The Slavery of Excessive Freedom

After a rigorous content analysis (PDF) spanning more than half a century of articles in National Review, The Weekly Standard, The American Enterprise, and The American Spectator, George Mason University economist Daniel Klein and graduate student Jason Briggeman conclude, basically, that conservatives are not libertarians. On issues related to drugs, gambling, and sex, Klein and Briggeman find, these magazines have been more likely to support the status quo or increased restrictions on freedom than to advocate liberalization. The one partial exception has been National Review, especially in the area of drug policy, where pro-liberalization articles outnumbered those favoring current policy or calling for greater government intervention by a ratio of more than 2 to 1 from 1955 through 2007. But by and large, say Klein and Briggeman, the leading conservative magazines are not "real champions of liberty" because they "more often than not fail to oppose government intrusion into America's bedrooms, gambling places, and drug activities."

The choice of magazines is somewhat questionable. But if the study had included, say, Commentary instead of The American Enterprise, which has not addressed these issues much one way or another and was in any case never very influential, the evidence of an anti-libertarian tilt would have been even stronger. "This investigation," Klein and Briggeman conclude, "underscores that nowadays the menu of major public philosophies offers three options: conservatism, social democracy, and classical liberalism/libertarianism. Only the third upholds the presumption of liberty."

Over at The American Spectator, Joseph Lawler takes offense, calling Klein and Briggeman's conclusion "a sweeping, sweeping generalization" that "reduces all kinds of arguments about the nature of liberty and the role of government in upholding liberty to grossly oversimplified terms." Lawler, who personally opposes the war on drugs, says many conservatives support restrictions on drugs, pornography, and gambling because they think these policies protect liberty, properly understood. He's right about that. To those who believe, for example, that attachments to drugs, pornography, and gambling are equivalent to slavery or demonic possession, it's plain as day that forcibly preventing people from enjoying those things is a way of preserving their liberty (and this argument is not limited to conservatives). They honestly do not see themselves as inconsistent when they talk about, say, forcibly imposed "freedom" from drugs.

Or consider Robert Bork, who argued in the 50th anniversary issue of National Review that "liberty in America can be enhanced by reinstating, legislatively, restraints upon the direction of our culture and morality." The former appeals court judge, now a distinguished scholar at the Hudson Institute, conceded that "censorship as an enhancement of liberty may seem paradoxical" but explained that "people forced to live in an increasingly brutalized culture are, in a very real sense, not wholly free." In Bork's view, the debasing effect of movies, music, and books he does not like deprives people of their liberty. 

But Klein and Briggeman's point, I think, is that advocates of government intervention in these areas should not be so quick to accept premises that are so lacking in empirical and logical support. Smoking pot, watching dirty movies, and playing poker are not, in fact, tantamount to being enslaved or possessed, and the idea that more cultural options reduces freedom is counterintuitive, to say the least. If conservatives consistently applied a pro-liberty presumption, they would be more skeptical of such assertions.

[Thanks to Tom Angell for the tip.]

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  • Paul||

    major public philosophies offers three options: conservatism, social democracy, and classical liberalism/libertarianism. Only the third upholds the presumption of liberty."



    Never truer words spoken.

  • Paul||

    "people forced to live in an increasingly brutalized culture are, in a very real sense, not wholly free."



    So sez Robert "Naomi Wolf" Bork.

    How are these arguments any different from the myriad arguments from so many progressives on the debilitating effects of choice and... you know, having to work for a living and stuff?

  • Ska||

    Smoking pot, watching dirty movies, and playing poker

    You had me at hello.

  • Reinmoose||

    what a terribly useless study with such obvious results

  • Andrew Dobbs||

    In other news....

    The Sun Rises in the East and Sets in the West, Study Concludes

    Study: Two and Two May In Fact Make Four

    Barack Obama is Skinny, Black and Has Large Ears

    As to the National Review having a more progressive view on drug policy, William F. Buckley made drug legalization a major plank of his mayoral campaign in New York in the late 60s. And look what happened to him: he died. Let this be a lesson to all you dope smoking, porn watching, dice throwing libertarian hippies.

