Young Libertarians Flaky, Increasingly Republican-Leaning

In 2006, the Cato Institute's David Boaz and David Kirby crunched some numbers in the service of finding out more about the elusive Libertarian Vote and its role in American politics. Now, they have updated their work, tracking The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama. Here's what they found:

Libertarians are about 14 percent of the electorate. Libertarian voters swung away from Bush and the GOP in 2004 and 2006, but in 2008 they swung back, voting for McCain by 71 to 27 percent.

Younger libertarians voted 59 percent for Obama versus 36 percent for McCain. But their enthusiasm for his policies may be short-lived. Younger Americans are an optimistic generation, but easily shaken when things go badly. If unemployment continues to remain weak, an economic issue that disproportionately affects young people, this generation of voters could quickly become disillusioned with Obama’s policies.

Before the 2006 elections, we predicted that if the swing away from the Republicans continued, “Republicans will lose elections they would otherwise win.” Now we offer the reverse prediction: if libertarians continue to lead the independents away from Obama, Democrats will lose 2010 midterm elections they would otherwise win.

Boaz and Kirby write about it—but Massachusetts senator-elect Scott Brown is living it.

For those interested in the study's definition of libertarian, here are the details. Snagging results from a respected long standing public option poll series, the study uses three questions to mark someone out as a libertarian:

•I am going to ask you to choose which of two statements I read comes closer to your own opinion. You might agree to some extent with both, but we want to know which one is closer to your own views: ONE, The less government, the better; or TWO, There are more things that government should be doing.
• ONE, We need a strong government to handle today’s complex economic problems; or, TWO, The free market can handle these problems without government being involved.
•We should be more tolerant of people who choose to live according to their own moral standards, even if they are very different from our own. (Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, neither agree nor disagree, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with this statement?)

Only those respondents who said “the less government, the better,” “the free market can handle these problems,” and strongly agreed or agreed that “we should be more tolerant” were classified as libertarian.

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  • ||

    For some younger libertarians, realizing that Obama never actually said anything about the RIAA and MPAA, despite what they hoped he might do, is presumably disillusioning.

  • ||

    The most frustrating thing about my Libertarian friends is that when you talk to them about what they believe, and why they are Libertarian, you find out they're really Republicans. Not RINOs, but old school Republicans, the real kind. They've been sold this bill of goods by Democrats that the GOP can never go back to its roots.

    That and quite frankly, they're so afraid of being out of step with Hollywood and the Democrat friends they just don't have the guts to admit they're Republicans.

    All that being said, I have to admit I think Ron Paul is Dr. Insano McBugnuts.

  • ||

    Ayn Rand admired courageous pebble-droppers, the nails standing above the boardwalk that ruling elite might trip over. They challenged the established and accepted way things were done. Creative, imaginative and courageous individuals follow a dream resulting in a better way of living that she wrote about. She believed she was OK and others, as individuals, were OK as well. Herds were led by the few who would limit individuals and take from those who have to share with those who have not. They and their leaders are not OK. Those violently opposing Rand want to retain the Old World ideals of a few elite ruling the many, as promoted by the Obama forces. See Save Pebble Droppers & Prosperity on Amazon and claysamerica.com

  • ||

    Similarly, those that voted for Obama believed in some sort of "Camelot-revisited", but had no idea what left of left they were electing.

  • ||

    Wow, we need to find that kid a job.

  • ||

    If you voted for Hopey McChange, you aren't a libertarian.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Sorry, but I just couldn't trust Mr. Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran, Mr. Save The Election Process From The First Amendment. Almost any other candidate, including Obama, is better for libertarianism's long-term interests. (I mean this to say much more about McCain than Obama, of course.)

  • ||

    Then vote for someone else, write in a name, or stay home. Obama was not any better of a choice than McCain was. Both were non-starters.

    Voting for the status quo is not how to demonstrate your libertarian cred.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Who made you the judge of my libertarian cred? As it happens, I remember voting for Ron Paul. But I had that luxury because I happen to live in blue California, which Obama was certain to take anyway. How about some intellectual humility, JW? A libertarian might have reasons to fear McCain's brand of paternalism somewhat more than Obama's brand.

  • ||

    Who made you the judge of my libertarian cred?

    I did. Are you saying that you're the judge of what I think?

