What’s the Matter with Provincetown?

The Democrats’ two years of control delivered zero social liberalism.

Barack Obama the hard-left bomb thrower is gone. I miss him already.

Yes, I know. The president routinely depicted by detractors as the demon seed of the ’60s counterculture is in fact an establishment figure who blocks efforts to end federal discrimination against gay people, supports immunity for federal agents who illegally engaged in warrantless wiretapping, declines to withdraw on any front from either the war on drugs or the war on jihad, made insurance giganticorps the centerpiece of his health care law, failed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and helped deliver hundreds of billions of dollars into the hands of insolvent bankers and industrialists.

But for the two years prior to the midterm elections, while all of Washington was captive to the whim of Eldridge the Jackal Obama, it still seemed faintly possible that the government might permit some more of the personal freedoms Democrats claim to favor. In a pre-election New York Times Magazine profile, Obama claimed to have achieved 70 percent of his goals in his first two years—a high success rate for any president. Maybe somewhere in there with Cash for Clunkers and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the triumphant Democrats might, say, repeal Bill Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act, which imposes legal, tax, and inheritance troubles on gay Americans, one of the party’s most loyal constituencies. Perhaps there would be time, between the short Summer of Recovery and the debt-wracked Fall of the Economy, for the Obama team to stop winking about its reefer-friendly liberality and push for changes in the federal scheduling of controlled substances, which puts marijuana into a more restrictive category than morphine, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

That tiny hope is now gone. Forced to negotiate with a Republican Congress, Obama must lean “right,” probably by pursuing the publicly muscular foreign policy that glues Republicans to Democrats. Progressive Obama is gone, and he may not be back even when the Republicans inevitably bungle their advantage.

Cheer yourself up with University of North Florida historian David T. Courtwright’s potluck history No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America (Harvard), which hit bookstores just before the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and pared back the Democrats’ Senate majority. Spectacularly bad market timing is always enjoyable. But there is an important question buried in this analysis of a culture war that, by Courtwright’s estimation, lasted from 1968 to 2008: Why do Democratic voters allow themselves to be hoodwinked by promises of social expansiveness into voting against their interests?

This is emphatically not the question Courtwright means to ask. The book’s premise is that the culture war ended in a “messy failure of reaction, obscured by the illusion of conservatism.” As Courtwright tells it, “Culture warriors blasted secularists while Republicans used popular anger over crime, drugs, welfare, and taxes to win office.…Yet, for all the tough talk, no national politician slowed the culture’s leftward drift or reined in the size and power of the government.”

To which I reply: What leftward drift in the culture? To the extent that America is any less shriveled, boring, and uptight than at any time in its past (a point that is open to argument), the grooviness has not been coming from Democrats. With the occasional exception of such self-immolating madcaps as Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Democratic frontier is closed to social innovation. More typical is the work of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, a confirmed bachelor who in late 2009 blocked an attempt to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Part of Courtwright’s premise—that culture-war wedges such as abortion and louche behavior distract voters who might otherwise be voting for financial regulation and wealth redistribution—is familiar to readers of Tom Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas? or Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter’s Nation of Rebels. Where Courtwright stands apart is in acknowledging that fiscal conservatives were rolled by the Republican Party as badly as social conservatives were. While previous work on this theme has presumed that a cabal of freewheeling Friedmanites made progress in liberalizing the American economy, Courtwright details how the period that began with Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls proceeded through Ronald Reagan’s ballooning deficits before terminating in George W. Bush’s orgy of spending on Medicare, education, and bipartisan wars.

That Courtwright intends to go easy on the Democrats is evident on page 2, where he denies Mary Jo Kopechne the dignity of a name, describing her only as the “blonde passenger” Ted Kennedy killed in the Chappaquiddick bridge episode. We learn that the Democrats have “committed themselves to civil rights and sexual freedom” and become the “Party of Enlightenment.” This alignment, the author contends, put the Dems in opposition to evangelicals, “an audience hardly well disposed toward Enlightenment bromides.”

But No Right Turn’s description of libertarians’ dance with Republicans is quite accurate. At the heart of the book is Richard Nixon’s formula for keeping social conservatives on the reservation: “You have to give the nuts 20 percent of what they want.” Through careful and honest renderings of budgeting under Reagan and both Bushes, the book makes it clear that fiscal conservatives got even less than their one-fifth.

