Fusionism Revisited

Matt Welch vs. Jonah Goldberg and Nick Gillespie vs. Ann Coulter on the future of the libertarian-conservative alliance

(Page 2 of 7)

Let’s start off with the historical. Matt said it sort of as a joke, that the question should be, “Is conservatism part of the libertarian movement?” But you could actually make a very good case that it’s the right way to think about it. Classical liberalism predates modern conservatism by a few centuries. And modern American conservatism is nothing else if not an attempt to conserve those institutions of liberty that are embedded in classical liberalism. 

This is a point in [F.A.] Hayek’s essay, “Why I Am Not a Conservative.” Lots of people love to quote the headline, but no one likes to quote the article or read the article. In the essay, Hayek is quite clear that he thinks America stands apart from much of the world in that it is one of the few countries in the world, if not the only country in the world, where you can be a conservative and still be a defender of liberty. Because conservatives in the American political tradition are trying to defend and preserve and conserve those institutions of liberty represented by the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution. [Political philosopher] Leo Strauss (I know, really popular among a lot of libertarians) always used to joke about how in America, one of the most conservative organizations was called the Daughters of the American Revolution. Right? In the United States, conservatives are defending a revolution, defending a radical idea.

Philosophically, it’s sort of the same point, right? The classics of the American conservative canon—Locke, Adam Smith, all of these guys—are classics of libertarian thought. You can’t remove the libertarians from conservatives and leave conservatism standing, in the modern American tradition.

Practically, you sort of have the same issue. When you talk about conservative economics, or economic conservatives, you’re talking about libertarians. There really is no distinction between the two. Ask a conservative, “Who are your favorite economists?” and it’s Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, James Buchanan, and on and on and on. Because libertarian economics is conservative economics. 

This is the one area where libertarianism is most relevant. I mean, no offense, the drug war is vital and all that kind of stuff. We can have that argument if you like: Legalizing PCP is a vital national emergency! But the relevance of libertarianism is primarily in the economic realm. And in the economic realm—go to any conservative think tank in Washington. They all have libertarians doing their economic work.

This brings us to the political point. There are millions upon millions of libertarians in the conservative movement and the Republican Party. They just don’t call themselves libertarians. There’s a reason why George Nash’s book on the history of the conservative intellectual movement begins with a chapter called, “The Revolt of the Libertarians.” There’s a reason why William F. Buckley called himself a “libertarian journalist.” There’s a reason why the masthead of National Review was festooned with libertarians. 

The project of National Review conservatism is fusionism. Fusionism is the essence of mainstream American conservatism. The basic idea that you cannot have a virtuous society if it’s not a free society, because virtue not freely chosen isn’t virtuous. I can hold a gun to your head and tell you to give lots of money to a charity. You get no credit for it because you didn’t choose to do so. And while there are some philosophical and metaphysical problems with fusionism, as a practical organizing principle of modern American conservatism, it’s worked pretty damned well.

The one last point I would make is that one area of disagreement between conservatives and libertarians is on the importance of maintaining a culture of liberty.

Libertarianism is a universal credo, a universal philosophy. It’s global in its perspective and applies to all mankind. But it’s important to remember, and this is a point conservatives and some libertarians make, is that it grew up in a certain place and time for certain reasons. It grew out of Western Europe, it flourished in the United States, and you cannot have freedom unless you have a people that cherishes freedom. And one of the points of conservatism is to keep that in mind and keep the love of liberty alive in the hearts of people, rather than simply say, “whatever floats your boat.” Because the habits of the heart are really one of the things that will sustain a liberty-loving people far more than just libertarian public policies. 

Welch: Jonah’s right, in that economists valued by National Review are going to be some of the same people valued by reason. A lot of what we’re talking about here is a difference of tactics. And in this age, the Internet age, in order to promote that culture of liberty, people have learned the technology of independence from political tribes. The only reason we have [Kentucky Republican] Rand Paul in the Senate is because he fought and won against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He fought and won against the mainstream of the American conservative movement in the Republican Party. He’s changing that conversation, and that only happened because the Tea Party kept an arm’s length from the Republican Party. 

