Who's Afraid of the Word "Libertarian"?

Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz (read his Reason archive here) reacts to the recent self-distancings from the label "libertarian" by both Gary Johnson and Rand Paul, and comments:

You can see in both the Paul op-ed and the Johnson interview that major-party politicians are nervous about being tagged with a label that seems to imply a rigorous and radical platform covering a wide range of issues. But if you can call yourself a conservative without necessarily endorsing everything that William F. Buckley Jr. and the Heritage Foundation — or Jerry Falwell and Mike Huckabee — believe, then a politician should be able to be a moderate libertarian or a libertarian-leaning candidate. I wrote a book outlining the full libertarian perspective. But I've also coauthored studies on libertarian voters, in which I assume that you're a libertarian voter if you favor free enterprise and social tolerance, even if you don't embrace the full libertarian philosophy. At any rate, it's good to see major officials, candidates, and newspapers talking about libertarian ideas and their relevance to our current problems.

I was thinking on this question yesterday, and came up with a half-baked theory that libertarians distancing themselves from "libertarian" is a perverse indication that, for the first time since maybe the mid-'90s, libertarians are making some actual headway in the political process. When the best that small-l'ers got for a decade was some private-sector/pop-culture fun and the back of George W. McCain's hand, the term could bask in a vibe of Quixotic/crazy independent outsider with no hope and maybe no aspiration to sit at the Adult's Table. Now that the brand has swollen a bit (partly as a result), with some significant overlap with unsated anti-government sentiment sweeping the land, well, the long knives are out, so better to retreat from the radical-sounding word lest you be subject to more journalistic scrutiny than the president of the United States.

Or maybe it's just a coincidence, etc.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Geotpf||

    I don't think the Tea Partiers, etc., are libertarians at all. Examining their poisitions on gay marriage, or drug laws, or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the torturing of terror suspects, or Gitmo, or dozens of other things, and one would see this.

  • RyanXXX||

    Supporting government-issued marriage licenses for homosexuals isn't necessarily a libertarian position

  • ||

    In fact it isn't the libertarian or the Libertarian position at all. Government shouldn't be involved in marriage. Period.

  • ||

    But believing that the Tea Party is against gay marriage for the wrong reasons is a libertarian or not question.

    If they truly just want the government out of the marriage business, it's a principled position. If they don't want gay people married because the Bible said it was bad or "fags are icky," then it is just the conservative position.

  • cynical||

    Yes, but failing to do so while supporting government-issued marriage licenses for heterosexuals is even less libertarian.

  • Geotpf||

    Supporting the right for the state to descriminate against homosexual couples is not something a libertarian should approve of either.

    The question isn't "Should the state issue marriage licenses?" It's "Should the state decide one group doesn't deserve marriage licenses?"

    Basically, you think gays are icky and are trying to come up with a libertarian reason to ban gay marriage.

  • Zeb||

    By the same logic used by these people, libertarians should be in favor of anti-miscegenation laws too. The state should not be involved in marriage, so not letting mixed race couples marry is a good thing because it means that the state is involved in fewer marriages.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    This.

    Not agreeing with government sanctioned marriage isn't going to make it go away. Ever. So the next best thing, if we must live with marriage licensing (and believe when I say we must), is to not have government have any say whatsoever as to who can obtain them and for what reasons.

    If libertarianism is going to attain any political capital whatsoever, we need to be practical libertarians.

    Shouting from the back row about the uselessness of marriage licensing while arguing that gays shouldn't have the right to attain a marriage license because of a disconnect between political theory and reality is counterproductive.

    That argument essentially states that licensing is bad, and because it's bad we can't condone a presently excluded group to marry.

    Logic fail.

  • RyanXXX||

    O.K., I agree with Cynical and everyone else that gays should have the "right" to marry in a civic sense like hetero's do. But it shouldn't be a litmus test for libertarians because it is, in essence, "ceding" a realm of private behavior to the state.

    The forced-integrationists are going to be as bad for homosexuals as white liberals were for post-Jim Crow blacks. "Marriage" for gays will be a tragedy not for straights, but for the gay community. In trying desperately to become like everyone else, the impressive and vibrant gay "culture" that America has birthed will die out

  • farteater||

    What about the "I support rights for same sex couples, just don't call it marriage" position?

  • Tony||

    Not a libertarian, but I'm gonna say nope. You guys can tolerate any number of fanciful jolts to the system so I don't see why you should get your panties in a wad on this issue. If you're not even gonna be social liberals then why don't you just join the GOP?

  • BakedPenguin||

    "If you're not even gonna be social liberals then why don't you just join the GOP?"

    Morely like this: "If we're not even going to support the legalization of activities by consenting adults that do not violate the rights of others, then we might as well..."

    As many have pointed out, there is also a subsidy issue here. It could be solved by getting the government out of marriage. Since that's not going to happen anytime soon, people s/b able to marry the partner(s) of their choice.

  • farteater||

    You seem to infer that there is an element of judgment in that statement.
    Drawing a distinction between two things does not demand that one be better or inferior to the other, it just means that they are not the same thing.
    Isn't it possible to believe a marriage is between a husband and wife, while not passing judgment on same sex couples?

  • Tony||

    Not really. The terms of this debate are pretty clear. All I'm saying is, if you're a libertarian, you are hardly chained to traditions of any kind. There is a clear liberal position and it's equal rights, it shouldn't be that hard for someone who would upend and redo vast sectors of society if you had your way.

  • farteater||

    The terms of this debate are pretty clear.

    The terms of the debate insist that one who believes that marriage is between a husband and wife does not want same sex couples to have equal rights. That is absolutely false.

    All I'm saying is, if you're a libertarian, you are hardly chained to traditions of any kind.

    That's not true. Being a libertarian means not using the government to force your traditions down other peoples' throats. There's no difference between using the government to force one definition or the other, which is why I agree that the government needs to get out of the marriage business.

  • Tony||

    The terms of the debate insist that one who believes that marriage is between a husband and wife does not want same sex couples to have equal rights.

    So you're not against equal rights--you're just forced to be because of the definition of a word? Consult a different dictionary. Plenty define marriage as two adults nowadays.

    If you're for any different legal arrangement, what it's called included, you are for unequal rights.

  • farteater||

    Depends on what you mean by equal rights.
    If you mean things like hospital visitation, death benefits, inheritance, and other legal rights that come with the contract, then yes.
    If you mean the ability to take individuals, businesses and organizations to court for saying "no", then I oppose what you call equal rights on the same principle that I oppose the part of civil rights legislation that makes it a crime to discriminate (I support the part prohibiting laws that mandate discrimination).

    If I had my way we'd have a Congress inspired by 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' where one chamber creates laws and the other repeals laws.
    The fewer laws (and by extension the fewer lawyers) the better.

  • ||

    Tony, what is the difference between "marriage" and a civil union that confers all of the same rights and obligations as marriage? If a civil union will result in you being just as shackled as a traditional marriage, then what is the difference? Is it just that homosexuals demand the right to marry, and also demand that everybody refer to them as married?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    That sounds a lot like Jim Crow to me.

    Bad idea.

    In this case it's all or nothing.

  • ||

    A truck isn't a car. You can do things with a truck that you can't do with a car, but they can both be used as a basic transportation vehicle.

