GOP: Go Young or Go Home!

To win Millennials, Republicans must channel their inner libertarian.

Note: This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on June 4. Please click here to read the piece at that site.

Earlier this year, Bobby Jindal, the GOP governor of Louisiana, surveyed the wreckage of Mitt Romney’s sad-sack presidential campaign and told his fellow Republicans that if they ever want to capture the White House again, “we must stop being the stupid party.”

While Michele Bachmann’s decision not to run for a fifth term helps the party out on that score, a new report from the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) strongly suggests that another tack would be even more successful: The GOP should embrace its small, youthful, and increasingly influential libertarian caucus that focuses on cutting government spending—even or especially on old-age entitlements—and quit fretting over gay marriage or the need to invade and occupy foreign countries.

Despite its endless small-government rhetoric, such a change may be too radical for a Republican Party whose last two candidates were a combined 138 years old when they ran for the Oval Office. But it’s the best way forward for a GOP that’s even less exciting than your father’s Oldsmobile.

Drawing on August 2012 and March 2013 surveys and focus groups of 800 registered voters ages 18 to 29 from around the country, “Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation” observes that it was the youth vote that largely consigned Mitt Romney to the ranks of presidential losers. Romney pulled 2 million more votes than Barack Obama among voters over 30, but the incumbent won a whopping 5 million more votes than the former Massachusetts governor from so-called Millennials. That’s even more stunning given that voters ages 18 to 29 had lost much of their enthusiasm for Obama. In 2008, Obama outpolled John McCain among young people by 34 percentage points, while in 2012, his lead dwindled to just 23 points. “The election reinforce[s] the generational challenge fac[ing] the GOP,” deadpans the report.

What do young voters want? More than anything, a shot at working and thriving in a growing economy. Yet even though only 22 percent of Millennials thought “Obama’s policies had made it easier for young people to get a job” and “only 29 percent thought they were better off as a result of the stimulus package ... Democrats held a 16-point advantage over the Republican Party among young voters on handling of the economy and jobs (chosen as the top issue by 37 percent of respondents).”

That’s because young voters are turned off by the GOP’s emphasis on tax cutsüber alles and habit of embracing big businesses rather than scrappy entrepreneurs. They are equally turned off by the GOP’s constant thumping on gay marriage, which more than any other social issue has emerged as a “deal breaker,” or an issue that will cause a voter who agrees on everything else with a candidate to vote for his or her opponent. Abortion, immigration, even health care are less important in this regard, according to the CRNC.

Millennials, says the report, don’t care much about abstractions such as that favorite Republican bogeyman, “big government.” But they are into cutting government spending and reducing the national debt, as they realize both things are strangling their future before it begins. Fully 90 percent agree that Social Security and Medicare need to be reformed now, 82 percent are ready to “make tough choices about cutting government spending, even on some programs some people really like,” and 72 percent want to cut the size of government “because it is simply too big.” Only 17 percent want to increase spending on defense and just 30 percent said that “marriage should be legally defined as only between a man and a women,” with 44 percent saying same-sex marriage should be legal everywhere and 26 percent saying it should be up to individual states.

You don’t need a decoder ring to read the libertarian strain in such responses. Often described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative, libertarians argue for keeping the government out of the boardroom and the bedroom. They tend to favor more-open borders for people as well as goods and services, agitate for legalization (or at least decriminalization) of drugs, and push for choice in whom you can marry as well as where you send your kids to school.

Today’s younger voters—who have grown up in a wild, wired world in which the click of a mouse brings forth endless options in entertainment, commerce, and identity—naturally imbibe an essentially libertarian ethos that privileges individual choice over top-down control. They’re not anarchists: The CRNC report notes that 88 percent support safety-net programs that help people temporarily and 86 percent favor trimming regulations but maintaining ones “that keep us safe.” But Millennials plainly have a spirit of innovation and experimentation that is stymied by centralized government.

These views should provide an opening for Republicans. If Obama once conjured up the audacity of hope, he has pissed it away with a failed economic program, endless new regulatory schemes, and continued wars on terror and drugs that rival or exceed the follies of George W. Bush. During January 2013 focus groups conducted for the study, the CRNC asked respondents to name future leaders of the Democrats. Even Democrats had trouble coming up with one. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rare Democratic champion of school choice who got into trouble with the Obama administration for defending Mitt Romney’s private-equity firm Bain Capital during the election, came up occasionally, but more typical responses were “We don’t have any” and “I can’t think of any.”

The Republicans, on the other hand, seem relatively flush with young studs who are at least partly libertarian in spirit: “Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, and Rand Paul were all mentioned” in focus groups, according to “Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation.”

Of these, the last two are perhaps most interesting and on point. As governor of Louisiana, Jindal has simultaneously taken a scalpel to his state’s budget—garnering an A grade in fiscal policy from the libertarian Cato Institute—pushed school choice, and, despite being an “unapologetic pro-life Republican” called for oral contraceptives to be made available without a prescription. Whatever the merits of his individual proposals, he is working hard to save the GOP from the “stupid party” label and he is certainly not your father’s Oldsmobile.

