Scary Monsters

The growth of government threatens freedom much more than mosque-building Muslims do.

In July, while publicizing his new book To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was challenged by NBC’s Matt Lauer to name federal government programs “you would be willing to cut right now to cut deficits.” After some throat clearing about his record in the 1990s, Gingrich offered up this weak sauce: “I would start and I’d go through this budget pretty dramatically and I would eliminate a great deal of federal bureaucracy. I would reform unemployment compensation. I would reform workman’s comp at the state level. I would have a very pro-jobs, very pro-savings, very pro-take-home-pay policy.”

You may recall candidate Barack Obama’s pledge to go through his budgets “line by line” to eliminate wasteful programs and enact a “net spending cut” while also lowering taxes of the middle classes and “reforming” various programs in ways that would magically reduce the deficit. We have seen how that movie played out.

The interview got worse. “Would you make cuts in Social Security and Medicare?” Lauer asked.

Gingrich: “No, no.”

The former GOP revolutionary is still able to flip the switch from foggy bureaucracy cutter to wonkishly specific policy chef when it comes to taxes. He wants to eliminate capital gains and inheritance taxes, reduce the corporate rate to 12.5 percent, and temporarily cut Social Security and Medicare taxes by 50 percent for both employers and workers. Some or all of these may be good ideas, but in the year 2010 if you’re not talking about hacking down the size of a government that every credible economist acknowledges will continue growing rapidly unless reformed, particularly via the entitlement programs that Gingrich refuses to touch, then you are not worthy of being taken seriously.

Unfortunately, Gingrich’s frivolity is not the exception on the Republican side of the aisle. In July NBC’s David Gregory put the same question to two allegedly rock-ribbed Texas conservatives, Rep. Pete Sessions and Sen. John Cornyn: “Name a painful choice that Republicans are prepared to say we have to make.”

Sessions went first: “Well, first of all, we have to make sure as we look at all we spend in Washington, D.C., with not only the entitlement spending, but also the bigger government we cannot afford anymore. We have to empower the free enterprise system.”

An exasperated Gregory tried again with Cornyn, who replied: “Well, the president has a debt commission that reports December the first, and I think we’d all like to see what they come back with.”

We’re not just talking about politicians’ fear of attaching their names to cuts in popular programs, although that’s certainly in play here. Professional Republicans, particularly in the Senate, no longer have the rhetorical reflex to reduce the size of government even by symbolic amounts.

Cornyn, for example, was a leading critic of the Obama administration’s proposal to reduce the budget of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by $3.5 billion. Nine GOP senators opposed Obama’s plans to trim just $812 million from Washington’s massive subsidy package for agribusiness, arguing in a joint letter that “cutting farm programs in the midst of an economic downturn sends the wrong signal to rural America.”

You want to see the wrong signal, senators? Turn to page 24, where some frightening three-dimensional charts will demonstrate how the thing you ignore is going to eat you in the end. Government spending and debt, in the current, near, and long term, are swallowing up the productive capacity of America’s wealth and ingenuity. The Congressional Budget Office, the International Monetary Fund, and even the administration’s senior economic officials all agree: The course we are on is unprecedented and unsustainable.

But you wouldn’t know it from listening to Newt Gingrich and John Cornyn. As the administration’s “Recovery Summer” was turning into an Endless Bummer of economic news as lousy as it was predictable, the two men—and countless other Republicans—focused like a laser beam on the real threat to the country: American Muslims proposing to build a prayer space and community center a couple of blocks away from the site of the World Trade Center.

Cornyn, who is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, warned that it was “unwise to build a mosque in the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as the result of a terrorist attack,” insisting that “this is not about freedom of religion.” (See, he was just asking, not telling, adherents of one of the world’s largest religions to refrain from exercising their property rights.) Cornyn crowed that the “Ground Zero mosque” would be a winning issue for Republicans come November. “It demonstrates that Washington, the White House, the administration, the president himself, seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America,” Cornyn told Fox News. “I think that’s one of the reasons why people are so frustrated.”