  • farteater||

    Exactly.

  • ||

    What about the "I support rights for same sex couples, just don't call it marriage" position?

    That is the Democrat position.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Geotpf,

    You're right - most of them are NOT libertarians. They are mostly social and fiscal conservatives, which does not preclude them from liking a certain bigness in government, just not too much to become full-fledged fascists.

  • Geotpf||

    My point is that few people are calling themselves libertarians because they either aren't, or they want the votes of those who aren't.

  • RyanXXX||

    Does most of the voting public have a bad view of libertarians or something? I can see a candidate distancing himself from the Marxist or socialist label...but from my experience libertarianism is generally viewed positively

  • Warty||

    In my experience, we're viewed as somewhat noble, but silly and not quite fit for normal society. Kind of like nuns, maybe.

  • RyanXXX||

    Interesting

  • ||

    Except for when we're viewed as haters of poor people, American workers, Chinese workers and the environment.

    (Why do I let myself get drawn into political discussions with lefties? Way to kill my happy hour buzz with your stupidity, douchebags.)

  • Warty||

    Why do you talk to those people? You should do something constructive instead, like beating them with chains.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Wow. You are like a nun.

  • ||

    Warty the barefoot, chain-wielding nun. Underneath his habit lies a tangle of unwashed fur, and underneath that lies madness.

  • Warty||

    That does sound about right. How do you know me so well, dearie?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Didn't SugarFree write a few articles about you as a violent, hairy, insane nun? Seems like it would be right up his alley.

  • ||

    Well, I am now...

  • ||

  • Warty||

    This makes my tag the second-most used, behind Nancy Pelosi's. An accomplishment indeed.

  • ||

    I don't care what you link to SugarFree...i will never click it.

  • Brett L||

    Its the monocle. It intimidates them.

  • Geotpf||

    But many of those things are true. Take the enviroment. How would pollution controls work in a pure libertarian society? In a pure libertarian society, pollution controls on vehicles would be optional and usually not installed, because they add to the cost of the vehicle and reduce it's performance. So, the amount of pollution from vehicles would increase dramatically. Now, if my kid got asthma or something from all those polluting vehicles, I suppose what I should do is then sue every single car owner in the area for the .00000000001% of the problem that their polluting car caused? This is not practical in the least, like many pure libertarian solutions.

  • robc||

    Or, pollution might be banned in a pure libertarian society. We arent anarchists.

    Or somewhere in between, with a Coasian solution.

  • Jay Dead||

    I get the same reactions. People respect the consistency of libertarianism and largely agree with a lot of libertarian principles. I have had several people say, "I'd be a libertarian but..." and then I usually get some jive about how it's "not pragmatic" or how they don't trust the sheeple with freedom, or what about the children?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    In my experience, libertarians are viewed as belonging on a compound in the Montana wilderness as we bide our time waiting for revolution.

    That said, if it meant that government would leave me the fuck alone, that doesn't sound like a terrible alternative.

  • ||

    The whole point of what Matt is talking about is that there has been, for a little while now, a concerted attempt to smear the term "libertarian".

  • Warty||

    Which I'd be cool with, if we could get "liberal" back.

  • Zeb||

    That would be nice. I spent most of my life thinking I was a liberal, because I thought it meant leave people alone if they are not hurting anyone.

  • AA||

    I think that is what it means. The term has just been corrupted.

  • ||

    Ah, the good ole days.

    Conservative used to mean keep what you already have, and change cautiously and only when changing will better your circumstances.

  • Cyto||

    Go to any left-leaning blog and you'll find that libertarians are generally viewed with more hatred than Jerry Fallwell types. I think it has to do with an effort to keep the troops in line - we don't want any of our Progressive brethren aligning with the libertarians because of issues of social liberty!

    They have to demonize the libertarian view to preserve the big tent. There are many Democrats who are not particularly socialist but who vote primarily on particular social issues, like homosexuals, drug users, women (abortion rights, etc.), minorities... A large percentage of these people would be more at home in a libertarian party, so the left has to create a demon out of Libertarianism to keep them in line.

  • ||

    Yep. It would be great to find a JournoList email to confirm it.

  • rhofulster||

    Well said.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Exactly this.

    Most deems are not deems because they love progressivism, but because they hate social conservatism.

    I've maintained that if the GOP would get god out of policy matters, Team Blue would be nearly extinct.

  • ||

    Where exactly IS god in policy matters?

    Something like gay marriage? But the Egyptians didn't have it, nor the other great pre-christian civilizations--it's obviously based in something besides the bible.

    Evolution and Creation? That one divides more than teams red and blue

    Abortion? The bible is pretty vague on when a zygote becomes a baby(my fave is the whole first breath thing)

    I don't really see a lot of 'god' in policy matters that matter.

  • Psychic Octopus||

    You speak like Falwellites actually knew something about religious history, even of Judeo-Christianity.

  • ||

    I've maintained that if the GOP would get god out of policy matters, Team Blue would be nearly extinct.

    Yeah cuz the moderate republicans have done so well so far.

  • ||

    Most people still don't know what a libertarian is, and of that minority who have at least some idea, most are wary because l's have views that offend both Team Red and Team Blue

  • Robert||

    No, most people do know what a libertarian is better than they know just about any other ideologic label, because it has a name close to "liberty". I've polled on this. Try asking for an explanation of "conservative" or "liberal" or "nationalist", or "populist", and their understanding will be far weaker than that of "libertarian", because liberty is a simple fundamental concept, and the gap in understanding ("libertarian" vs. whatever) is even bigger if their general knowledge is poor.

  • TeamBlueMoron||

    Of course we don't like you. We know that secretly all your talk about private property is just cover for your secret plot to reinstate slavery, which you only want to do becuase you are all racists, straight up.

  • Nash||

    I'm not sure how libertarians are viewed by Joe Voter but among mainstream politicos the word "Libertarian" implies an extremist that thinks almost all laws should be repealed and taxes abolished. This is a nice intellectual argument or teaching platform for a guy like Ron Paul, but for a guy trying to actually win an election it comes off as pie in the sky and is very hard to take seriously from a realistic policy standpoint.

    The biggest problem is the Libertarian party doesn't have a platform of relaxing some drug laws, lowering taxes or making firearms more accessible. Instead they want to destroy the IRS and legalize Heroin and Bazookas.

  • Upgrayyed||

    "So you don't believe in roads then?" Every fucking time...

  • mad libertarian guy||

    No shit. That, or "but what about poor people?" are easily the first "questions" about libertarianism.

  • Geotpf||

    Well, what is the answer there? A lot of the times the reponse seems to be "Turn them all into toll roads," which ignores city streets completely.

  • Geotpf||

    Well, that is, in fact, what "libertarian" means, pretty much. If it doesn't mean that, it pretty much does mean "Republicans who want to smoke pot". In moderation, pretty much all libertarian policy positions are in the platform of one or the other political parties. Republicans want lower taxes and expanded gun rights. Democrats want less state involvement in personal issues and relaxed drug laws. Both sides want less government in some areas.

  • Nash||

    Yes but unfortunately the Libertarian party does not believe in moderation because they aren't trying to win elections. So instead of saying: "Let's legalize marijuana" they say "Let's legalize all drugs".

    "Let's legalize marijuana" while hardly mainstream has political merit. "Let's legalize all drugs" makes you sound like a kook.