The technology of independence is a hell of a way to promote the culture of liberty and change the Republican Party. And, I hope to God, change the Democratic Party on issues like the drug war, which for me is not an incidental PCP laugh line. We’re still arresting 800,000 people a year for something that should be legal, and we should all feel a sense of shame about that.

Goldberg: Matt has spent a lot of his time in his book and the current issue of reason (which, of course, everyone should subscribe to) talking about this vital role of independents and how the nature of independents is changing American politics. And my problem with this is that it’s a lot of clicking your heels together and wishing it were so. He says we’re seeing people declaring independence from their political tribes. This is a really overhyped argument, by my lights. And it’s something I think libertarians are pinning a lot of false hope on.

Since a book 20 years ago called The Myth of the Independent Voter, it’s been pretty clear in the political science and the social science literature that there really aren’t that many independents out there. That what you have are people who are partisans who don’t like the Republican Party or don’t like the Democratic Party, or think it’s somehow embarrassing to call themselves Republicans or Democrats. Which is one of the reasons why a lot of people call themselves libertarian—it’s just a cooler thing to call yourself. Especially on college campuses, libertarianism is the one philosophy that allows you to be a rebel and also not ruin the party on Saturday night. 

But at the end of the day, when you strip away the people who are reliable Democratic voters and reliable Republican voters, there are very few independents left. And these are not particularly impressive people, the ones who are left. These are people who honestly can’t figure out after 18 months of a presidential campaign who they’re going to vote for. These are not steel-trap minds we’re talking about. It would be silly for the libertarians to pin their hopes on these sausage-spined cowards.

American Enterprise Institute Coalitions Director Dan Rothschild, moderator: Why do all libertarians have to be a part of the conservative movement? Shouldn’t the answer to this ques- tion be some libertarians are part of the conservative movement and some aren’t?

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.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't reckon I fancy any alliance, being a Browncoat.

  • tarran||

    OK. First question:

    How do I disable this execrable itexthook crap in chrome?

    It makes the reading the article an infuriating exercise.

  • tarran||

    Second question:

    Anybody who accepts mr Bill "Build a Totalitarian Security State to Fight Communism" Buckley as being a libertarian journalist must be so credulous that they also probably classify Bill Maher as one.

  • tarran||

    Also, I really think Ann Coulter would be happier living in Cuba: they do jail homosexuals and other practitioners of deviant life-styles over there.

  • Lysander Jefferson||

    Ann Coulter is a big fan of the gay republicans as are they of her.

  • Carl Pham||

    You're an idiot. Coulter is on excellent terms with conservative gays, as she is with conservative blacks. It's the left that positively insists that there simply is no such thing as a conservative gay or black, and so if you have problems with the agendas of leftist gays or blacks -- hey presto, you must be a homophobe or racist!

    Coulter is on good terms with conservative gays who think, for example, it probably really is the best idea for children to be reared by a married mother and father, and who doen't really give two shits whether their sexual partnerships are sanctified by the state and called "marriages" on Oprah, so long as the state doesn't criminalize or otherwise burden them. He thinks the obsession by the leftist on class labels and group identity is stupid and counterproductive.

    It may well be the case that gays in general are more left than right -- I actually don't know how the data works out. But just because Coulter thinks leftist gays are morons doesn't maker her anti-gay. It just makes her anti-left. She would (and does) say equally contemptuous things about leftist white women, leftist white men, leftist brown or black men, or leftist kitty cats.

  • o3||

    the disconnect bet libtoidz and the gop began when the gop embraced evangelicals...as goldwater warned

  • Velcro Bootstraps||

    OK, o3, I know you are the resident troll here, but I'd really appreciate if you'd type out your thoughts in a readable manner. I had to reread your comment several times to understand what you were trying to say.

  • shamalam||

    I agree with this 100%. Why does O3 write this way, is it "cool" to write like a third grade, special needs student?

  • o3||

    simple, its way quicker on my mobile

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If Goldwater were alive today, liberals would be just as pissed off about him as they are about Ron Paul.

  • BarryD||

    By which I'm sure he means the hanging thingie of intriguing plastic shapes over his crib...

  • shamalam||

    Despite Mr. Velcro's criticism, I actually agree with your comment, O3. When the GOP embraced the culture war, they completely lost me.