Gingrich was considerably worse. “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia,” he said, in one of the worst examples you’ll see of a politician trying to define American values down. “Nazis,” he also argued, with a dashing lack of accuracy, “don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington.” The building project, he explained, is “a test to see if we have the resolve to face down an ideology that aims to destroy religious liberty in America, and every other freedom we hold dear.”

Gingrich and Co. aren’t just wrong about the mosque. They’re wrong about policy priorities. They should be considered no more reliable on the pressing issue of the day, restraining the leviathan of government, than Michael Moore should be trusted with dietary advice. There’s a reason why widespread disgust at the way Obama and the Democrats are running the country has not translated into enthusiasm for the unprincipled “American values” stew of 21st-century Republicanism.

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  • mr simple||

    Newt Gingrich is a liar and a coward.

    Why can't people see that the major parties are losing hand? This is why I tell everyone to vote small party candidates, whomever you vote for. Send a message to the major parties that we're tired of their policies. It's the only way we'll get any real reform.

    Good article, Matt.

  • ||

    Hey Matt! I heard they're having a sale down at Lenscrafters, go check it out. Also try to look just a little bit less gay, it will help you attract male readers that have lost there jobs and hate Obama but don't know who Newt Gingrich is.

  • Your Teacher||

    F-

  • JohnD||

    Sorry Teacher, you are giving Welch too much credit.

  • MNG||

    I've always thought the argument that you are "throwing your vote away" on a third party is silly. So few elections are decided by a small number of votes, one might as well vote for something they believe in rather than the lesser of two evils. I do think that voting in the major party primaries makes a ton of sense though.

  • MNG||

    I mean, what could be a worse way of "throwing your vote away" than casting it for someone you abhor?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Occasionally, I recognize common ground with you MNG. Kudos.

  • ||

    Well, I don't love the local challenger for House member, but the incumbent pisses me off. So, I feel perfectly good about voting for the guy most likely to send him home.

    What makes it easier is that a lot of third-party candidates are asshats, whom I like even less...

    I've campaigned for a Libertarian candidate who wasn't an asshat, but he was the exception that proves the rule.

  • Tony||

    Elections are occasionally decided by fewer votes than go to a third-party candidate. I can see the merit of a protest vote, but if your goal is getting people elected who most reflect your policy preferences, voting 3rd party is usually a vote for the candidate who least reflects them, as in general either an R or a D will win. Now if we had a system with more runoff elections or a more parliamentary system as a whole, voting for 3rd parties would be viable. Otherwise, the way I see it, you usually have two choices, and any decision you make: voting R or D, voting 3rd party, or not voting, is casting a vote for either R or D. But maybe I'm still scarred from the 2000 presidential.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    It's a sort of prisoner's dilemma. If I could trust everyone to vote for their favorite candidate rather than the least worst candidate with a major party backing them, third-party candidates would probably have a much better shot. Instead I have to hedge against everyone defaulting because their hedging against everyone defaulting.

  • Tony||

    That's true to an extent, but it's a built-in quality of our system that we get a party duopoly, both constitutionally and because of barriers set up by the two parties themselves.

  • Mike the Grouch||

    So basically: voting is useless.

  • ||

    The lesser of two evils is still evil.

  • Tony||

    So is the least of 3 or 4 evils. What's your point?

  • Wegie||

    I think his point is we're fucked.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Voting for the lesser of 2 evils is a major part of the problem here in America.

    If you vote in any way that isn't according to your conscience (who is the best for the job according to your own principles), you're part of the problem.

  • ||

    If someone runs 3rd party, he/she is already way down on the "best for the job" scale, though. It doesn't matter how much I agree with, or like, the candidate. 3rd party candidates, except in rare instances where there might be real 3rd party opportunities, are either not serious about doing the job, or they are unrealistic about what it takes to get it. Neither one bodes well.

    That's the dilemma, for adults, anyway.

  • ||

    when you vote in the revolving door of control freaks you always lose.