Courtwright is also a drug historian, and the book has the obsessive, trackless, data-mainlining quality of a man driven mad by prolonged exposure to drug war logic. That makes for a cramped work full of pleasant surprises. Up from the sluice box of history, for example, comes the Rev. Billy James Hargis, founder of American Christian College and hero of a Kodak Moment described by Time in 1976: “Hargis had conducted a wedding for the student; on the honeymoon, the groom and his bride discovered that both of them had slept with Hargis.”

But where are the Democrats? No Right Turn describes a culture war in which Republicans succeeded in painting their opponents as the party of acid, abortion, and atheism. That sounds like a fun group, but it doesn’t sound much like the Democratic Party. It may be misguided to think Republicans will prevent social decadence, but is it any dumber than believing Democrats can deliver it? 

Tim Cavanaugh is a senior editor at reason.

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

  • anarch||

    Obama is in fact an establishment figure who blocks efforts to end federal discrimination against gay people, supports immunity for federal agents who illegally engaged in warrantless wiretapping, declines to withdraw on any front from either the war on drugs or the war on jihad, made insurance giganticorps the centerpiece of his health care law, failed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and helped deliver hundreds of billions of dollars into the hands of insolvent bankers and industrialists.

    Racist.

  • anarch||

    Jackal Obama

    Even more racist; case closed.

  • Father Brennan||

    "I witnessed the birth...It's mother was a Ja...."

  • Erisian||

    Being intentionally obtuse here? The reference was most obvious, Eldridge (as in Eldridge Cleaver), and to Carlos The Jackal (Ilich Ramírez Sánchez).

    Stupid, illogical posts... case closed.

  • ||

    Two words.

    Sar

    Casm

  • Erisian||

    If that is the case I apologize for my post. I am new enough (and a bit of a hit-and-run due to time constraints) to not know the background. (If that is not the case: su quind.)

  • anarch||

    It's a running joke around here facetiously to ascribe any conceivable criticism of President Obama's policies as necessarily, irrationally, and irrelevantly originating from white racism.

    Welcome aboard.

    You racist.

  • anarch||

    Oh, and that running that the joke is? That would be fleet-footed.

  • Erisian||

    Thank you for explaining, I will now feel proud about being a racist (pig, preferrably). Actually, I thank you even more since yours was a polite answer to a relative newby.

  • Voter, circa 2008||

    Oh well, at least he's not George W. Bush.

  • JohnD||

    No he's not. He is far worse. He is a marxist that has surrounded himself with a marxist cabinet with the intent of turning American into another Europe.
    He is also a lying scum bag.

  • Zeb||

    Marxist. Yeah. While Marxism does seem to be working its way into public discourse in some small ways, I think that goes a bit far. There is plenty of real stuff to be upset about without being overly hyperbolic or making shit up.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hey, even Obama can't march us into Marxism overnight... this shit has to take time, lest the rioting begin too early.

  • Kristen||

    Lying scumbag? Most definitely. Marxist? Hardly. What Marxist bails out megacorp after megacorp?

    Like Zeb said - there's so very much you can find that's wrong with Obama without resorting to making shit up, dude.

  • Erisian||

    His veracity is always in doubt. Obama is actually just the flip side of the coin represented by GWB: Bush was/is a Neocon Statist while Obama is a Progressive Statist - either way, both agree that the gubmint is the answer to everything (instead of the problem).

  • Obama the jaunty golfer||

    Thanks, Cavanaugh, for leaving my hacker golf game out of your critique.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    We learn that the Democrats have “committed themselves to civil rights and sexual freedom” and become the “Party of Enlightenment.” This alignment, the author contends, put the Dems in opposition to evangelicals, “an audience hardly well disposed toward Enlightenment bromides.”

    An even more amusing conceit considering that modern progressivism is really just a secular form of Puritanism.

  • ||

    Progressive is a meaningless label like "conservative" is, it changes according to where society currently is and heading towards. Here are some examples: Was someone who opposed the breakup of USSR a conservative or a progressive ? Is a European conservative politician the same as an American one ? A person who sees transhumansim as the ultimate progress versus another who sees socialist (human) communities living in happy harmony which of the two are the progressive ?

    Someone who calls himself progressive simply wants to be seen as superior to others, it is a the modern day "white mans burden", their ways will lead all the rest of the neanderthals to a better future.

  • JoshINHB||

    So what's the new name, now that you people have thoroughly discredited progressive?

    How bout trying some honesty and go with socialist.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know if socialist is quite it either. I like to stick with the firm "state owns the means of production" definition. Welfare-statists would probably be a fairer term.

