Ron Paul: Man of the Left

How the libertarian Republican scrambles progressive priorities

At Occupy Wall Street encampments around the nation last fall, most of the activists rallied against modern American capitalism and in favor of government aid to the now-famous 99 percent. But from New York to Philadelphia, from Seattle to Los Angeles, Occupiers were joined (or infiltrated, in the eyes of some) by activists talking up the benefits of a truly freed market, without government giveaways to favored interests or central bank manipulations of the economy. This minority took its inspiration from Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. The confluence between libertarian and progressive activism surprised many, including Paul himself. But it was the strongest indicator yet that the Ron Paul uprising poses a unique challenge—and potential attraction—to the American left. 

Paul vs. Obama

During Paul’s latest bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination, his policies were to the left of the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama in many areas. Obama has expanded almost every aspect of the war on drugs, including federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana operations. Paul thinks it’s inherently illegitimate to arrest people for actions that harm only themselves. The Obama administration has deported a record number of illegal immigrants. Paul mocks border walls as essentially un-American. Obama presided over enormous bailouts of the nation’s largest financial institutions, and his economic planning team has been largely run by Wall Street insiders. Ron Paul is opposed to what both he and the Occupiers call “crony capitalism.” Even the president’s signature legislative accomplishment, Obama­Care (which Paul opposed), forces millions of people to buy health insurance from the very corporations progressives claim to despise.

Civil liberties and peace are the issues that first made some leftist hearts beat faster when contemplating this curious Old Right congressman. Obama has started new wars unauthorized by Congress and greatly expanded a civilian-killing drone program. Paul opposes drones, calls for an immediate end to all our overseas wars, and wants the U.S. military to withdraw from the world. By taking these positions, Paul has done more than even leftist icon Noam Chomsky to normalize discussion of U.S. foreign policy as the behavior of a criminal empire rather than that of the world’s great defender of liberty. 

Obama has strengthened the PATRIOT Act and prosecuted whistleblowers; Paul opposes both actions and has defended accused WikiLeaker (and progressive cause célèbre) Bradley Manning. Obama has expanded the commander in chief’s powers to unilaterally imprison and even kill American citizens, aggrandizing the executive branch beyond even what the hated George W. Bush managed. Paul inspires thousands of students to boo any mention of Obama’s alarming yet largely unknown National Defense Authorization Act, which gives legal cover to the president’s power of indefinite detention. 

On a wide range of issues involving individual liberty and protecting people from oppressive concentrations of power, Paul has been more progressive than Obama. Paul’s fans knew this, and many led campaigns to capitalize on it during the 2012 primaries—from talking with the more socialist Occupiers to calling on Democratic voters to re-register as Republicans in a movement dubbed “Blue Republican.” 

Peace and civil liberties, however, do not comprise everything in the progressive-left worldview. The first thing many on the left think when they hear the name Ron Paul is not free markets or imperial withdrawal but abortion. The obstetrician’s belief that abortion is murder and thus prohibitable at the state level (though not federally) is a deal breaker for many liberals. His position on marriage equality—that it would be solved if the government got out of the marriage-recognition business—is not a lefty crowd pleaser either. 

Perhaps above all, progressives love income redistribution, and Paul does not. For many Democrats, using government to elevate the downtrodden and restrain the wealthy trumps all other ideological commitments.

 Paul has sidestepped some of the inevitable flak from this important philosophical difference by soft-pedaling the more blatant “other”-baiting that Republicans usually engage in when it comes to Democrats. So while Paul is opposed in principle to government funding for National Public Radio and even medical care for the poor, he mocks fellow Republicans who act like such programs are where austerity must begin—in the former case because it is statistically insignificant red meat, in the latter because it feeds an ugly strain of hostility toward welfare recipients that plays no part in how Paul campaigns. 

As Paul told the leftist magazine Mother Jones in a March 2011 interview, “As a libertarian, I don’t endorse philosophically the many domestic programs, and I’m willing to work on a transition. So I say: Let’s cut the unnecessary wars. Let’s cut the foreign aid. Let’s cut all the empire building, which costs trillions of dollars, and maybe we could tide ourselves over. But for some conservatives to start tinkering with the budget with health care or education for the poor, that doesn’t make any political sense to me.”

On the campaign trail in 2011–12, Paul even spoke (perhaps disingenuously, given his long-established views on the constitutionally limited role for government spending) about how we could take the “savings” from ending our overseas imperial adventures and “spend that money here at home.” Perhaps he was referring to spending by the individual taxpayers from whom the money is currently taken. But to certain willing ears, it must have sounded like a call for a more generous welfare state. 

That Paul eschews right-wing attacks on destitute beneficiaries of state largess may seem like a minor point when most leftists contemplate him in full. Occupiers often interpret Paul’s belief in unfettered free markets as a Trojan horse for unleashing sinister corporate power on the poorer classes. Noam Chomsky, even while crediting Paul for wanting to withdraw from Afghanistan, made sure to tell his impressionable fans in a lecture at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania in November 2011 that Dr. No’s ideas regarding health care were “just savagery.” Having churches and charity hospitals care for the poor is apparently nothing short of barbaric compared to the virtue of forcing all Americans to buy health insurance.

Yet even Chomsky, perhaps unwittingly, illustrated the contradictions in labeling Paul both a corporate enabler and a free marketeer. Paul’s platform, Chomsky said, was “a call for corporate tyranny.” A mere 30 seconds later, he claimed “the business world would never permit it to happen” because “they can’t live without a powerful nanny state and they know it.” 

Occupy Paul Street?

Ron Paul was the only prominent candidate who dared say anything good about the Occupy movement during the Republican primary season. Paul told me he agreed with the protesters that bailing out the well-to-do at everyone else’s expense was worth protesting, even if he didn’t agree with most of the Occupiers’ proposed solutions. “If they were demonstrating peacefully, and making a point, and arguing our case [against crony capitalism] and drawing attention to the Fed—I would say, good!” he said to an impromptu press scrum outside a speech in New Hampshire in October 2011. Paul choose not to engage in the Newt Gingrich strategy of merely telling the protesters to “go get a job right after you take a bath” or the Mitt Romney habit of suggesting that they prefer communism to freedom. 

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  • John||

    It is so cute when the Reason staff thinks Leftists actually mean the shit they say about civil liberties.

  • Drake||

    It's an idea they just can't let go. There is nothing "classical" about today's liberals.

  • BarryD||

    There is a sort of primitive hygiene thing going on in OWS, though. Not quite "classical" but definitely "old school."

  • Brian Doherty||

    Did anyone read the article? I know it's pretty long. But it is in fact an exploration/discussion of a specific example of (most) leftists valuing other considerations above civil liberties and peace when it comes to Ron Paul.

  • BarryD||

    Sorry, but I don't believe that "Paul thinks it’s inherently illegitimate to arrest people for actions that harm only themselves." indicates that his platform is "to the left of the Democratic Party" in the least.

    individualism =/= statism

  • ||

    I think you misunderstand the popular conceptions of "right" and "left".

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd say that some people on the left take the anti-war and other positions shared by Paul more seriously than other issues. Remember, we're talking about millions of people. However, that number is clearly even less significant than the number of libertarians located in the GOP, LP, or elsewhere.

    One would think that some of the less economically illiterate on the left would grudgingly favor a more limited government and freer market, as the current system is clearly going to fail at some point.