  • marlok||

    I agree with the broad point that Republicans have been evasive about what programs to cut, but Gingrich does not hold office last time I checked.
    Anyway, it would be political suicide for Republicans to start talking up Social Security and Medicare cuts now. And do you really think Obama's gonna go along with any proposed cuts? We still have the most spend-happy president in history in office. Can't you imagine the crowd's adulation when Obama tells a football arena of seniors that he saved their healthcare and monthly checks from the greedy Republicans?

  • Wegie||

    That's a mighty long winded way to tell us we're fucked.

  • Suki||

    mr simple, sorry i am a few days late to the party.

    Good morning reason!

  • MJ||

    "...and show it to any friends and loved ones interested in attacking problems that actually matter, rather than ones that make for pointless culture-war clashes in the run-up to an election."

    Are Welch and Reason as a whole going to stop applauding culture war issues they agree with from now to the election in favor of exclusively talking about fiscal policy?

    I did not think so.

  • MNG||

    Well, I'm guessing since libertarianism opposes coercion in matters cultural and economic they will not and should not. They probably would like to see the GOP focus on the latter because it is that area the GOP's rhetoric is more libertarian. To the extent the GOP talks about cultural matters it is usually in a way libertarians are not going to endorse.

  • MJ||

    If you describe a set of issues as unimportant in and of themselves, then they are unimportant no matter what side of those issues you personally come down on.

    I don't think that Welch or Reason should forgo advocating for issues they think are actually important. I just don't think Welch really believes the cultural issues are unimportant, so his call for the GOP to drop the culturally issues is inherently dishonest.

  • M. Simon||

    Well, I suppose.

    But I play balance of power politics. If the Rs are going to go all culture war on us post election, I'm voting D in '12.

  • MJ||

    Then the culture issues are the ones that you consider MOST important.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    What you don't get is that culture-war issues and fiscal ones are inherently linked. One cannot argue for small government, or even one which spends appreciably less, while you yammer on about the importance of ever greater levels of drug enforcement or government regulations on broadcasting. For conservatards, their moral agenda is their big government agenda.

    Unless that is the WoD doesn't cost anything, or that large scale efforts at promoting abstinence in school isn't an issue which involves the intrinsically useless and wasteful DoE.

  • ||

    Given that the Rs and Ds tend to agree that we should throw people in prison for getting high, the War on Some Drugs isn't a significant part of the culture war at the moment.

  • MJ||

    Then you think that a cultural issue is important and you will fight for your position. Welch is suggesting that cultural issues should not be fought over.

    That being said, I don't think he really believes that, and only wants to get people who disagree with his cultural positions should concede the field.

  • M. Simon||

    I'm all for fighting for culture issues. I just happen to think it is not government's job.

    And if fiscal conservatism and culture wars go together then I'm going with the Ds in '12. Out of principle. Or spite.

  • ||

    Now:
    “Cutting farm programs in the midst of an economic downturn sends the wrong signal to rural America.”

    Inevitably:
    "Cutting farm programs just when rural America is getting back on its feet sends the wrong message to the nation's farming families."

  • planodoc||

    And eventually:

    "Cutting farm programs now that the economy is strong again sends the wrong message to the world's breadbasket. Our government support is what allowed our rural citizens to see their way through the dark times of the recession."

    The stockholders of ADM salute America. Too bad it's only one finger they're holding up.

  • ||

    "Corn: America's Oil™."

  • MNG||

    Have you seen these ethanol commercials lately that say that "no one has died fighting wars for ethanol?" Blech.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    I've seen that commercial. I always want to scream at the television. No one may have died fighting wars for ethanol, but they have died starving because of it.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Given time, it seems essentially inevitable that they will.

  • ||

    It's time we stop importing foreign corn from countries who hate us, like Canada.

  • MJ||

    No one has died fighting wars for ethanol for similar reasons no one (or few people) have died fighting wars for Antarctica. People tend to fight wars over useful resources.

  • ||

    OT: Why the fuck was I just subjected to a Zac Efron movie commercial during Ryder Cup coverage?

  • Because||

    YOU TOUCH YOURSELF AT NIGHT!

