she doesn't strike me as all that bright, that if she were to wait 13 more months to do her thing then she would have already be forgotten. So she just quits being governor? And people can even consider voting for her as dog catcher? She quit, to go and make money! Nice! That sounds like a sound President! No Libertarians need to steer clear of her and her Tea Party! Oh yeah, Glen Beck, need I say more?

  • Mr Whipple||

    Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Joseph Farah, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin: they adorn the cathedral of conservatism like so many gargoyles.

    Bad simile.

    Gargoyles are said to scare off and protect from any evil or harmful spirits.

    They are the evil and/or harmful spirits.

  • Erik||

    Libertarian Party principles are very much outside the contrived left-right dichotomy. It’s best to reject the premise of the question itself and recognize the liberal-conservative continuum doesn’t apply to libertarian posiitons.

    Or you can re-frame the terms. For example, I tell people who seem troubled by the apparent “socially liberal” aspects of the LP platform that we’re even more conservative than the Republicans are. We’re so conservative we want our government to be too small to meddle in matters that should be left to families, religious communities and individuals.

  • ||

    What is the point of property rights that aligning with conservatives *may* bring, when they take away the rights of your mind in their theocratic state?

  • ||

    I think the comments show that the big difference between libertarians and the two main parties is priorities. Just because someone votes democrat or republican doesn't mean they agree with everyone else who votes the same way. It means they are willing to compromise on some things in order to secure one or two other things that are the most important to them.
    Libertarians don't all agree but they don't compromise either. That's a sure recipe for permanent obscurity.

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  • Andrew Ian Dodge||

    As the so-called "leader of the libertarian insurgency" in the tea party movement, as declared by Newsweek, I agree with Kibbe's comments.

    Instead of tossing stones at the entire movement surely it would be a better idea to engage with the libertarian minded in the tea party movement and help them in their quest? We surely need all the help we can get against the constant blowback we face from the authoritarian meddlers posing as tea party types.

    The irony, of course, is that the tea party movement is routinely bashed by the authoritarian right because of its "tinge" of libertarianism. We have people like Judson Philips of Tea Party Nation & WND's Joseph Farah bashing us because we "allow" gays to be involved (and non-Christians for that matter).

  • ||

    I'm someone who mainly considers himself libertarian. And an Independent, as party membership costs far too much in intellectual kowtowing these days, in both parties. But I have to say this: though I consider abortion to be a very serious and sad matter, I rank the freedom to have one up to the point of viability as an issue of importance with me right up there with balancing the budget. It must remain legal under those conditions. Must. Republicans looking for my vote, take heed, 'cause it's a deal-breaker.

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