    I live in just as blue Maryland. I pulled the lever for the LP. Didn't make a spit of difference here either.

    You know, this is big talk from someone who liked American Beauty.

  • ||

    A libertarian might have reasons to fear McCain's brand of paternalism somewhat more than Obama's brand.

    A libertarian would have feared both brands equally. Worrying about whether your liberty is reduced by 12% versus 14% seems a bit silly.

  • ||

    A libertarian might have reasons to fear McCain's brand of paternalism somewhat more than Obama's brand.

    Such a libertarian would have been a fool, as the last year has amply demonstrated.

    A vote for McCain could have been justified as a lesser of two evils vote. A vote for Obama, no way. I, who typically vote for the lesser of evils, went full third party in 2008.

  • nj||

    That's ridiculous RC.

    Of course there was a libertarian case for Obama. A McCain presidency could have meant war with Iran.

    With that said, I didn't vote.

  • ||

    No, no libertarian case for Obama at all. Govt. subsidizing corporations, repealing campaign finance reform, attempting to take over health care, and more troops in Iran and Afghanistan. Is that the change you believed in? Is government not significantly larger than a year ago? THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF A LIBERTARIAN I voted Ron Paul but would have GLADLY taken Mccain over obummer. Besides war with Iran was part of both their agendas

  • todd||

    Oh yea, lots more money to israel in the process, Obama is as much a puppet as bush was. This was exactly what I expected, so I went third party

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Being at least as disgusted with the Libertarians as I am with the Reps and Dems, I voted for the Constitution Party.

    Is that a problem?

    Feel free to kiss my ass!

  • ||

    That's not a problem as long as you have no interest in social freedoms.

  • roscoe||

    The Constitution Party? Don't they mean the Theocracy Party? We all know how theocracies have worked out through history.

  • roscoe||

    "Feel free to kiss my ass!"

    How Christian of you, lol.

  • ||

    You both should have chosen divided government. I held my nose and voted McCain because of Congress was sure-as-shit going Democratic in a big way.

    Divided government is the closest thing to having small government.

    Politics is like chess, you have to think of more than just your next move.

  • Eric||

    Agreed

  • notfoundet||

    One must wonder if this statement was truly thought through:

    "Divided government is the closest thing to having small government."

    Because the closest thing to a small government is a smaller government, not a divided one.

  • smartass sob||

    Then vote for someone else, write in a name, or stay home.

    I stayed home; I didn't care to choose which poison.

  • ||

    Mr. Save The Election Process From The First Amendment. Almost any other candidate, including Obama, is better for libertarianism's long-term interests.

    If you mean for future Supreme Court nominations, perhaps, but this statement has somewhat less salience the day that one of Sen. McCain's least libertarian pet projects was substantially weakened.

    What's worse, someone whose worst ideas might get struck down, or someone whose won't?

    McCain is definitely more disliked by libertarian intellectuals than by libertarian voters on the whole.

    And anyone who voted on the basis of attacking Iran militarily wasn't being realistic at all, but I'll assume that was a shorthand for other things.

  • ||

    So instead you voted for Mr. Bomb-bomb-bomb Pakistan. Sorry Brian if you voted for Obama thinking it would lead to peace, you were a dumb ass.

  • ||

    How do you explain high terror alerts around the world in the last day? At the very least with Bush, after 9/11 no one attempted to kill us in another large scale disaster. If the U.S. wants to survive as a world power (which is for your benefit as an outspoken individual, remember that), it is ESSENTIAL that we retain the ability to not exactly attack, but have the ability to do so. For me, you can eat the s*** that msn feeds you and believe that Nobel Peace Prize Obama will cure the world by throwing taxpayer money at the problems that abound us, but that is just b.s. In three years Obama will be out of office (because he was never prepared for the job, not having voted in how many senatorial elections, look it up, I promise it's true)and his exorbitant spending to save the world-without-bombs will be blamed on who? Let me guess, the incumbent NON-DEMOCRAT president. Anyone who says Obama was a better choice, knowing what he stood (and stands) for should be put on trial, just like him. To those of you who voted for the big 'O', welcome to the destruction of America.

  • CognitiveInfiltrator||

    I'm a young libertarian who voted for Obama in the first presidential election in which I was eligible.