  • ||

    No politician is going name any area he wants to cut. If he did their would be a TV ad up within 24 hours against him and the cuts. Please find something else to whine about. Thanks

  • Dave||

    If an Austrian economic-minded candidate got out there and made a specific proposal, with the rationale laid out, and why the proposed system would work, and how cutting the state programs to deal with real human needs, would NOT mean that those real human need wouldn't be met, and how/why, then people would get behind it. The cynical view that one has to keep playing the pander-to-dumb-voters game, instead of the courage of educating the voters on alternate visions, will just keep running this country into the ground.

  • Wegie||

    Bullshit! This country is full of stupid fucks.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    There's no reason why Austrian economics can not be packaged for fairly stupid people. Just show that freedom = wealth and tyranny = poverty. Give examples like East vs. West Germany. Even really stupid people will eventually figure out how to spot people who sound like the people who've been screwing everything up and vote for someone who sounds new and different but like they still know what they're talking about.

  • Wegie||

    Right. Go for it!

  • ||

    even if you succeed now eventually the control freaks will win and if they do things properly there will be no chance to dismantle the dictatorship.

  • ||

    From the videos I've seen, I think Chris Christie would. But I'm hard-pressed to think of another.

  • Dave||

    thx for comment

  • Enkidu||

    Well I'm sure the Republicans will do their part by attacking Social Security - which is not even part of the budget - while ignoring the over 25% of the budget allocated to "defense."

    Oh, and ignoring the drug war... except for Rand Paul IF he wins, and it's starting to look like he might lose after all.

  • LarryA||

    If it costs money, either it's "part of the budget" or you're lying to yourself.

  • ||

    Well I'm sure the Republicans will do their part by attacking Social Security - which is not even part of the budget - while ignoring the over 25% of the budget allocated to "defense."

    Theater of the absurd!

  • ||

    Congress needs to be outsourced.

    http://www.rumormiller.com/vie.....+Yourselve

  • MikeS||

    Let's not forget that just 4 years ago the deficit was only $161 billion. That was fy2007 and that deficit included the $123 billion we spent on the Iraq War that year.

    So why, as the economy has struggled over the last 4 years, has the budget gone up by $1 trillion? Why has discretionary spending skyrocketed by 88% in a struggling economy?

    We remember that spending had been cut to 18.4% of GDP at the end of Clinton's term and we had budget surpluses. Why can't we do that again? Why are we now spending 25.4% of GDP on the federal government?

  • The Cake||

    The surplus is a lie too!

  • ||

    Why doesn't the alt-text say "Newt is short for Newcular Titties?" I don't understand Hit & Run's reticence on this issue.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    Like Saddam Hussein, the “Ground Zero Mosque” is yet another not-involved entity to be linked to the WTC attack. At this point, you have to conclude that the still-at-large bin Laden is the only Muslim the Spite Right doesn’t blame for 9/11.

  • jacob||

    +100

    As always Mr. Loberfeld

  • M. Simon||

    Except Saddam was involved in an attack on the WTC.

    And he was available.

  • Dave||

    So where are the Libertarian alternative candidates? How could all this be going on, from 9/11 being usurped for the war machine, to the Keynsian debt bubble meltdown. From Reagan-appointed Greenspan, to Obama-appointed Summers, filling out a nice Rubin sandwich.

    Why is Ron Paul the only person who seems to have a different view, if you watch the mainstream crap? How come all we get after all this time is the Tea Party? Maybe they have some legitimacy, and I love the anger at the system, but the religion and the nuttiness, don't seem the true kernel of Libertarianism?

    Why can't the Libertarian, Austrian view get out there with relatively normal, semi-charismatic candidates out in the news?

  • ||

    The Tea Party should not be confused with libertarian thought. I went to a single Tea Party rally and learned what I needed to.

    After a 30 minute prayer invocation, the first speaker for the next 90 minutes was the same preacher who did the invocation. His message is how we need to cut taxes and get God back into our government.

    Yawn...

  • Dave||

    Exactly, so why haven't Libertarians been able to fill the void of the last 20 years, and instead we get the Tea Party?

  • Robert||

    Maybe this is tautologic, maybe not, depending on what you meant, but clearly the Tea Parties are more inspiring to a broader segment of the population.