  • ||

    Power-lusting thieves is a nice term, too.

  • Locomotive||

    I find it is a waste of effort to get into specific labels in this regard as the people who tend to ascribe to that line of thinking will try to argue about which flavor of *ist they are or are not. Collectivist seems to be a good catch all for folks who want to supercede individual rights with that of the state.

  • Zeb||

    This is a really good point that people should always keep n mind when talking about conservatives and progressives. Both only have specific meaning in a specific context and the meaning can vary greatly depending on the context.

  • Mensan||

    Overrated Canadian rock bands who share a name with a popular talk radio host are also called progressive.

  • Rather||

    "Progressive Obama is gone, and he may not be back even when the Republicans inevitably bungle their advantage."
    Why is that?

  • Episiarch||

    I'm still sleeping so I can't stalk you yet. Sorry.

  • Rather||

    My website has music for that baby

  • Rather||

    ...and get my coffee bitch

  • Episiarch||

    Can't. Still sleeping. (I turn bright red when I'm awake.) Until then, here's a little something from the archives: Having fun masturbating, buddy? How many times have you jizzed today?

    Har har. I'm so angry and edgy! Don't you think?

  • Rather||

    You overestimated your talent; it wasn't that good of a read. I'm afraid you didn't satisfy me ONCE AGAIN old man. Where is Helle when I need him?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I was just tricked into reading a book review.

  • Rather||

    lol

  • ||

    The Democratic Party was never the party of peace love and acid. It was the Democratic Convention in 1968 that the hippies rioted at. The old line Kennedy Johnson Democrats were, even though they all cheated on their wives like fiends, were very socially conservative. You guys think Johnson wanted free love? I suppose maybe for a brief moment in the 1970s the party was somewhat socially liberal. But that moment ended the day they nominated school marm bible thumper Jimmy Carter for President. Since then, the forces that might have stood for real live and let live cultural liberalism joined the twin cargo cults of environmentalism and public health protection and determined to control every aspect of life available sans abortion and homosexual conduct.

  • ||

    Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

  • the right does it too||

    Add all that up, and it spells demon seed if you ask me....

  • ||

    But for the two years prior to the midterm elections, while all of Washington was captive to the whim of Eldridge the Jackal Obama, it still seemed faintly possible that the government might permit some more of the personal freedoms Democrats claim to favor.

    So can we finally get rid of this idea that Democrats give a fuck about freedom? The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is where they choose to exercise their authoritarianism.

  • Anarchist Hippie||

    Hear hear! We're the only righteous people. Down with authority!

  • ||

    I don't need to be righteous to want them to fuck off.

  • ||

    All too often, they agree on that, too.

    Sure, they put on a show of bickering over abortion, but I haven't heard either "side" push to end the "War on Drugs" or the more recent war on airline passengers, push for Federal civil libertarian limits on no-knock raids, etc.

  • Ice Nine||

    Feel better about Obama now that it has been explained that he is in fact an "establishment figure who blocks efforts to...etc, etc"? I wouldn't - if that were even true, which it is not. He remains an extreme leftist who would happily overthrow the capitalist system here - if he could. Those things that TC lists as supposedly proving the opposite are merely pragmatic means to ends; biding his time, if you will.

    What, the guy wanted large private insurance corporations in the middle of his great socialized medicine dream? Of course not - it was all he could get...by the skin of his teeth. What, the little old lady in Dubuque - and tens of millions of like-minded voters - would even think of voting for him and his crowd again) if he "legalized drugs"? Of course not. Obama is indeed a hard lefty but he's not stupid. He did what he could with what he had and what he didn't do according to Cavanaugh reflects that alone. Be happy; he's done enough damage.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    He's a determined incrementalist, and Obamacare is the camel's nose under the tent. That's why he didn't really care what was in it, he just wanted it passed by any means possible.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I appreciate your deep insight into his true motives. *laugh*

  • Ice Nine||

    So you and I and many others all understand this. Whoopee. It would appear then that our particular insight was at least 'deeper' than that of the esteemed author of the article.

  • ||

    gay Americans, one of the party’s most loyal constituencies

    Well, maybe they shouldn't be. I saw this plenty of time in the elections, where a dem would throw the gays under the bus because, where the hell else they gonna go?

    If gays get so little from the dems (and they do) why support them? Like so many other issues, the difference between red and blue is illusory. Would gays have done any worse under McCain? Has Obama done any better?