  • waffles||

    libertarian sounds a lot like "fuck poor people and women, free market!" to some people round here

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Waffles,

    Well, some people are brainless...

    BTW, the current Welfare state is the greatest "Fuck you!" you could have created against the poor - it prostrates them.

  • ||

    It sure didn't work out too well for them in Georgia yesterday.

  • ||

    you make it sound like fucking women who are poor is a BAD thing, when it is anything but

  • ||

    now, if you had said "fuck over", then sure

  • Warty||

    What, bang someone on top of a glass coffee table while they're underneath?

  • waffles||

    Now I think it is like fucking a less wealthy woman while wearing a top hat and monocle and yelling out, "free market!"

    mmm

  • ||

    I think it is like fucking a less wealthy woman while wearing a top hat and monocle and yelling out, "free market!"

    Think? You mean you've never given a girl The Hayek before?

  • Fluffy||

    Well, since you bring up Buckley, I think the difference between the two labels can pretty neatly be summarized by saying that a few decades ago Buckley threw all the principled people out of the anti-welfare-state movement. Those people became "libertarians". The people allowed to stay held a hodge-podge of different views, and all of them friendly to the state in one way or another.

    So when people panic about being called libertarian but don't panic about being called conservative, it may be because they're afraid that being called libertarian will mark them for elimination when the next purge comes.

  • dave c||

    What libertarians did Buckley try to throw out? Rothbard?

  • ¢||

    So...

    Two not-quite-libertarian politicians, based on an apparently clear knowledge of what "libertarian" means, say they're not quite libertarians.

    TEAM BLUE! fake-libertarians, obscurely vindicated by this, point at them and talk about themselves.

    Then the bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve breakfast."

  • T||

    Anybody trying to run under the Republican ticket has to distance themselves from the libertarian label because of the social conservatives and law & order types in the efenant base. You admit you're a libertarian to those people, and the first thing they will throw out is "You want to legalize drugs!" There is no arguing, or even having a real discussion, with a lot of those people. Drugs are bad, libertarians support drugs, therefore libertarians are bad. This knee-jerk reaction is present in about half the republican base, from my experience.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Love it or leave it!

  • Mark Twain||

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.

  • I stole your bike||

    There is a difference between supporting drugs and opposing prohibition.

  • BakedPenguin||

    No there isnt love it or leave it!!!11!!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Sorry for that - even a half-ass attempt to troll should use a different handle.

    Inre your comment - people who think that not wanting something to be illegal is equivalent to saying "everyone should do that" is an authoritarian, if not totalitarian, mindset.

  • I stole your bike||

    I find that many religious people insist that atheists are self worshiping humanists, because they cannot wrap their head around the concept of not worshiping anything or anyone.

  • TeamRedMoron||

    NO THERE ISN'T. To even propose thinking about a distinction is to blame America for the problem. Are you in Al Qaeda or something?

  • SIV||

    Of course 95%+ of the Democrat base has the same reaction to private property issues.

  • Brett L||

    To be fair, the idea that libertarians are Republicans who want to legalize pot is not entirely unearned in the Southern states.

  • Geotpf||

    That, and not wanting to invade random Muslim countries all the time. Remember Giuliani attacking Paul during the 2008 presidential debates?

  • T||

    Yeah, the very idea that Muslims might not like us because of our foreign policy sent Rudy into an apoplectic fit.

  • rhofulster||

    Isn't legalizing drugs at the top of GJ's agenda?

  • Edwin||

    the only people with whom it's impossible to have a rational discussion is libertarians. You suggest school vouchers, and you're an oppressive statist, regardles of how much more libertarian it would be. You suggest we replace Euclidean zoning with Houston-style restrictions on real externalities, you get shrugged off that "what my neighbors do isn't my business". You suggest legalizing drugs but taxing them and restricting advertising, and they tell you the state has no right to do that.

  • ||

    Thank god that someone finally came along that has us all figured out.

    We have been unmasked, my brothers! Flee!

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    So you are anti-Euclidean?

    Sorry man. I prefer my parallel lines never meet. Even really far away.

  • ||

    "He said that the geometry of the dream-place he saw was abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours."

  • ||

    There's no place like home...

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, what you just discussed is an example of a rational discussion.

    So I guess that means that it's not impossible to have a rational discussion with a libertarian.

    Oh wait! I forgot. When you say "rational discussion" you mean, "I asked a libertarian to join the GOP and he said 'No', so he's completely irrational."

  • Edwin||

    BUllshit.

    It means that nothing's ever good enough for a lot of libertarians other than their utopia. So they end up not getting anything useful done in the real world. Indeed, numerous of the Free State Project movers don't vote because "It violates the Non-agression principle". Yeah, great job geniuses, move half way across the country to do nothing.

  • Fluffy||

    Well, then you're talking about pragmatism, and not rationality.

    "Pragmatically bending on some principles" bought a lot of libertarians moral complicity in the actions of the Bush administration and Obama administration. Some libertarians held their noses and compromised. Was the world saved? Nope. Actually, it got worse. Empiricism seems to be undermining your claim of pragmatism.

  • Edwin||

    A) Not in local politics,

    B) I'm not just talking about pragmatism. It's the silliness of absolutism. How libertarians repeatedly come up with wrong and way-out-there proposals.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Yep.

    I either want heroin available to school children, or I hate the poor and should move to Somalia if I want less government.

  • I stole your bike||

    Conservatards and libtards both agree that government has a duty to initiate force on others, they only differ over what.

    Both sides try to gain support of libertarians when they their opponent wants to initiate government force, and then mock libertarians as being unrealistically principled when their side wants to initiate government force.

  • Edwin||

    No, both sides understand that there are plenty of ways for people to fuck each other over, and to get fucked in general, that don't involve direct violence, and that the world is more complicated than that in general, and part of growing up is understanding that.

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • Fluffy||

    that the world is more complicated than that in general

    Only to thieves.

  • Edwin||

    "Only to thieves."

    Whiny shrill libertarian B.S. No real substance.

  • Fluffy||

    Nothing is more devoid of substance than the typical statist whine, "It's more complicated than that."

    It always - always - boils down to some unearned benefit the statist doesn't want to have to give up, or some rent-seeking activity they don't want to give up.

    I'm absolutely sure, for example, that your "plenty of ways to fuck each other over" that don't involve violence involve some piece of property you want that you think other people won't give you if they have the right to dispose of it as they see fit. And/or some exercise of judgment you want to be relieved of making.

    I've heard ALL of them, you see. And I still haven't been impressed.

    The "appeal to complexity" usually boils down to "rights for me, compromises with your rights for thee".

  • Tony||

    Nothing is more devoid of substance than the typical statist whine, "It's more complicated than that."

    I just spewed my scotch all over the place when I read this. What a fucking waste of scotch.

  • Edwin||

    Scotch?

    Christ, even a liberal, which is basically the political version of emo, is manlier than libertarians. I could never see these nerdo omega males drinking scotch.

  • ||

    Does most of the voting public have a bad view of libertarians or something?

    I'm going to say, "yes."

    Of course, most of those people are convinced crony capitalism is the same thing as free markets. And Booosh was a hard core deregulator.