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    'Cause libertarians don't have a "news" network?

  • Dave||

    If the Koch's are true in their support of honest Libertarianism, and not just deregulation of their industries for competitive advantage (NOT libertarian), why don't they start a Libertarian/Austrian Network?

  • ||

    2 words: operation mockingbird.

  • ||

    I have to say, I'm a little baffled at the either-or here.

    Surely there's a position where it's possible to be against 1) big bloodsucking government and 2) Fuck-you gestures from the Saudis and the Iranians, at the very same time.

    Personally, I think the best argument for the Ground Zero Mosque is that it's going to wind up embarrassing everyone who supported it so loudly when the self-promoting sleazeballs involved wind up confirming every bad thing the racist hicks suspect.

  • ||

    Ground Zero Mosque - I give it a 40% chance of actually being built.

    Not because of political opposition. Because the promoter has no funding and not enough property.

    The whole think is brilliant headfake by a career provocateur to keep tensions high, thus promoting his position as a "moderate" Muslim.

    I beginning to think "imam" is Arabic for "con man".

  • -||

    That's borderline conspiracy theory stuff, almost John-like in its paranoia. They want the "9/11 Victory Mosque" to go down in defeat?

  • PersistantVegetativeStatesman||

    In any language "Clergy" = "con man" or "con woman".

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    And sometimes "kiddy-toucher".

  • ||

    Exactly. I would say most people who are against fuck-you gestures from Saudis and Iranians are also against big bloodsucking government. I've not actually heard anyone who's against the mosque deny their right to build it. They're simply asking, in the name of all that is decent, for it to not be built right there.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind an Islamic cultural center....if it was objective.
    But that would defeat the purpose of promoting tolerance, because some aspects of Islamic culture simply shouldn't be tolerated.

  • guff||

    "Republicans will do anything to win midterm elections except the right thing: spelling out, with both programmatic detail and philosophical conviction, how government is obstructing freedom, bankrupting the country, and impeding the great transition from top-down dictation to individual autonomy. Some day that transition will come to government. But only after we insist on it."

    Or, more likely, after we collapse.

  • ||

    I thought the author made some valid points.

    Newt is not holding the programs he wants to cut close to his vest as some sort of campaign strategy. I have heard him speak a couple years ago and he has already accepted the fact that people want government to do some things like tackle global warming. He just thinks that he can deliver better, more competent government using some free market ideas.

    and regarding the post about the tea party..
    There are millions of americans who believe that government should be limited and at the same time that a memorial cross on federal land does not constitute an establishment of religion.

    There are not, at this time, 150 Million idiologically pure Libertarians in this country. Thus far, Libertarians could afford to be pure as they never had to govern. That could change but would be small incremental change.

    So you have the following choice:

    1. Work with others with whom you have disagreements on certain points and actually move the country in a different direction.

    2. Pat yourself on the back for how superior your worldview is over these religious nuts and watch helplessly as Big Government marches on.

    The Tea Party is your ally.

  • Robert||

    Bob Wilson had th right idea with the Libertarian Immortalist Party: "an end to death and taxes". You have to dilute the medicine with something tastier to more people to get them to swallow it.

  • ||

    ...and as soon as any conservative (otherwise known as a grownup!) says with specificity how they will rein in spending (to include touching the sacrosanct Social Security and Medicare systems), the mainstream media, progressives, and you, Matt, will turn this election into a scarefest.

    Look around for heaven's sake...Californians, even though they have bankrupted their state, can not get off the 'government must spend money on me' train and keep electing progressives/liberals. All around the world, people are screaming for government benefits as if there were some 'loaves and fishes' method of funding everything. As soon as an adult comes into the picture and spells out in detail just how unsustainable this benefit binge is, they are mocked and derided by an all too power hungry progressive political class whose only solution is to increase taxes AND spending.

    Contrary to your central thesis, a large part of the electorate has shown itself to be incapable of restraint; they've bought into the 'we can have it all' progressive platform. I still hold out hope that, sooner rather than later, the electorate will understand that 'no pain, no gain' applies to fiscal policy.