  • ||

    The same reason blacks support Dems in overwhelming numbers; Democrats have convinced them that Republicans want to kill them.

  • JoshINHB||

    The same reason blacks support Dems in overwhelming numbers; Democrats have convinced them that Republicans want to kill them.

    No, its because electoral politics is mostly about identity politics.

    Same reason why libertarian writers voted for Obama and think Palin is yucky.

    The only difference is that intellectuals are too stupid to realize that their people like themselves and feel compelled to spin out specious "reasoning" why they support someone that opposes their ideas and works against their material interests.

    What the fuck is wrong with Manhattan?

  • ||

    Well said.

  • ||

    I think that politicians are equal-opportunity fuckors, and voters are equal-opportunity fuckees.

    That said, I probably get along with Kansans better than Manhattanites.

  • Frank||

    You'd probably get along with me, even though i live in Manhattan. Then again, I hate Manhattan with a passion.

  • Ice Nine||

    >>"If gays get so little from the dems (and they do) why support them?"

    I think they learned that from the Negroes.

  • Ice Nine||

    Geez, ya gotta be fast here.

  • jacob||

    where the hell else they gonna go?

    Log Cabin Republicans! DUH!

  • ||

    BTW is that some sort of a sexual innuendo?

    It has always sounded like it was, but I could never see how, exactly. Any insight?

  • ||

    Yep, same thing with those of us opposing the Drug War. Democrats always get our vote, even though I can think of at least as many prominent Republicans (Ron Paul, Gary Johnson) who favor a radical reform in drug policy as Democrats (Barney Frank and...uh....uhhh.....).

  • Anarchist Hippie||

    I get my philosophy from South Park. It's a cartoon.

  • Zeb||

    You could do a lot worse.

  • Erisian||

    Commie! It's "American Dad" for the true believer.

  • Anarchist Hippie||

    What the hell just happened here?
    Dude!

  • Erisian||

    Sorry should have noted that /snark was on. I also find some interesting things in Futurama. But, for all-time philosophical cartoons give me Bullwinkle J Moose and Rocket J Squirrel ervery time.

  • ||

    They were willing to take on Scientology and Barbra Streisand. That counts for something.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Obama an establishment guy? Does this writer watch Glenn Beck? Did he read that book from Dinesh D'Souza about the source of Obama's rage? Is he aware that Obamacare demands government FUNDING of abortion? How the hell is that "establishment?"

    War on Jihad? That boy is a Muslim lover, he's even had NASA outreach the goddamm Muslims. He even to months to give the generals in Afghanistan the troops he needed.

    Obama is a calculating hippie Marxist progressive, anyone who thinks he's "establishment" is a fool. Obama's property of George Soros, he's getting instructions from the puppet master. Jesus Christ, I'm sick of these LIBERALterians.

  • jacob||

    Heh, first I thought this post was satire, then I saw the author....

  • Gregory Smith||

    That's because you're a LIBERALterian, just like Bill Maher. How's your homebody, doing, btw? I love it how Billy thinks most people are stupid and can't be trusted with guns or health-care or anything else.

    Do you think most people are stupid? Do you think Dinesh D'Souza is stupid?

  • jacob||

    How's your homebody, doing, btw?

    Fixed it for you.

    I wouldn't know, I don't watch Bill Maher. Sounds like you do.

    Do you think most people are stupid?

    No, but I think you are stupid.

    Do you think Dinesh D'Souza is stupid?

    I don't see him as a credible source of opinion. That dipshit was greatly in favor of the Iraq War. I bet you were too.

    I'm a Ron Paul guy myself. I notice you don't quote him, as you apparently support assholes who bash Ron Paul, like Glenn Beck.

  • AT||

    Meds, now!

  • ||

    Listen to your doctor man, don't skip your meds.

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

    "Rhayader|2.1.11 @ 9:41AM|#

    Listen to your doctor man, don't skip your meds"

    One word...

    Gregory-does-not-believe-in-Obamacare

    ...did I get that right?

    You should read the titles of the blogposts...durr (or the posts themselves...I didn't)

    We libertarians don't no believe in no Obamacare coz it takes our freedomz yo. Well other than Medicare...and Medicaid...and other such stuff.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You think Soros isn't the establishment?

  • Gregory Smith||

    Soros controls and funds moveon.org, The Tides Foundation, and hundreds of progressive commie organizations, some of them quite popular.

    As Glenn Beck says, in the 60s the radicals were in the streets, today they are in the White House. Remember Van Jones? He's calling for violent revolution, and he used to work for Obama.