  • ||

    major public philosophies offers three options: conservatism, social democracy, and classical liberalism/libertarianism. Only the third upholds the presumption of liberty."

    QFMFT!

    "censorship as an enhancement of liberty may seem paradoxical" but explained that "people forced to live in an increasingly brutalized culture are, in a very real sense, not wholly free."

    Spouting this gibberish is a graet legal mind according to team red.

  • economist||

    "conservatism, social democracy, and classical liberalism/libertarianism."

    You forgot neoconservatism, which is more akin to soft authoritarianism than to the other three.

  • economist||

    So a lot of conservatives are full of shit? Who knew?

    Headline Tomorrow:
    Leftists also full of shit.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "After a rigorous content analysis (PDF) spanning more than half a century of articles in National Review, The Weekly Standard, The American Enterprise, and The American Spectator, George Mason University economist Daniel Klein and graduate student Jason Briggeman conclude, basically, that conservatives are not libertarians"

    Wow.

    Good job taking the long way around the barn to figure out what everbody (except these guys, apparantly) already knows.

  • Jordan||

    I hear their next study will be titled "Water: It is indeed wet."

  • ||

    George Mason University economist Daniel Klein and graduate student Jason Briggeman conclude, basically, that conservatives are not libertarians.

    I am truly astounded by this revelation.

  • Nemo||

    Hopefully Dondero loses his shit over this one.

  • Elemenope||

    As always, Tom Angell is a busy busy bee.

  • ¢||

    In Bork's view, the debasing effect of movies, music, and books he does not like deprives people of their liberty.

    Stick a "patriarchy" or a "white power structure" or the dread mind of "capitalism" in that Bork quote, and it speaks for an at least equal percentage of the left as his does for the right.

    And they condemn almost all of the same movies, music, and books, coincidentally. Coincidentally, because their reasons are so very different. So very, very.

    Because if they weren't, very, it'd be like their philosophies are entirely alike and their rhetoric only differs according to which already party-identified audience they're talking to.

    And that would be kind of insidious.

  • ||

    I would hand Bork his intellectual head in a mano y mano public debate!

  • ||

    As Rodney King said: "Can't we all just be peaceful anarchists?"

  • ||

    Wow, so Bork really is batshit insane? Is he senile, or were all the liberals who fought to torpedo his nomination actually right for once?

    -jcr

  • ||

    I recently finished Crispin Sartwell's little book, "Against the State."
    The best thing in it was the observation that, as long as folks believed slavery was hunky-dory, then it followed naturally that the state was also entitled to own your body.

    As the new Attorney General is aware (or isn't?), we aren't over racism because we still aren't over slavery... after all these years.

    Where is Lincoln's party when we need it?

  • economist||

    I also have a sneaking suspicion that liberals are not libertarians.

  • ||

    I can boast as I did because I once gave it to Bork pretty good when he was a guest of the late David Brudnoy (WBZ 1030 Boston) who used to call me "Michael, the truclulent libertarian."

    I told Bork that he was a proponent of judicial activism. At first, he kind of chortled. Then I unloaded on him. I asked him, "Sir, what in the experiences of the framers, their writings and in the text of the 4th amendment itself, supports the proposition that there is an implied automobile exception to the warrant requirement?" His lame response was a variant of "well, as a practical reality, the police often do not have time to obtain a warrant..." and the framers "did not intend the constitution to be a repellant to common sense...."

    Bork, you got jacked up!

  • ed||

    conservatives are not libertarians

    No shit? Ayn Rand made this point well before Goldwater got trounced by Johnson in '64. And she made mincemeat of libertarian "philosophy" thereafter. What, pray tell, has "libertarianism" accomplished since then? I'm not trolling, really...I just want to know. Please list some libertarian accomplishments since 1964. If they're valid, they'll make it to the Wiki.
    Go ahead. I'll wait here.