  • I stole your bike||

    most of those people are convinced crony capitalism is the same thing as free markets

    I see that a lot and don't understand it.

    They'll say that the evil rich pull the politicians' puppet strings, and if only we give the puppets more and more power will they be able break the strings and start serving the people instead of the evil rich.

    It makes no sense.

  • ||

    It doesn't have to make sense; it allows them to hate the rich and have their class war without having to think!

    You have to realize how much of corporation/rich hate is merely the class war shit of leftists. For whatever reason, they are wedded to the narrative of the noble blue collar worker/farmer vs the plutocrats. They're sure it's true, and love any explanation that reinforces that.

  • I stole your bike||

    Gotcha. The foundation of the argument is emotion, not reason.

  • Josh||

    Pun intended?

  • Tony||

    Nobility has nothing to do with it. You can't watch all the middle class's wealth get transferred to the top 2% over 40 years and just whistle and pretend that it's not happening or that it's some natural market phenomenon.

  • RyanXXX||

    Exactly. It isn't a market phenomenon, it's a statist-corporatist phenomenon. The bigger the government gets, the more powerful it's financiers get. As in, those corporations you love to hate for all the wrong reasons.

    The state is a club used by those who wield it. Now, you can either get rid of the club wielders, who will soon be replaced by someone worse, or you can get rid of the club

  • farteater||

    How is the wealth being transferred?
    Are the rich stealing from the poor?
    Are the perpetrating a great fraud?
    Is the government taking it from us and giving it to them?

    I have no problem with rich people. Don't bother me a bit.
    I've never been employed by a beggar. I've only worked for rich people. I produce something of value for the rich person, they charge more than they pay me, and I don't mind a bit. If it wasn't for their idea that created the workplace where this all happens, I wouldn't have a job. They have earned the right to a higher income than me.

    This enables those rich people to buy things like flat screen tvs when they cost thousands of dollars. Rich people buying those things allows the rich factory owners to come up with ways to lower the price until I can afford to buy one. Without rich people I wouldn't have a flat screen tv.

    Psst.. They didn't have flat screen tvs 40 years ago.

  • ||

    The liberatarian is to political brands as ________ is to auto brands.

    I'd go with AMC.

  • Old Mexican||

    "liberatarian"??

  • Warty||

    Obviously it's DeLorean.

  • Brett L||

    Stainless steel patched over fiberglass?

  • ||

    not enough aluminum foil...

  • ||

    Toyota Prius. Might be a good car, who knows? I'm not trying one because while not everybody you see driving one is a fucking asshole, there are far too many and they're too loud.

  • Warty||

    I often see a particular Prius with a license plate that says "MY PART". My urge to kill takes days to subside.

  • Brett L||

    My winning lottery ticket fantasy invovles buying a 75 Ford diesel, putting a 6" diameter steel pipe on the bumper, filling the pipe with concrete and ramming the shit out arrogant fucks like that whenever I encounter them...

  • ||

    Great, Warty.

    Now my urge to inflict pain on some smug asshole is peaking right now.

    Thanks a lot.

  • ||

    You're joking. Please tell me you wrote that just to fuck with us.

  • Warty||

    Even I couldn't imagine something so vile. I'll take a picture next time I walk past it in the parking lot.

  • NoVAHockey||

    I saw a Tahoe once with CLM8WMR tags.

  • ||

    The liberatarian is to political brands as ________ is to auto brands.

    I'd go with Bugatti. It has a microscopic market share, everyone says "I'd love one, but . . . ", and it doesn't compromise.

  • ▲ ▲||

    Also, both subsist on the tears of hippies.

  • Upgrayyed||

    Pantera, with Sammy Hagar in tape deck. And your naked 18 year old sister riding shotgun doing a line off the dashboard.

  • Upgrayyed||

    Correction - De Tomaso would be the brand.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Can't the naked girl be not-my-sister?

  • Upgrayyed||

    Your is libertarian for someone else's.

  • Cyto||

    I'm with Cracker. I don't want to drive around with my naked 18 year old sister in the car either. That really cramps your game, even if you are driving a Pantera.

  • Upgrayyed||

    Try using your voice when you read instead of my voice.

  • Joe Dirt||

    "Well I didn't know she was my sister when I kissed her, so it's not my fault. And she's one of the hottest girls on the planet."

  • Edwin||

    Dude,

    white-bred, nerdo fuck douchebag libertarians couldn't get a woman if their dick was made of candy

    why do you think they're for legalizing prostitution?

    But seriously, libertarians tend to strongly follow a demographic - that is white, suburban middle to upper class, and nerdy, beta-male types.

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • Upgrayyed||

    FYI- going for your masters in sociology isn't a career, even in the hood.

  • Psychic Octopus||

    I thought that was why we were for gay marriage. Please instruct me.

  • MadJeeper||

    Never ever disrespect my old Jeep.

  • Old Mexican||

    You can see in both the Paul op-ed and the Johnson interview that major-party politicians are nervous about being tagged with a label that seems to imply a rigorous and radical platform covering a wide range of issues.

    The reason they want to label themselves as something besides "libertarian" (even when they espouse clear and amply libertarian principles) is because many people think a "libertarian" is someone that favors drug use and tax evasion... which I do favor, but also favor economic liberty, not only social.

  • ||

    My understanding(*) is that Glenn Beck labels himself as a libertarian. IMO, Beck is a garden-variety Social Conservative(**), not a Libertarian(tm), not even a libertarian. Given that Beck is most peoples' only exposure to libertarianism it's highly understandable that socially moderate, libertarian-leaning pols would want to distance themselves from him.

    Plus, what T and others have said.

    ---------------

    *I don't watch his show, so this all based upon the reporting of Sullivan, et als.

    **Apparently Beck has decided, recently, conveniently and belatedly, to be on the right side of history in regards to Perry v. Schwarzenegger, so maybe he actually has some libertarian leanings.

  • Brett L||

    The right side of Perry v. Schwarzenegger -- A pox on both their houses?

  • ||

    Glenn Beck is political talk show Jerry Springer. He fancies himself a social culture lightening rod and pushes all of his audiences buttons regardless of his own beliefs. Its all about the Ratingz!

  • Cyto||

    I've never watched his show either, but he sounded pretty libertarian on Stossel last week. I wasn't really paying attention, but I think he even advocated privatizing the army. Heck, that's way out there in the libertarian hinterlands - even farther out than legalizing heroin and LSD or privatizing roads...

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I saw Beck espouse the wonders of cops for 5 long fucking minutes the other day, and he encouraged everyone to go suck a cop's dick because of "their selfless willingness to take a bullet for me each and every day". Fuck Glenn Beck and his storm trooper worshiping ass.

    He's no more libertarian than your average Southern Baptist preacher.

  • Tony||

    Beck came out in favor of gay marriage recently on libertarian grounds.

  • Old Mexican||

    Yeah, more or less. Stossel is much more principled in that regard: Gays, lesbians, straights, should be able to marry whoever they wish, as long as it was consentual and not marry a little girl to a 50 year old or something.

    I say: Polygamy should be allowed. What is wrong with a man having several wives, or a woman having several husbands?

  • Edwin||

    it is allowed. Basically everything is allowed.

    The question is whether their contracts are enforced, how they're treated under taxes, and whether they can adopt, etc.

    But the sex and relationship parts are all legal.