    Yet people like you spend more times bitching about Republicans when it's the unholy alliance between progressives and democrats that seeks to destroy our way of life.

    Just wait until Obama shuts down Fox News, and talk radio, then good luck getting John Stossel to argue his views on the air.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Yet people like you spend more times bitching about Republicans

    Your unwarranted presumptions are showing.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Soros controls and funds moveon.org, The Tides Foundation, and hundreds of progressive commie organizations, some of them quite popular.

    You might call them "established" organizations.

    Seriously, your hyperventilating is ridiculous here. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Soros stays alive by drinking the blood of 10 infants a day, but to argue that he's some kind of agent of chaos is silly. He doesn't want anything to happen that would screw up his portfolio, the same as any hedge fund manager.

    Just wait until Obama shuts down Fox News, and talk radio, then good luck getting John Stossel to argue his views on the air.

    And what are you going to do if this happens? Say "I told you so" while sitting on your pile of gold and silver like a dragon in a fantasy novel?

  • Gregory Smith||

    I don't have a pile of gold and silver, I wish I did. In fact, if hyperinflation ever comes and society breaks down, it's the survivalists with guns and gold and silder who are gonna do well while everyone else finds it's not easy buying anything with worthless greenbacks.

    There IS a liberal establishment out there, it's the establishment that controls MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, NPR, USA Today, The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc, etc, etc.

    Only Fox and talk radio fall outside that establishment, only they are not afraid to make a different argument, to get a second opinion. Ask John Stossel, even he admits that the right welcomes him with open arms while the left hates his guts.

    Did you know he left ABC because they wouldn't let him do a special against Obamacare? Yet on Fox Business Network he can advocate legalizing drugs and prostitution and nobody minds.

    Soros is an evil man, so is moveon.org, Van Jones, Piven, and all those progressive bastards that seek to destroy the country. You need to learn what's really going on.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    In fact, if hyperinflation ever comes and society breaks down, it's the survivalists with guns and gold and silder who are gonna do well while everyone else finds it's not easy buying anything with worthless greenbacks.

    If hyperinflation ever comes, it won't matter a lick how much gold and silver you have, because society will have completely broken down at that point. A barter economy is going to get set up a lot faster than a gold standard--and I say this as someone who owns physical gold and silver.

    Soros is an evil man, so is moveon.org, Van Jones, Piven, and all those progressive bastards that seek to destroy the country. You need to learn what's really going on.

    You need to calm the fuck down. On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everything drops to zero.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Gregory Smith,

    Obama is a calculating hippie Marxist progressive, anyone who thinks he's "establishment" is a fool.


    Newsflash, Greg: The "establishment" IS Marxist, populated by Keynesians or Marxists or both - or did you really think, silly boy, that the New Deal was repealed in toto? That McCarthy was 100% successful? You would be on drugs!

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

    Color me red ... flushed with confusion...

    Correct me if I'm wrong but don't words have actual meanings that are applicable by context?

    I only ask because this statement completely defeats my faith in English as a medium of communication ...

    "The "establishment" IS Marxist, populated by Keynesians or Marxists or both "

  • JoshINHB||

    The establishment is and has been for quite a while dedicated to redistributing wealth, managing the economy and controlling ever more aspects of individual behavior.

    Calling it marxist is an exaggeration, but not outrageously so.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Gross.Blank.Point,

    Correct me if I'm wrong but don't words have actual meanings that are applicable by context?


    That would normally be the case, except when the words happen to be "Interstate Commerce", then they lose ANY reasonable meaning they could have, or had.

    I only ask because this statement completely defeats my faith in English as a medium of communication ...

    "The "establishment" IS Marxist, populated by Keynesians or Marxists or both "


    Try Spanish then, or fuck off.

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

    Naah brah, I'm content to just point out that you don't really know what you are talking about. You shouldn't really be gloating about an ability to regurgitate reductionist talking points. We cool?

  • Mensan||

    "Try Spanish then, or fuck off."

    Noticia, Gregorio: El “establecimiento” es Marxista, y poblado de Keynesiano o los Marxistas y ambos – o el nino ignorante, penso tu que el Trato Nuevo fue revocado completamente? McCarthy tuvo exito 100%? Es necesariamente en drogas!

  • ||

    I'd say the "establishment" is statist-centrist, not Marxist.