  • economist||

    libertymike,
    Any way I could listen to your exchanges with the show's host and guests? Sounds interesting, but I live rather a long way from Boston.

  • ||

    Smoking pot, watching dirty movies, and playing poker

    For the old timers it's

    Playing solitaire till dawn with a deck of 51
    Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo...


  • economist||

    "Please list some libertarian accomplishments since 1964."

    1. Abolition of the Draft (though, unfortunately, not the end of selective service registration).
    2. Lowering the overall income tax rate.
    3. Deregulation (some of it soon to be reversed, no doubt, but even I don't see a complete reversal happening, and I'm a pessimist).
    4. Sound monetary policies (though those went out the window the last decade or so)

    I'm going by things that libertarians support, not necessarily implying that libertarians were the main force behind these policy changes.

  • MJ||

    "more often than not fail to oppose government intrusion into America's bedrooms, gambling places, and drug activities."

    Bearing in mind what dubious distinctions might constitute an intrusion into the bedroom, these three rather limited areas are what defines liberty to the libertarian? What weak beer! Liberty sshould be a much more expansive concept than one's pleasurable vices.

  • ||

    Wow, so Bork really is batshit insane? Is he senile, or were all the liberals who fought to torpedo his nomination actually right for once?

    Insane or not, if he had been confirmed he would still be on the court. Give the liberals credit for that one.

  • economist||

    5.ending the "Fairness Doctrine"
    6.trade liberalization

  • economist||

    I came up with a few things, a few of which went out the window during the Bush administration, and most of the rest of which will probably be reversed by the end of the Obama administration.

    Excuse me while I drink and weep in my beer.

  • ||

    "Please list some libertarian accomplishments since 1964."
    In addition to economist's short list -

    Griswald vs Connecticut
    Gay rights
    Repeal of Sodomy laws
    Women's right

    I was merely a nine year old then, but I remember enough to know that for lots of Americans, freedom and equal treatment under the law were only dreams.

  • ed||

    4. Sound monetary policies

    Sorry to cherry-pick, economist, but...wow...

  • ed||

    1. Abolition of the Draft

    Noted. Which "libertarian" initiated that? Nixon? Oh my.

  • economist||

    ed,
    I was cognizant enough during the 70s to know that our monetary from early 1980s onward to about the late 90s was comparatively sound.
    You didn't specify perfection in these areas, just relative improve.

    "Noted. Which 'libertarian' initiated that? Nixon? Oh my."
    As I pointed out above, these policies did not necessarily have to be initiated by people identifying themselves as libertarians. However, people with libertarian leanings contributed to the promotion of such policies, and they were improvements from a libertarian POV.
    Hence, I list them as libertarian accomplishments.

  • KipEsquire||

    These are the same category of morons who insist on trying to "liberate" gays from their "disorder."

  • ||

    Dhammapada 62:


    The spiritually immature person vexes himself thinking "Sons are mine! Riches are mine!"

    He himself is not his own, even. How then sons? How then riches?



    A very good point when it comes to spirituality and self-control, but not a governing philosophy.

  • MNG||

    What gets me about this is that this is supposed to be news. Conservative thinkers are quite honest and upfront that they are all for "ordered liberty" which is made possible by "authority." They despise both libertarians and liberals for thinking that individuals, free from traditional authority, can decide matters for themselves.


    That funders of consersvative think tanks and libertarian ones in the US happen to the be the same folks and hence there has been an "alliance" is a thing of historical accident, not philosophical agreement...

  • ed||

    5. Ending the "Fairness Doctrine"

    Temporarily, at least. Free speech is a concept that is never "ended." It's the greatest, most important and the most endangered of all rights.

    "people with libertarian leanings contributed to the promotion of such policies"

    Noted, economist. It has happened almost by osmosis, not philosophy. But we'll take it, eh?