    If I could do it again, I would vote for McCain. If Democrats are not going to protect privacy, civil liberties, or end Blackwater's contract, than one might as well vote for Republicans, who are at least slightly less socialistic.

  • CognitiveInfiltrator||

    Let me emphasize though, that I campaigned a great deal for, and of course voted in the primary election for, Ron Paul.

  • ||

    I'm a young libertarian who voted for Obama...I would vote for McCain...

    No, you aren't. You may think you are, but really, it's a little silly to try and convince others of this after those statements.

    Be part of the solution, not more of the same.

  • ||

    Now, now, JW, redemption is a core value in our culture. Didn't you watch Star Wars?

  • ||

    Darth Vader is Nixon?

    Oh, I'm all for redemption as much as anyone, but so far, people like CognitiveInfiltrator have redeemed jack and squat.

  • ||

    He can be redeemed. Campaigning and voting for Paul are good things.

  • ||

    Do, or do not. There is no try.

    Holds much, the future does.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Whose culture, ProL? Some of the movement busybodies like JW who take it upon themselves to call out the alleged phonies don't approve of the "obvious statist messages" of Star Wars.

    JW knows who the true libertarians are. Just take JW's word for it.

  • ||

    Really? Please demonstrate to us how voting for either of the 2 condidates was "libertarian."

    Go on. We'll wait.

  • ||

    "condidates?" Christ, I can't type today.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

  • ||

    JW, go on, please demonstrate how Ron Paul or Bob Barr are "libertarian." I can point to what I think are betrayals of libertarianism by both.

    Sure, they might have been better than the top two choices, but once you're talking gradations and weighing differences, you've conceded the right to be so dogmatic and sweeping in your pronouncements.

  • ||

    Point taken. Barr's cred is weak, but I'll go with the redemption excuse. Ron Paul has demonstrated his time and again over the years.

    I never said there such a thing as "pure" libertarianism. That's a fools game. But, pulling the lever time and again for the major parties is no demonstration of any understanding of libertarianism. It comes off as hipster libertarianism, trying to make a poseur statement about your counter-establishment or non-conformity cred, but doing nothing in reality to back it up.

    Playing paint-ball on the weekened doesn't make you an army soldier.

  • ||

    Ron Paul has demonstrated his time and again over the years.

    Sure, and he's demonstrated being anti-immigration, anti-abortion, and practically anti-free trade* for years too. (And voted to ban gay abortions in DC, is against school prayer now but supports a Constitutional Amendment to make it legal, etc.) All things some libertarians might question.

    So is "worrying about whether your liberty is reduced by [2]% versus 14% seems a bit silly?"

    *-- Ron Paul votes against nearly every free trade agreement, even ones that, on the whole, substantially free up trade. Yes, he prefaces it by saying that he wants unilateral free trade and that the agreement isn't perfect, but the end result of his votes is that the Administration has some sort of kickback or earmark for a different swing vote, some temporary free trade restriction that wouldn't happened if he just voted for it. The end result is less liberty. He can wash his hands, but he still has reduced net liberty by those stands.

  • ||

    John--All good points, just the same, I will maintain that voting for someone like Paul is far and away different than voting for someone like Obama or McCain. Is he a "perfect" libertarian? No. Is they best that the status quo can offer? It seems that way.

    I don't have a problem with someone voting against a bill because he/she deosn't feel that it goes far enough/doesn't do what it purports to do and the end result, from not supporting it, is sub-optimum.

    You seem, from your comments, more intersted in the ends. I'm more interseted in the means, regardless of the ends, which is probably more libertarian than anything else: an exercise in futility, so far as in any electoral result.

  • smartass sob||

    And voted to ban gay abortions in DC

    WTF is a "gay abortion"?

  • ||

    Garbage question.

    Obviously, neither candidate was libertarian but some libertarians vote for a better candidate with a realistic chance of winning.

    IIRC, the Reason staff chose Obama over McCain.

  • ||

    I don't think that's right. I think several did, several were abstaining, and several went LP. There might've been a McCain/gridlock vote, but I can't remember.

  • ||

    Sigh. First of all, all I was talking about was the redemption motif.

    Second, it was a joke to begin with. In our culture, this whole redemption business is clearly tied to the influence of Christianity, which somewhat predates Star Wars--long time agos, galaxies far, far away notwithstanding.