  • I stole your bike||

    Beck is evolving.

    The first time I heard him he was definitely a conservative.
    In the last year especially he has really been questioning his conservative justifications for the initiation of government force and becoming more and more libertarian.

  • ||

    Last time I heard Beck (involuntarily; my grandparents had him on and I was at their house), he was a raving conservative with conspiracy theories. From what I've seen above, and some other stories over the last few months, it sounds like he's improving. Unfortunately, he's still a loon.

  • T||

    I lump him in the same category as Maher. He's not really a libertarian, he just calls himself one. However, he is trending more libertarian and he is doing a good job at opening some of the blinders on the right. If any of us here come out and say "privatize the military" we'd get dismissed. Glenn Beck says it, and some people are going to listen and start thinking. For that alone, I'll give him a pass.

  • MNG||

    I agree Maher's self labeling as libertarian is goofy. He does that because he wants to appear so "a pox on both your houses."

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Earlier this week I heard Beck say that government spending, including military spending, has to be cut across the board. Not something you hear from fire-breathing conservatives.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Of course that same reasoning also leads anyone who isn't a slave to Faux News to believe that all libertarians are simply more right wing nutty than your average conservative.

  • MNG||

    I don't know what I like best about Beck: the chalkboards or the weeping...

  • MJ||

    Then Beck fits right in.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Ya, he is stumbling in the right direction. He still has lots of knee-jerk flag-worshipper in him, and he might be too old to ever get rid of all of that, but he seems to be making an honest effort to form a coherent moral theory on the proper role of government, which is more than most people.

    He does seem kind of crazy too. But I don't mind a little bit of crazy in a TV talking head. Hell I don't mind a lot of crazy.

  • I stole your bike||

    My hope is that he is opening up a new way of thinking to the knee-jerk flag-worshippers in his audience.
    Recently he pimped The Road to Serfdom on his program and it immediately soared into the NYTimes top ten.
    Sometimes I get the impression he has become more libertarian than he is willing to admit, and keeps some of the conservative schtick so as to not alienate the hardcore conservatives in his audience.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tonio,

    My understanding(*) is that Glenn Beck labels himself as a libertarian. IMO, Beck is a garden-variety Social Conservative(**), not a Libertarian(tm), not even a libertarian.

    He's more libertarian-ish than other radio comentators (except Mark Carbonaro, who's the real deal), but he's also too pro-Israel, pro-war on "terror" and too many other "pro's-" to be a principled libertarian.

  • ||

    I blame "the children". If it weren't for them, we'd be in Libertarian paradise by now.

    Should I fetch the torch and pitchfork?

  • Ray||

    It's an issue of semantics. People have positive opinions of the word "conservative" by a double-digit margin, and negative opinions of the word "libertarian" by a double-digit margin.

  • ||

    We need flexible branding. When the Dems are in power, we should be the anti-Dems. When the Repubs are in power, we should be the anti-Repubs.

    If somebody complains that we're never for anything, just tell them we haven't seen anything yet to be for, and in the meantime, we'd just like to be left alone.

  • T||

    Given that a major part of vision for government is a government that leaves people alone, I'm fine with that.

  • Brett L||

    "We're the people who hate people party. Come, join us!"
    -- Bill Hicks

  • Edwin||

    Who's afraid of the term "libertarian"? I am.

    I'd be a libertarian, but the word more and more refers only to the most extreme and dogmatic, who end up saying crazy things. Some gems that I've seen come out of libertarians repeatedly:

    -Drunk Driving should be legal (because it doesn't violate the NAP)
    -It counts as consent if you coach a child into giving you sexual favors in exchange for toys (dude even has a radio show)
    -There should be no IP
    -If you're blocking someone's path, or blocking their car's path, you're not violating their rights because you have a right to stand where you want - an few libertarians have been arrested doing this. Similar arguments for land and road access - to the point that in 2003 a couple of libertarians murdered a few cops and there was a standoff in Abbeville, SC
    -and of course the Rand Paul civil rights thing, which is just silly in terms of EFFECTIVELY ending Jim Crow in the 1960's

    This'd be fine if it were just a few nuts. But this going full-retard is overly prevalent among libertarians. It'd be like if 30% of liberals were actually outright communists. And libertarians love to define libertarianism to include only these types of weirdos and exclude the normies.

  • Robert||

    It's funny how flexible some are on that, depending on their mood or where they are in courting support. Libertarian activists will tend to count the moderate libertarians as on their side, but later disavow them. They'd like to count a large fraction of people they've never heard from as libertarian, but when anyone comes to their att'n, they'll discount them. So it's like there's a ton of libertarians out there at the grass roots waiting to be mobilized, but when anybody prominent adopts the label, they'll find something to disagree with them about and on that basis rule them out.

  • MNG||

    Is this for real? Hell, I'm not a libertarian but answers for your complaints spring readily to mind. While drunk driving per se might not be banned in libertopia any harm done while driving drunk would certainly be. And if you stand in someone's path on their property or property they have a right to traverse I think you'd be in the wrong in libertopia. And I know very few libertarians who think minors can contract, much less sexually consent. WTF?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Is this for real?
    Short answer: No.

  • ▲ ▲||

    It is if you're a Lew Rockwell libertarian.

  • Brian Defferding||

    I don't know man, as a card-carrying Libertarian I support the Civil Rights Act, I just don't think it's a perfect piece of legislation (none of them are) and yes, I disagree with the part where it gives the federal government powers to punish private businesses for doing their own version of crowd control. That doesn't mean the act was bad as a whole.

    I'm a minarchist but also a realist, I know abolishing Social Security is out of the picture but I also support allowing citizen to opt out of it; I'm fine with public schools but I would want an open-enrollment voucher system that's competitively funded, somewhat similar to San Francisco's solution.

    I think Michael Badnarik had a great speech recently about how Libertarians spend too much time arguing with each other on the 2% of things they disagree on and instead need to work on realistic solutions in the areas that they do.

  • T||

    Libertarians spend too much time arguing with each other on the 2% of things they disagree on

    He forgets that fundamentally we're all just a bunch of contrary fuckers who like to argue.

  • LibertarianGuy||

    He forgets that fundamentally we're all just a bunch of contrary fuckers who like to argue.

    No we aren't.

  • Leroy||

    Yes we are

  • ||

    Hyper-individualists have a hard time cooperating?

    Shocking.

  • Edwin||

    hyper-individualist

    that's libertarian code speak for sociopathic kleptocrat

  • ||

    And "Edwin" is code-speak for "dipshit." Fuck-off, troll.

  • Edwin||

    I've on more than one occasion heard libertarians use property rights as an excuse for murder

    on more than one occasion, they have actually followed through

    take the hint

  • ||

    You aren't even funny. Go back to raping cacti, shitwit.

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • ||

    I love you, barfman.

  • Obama||

    I disagree because I am a sociopathic kleptocrat.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I grow suspicious of anyone who wants to paint political libertarianism as an all-or-nothing proposition.
    Even though I'm essentially an anarchist, I recognize that there is a long, long road between here and there.
    To paraphrase something Harry Browne said on the campaign trail, "If you believe in smaller government, hop on the only train going in that direction. You've got plenty of time to get off before the end."
    Those folks who say -- oh, oh, libertarians want to legalize children having sex with heroin dealers, so we certainly can't move to shrink government (i.e. in a libertarian direction) -- are disingenuous fucks.