Rand Paul, the freshman senator from Kentucky, is already a frontrunner for the GOP nomination in 2016, having won the straw poll at CPAC after making a speech in which he called his own party “stale and moss-covered.” He’s made a name for himself by challenging the Obama administration on its terrible civil-liberties record, calling for a non-interventionist foreign policy, andproposing a budget that would immediately trim $500 billion in annual federal spending and theoretically balance the budget in five years. He’s also a proponent of industrial-hemp legalization and drug-sentencing reform, issues on which he’s reached across party lines. While he is himself a socially conservative Christian, he also believes “states should be able to craft their own drug or marriage policies, instead of the federal government.”

Unlike most of his fellow Republicans, he takes seriously the idea of reaching out to a broad cross-section of Americans, telling a New Hampshire audience, “We need to be white, we need to be brown, we need to be black, we need to be with tattoos, without tattoos, with pony tails, without pony tails, with beards, without.” Paul has taken his “hipster outreach program” to historically black colleges and to Silicon Valley. He is one of the few politicians of either party who openly talks about changing old-age entitlements so they no longer rob from the relatively young and poor and give to the relatively old and wealthy.

Characters such as Paul and Jindal suggest that the Republican Party might just have a future with younger voters. Which means it also may have a future with the rest of us, too, by offering an alternative not just to the Democrats but to the old and “stupid party” that fared so poorly in the last two presidential elections.

Note: This article originally appeared at The Daily Beast on June 4. Please click here to read the piece at that site.

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  • John||

    At the national level, the only reason a Republican should not be libertarian is because he is a crook or an idiot or both. At the state and local level Republicans and libertarians ought to often be at each others' throats. All of the social regulations SOCONs want belong at the state level. Porn or gambling or whatever should never even be an issue at the federal level even from a conservative' point of view. Conservatives are not always small government. But they should always be small federal government.

  • Floating Weightless||

    So true.

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  • ||

    Well porn is an issue at the federal level, it is protected by the 1st.

  • John||

    True. But there shouldn't be any federal laws dealing with it. That should all be at the state level. Maybe importing child porn, but that is about it.

  • gaoxiaen||

    And by the lock on my door.

  • Drake||

    I could deal with the Socons and even nanny-state liberals who were Federalists.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "All of the social regulations SOCONs want belong at the state level."

    Why is that?

  • KDN||

    10th Amendment.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That's a bit of a problem considering that much of federal socon laws comply with it (the old anti-lottery and anti-obscenity in the mails laws)

  • KDN||

    Well if you're going to pedantically harp on "all", sure. But that would be missing the point.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If generation whatever doesn't prove that it's going to show up at the polls, it won't matter what they want.

  • John||

    They showed up for Obama. So there is that.

    The problem is show me where young people are libertarians for the right reasons. And by that I mean, sure they support some libertarian ideas. But how much of that support is due to fashion or irrational reasons? Is that support going to remain as they get older or change as fashion changes?

    If they are more libertarian because they think it is cool or it is a way of showing they are different from some dreaded other, I am pretty skeptical they will prove to be very susceptible to libertarian arguments about other things.

    For example, if you support gay marriage not because you think the government should be telling people how to live but because gays are cool and people who don't like them are not, then I doubt you are going to listen to a reasoned argument about how rent control is a bad idea.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Did they show up for him second time around? Because if they did, it does suggest that they're in it for some asinine cool factor. And that means no, there's little hope you can convert them to honest-to-reason libertarianism.

  • sarcasmic||

    They just have to stop emoting and start thinking. That's all it takes. Though it is easier said than done being that they've been taught to emote instead of think for twelve plus years by the government indoctrination centers.

  • GLK||

    Extremely well put. Kudos.

  • John||

    No they didn't. Romney actually won people under 30 if I am not mistaken. So that is a good thing.

    But you see my point. Libertarianism is too rational and too tolerant to ever be "cool". Cool is by definition in tolerant. It has to have an "uncool" to play itself off against. That is why progressivism is so successful at portraying itself as cool, even though it is a dated ideology whose most ardent supporters are aging spinsters dorky PHDs. It is all about not being the "other".

  • sarcasmic||

    Cool tolerant people do not have to tolerate uncool intolerant people.

    The more intolerant of uncool intolerant people you are, the more of a cool tolerant person you become.

  • John||

    That is right. Just like nothing says that you are a nonconformist more than dressing exactly like all of your 'cool' friends.

  • sarcasmic||

    Don't forget the music. True nonconformists all listen to the same music as each other. The music is just as important as the clothes.

  • sarcasmic||

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "No they didn't. Romney actually won people under 30 if I am not mistaken. So that is a good thing."

    That is very wrong.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/E.....new-normal

  • John||

    He won the youth white vote under 30. You are correct, he didn't win the overall youth vote.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Those people don't count" eh?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That was my recollection.

  • John||

    I forgot it was the white youth vote he won. But that is still significant. It shows not every white youth or even a majority of them is some Obama voting doofus. Sure he won 95% of the black youth vote. But so what, he won 95% of the entire black vote.

  • Calidissident||

    Of course the youth white vote varies widely from state to state. Romney won by a big margin in most of the South and parts of the Midwest, but there were still a lot of states where Obama won the young white vote

  • gaoxiaen||

    Come on. You have a whitebread religious whacko out-of-touch bazillionaire against a dope-smoking black guy. Who would hipsters vote for?

  • carol||

    I've heard too many young people say that college and health care should be "completely free" to ever believe that they are Libertarian leaning. I pretty sure they just support whatever they perceive to be cool at the moment.

  • Jon Lester||

    Everyone has to grow out of groupthink at their own pace.