  • John||

    You would think they would hold Obama accountable. And you would also think that people like Gays and minorities, who have historically been the biggest victims of government, would be the most distrustful of it. Selling gays and minorities on the government being their protector and savior is one of the most self destructive and dangerous cons ever pulled off in this country.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Seriously, you don't get why gays favor democrats over repulbicans? Are you retarded?

  • Randian||

    I get it and I don't. Just because one party represents your interests doesn't mean you have to go whole hog on the identity politics.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I'm not saying it's smart (and I say that as a bisexual that generally ends up voting for more Republicans than Democrats), but it's also shouldn't be suprising at all that most gays have a feeling of white hot rage toward the GOP as a whole, regardless of how they feel about particular politicians.

  • John||

    There are more than a few southern Democrats and a few Northern Democrats who have bad things to say about gay people. Are the Dems more pro gay than the Republicans? Sure. But neither side is totally homogeneous. Where the gay rights movement shoots itself in the foot is in it refusal to recognize that and support candidates based on positions rather than team loyalty.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Those southern democrats aren't coming in second for the Democrat presidential nominee. If your primary is crammed with nominees who want to compare homosexuals to pedophiles, don't be suprised when homosexuals refuse to vote for the party as a whole. If you don't like that, stop tolerating bigots and promoting them as the best and brightest of the party.

  • John||

    If you don't like that, stop tolerating bigots and promoting them as the best and brightest of the party.

    So since Al Sharpton is a bigot, white people should always vote against the entire Democratic Party regardless of the issues? What about Jews? A lot of Dems are very anti-Semetic.

    Do you really think voting like that is smart or anything but destructive to gays' cause?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Again, Al Sharpton did not come in second in the Democratic Primary. You're taking fringe figures from the Democrat party (and in Bloomsburg's case, so fringe that he's a Republican), and comparing them to politicians that are considered mainstream Republicans.

  • John||

    Jesse Jackson did. And he is very racist towards white people and Jews. And moreover, you miss the point. Mindlessly voting for Democrats because you don't like some Republicans just means both parties will ignore you. The better way is to vote for candidates of either party who support your views.

  • Restoras||

    So now Al Sharpton is a fringe Democrat? Has that always been the case, or just when he opens his mouth?

  • Cavpitalist||

    The Democrat President supports discrimination against gays in federal hiring practices.

    Reality =/= perception

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Anti-semite Dems? Where? The Heebs (bless their hearts!) are the biggest contributors to the Dems.

  • Lewisite||

    And as long as they keep feeling the "Zionist guilt" and giving $$$, they can keep sitting at the grown-ups table.

  • z0phi3l||

    I think Gays have been lied to as much as Blacks that they choose to ignore the facts that it was the Democrats that were against the Civil Rights movement that gave them a chance at coming out of the closet in the first place, and the few that know the truth just hate the Right because

  • John||

    Being a single issue voter on gay rights doesn't mean you have to go whole hog and support leftism anymore than being a single issue gun rights voter means you have to go whole hog and be a SOCON.

    Compare the NRA to the gay rights movement. The NRA will support Democrats who have a good record on gun rights. The gay rights movement will never support a Republican even though there are lots of Republicans, especially those from the NE who support gay rights.

    The Gay rights movement has been coopted by leftists. And that is very bad for gay people and for gay rights.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Yes, let's compare the NRA to the gay rights movement. Show me the gun rights equivalent of, say, Santorum, who managed to come in second in the GOP primary despite being a vocal and unrepenant bigot toward gay people. Who was the last serious presidential candidate on the Democrat side to support banning all firearm ownership?

  • John||

    Show me the gun rights equivalent of, say, Santorum, who managed to come in second in the GOP primary despite being a vocal and unrepenant bigot toward gay people.

    Mayor Bloomburg to start. Is there anywhere in the country that still, despite Supreme Court precedent prosecutes gay sex? Most major cities in this country are ignoring Heller and continue to have outright bans or practical bans on firearm ownership. Show me any place in the country as hostile to gay rights as New York, Chicago and Washington DC are to gun rights.

    And nothing Santurum says about gay people is even half as strong as what people like Bloomburg and pretty much most of the major media have to say about gun ownership.

    Try again.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    So... the Democrat equivalent of Santorum is... the Republican mayor of New York City...

  • John||

    Bloomburg is a Democrat and you know that. And last I looked Rahm Emanuel was a Dem, along with the mayors of every major city in this country who refuse to recognize gun rights and actively prosecute gun owners.

    Face it Stormy, you got pawned. Whining about how Bloomburg ran as a Republican and changing the subject doesn't help.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Bloomburg is deinitely a liberal, but he is most certainly not a Democrat.

  • John||

    And Emannuel and the mayors of the other cities are just as bad or worse than Bloomburg? Democrats hate gun owners a lot more than Republicans hate gays.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Actually, he was a registered Democrat until he ran for mayor as a Republican. The party switch was purely a matter of convenience and he abandoned the registration by the time of his first re-election bid.

  • Cavpitalist||

    If we're looking for a good equivalent, we'll need someone who got their asses kicked at home in an election, and never had anything more than margin support in a few primaries in 1 national election.

    Santorum is not a key figure in the GOP. He was the last fringe candidate still in the primaries.

  • John||

    Tell me Stormy, where in America do you have to ask the police permission to have gay sex? In most cities you have to do just that to own a gun.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Only because of a Supreme Court ruling that many Republicans say was wrong and are vowing to overturn so they can get back to throwing gays in jail.

  • John||

    Only because of a Supreme Court ruling that many Republicans say was wrong and are vowing to overturn so they can get back to throwing gays in jail.

    First, you have no citation for that. The Republicans have no intention of making gay sex illegal and you know it. Second, the Republicans followed the court rulings and respected gay rights. The Democrats in contrast are ignoring the court and actively prosecuting gun owners.

    And that says good things about the Democrats how?

  • Cytotoxic||

    ITT SD gets pwned by John and won't back down.

  • Randian||

    Not really. It's a legit point.

    Long term, Republicans have a serious demographics problem, and there is no reason why the Republican Party should not be gay friendly.

  • John||

    Randian,

    There is a difference between not being gay friendly and thinking gays should be thrown in jail. And gays are not real popular among blacks and Hispanics either. Last I looked those were pretty important constituencies to the Dems.

    Absent Sharai law being imposed, gay sex will never be illegal in this country again. It is just not an issue. The issues now are gay marriage and making homosexuality a protected class under the civil rights laws. And you can find members of both parties on either side of those issues.

  • R C Dean||

    Long term, Republicans have a serious demographics problem,

    I'm not so sure about that. Long-term, Republican-leaning demographics tend to be demographics that reproduce (married people, rural/suburban, etc.). Significant chunks of the Dem base aren't reproducing (gay people, single urban dwellers, etc.).

    I would be interested to see a serious demographic projection on this issue. I think its probably a lot more complicated than we think.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Significant chunks of the Dem base aren't reproducing (gay people, single urban dwellers, etc.).

    Since they stubbornly insist on continuing to exist, they apparently are "reproducing" somehow.

  • Restoras||

    John, ideologues need thier demons, otherwise they lose half of thier reason for existence. Nevermind that left-wing extremism is the greater enemy to gays.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    "We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family." -- Rick Santorum

  • John||

    The don't vote for Santorum Stormy. You won't get many arguments about that around here. But not every Republican is Santorum anymore than every Democrat is Rahm Emmanuel on gun rights.