  • Ben||

    If you supported Ron Paul, you had two viable options in the general election: hold your nose and vote for the LP candidate or just stay home.

    No one rationally goes from RP to Obama.

  • Joe_D||

    I thought McCain was *much* worse than Obama. And if I had believed my vote would matter, I'd have voted for Obama (ie, against McCain).

  • Ben||

    Ross Perot scared the shit out of the political establishment and actually changed political dialog for the next four to six years.

    If you really want your vote to count, don't waste in on people you know are not going to hold up your ideals.

    Stay home or work to promote one of the minor-party candidates.

  • ||

    But McCain would've had to contend with an opposition Congress. I don't see how anyone with remotely libertarian views could think that Obama + Democratic Congress = More Freedom. It was blindingly obvious the danger the combination presented.

    Besides, what was McCain going to do? Keep us at war? Not close Gitmo?

  • ||

    I voted Paul in the primaries and Babar in the general, for the record.

  • ||

    Not being a registered D or R, I can't vote in MD's primaries.

  • ||

    It's the sole reason I'm registered GOP in Florida. So I can vote for the least of several evils in the primaries. For instance, I'm going to vote against Hamiltonian Crist in the Senate race.

  • libertybill||

    Ditto

  • oaktownadam||

    same here. registered as a republican in california to do it, too.

    Also helped my friend Terbo Ted run for congress as a Ron-Paul republican in ca-4, which was eventually won by Tom "Mr Conservative" McClintock. Ted got a pretty bad turnout, but managed to push McClintock in a more libertarian direction during the primaries.

  • ||

    No one rationally goes from RP to Obama.

    How many people are rational about voting? Heck, is voting at all rational? Probably not; you're wasting time and almost certain not to change the election.

    President Obama convinced a lot of people that he secretly agreed with them, without actually promising much. But you can't fool all of the people all of the time; as President, you have to make choices.

  • ||

    He was vague, played some center-right games, and wasn't McCain, who could appear scary. I thought he was a closet neosocialist and was inherently dangerous, regardless, given the composition of Congress, but some people didn't see that as clearly.

    Don't forget, too, that the whole idea of left-libertarians kept getting promoted, even by this blog and magazine. Naturally, that was and is so much comet gas.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I think the fact that Obama has legalized marijuana will bring many of the young libertarians back to vote for Obama in 2012.

  • ||

    If they actually attempt to smoke marijuana anywhere where people can see them, they may not get a chance to vote for Obama.

    Marijuana is pretty far from being legal.

  • ||

    I hate and fear the Republicans, but they're at least somewhat less eager to trash the economic and political underpinnings of our culture. The Democrats have shown themselves, in their current iteration, to be a positive and immediate danger to economic and political liberty.

  • ||

    Which means, of course, that you should vote LP 99% of the time.

  • ||

    I know what you mean, but I won't get fooled again into voting for a republican who swears he's learned his lesson this time. For sure!

  • ||

    No. Trusting them is right out. Try as much as possible to vote strategically for gridlock and/or for the LP. However, there are some elected officials and candidates within the GOP who are, for the most part, libertarians. Even my Representative has a decent voting record on most issues, and he's "conservative."

  • ||

    True, true. Ron Paul is one of the few republicans you can trust, but even he ran as a Libertarian for preident in '88.

    As to the rest of them: fuck 'em. Yes, you too Jeff Flake. I want to see more of what you've got before I even *think* of trusting you.

  • ||

    I hate and fear the Republicans, but they're at least somewhat less eager to trash the economic and political underpinnings of our culture.

    You are right. They are loathe to do anything about the oligarchs and the too big to fail institutions and crony capitalism (let's not pretend the GOP are capitalists by any stretch of the imagination. During the Bush years when the GOP held the house and Senate crony capitalism was the only kind of capitalism the GOP supported). And want to preserve the political underpinnings of our culture (like preventing minorities from voting and disenfranchising the poor)

    But that's probably not what you meant.

    Last I checked the Dems aren't proposing abolishing capitalism or democracy so your implication that the Dems are "eager to trash the economic and political underpinnings of our culture" is complete and utter bullshit.

    You want to say both parties suck, that's fair. But to pretend that the GOP is some kind of upholders of economic and political liberty makes you sound like a fool.