  • Robert||

    I wouldn't count the free health care against them. Worldwide, such a great majority of people think health care should be at no charge to the user (at the time of use) that if they don't think so, that should be enormous evidence of libertarianism, but if they do think so, not much evidence against it. College, eh, more contested than health care, but still not a disqualifier.

  • gaoxiaen||

    As far as health care, the choice is "free" or "sell the house". Who would vote for the latter?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Especially when selling the house buys a new BMW for the son of a shithead AMA doctors' union member to go to Harvard.

  • ecw||

    Why mess with the GOP which is just another promoter of big government. (According to Truthfulpolitics.com "When excluding World War II, the average spending as a percentage of GDP under a Democratic President was 19.4% and under a Republican President 20.2%. The Republican President percentage remains the same as the United States had Democratic Presidents during World War II." The Milleniums have always had the choice to vote Libertarian even if it does seem like throwing away the vote. A bigger problem is that Libertarians have trouble agreeing on many issues and provide a less coherent face to the general public than either the GOP or Democrats. Until that problem is solved the Libertarian party will remain marginalized and basically irrelevant.

  • creech||

    "provide a less coherent face to the general public than either the GOP or Democrats."

    This is laughable. The problem is raising the kind of money it takes to gather the media attention and relentlessly advertise itself for several generations like the other parties have. The LP has virtually no face to the general public.

  • Robert||

    And yet, when you ask them what the LP is about, they usually say, correctly, "liberty". They don't have as clear an idea of what the Democrats or Republicans are about, mostly because nobody does. But knowing what a political party is about doesn't translate to support, and not knowing what it's about doesn't translate to lack of support. LP's problem is not lack of understanding. Rather, LP's problem is that in the USA at least, ideology is uncool and shows no sign of becoming cooler.

  • gaoxiaen||

    It's whose ox is being gored.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Fully 90 percent agree that Social Security and Medicare need to be reformed now, 82 percent are ready to “make tough choices about cutting government spending, even on some programs some people really like,” and 72 percent want to cut the size of government “because it is simply too big.”

    This is where the shit is going to hit the fan on generational wars. The baby boomers have been preparing for decades to live off SS and Medicare, and they have the numbers (for now) to match the Milennials at the voting booth on that score.

    Gen-X has basically come to accept that SS and Medicare aren't going to be there for them, and the Millenials need to ally with them in order to get any real reforms going. Based on the last 10 years or so, I'm not confident that Gen-X/Millenials will be willing to go back to the "stop spending money you don't have on shit you don't need" attitude of their great-grandparents and bring back saving as a virtue, but that's what it's going to take to ensure they have some sort of capital base to build on once the Boomer die-off begins.

  • NoVAHockey||

    "Millenials need to ally with them in order to get any real reforms going"

    oh .. so Gen X is fucked then. figures.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Pretty much. I think a lot of the consternation over guys like Rand Paul, Cruz, Amash, etc. is the fear that, as Gen-Xers, they'll be able to implement policies that won't reduce Gen-X to mere mules for the Boomers and the Millenials to live off of.

  • Tony||

    Once young people vote a couple times for a party, they will more likely than not tend to stick with that party throughout their lives. The GOP doesn't have a lot of time before it becomes a minority party for a generation. And a lazy "trust us this time" combined with the inevitable appeals on rape/contraception/bestiality from the hinterlands probably won't cut it.

  • John||

    Once young people vote a couple times for a party, they will more likely than not tend to stick with that party throughout their lives.

    Yeah, I guess that is why all of the working class Catholics and other "Reagan Democrats" stayed Democrats for so long. That is also why blacks still vote Republican.

    People change parties if they feel the party no longer represents their interests.

  • sarcasmic||

    Which is why the expression "If you're young and not a Democrat then you're heartless, and if you're old and not a Republican then you're stupid" came about.

    Idiot.

  • Tony||

    I prefer "if you use that cliche, you're stupid."

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm heartless. You're stupid.

  • ||

    I prefer, "If you're old and haven't realized that political participation serves your masters far more than it will ever serve you, then you spent your life as a pawn. Enjoy the great beyond."

  • Lord Humungus||

    funny, when I was younger, the Democrats weren't liberal enough. When I got older, the Republicans weren't conservative enough. Now I support neither. Eat it!

  • KDN||

    Yes, most of the young people that have voted for Democrats already are likely to keep doing so for the rest of their lives, but the group of 18-29 YO's that just voted will not contain the same voters in either composition or amount when they are 22 - 33, 26 - 37, etc. The task for the GOP is convincing those that lean in their direction but have not yet begun voting to begin doing so.

    I'd like to see the data on this, but I've got the feeling that for every 10-year cohort beyond 18 - 27 first-time voters skew Republican and decidedly moreso as the cohorts get older.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Right. Trust Nixon, Reagan, Bush I & II. What could possibly go wrong with that?

  • LynchPin1477||

    Call me skeptical, but the Republican track record on liberty and small government really isn't that great. Maybe it's better than the Democrats, but I even doubt that. About the best thing you can say about Republicans is that they like to talk a libertarian game.

    So why focus on Republicans? Are the rank and file really that much more receptive to libertarian ideas than Democrats? And even if they are, is it because they truly value liberty or because it just happens to align with other things that they like?