  • ||

    "If conservatives consistently applied a pro-liberty presumption, they would be more skeptical of such assertions."

    Of course, they wouldn't be conservatives anymore.

  • ||

    "Repeal of Sodomy laws"? And no-one fuckn told me...typical, just bloody typical...!

  • Alan Vanneman||

    If Robert Bork holds the title of "Distinguished Scholar" at the Hudson Institute, well, then, he does. But he isn't a distinguished scholar.

  • ed||

    Distinguished...extinguished...it's all semantics to 99% of the cannibalistic populace, right Alan?

  • ||

    This reminds me of The Handmaid's Tale, when one of the Aunts says that before, the women's rights movement fought for "freedom to" do things they pleased. But now, in the world of the novel, the fascistic government is providing women with "freedom from" all responsibilities and difficult choices. And she really believes that this is a good thing, a step forward in liberty.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but social conservative strikes me as far more of a threat to my personal freedoms than fiscal liberalism.

  • ||

    "Please list some libertarian accomplishments since 1964."

    Libertarians, as with all extremes, help define the middle. Without them, the middle would shift. That is the biggest libertarian accomplishment, and why I consider myself one.

  • MJ||

    "They despise both libertarians and liberals for thinking that individuals, free from traditional authority, can decide matters for themselves."-MNG

    Liberals think that individuals should decide things for themselves? Since when? On what issues? You certainly do not argue for the soveregnty of individuals as you are consistantly calling for individuals to submit to the will of the "community".

  • ed||

    Libertarians, as with all extremes, help define the middle

    What? I thought we were on the right? I mean, the left? I mean...*


    *"Extreme"? What's "extreme" about defining humanity?

  • ||

    George Mason University economist Daniel Klein and graduate student Jason Briggeman conclude, basically, that conservatives are not libertarians.



    I am truly astounded by this revelation.



    It won't stop the idiot pinkos from saying, No, really, Team Red loves us - and where else can we go? or the Reds from trying to easy votes off of people like them.

  • Pot meet kettle||

    They despise both libertarians and liberals for thinking that individuals, free from traditional authority, can decide matters for themselves.

  • ed||

    I'm content, then, to be amongst the despised. Who here isn't?

  • ||

    the police often do not have time to obtain a warrant

    Common sense says that people had wagons, boats, etc. at the time the constitution was written. Did the framers say it was OK for government officials to rummage through a wagon as an exception to the fourth amendmement?

    -jcr

  • ||

    "freedom from" all responsibilities and difficult choices

    I seem to recall some Soviet mouthpiece bragging about how their system provided freedom from unemployment, etc.

    -jcr

  • ||

    If they were to go through a half a century of articles in The Nation, American Prospect or Mother Jones they would find as many lamentations about the Excessive Freedom to own guns, drive the kind of car of one's choice, to spend or invest one's own money as one saw fit, eat foods of one's own choosing or any number of other personal choices.

    Together with recommendations for sanctions and punishments every bit a severe as conservative want for their pet peeves.

    Self-righteous busybodies, everywhere you look.

  • ||

    Conservatives believe these things actually limit the participant's freedom, therefore we discourage it. People still can do what they want. They have the liberty to go and kill someone, but they must face the consequences.

    People can go buy some marijuana, and get high. But they must face the consequences, which are physical AND legal. We make it illegal so that we discourage it. In the long run, conservatives are actually MORE PRO-LIBERTY than libertarians.

    Think of the liberty of the child when it comes to abortion. Think of the liberty of the family unit when prostitution is accessible as possible, in every city and town.

    Keep these things in mind.

  • ||

    A friend of mine seriously argues that advocating the elimination of government in many of the areas it now controls constitutes imposing my will upon others.

  • ||

    But now, in the world of the novel, the fascistic government is providing women with "freedom from" all responsibilities and difficult choices.

    I've heard feminists argue that unless government subsidizes both abortion and childcare a woman doesn't really have a "right to choose". Her life circumstances may compel a decision she doesn't want, therefore a lack of subsidy constitutes unjust coercion.