  • fresno dan||

    Are republicans the "conservative" party? If you believe that, you believe those ads from the national realitor association about housing being a good investment.
    Bush:
    biggest new social program (expansion of medicare to include drug benefit) since Johnson's great society.
    No child left behind (no exactly an endorsement of Federalism)
    Undeclared war/police actions
    Deficit spending
    Bailouts (free market???)
    Small government???
    LIMITED GOVERNMENT???
    The sooner the republican party collapses the sooner we have a party that gives us a choice, not an echoing fart.

  • o3||

    the gop wont collapse. demographically tho, the gop will become a (southern) regional party.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Decent observation o3. What do you think replaces the GOP? What is the geographic base of the replacement? Is it a coalition? I can't believe I'm actually interested in your thoughts.

  • NotSure||

    USA becomes a one party state, with free elections, but a one party state nonetheless. There are actually a few countries that are like that, they have elections which are generally formalaties, the real important events are normally the power struggles to get to the top of the party ladder.

  • ||

    I think there might be something to that. Maybe 3 or 4 regional parties, something like labour dems in the rustbelt, crunchy dems on the west coast, GOP in the deep south, and some combination of religious nutter/limited gov't GOP in the midwest.

  • o3||

    hey EDG, i agree w gojira.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I was hoping that the West could produce some sort of libertarian party. Composed of Silicon Valley/Seattle millionaires, ranchers/farmers, individualists, and other archetypes present out here in the West.

  • ||

    The whole "ranchers/farmers, individualists" is mostly a myth these days. Look at Montana, defending their retarded campaign finance laws. And just try to take away agriculture subsidies from all those "rugged individualists".

    And as for your thinking regarding Cali and Washington, those people already exist...and have contributed to the socialist paradises those places are now.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Sadly, I know you are correct. What a fucking waste, too. The West was the great promise for the US. It has natural resources in abundance, and is not as influenced by English culture, or as tainted by the Civil War. It was the laboratory for the efficacy of the Constitution. It was literally, the American Dream. No more.

  • BarryD||

    Bear in mind that the Valley and Seattle are not the wild frontier any more. Companies there are getting big and old. That says "rent-seeking" more than it does "innovative", if history is any guide.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The GOP is conservative where it counts (to its voters): They love Jesus and kill brown people. All that talk about limited government, individual rights, cutting spending and taxes is just parlor talk.

  • JohnMoser||

    I guess you didn't hear about BO's hit list...full of brown people.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Ah, election season. For the next four months, Republicans will be going on and on about how much they love us. November 7, it's "back to the kitchen, bitch. And make me a sandwhich before I beat your libertarian ass"

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Usually he's real nice, but today he's been drinkin' all day...

  • juris imprudent||

    That's no way to talk about Ann.

  • Paul.||

    So after November conditions will improve for Libertarians?

  • Old Dave||

    "Gillespie: This happens every couple of years: Conservative Republicans realize they don’t have the votes, and they go through the Rolodex and say, “God damn it, I knew some libertarians who would be willing to vote Republican!” "

    Bingo! I will never again vote for anyone in either of the two major parties.

  • Carl Pham||

    Gillespie's been hitting the bong too much. If Republicans actually thought this way, don't you think they'd actually, you know, alter their platform or something to attract libertarians? Throw them a bone?

    But they don't. The most they do is point out to libertarians, as Goldberg does here, that they can get half a loaf by joining the Republicans in a coalition of convenience. And that their ideas will be given a respectful hearing and dignified burial in the round file.

    The plain fact is, Republicans don't need libertarians. You can fit the committed libertarian vote in a shoebox in any generic election, since it tends to consist largely of unmarried men age 18-23 who've been treated rudely by the cops, Asperger's sufferers and computer programmers (to the extent that isn't redundant), and grouchy OCD misfits who go through the Constitution word by word, writing Aha! in the margin every other paragraph. Not a huge demographic. Even Obama's unionized state employee demographic numbers far larger.

    That's not to say there isn't a huge swathe of regular people who have some libertarian leanings, because there are, and it is to those that the Republican Party wishes to appeal, since they could actually swing a state or two. But as soon as a practical Republican sees the gleam of fanaticism -- we need to destroy this governing coalition to save it! -- that marks the hard-core libertarian, he knows to move along.