    If we really want to increase liberty and spread libertarian ideas, then we need to be preaching them to everyone and presenting an coherent, optimistic, and yes, caring message (e.g., the social safety net isn't going away any time soon, so libertarians need to have a proposal for reform that works within that sort of constraint). Targeting Republicans might get you somewhere in 2014 or 2016, but I doubt that it does much beyond that.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Also, the Republican brand is so horrible among young people right now and I think it needs way more than a few policy changes to fix it. Millennials grew up identifying SoCons with Republicans. Even if the party did manage to switch positions on things like gay marriage, would anyone really buy it? Or would they just look at it as a cynical attempt to win a few more votes? I think there is a much better chance of making libertarianism "cool" without the Republican sticker attached to it.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Not a Republican sticker. More like a Republican pustule.

  • ||

    So why focus on Republicans?

    Simply because it's easier to change an existing party than it is to "start" a third party. Unfortunately.

  • John||

    That and there are a lot of non libertarian voters in the republican party who would keep voting R. So all a successful libertarian party would do would split the opposition and give the Dems complete control over everything.

    In a parliamentary system, starting your own party is the way to go. In our system, it is a disaster. The only way it would work is if you could start a forth party that would peel an equal number of votes from the Dems. And in this day and age of mindless party loyalty, I can't see that ever happening.

  • LynchPin1477||

    That and there are a lot of non libertarian voters in the republican party who would keep voting R

    You are probably right. But what stops them from swinging Republicans back towards the SoCon "our kind of big government" mentality in a decade? And if libertarians start allying themselves in mass with Republicans, Democrats and progressives will use past Republican sins to discredit libertarian ideas.

    Maybe we are just totally screwed.

  • John||

    But what stops them from swinging Republicans back towards the SoCon "our kind of big government" mentality in a decade?

    Nothing. But that is true of anything in politics. No cause is ever lost or won.

    And if libertarians start allying themselves in mass with Republicans, Democrats and progressives will use past Republican sins to discredit libertarian ideas.

    They already call libertarians nuts and nihilists and use libertarians to discredit Republicans. Dems love to talk up worthless big government Democrats and bemoan how the Libertarians ran them out. So I don't think what the Dems say should govern Libertarians actions.

    They should do their best to infiltrate the R party and at the same time constantly shame Ds for not living up to their ideals on civil liberties and such.

  • gaoxiaen||

    We've been totally screwed since the beginning of the Federal Reserve.

  • LynchPin1477||

    But that is what I am saying...the Republican brand is so damaged, and so many Republicans are themselves not really committed to small government or liberty, than I'm not so sure it is easier to change them to start a new party.

  • ||

    There has been a LP forever. How's it doing?

    People are lazy. Getting them to listen to people outside what they consider mainstream is an act of futility.

    But, get a few guys inside their established group to start talking about libertarian ideals, without necessarily calling them that... people will listen. Once you get them listening (Ron and Rand), they might even start to think. Then you've got them. Once they think, there is no other option to libertarianism.

  • Robert||

    Not only should they not call the ideals "libertarian", they shouldn't call them anything. Even the hint of ideology is the kiss of death. Ideas are most popular among people who don't realize they're branded and don't realize anyone is promoting them.

  • John||

    BTW Francisco,

    You had a great rant about soccer destroying the culture last weekend. By the time I read it, the thread was dead. So I never had a chance to tell you how right it was. The soccer afficiandoes slammed you. But I don't think they understood what you were saying. It is not that soccer can't be played with great skill and intelligence. It is that it doesn't have to be played that way. Other sports like baseball or football have an entrance requirement. You can't just play baseball. You have to learn how to catch and throw and hit first. Same with football. You have to learn the rules and the positions. But with soccer you can just take a mob of kids, put one in each goal, and let them chase the ball around. It is bad soccer, but they are playing it.

    That wouldn't matter so much if a different kind of person played soccer in this country. If it were a poor person's sport like it is in the rest of the world and viewed as a way to get out of the ghetto, the circumstances would insist on it being played with intelligence and skill. But when it is played by the worst sort of upper middle class special snowflakes like it is in this country, it brings out all of the worse, everyone gets a trophy and no one has to sacrifice parts of our culture.

  • robc||

    You clearly have never seen me play basketball.

    Its no different than soccer in that regard, just give em a ball and a hoop and let them go at it.

  • John||

    True. But basketball is played by poor people in this country. And that makes it a tougher and harder sport. Soccer doesn't create the problems in other countries that it does here because it is like basketball over there, a poor kids way out.

  • ||

    Playing soccer is also much easier for teachers/coaches as they don't actually need to teach any skills. Simply lazy.

    My rant was mostly tongue in cheek, but there is a good bit of truth mixed in.

  • John||

    There is. The other thing is most parents don't understand soccer. So they don't expect much of their kids. When kid plays a sport you played and understand, you don't tolerate him doing stupid things or not trying to play it well. But if you don't understand the sport, you are much more lenient.

    If kids are too ADD to play baseball and parents are too protective to let them play football, then have the kids play hockey, a sport where you have to master the really difficult art of skating before you can play or Lacross where you have to learn how to handle the stick first. Something, anything but soccer.

  • robc||

    But wont that change with next generation? With so many of us having played soccer (I played in HS, for example), we will be just like the parents who played baseball/football/basketball/etc.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    But wont that change with next generation? With so many of us having played soccer (I played in HS, for example),

    No, it won't. Like I said, I've been hearing for over 30 years that soccer is going to take over the American sports consciousness. It hasn't happened yet.