    You should have written your editorial about the need to get ALL the progressives out of government before it's too late. They would rather bankrupt the US than give up political power. Consequently, before ANY adult fiscal conversation can take place, the children must ALL be made to leave the room...and that process starts this November 2nd!

  • ||

    Hate on the tea parties and Republicans all you like Libertarians. They are the only people willing to even listen to your ideas. The liberals have no use for you at all. You folks seem committed to making sure that you remain a small minority headed up by a few cranks like Ron Paul.

  • ||

    I'd rather lose an election and keep my self-respect. Especially if winning means selling my soul to either Obama or Gingrich.

  • Robert||

    I'd rather keep everything else and lose my self-respect. Why does anyone need respect from hirself, for gosh sakes? That's just plain silly.

  • ||

    You don't have to sell your soul to anybody. I don't give a whit what Newt says these days myself ever since he bought into the AGW nonsense.

    But why trash conservatives every chance you get when you actually have common ground with them on some issues? I think Welch is really just a liberal who happens to be fiscally conservative. Enjoy your obscurity.

  • Wegie||

    The problem is the Republicans only talk a good game.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    If you really think that Republicans or many Tea Partiers are willing to listen to our ideas, you're fucking crazy. Once we get past the very generic "small government/less spending mantra" all commonality goes down the drain.

    In fact, republitards have already said that our only purpose is to use against liberals, and even then only when "we keep our ideas to ourselves."

  • ||

    You act as if the "small government" issue is a minor one. THAT IS THE ISSUE! I have attended tea parties, I vote Republican, I am a Christian, but I also frequent this site and subscribe to Reason. I guess Welch and Co. don't want me around though. Too bad.

    If pro-life Republicans are such dickheads, why is Ron Paul supported by most Libertarians. He is both.

  • Soonerliberty||

    I grew up on the conservative side of the aisle, so I understand why you feel this way about libertarians. The problem libertarians have with Republicans and conservatives is that 1) they have no problem taxing the hell out of people for nation-building 2) abusing civil rights by spying on their own citizens 3) using the power of government to advance moral agendas (gay marriage resistance, etc.) 4) protectionism for farmers and steel industry 5) anti free trade stances 6) immigration stances at odds with free markets 7) subsidies for energy 8) worshiping the military and police 9) the immoral War on Drugs that defies economics.

    The list could go on and on. We don't basically agree on the issues, because conservatives don't really believe that taxation and redistribution are wrong when it comes down to it. They also betray free market principles once in power.

    Libertarians want gov't out of all spheres of private life, not just the ones that are convenient for some moral agenda. For us, you are no different than liberal leftists. The only difference lies in how you apply the tyrannical hand of gov't.

    Why not just accept liberty across the board?

  • M. Simon||

    +27.369

  • ||

    Political parties exist solely to pervert the electoral process. They have no valid role in a Constitutional Republic.

    If we focus on Constitutional government your arguments are resolved. The Founders were prescient to deny politicians power and money. We need to restore those Constitutional safeguards and go about restoring America.

  • ||

    Your list of problems with republicans is absurdly off base.
    1)Nation building? Did you mysteriously wake up in North Korea and not realize it? I think the government taxes the hell out of us, but for just about everything besides "nation building". I'm not aware of a flag-saluting or not-flag saluting tax.
    2) If you want to debate the patriot act, debate the reality vs the stated purpose. The reality is not that the government decided, hey, cuz we're bored let's randomly spy on our citizens. The reality at most, might be that the act hasn't helped us track Al Qaeda et all. That's not a privacy issue, unless you think Al Qaeda deserves privacy.
    3) Using the power of government to advance moral agendas isn't saying anything. We also use the power of government to advance a moral agenda to stop citizens from murdering each other.
    4) 5) 7) are just not true of most republicans
    6) immigration stances are not necessarily at odds with free markets any more than other forms of law and order. Unless the stance is "don't enforce immigration law".
    8) stupid
    9) "immoral"? I thought you were too good to let morality inform your politics.

