Attn: D.C.-area Reasonoids! Come See Matt Welch Debate Jonah Goldberg at AEI Wednesday Night on the Question, "Are Libertarians Part of the Conservative Movement?"

On Wednesday, Feb. 8 (tomorrow!), at 6:30 p.m., I will be locking horns with National Review columnist (and American Enterprise Institute scholar) Jonah "Liberal Fascism" Goldberg over where us libertoodlians belong in the American political scheme of things. The event is in the belly of the beast AEI Conference Center, at 1150 17th St., NW, Washington, DC 20036, two blocks from Farragut North metro station, so I need all the minority rooting-section support I can get!

Registration begins at 6:15, debate from 6:30-7:30, wine & cheese reception to follow. The good folks at America's Future Foundation are co-sponsoring.

Goldberg was one of our three contributors to the contentions "Where Do Libertarians Belong?" cover package in August 2010, which you can read here. He then debated co-debaters Brink Lindsey and Matt Kibbe live at Reason D.C. HQ, which you can watch below, and he also tussled with Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy over the subject six months prior to that.

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  • Paulie Krugnutz||


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  • spencer||

    "And really, when you think about it, you know better than to do what you did when I'm in a mood."

  • Dubya||

    He he he hehehe.

  • Fluffy||

    I would rather me and Matt Welch debate "Can we fit Ramesh Ponnuru's head up Jonah Goldberg's ass?"

  • ||

    Would you be arguing for the pro or con?

  • tarran||

    Why hold a meeting? The answer is unequivocally no.

    Libertarianism, at its core, is a radical left wing phenomenon. It says nothing about preserving institutions, but rather allows people to live their lives however they wish to. Conservatism attempts to preserve institutions, by compulsion if needed, even if people are deciding to abandon them.

    The socialists who took up conservative tools of state coersion and regulation to try to acheive theri goals of egalitarianism have made conservatives in the U.S. occasional allies of convenince, in that some of the institutions the egalitarians try to destroy and conservatives try to preserve are helpful to individual liberty.

    In the end, though, as we saw in Reagan's reign & Bush's reign, the conservatives may talk a good game, but they do very little to advance liberty and do a great deal to harm it.

  • Tak Kak||

    Private property is an institution and it being upheld (via coercion, no less) does not allow all people to live their lives however they wish.

  • The Question of Auban||

    Tak Kak (or White Indian perhaps?),

    Do you own your own body? Yes, or no? If so, why? If not, why?

  • Tak Kak||

    I'm for private property. I'm willing to use coercion to defend it. I'm not leftist at my core.

    To answer your question though, yes. Because I control it.

  • The Question of Auban||

    I agree with you, for a moment I thought you were going in a different direction there. And I thought you were someone else. But I do not think acting to defend your own (justly acquired) property it is "coercion". The person doing the coercing is the potential thief.

  • Tak Kak||

    We both are.

    Coercion - the act of compelling by force of authority.

    My coercing the thief is just "just."

  • The Question of Auban||

    This may seem like semantics but I think it is actually important.

    According to Oxford it means "the action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats"

    In this case you are persuading someone to NOT take an action, in this case an action in violation of your own rights.

  • Tak Kak||

    It seems pretty clear semantically (and Oxford is a good ally).

    I (and my shotgun) am persuading you to put my wallet down and get the hell out of my house.

  • ||

    No, they are not part of the conservative "movement", which is devoted to far too many authoritarian projects that libertarians oppose.

    They do, however, have certain opportunities for tactical or strategic alliances.

  • Robert (in the Bronx)||

    Hard to say even what "the" "conservative" "movement" means. Most of the time, conservatism is resistance to change, but at various times and places we get stances labeled "conservative" whose meaning depends on context, and some of those could be associated with movements. Maybe bowel movements, but movements, anyway.

  • WWNGD?||

    Sorry, too many big words for me.

  • ||

    Ask Jonah Goldberg if he believes in freedom.

    If he lies and says he does, you have my permission to kick him in the nuts.

    Same for all those other warmongering fucks at AEI.

  • Janis||

    Freedom's just another word for nothin left to loose.

  • The Question of Auban||

    Standard political labels are part of the problem. I don't care whether you think of yourself as more of a "conservative" or more of a "liberal". Those are standard political labels and they are increasingly meaningless. Heinlein said it best: "The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."

  • robc||


    Wow, that was a short debate. However, it would be nice if some conservatives were part of the libertarian movement.

  • Tak Kak||

    If the libertarians are trying conserve liberty sure. They could be considered part of the conservative "movement."

  • spencer||

    I think this should only end in fists punching faces.

    Also, white guys in that video should swap out their glasses for monicles.

  • Randy||

    Should be interesting. Having come to libertarian politics via conservatism, I think libertarian politics is generally an easier sell to conservatives than it is to so-called liberals. At least most conservatives show some wariness of government power, whereas liberals, not so much it seems. MHO, anyway.

  • spencer||

    That's because liberals are hypocritical even more so than conservatives.

  • nj||

    more like wariness to government aid to poor people

    As far as the question goes, FUCK NO

  • nj||

    more like wariness to government aid to poor people

    As far as the question goes, FUCK NO

  • cynical||

    No. Isn't it enough that we have a common enemy in progressive economic intervention? With old school conservatism, I would add progressive antipathy for Constitutional safeguards against the abuse of power, but the new conservative moment seems fine with tossing all that shit in a wastebin. Now for every "the constitution is old and shit and white slaveowners and three fifths of a person" there's a "the constitution is not a suicide pact."

  • Robert (in the Bronx)||

    You saying it is a suicide pact?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    The small glimmer of hope is that a lot of conservatives (myself included) are coming around to the notion that we were all fooled by W. and blinded by 9/11. I like to think that the current crop of Republican losers who are trying to become President are the last gasp of the brief-but-meteoric rise of the neoconservative.

  • jj||

    As one that fell into that category too, I hope you are right, Blue Moon.

  • ||

    Thanks for a classic example of using the "no true scotsman" fallacy, Jonah.

  • Joe M||

    Matt, thanks for that strikeout. It just clicked for me why I seem to have such mixed feelings about AEI. For quite a while now, I've been conflating it with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. I'm not sure I entirely realized they were two separate entities. It was kind of a Superman/Clark Kent thing.

  • ||

    Matt for the love of Rand, Hayek, and Mencken. You simply MUST lay a painful and merciless smackdown on that loathsome beast shat from the colon of hell.

  • ||

    I wish I could be there. Goldberg is simply wrong in prior (and apparently current) assertions that libertarians are some form of "conservative," and that the GOP offers them their natural home. He seems to treat this subject, and opportunities to expound upon and debate it, as infotainment, political theater, and not as something about which he has any sincere personal convictions. He says very cutting things about libertarians and libertarianism, but pleads "hey, it's just in fun" when cornered. Sorry, pal, but that dis-ingenuousness fools nobody by now. Please mob the floor with him. But do it in a nice, entertaining way so libertarians won't seem like macho flash intellectual bullies.

  • ||

    xxx "please MOP the floor with him, Matt."


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