    The fact of the matter is that soccer is still a sport that parents use to get their kids involved with athletics when they're young, but once they hit their teen years, the larger numbers inevitably migrate to baseball, football, basketball, etc. because those are the glamour sports where most of the marketing and money are drawn.

  • robc||

    No, it won't.

    I wasnt talking about that. I was talking about expecting the players to actually play correctly.

  • Robert||

    Yes, that's exactly been the pattern.

    Is there an analogous pattern among individual competitive sports such as bowling & tennis?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Soccer worship in this country is the cultural equivalent of electric cars--it's a way for middle class SWPLs to status-signal each other that they have the "correct" interests and fetishes.

    I've been hearing for over 30 years that soccer will take over the national consciousness "any day now," usually in snobby op-eds by snow-white sports columnists who inevitably cite the youth participation rates as evidence that soccer's about to "blow up." And yet it never happens.

  • robc||

    I dont give a fuck about American soccer. I refuse to watch MLS.

    But I know exactly what is going on with Everton in the EPL. And I dont know what I think about Roberto Martinez.

  • KDN||

    MLS is fun in a minor-league baseball sort of way. There's no point in following it, but if you've got a team close by there's worse ways to blow $80 than hanging out with the hardcore supporters for 4 games a year.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Yeah. Maybe buying crack with that cash, but that's about it.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    There's a reason why MLS had to bring in David Beckham to try and increase ticket sales--because soccer attendance in the US is mostly a fashion statement for white people who like to pretend to be more cultural than thou.

    Three out of the top five teams for attendance in MLS are in the Pacific Northwest, and that's no accident--it's because that region is Ground Zero for white hipsters. The NFL, meanwhile, has shitty teams that continue to average over double what any MLS team can muster, even after recent attendance drops.

  • Homple||

    If among "young" voters, gay marriage is the sole and overriding reason for choosing a candidate to vote for, we're doomed anyway.

  • John||

    ^THIS^

  • ||

    If among "young" voters, interracial marriage is the sole and overriding reason for choosing a candidate to vote for, we're doomed anyway.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Starve the beast. Destroy its ability to dilute currency, dramatically simplify and reduce the tax burden, and take away its capacity to spend money it don't have. Some small amount of debt financing is one thing, but spending more than the retail value of the Moon every year is a bit much.

  • John||

    The problem with Nick's argument is that he assumes that because someone is pro gay marriage or liberal on social things, they are going to be libertarian on the really important things like the size of government and economic freedom, or at least sympathetic to that view. I don't see how that is true at all. Just like Conservatives can be small government in economic areas but big government in social issues, liberals can be small government on social issues but big government in everything else.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not true. However, I think many voters in this country, probably a majority, have a political veneer, not deep-set political beliefs. The big question is what's beneath that veneer.

  • John||

    A lot of confusion. I think a lot of the problem is the erosion of values. Most people don't have the time to think deeply about politics and when they do they often think really crazy things. So expecting everyone to drop their shared values and become philosopher kings is a road to ruin.

    You will never have an "educated and rational" electorate. But what you can have and what we did have in this country for a long time is an electorate that has shared values about freedom and government. When that went away, we were in big trouble.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I could tolerate even a little socialism if we were dominated by rational people with good character and very large dollops of common sense. But that's not the case. It once was, which is one reason I think we're in an increasing decline.

  • John||

    The common sense comes from values. If you value freedom for itself and value the right of people to be left alone, and you are humble about your ability to solve every problem, you are much less likely to do a lot of damage in power.

  • Pro Libertate||

    My wife, who associates with other homeschoolers in co-op arrangements now and then, was ranting about how screwed up these people are. Not for the reason a lot of people (esp. on the left) claim, which is hardcore religion. That's part of it, and you have to be wary of co-op science classes because of it, but worse are these totally whacked out belief systems that fly in the face of anything rational. You name it, they think it, especially if it's in vogue at all (gluten-free, carrying your infant at all times, etc.).

    What's even worse, is that many of the people she meets are on some sort of federal assistance, which allows them to buy stuff and to keep a spouse at home to homeschool. She gets livid about that (as do I). These are middle-to-upper-middle-class people in most superficial respects, too.

  • John||

    It just shows how cynical people are. It used to be shameful to take government assistance. Now it is encourage to scam the government. That is not going to end well.

  • Pro Libertate||

    People should be ashamed to be living at the expense of others. That's a virtue. I'd be horrified if I had to be supported at my age by my parents, the state, or anyone else.

  • gaoxiaen||

    That rules out every office-seeker.

  • sarcasmic||

    I could tolerate even a little socialism

    Socialism will always grow. It's a cancer. Its very nature goes against the concept of justice (justice being an absence of injustice) because it gives one group a claim to the property of others - that very same property that a just government is committed to protect. It turns government into an oxymoron because it protects your property rights while also giving others a claim to that same property. It can't do both. And once it starts down that path it metastasizes like the cancer that it is.

    No amount of socialism can be tolerated while also maintaining a government that reacts to injustice, because socialism is injustice committed by government.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, I don't really mean it, because I don't think people with the virtues I described would allow socialism. But a culture like that would beat the heck of the irrational mess we have now.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Socialism will always grow. It's a cancer."