    What is more important to you? Gay rights or team loyalty? If it is gay rights, why wouldn't you vote for a Republican who supported gay rights? If you will never vote for any of them any way, why should they ever care what you think?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    As I said, I do vote for both parties and generally end up voting for more Republicans than Democrats. But nevertheless, I recognize that one of the parties is far more hostile to gays than the other and that when I do vote for Republicans, it is usually despite their views on that matter.

    So again, I'm not saying it's smart of gays to always vote Democrat, but I certainly understand it. And for me the fault lies more with the GOP's decision to pander to bigots. They should be doing more to make Santorums feel unwelcome in the party instead of expecting people to pretend it's not happy.

    You complain of people who put team loyalty front in center. Why, other than team loyalty, are people like Akin still being bankrolled by the GOP?

  • z0phi3l||

    The GOP didn't as much pander to bigots as much as bigots like Santorum switched affiliation for political gain and brought with them their bigotry, I still remember back when Santorum was a Democrat, and "switched" when he lost the Democrat primaries and the non existent Republicans in his district had no real candidate, so he switched sides

  • The Hammer||

    John, clearly if any kind of rights were more important to the majority than team loyalty, the election would come down to the Libertarian party against the Constitution party, and they would each be trying to convince us that they would cut the federal budget more and more quickly than that other guy, who is really a closet statist.

  • Randian||

    Thanks for the vision, Hammer. I think I'll pop a Valium, kick my feet up, and dream of the day when Paul is the right wing candidate and Johnson is the lefty.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    To which vast majorities of Republicans either roll their eyes or do the facepalm.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, the pet issue doesn't get that much real support from the Democrats. Note Obama's tepid and only recently found support for gay marriage. Also note that no one at the federal level is moving to legalize gay marriage. It's not like the GOP is campaigning to ban homosexuality, either.

  • Randian||

    Dragon's point about the Santorum Wing sort of puts paid to this, does it not? S/he has a good point.

  • John||

    But the Santorum wing lost. Santurm got killed in the primaries. And even the Santorum wing talks a good game, but what effect does it have? There isn't a single place in this country where gays are treated as criminals. Not the smallest most backward town in America.

    Even if Dragon's big scary Santorum quote, he never outright says it should be illegal, just that he doesn't like it. BFD. There are actually gay Republicans. It seems a bit odd there would be gay Republicans if every Republican is out to throw every gay in jail don't you think?

  • Randian||

    I wouldn't say 'got killed' is the right terminology. There was a moment where people thought Santorum could win.

  • John||

    Gays would be better off if they were Libertarians who supported politicians of any stripe who respected their rights. Be more like the NRA and less like NOW.

  • Rasilio||

    Yes but that only existed because he was the last man standing besides Paul who never stood a chance because of his foreign policy stance and Romney who the majority of Republcians didn't actually like.

    Santorum was never actually supported by more than 5 - 10% of the Republican base and his extreme focus on social conservatisim is unpopular even within the party.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Santorum wasn't the last man standing when he came in first in the Iowa Caucus.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    From later in the same interview:

    "I've been very clear about that. The right to privacy is a right that was created in a law that set forth a (ban on) rights to limit individual passions. And I don't agree with that. So I would make the argument that with President, or Senator or Congressman or whoever Santorum, I would put it back to where it is, the democratic process. If New York doesn't want sodomy laws, if the people of New York want abortion, fine. I mean, I wouldn't agree with it, but that's their right. But I don't agree with the Supreme Court coming in."

    As much as you would like to pretend otherwise, Santorum is in favor of legal bans on sodomy--he thinks homosexuals should be in prison.

  • John||

    One last point Randian. My original point was not that Gays should be Republicans. it was that they should mistrust the government. Gays really more than anyone should be Libertarians.

    Imagine if gays threw their money and cultural influence to the Libertarian cause rather than just being mindless leftists. It would make a real difference and make the country a hell of a lot more gay friendly.

  • Randian||

    I agree with you, John.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Some of us are trying. I've voted libertarian in every presidential election since I turned 18. I give money to people like Ron Paul when they're there. But in most elections there is no libertarian candidate. When I'm looking at a candidate that openly despises me, what do you really expect me to do?

  • Randian||

    But in most elections there is no libertarian candidate.

    Oh please. That's your excuse?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    When I go to the polls in November, only two of the races have a libertarian running, President and Senate, and as I noted in another comment stream, the Libertarian for Senate is a loon who's not even actively campaign. What do I do in all the other races? It's mostly choosing between two lousy candidates, as a much a John would like me to ignore, if one of those candidates is openly campaigning on how represhensible gays are, it makes the choice a whole lot easier for me.

  • robc||

    When I'm looking at a candidate that openly despises me, what do you really expect me to do?

    Virtually every politician openly despises every prole.

  • Loki||

    Virtually every politician openly despises every prole.

    Actually I wish they were at least a little more open about it. It's the whole pretending to care about "the little guy" that pisses me off the most. If they were honest it would actually be kind of refreshing.

  • Old Dave||

    As an eldergay, I've been arguing this point for about 20 years. I'm usually met with nothing but hostility. It's very frustrating. I mention to gay friends that "evil" corporations have for decades now recognized the validity of same-sex relationships (even if it is a way of attracting and keeping good employees) and that we should look to business to find our power. It still doesn't sink in. Victimhood runs deep among us, and many aren't happy unless they're dependent on the kindness of strangers.

    As a gay man, I can't imagine NOT being libertarian/Libertarian.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Minority wackos abound in both parties, but no real change in national policies.

  • R C Dean||

    My takeaway from Stormy is that gay people are prone to being manipulated by partisans, react emotionally, and are comfortable condemning entire groups based on the activities of a few members.

    IOW, they're pretty ordinary.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Seriously, you don't get why gays favor democrats over repulbicans? Are you retarded?

    Because Republicans and Democrats are all there are!

    False choices FTW!

  • wareagle||

    the anti-war left, as usual, goes silent when a Dem is in the WH. It's what makes them intellectually dishonest.

  • BarryD||

    True. People were literally marching in the streets by the thousands, to protest or wars, when Bush was President. Since the day Obama got elected, crickets.

    It's hard to take the anti-war left seriously.

    To be fair, it's also hard to take libertarian foreign policy seriously -- even though I disagree with Republican and Democratic foreign policy positions, quite a bit.

    People quote Jefferson's inaugural speech regularly, when Jefferson himself had to send our military overseas not long after he said his famous words. Jefferson ended up a lot like W, who decried nation-building in 2000...

    Then Jefferson made enemies of both England and France simultaneously by trying to simply trade with both while they were at war, and finally, insanely, ended up banning US trade with anyone at all.

    http://usforeignpolicy.about.c.....ferson.htm

    Libertarian foreign policy still largely resembles what Jefferson set out to do, and it didn't even work in 1801, when muzzleloading cannon were the most formidable weapons of war.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Indeed. This was also in a time when Britain kept the oceans open now America basically has to do that. Noninterventionism wasn't feasible when the world wasn't so small as today.

  • Randian||

    This was also in a time when Britain kept the oceans open now America basically has to do that.

    Would you say it's our moral duty to do that?

  • Cytotoxic||

    For our own shipping, certainly.

  • Randian||

    That isn't what you said nor was it what you were implicitly advocating. Please don't be tiresome.

  • BarryD||

    He said nothing other than that.