  • ||

    Bob Smith | February 26, 2009, 11:26pm | #
    A friend of mine seriously argues that advocating the elimination of government in many of the areas it now controls constitutes imposing my will upon others.


    Yeah, that is my brothers position also.

  • ||

    "liberty in America can be enhanced by reinstating, legislatively, restraints upon the direction of our culture and morality."

    Bork must believe that Saudi Arabia is the freest place on earth.

  • ||

    Wow, iamse7en, you almost had me there. Sounds exactly the kind of thing a conservative would say. Including all the lame circular arguments.

    Well done. You caught that sense of earnestness but added the little over-the-top touch that revealed it as sarcasm.

  • ||

    Well, I'm glad Dan had the time to quantify this revelation for us...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Noted. Which "libertarian" initiated that? Nixon? Oh my.

    Milton Friedman served on the Gates Commission.

    Don't forget the death of RealID and DC v. Heller.

    And every time a helmet law fails to pass in this country, a libertarian gets his wings.

  • voxpo||

    1. Abolition of the Draft

    Noted. Which "libertarian" initiated that? Nixon? Oh my.


    "In the realm of policy, I regard eliminating the draft as my most important accomplishment."
    - Milton Friedman

    "While Friedman will go down in history for his economic theory, his proudest moment came when President Richard Nixon took his advice and abolished the draft."
    - Marketplace, 11/16/06

  • alan||


    People can go buy some marijuana, and get high. But they must face the consequences, which are physical AND legal. We make it illegal so that we discourage it. In the long run, conservatives are actually MORE PRO-LIBERTY than libertarians.


    Would you describe a breast as feeling like a bag of sand? Just curious.

    Think of the liberty of the family unit when prostitution is accessible as possible, in every city and town.


    And obviously you have no idea what lead the man astray in the first place, or the fact that it is illegal in every state but Nevada, yet the man is still lead astray. Hint, Human Nature, which Burke claimed to know, but didn't really (as the existence of Tom Paine made no sense in the Burke dichotomy).

    Despite this fact, the social conservative believes that the best way to deal with this fact of life is to destroy the life of the man lead astray and the life of the prostitute while rewarding the vice cop with full salary for an unproductive waste of everyone's time. What a superior moral order you believe in to which I feel great shame that I do not share in your wisdom.

  • iamei8ht||

    Cuban Dictators believe these things actually limit the participant's freedom, therefore they discourage it. People still can do what they want. They have the liberty to go and kill someone, but they must face the consequences.

    People can go buy some prohibited music, and listen to it. But they must face the consequences, which are physical AND legal. They make it illegal so that they can discourage it. In the long run, Cuban Dictators are actually MORE PRO-LIBERTY than libertarians.

    Think of the liberty of the workers when they must scrabble to bid down their wages, without the government to do it for them. Think of the liberty of the community when food and goods are accessible as possible, in every city and town, without even a committee to decide who produces what and who buys what.

    Keep these things in mind.

  • ||

    Klein and Briggeman rediscover that the Nolan Chart has four quadrants...

  • mike farmer||

    Freedom must be curtailed to save freedom. If we had total freedom, rich people would be able to keep all their wealth. Without redistribution there would be no freedom -- we'd all be slaves to filthy rich people who make all that dirty money over $250,000. Before long they'd be expanding and making more money. It makes me shiver to think what could happen. Thank God-State we curtail some freedoms.

  • ||

    Yeah, that is my brothers position also.

    My friend isn't unique? Weird! Where do people get the idea?

  • ||

    Excuse me while I go fuck for my virginity. Then I am going to destroy a village in order to save it.

  • ||

    I had to kill the man in order to increase his life expectancy.

    Bork is a great legal mind? This is why the law sucks my friends. It is so fucking incompetent that it cannot comprehend the simple idea of a contradiction.

  • kilroy||

    `Oh, that was easy,' says Man Bork, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing."

  • ||

    Voxpo-

    I read through the whole thread looking to see if Milton Friedman got his props on the draft issue. Thank you.

  • ||

    Ed/economist-

    How about the success of getting the feds to back off the "Know Thy Cusotmer" proposed banking regulations in 1998/1999?

    Here, in Massachusetts, libertarians spearheaded the successful effort on Question 2-decriminalization of the possession of a month's supply of MJ.

  • ||

    "On issues related to drugs, gambling, and sex, Klein and Briggeman find, these magazines have been more likely to support the status quo or increased restrictions on freedom than to advocate liberalization."

    It shouldn't be surprising to see magazines that cater to the masses reflecting the mores of their customers.

    This is why when we're around the Thanksgiving table or the water cooler, we should focus our efforts on the mores of our family and friends. The policies politicos advocate are function of what the people want... If you want to change what politicos say and do, work on their customers.

    If they did a similar survey specific to attitudes regarding gay rights, for instance, I suspect they'd find that articles became increasingly sympathetic as their readers did. I'd bet the same money on environmental concerns.

  • Elemenope||

    If they were to go through a half a century of articles in The Nation, American Prospect or Mother Jones they would find as many lamentations about the Excessive Freedom to own guns, drive the kind of car of one's choice, to spend or invest one's own money as one saw fit, eat foods of one's own choosing or any number of other personal choices.

    Together with recommendations for sanctions and punishments every bit a severe as conservative want for their pet peeves.


    As a person who has consistently read those magazines for the last fifteen years, I can say with some certainty that the above statement is full of shit.

    The part in bold is highlighted to bring attention to the truly stupidest part.

  • VikingMoose||

    congrats, Jason!

    (I knew him from his other phd econ program ere he transferred - super nice guy!)

  • ||

    Suit yourself, LMNOP.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    Are you saying Mother Jones is pro-gun?

    Or are you saying their anti-gun pieces arent in the form of preventing too much freedom?

    I think the latter is implied, even if not stated.

    What is the penalty for carrying a gun in New York or Illinois - are you saying it isnt severe for engaging in a fundamental right? Or do these mags oppose those laws too?

  • ||

    Neither the left nor the right believes in liberty and they never have and both are inclined to despise libertarians - specifically because libertarians believe in liberty. I have heard it argued from both ends that libertarians want to "impose their beliefs on others" by maintaining the position that no one has the right to impose their beliefs on others. I can not think of a lamer argument - we are interfering with the rights of other by not allowing them to interfere with the rights of others. And yeah, it's not exactly news that conservatives are not libertarians or have any particular investment in personal liberty in a broad sense.

  • MNG||

    LMNOP is right, I read those magazines and the last thing they would want, even for the things they may want to prohibit and regulate (and I often disagree with, but I digress), are long jail sentences. They write long and often about how we have too many people in prison, how we are too quick to put people in and how we keep them in for too long, etc.

  • Ska||

    My friend isn't unique? Weird! Where do people get the idea?

    I'd guess from voting. People love being able to vote, therefore they must love more government.

  • Guy Smiley||

    William F Buckley Jr. was clearly stoned all of the time.

  • MNG||

    Though you will see this idea of making sentences for things like domestic violence and "white collar crime" more severe, but ironically often beside pieces arguing that we use incaceration far too much...

  • ||

    Re: "In other news, water wet" etc etc

    To many (most?) people, this is news. Sure, most of us here already recognized it, but one of the best uses for H&R is as ammo in my water-cooler debates with Rs and Ds.

    Hell, Joseph Lawler obviously found it surprising. I think Lloyd in accounting probably will too.

  • robc||

    MNG,

    Considering the number of calls I have seen from leftists to have CEOs (who havent violated a law, that we know of) executed, I dont buy this shorter sentence thing.

  • Ravac||

    Being against long prison sentences, wanting to ban handguns, and in favor of minimum wage laws does not a libertarian make.