    I don't think that is true, it's against human nature. I'm old enough to remember when the USSR was a real threat and alternative to the world, not there are capitalist factories in Vietnam.

  • sarcasmic||

    I recall when the socialist cancer killed its host the USSR.

  • ||

    It's a shame that socialists can learn through trial and error. Too bad government is such a slow responder to the ground truth, and you have to lose a few generations to economic stagnation with each attempt. That's the way it goes when you're on the receiving end of government: a lot of force heads your way, and only a little bit heads back to them.

  • General Butt Naked||

    It once was...

    When?

    Not trying to be a dick, but it sets alarms off for me when I read people idealizing the past.

    Was Tammany Hall, filled with rational people with good character, and very large dollops of common sense? How about FDR's administration, or Wilson's, or Johnson's, or Jackson's...

  • John||

    You don't have to idealize the past to understand that we were a lot more free a hundred and 20 years ago than we are now or even 60 years ago. The kinds of horror stories coming out of schools you read about now would never have been tolerated in the past, neither would the regulatory state. But now it is.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    How crazy is this comment? 120 years ago women were by law barred from many professions, blacks were in peonage, immigrants were in a legal no-man's land...WTF dude?

  • John||

    How crazy is this comment? 120 years ago women were by law barred from many professions, blacks were in peonage, immigrants were in a legal no-man's land...WTF dude?

    Could it be that there are rights that don't have to do with women and minorities? Has that thought ever crossed your obviously limited mind?

    A hundred years ago, I could carry as much cash as I wanted anywhere I wanted including over international borders. A hundred years ago, there was no income tax and the government had no right to ask me how I made my living or my money. I could start a business without getting a license, build a house without paying mother may I with a code inspector and so forth.

    Bo, you are clearly a victim of our education system. Someone says "freedom and rights" and you can't comprehend that it could relate to anything except women and minorities. It is really sad.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Are you seriously comparing your right to build a house without paying an inspector to Jim Crow?

    wow.

  • John||

    Are you seriously comparing your right to build a house without paying an inspector to Jim Crow?

    First, Jim Crow was only in some of the country. Second, there is more to the word "freedom" than how it relates to minorities and women. So yes, in many ways we were much more free then than now. Should we have gotten rid of Jim Crow? For sure. But doing that did not mean we had to give up all of the rest. And that is what has happened.

    So if we are engaging in idiotic characterizations of each other's arguments, okay. Are you seriously saying that the term "freedom" can only be applied to women and minorities and any other freedom doesn't count?

    You seem to be. You seem to only have any understanding of the term in relation to women and minorities.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "You seem to only have any understanding of the term in relation to women and minorities."

    Er, since women + minorities are a MAJORITY of this nation (and were) it's a bit goofy to absent them when counting liberties restricted...

  • robc||

    Are you seriously comparing your right to build a house without paying an inspector to Jim Crow?

    Rights are absolute, which in some sense, makes them all exactly equal.

    Im never willing to trade one right for another, so I cant see its better to have A than B or B than A. We should have both A and B.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, all else is trumped by the fact that some things were worse. Since NO ONE IN THIS COUNTRY is advocating a return to slavery, disenfranchisement, or Jim Crow, your point is worse than meaningless.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Is it? How can one who loves liberty point to a time period when more of the nation was restricted as a great time for liberty?

  • Pro Libertate||

    How can you point to today, with an unlimited government, civil liberties protected solely on a whim, and the future looking increasingly tyrannical?

    Not wishing it was 1850. Just wanting a more practical and morally based people. Just for the record, it was people like that who eventually realized that legal discrimination and disenfranchisement were wrong.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I won't disagree with that. In general, yes, we were much more free the further we go back, but I wouldn't attribute it to any higher character of the people, or their valuing liberty anymore than we do. I mean, look at FDR's reign, a lot of that stuff would never fly now.

    I think the Fabians were correct: Introduce socialism one bit at a time until it's too late and everyone will be afraid to turn back. They knew that relatively affluent people are afraid of drastic change and that that could work in their favor if they took the long view.

    I propose that incremental creep to be an axiomatic action of any modern government and that the amount of liberty in a society is a function of history rather than the mood of the people.

  • ||

    FDR was the MAJOR turning point. That's the point judges started reading things into the constitution. He was having a real hard time getting the New Deal past the SCOTUS until he replaced many of the judges.

    Bad timing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm not idealizing it. We used to be renown for being a practical people. Read anything written about the U.S. over most of our history.

    Corruption and bad behavior are human problems, and no culture is free of them, but we're at a nadir of accepting such things. And, of course, the power of politicians, corrupt or otherwise, was far less than it is today.

  • ||

    Most people don't have the time to think deeply about politics and when they do they often think really crazy things. So expecting everyone to drop their shared values and become philosopher kings is a road to ruin.

    Your right, philosophy requires a lot of thought. But if you can convince a majority that the following two tenets are true, even if they can't grasp why, and they apply them to all political issues, libertarianism is EASY.

    1. A person can do as they please, PROVIDED in doing so you do not infringe upon the rights of others.

    2. The ONLY legitimate purpose of government is to protect the rights of its citizenry.

  • John||

    Those are called values Francisco. They are not rational arguments but value statements. Very good value statements, but values none the less.

  • ||

    You are going to need to edify, John. Not sure what you are trying to say.

    They are core principles that stem from a desire for liberty and adherence to the NAP. Of course that makes them values. Values that can be applied to morally solve any political question that exists.

  • sarcasmic||

    2. The ONLY legitimate purpose of government is to protect the rights of its citizenry.

    The only problem with that is that "rights" to many people include things like smoke-free air, education, health care, housing, food, clothing, birth control, cell phones, daycare, hospice, transportation, etc..

    "Once the government becomes the supplier of people's needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right." —Lawrence Auster

  • ||

    The only problem with that is that "rights" to many people include things like smoke-free air, education, health care, housing, food, clothing, birth control, cell phones, daycare, hospice, transportation, etc..

    Ah, but both tenets must be applied. To claim something like education is a right you violate the first tenet as in providing education as a right you must violate someone else's right to obtain it. This is not allowed. The two tenets together delineate between positive and negative rights.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    ""Once the government becomes the supplier of people's needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right."

    Just curious, the right to the people's need to protect property (enforcing trespass laws and such), does that fall in there?

  • John||

    Just curious, the right to the people's need to protect property (enforcing trespass laws and such), does that fall in there?

    They don't. Doing something yourself or having the government enforce something you created is not the same as having the government supply our material needs.

    The government recognizing your ownership of land against other claimants in court is not the same as the government giving you the land.

    You need to think about these issues a bit harder Bo. The talking points they gave you in school and on Daily Kos really don't cut it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "having the government enforce something you created is not the same as having the government supply our material needs."

    Something I created? WTF are you talking about? How did I "create" the property I own?

  • robc||

    How did I "create" the property I own?

    You dont have a house or a car or furniture?

    That is property you created. Either literally, in that you built it, or you paid someone else to build in, or same thing but thru a few more chains of people.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    you built the car you own?

  • robc||

    you built the car you own?

    I am an engineer, so....

    And apparently you have no reading comprehension skills.

    I went with option #2: paid someone else to build it.

    I created it by using my wealth, which came from trading productivity for dollars, to trade some of my dollars for someone else's productivity.

  • ||

    you built the car you own?

    Of course you did. You showed desire to own a car (demand). Someone else decided he wanted to make a living filling your demand, so he built the car and sold it to you at a profit. You created property.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    when I buy a used car the maker of the car built it for me?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    And I created it?

  • ||

    Yes, it was created for you and you payed for its creation.

    Hey, Bo, I'm not playing this game. If you have a point make it.

  • gaoxiaen||

    He doesn't have one.

  • robc||

    the right to the people's need to protect property

    What the fuck does that mean?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I'm a taxpayer.

    My taxes go to pay the salary of the police who enforce property laws (interestingly, even if I don't have any property myself).

  • robc||

    I'm a taxpayer.

    ???

    Is that a response to my wtf question?

    Im not asking for an explanation, Im asking to rewrite the phrase I quoted in actual english that can be understood.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    My right to property is enforced by police, whom I ay with my taxes. Right?

  • sarcasmic||

    Since taxation is a violation of property rights, then taxation to pay for the enforcement of property rights has already negated the core function of government, which is to protect life, liberty and property.

    Therefore since property rights have already been violated, then they shouldn't be protected at all. What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine.

    AmIright BCE? Is that where you're going?

  • Tony||

    There's an easy way to resolve this paradox, you know.

  • ||

    There's an easy way to resolve this paradox, you know.

    DEMOCRACY! SOCIAL CONTRACT!

  • ||

    There's an easy way to resolve this paradox, you know.

    Write a constitution strictly defining the role of government?

  • ||

    There's an easy way to resolve this paradox, you know.

    Yes. Embrace the inherent wrongness of taxation.

  • robc||

    My right to property is enforced by police

    In theory.

    But you have no "right" to have property enforced by police.

    You still havent rewritten "right to people's need to protect property" in english. Are you going to?

  • robc||

    (interestingly, even if I don't have any property myself)

    1. Unless you are naked, you have property.

    B. Police also protect life, which you hypothetically have.

    Just to piss off and/or confuse Bo, Im going to restate my support for the SLT.

  • ||

    Just curious, the right to the people's need to protect property (enforcing trespass laws and such), does that fall in there?

    The right to the people's need? I'm not sure what that means. I have a right to have my property protected? I certainly have a right to protect my property. Do I have the right to force someone else to protect my property? No.

  • robc||

    I'm not sure what that means.

    I dont either. And despite my constant asking, he wont rewrite it in actual english.

  • ||

    I have a right to have my property protected?

    Actually, Brian, you do. See 2 above.

  • ||

    2. The ONLY legitimate purpose of government is to protect the rights of its citizenry.

    It's legitimate for the government to protect rights, just like it's legitimate for me, if I see someone being violently robbed, to engage in self-defense on their behalf.

    It's a different thing to say that the victim has a right to insist that I defend them, or for me to insist that they pay me an arbitrarily determined amount of money for me to defend them. Therefore, I still think I don't have a right to force someone to protect my property.

  • robc||

    I still think I don't have a right to force someone to protect my property.

    Exactly.

  • robc||

    That is a legitimate purpose of government, but you have no right to it.

  • ||

    he assumes that because someone is pro gay marriage or liberal on social things

    But there is an "in" here. Once someone has a libertarian belief, even if it isn't arrived at through libertarian principle, you can show them HOW that belief can be arrived at through libertarian principle, and they'll most likely be more receptive. Then you can point out how it can be applied to other issues and they may rethink their positions.