  • Edwin||

    Nobody's saying that -

    but clearly, if the side that wants to minimize government also says stuff like that, it will make a lot of people severely skeptical of all our ideas

    And they sure as hell won't want to vote for libertarian representatives. Hell, I wouldn't either.

    In short, you're ultimately doing freedom more damage than any socialist, authoritarian liberal.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Speaking of disingenuous fucks...

  • Edwin||

    how is that being disingenuous?

    it's true and you know it

  • ||

    I believe Edwin is working on providing us with a laboratory-pure example of concern trolling.

  • T||

    He thinks if we sounded more like pro-government authoritarians, the statists would take us more seriously.

  • ||

    T? Is he frumming us?

  • Edwin||

    I'm saying if you were less of a bunch of crazy fucks people might actually listen and possibly even vote for more liberty

    as opposed to writing us off as a bunch of crazy fucks

  • ||

    Stop using "us," wetbrain. Your reverse-no-scotsman argument is slightly more retarded than your syphilitic mother.

  • Edwin||

    ya, if these hippie scum would just do what we say and shut the hell up, we could really stick it to the other hippie scum on TeamBlue. What was I saying .... oh ya, Yay Liberty*!

    *when I say Liberty, it means whatever the hell I want, you nerdy, white, hippie scum. I won't be dragged into discussions based on abstract principles, because I always get my ass handed to me when we go down that road.

  • Edwin||

    libertarian discussions on abstract principles always seem to completely ignore the real world

    take the hint

  • Psychic Octopus||

    so do conservative discussions on drugs and terror, and liberal discussions on health and race.

  • T||

    Apparently so.

  • Brian Defferding||

    Maybe they should stop serving coffee at their conventions.

  • LibertarianGuy||

    I think Michael Badnarik had a great speech recently about how Libertarians spend too much time arguing with each other on the 2% of things they disagree on and instead need to work on realistic solutions in the areas that they do.

    I completely disagree. It is critical that we reach consensus on the issues before we begin to work on any solution, realistic or otherwise. Without consensus on the issues we'll never be able to achieve our goals.

  • Old Mexican||

    Edwin,

    Let me explain to you a few things:

    -Drunk Driving should be legal (because it doesn't violate the NAP)

    No sir, NOT ONE libertarian says that. What most propose (and so do I) is that it should not be penalized, because driving drunk in itself leaves no victims. IF insurance companies raise your premiums because you drive drunk, so be it. IF a jury awards a higher compensation to your victims because you were drunk, so be it. But this "prevention" measure creates more problems than what it tries to correct. Why doesn't the police extend such policies and arrest a person for carrying a prying bar [he may me commit a burglary, ya know!] even when he has not committed a crime.

    -It counts as consent if you coach a child into giving you sexual favors in exchange for toys (dude even has a radio show)

    Use your head, Edwin. Do you think that has anything to do with Libertarianism?

    -There should be no IP

    Why should there be? There has been already a heated debate on the matter. My contention as a libertarian is that IP is a direct transfer of title of someone else's PHYSICAL property towards some arbitrary "originator."

    -If you're blocking someone's path, or blocking their car's path, you're not violating their rights because you have a right to stand where you want


    Not true. In fact, it is contrary to libertarian principles.

    - an few libertarians have been arrested doing this.


    This is pure libel. WHO has been arrested? Linkey-link, please...

    Similar arguments for land and road access - to the point that in 2003 a couple of libertarians murdered a few cops and there was a standoff in Abbeville, SC


    They were libertarians, or kooks? Calling them "libertarians" does NOT make them libertarians.



    -and of course the Rand Paul civil rights thing, which is just silly in terms of EFFECTIVELY ending Jim Crow in the 1960's


    And you're being totally dishonest. Rand Paul objected against the provision that imposed non-discrimination on private businesses, as if needed. He did NOT object to ending Jim Crow laws, which are entirely creatures of Omnipotent State.
  • Edwin||

    if you think drunk driving should be legal, and even think its illegality causes more problems than it solves, you are a fucking moron.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for being so god damned stupid.

    I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Fluffy||

    I think everyone would agree that drunk driving should be illegal after you hit something. You can even call it murder, in my book - if you hit something.

    But if activities can be made illegal in order to effect a prior restraint of something that has the potential to create harm, well - poof! There's the entire regulatory state right there. Right back in.

    I understand that many people consider drunk driving inherently reckless, and thus akin to reckless endangerment - like firing a rifle in a crowd. The problem is that I think this vastly underestimates the amount of drunk driving that's actually going on, relative to the number of accidents that occur.

    Are you standing there telling me you've never once in your entire life driven a car when you would have blown a .08? If you have, please report to the appropriate jurisdiction for arrest and surrender your license to the DMV immediately.

  • Edwin||

    "But if activities can be made illegal in order to effect a prior restraint of something that has the potential to create harm, well - poof! There's the entire regulatory state right there. Right back in."

    That doesn't follow at all, you're an idiot.

    There are plenty of people who don't believe in the regulatory state but do believe in drunk driving laws. So how is there a slippery slope?

  • Edwin||

    in other words, there is no slippery slope when the people who see the thing that you say would cause a slippery slope see it as COMPLETELY QUALITATIVELY DIFFERENT than you do.

  • Fluffy||

    There are plenty of people who don't believe in the regulatory state but do believe in drunk driving laws.

    Those people don't realize that their intellectual inconsistency isn't sustainable for the polity as a whole. It's certainly not sustainable within the law.

    This is part of why I have to laugh at your claim that you're pragmatic. You think that there's no need to follow principles because you can just draw little policy lines and tell the state not to cross them. That doesn't work and it has never worked. Societies and legal systems just don't FUNCTION that way.

    If you allow the law to engage in prior restraint, that's exactly what it will do, in every area into which it can extend itself over time.

  • Edwin||

    I never claimed to prgamatic. Just not dogmatic and retarded, like so many libertarians are.

    And they aren't being intellectually inconsistent. YOU'RE making comparisons that don't exist. If you say that the state can legitimately outlaw drunk driving, that does NOT mean that the state can also have the FCC, for example.

    That you can't see that is amazing. There's something wrong in your brain.

  • Fluffy||

    If you say that the state can legitimately outlaw drunk driving, that does NOT mean that the state can also have the FCC, for example.

    Well, the FCC would not be a good example.

    It definitely strengthens the case for an FDA, however.

    "We must prevent drunk drivers from endangering people, even if they don't hit anyone. It's too late once they've hit someone!"

    "We must prevent untested drugs from hurting someone. It's too late once they've hurt someone!"

    The problem is your brain.

  • Edwin||

    there is a difference between something "might" happen, that comes with a trade-off that drugs end up more expensive, and people might die from lack of said drugs while they;re still being approved

    and someting being EXCEEDINGLY LIKELY to happen, with the only cost being the enforcement costs (i.e. policing) of said rule

    You're the only one that sees drunk driving laws the way you describe

    your brain is screwed up

  • Fluffy||

    I would say that it's very likely that over 90% of the drivers in the United States have driven at least once with a BA over .08.

    If it's "exceedingly likely", shouldn't all of those people gotten into fatal accidents?