    It's our moral obligation as a nation to look after our own interests, and keeping the oceans open for trade is exactly that. If nobody else does it, it's in our own interest, as the world's largest economy, to do it.

    What did he say that would imply anything else?

  • Calidissident||

    "It's our moral obligation as a nation to look after our own interests"

    I would agree with this, but I feel like I have a much narrower definition of "look after our own interests" than most people who think this do

  • BarryD||

    So what?

    If people agree on first principles, then there is plenty of room for hashing out their application.

    The problem with ideologues -- libertarians included -- is that they confuse logistics with philosophy.

  • ||

    It's our moral obligation as a nation to look after our own interests, and keeping the oceans open for trade is exactly that.

    Except this isn't incompatible with noninterventionism. It's not interventionism to protect our own vessels. However, Cyto likely means a LOT more than just protecting our own vessels, or having ships near our waters, or he wouldn't say something moronic as "Noninterventionism wasn't feasible when the world wasn't so small as today."

  • ||

    The problem with ideologues -- libertarians included -- is that they confuse logistics with philosophy.

    The only one here confusing the two seems to be Cyto, since he thinks you can't be noninterventionist and still protect your own country's ships and shipping lines.

  • Calidissident||

    The Barbary Wars aren't exactly comparable to Iraq and Afghanistan

  • robc||

    The Barbary Wars are reasonable comparable to Afghanistan. If we had left Afghanistan after we kicked the Taliban out.

  • BarryD||

    I didn't say they were, though they were comparable to going to Afghanistan initially.

    They totally contradicted Jefferson's stated philosophy of foreign policy, which is what libertarians love quoting: something he said, that he completely contradicted in real actions.

    But the more important thing is the other part. Jefferson, like Ron Paul and many doctrinaire libertarians today, assumed that we could just trade with everyone and everything would be okay. We'd have no enemies, no military threats.

    Jefferson proved himself wrong. And yet, the very words he uttered before proving himself wrong, are the basis for standard libertarian foreign policy assumptions.

    And I would vote for Ron Paul anyway. I did, when I had any opportunity. That doesn't make libertarian or Paulist foreign policy any more realistic.

  • Calidissident||

    It isn't a contradiction. Jefferson wasn't a pacifist. He didn't engage in military alliances. Our shipping was attacked by pirates. He sent the navy the protect it. Ron Paul has never said anything suggesting that he wouldn't react the same way in the same situation. And since about 90% of the war in Afghanistan has consisted of occupation and nation building, I think I made a safe generalization. Paul's foreign policy is only naive and unrealistic to people who either don't understand it or who actually think our current foreign policy is realistically sustainable

  • BarryD||

    Blah blah blah.

    Like I wrote, the other part of his foreign policy was the greater failure.

    See my link above, since it appears that you are unfamiliar with what else he did.

  • FD||

    That is letting them off the hook, wareagle. It’s not “intellectually dishonest.” It’s despicably immoral, revolting, repugnant.
    It’s premature dementia, if not simply wholesale evil.
    I don’t understand why folks want to sugarcoat this hypocrisy and accept it as political rhetoric.
    Soldiers continue to die (that is, DIE!), lose limbs, lose minds, in pursuit of a horrific and ambiguous objective, with no means of measuring.
    As a libertarian, I part ways with the right who justify the interventionism, but that’s not my point here; the issue is watching the sickening leftists applaud this low-life, power-hungry pol – the one who railed against the misguided W and, in turn, rationalize the very same behavior. And worst of the worst, they hair-split definitions of US policy and which doctrine means what.
    And the beat goes on. Make that the mad “beating” goes on.
    Intellectually dishonest? No. Disgusting, primitive, hypocritical, quibbling filth is more apt.
    And they’ll vote for the punk again on the grounds of “lesser of two evils.” Weak slaves, the whole damn bunch of them.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Which honestly makes me wonder how many of them are anti-war, as opposed to anti-war-that-might-benefit-the-other-team.

  • Gladstone||

    Isn't most of their actual anti-war rhetoric mostly "OMG! KORPORASHUNS!!!"?

    Since the Democrats are not tools of Wall St. then obviously they have no sinister alterior motives when they attack oil producing countries.

  • jb4479||

    Actually most of the anti-war left is made up of sheep. The real leadership is brought to you by our comrades at the World Workers Party. When the war in Iraq started I happened to be visiting friends in San Diego, site of one the massive war protests. We debated whether or not to join in, but decided it would take to long to make our Lenin and Stalin signs, and most of the protestors were too stupid to get it.

  • JW||

    I'd say that some people on the left take the anti-war and other positions shared by Paul more seriously than other issues.

    From my own experience, I'd say that number falls in the 1-2% range.

    The rest just want cake.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Does either side actually mean the shit they say about civil liberties?

  • John||

    I think the Right means it with regard to gun rights and political speech.

  • Randian||

    Bam! Point, John.

  • BarryD||

    I think the left means it with regard to buttsex.

  • John||

    And abortion.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    I'm not so sure about that. They are awful keen on getting the gays into government approved and regulated marriages.

    "Come and get a county bureaucrat's blessing. Only then will your love be real."

  • BarryD||

    (NTTAWWT)

  • JWatts||

    And with respect to having State's rights trump Federal rights.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Unless it's state wanting rights to things the GOP doesn't like, like legalizing marijuana.

    And on a more serious note, on the big civil liberties like due process, the fourth ammendment, etc. neither party seems to give a rat's ass.

  • T||

    Missed all those MMJ raid stories, did you Stormy?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    No, but I also didn't miss Romney's doubling down and vowing to be even tougher on marijuana when he's president.

    It's a moot point since I'm voting for GJ, but my main criticism with Romney the whole campaign is that basically his strategy is to point out how bad Obama is at X and then vow to make X even worse.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This is Dopeherty John. He's a little...slow.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Maybe you should drone him.

  • ||

    Did anyone read the article? I know it's pretty long. But it is in fact an exploration/discussion of a specific example of (most) leftists valuing other considerations above civil liberties and peace when it comes to Ron Paul.
  • mad libertarian guy||

    But not 1 iota cuter than people who think Republicans mean the shit they say about having a small, fiscally conservative government.

  • sarcasmic||

    tl;dr

    Rush 2112!

    Erect Gary's Johnson!

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I'll be dead by 2112, so I don't care.

    However - excellent and catchy!

  • John||

    Maybe not. We might hit the singularity before then.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    In which case we'll all be dead from when the machines take over!

  • John||

    Below is an example of what the "Left" thinks about the economy.

    Let’s say that you have the ability to print your currency using your computer printer, and every merchant accepted your printouts as a valid exchange for goods and services. You need to pick up your dry cleaning? You printout a $20 bill and your cleaners hand over your garments without question. Same would be true for your mortgage, groceries, car note, etc. Your creditors even accept your printouts as payment on your debts.

    Given this, how can you ever be broke? Answer, you cannot be broke. The U.S. government is not in debt simply because it can create currency to pay off the debt, and our creditors gladly accept our currency as payment on our debts. You see, the world needs our dollars because the world needs oil, and in order to buy oil, you need dollars, which means that the world needs to stockpile dollars, and that means that the U.S. can print all of the money that it wants without incurring massive hikes in interest rates to attract lenders.

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/155158/

    That is a real post from the Democratic Underground. I don't care how much these people may agree with Paul about the Patriot Act. That kind of stupid is never going to vote for Paul. Forget it.