    Baby steps.

  • John||

    Yeah, but it is a "libertarian belief" really? It is a libertarian policy no question. But you can believe in libertarian policies for distinctly unlibertarian reasons.

    It may be that kids are pro gay marriage because they have been raised to think gays are special and the religious people who object to them are awful and thus government power should be used to reward gays and punish those who object to them. Someone who thought that would certainly support gay marriage. But I doubt they would be very sympathetic to Libertarian thought.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I have to agree with john here.

    Look at tony. He scorns the assumption of natural rights and fetishizes democracy, but when pressed why people couldn't democratically oppress gays, he comes within a deltaX of using an argument from natural rights.

    Don't expect rationality.

    Another aspect of this is what people think "rights" are. They say that gays have the "right" to marry, and that old people have a "right" to social security and that everybody has the "right" to healthcare, and that they have the "right" to free education in griefer studies. And the reason you don't have the right to the fruits of your labor is ROADS!one! and SOMALIA!!!1!.

  • ||

    It is a libertarian belief. It just wasn't arrived at through libertarian principle.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I don't think the milennials are socially tolerant simply because they support SSM. If they were socially tolerant, they would support the right of private employers to define marriage as they wish vis-a-vis customers and employees. But I very much suspect that millennial "tolerance" means forcing florists to service gay weddings on penalty of large damages.

    How many millennials are actually in favor of the libertarian dream of deregulating marriage altogether?

  • John||

    few.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Does being socially tolerant=tolerance of the socially intolerant?

  • John||

    Yes it does. If being "socially tolerant" is just an excuse to practice whatever form of social snobbery you prefer, you are an asshole and not really tolerant.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    so being against the "socially intolerant" is proof one is not really tolerant?

    Is being against terrorism proof that one is a terrorist?

  • John||

    Your refusal to let other people live by their own values makes you intolerant of others. And saying someone has the right to object to gay marriage or drinking or whatever is not the same as saying people have the right to do violence on others.

    Come on, you can troll the board better than that. You were doing so well before.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    My refusal to let other people be intolerant makes me intolerant?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Does my refusal to let violent people be violent make me violent?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Does my refusal to let violent people be violent make me violent?

    "Take that, strawman! And THAT! And THAT! And THAT!"

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    My refusal to let other people be intolerant makes me intolerant?

    Yeah, pretty much. Who the fuck are you to tell people how they should think?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I gave the example of a florist choosing his own customers, and already you're going on about terrorism?

    Many gay people are themselves intolerant of dissent from their ideas. Should they, therefore, be denied tolerance?

    Or are you going to go Godwin next?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    dude, ANALOGY.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You mean comparing florists to terrorists?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Do you not know what an analogy is?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    How about "you are a dumb as Adolf Hitler." That's an analogy, isn't it?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Um, how about, "YES!"

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Socially tolerant=protection of the socially intolerant?

    I'm gonna need some more explanation there.

  • John||

    it is called the freedom to be wrong. Who are you or anyone else to say what is "socially intolerant"? To do that requires a definition of "tolerant" and then enforcing said definition on everyone else. And that is not very tolerant.

    Here is what it means. It means you leave people alone and don't use the force of law to conform to whatever your values are.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Who are you or anyone else to say what is "socially intolerant"? "

    er, when the person is, I dunno, intolerant?

  • ||

    Like you?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Intolerant of intolerance? Yup.

  • newshutz||

    Intolerant as in forcing people to violate their religious beliefs, or intolerant as in disapproving of other's behavior?

  • ant1sthenes||

    They aren't really the same.

    Meaning, the "intolerant" are usually bad on second-order issues like sexual, lifestyle, or economic rights. Whereas the "tolerance" being shown to them is usually first-order issues like freedom of speech and related political freedom.

    When people lack second order freedoms, it sucks, and they feel they have to figure out how to speak and organize to change laws to make things better.

    When people lack first order freedoms, they're restricted from speaking, organizing, and changing laws, so either they suck it up or turn directly to violence to change things.

    This is a very dangerous situation -- it's like someone who constantly abuses a dog, and because the dog just takes it, they assume they can do it with impunity. Then one day they come and kick the dog like always, but this time it just rips their throat out with essentially no warning.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    Why, Gillespie, WHY?!?! Why did you get rid of last night's thread? It was Tony at his best!

  • DK||

    I hope Bo sticks around. I'm tired of Tony. I tolerate you, Bo! I tolerate you!

  • Jon Lester||

    I think Republicans are more interested in perpetuating their share of the fascist duopoly we've always lived under, rather than actually governing effectively, and they'll take the likely 2014 midterm results as encouragement to keep on keeping on, when the truth is, people will vote against Democrats just out of dissatisfaction and a belief that there's only one other real choice.

  • ||

    Disappointment is the primary emotion I feel when reading about politics. #cosmotarian

  • TPL||

    Recall that in mid-April, 2013, that the RNC unanimously passed as resolution reiterating their position on gay marriage and abortion.

    Just in case you thought the Republican Party might actually realize that losing all the Millennials and saving a dying-out pack of theocrats is a poor long-term strategy....

    I will never vote GOP again unless something very drastic changes (which is damned unlikely). They are a party of war, spending, and extreme reductionist Christianity. They have no use for liberty, privacy, or peace.

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