    Conervatives aren't libertarians. The GOP (the party of jesus and hating fags and darkies) isn't a friend to libertarians or libertarianism.

  • Michael||

    Last I checked the Dems aren't proposing abolishing capitalism...

    ...except when they are.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT4mV3R7vu4

  • ||

    Last I checked the Dems aren't proposing abolishing capitalism or democracy

    Well, not overtly. You don't have to kill a man to hurt him badly enough so that he can't walk.

  • ||

    The problem, from that perspective, is that the Democrats are 100% just as funded and influenced by business interests. There's no difference whatsoever in that regard.

    Folly is ignoring the blatant power grabs of the last year. The GOP was awful and did things to expand government power, too, but not with the rapidity and not at the scale of the Democrats. The multiple attempts to socialize large swaths of our economy are incredibly dangerous and serious threats.

  • ||

    The multiple attempts to cartelize large swaths of our economy are incredibly dangerous and serious threats.

    FIX'D

  • Tonio||

    I just don't find the kid with the sign to be effective or sympathetic. Exploiting kids for political ends is cowardly in itself (think the suburban Chicago library kerfuffle of several weeks ago), and dangerously close to a "for the children" foul. If the kid owed $36K in taxes just for being a kid then I'd be sympathetic; if he owes that much in taxes because he's got a trust fund or other income then he owes taxes just like everyone else. Obligatory disclaimer: taxes bad on principal, but if we have them then they need to be applied fairly and equally to everyone, ie flat tax.

  • Another Phil||

    That's the first thing I thought when I saw the picture. Using kids as props to make a political point makes me very uncomfortable.

  • oaktownadam||

    My understanding of the sign is that it is making the point that the kid hasn't even begun making an income yet, but due to the size of the national debt, he's already on the hook for $36k.

    And that's a valid point, I think.

  • ||

    I don't drag my kids to protests, but they do hear me espouse libertarian values on occasion. They seem to be developing a healthy disrespect for the government and for the major political parties.

    Ex-cel-lent.

  • BakedPenguin||

    You forgot to tent your fingers before you said that.

  • ||

    No, I didn't. Really, mere text isn't enough for blog commenting, is it?

  • ||

    Ex-cell-ent... ///\\\

  • ||

    nm/\mn

  • ||

    It's just not the same.

  • ||

    Sorry, Grandpa. I'll oil up your buggy whip so you can take the phaeton to the dry goods store. Be sure to bring back some tinned beef and corn pone for Ma.

  • wingnutx||

    Get yourself a nice new onion for your belt.

  • ||

    But not a yellow onion. There's a war on.

  • Banjos Kick Ass!||

    Good old nineteen-dickity-two, we had to use the word dickity because the Kaiser stole our word for twenty.

  • ||

    Libertarian voters swung away from Bush and the GOP in 2004 and 2006, but in 2008 they swung back, voting for McCain by 71 to 27 percent.

    The problem, as Ramesh Ponnuru ably points out>, is that if you look at the 2000 through 2008 numbers:

    They also provide evidence suggesting that 73 percent of libertarians voted for Republicans in House elections in 2000, 70 percent in 2002, 53 percent in 2004, 54 percent in 2006, and 66 percent in 2008. That is, libertarians moved in nearly perfect opposition to the public at large, which was swinging toward the Republicans from 2000 through 2004 and against them from then through 2008. The same pattern holds in the presidential races. Bush gets 72 percent in 2000 and 59 percent in 2004 while McCain gets 71 percent in 2008.

    As he notes, Cato wants to argue that libertarians are a leading edge, that libertarian desertion of Republicans in 2002 and 2004 presaged overall voter desertion in 2006 and 2008. That's plausible. But it's also plausible that the pool of "anti-libertarian" populist voters is larger than that of libertarians, and that moves by libertarians at all times were countervailed by moves from populations. Just chasing libertarian votes might not necessarily work.

    Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter), have to find create coalitions, because you can't form a working majority in this country from just libertarians-- or just any one or even two of liberals, conservatives, or populists for that matter.

  • Brian Lockwood||

    Proof that libertarians just want gridlock if they can't find an someone they can support.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    By Jove, I think he's got it!

    ... Hobbit

  • MattXIV||

    2006 is a problem for Ponnuru's thesis - if it was right and a larger populist vote was swinging in an anti-libertarian, there should have been a spike in libertarian support for the GOP in it, rather than it staying level.

  • oaktownadam||

    You'd have to include actual turnout numbers for any of it to make sense.

  • Jeff P||

    In the past if you tried to press the point that the LP has squandered yet another opportunity to get its message out more effectively and with higher impact that the occasional deely-bobber fest on C-Span 2, or that they have managed to mis-manage their own core image despite the existence of cheap distribution methods, they would just cover their ears. Now they can blame it on young'uns.

  • ||

    There needs to be a fourth question:

    Since you believe that the less government the better, that the free market can handle its own problems, and we should live and let live, why the fuck do you keep voting in Democrats and Republicans who obviously believe none of these things?

  • ||

    Since you believe that the less government the better, that the free market can handle its own problems, and we should live and let live, why the fuck do you keep voting in Democrats and Republicans who obviously believe none of these things?

    Because this slice of the electorate is only about 20%. Liberals, conservatives, and anti-libertarian populists are all as large or larger-- which also means that proportional representation wouldn't solve anything, either, as you'd have the anti-libertarian party winning a bunch too.

  • ||

    WRONG WRONG WRONG! A libertarian block in any legislature that is 20% of the members is a serious negotiating block. In a proportional representation system, the big ten "conservative" and "liberal" would fracture into smaller shards, with capitalists, social conservatives, theocrats, law and order conservatives, progressives, social democrats, socialists, liberal democrats, greens, communists all making their own niche. Even that amorphous mass of independents would be amorphous with a few parties to try and create a coherent logic. Even if a "moderate" party captures 40% of the legislature, they have to bargain to find the other 11% to make a ruling coalition. Do you think its impossible that a coalition of Libertarians, Capitalists, and Liberal Democrats could not occasionally rule the roost? Doesn't this make all the more sense to fucking decentralize power?

  • Joe M||

    +!

  • Ben||

    +1

  • ||

    I don't find the 3rd question to be particularly useful.

    We should be more tolerant of people who choose to live according to their own moral standards, even if they are very different from our own. (Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, neither agree nor disagree, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with this statement?)

    Whether or not you find someone else's moral standards OK or not, being a libertarian is not about being tolerant. I'm not very tolerant of a whole host of people, but I don't think they should be legally prevented from doing all those things that annoy me.

  • Brian Lockwood||

    I thought the last question was crap too. I'm the most judgement, intolerant person I know but it doesn't mean I want to use force against others. They really should have included something about the government in the question.

  • Joe M||

    I'm not very tolerant of a whole host of people, but I don't think they should be legally prevented from doing all those things that annoy me.

    That's precisely the definition of tolerance, though. Live and let live. You might not like it, but you're not trying to stop it. Hence, you're tolerant.

  • ||

    I'm really not sure if merciless ridicule can also be toleration simply because it isn't colored by law. When I pretend I just heard something moving around under the house right after my wife finishes watching one of those awful ghost hunter shows, she informs me that I'm an intolerant asshole. On the other hand, I could have even more fun explaining to her that, since I didn't interupt her while the show was on, I'm actually tolerant asshole.

  • ||

    I'm not socially tolerant of plenty, but I do advocate legal tolerance of quite a bit.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    +1

    Also, the other two questions could be really be answered yes or no. But the third question just seems designed to make the pollees feel good about themselves. I'd personally answer, "niether agree nor disagree", since the question is so poorly formed.

  • oaktownadam||

    Yeah, but the point is to filter out the social conservatives, for whom the answer is a resounding "no".

  • ¢||

    For some younger libertarians, realizing that Obama never actually said anything about the RIAA and MPAA, despite what they hoped he might do, is presumably disillusioning.

    Young libertarians suck at it.

    On that specific issue, their conflicting needs to identify against Hollywood (those evil acronyms, the "industry") and with Hollywood (celebrity and all it endorses) prevent disillusionment. The dissonance makes them more vulnerable to getting chumped, not less.

    They'll do as they're told, again. Probably always.

  • ||

    I endured "libertarians" 1992-2000, and I can endure them 2008-?.

    I usually hit them with the "Did you support the immediate legalization of all recreational drugs, even heroin and crack?" to flush them out.