  • robc||

    That may be the stupidest thing I have ever read.

  • robc||

    Note for John: that was NOT hyperbole on my part.

  • Zeb||

    Honestly. I don't even know where to start. I think I'll just move on. I'm getting very close to just ignoring everything until several weeks after the election so I don't murder anyone.

  • Loki||

    I'm getting very close to just ignoring everything until several weeks after the election so I don't murder anyone.

  • SugarFree||

    This is not the stupidest thing I have ever read, but it made it past the phone interview and it now on the shortlist.

  • John||

    Go to DU and check out its references. You might want to move it up a little bit higher on the list.

  • Randian||

    Nope, check out this reply:

    The U.S. Treasury no longer prints Currency. (they DO still mint Coins)

    The Printing Presses are all operated by the Federal Reserve Bank. It [sic] the Treasury were "in charge" of our Currency, they could make simple interest Mortgages at 10%, rather than the compound interest that make banks rich. It would prop up the public square to such an extent, that the Private Market (see Wall Street) would, in short order, totally implode.

    It would also make Elected Politicians actually RESPONSIBLE for Monetary as well as Fiscal Policy in America again, and...well, we just can't have THAT, now can we. I'm not a Paul-bot by any stretch of the imagination, but I DO think we need to make some much needed alterations to the way we handle MONETARY Policy in America, in such a way that the Dollar is based on the value of LABOR, rather on how much profit it can generate for the already Rich.
  • John||

    I think mine is more objectively stupid. But yours is far more dangerously stupid.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That takes the stupid of the earlier comment and adds a heaping bucket of raw STOOPID.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why not skip ahead to the dictatorship of the people who purport to represent the proletariat?

  • JW||

    And miss the purges? Never!

  • ||

    I'm not even sure what this means. I don't see how the dollar could be pegged to an abstract value. There isn't any one value labor is payed in this country. I'm so confused.

  • Randian||

    The value would be set by local councils of top men. We'll call them 'soviets'.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The interest on a mortgage doesn't compound. The only way they could is if your monthly payment was less than the interest earned that month, in which case you'd never pay it off because the principal would keep increasing ad infinitum. Amortization of interest has nothing to do with compounding of interest.

  • robc||

    Amortization of interest has nothing to do with compounding of interest.

    While you are absolutely right, I have seen this argued before by people who cant do math. They think something is wrong that their principle doesnt drop evenly across the 30 years.

    Which, Ive pointed out, they can do by making an extra principle payment each month, that gets a little bit smaller each month too. It takes a big chunk of time off the total mortgage length also.

  • robc||

    Just the quick math on that last post:

    With a 180k mortgage at 6% (old school interest rates, but not old, old school) for 30 years, the normal payment would be 1079.19 per month.

    To pay equal principal, start paying $1400 per month and drop a few bucks each month. Starting with month 130, you would stop making extra payments and just pay the $1079.19. Final payoff would be in month 283, reducing the time by 77 months.

  • OldMexican||

    The Printing Presses are all operated by the Federal Reserve Bank. [If] the Treasury were "in charge" of our Currency, they could make simple interest Mortgages at 10%, rather than the compound interest that make banks rich.

    Yeah. Uh... no. The currency has nothing to do with compounding interest.

    It would also make Elected Politicians actually RESPONSIBLE for Monetary as well as Fiscal Policy in America again, and...well, we just can't have THAT, now can we.

    I guess not.

    I'm not a Paul-bot by any stretch of the imagination,

    I guessed as much.

    but I DO think we need to make some much needed alterations to the way we handle MONETARY Policy in America, in such a way that the Dollar is based on the value of LABOR,

    What's the value of labor?

    "One mowed lawn, payable to the bearer."

    rather on how much profit it can generate for the already Rich.

    Oh, God.

  • JW||

    I don't want to diminish the abject stupidity of all the other stupid things I have read coming from the pits of political despair. Saying this is the stupidest thing, gives those other stupid things a hint of intelligence.

    Don't make me choose. I beg you!

  • mnarayan||

    Pretty sure that is hyperbole. The first paragraph is close to factual, with a little pedantic modification. The second paragraph is worse, but still nowhere near "stupidest thing I have ever read" unless your reading is extremely cocooned.

  • mnarayan||

    I guess I should note I'm considering the first two sentences of the second paragraph as part of the first.

  • ||

    This is the second stupidest thing I've ever read.

    The first paragraph is a hypothetical fiat currency, with the completely unsupported assumption that people will just accept some random guy's arbitrarily valued pieces of paper, for no reason. Where's the hyperbole in this?

    The second paragraph is even worse, yes. If this isn't at least one of the stupidest things you've ever read, I feel extreme sympathy for you. I've never seen something that stupid before. Not being "cocooned" does NOT mean, "hanging around the most idiotic dredges of the internet your whole life".

  • mnarayan||

    The guy makes the unsound leap from the (true, albeit misleading) proposition that the U.S. can pay off all of its current debt via inflation to the conclusion that this means that the U.S. has no debt.

    This is extremely wrong, however, I would only classify it as medium-level stupidity. It's probably the stupidest thing I've seen today, but it doesn't even manage to be the stupidest thing I've seen this week (that would be an article on espn.com about RGIII which turned out to be written by Charles Pierce).

  • ||

    Fair enough. I'd still say not hearing worse doesn't qualify as "cocooned", though.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Holy FUCK!

    Thanks for the brain damage, John. LIKE I NEEDED ANY MORE.

    That's gonna leave mark...ow, ow, ow, ow...

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's a post, not a comment? Really?

  • Restoras||

    Here is the link to the post. Warning: The level of stupidity is beyond comprehension. It's like staring at the sun. It would be like hearing the actual voice of God. Your mind will begin a flat-spin descent into confusion that it may not recover from.
    http://www.democraticundergrou.....id=1600092

  • John||

    That is why I linked to instapundit not DU. The DU site is so stupid it is dangerous. I really can't in good conscience send someone there.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Will you melt and scream while hearing the voice of God? Is DU The Ark of The Covenant?

  • Restoras||

    I'll go with whatever Metatron says.

  • ||

    Does this mean Optimus Prime speaks for the Devil?

  • JW||

    Viewing that post on DU is akin to directly viewing Medusa.

    Instapundit is like Hercules' polished shield.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's Perseus, dude.

  • Restoras||

    I just saw that via Instapundit. Holy shit is that unbelievable. This is a level of stupidity that is completely beyond my ability to comprehend.

  • SugarFree||

    "Hyperinflation is not OK just because you have an apple tree."

    Someone in the DU thread had to tell another commenter this, and he wasn't joking or just insulting him. This actually is a reasonable rebuttal in an argument between putative adults in a discussion about economics.

    The link is the start of the sub-thread.

  • robc||

    I would click thru to see the context on that, but I like me brain too much.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Friends don't let friends read DU.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: John,

    Let's say that you have the ability to print your currency using your computer printer, and every merchant accepted your printouts as a valid exchange for goods and services.

    Yeah, let's pretend people are stupid.

    Given this, how can you ever be broke? Answer, you cannot be broke.

    No, only those stupid enough to accept your printed out bills will be broke. Which, eventually leads to nobody being able to provide you with anything. A starving "rich" man.

    You see, the world needs our dollars because the world needs oil, and in order to buy oil, you need dollars,

    That is, until people stop needing dollars. Then what?

  • OldMexican||

    I am obviously not addressing John but the stupid article from pjmedia.

  • JWatts||

    That kind of economic drivel is popular among certain Leftists.

  • pmains||

    Let me put on the conspiracy theory hat for a second.

    In 1971, Nixon closes the gold window. 2 months later, OPEC passes resolution XXV.140, expressing their need to receive instruments of durable value in exchange for their oil. In 1973, Nixon and King Faisal of Saudi of Iraq reach an agreement that the sale of Saudi oil will be conducted exclusively in US Dollars.

    So, according to the Petrodollar theory, we went from a gold standard to a sort of oil standard.

    This, in my mind, is similar to the Post-Keynesian theory I've heard about how taxes are paid in dollars and therefore higher taxes rates strengthen the dollar. The problem would seem to be that there isn't any sort of correlation between tax rates and strength of the dollar. Reagan cut taxes, and stagflation was slain nonetheless.

    Back to Petrodollars:
    86 million barrels per day in 2011 * 365 days * ~$100/barrel average (for Brent Crude oil) for 2011 ~= $3 Trillion in sales, or 20% of US GDP. And what about sales domestically within OPEC states? I would assume those sales are conducted in the local currency, but I don't really know.

    It seems like the petrodollar hypothesis is just a bit too pat for what is a very complex system.

    Alex Jones, signing off.

  • R C Dean||

    Typical lefties, behind the times.

    The dollar is slowly but surely being displaced as the reserve currency. More and more countries are entering into bilateral agreements to trade with each other using their own currencies. And that is beginning to include the oil trade, as well. India famously agreed to buy oil from Iran using, if necessary, gold.

    The reason that the dollar is a reserve currency is because it has been a strong currency. The progs, as ever, have it backwards, believing it is a strong currency because it is a reserve currency.

    Invincible. Stupidity.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Could we have a new Great Compromise? While the rest of the world is sinking in debt and socialism, let's implement a Five-Year Plan where we drastically limited government scope and spending, while allowing the market to operate in a much freer state than it does today.

    Let's just try it and see what happens.

  • sarcasmic||

    What? A free market? You want to allow people to get rich? That's immoral!

    A free and just society doesn't allow inequality of that sort.

    It is preferable that everyone be poor than to allow one person to get rich.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Given this, how can you ever be broke? Answer, you cannot be broke. The U.S. government is not in debt simply because it can create currency to pay off the debt, and our creditors gladly accept our currency as payment on our debts.

    Holy fuck, that's so stupid I think it gave me cancer. I'm going to go throw myself off the roof.

  • crazyfingers||

    Paul hasn't really caught on with much of the left, even the small segment which might be inclined toward libertarianism, because at first glance he comes off as a stodgy old man / cultural conservative. At least that was the impression I got this weekend talking to a young woman who brought his name up unsolicited. I tried to explain that he is forced to play politics and his overall philosophy tends toward live and let live, but she wasn't really buying it. I also brought up Gary Johnson as an alternative strain probably more amendable to her hippie/socially liberal outlook, but no one outside the movement has ever heard of him so the point didn't get much traction.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I bet a lot of people don't get that Paul's political ethos doesn't include him imposing his personal morality on others.

  • John||

    That is because most people are dying to impose their morality on others. So they assume the same about everyone else. It is inconceivable for the typical lefty to think of not imposing their morality on the world. The personal is the political after all.

  • BakedPenguin||

    That is because most people are dying to impose their morality on others.

    Most people, and 99.5% of politicians. Which is pretty scary, because their average level of morality is about that of Tuco Salamanca.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why people willing cede their rights to people they know are not more moral, more able, or more honest than they are makes no sense to me at all.

  • Big 'Orra||

    The left seems more than happy to their personal morality on others.

    The biggest mistake is to believe that the left care a whit about freedom.

  • Rick Santorum||

    We need to make sure that people have the right opinions, comrade. Whereas conservatives ban things they don't like, liberals will ban it, destroy your livelihood, and force you into re-education classes.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Let's just try it and see what happens.

    Well, Shirley, allow me to eliminate the suspense.

    THE LIVING WOULD ENVY THE DEAD.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Hey, every thief needs something to steal. It's a good compromise.

  • Carston||

    Can we please stop using this "crony capitalist" term? If its crony, its not real capitalism.

    Call it what it is, fascism light. Calling it crony capitalism puts real capitalism in a negative light to people who don't understand it.

  • Big 'Orra||

    Yup.

  • sarcasmic||

    Calling it crony capitalism puts real capitalism in a negative light to people who don't understand it.

    The left always controls the narrative.

  • ||

    Can we please stop using this "crony capitalist" term? If its crony, its not real capitalism.

    All the "real" capitalisms in human history have been utterly shot through with cronyism. Crony Capitalism is practically redundant.

  • Randian||

    Capitalism is the separation of State and Economy.

    So,yeah, JP if you want to just define terms however the hell you want to prove yourself right (*shocked face*), go right ahead.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This is the guy who thought that Maoist China and Stalinist Russia were comparable to the Robber Barons.

  • sarcasmic||

    Either yesterday or the day before, Rand Paul was on talk radio telling people why they should vote for Romney instead of Johnson.

  • John||

    Pauliltes heads must be exploding all over America.

  • Randian||

    Nope. Fuck Rand Paul (on this).

  • Cytotoxic||

    He's doing the right thing. Infiltrate, integrate, control.

  • John||

    Nevermind. I saw Rand but read it as Ron. Rand has never claimed to be a doctrinaire libertarian.

  • Tonio||

    Nice onion on your belt, John.

  • SugarFree||

    Nice onion on your belt, John.

    It's vintage.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It cost 15 bees.

  • robc||

    75 cents for an onion? That seems pricey.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Rand Paul is not a True Libertarian?

    I find this difficult to believe.

  • JW||

    THE LIVING WOULD ENVY THE DEAD.

    We already do.

  • Tonio||

    It is so cute when the Reason staff thinks Leftists actually mean the shit they say about civil liberties.

    I'm calling bullshit on that, John. It doesn't matter whether the Reason staff believe the leftists, or whether the leftists actually believe that themselves. Ultimately, the only thing you can respond to is their talking points and their past actions; you can't look into their hearts.

    But, hey, partisan hackery for the win, John. Congrats on getting the commentariat to tie themselves in knots responding to your bullshit. Remember, kids, every moment you spend responding to Tony or John is a moment you could have spent defining libertarian policy and goals, but chose to waste responding to people who are not our friends and are perfectly happy to keep us chasing our tails to preserve the teamest status quo.

  • sarcasmic||

    And he wonders why I call him Red Tony.

  • Randian||

    Sorry, but John was right. Ron Paul is not now nor will he ever be attractive to the Left. The Left only cares about one thing: whether someone, somewhere, is making money.

  • Big 'Orra||

    The Left only cares about one thing: whether someone, somewhere, is making money.

    Not true, they increasingly are worried that someone is out there enjoying themselves by eating, drinking or smoking something that brings them pleasure.

    A War on Happiness?

  • sarcasmic||

    A War on Happiness?

    The Puritans are alive and well.

  • JWatts||

    Yes, exactly. The Left has gone far beyond wanting to control the money. At this point they want to control education, healthcare, transportation, energy production, etc. There's not really any sector of life that some Leftist isn't actively seeking to regulate for the greater 'good'.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Ron Paul didn't prove to be all that attractive to the right either, unfortunately.