    Republican politicians to be sure, are not the free market purists we would like them to be. But Republican people do not tend to trust their politicians like Democrats do. Republicans are individuals. I've known a lot in my life and they vote the way they do because they've assessed the trade offs. They are rarely completely happy with any of the candidates. They tend to be libertarians who don't want the worse of the two in office, or free market advocates with values. (like anti-abortion)

  • Joe C||

    You obviously don't share the same concept of morality that many of us do. People like you are the why many of us have no faith in or respect for Republicans.

  • Dave||

    It doesn't seem that hard to get behind Hayek. When you read it, you end up asking yourself, does this seem basically true? and if honest, you say Yes. Then you say, ok, well I guess I do appreciate individual liberty/economic choice better now, and how giving that up to central planners is a slipperly slope. And you say, If we set up a decent legislative framework as Hayek presupposes, to prevent outright Might is Right running amok, then you say "yes, I think this is common sense, we should try it."

    Why not?

  • johnl||

    His accent is to heavy and the NASCAR dads will never vote for him.

  • Joshua||

    So I should work with the people who lie to me repeatedly instead of the people to just tell me to go fuck myself? That's what it sounds like to me.

  • ||

    you realize this and still continue to vote.

  • ||

    Gingrich had his chance in '94 and blew it. Why should anybody listen to a word he has to say about anything. He should go back to doing what he does best, which is serving divorce papers to a dying wife.

  • Holy Cow||

    Dear John Galt:

    Amen!

    Oh, was that too religious for Reason?

    Second take:

    John Galt,

    Your post was like having an Anal sex 4-some with Ron Kubby, John Stagliano and a huge flaming bowl of Sativa!

  • Holy Cow||

    Dear John Galt:

    Amen!

    Oh, was that too religious for Reason?

    Second take:

    John Galt,

    Your post was like having an Anal sex 4-some with Ron Kubby, John Stagliano and a huge flaming bowl of Sativa!

  • Holy Cow||

    By the way, the Left doesn't give a poop about gay rights, the environment, peace or legal weed. All those issues are 1)ways to bash the right and 2) all the left's positions on the above do nothing but increase the size and scope of government.

  • ||

    I suspect you're right. As a libertarian, I find that where my views might appear to be similar to those of the left, the approach is so different that I can't say I agree.

    I want marriage to be deregulated, to have less government involvement. Gay marriage is one outcome of that, but that's not the end of the story. See Harry Browne's 1973 tome for more about marriage...

    The left-wing stance in favor of gay marriage has always struck me as motivated by the desire to force the social right-wing to accept gay relationships as equal. Gay people, as individuals, seem to be pawns in the culture war game, and nobody on either conventional "side" gives a crap about them.

    The Environment is merely an opportunity for total government control. Where economic socialism is not popular, "the environment" has been substituted, for propaganda purposes. Note the difference between the environment and the new diety, The Environment. It's more than semantic.

    Peace? Hell, the moment there was a Democratic majority in DC, the anti-war movement seemed to fold their tents and silently steal away -- even as our troops remained on the ground in the same places, doing the same things.

  • ||

    Obama ran on hope and change. Now you're asking the republicans to specify what changes they will make. Repugs aren't stupid, all they have to do is be against Obama's policies, which the majority reject. We can get to specifics after kicking dems to the curb.

  • ||

    Trey Parker's wisdom in song...

    Lets get out to vote,
    Lets make our voices heard,
    We've been given the right to choose between a
    Douche and a turd

    Its democracy in action,
    Put your feet up to the test

    A big fat turd or a stupid douche
    Which do you like best?

  • RaceReligion Strawman||

    No matter how repugnant the fundamentalist right (and the minority of racists in their midst), their tide of influence has been going out for years due to strong court actions protecting minorities, and delineating the separation of church and state.

    This can not be said of leftist (big government) fundamentalists, whose power in state local and federal government (and in universities) has become almost unchallengeable.

    And they always want MORE.

  • ||

    From a strictly pragmatic standpoint, I have to agree.

    The stuff that repulses me about the Right tends to have zero traction, whereas the stuff that repulses me about the Left is currently charging ahead.