  • ||

    ^^This +10

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

    We wouldn't be labeling ourselves libertarian if we couldn't come up with newer, complex-ist and creative-r ways to name those whom we disagree with...

  • Zeb||

    Can anyone figure out what the point of this poster is?

  • ||

    Gross.Blank.

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

    Self-indulgence Zeb...self-indulgence.

    Thank you for taking the time.

  • ||

    I'd say to be as obnoxious as possible in order to get a reaction without actually providing any substance to the conversation.

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

    @ Sy - Sometimes it is okay to admit that you did not get what someone has tried to say.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Rhayader,

    I'd say the "establishment" is statist-centrist, not Marxist.


    You mean Marx did not come up with the idea of a central bank as a way to control the economy? No 'labor theory on value' that explains why the US imposed a minimum wage? Ain't that Marxist?

  • ||

    Central banking has been around before Marx.

    As for the labor theory of value, that was the accepted theory in the profession since Adam Smith, until the marginal revolution. Marx did not "come up" with any of this.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Nul Void,

    Central banking has been around before Marx.


    Sure. And so was Machiavellism before Machiavelli, but people still call it "Machiavellism."

    As for the labor theory of value, that was the accepted theory in the profession since Adam Smith, until the marginal revolution. Marx did not "come up" with any of this.


    Null Void, Marx BASED his WHOLE economic theory on it, whereas Adam Smith just mentioned it as a possible explanation. Even AFTER Bohm-Bawerk showed it to be pure bunk, people still continue to use the Labor Theory of Value to justify labor price controls, quoting Marx, NOT Adam Smith. The theory is more closely related to Marx by Marxians and by economists (especially those from the left) than with Adam Smith.

    You just won the nomination to the "Head in Sand" award. Congratulations.

  • ||

    You just won the nomination to the "Head in Sand" award.

    Weak. Wasn't funny the first time I saw it, and remains unfunny every time since.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Rhayader,

    Weak. Wasn't funny the first time I saw it, and remains unfunny every time since.


    Falls under "It's your problem you're such a curmudgeon, not mine."

  • David Ricardo||

    I can confirm this.

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

    To help out the Old Compadre.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGbxjiTjhQY

  • ||

    Statist, definitely.

    Centrist? How so? That would imply some set of principles or beliefs, unless you define "centrist" as "whatever fills my pockets and brings me power".

    Now that may be a good working definition of "centrist" for some, but it's probably not what "centrist" is supposed to mean.

  • JoshINHB||

    Is he aware that Obamacare demands government FUNDING of abortion? How the hell is that "establishment?"

    War on Jihad? That boy is a Muslim lover, he's even had NASA outreach the goddamm Muslims. He even to months to give the generals in Afghanistan the troops he needed.

    Obama is a calculating hippie Marxist progressive, anyone who thinks he's "establishment" is a fool.

    Those are establishment positions. That's why the country is so fucked.

  • ||

    Yeah, there's been government funding for abortion for a long time. Unfortunately, it appears that some who should have been aborted, weren't. And all of them seem to have ended up in DC. ;-)

    What you might call "calculating hippie Marxist progressives" ARE the establishment, though. Tenured college professors, for example, are the establishment, by any realistic assessment. Big city mayors are the establishment. It would be hard to picture anything more "establishment" than a professor or a mayor; these are, in fact, two of the main establishment stereotypes of musical comedies.

  • ||

    Jesus Christ, I'm sick of these LIBERALterians.

    Get back under your bridge, then.

  • Don Kissick||

    The one problem I have with your article is that "Progressive Obama" is still in action; only now he'll need to play ball with Progressive Republicans such as Fred Upton, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, et al. If he were a true liberal, Obama would have accomplished more on personal freedom than a repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

    Otherwise, it's Big Government as usual.

  • ||

    "Liberal" means something quite different in London than it does in Chicago, I believe.

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

    No,no,no...This totally messes with the narrative of him being the anti-Christ. You guys are going to ruin Jackal vs Fox, and just in time to rain on O-rly's next lawsuit about his Venezuelan birth certificate.

  • ||

    Gregory Clark is the new Eric Dondero.

    Dude, you're not a libertarian; you're a conservative.

  • ||

    It is my belief that Gregory Clark is the love child spawned by unholy congress between Eric Dondero and Lonewacko.

  • ||

    Besides, Greg, libertarians actually are anti-establishment.

    And Old Mexican, don't confuse right-wing populism with libertarianism. Joe McCarthy was no hero, and his show trials were a travesty...as were the Brown Scares of the 1940's.