  • Tonio||

    John is indeed right that RP is not attractive to a majority of the left (also, water wet, sky blue, etc), but my criticism wasn't on those grounds.

  • John||

    Your criticism wasn't on any grounds. It was just you whining that I pointed out something obvious that you don't like.

    If you admit that Paul will never be attractive to the Left, then you have no criticism beyond you just don't like me. Well fuck you. I don't like you either. I don't think either of us are going anywhere anytime soon. So get over it.

  • sarcasmic||

    You're the whiny little bitch, Red Tony.

    At the slightest criticism of Romney or acknowledging of the left, you go all "Reason's a bunch of leftists! Always has been and always will be!" Red Tony batshit crazy.

    It would be humorous if it wasn't so pathetic.

  • John||

    Except this thread has nothing to do with Romney and his name was never mentioned until now.

    It is called projection sarcasmic. You are doing it now and it is not doing you any favors.

    Once again, if you think something I said on this thread is untrue say so and say way. If you can't think of a reason just shut up or admit as much. Screaming Romney and Red Tony is no substitute for thinking no matter how hard you try to make it so.

  • sarcasmic||

    Your very first post implied that Reason Staff is leftist.
    You do this every time, Red Tony. Every single time.

  • ||

    Plus the actual article makes the opposite point John claims it made. A lot of lefties DON'T care more about civil rights than about their economic policies and partisanship.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    I dunno. I understood what John was getting at in the first place.
    Not sure what's up your ass, sarcasmic. You're usually a lot brighter.

  • Randian||

    Usually I agree with you, but not today. This article sounded more like wishful thinking than reality correspondence.

  • John||

    That is why Tonio is so mad. He wants to think the article is true and can't forgive me for pointing out that it is not.

    Being right always makes you the worst enemies.

  • ||

    John:

    It is so cute when the Reason staff thinks Leftists actually mean the shit they say about civil liberties.

    Doherty:

    Did anyone read the article? I know it's pretty long. But it is in fact an exploration/discussion of a specific example of (most) leftists valuing other considerations above civil liberties and peace when it comes to Ron Paul.

    Doherty 1
    John 0

  • T||

    you can't look into their hearts.

    Bullshit if I can't. I got sharp knives.

  • John||

    But, hey, partisan hackery for the win, John. Congrats on getting the commentariat to tie themselves in knots responding to your bullshit. Remember, kids, every moment you spend responding to Tony or John is a moment you could have spent defining libertarian policy and goals, but chose to waste responding to people who are not our friends and are perfectly happy to keep us chasing our tails to preserve the teamest status quo.

    I have to admit, the DU post above is no longer the dumbest thing I have ever read. Yeah Tonio I am just a big meanie sent here to get libertarians tied up in knots. Do you realize what a whinny lefty douche bag you sound like?

    You really are a Leftist aren't you? No one but your side has any right to express an opinion. And when anyone else does or God forbid points out some fact you don't like they are just trolls causing problems.

    Go fuck yourself Tonio. Go whine on KOS. They like that there.

  • ||

    Do you ever understand how all your posts of "Boohoo, why are Reason employee liberals in disguise and in the tank for Obama!?" are the whiniest, bitchiest nonsense that gets posted here?

    You're such a intellectual retrograde, John.

    You really are a Leftist aren't you? No one but your side has any right to express an opinion.

    "Thinking I'm a whiny, partisan bitch means you're a lefty, just like all the others!"

    Go whine on KOS.

    And the accusations continue. You really are a whiny little bitch.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    On a wide range of issues involving individual liberty and protecting people from oppressive concentrations of power, Paul has been more progressive than Obama.

    I see Doherty's still half-drunk from last night's drinking game. Progressives are not now, nor have they ever been, concerned with individual liberty. The Progressive M.O. is one of divide and rule, white against black, men against women, rich against poor. Progressives are missionaries and their god is the state.

  • Zeb||

    There is definitely a terminology problem here. "The Left", "progressives", "Democrats", "Liberals" are all terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, but I don't think they should be.

    I don't even know what any of those (well, except Democrats) even is supposed to mean anymore. If "the left" is people who are not conservative or libertarian, then I would say that some on the left do care about some civil liberties in a genuine way.

  • Gladstone||

    The original left-liberal progressives were the German liberals who opposed Bismarck and his welfare state. Though they did support the original culture war.

    http://mises.org/daily/4503

    Obviously the people who use these labels today are totally different.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If your example is the German liberals, the parallels with modern liberalism already exist.

    The German liberals were cheap dates - to get their support, all Bismarck had to do was repress the Catholic Church, threatening bishops with prison, etc.

    When you're cheerleading a Junker authoritarian who's locking up bishops, I don't think you can claim the title of libertarian, assuming such a term was in force back then.

  • Gladstone||

    The German liberals were cheap dates - to get their support, all Bismarck had to do was repress the Catholic Church, threatening bishops with prison, etc.

    That why I mentioned they supported the "original culture war."

    Not to mention a lot of liberals supported the public school system because they didn't like Catholics.

  • Mock-star||

    I read both Reason and CounterPunch every day. Whats that make me?

  • ||

    Of sturdy mental constitution.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I used to read Counterpunch pretty regularly, but I haven't lately. It became a lot less entertaining after they didn't have GWB to kick around.

  • Mock-star||

    Ah. Ive only started reading it within the last year or so. I enjoy many of their articles. (they were about the only ones writing about the detention of the Gaza flotilla, for instance.)

  • Loki||

    Or do they care more about abortion and income redistribution than the war and civil liberties issues they emphasized during the presidency of George W. Bush?

    I think we all know the answer to that question: yes.

    They just pretended to care about unconstitutional wars and civil liberties issues when it wasn't their guy doing it. They'll pretend to care again if Romney ends up winning, but other than that, they really don't give a shit about those issues. Just like how republicans pay lip service to shrinking the government when a dem is president, then forget all about it ~5 seconds after their guy takes the oath of office.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    By taking these positions, Paul has done more than even leftist icon Noam Chomsky to normalize discussion of U.S. foreign policy as the behavior of a criminal empire rather than that of the world’s great defender of liberty.

    And libertarians think this is a good thing? Why?

  • Cytotoxic||

    1) Ridiculous hyperbole and distortion

    2)???

    3) Profit!

  • OldMexican||

    Re: The Immaculte Trouser,

    Because nobody likes a busybody even if he fancies himself a "defender of liberty."

    Be reminded of the old anecdote of the good samaritan trying to stop a man from hitting his wife, instead ending up suffering a barrage of handbag hits through a cloud of "mind your own business, motherfucker!" from the woman.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Maybe not, but calling a dim busybody an evil criminal mastermind for his poorly thought-out efforts isn't going to help earn the trust and good will of that person's friends, and is inaccurate to boot.

    I just don't see why this characterization is seen as useful or accurate by the writer of the OP.

  • tarran||

    There was nothing dim about the raid on Gibson guitars, or the jailing of that importer of Honduran sea-food, or the cover up that sent innocent men to jail here in MA, or the raids on marijuana salesmen, or the beating of innocent people in Iran in the 1950's or the murder of Vicky Weaver, or stuffing Cossacks into Boxcars (the very ones transporting Jews to the Nazi ovens) to send them to Stalin's death camps, etc ad nauseam.