  • ||

    Until the Bush administration, I'd say that the largest number of libertarian-leaning voters favored the GOP over the Democrats. So a study of this sort isn't totally useless. Even if you choose to work within the GOP to make it more libertarian, it's better to do that with your eyes wide open.

    I'm subscribed to the Florida RLC discussion group, and one leading GOP guy in Jacksonville actually declared war on libertarians and the RLC. 'Cause the tent has no room for those libertine libertarians. Idiot.

  • ||

    They write long and often about how we have too many people in prison, how we are too quick to put people in and how we keep them in for too long, etc.

    ...and when Republicans are in the minority in Congress they complain about too much spending -- because it's being spent on what the Democrats want. Let me know when Mother Jones complains about penalties for illegal gun possession being too harsh.

  • ||

    I think part of the reason for the libertarian-conservative alliance is because for the social issues where libertarians tend to agree with liberals, the liberal positions are either locked in place forever by SCOTUS decisions or never championed by liberal politicians (eg, drug legalization, ending the Cuba embargo).

    Whereas the issues where conservatives and libertarians agree (deregulation, fiscal responsibility, gun rights) are under constant threat because the courts don't care about them, and conservative politicians at least pay lip service to them and indeed frequently act on them.

  • ||

    Laziness is not a form of external coercion.

  • robc||

    the tent has no room for those libertine libertarians. Idiot.

    It cost them congress too. The shift in votes from the libertarians, whether they describe themselves that way or not, has killed the GOP over the last decade.

  • ||

    Though you will see this idea of making sentences for things like domestic violence and "white collar crime" more severe, but ironically often beside pieces arguing that we use incaceration far too much...



    So both sides are capable of contradictions.

    Look, I think that both sides underestimate just how many people they will have to arrest and incarcerate (or for liberals "hospitalize" - it's still incarceration in my book) to enforce their bans and proscriptions. Or, for that matter, how many ancilliary effects or unintended consequences they might have.

    I don't think that either side is out to feather anyone's nest, though most of the players from the Prison/Industrial Complex do seem to be on Team Red.

    But then, most of the players from the Therapy/Industrial Complex seem to be on Team Blue.

  • ||

    Considering the number of calls I have seen from leftists to have CEOs (who havent violated a law, that we know of) executed, I dont buy this shorter sentence thing.



    I don't take obviously hyperbolic statements seriously, robc. That kind of statement does reveal a certain mindset, though. And a dangerous one, to my mind.

  • ||

    But one gets similarly stupid hyperbole from the right, too

    (contd from last post.)

  • bubba||

    I think National Review, for example, gives a very fair hearing to Libertarianism, and does a good job of explaining when and why they disagree. On any given topic, there is at least one person espousing a fairly libertarian view. There are obviously plenty of hard core "conservatives", too.

    I also think that the concept of addiction complicates the libertarian views on drugs. To the extent that drugs are a personal choice, then legalization is liberal. To the extent that our concept of consumer protection laws precludes the sale of dangerous, addictive substances, then a ban is in fact liberal. Ineffective, but not completely illogical.

  • robc||

    But one gets similarly stupid hyperbole from the right, too

    Agreed. Which is the point of this whole thing. Neither the left nor the right are our allies. We are fighting a two front war and are severely undermanned on both fronts.

  • ||

    people forced to live in an increasingly brutalized culture are, in a very real sense, not wholly free.

    True, but only a trivial sense, in that no one is "wholly free" regardless of the society in which they live.

    The real question is whether laws attempting to prohibit the "brutalized culture" result in more freedom than the absence of such laws. Which, in turn, leads to the question of how you define "freedom."

    To a libertarian, a law against X almost axiomatically restricts freedom more than the absence of such a law, even if you would rather live in a society a without X. The only clear exceptions are the laws that would exist in a night watchman state.

    People still can do what they want. They have the liberty to go and kill someone, but they must face the consequences.