  • JoshINHB||

    Yes, I know. The president routinely depicted by detractors as the demon seed of the ’60s counterculture is in fact an establishment figure who blocks efforts to end federal discrimination against gay people, supports immunity for federal agents who illegally engaged in warrantless wiretapping, declines to withdraw on any front from either the war on drugs or the war on jihad, made insurance giganticorps the centerpiece of his health care law, failed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and helped deliver hundreds of billions of dollars into the hands of insolvent bankers and industrialists.

    Replace the word demon seed with socialist and that paragraph would

    1) Accurately report what his "crazy" detractors are calling him. Demon seed is a nice rhetorical flourish but still just a strawman.

    2) The label would be supported by everything that follows in the paragraph. In other words, you essential agree with Beck and the other right wing nuts.

  • ||

    No, because the right wing nuts want him to block efforts to end federal discrimination against gay people, support immunity for federal agents, to continue the wars, to keep Guantanamo open.

    As for the bailouts and the health care bill...the right wing was for them while in power, as expected, because the right wing by nature bestows tax largess upon favored companies, as they have for countless centuries. The health care bill was based on the one implemented by Mitt Romney, who got the idea from the Heritage Foundation. This kind of giveaway to big business is exactly the kind of stuff conservatives favor. They just call this act "socialism" when they are out of power, when government support of big business is exactly what conservatives support. A socialist would want tear down the capitalist system, not buy it up.

    As for me, as a libertarian, I do not agree at all with the right-wing nuts.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Null Void,

    No, because the right wing nuts want him to block efforts to end federal discrimination against gay people, support immunity for federal agents, to continue the wars, to keep Guantanamo open.


    There's federal discrimination against gay people?

    Also, this thing about Guantanamo - the right wing must have been such a formidable force so as to counter a supermajority in the Senate and in the House.

    A socialist would want tear down the capitalist system, not buy it up.


    How quaint - a No True Scotsman Fallacy. It's been a while since I've seen those...

    As for me, as a libertarian, I do not agree at all with the right-wing nuts.


    Are you one?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Null Void,

    Besides, Greg, libertarians actually are anti-establishment.


    Whereas statists are PRO-establishment, hence Obama and his ilk.

    And Old Mexican, don't confuse right-wing populism with libertarianism. Joe McCarthy was no hero, and his show trials were a travesty...as were the Brown Scares of the 1940's.


    How quaint - a fool that confuses "mention" with "endorsement."

  • ||

    McCarthy may not of been a hero, byt he was right.

  • ||

    The same reason blacks support Dems in overwhelming numbers

    Because the Dem party is to its black supporters as Ike Turner was to Tina.

  • ||

    off topic but is it necessary for a libertarian to be personally in favor of "acid, abortion, and atheism"?

    Can one be against the use of drugs and be a libertarian?

    Can out speak out against abortion and be a libertarian?

    Can one be religious and be a libertarian?

    Well obviously someone could hold all of these culturally conservative beliefs and also hold that the state has no place in enforcing laws in those respective areas.

    But how are such people viewed by other libertarians?

  • ||

    In principle, yes.

    But, I find people who have such views usually to be lacking in the ability to tolerate does who do not share them. And they rarely ever speak out when a government does enforce their preferences.

  • Gross.Blank.Point||

  • ||

    It certainly is possible to object to government interference in all sorts of activities which one personally abhors. I just think it's rare -- most moralizers see no problem with having the state enforce their specific morality.

  • ||

    I am one of those anti-drug/pro-life/religious libertarians.

    But what I condone or condemn has nothing to do with what another person does. I believe in keeping lines of communication open and persuading someone to change certain habits/decisions in their life, but at the end of the day if I fail to do so I don't cry to the government that the person needs to be stopped. After all, it is their life. I can only live my own (and perhaps my turtle's).

  • GroundTruth||

    generic: It's nice to have a nice restatement of basic principles around here once in a while. You sound like a good neighbor!

  • Zeb||

    There are people on here who I would certainly describe as libertarians who don't like drug use, think abortion is morally wrong and who are religious. If you stick around a bit, you will find that libertarians tend to be incredibly obnoxious, but also have quite a diversity of personal moral views. One of the main things about libertarianism is to realize and accept that different people place value on different things and that is OK as long as they don't try to force others to value the same things.

  • ||

    Then we should apply that to ourselves, and not impose our views on the country. Don't force people to be free.

    Besides, it doesn't work.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    In libertopia you're free to voluntarily form a collective with Social Security, universal healthcare, etc.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Null Void,

    Then we should apply that to ourselves, and not impose our views on the country.


    And are "we"?

    Besides, it doesn't work.


    WHAT doesn't work?

  • COINTELPRO||

    Ah, the classic "If you're anti-government, why are you trying to get in," card. I suppose next you're going to try "You drive on public roads, therefore you're not allowed to complain about government services," or "Move to Somalia," or the less classy but more direct "STFU."

  • MWG||

    DRINK!

  • GroundTruth||

    Null: The problem is, I insist they allow *me* to be free. If that breaks up their little health care and pension scheme, so be it.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    I am against the use of drugs (have never smoked anything), pro-life, and a (lazy) Catholic.

    However, I'm sure anyone who has noticed my posts would classify me as a libertarian. Why, I used to hand out Libertarian Party fliers in the snow!

    But really, I don't think its smart to abuse drugs, but it should be legal. I think abortion should be illegal (via the states, not the feds) because it's akin to murder. And the religious thing is really irrelevant.

    But how are such people viewed by other libertarians?

    Typically the first and last are no problem (assuming you aren't using government to force those choices on others), but many pro-choice libertarians think abortion is a litmus test. It is fairly common for people to assume that the question of when something becomes a human being with rights doesn't matter when determining a libertarian position on abortion.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Not a Libertarian,

    off topic but is it necessary for a libertarian to be personally in favor of "acid, abortion, and atheism"?


    Why would it be necessary?

    Can one be against the use of drugs and be a libertarian?


    One can be against the killing of puppies and be a libertarian.

    Can out speak out against abortion and be a libertarian?


    As long as you can speak, yes. If you can't speak, then you would be a mute - but still a libertarian, IF you espouse voluntarysm and the non-initiation of force.

    Can one be religious and be a libertarian?


    One can be a snorer and be a libertarian.

    Well obviously someone could hold all of these culturally conservative beliefs and also hold that the state has no place in enforcing laws in those respective areas.


    Or one can be a biker.

    But how are such people viewed by other libertarians?


    Through their own eyes. Otherwise they could not view them.

  • MWG||

    "Can one be against the use of drugs and be a libertarian?"

    Absolutely, as long as you're against prohibition (IMO). I personally believe people should be allowed to put whatever they want into their bodies, but I've never even smoked a joint... hell, I don't even drink.

    "Can out speak out against abortion and be a libertarian?"

    If you do a search on this site, you'll find there's a lot of debate regarding abortion. It mostly stems from the typical question of when does a life begin and therefore deserve protection.

    "Can one be religious and be a libertarian?"

    Sure, although there is a definite atheist tilt here at reason.

  • Xeones||

    I've said it before and i'll say it again: Barack H. Obama is George W. Bush with a tan and better PR.

  • ||

    In brief, a right-winger.

  • ||

    More like a centrist power-monger. Bush wasn't a "right-winger" in any meaningful sense, given his economic policies. Politicians don't care about policy, they care about politics. It's about accumulation of power, not advocacy for any given ideology.

  • Xeones||

    Which should go a ways toward demonstrating how asinine the old "left-wing"/"right-wing" designations are.

  • RC not the Cola||

    Obama is like W. Bush as FDR was like Hoover

  • Chris Matthews||

    I don't know about you guys, but I just ejaculated on my computer screen.

  • Eugene Robinson*||

    And I just licked it off.

    *Pulitzer Prize Winner™

  • Tony||

    [Fingers in his ears] Not listening!! Not listening!! Blame Repubs in Congress!! Not listening!!

  • GroundTruth||

    Ah, by the way.... what does any of this have to do with Ptown?

  • mike0023||

    To summarize, while the Democrats' commitment to economic liberalism (i.e., interference with economic freedom) is real, their commitment to social liberalism (i.e., the pursuit of personal freedom) is not. No wonder the country is turning against them.

  • ||

    Wow! I read through all of that waiting for at least *one* comment on the "confirmed bachelor" appellation for Barney Frank.

    Disappointed!

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  • رش مبيدات||

    We learn that the Democrats have “committed themselves to civil rights and sexual freedom” and become the “Party of Enlightenment.” This alignment, the author contends, put the Dems in opposition to evangelicals, “an audience hardly well disposed toward Enlightenment bromides.”
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    An even more amusing conceit considering that modern progressivism is really just a secular form of Puritanism.

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