  • ||

    I usually hit them with the "Did you support the immediate legalization of all recreational drugs, even heroin and crack?" to flush them out.

    Yes, because there's nothing that the strong, governing libertarian party needs more than resisting an attempt to foolishly grow the movement by accepting moderates who only meet us halfway. Flush them out without delay before they take over.

  • ||

    Whereas embracing evermore crypto-Republicans who have no concept of liberty is the perfect path to success. Everyone from the GOP or the Democrats can claim to be "halfway" libertarians.

    Our foul weather "friends" abandon us when they swing back into power. A GOPer in libertarian drag is no different from the liberaltarian bullshit for 2008.

  • ||

    Perhaps I misunderstood your original comment. Was "libertarians" in quotes referring to politicians or ordinary citizens?

    Everyone from the GOP or the Democrats can claim to be "halfway" libertarians.

    Sure, and some are worse or better than others in both parties. You have to convince people and grow the movement however possible.

    We do seem to be making progress on pot, finally.

  • ||

    Both, and pundits too.

    I'm not a crazy purist who wants to kick people out right and left, but I am protective of the brand. People who are 100% GOP/Democrat running calling themselves libertarians is not good for the brand.

    Anyone that is actually interested in liberty, I will speak to at any length they wish, but fake libertarians hurt us all.

    Of course, potential allies on both sides I am much gentler with.

  • MattXIV||

    Everyone from the GOP or the Democrats can claim to be "halfway" libertarians.

    But normally only after they've ran their own brand into the ground pretty badly and are waiting for the public to remember how much they hated the other guys.

  • ||

    "It's the circle... the CIRCLE OF LIFE."

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    SF,

    I too got tired of that in the 90's. omeone would say that they were a libertarian & in the same conversation say they were for government run healthcare.

  • ||

    Or you say "I'm a libertarian," and they ask how you can stand LaRouche.

  • T||

    Personally, I always loved him. He'd be frightening if given any power, but on the goofy conspiracy nut front, he's an unending source of entertainment.

  • smartass sob||

    Only those respondents who said “the less government, the better,” “the free market can handle these problems,” and strongly agreed or agreed that “we should be more tolerant” were classified as libertarian.

    I take strong exception to that. I think one can disagree with the last question and still be libertarian. It shouldn't have been "We should be more tolerant...." It should be "Government should be more tolerant..." I don't think an individual need be tolerant or accepting of some morality he disagrees with in order to be libertarian. What if one's own moral code demands intolerance - wouldn't it be un-libertarian on the part of others to be intolerant of that?

  • smartass sob||

    I suppose it depends on just exactly is meant by tolerant.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Well, most of us use the word "tolerate" to describe things like hemorrhoids and toothaches - things we don't like very much, but put up with because they can't be changed. Left-libertarians and liberals have co-opted the word to mean "greet with a warm embrace and a big wet kiss". I suspect most people are willing to be tolerant in the first sense of the word - but they balk when second is demanded of them.

  • smartass sob||

    what is meant ...(damn)

  • libertybill||

    Why is their a lack of foreign policy questions?

  • ||

    A real champion of less nanny statism would have voted for McCain to acheive a divided gov't. Besides, Palin would have been much nicer to look at than Biden and seeing Johnny boy throw a clot at everything would have been amusing.

    Just sayin'

  • ||

    "We should be more tolerant of people who choose to live according to their own moral standards"

    I really can't stand people with moral standards.

  • ||

    I was observing a Math Finance class being taught by one of my hard-left colleagues today. He asked the class for reasons why Treasury Bills are "risk-free" investments.

    One student raised her hand and said, "because the government can just print money whenever it wants to." The professor grunted and asked for another answer.

    The next student said, "Because the IRS can send someone to hold a gun to your head and take your money." The instructor then looked like his head was going to explode.

  • ||

    The next student said, "Because the IRS can send someone to hold a gun to your head and take your money." The instructor then looked like his head was going to explode.

    Heh, very nice. At what school? Your description of the instructor reminds me of Philip Protter at Cornell.

  • ||

    It's not Cornell. It's a state university.

  • ||

    It's not Cornell. It's a state university.

    Hey, Cornell is a state university! At least, some of the colleges are public-private partnerships ("contract colleges") that act as the land grant school for New York. For example, Cornell has a college that is the state Ag School for New York.