  • T o n y||

    Why debate the question at all when you routinely regurgitate FOX News Republican bullshit such as Obama is much more profligate than Bush.

  • Paul.||

    Right, because Obama is a tightwad utterly dedicated to austerity when it comes to the public purse.

  • T o n y||

    Didn't say that. He definitely believes in growth over austerity (and we have that belief to thank for our economic situation relative to Europe's). I used the adjective 'profligate.' His spending has not been wasteful like Bush's was.

  • fish||

    His spending hasn't been wasteful......?

    It's a post like this that reminds me why Sevo calls you Shithead all the time.

    How do you manage to generate this TEAM BLUE drivel?

  • fish||

    My mistake! Not wasteful at all!

    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....penis-pum/

    Shouldn't you be out trying to blow undergrads instead of wasting time here?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Tony, fellating Obama's record.

    No surprise here.

    BTW... fuck Ann Coulter.

  • NotSure||

    Europe is in a such a state because the politicians did not spend enough money on public servants, infrastructure projects and welfare...
    Its all that small government mindset that so permeated the continent...

  • o3||

    the CNBC consensus is that germany drives the ECB train, which, in turn, demands austerity. the clear lesson from the UK's double-dip recession is that austerity didnt produce recovery.

  • Paul.||

    If "austerity" doesn't bring the recovery, how did Europe get into this crisis in the first place.

    With this rock-solid logic, runaway spending took place before and up to the 'crisis'. So fixing it is more spending, harder-er.

    Even fucking NPR used the word 'patronage' when describing the Greek economy. Patronage... do you know what that's a polite term for?

  • Paul.||

    And here's your European "austerity":

    http://www.thedailyeconomist.c.....-just.html

    European austerity is a relative term for the nations and people of the European Union. On one hand, it represents a pullback from massive borrowing, spending, and public benefit programs, but it can also mean simply a pullback on where the money goes without cutting spending at all.
  • NotSure||

    There has been no austerity in Europe anywhere, every country is spending more than they did the year before, that includes Britain, is that supposed to be austerity ???

    Merkel is called "Frau Nein" for a reason, unlike the infantile leaders in France, Britain and USA she is responsible and knows that rewarding losers is not the path to properity, shockingly Germany is doing much better than the countries that elected reckless spenders.

  • Paul.||

    I used the adjective 'profligate.' His spending has not been wasteful like Bush's was.

    Clearly this is true. The private sector's doing fine! Unemployment is in the basement and housing prices are in full recovery!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    His spending has not been wasteful like Bush's was.

    Solyndra.
    Beacon Power.
    Ener-1.
    Abound Solar.
    Evergreen Solar.

    He can't find enough green holes to shovel money into fast enough.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I love the money fires!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Can you believe there are people who disagree?

  • Bee Tagger||

    And this great quote: "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected," Obama said.

    http://content.usatoday.com/co.....-C5KrWe6So

  • Paul.||

    Those were construction projects in the 2009 stimulus bill that were supposed to get moving right away -- but jobs council members told Obama today that some got held up because of elaborate government regulations and permitting procedures.

    "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected," Obama said.

    Ohhh the delicious irony.

    Too bad Obama suffers from Dunning-Kruger and can't see the obvious.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    That reminds me of the out of state responders to Hurricane Katrina who had to sit through 3 days of sexual harrasment training before they could enter Louisiana. Funny, don't hear the Left talking about that.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Can't have untrained people handing out bottled water, CC. What if one of them had used The Male Gaze on a comely New Orleans refugee?

  • Drake||

    Tony - I can't be bothered to reply to your typical crap - but that Obama's "spending has not been wasteful..." line was hilarious.

    Thank you for the mid-afternoon laugh.

  • Nyarlathotep||

    CDN$

  • BarryD||

    How do you define "wasteful"?

  • NotSure||

    Well if you are thinking in astronomical scales, then you are right there is no difference. If you measure in the trillions spent, well yes, he has outspent him by far.

  • Nyarlathotep||

    CDN$

  • Stormy Dragon||

    There’s no way Ron Paul would be having this success in a Democratic primary.

    Ron Paul isn't having success in the Republican primary either. If anything, the fact the most well known libertarian in the party can't manage more than a few percent, particularly against such unserious people is Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michelle Bachmann underlines how all this talk about Republican support of libertarian goals is just lip service.