  • ||

    Were Republicans saying that the Mosque issue was more important than bloated government? No. Another straw man post from a moron.

  • Wegie||

    Well one thing is for sure, the Republicans don't give a shit about ending deficit spending and big government!

  • ||

    That depends what you mean by "Republicans". If you are talking about average rank and file Republican citizens, you are dead wrong. Which party is being influenced by people calling for smaller government right now? Democrats? Fuck no. Which party is it whose establishment is being challenged by small government upstarts? Republicans.

    Face it, the only hope Libertarians have of making any progress towards their aims is with the Republican party. The other side isn't even TALKING about reducing the size of government and the current occupant in the white house had made Bush look like a piker in regard to spending. Enough of the fucking nonsense that Republicans are the same as Democrats. They aren't.

    Libertarians think they are above it all and refuse to truly participate in the process. They stand on the sidelines, trash both major parties, act condescending, and back candidates who have no chance of being elected. In the end you are all less than worthless.

  • ||

    Republicans were saying that Terri Shiavo was more important than a bloated, screwed-up, corrupt, dysfunctional government that they themselves had helped to build -- after the personally-selected investigator sent by a pro-life Governor Bush said that she was dead.

  • Wegie||

    Great point.

  • ||

    both sides of the political parties bash each other and all of them are right.

  • Soonerliberty||

    There was no mosque issue. It's an issue of private property, or is that not important to conservatives anymore?

  • ||

    The United States spends 40% more than it takes in, to even the ledger we need $1,300 BILLION worth of spending cuts. Any takers? BTW: For those that say deficits don't matter move to Greece, Iceland or Ireland and then repeat that mantra. The United States of Argentina, were almost there.

  • ||

    Is it not astounding that no one is questioning the size of the federal government? Business has been streamling for 40 years in the face of global competition, but throughout that time government has been exploding.

    Does anyone actually think that the Energy Dept is doing one iota of good? Is the Agriculture Dept doing anything but wasting money? Certainly no one who measures effectiveness can find any in the Dept of Education. Urban development? Health & Human Services? NASA? IRS? DOD? Homeland Security? There is so much overlap and so little accountability for performance as to be laughable were it not for the crushing cost of it all.

    We have hundreds of thousands in cabinet level responsibilities and now we have overlaid on that organization (sic) a layer of czars and their minions who are working at cross purposes.

    We just wasted $1 Trillion over the past year sustaining an unsustainable government bureaucracy. When each revenue-consuming government job costs 8 revenue generating private sector jobs we should be taking a serious look at the size and scope of government.

    The unspoken question of course is what will be done with millions of highly paid, highly benefitted, non-productive, unionized government workers who couldn't survive in a private sector work environment?

    The answer had better be "let them find a way to be productive" because the productive workers are being crushed out of existence by the dead weight of non-productive government.

    For a politician to talk about Social Security as if it actually exists is insulting. Those thieves stole every penny "contributed" to the Social Security Trust Fund generations ago. Social Security is an empty vault, except for mountains of worthless IOU's from the General Fund.

    Cutting government spending is a piece of cake: simply eliminate all non-value added expense; just like business has been doing for 40 years. It may not be pretty, but it is essential. We might as well get started.

  • No||

    "They should be considered no more reliable on the pressing issue of the day, restraining the leviathan of government, than Michael Moore should be trusted with dietary advice.'

    ZING!

  • ||

    even so one day they will in collusion with the control freaks on the left erect a dictatorship and the hour is late.

  • Frankenstein Government||

    Very well struck, Matt.

    That we are so easily distracted by superficial and really meaningless things like the Mosque- has been exploited by our monopolistic two party system.

    The great national distraction is really R and D politics. That either of these parties has any kind of solution is ridiculous. They have demonstrated their ineptness to my satisfaction over decades. They practice crony capitalism and politics. Public service is a term that never gets in the way of their self service. And to that end, I dwell in obscurity, writing of this madness as well.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Moe||

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    Lets make our voices heard,
    We've been given the right to choose between a
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