  • ||

    There's hope for the young'uns yet.

  • ||

    made my day...thanks for the pleasant story :)

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    What answer did he want? For real?

    My real answer would be: They aren't risk free at all, only dumbasses believe that. It just happens to be a useful mathematical abstraction that doubles as good government propaganda, so as usual the economists and the government leaches wink knowingly at at each other.

  • ||

    The answer he was looking for was "because they're backed by a stable government". If you look in Investopedia, they give the same answer.

    Yeah, I know. Some math terms can be misleading if you divorce them from the context. For instance, in probability theory, an event whose probability of occurring is zero is said to happen "almost never".

  • ||

    For instance, in probability theory, an event whose probability of occurring is zero is said to happen "almost never".

    Yes, because probability zero is not the same as never occurs. It can mean, for example, that it only happens in an countably infinite number of the uncountably infinite events in the universe.

  • ||

    Exactly. The probability of tomorrow's rainfall in New Delhi being any certain amount is zero, but it will definitely be some amount.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Wow. Thats weaker than I thought. (the desired answer, not the probability-philosophizin).

    Another good answer I thought of is : because the government can redefine "dollar" whenever they want, you know like in 1933 and 1972, so by definition an actual default can never happen.

  • oaktownadam||

    Thank you, I had a good chuckle at that.

  • Mike||

    Why would any Libertarian have voted for Obama? We all knew he was going to trounce Old Man McCain. What was the point?

  • Tyler||

    If you are a young person, your only idea of "American Politics" came from the Bush Administration. And what they taught you in school (nothing).

    A vote for Obama could have been a vain, ignorant attempt to fight the status quo. The real question is how quickly will us young people realize how vain and ignorant that mindset was.

    I mean, at least I was able to see the error of my ways but that could be because I spend my spare time lurking this blog and learning Austrian economics.

  • smartass sob||

    Just don't ask Obama what language they speak in Austria. ;-)

  • Eric||

    An "ignorant attempt to fight the status quo," yes.. an action that supported the libertarian cause.. hell no.

  • nj||

    to punish the republicans

    Say what you will about democrats, but at least they don't pretend to be the party of small government and free markets.

  • ||

    At the end of the day, there was little difference between Obama and McCain. Certainly not enough to vote for one over the other. The only vote for smaller gov't was for Barr (imagine that).

  • ||

    Before the election I wondered about Obama v McCain on libertarian grounds and ran it through a few of those silly "who should I vote for" things. As I mentioned at the link, Barr and Paul vastly outperformed Obama and McCain on a standard libertarian platform, and each one McCain outperformed Obama (sometimes by a lot sometimes by a little).

    What has to be most disappointing about Obama from a libertarian perspective is that the areas where he was better than McCain have been given very little attention while the areas where he's considerably worse have gotten a ton.

  • Kris||

    +1 to NJ above.

    What irks me more than Obama is that a whole party poses as Libertarian in the GOP. I feel the most dangerous thing -- even more than bigger government via Dems -- is a party who promises less government but delivers more of the same... as well as promoting unfortunate social influences like racism, what a "true patriot" is, and everything else Rush will tell you.

    I'd rather be caught dead than vote for big government, but to be lied to from a snake-in-the-grass party in the GOP who also is the biggest factor towards social digression? They are the ones I'd wish would just go away, and they are the ones I will actively vote against if it means them out of power.

    Now, if given the choice, I'd certainly vote against both.

  • Kris||

    I think one of the best quotes I ever read was "If you're not a socialist before you're 30 you have no heart. If you're a socialist after you're 30, you have no head."

  • ||

    median voter theorem, kthx

  • Hacha Cha||

    what about the percentage of libertarians that voted for Bob Barr or Ron Paul in the general election?

  • ||

    thank you.

  • ||

    to say that you are a libertarian and to have voted for EITHER McCain or Obama is erroneous at best. there were two viable libertarian candidates Ron Paul and Bob Barr, who actually ran ON THE LIBERTARIAN TICKET. it is also irresponsible to report that (young) libertarians are increasingly right leaning. any self respecting libertarian will tell you that BOTH the right and the left these days has moved toward statism.

  • Ral||

    For information on world Libertarians please see: http://www.Libertarian-International.org

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