  • Drake||

    I read somewhere yesterday that Ron Paul won the Iowa Caucus. They can't hate him that much.

  • Brandon Magoon||

    What election did you watch? Paul crushed Perry, Cain and Bachmann. Even taking into account all the likely fraud Paul still didn't do that bad. He drove a lot of the debate and the GOP is now faced with the double problem of one, they need us and two, based just on prior job experience Johnson is better qualified the Romney or Obama. Won't matter because our elections are fake but still fact are facts.

  • ||

    I think fusionism is a great idea. Gotenks was hella-tougher than Gohan or Trunks by themselves.

    And is anyone else getting a banner ad asking me to sign an e-card and wish Elizabeth Warren a happy birthday?

  • Mo' $parky||

    Yeah but still not strong enough to stop Buu. Vegito, on the other hand...

  • BakedPenguin||

    If you click on it, you will cost them money. I must have cost Sherrod Brown's PAC $10 or so.

  • Pip||

  • Bee Tagger||

    I hope they tried, but failed, to be funny because they certainly failed to make a good point.

  • BarryD||

    NPR, remember.

    Is there a word that starts with P and means "bland to the point of being unbearable"? "Public", I guess, might suffice in most cases.

  • Paul.||

    But at the end of the day, when you strip away the people who are reliable Democratic voters and reliable Republican voters, there are very few independents left. And these are not particularly impressive people, the ones who are left. These are people who honestly can’t figure out after 18 months of a presidential campaign who they’re going to vote for.

    Jonah's got a point here.

    This is why it's hard for me to discuss politics with anyone outside of, well, HR. I find little to agree with in my fellow travelers. If they agree with me on guns or some such thing, they'll go off the rails on speech or the drug war. If they agree with me on the drug war, they go off the rails on speech, guns and private property. If they're marginally with me on speech and private property, they're off the rails on healthcare or campaign finance (which subverts speech).

    Frustrating times.

  • Paul.||

    Cultural libertarianism is all very interesting and fine and good, but it seems to me less relevant, and the stuff that most cultural libertarians draw on is not the intellectual canon of libertarianism or conservatism properly either

    But Goldberg, isn't this the very area where Republicans are losing members/loyalty?

    Your steadfast adherence to the nuclear family, Beaver Cleaver politics and religious values are the downfall. It's easy to talk about the stuff that libertarians and Republicans agree on, but it's not so easy to talk about the stuff they don't.

    You're bleeding votes over the stuff you're calling "all fine and good".

  • BarryD||

    The nuclear family, Beaver Cleaver culture, religious values, etc., are alive and well in a good segment of the population. I have no problem with that.

    The problem arises for me (and for a lot of the bleeding voters) when these things are made political. How are they political?

    I have never understood that. I don't have that gene, I guess, because I really just plain don't get it.

  • gaoxiaen||

    That's easy. Nuclear-family-types want others to pay for their brats and vacation houses.

  • ||

    I was about to quote that exact part. Because it's true.

    Buddy of mine wanted to talk about "libertarianism" with me this past weekend. I tried to start off lobbing him a softball that anyone should be able to agree on, the TSA. He asked me what was wrong with it. I told him. Ten minutes later (once I had finished), he said it's worth it because it provides a sense of safety that is vital, even if it illusory, and that he doesn't mind paying taxes for it. I told him emotion shouln't come into play when deciding national policies; they should be decided on logic and merit, and judged on results. He said that's stupid, because a computer could just run the gov't if that were the case: humans are emotional creatures and thus emotion must and always will be a major determinant in policy.

    Alright fine, I asked him what he does mind paying taxes for. His immediate response: welfare and schooling for illegals.

    I just told him I really don't think libertarianism is for him, and let it go.

  • ||

    You need better friends.

  • ||

    I just have to avoid talking politics with this one guy. He's the same one who, because he saw his brother waste his life on drugs, believes that we should double funding for the WoD and dealers should be shot on sight.

    He literally doesn't believe one has a right to waste one's own life in such a fashion. We were talking about it once months ago, and he said you have an "obligation to society" to live as an upstanding citizen, and it is right and proper to use force to ensure compliance. I told him he sounded like a liberal when he says that shit, and we didn't hang out for a few weeks : )

  • Paul.||

    and he said you have an "obligation to society" to live as an upstanding citizen

    That's called "socialism". I love reminding my lefty friends of that, regularly and often.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Sure, but he sounds like a nationalist too. Some sort of guy who likes the security state (even if it doesn't even help him), controlling people's lifestyles, and getting rid of minorities. Some sort of... racist, totalitarian nationalist socialist.

    That just doesn't make any sense, what a weird political philosophy.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "but he sounds like a nationalist too."

    You can't be nationalist and socialist at the same time! Never happen!

    (Just using an obvious joke, not commenting on your buddy specificaly)

  • ||

    You need better friends.

  • T o n y||

    But that's the heart of any "fusionism." Republican-style gripes about big government are entirely about anxieties about poor minorities. The more sophisticated libertarians might understandably be tempted to make an alliance based on a mutual disgust for big government, but with conservatives it's cognitive dissonance, big government being code words for poor minorities. They love their big government otherwise.

  • Paul.||

    But that's the heart of any "fusionism." Republican-style gripes about big government are entirely about anxieties about poor minorities.

    You're becoming a caricature, T o n y.

  • T o n y||

    It's true. Republican politics for 50 years has relied on white people's anger over poor minorities getting what they don't deserve. They've often latched onto other minorities, like marriage-destroying gays, when convenient, but racial anxiety is the sum total of the force behind Republican dominance in the South and the country. It's why there is no consistency in conservative gripes about big government, and why a significant portion of the country votes against its own economic best interest. This is a known strategy, it's not just me bullshitting.

  • Rubber Nipple Salesman||

    What's wrong with getting angry with anybody getting what they don't deserve?

  • fish||

    Angry people can sometimes be motivated to interfere with TEAM BLUES social policies.

    That simply will not do!

  • T o n y||

    Because it's just a perception. If Republican voters perceived the safety net as mostly benefiting white people (which it does) or including programs they are overwhelmingly on themselves like Social Security and Medicare, they wouldn't be against it in principle so much. This is not news to anyone who's studied politics at all.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Republican dominance in the South and the country.

    Democrats in Congress held the Southern states until 1994. Lie to someone stupid enough to believe it.

    Tony w/spaces, you are the worst sockpuppet ever.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Shorter Tony:

    If you're not a Democrat... you're a racist.

  • juris imprudent||

    It really pains me - but AC really does sound like what T o n y describes.

    Then again if AC really was concerned about America losing its vital 'whiteness' - she should have reproduced, for the benefit of the company. Obviously the selfish bitch put herself above that. [And honestly, we should probably be thankful she didn't breed.]

  • juris imprudent||

    company? WTF? s/b country.

  • The Hammer||

    No, no, it works fine this way.

  • fish||

    ....big government being code words for poor minorities.

    See T o n y here is the problem with TEAM BLUE ....way too many "code" words. Why just last week we were informed that referring to the president as "cool" was racist code language.

    Cool.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Tony w/spaces, like other progressives, claims to hear "racist dog-whistles" in the speech of others.

    The fact that they can hear dog-whistles at all, much less racist ones, is more disturbing than what it is they claim to hear.

  • T o n y||

    That fact that you're not aware of the GOP's longstanding racist strategy is stunning.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I find a concerted effort to keep people on the dole because of their race vastly more racist than the proposition of not giving people the dole because of their race.

  • Nyarlathotep||

    CDN$

  • Mr. FIFY||

    White people can be poor, too, Tony.

  • Robert||

    So why didn't you tell him libertarianism is against spending on welfare and schooling for illegals?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    hell, one up him. tell him you are against spending on schooling for everybody.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    WINNER!!

  • JohnMoser||

    So, you're in favor of paying for welfare and government run schools for illegals? That's libertarian? I don't think so. But, yeah, f the TSA, too.

  • gaoxiaen||

    You should demote him to "acquaintance".

  • John Thacker||

    He does have a point here, and he and Matt ended up talking past each other. Matt's right that an increasing percentage of people call themselves Independents. But as Jonah said, a huge percentage of them are people who are embarrassed to affiliate, or people who really just hate one party more than the other, and their votes are pretty predictable and consistent even though they don't affiliate.

    I of course have to include myself in that category.

  • Paul.||

    In the 1960s, there were a lot of libertarians who believed in crushing monogamy and all of this kind of stuff and crushing the institution of marriage.

    I'm still game.

  • Rubber Nipple Salesman||

    Paul. I see a difference between crushing institutions of morality and holding no legal authority over moral choices.I'm for the latter, not the former.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I object to having this discussion at all when we’re facing financial Armageddon. I really think it’s silly to even talk about these things right now, whether it’s gay marriage or contraception or legalizing marijuana.

    Sure, just give us what we want and then it won't have to talk about it anymore. And when the financial crisis has passed in 20 years, we can revisit the issues.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Of course she brings back up legalizing the devil-weed two comments later, after avoiding the questions about said financial Armageddon...

  • Stormy Dragon||

    So was the purpose of the Coulter conversation to provide Goldberg an ironic example of exactly why libertarians hate the Republican party?

  • Drake||

    I was thinking the same thing. Goldberg is a fairly thoughtful conservative. Coulter is an attack dog. She's fun to watch when she's got a liberal in her teeth - but otherwise useless.

  • Bee Tagger||

    She apparently refuses to agree with anything unless she said it first.

  • carol||

    One of the many problems with Ann Coulter is that she doesn't even pretend to be consistent. Her logic consists solely of "cause I said so." I have been a conservative for a number of years and there is nothing in Coulter's philosophy(?) that conforms with the conservativism that I know.

  • BarryD||

    If all conservatives were like Goldberg, we could have some good conversations and a meaningful "fusion". Alas, they're not.

    Of course, I am glad that all libertarians aren't like Noam Chomsky...

  • ||

    Noam Chomsky is not a libertarian, "libertarian socialism" being a contradiction in terms. Most libertarians aren't like Noam Chomsky for the same reason that most penguins are not bobcats - they're totally different things.

  • R C Dean||

    The future of the libertarian-conservative alliance?

    I predict it will shatter on the rocks of fiscal reality, with conservatives insisting to the point of insanity on funding their pet projects, and libertarians resisting.

    Then, of course, after the economy and government are laid waste by the true economic innovation of our times (deflationary hyper-inflation), I suspect small bands of libertarian holdouts will be overwhelmed by human wave attacks populated by equal parts conservative statists and liberal statists.

    So, as with most political alliances in times of crisis, it will ultimately end in smoking rubble.

  • Paul.||

    I'm not as optimistic.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm trying to look on the bright side.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    See Lucy Re: Football (aka Fiscal Sanity).

  • Paul.||

    Even in libertarian circles, there hasn’t been a focus on this as much as there could have been over the years.

    That's because even in libertarian circles, you'll find support for many of the federal agencies which pass legislation through unelected bureaucrats due to the perception of 'necessary expertise'.

    We're so fucking doomed in this country when our lack of representaion is seen as a feature instead of a massive bug.

  • Registration At Last!||

    The reason "fusionism" was able to get any traction is because the GOP was at least willing to throw the 'Libertarian Right' a few stale crumbs -- some tax cuts, some deregulation, some gun rights.

    The Democrats have offered the 'Libertarian Left' a giant steaming bowl of Jacksh!t: more deportations, more drug war, more War on Terror, more prisons, and more police impunity under civil-servant and union rules.

    The only thing the Democrats ever did for its 'libertarian-leaning' constituents was appoint a few judges who were favorable on a few civil-liberties issues. And that was it. That's not nearly enough to swing a large cohort of Libertarians into your vote column.

  • ant1sthenes||

    You're not wrong. Oddly enough.

  • Sudden||

    This is a pretty decent account of it. The GOP has thrown a few bones, the Dems haven't (although half of the reason staff apparently thought Black Jebus would).

  • Harvard||

    Bingo! The way Gillispie goes on who'd think he voted for Hope 'n Change??

    I can see admitting you were wrong, but stupid too?

  • Robert||

    I figured out a few yrs. ago that "conservatism" was born about a millenium ago as a rxn against the depopul'n of Europe by plagues and crusades. Its essence is to promote having lots of kids, working hard and saving money on everything else to put your men in the service of the local lord to practice killing on each other locally and eventually go overseas in the service of the Church to kill heathens and be slaughtered in return.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    If I'm satisfied that the candidate is a libertarian in republican clothing, I'll vote for that.