    A trivial definition of freedom, in which citizens of North Korea are just as free as any anarchist.

  • robc||

    A trivial definition of freedom

    Not just trivial, actually wrong.

    Killing someone is not a liberty. It is taking a liberty. It cant be both. One right, freedom, liberty, etc ends where another begins.

  • ||

    robc,

    Of course it can be both. It is liberty for the killer and a loss of liberty for the killee. It is the society's respect for liberty that ends when one is infringing on another's liberty.

  • ||

    that should be "...respect for liberty that should end when..."

  • KT||

    I have found this to be the case, which is why I find it confusing that so many people who call themselves libertarians seem more like crypto-Republicans. I guess it must be that fabled Republican fiscal restraint.

  • ||

    I have found this to be the case, which is why I find it confusing that so many people who call themselves libertarians seem more like crypto-Republicans. I guess it must be that fabled Republican fiscal restraint.

    Sometimes I think libertarians are Republicans who just aren't that into Jesus.

    I have never understood this alliance, perceived or real. It's as if lower taxes on the wealthy, really the only economic card Republicans care to play, trumps all other considerations.

  • VM||

    "Sometimes I think libertarians are Republicans who just aren't that into Jesus."

    and quite a few hier either are, or default to positions that defend them/ support/ promote their views...

  • ||

    I think the libertarian and republican alliance does come down to economic freedom.

    As mentioned, neither side is really interested in expanding freedom in any way, but if we continue to move towards a stronger and more omnipresent government - freedom will have to go away in order to keep the government functioning.

    So I'll take the right screaming about stopping this and stopping that, when they really aren't passing laws to do any of it - than I will take someone of the left passing laws that will inevitably lead to fewer freedoms.

    Think about universal health care - what additional laws and fewer freedoms will have to result to ensure the outcome the government wants?

    & No - I didn't like Bush at all for several reasons.

  • robc||

    Of course it can be both. It is liberty for the killer and a loss of liberty for the killee. It is the society's respect for liberty that ends when one is infringing on another's liberty.

    I disagree, but it may be semantical. A killer has no freedom, right, liberty, whatever to kill someone else.

    Its sort of like free speech. The standard fire in a theatre isnt protected free speech because it isnt free speech at all. It is speech, but not free speech.

    And, no, I dont know why I spell theatre that way. I also spell armour with a u. Not sure why on just those words.

  • robc||

    Sometimes I think libertarians are Republicans who just aren't that into Jesus.

    Then explain those of us who are libertarians and born-again Christians.

    Huh? Yeah, I thought so.

  • ||

    Then explain those of us who are libertarians and born-again Christians.

    Well I was trying to be generous. Wait, are you bragging about being a born-again Christian?

    I have a proposal to end the culture war, a compromise, let's just make abortion illegal for second births.

  • ||

    robc, were you a libertarian first, or a born-again Christian first?

  • robc||

    Christian. Although I may have always been a libertarian and just didnt know it. :)

    I was a small-government conservative type and something in Lewis's writings made me think about applying my views on financial type issues to social issues. I havent changed my views on right/wrong (other than just typical more advanced thinking) but have changed my views on laws. Sort of a toleration for allowing others to sin kind of thing.

    To put it in modern terms, I shifted all the way from a GOP-type supporter of Ron Paul to a LP-type supporter of Ron Paul.

  • Maitri||

    "Smoking pot, watching dirty movies, and playing poker are not, in fact, tantamount to being enslaved or possessed, and the idea that more cultural options reduces freedom is counterintuitive, to say the least. If conservatives consistently applied a pro-liberty presumption, they would be more skeptical of such assertions."

    The difference between liberals and conservatives is the former think the government should run things while the latter think they, an anointed, pre-ordained group who are the upholders of morality and culture, should run things.

    True liberalism/libertarianism is about the individual doing whatever the hell he/she wants without hurting others and with minimal government intrusion. Let's never forget that in our daily ritual of criticizing the government, whatever the flavor.

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