    How about you, sport? Have you ever driven after having 2 drinks? If so, how many times?

  • Edwin||

    Great job, so now you're using made up statistics.

    Which you probably shouldn't do, since the actual statistics overwhelmingly show that drunk driving is very dangerous to the driver and other people and drivers.

    And by trying to negate the basic facts, you've reverted to a utilitarian argument. But I thought it was all about principles!

    Congratulations, you're now stupid on multiple levels - utilitarian and principles/logic.

  • ||

    What the statistics actually show us is that drunk drivers probably get in proportionally more accidents than sober drivers. Even that isn't ironclad, however, since nobody actually knows what the ratio of sober to drunk drivers is, not even overall, never mind on one specific road on one specific day, and without that information it's impossible to know anything for sure. What is fairly certain is that most people arrested for drunk driving report having previously driven drunk repeatedly-- frequently, even-- without being caught; you rarely hear them whining that they got caught the first time they ever did it. This means, pretty clearly, that even among repeat offenders there's a lot more accident-free drunk driving going on than there is drunk driving that results in an accident.

  • Edwin||

    OK, so when I go to a public park, can I play my favorite game? It's called grenadees.

    To play grenadees, you sit down in the crowded picinc areas where people are eating lunch. Then you get your bucket of grenades. All the grenades are dead, except one, which is live and will work. You take your bucket, put the lid on, and shake it about, to randomize it all. Then you take out one grenade and pull the pin.

    There's a CHANCE that I may kill a few people.

    Are you really going to tell me that everybody would NOT be justified in FORCIBLY stopping me from my wonderfully fun game of grenadees? I mean, who are they to stop my fun game. I have a right to play games damnit!

  • Psychic Octopus||

    Do you understand the concept of "initiating aggression"?

  • Psychic Octopus||

    The same you accuse libertarians of always opting for all-or-nothing solutions, most non-libertarians (and non-anarchists) left and right alike deny they are causing slippery slopes. In reality, though, they all have ended up starting them. This new time is not different to all the other times.

  • Edwin||

    Do you understand the concept of the right to life, liberty and property?

    Do you not understand that there is no slippery slope, you're just too dumb to understand that drunk driving laws are part and parcel of protecting life, liberty and property?

  • Psychic Octopus||

    That was an answer to the grenadees comment. The lack of thread structure at this level made it unclear.

    Crashing laws and speed laws are part of protecting life, liberty and property. No need for an additional law for DUI.

    Otoh, DUI laws just make it only one step to mandate all kind of laws about what you can or not have or do in your car, as well as all other manners of drinking laws.

    If you can be stopped for driving at dangerous speeds or erratically, there is no need for an additional blood alcohol content law. Least of all since everyone, because of a multiplicity of factors, reacts different to the same amount of alcohol. I can see drunkenness being used in a case for something else to increase a penalty, but not as a crime itself.

    That said, yes, I know it has zero chance to pass a legislature and that any politician proposing it will not be elected. It doesn't mean I cannot try to argue for it. But it does mean that I can and should consider what each candidate's proposals regarding DUI are, if they have them, and if I cannot move forward at least not move backwards.

  • Fluffy||

    If you're blocking someone's path, or blocking their car's path, you're not violating their rights because you have a right to stand where you want

    Before about 1915, it would have boggled the mind of any American [and most Britons] that any citizen could be arrested for standing in a road.

    And in sociological / historical terms, it would be hard for me to think of any single factor - including poverty-reduction programs - that did more to hobble the citizenry to the harness that the statists want us to wear than the process of subordinating actual real live human beings to the needs of the automobile.

    That was the camel's nose long before SSI was even a glimmer in FDR's eye.

  • Edwin||

    You're an idiot.

    And you could be arrested for that or things like that.

    If you're blocking someone's path you're using force. Unless you also admit that it's OK for me to run you over.

    Hey, how about I visit you where you work, and then stand right at the exit door of your office? The minute you try to move me, I scream "Assault! Assault!" THEN we'll see if you think that blocking someone's path counts as force/rights violations.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    OK Edwin. I fully denounce "standing in peoples way". I won't even think through the implications involving the proper role of government. I'm making a strictly non-principled utilitarian decision that maybe you will go away and shut the fuck up if I do this. Now prove me right.

  • Edwin||

    it's not a utilitarian argument. This is actually one of the things that does indeed follow from logic if you start with the NAP.

    but only a libertarian's "logic" could fail to see that.

  • Fluffy||

    If you're blocking someone's path you're using force.

    No you aren't.

    You are creating an inconvenience.

    The idea that you're using force requires you to believe that you can have a superior claim to a piece of public property that I reached first and am currently in.

    Does that let people be dicks? Maybe.

    The reason this possibility makes you panic is because we've constructed our society in a way that requires vast amounts of public space devoted to transportation, and where people can't afford to encounter delays in traveling through that space. But you know what? That's not my fault, babe.

  • Edwin||

    I'm talking standing right up at the front bumper of a car that's parked in front of another car

    if it's not force, then can I run you over and kill you, since you've left me no other path.

    It has to be one or the other

  • Edwin||

    It's not an inconvenience, you can make it impossible for the driver to leave without running you over

  • Leroy||

    Dumbass

  • Fluffy||

    So don't travel by car.

  • Edwin||

    THAT DIDN'T EVEN ADRESS THE ISSUE!

  • Psychic Octopus||

    In an extreme situation as you seem intent on forcing, it would be kidnapping then yes, you can run over.

    I fail to see it being a very realistic possibility. Certainly less realistic than a drunk driver making it home perfectly safe.

  • Psychic Octopus||

    That comment was meant for one of the immigration threads, I suppose.

  • Psychic Octopus||

    All of them could be defended with libertarian arguments. That doesn't mean they actually are being defended with libertarian arguments. I certainly see no politician getting elected with that platform, even politicians that most people here would vote for.

    As everyone else has kindly explained for you, libertarians disagree on a lot of things too, and all of these things already are or can foreseeable be an intra-libertarian debate.

    The need to associate libertarianism with its most controversial aspects of it regardless of many other aspects and regardless whether or not libertarians make good policy proposals outside these controversial areas, implies intentional myopia or an agenda out to smear libertarians. We can recognize that there are better liberals than others, and better conservatives than others. We don't need to say that all conservatives think the earthquake in Haiti is divine punishment just because one prominent conservative said so. Characterizing us for what are or can be our most controversial positions is at least intellectually dishonest. It's a shame it's the standards the current media has us used to.

    I take your point that libertarianism is historically and by its very nature a movement more likely to create intellectual debate than electoral politics. That doesn't mean it's impossible to have "moderate" libertarians as you would call them, elected to office running for either of the duopoly or even on a Libertarian party ticket itself.

    I don't consider myself a libertarian, by the way, only a libertarian-leaning conservative. I won't enter into details here; it would be distracting and useless.

  • Edwin||

    There is no smearing.

    Libertarians are commonly that stupid. It's overly common among libertarians.

    The psychos of the conservatives or liberals are in the minority. The crazies in libertarians almost define libertarianism. There is certainly at least too much of them.

  • Psychic Octopus||

    Probably because most "moderate" libertarians already are in the two mainstream parties and play that game. Libertarians who explicitly refuse to be part of the duopoly (even when they support the occasional duopoly candidate) have to be more extreme than those who routinely compromise - be it for social liberals in the Democrats or for economic conservatives in the Republicans.