    Mitt Romney is a massachussetts conservative (aka a Texas liberal) and thus well out of any contention to be voted for. Not that my vote matters in Texas, but I'd suffer four more disasterous Obama years than be suckered in to voting for Odoul's version of Obama.

  • Rubber Nipple Salesman||

    Romney=O'Doul's - O'bama=cyanide. I know what I'm drinkin' in November.

  • robc||

    A Johnson Pale Ale?

  • Rubber Nipple Salesman||

    Not popular fare,but no doubt very refreshing!

  • Sudden||

    The resulting aftertaste will be bitter. Even if this particular Pale Ale is not imperial.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Urine?

  • ||

    GODDAMNIT MATT
    You fucking limp wristed pansy. You let that evil, lying, two-faced, scumbag land his punches. 80% of everything that douchebag said was dead fucking wrong. Why didn't you nail his fascist loving ass to the barn door?

    Jesus Christ! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST
    Reason really really REALLY needs someone with the cojones to take down that dishonest, self righteous, minion of Satan, Jonah Goldberg.

  • Registration At Last!||

    With Breitbart dead, Coulter and Goldberg were the two most toxic conservatives they could find for this discussion.

    For symmetry, maybe Welch and Gillespie will hold a liberal-libertarian fusionism debate featuring Ward Churchill and Marion Barry.

  • Nyarlathotep||

    Kindly go fuck yourself, Rather/Wyatt Engine.

  • ||

    Yeah, there was a lot of call for open brawling in that debate, since Goldberg basically agreed with the libertarian line on everything that wasn't the war on drugs - which is a lost debate for libertarians against both the left and the right.

    Speaking of which, it might be a good idea to double up on whatever it is that chills you the fuck out - illicit or legal.

  • DSWright||

    Corporate Welfare, Drug War, Endless War on "Terror", Police State,Farm Subsidies, Anti-Choice, Government in your bedroom... NO. There is no fusion possible.

  • Sudden||

    And if that list is why there can be no fusionism, I don't think we'd be able to get any fusionism with the GOP either.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Founders did not think you could have a free people under our Constitution without religion, without family, without honesty and integrity. Those are values that are transmitted through the family."

    Whatever the founders "did not think" is entirely irrelevant.

  • BarryD||

    My response to that was more like, "I certainly think they agreed on what they called 'character' back then. But so what? I don't think they wanted to legislate 'character', any more than these other things. Acknowledging that we have basic values like integrity do not lead to legislating social conservatism, at all."

  • juris imprudent||

    All the more brutally ironic coming from a woman that won't take her 'proper place' in society.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow... with Coulter and Tony involved in this thread, we have TWO nasty-tempered extremist bitches arguing with sensible people.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    I think everyone was duped here. Annie Skinny Bitch Coulter was looking to ensure no Libertarian EVUH votes Republican, let alone join ream red. Her idea of a good president is the ape who ate NJ.

  • ||

    Below are edited transcripts of each http://www.ceinturesfr.com/cei.....-c-13.html debate, covering Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, drug policy, traditional values, and, above all, the fiscal calamity America faces if it doesn’t quickly and firmly change course.

  • ||

    The one place Coulter was at least partially right was on illegal immigration. You really cannot have open immigration in a welfare state - it's not fiscally possible. America is unique in even trying. The European social democracies have some of the most onerous immigration laws on the planet for a reason. Open immigration, with the usual caveats of screening for communicable disease, violent crime, etc, is only practicable in the absence of the very current dysfunctional environment that brings a lot of illegal immigrants here in the first place. As articulated by Ron Paul, I don't think many here would have as much animosity for the suggestion. Being from a border state his views on the issue are a good reflection of squaring the libertarian ideal with the current reality.

  • Jim Walsh||

    With due respect to Mr. Gillespie, I don't think it does the movement any service to give the time of day to a clown like Coulter; it just lends credence to the "professional wrestling" fringe of national discourse.

  • tipuasher||

    hey, nice blog…really like it and added to bookmarks. keep up with good work
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