    The United States government is not stupid. It's evil. It's evil is magnified because it has so many energetic, intelligent people who do it's bidding in the mistaken belief that they are doing good.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    None of those events were instigated by the same actors, had the same underlying motivations, or the same level of support and collusion from non-governmental actors. I'd say that the regulations and institutional factors which facilitated at least some of the actions you cite are more readily tasked to incompetence or a failure to forsee consequences rather than malicious intent.

    Alleging criminal conspiracy in the case of all wrongful government action invites the same sort of criticism that Marxists received when they would group and attack various classes as self-conscious entities.

  • tarran||

    All of them were crimes committed intentionally by agents of the United States government as part of the performance of their duties, and it's just the stuff coming off the top of my head.

    The United States Government is a criminal enterprise. Full Stop.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Except those things are properly regarded as abuses, as excesses - not standard operating procedure. In point of fact, the U.S. government represented a quantum leap forward in the reduction of the certainty of such behaviors. And singling the U.S. government out for its behaviors inevitably normalizes such behaviors. If what most people recognize as a relatively non-oppressive government is so much the villain, then maybe villainy isn't all bad.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: The Immaculate Trouser,

    Maybe not, but calling a dim busybody an evil criminal mastermind for his poorly thought-out efforts isn't going to help earn the trust and good will of that person's friends

    It seldom does - see: Jesus.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And the fact that the samaritan got swatted for his troubles makes a much more powerful argument (particularly in Republican circles). You don't have to think the guy trying to stop a woman from getting beaten is a busybody to conclude that he probably should have minded his own business.

  • tarran||

    And libertarians think this is a good thing? Why?

    Because one of the things getting in the way of moving towards a freer society is the myth that the Unites States is a great defender of liberty when in fact it is a vast, vicious criminal enterprise.

    Don't get me wrong; I think Ron Paul is pissing in the wind; the United States government will collapse in the next two decades in a similar manner to the Soviet Union and no politician can change that. But in setting the stage for what follows, it's important to make sure that the common wisdom of the vulgar masses not include the myth that the U.S. is some benevolent defender of freedom.

  • R C Dean||

    it's important to make sure that the common wisdom of the vulgar masses not include the myth that the U.S. is some benevolent defender of freedom.

    I suspect the death throes of the Total State will take care of that.

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    Most Paul people I have met did not even know or believe in the central tenants of the libertarianism-conservatism that Paul himself preached, free markets. Go onto any Paul site and you'll' find anti-corporation, anti-business, anti-RICH PEOPLE, KOCHTUPUS, or some 9-11 bullshit. That said, the vast majority (I would say 80-95%) of people who voted for Paul during the primaries were mainstream libertarians, conservatives, and Republicans. Leftists hate libertarians. And its a real true hate, unlike the hate for Romney and other Republicans. Leftists did not vote for Paul, and for every one that did, 99 other leftists found excuses not to. But thats alright, since the rest of Paul votes came from pseudo liberaltarians Paultards.

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    And to be frankly honest, Im tired of hearing of the man and his nutjob loyalists. I love Ron, but hate the very overly exaggerated Paul base of Paul loyalists. Libertarianism is bigger than Ron, and he understands this. However, the retarded minority that like to thump their chests and claim they're libertarians, do not. And I wish that GayJay would finally understand this as well.

  • Gladstone||

    Yet even Chomsky, perhaps unwittingly, illustrated the contradictions in labeling Paul both a corporate enabler and a free marketeer. Paul’s platform, Chomsky said, was “a call for corporate tyranny.” A mere 30 seconds later, he claimed “the business world would never permit it to happen” because “they can’t live without a powerful nanny state and they know it.”

    Typical. The left can not admit that laissez faire is a legitimate philosophy so when they acknowledge that the Republicans are in fact big government statists and that Big Business loves the Regulatory State they will then immediately call the Republicans and Big Business libertarians.

  • John W||

    I guess some peoples definition of left is different than others. My definition is anything authoritarian of our Republic is LEFT. I take my definition from What is America's True Form of Government? http://youtu.be/j7M-7LkvcVw not the modern definition which has twisted it into some authoritarian ideology is left and other authoritarian ideology is right. How does one define which authoritarian is left or right?

  • Rick Santorum||

    Leftists don't care about peace or civil liberties. They care about enforcing their worldview on everyone else at gunpoint.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I'll presume it is the real Rick Santorum (I know, I know, overwhelmingly unlikely, but still good to make a point):

    Mr. Santorum,

    What you said in your comment is generally dead-on true. But, I can't help but wonder to what extent you've unwittingly bought into their worldview. Isn't state-enforced Christian morality just another version of the same premise? Don't get me wrong. I can see your reasoning on, say abortion (I don't necessarily agree with it, but I acknowledge its logic). But, gays? Seriously? Isn't their choice of sexual behavior (depraved or not) a matter between them and God Almighty? If you want to encourage decent or righteous behavior, stop worrying about mandating God's will and just stop subsidizing bad behavior. History has shown, consistently, that free people inevitably become or prove themselves godly people. Evil doesn't thrive unless supported by evil. And pointing a gun at your fellow man, even to enforce what you consider God's will, is an act of evil. And it's consequences are, well, more evil.

  • Rick Santorum||

    Spare me the weeping about gays. Thomas Jefferson thought that homosexual men should be castrated and that lesbians should have a hole drilled in their noses.

    Fact is, homosexuality has been considered immoral and worthy of punishment for the majority of Western history. While I don't think that we should have sodomy laws, getting teary-eyed about them is foolhardy and ignorant. Nor do I think that morality can be meaningfully enforced via the law--the government can only punish, and morality is best brought about by making people want to be good--but the government has been enforcing morality forever. Acting like it is anything new (or some heinous moral offense) is, again, ignorant.

  • CE||

    Perhaps above all, progressives love income redistribution, and Paul does not. For many Democrats, using government to elevate the downtrodden and restrain the wealthy trumps all other ideological commitments.

    No, income redistribution is not the deal breaker for lefties supporting Paul -- after all, they could always give more to charity and convince others to do so. The deal breaker is government regulation of business -- lefties want the Top Men in DC to make sure the greedy capitalists don't run roughshod over their customers, competitors, investors, employees and the environment, and can't imagine how those things could be self-regulated in the absence of government intervention.

  • Cornelius||

    The accusation of "inertia and partisan stubbornness" cuts both ways. The coalition needed to advance both libertarian and progressive agendas will never happen while both sides remain obstinate and unimaginative on the economic issues. Here are two liberty-friendly proposals for economic redistribution: http://progressivesforronpaul......n-tax.html

  • d_remington||

    Economic redistribution through taxation is neither libertarian nor friendly. Progressivism is the death of liberty.

  • ||

    Doherty's next piece:

    Hugo Chavez: Libertarian Friend or Foe?

    Or perhaps

    Lucifer: Great Christian, or Greatest Christian?

    Seriously, the reason this article hasn't been written before is because it was everybody else on the planet found it so self evident that they decided to instead devote themselves to more serious topics like "What color is the sky?"

  • nike001||

    One hour we do not speak. I thought a lot. Finally, still feel like saying it's the fox is not possible, we Cheap Football Cleats can not find evidence that the gray-haired woman does not show fox, but no evidence, just to prove that the fox can transform himself into a cheap ugg boots for women white-haired woman. And to compare with each other, or scientific concepts prevail.

  • شات عراقنا||

    thank you

  • cinsel chat||

    good thanks sohbet
    cinsel sohbet

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