    You could say the same about every political family that is not really part of the Red-Blue duopoly: hard socialism, hard feminism, environmentalism, theocrats, anarchism: the ones not moderate enough to be Republicans or Democrats will seem like crazies to the mainstream.

  • Robert||

    Basically nobody likes any label regarding their ideology. In the USA, even having an ideology per se, even if it's sui generis, is to be avoided, but everywhere having a group label implies that one is not an independent thinker. Libertarians tend especially to be independent, so they more than others can be expected to avoid the label.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Just 'cause I need to vent:

    I just got a press release asking if I'd like to see an advance copy of Emma...and the Vampires. The same author is at work on Pride and Prejudice... and Moby Dick.
    I shit you not.
    Please God. Let it end. Let it end.

  • robc||

    Is this from the same author who did Pride and Prejudice...and Vampires or some copycat idiot?

  • robc||

    ummm, Zombies.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    The latter.

  • robc||

    Next thing you know, some moron will write a faux-historical letter about the Roman empire fighting zombies.

  • T||

    I prefer my plastic centurions to fight Daleks.

  • Coeus||

    Who?

  • Fluffy||

    OK, I'm stealing that idea.

  • Fluffy||

    And my fearsome IP lawyers will be upon them in an instant!

    Oh wait, that's right, Edwin told me that us libertarians don't believe in IP. Oh well. I guess I'm screwed.

  • robc||

    Umm...Fluffy, I was referring to you as the moron. :)

  • Fluffy||

    My ability to refuse to infer is greater than your ability to snarkily imply.

  • robc||

    Time for yet another edition of robc's two rules of libertarianism:

    1. Everyone agrees with libertarians about something.

    2. No two libertarians agree about anything.

  • T||

    There are slightly more versions of libertarianism than there are libertarians.

  • Psychic Octopus||

    There are about (SqRt of 2)*(number of libertarians) versions of libertarianism.

  • robc||

    There should be no IP.

  • Old Mexican||

    Edwin,

    Let me explain to you a few things:

    -Drunk Driving should be legal (because it doesn't violate the NAP)

    No sir, NOT ONE libertarian says that. What most propose (and so do I) is that it should not be penalized, because driving drunk in itself leaves no victims. IF insurance companies raise your premiums because you drive drunk, so be it. IF a jury awards a higher compensation to your victims because you were drunk, so be it. But this "prevention" measure creates more problems than what it tries to correct. Why doesn't the police extend such policies and arrest a person for carrying a prying bar [he may me commit a burglary, ya know!] even when he has not committed a crime.

    -It counts as consent if you coach a child into giving you sexual favors in exchange for toys (dude even has a radio show)

    Use your head, Edwin. Do you think that has anything to do with Libertarianism?

    -There should be no IP

    Why should there be? There has been already a heated debate on the matter. My contention as a libertarian is that IP is a direct transfer of title of someone else's PHYSICAL property towards some arbitrary "originator."

    -If you're blocking someone's path, or blocking their car's path, you're not violating their rights because you have a right to stand where you want

    Not true. In fact, it is contrary to libertarian principles.

    - an few libertarians have been arrested doing this.

    This is pure libel. WHO has been arrested? Linkey-link, please...

    Similar arguments for land and road access - to the point that in 2003 a couple of libertarians murdered a few cops and there was a standoff in Abbeville, SC

    They were libertarians, or kooks? Calling them "libertarians" does NOT make them libertarians.

    -and of course the Rand Paul civil rights thing, which is just silly in terms of EFFECTIVELY ending Jim Crow in the 1960's

    And you're being totally dishonest. Rand Paul objected against the provision that imposed non-discrimination on private businesses, as if needed. He did NOT object to ending Jim Crow laws, which are entirely creatures of Omnipotent State.

  • ||

    For extra credit, compare and contrast "Edwin" to the remarkably similar sounding "reason is questionable" from this thread. And the first full on eruption of "Patriot Henry."

    Same tone, same fake concern, same incoherent babble.

  • Edwin||

    the only people with whom it's impossible to have a rational discussion is libertarians. Purple giraffes are awesome. But only if the meat helmet doesn't interfere with the chronoton wave field. Otherwise you have to do the whole thing over again, possibly even recalibrate the phase array. And you know what that means? Thats right! Yahtzee!

  • Coeus||

    I don't know about the rest of you, but when it comes to women, I'm a closet libertarian. I find myself making appreciative, non-commital noises when they talk about how great Obama is. I kinda feel like a sellout, but it beats not getting laid.

  • Warty||

    Have you tried shoving your dirty socks into their mouths?

  • Coeus||

    Of course, but you have to work up to that. It's typically after handcuffs but before nipple clamps.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    You do know, don't you, Coeus, that there are attractive intelligent women on this earth?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Admittedly, I may have married them both. Sorry.

  • ||

    You're a bigamist?!? Why would you do that to yourself?

  • T||

    Deep seated masochism is the only explanation.

  • ||

    Edwin, like many people, confuses "driving 'drunk'" with "CRASHING 'drunk'".

  • Edwin||

    if anyone wants to know why people are afraid of the word "libertarian", just see the above discussions about drunk driving and blocking paths.

    Nobody wants to be associated with that kind of stupidity. It's depressing how stupid so many libertarians are.

  • RyanXXX||

    Sorry to depress you asshole. Luckily we have people like you to hang around libertarian forums and shoulder the burden of pointing out how stupid we are

  • ||

    The word, "libertarian," is a great adjective but a self-marginalizing noun. The problem with it is it has been identified with the self-marginalization practiced in the political playground inhabited by the Libertarian Party and the academic navel-gazers over at LewRockwell.com

    Consider the two phrases,
    1. He is a conservative politician.
    2. She is a libertarian politician.

    Nearly everyone will assume candidate #2 is a member of the Libertarian party while candidate #1 party affiliation remains completely unknown

    That is the reason anyone who is not a self-marginalized member of the LP would back away from the label. It is a label associated with politically futile, self-marginalized whiners who wish the game were played according to their rules and will not participate until someone (someone else, that is) changes the rules to their liking.
    -Jahfre Fire Eater

  • ||

    Why do Libertarians only get 1/10 of 1% of the vote in national elections? Seriously! Why?

    And I understand that there is a big new interest in Libertarian thinking (based on a manufactured hatred of Bush) but even if they grow 100 x, as a group, they still won't be as big the Boy Scouts.

    The truth is that once people find out what Libertarians believe they are repulsed. Why?

  • cheap watches||

    nice

  • Justen||

    Scrutiny schmootiny, the word you're looking for is "propaganda" and fortunately for libertarians the main demographic that still pays any attention to the propagandists are due for a visit by a certain scythe-wielding spook in the next couple decades. It's going to be hard to mess this one up. I'm not saying leave it to chance, just that my last concern is what the drooling retard zombies in the media have to say.

  • Justen||

    @Edwin: way to fail. Someone responds effectively to you, you retort with inane mockery and ad-hominem (ironically calling your opponent stupid). If this is Jahfre's set of "rules" libertarians expected to play by, it's no wonder they don't participate in the game.

  • Nike Dunk High||

    thanks

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement