Rand Paul Learns from His Mistakes

Here's an anecdote worth noting in the New Republic Rand Paul profile that Matt Welch noted earlier today. It begins by recounting Paul's not-so-smooth appearance at Howard University two months ago:

The real Slim Shady can't be found.Paul, spiritedly quoting Toni Morrison, informed the students that Republicans had once been the party of the abolitionists and Democrats the party of Jim Crow. He inquired, "How many of you, if I were to have said, ‘Who do you think the founders of the NAACP were,' did you think they were Republicans or Democrats?"

Unfortunately for Paul, the students did know that the founders were Republicans and were not shy about letting him know that they knew. "Which Republican Party are you talking about?" one asked. "The party of Lincoln or the party of Nixon?"...Most students I spoke to described his visit as "condescending." "You're coming to Howard University, and you're telling us about the history of black people?" one young woman said.

It was a wince-worthy moment. But apparently Paul learned from his mistakes. The New Republic piece continues:

This is what democracy looks like?two days later in Louisville, Paul made a less-publicized visit to Simmons, another historically black college, and this time, he took a humbler approach. He turned down the podium, preferring to sit in a circle with students, professors, and members of the community. "I want to learn from you," he said. For the most part, he avoided the intertwining histories of African Americans and the Republican Party. Instead, he turned most questions back on the questioners, asking politely for their opinions.

And rather than try to prove that the Republican Party had been good to blacks once upon a time, he focused on how the Republican Party could be good to them today. He talked about decriminalizing drug offenses and getting rid of the mandatory sentencing minimums that put so many young black men in jail. He talked about fixing the local school system, about not abolishing Pell grants "as long as it's in the context of spending what you have." To approving nods, he talked about how urban renewal had really meant "urban destruction" and about how "they tore down a lot of black businesses so people would go to white stores." He found that this crowd, if not totally convinced, was receptive. Though he would still not give them a definitive answer on his position on the Civil Rights Act, he did say that he believed federal intervention had been justified. "I'm not a firm believer in democracy," he explained. "It gave us Jim Crow."

The democracy line is strange, or at least it sounds that way out of context. (I assume he was trying to make a point about minority rights and majority rule. But the Jim Crow states weren't exactly an example of democracy in action, considering all their efforts to prevent black people from voting.) Nor am I entirely sure what the Pell grants line was supposed to mean. (Again, I would like to know more about the context.) But the shift does reveal an openness to feedback. And the revised approach -- particularly the decision to highlight what Paul wants do for black voters, a subject that wasn't absent from the Howard speech but got buried beneath the history talk -- seems far sharper than what he tried the first time around.

The change is a sign, as the New Republic writer notes, that Paul is a politician who knows how to adapt. It also suggests that the senator knows he'll be dogged in 2016 by his comments about the Civil Rights Act, and that he wants to go on the offensive here rather than just play defense. Paul-watchers can expect this strand of the story to keep developing.

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.

  • A Serious Man||

    Though he would still not give them a definitive answer on his position on the Civil Rights Act, he did say that he believed federal intervention had been justified. "I'm not a firm believer in democracy," he explained. "It gave us Jim Crow."

    Wow, I don't think I've ever heard a high profile politician say anything like that before.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Ya, I don't find it strange. It does require listener to think about what is being said and take it seriously, and I guess it does interfere with years of "democracy=good" indoctrination. But I don't understand what is strange about it at all. Shouldn't even be controversial when speaking to a self proclaimed minority group.

  • ||

    If you switch the word "democracy" with "majority rule" then it makes perfect sense.

  • John||

    It was a wince-worth moment. But apparently Paul learned from his mistakes. The New Republic piece continues:

    Why was it wince-worthy Jessee? Seriously? What because a bunch of pampered lefty shitheads didn't like being reminded of facts that didn't fit their narrative? To say it was wince worthy is to say that you have to lie to black people or avoid mentioning uncomfortable facts because they can't be expected to handle the truth. That seems a lot more wince worthy than anything Paul said.

  • Jesse Walker||

    It's wince-worthy to tell people history they're all familiar with as though you're revealing some big hidden truth. Of course they knew the NAACP was founded by Republicans. I can't think of any reason why they should be uncomfortable with that fact or feel it contradicts a narrative they hold dear.

    Imagine a Democrat making a pitch for the votes of a hard-money Ron Paul crowd by saying, "Who do you think shut down the Second Back of the United States? Democrats or Republicans?" The audience would roll their eyes, and rightly so.

  • RBS||

    Of course they knew the NAACP was founded by Republicans.

    Debatable.

  • John||

    Jesse,

    I think you give the modern college student way too much credit. I bet most of the people in that room didn't know any of that.

    I can't think of any reason why they should be uncomfortable with that fact or feel it contradicts a narrative they hold dear.

    I can. The narrative is that anyone who is not an economic leftist is a racist. The idea that someone could be for small government or anything but socialism for reasons that are not racist is completely foreign on most college campuses and certainly at Howard. The narrative everyone who is not a socialist is so because they are racist. It is not about black equality anymore. It hasn't been for 30 years. The leftists co-opted the movement Jessee.

  • Hyperion||

    The real problem is the great white patriarchy. Everyone who is enlightened, knows this.

    If all western white males disappeared off of the planet, right now, the world would instantly be transformed into a utopian paradise where no injustice could ever exist.

    That viewpoint is at the very core of the modern day leftist movement.

  • John||

    They always need an "other". The other used to be the Jew. Now the other is the western white male.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    They'll always have the Jews and the Gypsies.

  • ||

    If all western white males disappeared off of the planet, right now.....it would create a huge crisis for the hordes of people who make a living whining about western white males. At least until the gasoline ran out and the electricity quit and then they will have other things to worry about.

  • Lord Humungus||

    did someone say guzzoline?

  • JW||

    Just walk away...

  • ||

    Honestly I'm not confident that all or even most of the audience members new that the NAACP was founded by such. Nor that all or even most in the Ron Paul crowd would know the answer to your question.

  • Almanian!||

    Gotta agree with the others on this - never underestimate the lack of historical knowledge by [particularly] the youngsters these days. Even minorities whom one might expect would be more likely to know "their" history [RACIST TO SAY!].

  • John||

    One other thing Jesse,

    If speaking the obvious is so offensive, then I guess if he would have gotten up and talked about lynching, that would have been offensive too? Isn't is condescending to talk about something they all know to be true?

    Of course they never would have had the reaction they did if Paul had given some groveling speech about the evils of Republican racism. The only got offended because he spoke the truth. And to that I say tough shit. The only way for the truth to win out is for someone to speak it.

  • Another David||

    It's speaking the obvious like it's some momentous revelation. "The NAACP was founded by Republicans. Now it's made up almost entirely of Democrats. Parties change," wouldn't be condescending, but that's not what he said.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I guess I've had so many moron politicians who I already hate tell me (as part of a larger audience) shit that I already know so many times that I forgot what it's like to even be offended by that.

    But if I squint really hard, I can see it.

  • BigT||

    I don't mind when they are telling me the truth. The other 97% I find offensive.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Of course they knew the NAACP was founded by Republicans. I can't think of any reason why they should be uncomfortable with that fact or feel it contradicts a narrative they hold dear.

    Jesse, we are talking about Howard. I, for one, will never forget how, when a brutal double murderer was found not guilty, the students of Howard cheered because of the color of the murderer's skin.

    Of course they think that Democrats started the NAACP. Their racism is only exceeded by their ignorance.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Unfortunately for Paul, the students did know that the founders were Republicans and were not shy about letting him know that they knew. "Which Republican Party are you talking about?" one asked. "The party of Lincoln or the party of Nixon?"

    Would that be president Nixon that enacted affirmative action, created the EEOC and presided over the whole 'forced bussing' episode?

    Yeah, that guy clearly hated black folk.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Understand, as with not knowing that Republicans founded the NAACP, they are also unaware that Nixon created AA, the EEOC and busing.

    They are unaware of these things because it is not taught. Watching a teacher grudgingly admit that Frederick Douglas was a Republican to my larva in high school made this abundantly clear.

    The Nixon thing is a really important issue as it puts the lie to the idea that all the racist Democrats leapt to the Republican Party after the CRA passed in the sixties(though no one has ever explained why the racists would run to a party that was known for supporting civil rights). Because of this AA is taught as if it just appeared.

  • ||

    After some of the things I have read about Howard University, you do have something of a point. However....

    If your audience feels that you are being condescending, it is because you are being condescending.

    No matter how right Paul was, his delivery was inappropriate for the audience at Howard.

    I can be as big an asshole as I want to be and say whatever I think in whatever way I like, but I am not in office or running for office or trying to win any kind of popularity contest. Besides, it is just you assholes here and you make me look like a nice guy by comparison.

    Paul doesnt have that luxury.

  • John||

    But how was Paul being an asshole? How was it condescending? I am not seeing any of that. The only reason people are saying it was is because they didn't like the truth of what he spoke about.

  • ||

    It's possible that a majority of the students that came to see Rand Paul at Howard didn't know the history, and he got called out by a few that did. Or, the students that came to see him have an interest in politics and political history, especially as it pertains to their race.

    It sounds as if he learned as much from the visit as they may have learned from him, if not more. The positive thing is he did learn from it and instead of repeating what failed, on his very next appearance he just started asking instead of telling. It's a rare politician that will do that. The vast majority think they are our betters and act like it. I don't get that impression from Rand at all. Will it translate into more success for him? I hope so, and not for his own sake.

  • Xenocles||

    If you're trying to win someone over, it doesn't matter how a third party sees you. It only matters how the object of your ministrations sees you.

  • John||

    But lying doesn't win anyone over. If the lesson Paul learned from this is that you have to lie to black people and never mention facts that make them uncomfortable, then he won't be winning over many black people very soon.

    The fact is that most black people have been raised on a diet of complete ahistoric bullshit put out by the Left. You never going to win black people over to anything if you help perpetuate those lies. As hard and uncomfortable as it may be at first, the truth has to be told over and over again. The first rule is tell the truth. Then convince people after that.

  • Xenocles||

    I didn't say anything about lying, but you can't deny there's something wrong with taking the podium and lecturing to them like you're going to set them straight. Even if you're 100% right it's a sure way to sow resentment. I like the idea of the Simmons event better though I know nothing about how it went.

  • John||

    These people have been told for their entire lives that anyone who is not a hard left Democrat is a racist. So, how exactly are you going to overcome that if you don't point out that it is not only not true, but in fact the opposite has often been the case in history?

  • Xenocles||

    People don't respond to mere facts. Presentation matters. Those who fail to understand this quickly become irrelevant.

    So with the NAACP founding thing, maybe you say "Hey, my party was once really closely aligned with your interests. What happened to change that? What do you think we could do to improve?" No, they should not compromise on ideals, but they could work on making clear how those ideals can help everyone.

  • John||

    Hey, my party was once really closely aligned with your interests.

    That is pretty much what he said. And they all got pissed. Anything short of "all white men are racists and I am so sorry for being a white man" was going to piss these people off.

  • Xenocles||

    But that's not what he said. He said "I bet you don't know the history of your own culture." And he was probably right about most of them. But that doesn't win any friends. People don't like being hit over the head with their ignorance, you need to nurse them out of it. It takes a specific set of skills that hard-minded people often mock as useless, but they're important.

  • JW||

    You never win an audience over by talking down to them. That's public speaking 101.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Agreed. Personally, I didn't find his remarks offensive (perhaps a bit tone deaf), but it's irrelevant what I think since I'm not in the audience. Rand Paul's calibration of how to articulate his message was the right move, and is a skill that is sadly lacking among most other libertarians.

  • Xenocles||

    We're full of idealists, and idealists aren't good at incrementalism or dialogue. We want it all now because it's the right thing, dammit, and you don't compromise on the right thing. This makes it hard to achieve anything that isn't one step away.

  • ||

    Besides, it is just you assholes here and you make me look like a nice guy by comparison.

    True facts, Suthenboy. Are you the last Southern gentleman, or do they have more hidden away down there, hunting gators by moonlight and, like, opening doors for ladies and such?

  • John||

    Don't let him fool you. He is a bigger asshole than Epsiarch. Well maybe not that big. But no one is that big. But he is close.

  • JW||

    I think John is challenging Epi to a Rap Battle. Or a Breakdance Battle. It's hard to tell sometimes.

  • ||

    "...Breakdance battle...."

    I laughed. Hilarious.

  • ||

    What? Didn't they already have that battle (pretty sure Epi's on the right)?

  • ||

    Sorry, video stops working partway through. Try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp4wEewrQdU

  • ||

    I always open doors for ladies, and I exclude you from the list of 'assholes around here'.

    Truth is I see a lot of males around here holding or opening doors for females but when I go out of the deep south, not so much.

    Going into a convenience store in Tucson once I held the door for a woman who was approaching and she froze in her tracks. She refused to walk through and looked at me almost in terror. She actually had no idea what I was doing and it raised her suspicions. Wow.

  • JW||

    That's awesome about Tucson. She learned her lesson after that nice ICE officer held that door open for her, ONCE.

    FWIW, I do the same and it's usually well received in the DC and Bal'mer environs. I trained The Boy to do it was well, which he does dutifully.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    once I held the door for a woman who was approaching and she froze in her tracks. She refused to walk through and looked at me almost in terror. She actually had no idea what I was doing and it raised her suspicions. Wow.

    Happens to me all the time (I live in CO). Either they wonder what you are up to, or are hostile as they don't "need" anyone to hold the door for them. Feminism seems to have messed up a lot of people.

  • ||

    Well, I was raised that as a girl, you shouldn't *expect* it (just like you don't expect anyone to pay for your dinner) but if someone offers, a big smile and a thank you is very much de rigueur. I don't get what's so hard for some people about basic politeness.

  • T||

    I can be as big an asshole as I want to be and say whatever I think in whatever way I like, but I am not in office or running for office or trying to win any kind of popularity contest. Besides, it is just you assholes here and you make me look like a nice guy by comparison.

    Paul doesnt have that luxury.

    Sure he does! He probably comes across as less of an asshole than anybody here.

  • Tony||

    It was not an uncomfortable fact because the audience was clearly smarter than both Rand Paul and you and are capable of appreciating the only relevant fact in that little line of bullshit about the parties--that the parties of today are completely different from the parties of 150 years ago. Completely reversed in many ways, in fact.

  • ||

    That is rich coming from you. Laughable even.

  • Almanian!||

    The change is a sign, as the New Republic writer notes, that Paul is a politician who knows how to adapt.

    Better.

    Yeah, I like R. Paul, too - but I never forget he's a politician. Now, with that said, it wouldn't hurt to have a WHOLE lot more like him around...

  • Hyperion||

    Rand Paul learns from his mistakes

    So, he's stopped pandering to the SoCons? When did that happen?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Not a mistake. Enough with your whiny monomania.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Definitely not a mistake. The SoCons are the largest group of activists in the party, with the liberty movement coming in a close second. Marrying the two movements make sense pragmatically, especially when the SoCons can be won over to the liberty movement's position on many issues and in a time when there is a good degree of crossover between the two movements.

    The democracy crusaders and D Brooks types in the party are a far greater threat to liberty right now than the SoCons; the SoCons can be co-opted into the liberty movement.

  • squarooticus||

    Until the SoCons give up the "geyz are the DEBIL!" crap, they will continue to repel independents and urbanites from the Republican party. "Republican" is an epithet all along the east coast because it is associated with social neanderthals who want to interfere with relations among consenting adults.

    I'm also having a hard time believing you're going to get the SoCons on board with drug decriminalization.

    Both are litmus test issues for educated, independent, libertarian-leaning young people.

    SoCons and libertarians are oil and water. One group is growing, while the other is rapidly shrinking in both economic and demographic terms. Now tell me again which group the Republicans should pander to?

  • John||

    Do me a favor and build a fire pit the next time you want to build a straw man. I mean seriously.

    And moreover, couldn't you say the same thing about urbanites and guns? Unless and until ignorant urbanites give up their bizarre superstitions about guns, they will continue to repel more enlightened rural voters.

    Funny how you give urbanites a total pass for having damaging and completely ignorant views about the environment and guns, but SOCONS are supposed to completely leave political society over gay marriage, not gays mind you, but gay marriage.

    I would suggest you find a different mode besides politics to express your inner prejudices and bigotries.

  • squarooticus||

    Huh? I not giving them a pass over it. I'm not even talking about my preferences: I'm only talking numbers as they relate to value judgments made by potential voters.

    To spell it out for you: the *facts* are that same sex marriage and marijuana decriminalization are majority positions now, and I don't ever see that going back the other way. Given that SoCons are a part of the core of opposition to both, I don't see how they can be a useful part of a liberty coalition, both being opposed to liberty and being repellent to a large and growing segment of the population with high voter turnout.

    The same simply isn't true of guns. Lots of gun lovers vote Democrat, mostly because despite the media noise guns are not much of an election issue for either side except immediately after some kind of massacre occurs or gun control legislation has been passed: it is at the top of very few peoples' lists. OTOH, very few social liberals ever vote Republican because the GOP is viewed as the party of religious nuts who want to control peoples' lives. Whether this is actually less true of the Democrats is completely irrelevant: as an urban dweller with friends from all over the economic and demographic spectrum, I am simply telling you what it is like here.

    Continued GOP coalition with the SoCons guarantees demographic death. The world is becoming increasingly secular and tolerant of deviant behavior. Straw man this is not.

  • John||

    Given that SoCons are a part of the core of opposition to both,

    No they are not. Gay marriage is opposed by huge numbers of blacks and Hispanics. And further, gay marriage is barely a majority position. Moreover a lot of things have majority support. But having majority support is different than people voting on said issue. It is far from clear that supporting gay marriage means shit at the national level. Obama was against gay marriage for nearly all of his first term.

    The same simply isn't true of guns. Lots of gun lovers vote Democrat,

    In the years the Dems don't talk about guns sure. In years the Dems go on a gun control bender, they don't and the Dems pay enormously for it.

    very few social liberals ever vote Republican because the GOP is viewed as the party of religious nuts who want to control peoples' lives.

    And the Dems are not the same? I don't see the GOP telling me how large my soda can be. That is only true if ass sex is the only part of your life that matters. If you value anything else, the Dems are pretty scary.

    The bottom line is that everything you say about SCONS can be said about urban voters. Urban voters are profoundly ignorant about guns and the environment. But you give them a pass because you are just as ignorant yourself and you hate SOCONS. We get it. You are a bigot. Take your bigotry somewhere else.

  • squarooticus||

    Given that SoCons are a part of the core of opposition to both,

    No they are not. Gay marriage is opposed by huge numbers of blacks and Hispanics.

    So, in John Calculus, A=B and C=B implies not A? Good work, bud.

    In the years the Dems don't talk about guns sure. In years the Dems go on a gun control bender, they don't and the Dems pay enormously for it.

    At the national level, which is why you haven't heard a peep about it in months. It's dead at the national level, because the Dems know passing it will bring out way more pro-gunners than hoplophobes.

    And the Dems are not the same?

    Why can't you read? I'm not contesting this: I'm simply telling you that urbanites reflexively vote Democrat because the Republicans have so tarnished their brand by association with the SoCons that urbanites will not even consider voting Republican. It will take decades to repair this, and only if they start now. As I said repeatedly, I'm not talking about my own preferences: I'm simply telling you what drives the voting patterns of my friends and neighbors and coworkers. It's reality: deal with it.

    We get it. You are a bigot. Take your bigotry somewhere else.

    GFY, John. At least my reading comprehension has passed the 3rd grade level.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    the *facts* are that same sex marriage and marijuana decriminalization are majority positions now

    Barely. More importantly, they're not issues that most of the population bases their votes on. More importantly, SoCons are certainly *not* part of the core opposition to Mary Jane legalization -- it isn't a cause that they donate money to, turn out to vote against in large numbers, or have a large impact on in the same way that they do for, say, abortion or gay marriage.

    Vis a vis guns, you're just being mendacious: there actually is a large constituency that is willing to be one issue voters on guns, which is why Dems have moved to the right on that issue. Besides the cases where the SoCon on display is some idiot who can't keep his damned trap shut, voters don't care if a candidate politely euphemizes "I believe marriage is between one man and one woman" or some such, and won't vote against him for that reason.

  • Azathoth!!||

    To spell it out for you: the *facts* are that same sex marriage is a< majority positions now

    Is it? It failed in California when it came to a vote. The courts had to force it through.

    If SSM isn't a majority position in California, is it a majority position anywhere?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Not a strawman John this is what SoCon mouthbreathers really think and say. They are a liability as anything but a tool for us.

  • John||

    No they don't. You are an idiot Cytotoxic if you think that. And moreover, if we are going to start kickign people over the side for being stupid, I would say urbanites fail on the issue of guns much worse than any SOCON fails any issue.

  • Cytotoxic||

    1) I'm not an idiot you are blinded by your hyper-defensive reactionary culture war shit. For all the stuff you know John you are still a conservatives aka The Help (for libertarians). Go to Breitbart and read comments about how the Gay Agenda is coming to take your kids away or how gay marriage will be The End of The World. Or how Amnesty will be The End of The World.

    2) I didn't know 'urbanites' were a political movement. It's true the gun thing is a problem but guns are gaining acceptance homophobia is not.

  • squarooticus||

    No they don't.

    I want to go one fucking year without a GOP candidate opening his trap about legitimate rape or marriage being between one man and one woman or some other such bullshit before I'll believe they have any interest at all in liberty.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Neither the GOP nor the Dems, both being national parties, will ever approach that level of perfection. Making that statement is another way of saying that your vote is unobtainable, in which case it would be foolish for me to expend any efforts on trying to obtain it, wouldn't you agree?

    Regardless of one's personal views on SoCons, the represent a potentially easy co-opt for libertarians as opposed to the general population.

  • squarooticus||

    If you can convince SoCons that black is white and up is down, I'll be the first to applaud you. Frankly, I wonder if you've even *met* a Calvinist or a midwestern Jesus type: these people don't respond to logic in the same way you or I might. These are people who think "scientist" is a bad word. I shit you not.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I don't really care how SoCons respond to logic; I am far more concerned with how they respond to political incentives and so far they appear to be a reasonably good constituency for libertarians to germinate their ideas in.

    I am puzzled by your beef with Calvinism; theologically evangelicals are Arminianists (i.e., anti-Calvinists), and John Calvin was obviously highly intelligent and reasoned as can be determined by a reading of Institutes of the Christian Faith. I am not a Calvinist, but associating them with SoCons and the evangelical movement is a bit odd.

  • squarooticus||

    I don't really care how SoCons respond to logic; I am far more concerned with how they respond to political incentives and so far they appear to be a reasonably good constituency for libertarians to germinate their ideas in.

    What is their incentive to play ball? What am I as a freedom advocate going to be asked to give up to have these people on board? They're not going to join a political movement just because it's the trendy thing to do.

    I am puzzled by your beef with Calvinism; theologically evangelicals are Arminianists (i.e., anti-Calvinists), and John Calvin was obviously highly intelligent and reasoned as can be determined by a reading of Institutes of the Christian Faith. I am not a Calvinist, but associating them with SoCons and the evangelical movement is a bit odd.

    The ones I've met are not that well-read, evidently. I mostly get to the point where they're telling me evolution is only a "theory", I roll my eyes, and move on. Even my really-not-cafeteria-Catholic friends (like "no sex before marriage" for realz) are on board with science and evolution and the earth revolving around the sun and all that jazz.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Their incentive to play ball with libertarians is 1) to preserve a social and economic space for themselves that is increasingly being arrogated by the state, 2) adherence to the Constitution (most SoCons seem to find that an appropriate end in itself), 3) a greater chance to put pious or sympathetic candidates into office (such as Rand Paul), and 4) an opportunity to duke it out at the state level.

    As a freedom advocate I would suggest that you would probably have to indulge any anti-clerical impulses outside of politics, and would have to have some level of tolerance for people who are willing to talk about Jesus on the same level as Rand Paul. Those both seem like small potatoes to me.

  • squarooticus||

    Their incentive to play ball with libertarians is 1) to preserve a social and economic space for themselves that is increasingly being arrogated by the state, 2) adherence to the Constitution (most SoCons seem to find that an appropriate end in itself)

    I hope you're right on these. I doubt you are, however. All sorts of people profess a desire for small government and adherence to the Constitution, right up until their guy wields power.

    3) a greater chance to put pious or sympathetic candidates into office (such as Rand Paul), and 4) an opportunity to duke it out at the state level.

    Thus tarring the GOP at the national level with the SoCon antics of state politicians. Don't tell me it won't happen, because it will.

  • John||

    Goldwyn,

    The only right you have is the right to butt sex. All other rights are subject to approval by your betters.

  • ||

    For two years the dems had both houses and the presidency. Instead of accomplishing a zillion good things they have always purported to stand for, they blew their whole wad on a socialist scheme on medicine.

    That plainly shows who and what they are.

  • squarooticus||

    Never said it didn't, Bungalow. Whether the impression reflects reality or not, I'm just telling you why urbanites would rather stick icepicks in their eyeballs than vote Republican. Republicans are viewed, rightly or wrongly, as worse on social freedom than Democrats.

    You can of course try to sell the "wrongly" story while sucking up to the SoCons: good luck with that. I'll get the popcorn.

  • squarooticus||

    I actually have a startling number of libertarian and AC friends: maybe 10-15? And not even from libertarian meetups (heh) or any such nonsense: some from work, some online, some from hockey, and a few I have myself bred. I have one Republican friend. Then a lot of independents who mostly vote Democrat.

    The remainder reflexively vote Democrat. Icepick territory, there. The type who will never talk to you again if you admit you voted Republican, no matter who the candidate is, because voting Republican means you are evil.

    How does the GOP fix this kind of damage to their image?

  • squarooticus||

    I'm pretty sure it's at least as well-reasoned a response as

    I'm pretty sure urbanites would rather stick icepicks in their eyeballs than vote Libertarian

    :-)

  • squarooticus||

    Tell me again which of the two major parties in our two-party system is libertarian? Oh, that's right: neither. For most people, if you vote and you don't vote Republican, you vote Democrat. Urbanites aren't voting for libertarians for many reasons, among them that libertarians can't get elected. I hear the anti-Republican invective every day: it really is GOP hate rather than Democrat love.

    BTW, as I lived in NY for the first half of my life, I will clue you in on a little secret: no one ever thought Bloomberg was a real Republican. Republicans in NYC are less-liberal Democrats, but since you've got Team Red and Team Blue and no one else can compete, if you're running to the right of Lenin you run as a Republican. I'm sure something similar is true of Democrats running in places like South Carolina. Besides, it's an especially bad example because Bloomberg quickly shed the Republican label and became an independent, which is to say a NYC liberal not affiliated with the Democrats. NYC is truly a singular place.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Every single libertarian who's gotten elected has done so with an 'R' after his name. I think it's pretty damned obvious which of the two parties will vote libertarian.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The type who will never talk to you again if you admit you voted Republican, no matter who the candidate is, because voting Republican means you are evil.

    IOW irrational bigots.

    Best way to deal with them is open ridicule, get them to isolate themselves, because I guarantee you that most people are hyper political assholes.

    And if by some misfortune, that describes the people in your social circle then get a new one - for your own sanity.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Should be 'most people are not hyper political assholes'.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Reason, or pretext? Northeastern Republicans are rarely the type of religionists who would repel the average urbanite, and the Republicans who do win are the same breed of freedom-killer as the Dems who run (see Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney for more info).

    Revealed preferences vs stated.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    For all the bitching about the youth vote, it's hard to care about someone who doesn't show up. Those people who do go out and vote generally don't give two shits about gay marriage; they won't vote against or for someone on that issue alone. Republicans didn't lose the east coast on account of gays; they lost them because the east coast is more receptive to progressive politics than the rest of the nation. The Western US is probably the most irreligious region of the country, and Republicans do just fine there. Mitch McConnell did well in VA, as have many Republicans who affiliate with or are self-described SoCons.

    As far as drug decrim goes, you would be surprised. A number of prominent SoCons have stated a preference for outright legalization. Plenty of committed Christians minister in prisons (myself included) and have great sympathy for criminal reform. Besides, you don't need the SoCons to become partisans in favor of drug decrim -- you just need them to get the hell out of the way, which is the position that they are increasingly taking.

    SoCons and libertarians both have far more common interests at the moment than libertarians have with almost any other active political constituency ATM. Co-opting SoCons is a mutually beneficial move.

  • John||

    The people who are talking about prison reform and the outright evil of our current system is SOCONS. But they get no credit for it because so many people are just nasty ass bigots and SOCONs are the one group that it is socially acceptable to hate these days. They are the new "other".

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Which is another reason why it is intelligent to co-opt them now, rather than later. Libertarianism lends itself to being preached to marginalized groups, and a cursory examination of American politics indicates that religious fervor tends to be cyclical in this country. I would prefer that my co-religionists be more open to the ideas of liberty than not, and libertarians are making a huge mistake if they think that a mutual animus towards SoCons is going to bring in the votes for their candidates and issues.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    "The Western US is probably the most irreligious region of the country, and Republicans do just fine there."

    Have you looked at Colorado or California lately? The donkeys are DEAD in CA state politics. Albeit, a lot of the damage is from gerrymandering. I'm not sure the state tilts so far to the left as it appears, but even so.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yeah, but SoCons are stupid and easily lead. They're going the way of the dinosaurs and we can use them in the meantime. Once we're done using them we lose them.

  • John||

    Yeah, but SoCons are stupid and easily lead

    Stop trolling. I bet you have never met a SOCON in your life. If you had, you would understand that is completely not true. If anyone in our society is stupid and easily lead, it is the urban liberal.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I bet you have never met a SOCON in your life.

    Don't need to I just need to observe their fecklessness over the last 10+ years. Jesus go...shoot something at the range. Anything to turn down the whininess.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That's one way to go about it. Another is to subsume the movement into the greater liberty movement to the point that SoCons establish a modus vivendi with those outside the movement that would be acceptable to libertarians, and join libertarians in campaigning on areas of mutual interest.

    At any rate, they are a potential asset.

  • Cytotoxic||

    A short term tactical asset for our 'point men' like Rand. Not long term partners. Even if they agree with us (debatable), they're too incompetent to be trusted, which is basically true of all conservatives. And SoCons in particular are dying out.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Most political groups are rather incompetent and willing to be lead 'round the nose. The difference in the case of SoCons is that they gain no material benefit to having a large government (as is the case with, say, trade unions and pubsec associations), and are receptive to arguments made on deontological grounds.

  • Tonio||

    SoCons can be won over to the liberty movement's position on many issues

    LOL.

  • JW||

    Yeah, I'm not buying that either. They're a bit tied up over ORDAH.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    They already have been. School choice, homeschooling, and economic liberalism were not historically associated with politically active Christians in the US, and you would have been laughed at had you suggested such during, say, the Progressive Era or even during the New Deal. The SoCons have, as a matter of political survival, had to satisfy themselves with a modus vivendi on gays and the irreligious. Allying with libertarianism presents an attractive alternative to losing again and again.

    Post-Cold War, SoCons also have a variety of foreign policy views that aren't strongly held. There's no reason they can't be drawn to a less interventionist philosophy.

    I challenge you to find a politically active group that is more receptive to libertarianism than SoCons in modern American politics.

  • John||

    We know tonio, your right to butt fuck is the only right that matters. Right to bear arms, an end to the prison state, right to home school, right to practice your religion, those are all false right. Butt sex is the only true right.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Speaking of strawmen...

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What is up with this harping on "butt sex"? Are you some kind of homophobe?

  • Xenocles||

    Sex isn't the only right. Don't forget abortion and birth control.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If by "SOCONS" we are talking about social conservatives there are quite a few rights other than gay rights (which are important) I'm interested in that where they are worse than liberals: abortion, pornography, marijuana legalization, right to die.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think social conservatives are all bad, I guess I just feel the same way about liberals.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    But the Jim Crow states weren't exactly an example of democracy in action, considering all their efforts to prevent black people from voting.

    They were perfect examples of democracy in action. People voted to keep other people from doing something.

    Definition of DEMOCRACY
    1
    a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority

    Which is why most of our founders did not particularly like it.

  • Jesse Walker||

    a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority

    In much of the south, blacks were a majority. Google "black belt." (And skip the karate pages.)

  • Pro Libertate||

    In much of the South? Is that actually right? I don't doubt they were majorities in some areas, but in "much of the South?" Even today, blacks are a pretty small percentage of the total population.

  • Tonio||

    No time to fact-check American (Goldwyn), but that seems about right. Blacks were majorities in areas where there were large plantations - coastal areas and navigable rivers. Blacks were vitually nonexistent in mountainous areas, and the white populations there were not economically dependent upon slave labor, hence not invested in maintaining slavery.

  • John||

    What Pro said. Certainly blacks were the majority in many communities. But I don't think they were ever the majority in any state.

  • Xenocles||

    But could they have been a large enough bloc to combine with a sympathetic white bloc in blocking segregationist policies? Presumably all blacks would have voted against Jim Crow and presumably some whites would have joined them. A minority of whites, to be sure, but were there enough?

  • John||

    Maybe. They were thoroughly disenfranchised via poll taxes and literacy tests. But there clearly were not many white people who objected to all of that. Jim Crow fell on the South very quickly after reconstruction.

  • Xenocles||

    That's the point of the "was it democracy" questions.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think it was. And let's not forget that the federal government was complicit for a long time, too. Also for majoritarian reasons.

  • John||

    My guess is that it did since few whites objected and they were in the majority.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I don't know if it's my eyes or a bad scan, but I can't read the legend to this map. It does give some idea of the relative densities, though.

  • Xenocles||

    That is hard to read, but it looks like the darkest could be greater than anywhere from 40-60%

  • Pro Libertate||

    Don't forget gerrymandering, a fine tradition for preserving whatever control the ruling party wants to control.

  • ||

    Google "black belt." (And skip the karate pages.)

    You know, you can force that. Google:

    black belt -karate

  • ||

    What is this sorcery!? Keep your Boolean Magic away from me!

  • Almanian!||

    OT: You guys! You guys! They've found Hoffa's body! Well...a guy says he knows where it is! It's for real this time! He's a LAWYER - you can trust him! Check it out!

    http://www.detroitnews.com/art.....dyssey=tab |

  • Killazontherun||

    The democracy line is strange, or at least it sounds that way out of context. (I assume he was trying to make a point about minority rights and majority rule. But the Jim Crow states weren't exactly an example of democracy in action, considering all their efforts to prevent black people from voting.)

    I find your reaction strange, Jesse. Rand Paul was referring to those states in their systemic

  • Almanian!||

    ...mmm hmm, go on....

  • Killazontherun||

    Damn it, Reason.

    I find your reaction strange, Jesse. Rand Paul was referring to those states in their systemic capacity of having agency within a federal democratic republic. He is saying that our chosen form of government does not necessarily get you better results than the alternatives.

    As for democracy. Would you deny that over the last few thousand years classical Athens even with slaves and women not having a vote has been commonly referred to as a democracy without qualification? There is no reason to qualify it because 'democracy' in both cases of Rand and discussions of history are in reference to political function, not to an ethical disposition.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Thanks Killaz, this was what I was trying to say upthread. Even though blacks were numerically superior, they did not have the voting franchise; but it is still considered a democracy.

  • Calidissident||

    The only states blacks outnumbered whites in after the Civil War were South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana (though just barely. Whites slightly outnumbered blacks before the war, and blacks slightly outnumbered whites for a couple decades afterwards. It was basically 50-50). And after the Great Migration, which started in the early 1900's, whites were the majority in every state.

  • Calidissident||

    The parentheses are referring just to Louisiana, if anyone gets confused

  • Caleb Turberville||

    John mentions that Jesse may be giving college students a bit too much credit: Wasn't this the event where a student asked Rand Paul about re-opening the Malcolm X murder case?

  • Jesse Walker||

    Wasn't this the event where a student asked Rand Paul about re-opening the Malcolm X murder case?

    Yes, and the crowd wasn't very receptive to him either...

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Fair enough, and I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your take of "winceful."

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Though he would still not give them a definitive answer on his position on the Civil Rights Act, he did say that he believed federal intervention had been justified.

    By Civil Rights Act, there should always be some specification and that the particular act referred to is the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The principled position is not always the popular one. From the natural rights position, a business owner has an absolute right in their property and if they don't want to sell to someone because of their race/sex/religion/shirt color, that is their decision to make. Of course, segregation was a matter of law in manny states so these same owners by serving black people would have violated the law. So you're left with do I want state overreach that requires people to be racists, state overreach that demands people do business with people they don't like, or no requirement and let people do business with whomever they like?

    "You're coming to Howard University, and you're telling us about the history of black people?" one young woman said.

    Of course, by virtue of attending Howard, you will gain a perfect understanding of all the facts of history concerning black people, as well as the motives of the historical actors, along with all possible alternatives that might have resulted from the actors making different choices.

    Matriculation at Harvard shall make one as unto a god. A god of black people.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    By Harvard, I mean Howard. DERP.

  • ||

    Well to be fair to you, they probably think the same thing at Harvard.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Of course, segregation was a matter of law in manny states so these same owners by serving black people would have violated the law.

    Jim Crow was a legal scheme, not an organic social structure so segregation was a matter of law everywhere in the South.

  • Drake||

    "You're coming to Howard University, and you're telling us about the history of black people?"

    At least somebody finally is.

  • acidovorax||

    Most students I spoke to described his visit as "condescending."

    Meaning: "why is some Republican coming to speak here?"

    "You're coming to Howard University, and you're telling us about the history of black people?" one young woman said.

    Yes, because one's racial makeup inherently grants you expert knowledge of history. GTFO!

  • ||

    Are you sure it was a woman? Martina Luther King? - Chris Rock

  • John||

    You're coming to Howard University, and you're telling us about the history of black people?" one young woman said.

    I would bet good money that young women had never before heard any of the things Paul said and was pissed off that someone pointed out facts that conflicted with her world view.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I bet the professors there never repeat anything already known in the Black History classes there. How condescending that would be!

  • Tony||

    You're really invested in the assumption that these black college students couldn't possibly be as smart as Rand Paul.

    Who is a complete idiot.

  • John||

    No I am invested in the assumption that most college students know little or nothing about history.

    Yes, Tony most college students are as stupid as you are. Our education system is that broken. The only hope is that most of them are not as proudly ignorant as you are.

  • Tony||

    College students are stupid compared to whom? Obviously not Rand Paul, who made himself look like an idiot in comparison on that occasion.

  • John||

    Paul is an idiot because he spoke the truth. That sentiment sums up your entire existence better than anything you have ever posted. You are just profoundly committed to lies and ignorance.

  • Cytotoxic||

    WE HAVE A WINNER

  • Tony||

    He said something true, but he wasn't aware that black college students just might be aware of the fact he treated as some revelation for them. That's what makes him the relative idiot.

  • acidovorax||

    He said something true, but he wasn't aware that black college students just might be aware of the fact he treated as some revelation for them. That's what makes him the relative idiot.

    And NOTHING demonstrates that they DID know this fact. The article's structure insinuates this, but it's not self-evident. "Many" claimed his speech was "condescending", but "condescending" implies a perception concerning tone of speech, not of specific content. ONE woman insinuated that she knew the fact concerning Republican influence in the formation of the NAACP, but we have no way to prove that she did. And only ONE person made this statement, so we have no clue if the others knew this historical fact or not.

  • Calidissident||

    I wouldn't be surprised if most did, though a significant number probably didn't. I say this because of age, not race, and I'm sure that was the same reason Paul said that as well (although, as I said below, I think he chose his words poorly). I'm a college student myself (and not to toot my own horn, but I go to one of the better schools in the country) and I think a lot of people my age would get that question wrong. That said, I think most would probably get it right, but, again as I described below, I think most would be inaccurate and simplistic in their description of why it changed.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Yes, Tony. Clearly a Duke-educated physician with a thriving practice is a drooling retard.

  • Tony||

    John told me college students are morons. Was Rand Paul an exception?

    He's not a total idiot, but he is a libertarian, and all libertarians are at least partial idiots. Then of course he opens his mouth.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Is Rand Paul a college student?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    College students are mostly morons. Do you not understand how set theory works?

  • Tony||

    Moron is a relative term, so compared to whom? College graduates? Okay. Learning is a process. People with only a high school education? Surely not.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Education isn't merely obtained in the classroom, and certainly the didactic instruction that Fill In The Blank Studies engages in cannot qualify as such.

    Some college students are very well educated, particularly those who are expected to produce results or use formal logic in their work. The rest? Not so much.

  • Tony||

    I find certain college majors to be replete with functional idiots, but it's pretty clear you guys have a grievance with higher education because it doesn't tend to produce conservatives or libertarians. Which, in a normal world, one would think the finger of suspicion would be pointed in the direction of those worldviews, you know, if the supposedly highest educated people in society tend to reject them. But it must be nice to live in a loop wherein intelligence is defined as agreeing with you.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I have no desire to impart political instruction through the education process. The antipathy that most libertarians have towards higher education comes from the troubling tendency of governments and the intelligentsia to politicize education. To the extent to which this occurs, students are being cheated out of an education and swindled into beliefs which may not hold up under scrutiny.

  • Tony||

    But that's a right-wing myth. People who get educated tend to become liberals, yes, but it's not because of any indoctrination that happens in 19th century American lit class. It's because liberalism is right.

  • Contrarian P||

    People who get educated tend to become liberals because if you repeat a lie often enough people eventually believe it. It's the same reason many become conservatives. Whoever you hang around will inevitably influence your beliefs. Higher education overwhelmingly is inhabited by liberals in the same way the Southern Baptist church is overwhelmingly inhabited by conservatives. Those that spend a lot of time in either will find themselves shaped by their association.

    And by the way, what exactly do you mean by liberalism? Do you mean socialist economic planning? Because that sure as hell has been shown to not work. I'm curious as to how you know your viewpoint is right.

  • acidovorax||

    He's not a total idiot, but he is a libertarian, and all libertarians are at least partial idiots.

    AND....

    But it must be nice to live in a loop wherein intelligence is defined as agreeing with you

    Ahhhhh....irony.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    I don't know the numbers but I wouldn't be surprised if the subset of the population with a college degree is more likely to be libertarian when compared to the general population. In other words, there are more libertarians in the subset of the population with college degrees than in the general population. In my sample size of one, this was my experience. Went to college, was a huge lefty (campaigned for Kerry), then majored in economics and had an open mind to the ideas of Friedman and Hayek. By the time I graduated I was a libertarian.

  • Tony||

    I stand amended: some people are indoctrinated into faulty belief systems in college. Economics majors.

  • Contrarian P||

    Yes, they get dipped in a slick coating of Keynesianism.

  • squarooticus||

    "Republican" is nothing more than a label over a timespan of 150 years. It is meaningless in terms of policy.

  • Killazontherun||

    'tis true. In some ways worse (tariff loving, national bank chartering assholes), some ways better (I suppose mano-mano Plains Indian Wars were more honorable than napalm) than the Nixon bunch.

  • Killazontherun||

    Wait. Though the GOP's official line is anti-tariff, Bush buckled under to domestic pressure allowing a free market in foreign steel, and anti-Fed policy is ridiculed by the GOP mainstream. Make that in all ways worse.

  • The Fatman||

    To those that say the folks at Howard knew that it was repubs that founded the NAACP. I disagree. In my own life I watched a friend of mine (black) dress down a girl giving some Quakers a hard time. He had to explain to the stupid, college educated (Cheney State) slag (also Black) that it was Quakers that founded her college and were the most aggressive abolitionists before and during the civil war. I am highly suspect that any of those kids at Howard had any idea of this before Mr. Paul's speech.

  • CE||

    So Pell grants are fine as long as the feds aren't running a deficit? Well guess what, they run a huge deficit every year. I guess he's selling out his libertarian bona fides to pander to the youth vote. (I hope it works.)

  • ||

    Ah, Tulpa vs. betrayer, the false choice of the night.

  • Tony||

    The go-to example about democracy being bad is always Jim Crow. But that entire argument is a straw man. The founders were rightly concerned about tyranny of the majority, which is why we do not have--nor does anyone endorse--a direct, simple majoritarian democracy on all matters. The existence of bad choices made my majorities does not invalidate the virtue of majority rule, though. On the vast majority of routine governing matters, there is no better alternative to simple majority rule. Because otherwise you give special preference to the minority. In some cases that's considered good--political minorities, racial minorities, and others need special protection via constitutional protections and civil rights laws for certain specific moral and pragmatic reasons. But whether to build a bridge here or there is not a civil rights issue, and any form of decision making that is not majority rules is tyranny of some minority or individual. The question is what alternative does Paul propose? Just do what I say because I'm right?

    Or is he also ignorant of the historical fact that we were set up and have always been a qualified democracy?

  • John||

    Jesus fucking Christ on a crutch you are stupid Tony. Either your rights are subject to majority approval or they are not. Saying that "well the majority has only brutalized the minority a few times" isn't really an answer. My God Tony, if it were up to the majority in most states right now, your dumb ass would be in prison right now for buggery. But you still think the majority should always rule.

    Why don't you just stop pretending and just admit that you are an authoritarian and want to ensure that no one but you and people who agree with you have any say on anything? Try to be honest with yourself. It is the first step towards improvement.

  • Tony||

    It's like you didn't read my post at all.

    This is a mind-numbingly simple concept: we are a qualified democracy. Minority civil rights are protected. Everyone agrees that it's a pretty good system. Nobody endorses direct majoritarian democracy for all matters.

    Yet throughout the countless times we've had this same stupid nonexistent debate, none of you have ever answered my question: what system do you prefer to our qualified democracy?

  • Contrarian P||

    I'll answer your question again, since you have conveniently decided to forget the fact that it's been answered before:

    I'd prefer a system where politicians followed the rule of law and didn't interpret phrases like "interstate commerce" and "general welfare" as license for the government to do anything. In other words, I'd prefer a country which abides by what is supposed to be its supreme document unless it is changed by the process created for that purpose. Let's start there.

  • Tony||

    They aren't licenses for government to do anything. Yes they've been broadly interpreted, and I think that's a good thing. But that just means you are pissy about constitutional case law, not that you are against the basic premise that government should act according to the will of the people. Anything else is tyranny, even if it's tyranny of a piece of paper.

  • Contrarian P||

    I am not arguing about constitutional case law. I am arguing about the intent of the document, which is indisputable: to create a government of limited, enumerated powers. Saying something is "broadly interpreted" just means to ignore the plain purpose of the document.

    I am against the government being able to oppress and rob from a minority just because there are more of those in favor of the oppressing and robbing. "The will of the people" can be completely immoral and unjust, particularly when the people are not informed of the actual events taking place (as in the current troubles plaguing the administration). You realize that your "basic premise" would grant complete approval to the actions of every murderous despot throughout history provided that 50% or more of their people agreed with them? Fundamentally, government exists because in anarchy, the powerful oppress and steal from the less powerful. It exists because we need a more powerful entity to protect us from those who would harm us by force or fraud. What you fail to understand, what you have always failed to understand, is that the government itself, without strict limits, becomes the very thing it was created to prevent. Your fundamental world view advocates injustice and tyranny.

  • Contrarian P||

    By the way, I'd submit that your concept of tyranny needs work. Your concept of it seems to be the prevention of the screwing over of the minority by the powerful. Tyranny is the screwing over of the minority by the powerful. Freedom isn't slavery.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The existence of bad choices made my majorities does not invalidate the virtue of majority rule, though. On the vast majority of routine governing matters, there is no better alternative to simple majority rule.

    Vox populi, vox dei, right Tony w/o spaces?

    Because otherwise you give special preference to the minority. In some cases that's considered good--political minorities, racial minorities, and others need special protection via constitutional protections and civil rights laws for certain specific moral and pragmatic reasons.

    None of which you are capable of or willing to defend by reason.

    The question is what alternative does Paul propose?

    Why do bad ideas necessarily have to be replaced with something, Tony w/o spaces? Do you replace tumors or shrapnel with an object of similar mass in a healthy body?

  • Tony||

    Something has to replace it... this is such pointless bullshit (and another reason Rand is a fucking idiot). Are you saying whether to put a bridge at point A or point B is a matter that shouldn't be decided by majority vote of a city council? That either point A or point B should be enshrined in a municipal constitution (presumably by libertarian overlords)?

    WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ARGUING??? That direct democracy is not the best system? Well shit Benjamin Franklin why don't you give us another gem of wisdom.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Something has to replace it

    Why?

    Are you saying whether to put a bridge at point A or point B is a matter that shouldn't be decided by majority vote of a city council?

    I support point C.

    That either point A or point B should be enshrined in a municipal constitution

    Irrelevant, because I support point C.

    WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ARGUING???

    I'm not arguing, since reasoning is wasted on true believers in the Civil Religion like you. I'm just drilling until I hit a nerve.

    Mission accomplished.

    That direct democracy is not the best system?

    51% should be able to do what they want to the 49%, amirite, Tony w/o spaces?

    Well shit Benjamin Franklin why don't you give us another gem of wisdom.

    Based on Venezuela, toilet paper is a sound investment in any socialist country.

  • ||

    You know, Tony's really gone downhill since he lost those spaces. I bet that's what's really bothering him here.

  • KPres||

    "Something has to replace it"

    Yes, stricter constitutionalism with a focus on generalized individual rights requiring stronger majorities than 51% to override.

    Nobody's saying scrap Democracy, just limit the power of majorities to abuse it. I suspect even you agree with that broad principle, the difference is a matter of degree.

  • ||

    In all the time I have been reading here you have never advocated for anything but authoritarianism Tony. Nothing you have ever argued could be construed to be an argument for liberty in any form. You are a vile son of a bitch.

    You are the perfect shill for a movement that has sunk lower into the fetid pit of tyranny and fascism than any in the history of this country. Yes, Obama has surpassed Nixon as a dictator wannabe.

    Generally I would like as many people to come here and offer their viewpoint as possible. Most people who disagree will come around to some degree at some point, but not you. You are an unrepentant fascist. I would be just fine if you fucked off for good.

  • Tony||

    I think it's quite clear to anyone who can read between the lines that its you folks who are the authoritarians.

    It's why nobody can answer my question "what alternative system do you prefer to (qualified) democracy?" Because the only possible answer is "libertarian overlords dictating everything."

    I am in favor of about 100 times more individual liberty than any libertarian, because I understand that liberty does not simply mean freedom from government or taxation, which is about as narrow a definition imaginable.

  • Fluffy||

    It would be perfectly easy for the rest of American history to proceed without the legislature ever passing another law that, say, attempted to impose a state church.

    There's simply no need for us to ever discuss that or vote on it again, because libertarian overlords dictated everything about it, once upon a time.

    In fact, since everything worthwhile - maybe a little hyperbole there, but not much - about our current system of governance is part of the set of things dictated by libertarian overlords that nobody gets to vote on any more, it seems to me that a system of governance where libertarian overlords dictate everything is pretty damn good.

    If you think that it's a good thing that the Bill of Rights prevents the majority from imprisoning you for speech, or imprisoning you without a trial, or torturing you until you confess to a crime - well, then, you think that rule by libertarian overlords is just fine.

    And the implication of that is that it should be possible to construct an even more extensive Constitution, where even more things are removed from the purview of legislature, with every successive restriction on the majority being a fresh improvement.

    Give me an example of something the majority currently can't vote on in the US that you'd like them to be able to vote on. If libertarian overlordship is so onerous, that should be easy for you to do.

  • Tony||

    everything worthwhile

    What you mean is everything easy (at least by modern standards). There are a million other matters large and small that a large country has to deal with, and just saying 99% of the actions of legislatures is unnecessary is to assume a simpler world than actually exists. Sometimes you really do need to decide where to build a road or, for that matter, whether to make something a crime, or something legal that used to be a crime. If legislating weren't necessary, the founders you wrongly describe as libertarian overlords wouldn't have created a legislature.

    And the majority can vote on everything. In theory the first amendment could be repealed. You just need a large majority and to overcome process hurdles. The founders understood that certain things needed to be protected from the whims of majorities--not only because they were good ideas, but because democracy itself would be undermined without them. But even they weren't as arrogant as you to say they know what's best for everyone for all time and decline to allow for amending the constitution.

    Give me an example of something the majority currently can't vote on in the US that you'd like them to be able to vote on.

    The presidency.

    But I have to give you credit for admitting you're an authoritarian. Few do.

  • Fluffy||

    I have to give you credit for admitting that you consider the Bill of Rights to be authoritarian.

    Few do.

    You don't deserve the Bill of Rights.

  • Calidissident||

    "But I have to give you credit for admitting you're an authoritarian. Few do."

    Oh this is hilarious coming from you.

    Also, the presidency is an office, not a law or policy, which is what Fluffy was talking about.

  • Fluffy||

    And your example is really kind of pathetic, too.

    When was the last time the winner of the Presidential election wasn't the top vote getter, Tony?

  • Tony||

    2000. Bush lost the national popular vote. By a slim margin, the country rejected him, yet he became president. I wonder, is the minority preference for president a civil right to be protected from majority tyranny?

  • Contrarian P||

    No, the electoral college is a matter of law. If you don't like it, there is a clear path to fixing it. It's called amending the constitution. I'm personally fine with getting rid of the electoral college. But until you amend the constitution, it's the procedure for electing a president.

  • ||

    I think it's quite clear to anyone who can read between the lines that its you folks who are the authoritarians.

    Huh? Maximizing individual liberty across the board is equivalent to forcing everyone to live according to one man's edicts? How can you type such illogical sentences? My head and hands hurt just from quoting that.

  • Fluffy||

    Well, you see, if a gang rape is going on, and the rape victim frees herself and then kills her attackers, she's an authoritarian, because an authoritarian is anyone who places any limit whatsoever on what he or she is willing to accept from a larger group of people.

  • PRX||

    Jesse, you'd be surprised how many people don't even know Lincoln was a republican, especially females.

  • Tony||

    Lincoln being a Republican does not absolve mid-to-late-20th century Republicans of anything, most especially their appallingly racist tendencies and election tactics.

  • John||

    And what absolves Democrats for making war on black people for the last 40 years in the form of the drug war, a welfare system designed to destroy the black family, and an immigration and regulatory system designed to destroy black employment?

    The KKK couldn't have designed a better way to harm black people than what the Democrats have actually done in the last 50 years.

    Your ilk are responsible for so much evil and harm, it is no surprise you live in a fantasy world. I wouldn't want to live in reality if I were you either.

  • Tony||

    The drug war was nominally started by Nixon. Doesn't that make Republicans entirely 100% responsible for it by this board's logic? At the very least it's been a bipartisan thing, and I'll give you Nancy Reagan as a freebie.

    The welfare state being detrimental to black people is a sad, racist canard peddled by people ideologically opposed to the welfare state (traditionally because they don't like the idea of giving money to black people). It suggests that blacks are somehow more predisposed to social ills as a result of the welfare state than whites (who can be poor and receive benefits too, you know).

    John, hate to break it to you, but you don't live in reality.

  • Cytotoxic||

    1) "Nominal" started by Nixon actually started much further back.

    2) "The welfare state being detrimental to black people is a sad, racist canard peddled by people ideologically opposed to the welfare state "

    *Tony stares at screen, mouth agape* HUR HUR RACIST

  • Tony||

    Explain why blacks are especially prone to being harmed by the welfare state. Welfare benefits are color-blind.

  • PRX||

    brb, have to convince my idiot girlfriend that didn't know Lincoln was a republican that Adam Sandler didn't die in a snowboarding accident today.
    http://adam.sandler.mediafetch.....skiing.php

  • Calidissident||

    Blacks were disproportionately poor when the welfare state was created?

  • Tony||

    How could they have been disproportionately poor before the welfare state was enacted to make them so?

    It can't possibly be the case that they were disproportionately poor because of historical apartheid conditions, and they're still disproportionately poor for the same reasons, and that the welfare state is simply not up to the task of creating a level playing field and is thus too small rather than too big.

  • Calidissident||

    I don't think anyone here would argue that blacks being historically poor had nothing to do with slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination. Jesus, talk about a strawman. However, that doesn't mean that the case can't be made that the welfare state has inhibited, rather than aided, blacks in trying to climb out of poverty and achieve equality in the decades since, as systemic segregation and discrimination was largely reduced (though not eliminated).

    "that the welfare state is simply not up to the task of creating a level playing field and is thus too small rather than too big."

    This presumes that the welfare state creates a level playing field and that increasing it would resolve the matter. There is no evidence for this. In the decades before the Great Society, there was a massive reduction in the poverty rate. Since the creation of the GS, that rate has been fairly constant and is about the same it was then. If the opposite had occurred (massive reduction of poverty with a welfare state that stopped when those programs were eliminated), what would your narrative be?

  • Tony||

    This presumes that the welfare state creates a level playing field and that increasing it would resolve the matter. There is no evidence for this.

    There's even less evidence that welfare benefits somehow keep people poor (and surely we'd be referring to all poor people and not singling out blacks). You don't become more able to get yourself out of poverty by being made more poor. Poverty is a hindrance to upward mobility (since you lack capital), and the more poverty, the greater the hindrance. Similarly, current wealth is itself a huge predictor of future wealth. The children of poor and wealthy parents tend to end up poor and wealthy, respectively.

    The assumption behind the counterintuitive claim that welfare benefits perpetuate poverty is always some kind of (quasi-racist) work ethic bullshit--being given handouts makes people lazy. But if I make a middle class income or a top-tier income, I still want to be richer. I'd want to be richer even if a decent chunk of money were handed to me without me doing any work (like through inheritance). Why is this not the case for welfare recipients? What is it about them that makes them lack the motivation to be richer? And what makes you think taking the floor out from under them will promote their upward mobility? Because starvation is a pretty strong incentive?

  • Calidissident||

    "Because starvation is a pretty strong incentive?"

    Because we all know the US had such a long history of starvation until food stamps.

    There are plenty of studies that find that, regardless of race, welfare can discourage work, and encourage things like single motherhood that increase poverty. I'm not demonizing single mothers, I'm far from a SoCon, either personally or politically, but the fact is that it does lead to higher poverty (to be fair, there are other factors behind this, including our fucked up criminal justice system). Two-parent black families have a poverty rate of less than 10%. For single-parent black families, it's several times higher.

  • Tony||

    I think the causal relationship is almost always from poverty to social ills. (How does welfare encourage single motherhood? Isn't it poverty itself that does that?)

  • Calidissident||

    How does being poor encourage single motherhood? It's much more prevalent today than it was in times when society was far poorer. I don't think the welfare state alone is responsible for that, the Sexual Revolution played a part, but the welfare state makes it a more attractive option than it would otherwise be.

    And regardless, I think it's pretty intuitive that households with two adults would on average be better off than households with just one, so I'm not sure how you can you think it's a one way street of poverty causing a social ill, and that the social ill has no effect on poverty itself

  • Tony||

    Something causes single motherhood. There aren't types of people more prone to it than others in a given society. You're being very roundabout but you're essentially making the (quasi-racist) moral police argument. Marriage at all times has always been less prevalent among the poorer strata of society. Definitely nothing new.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Sex causes single motherhood.

    But the boom in single motherhood coincides with welfare based incentives.

    One child gets you housing, food stamps, and TANF

    Two - three get you more food stamps and TANF.

    More than three gets your housing allowance kicked up.

    And having a daddy around gets your benefits cut.

    So you get a societal structure that encourages breeding without a husband.

    Women get to nest, and men get to tomcat around.

    And no stable structure is built. Men go off into the male world, and women retreat to theirs.

  • Fluffy||

    Explain why blacks are especially prone to being harmed by the welfare state. Welfare benefits are color-blind.

    They are color blind, but they aren't immigration-status blind. The welfare state becomes progressively less generous as you move down through various immigration statuses.

    And Asian and Hispanic immigrants, who get restricted benefits or no benefits at all, are much more likely to escape urban poverty than blacks, who are overwhelmingly citizens and get the most generous benefits.

    If as you claim a more generous welfare state is the answer, the reverse should be true.

    Even among blacks, immigrant West Indian islanders tend to escape poverty at higher rates than natural-born citizen blacks. But if poverty is caused by racism, why would this be the case? Racist whites don't exempt West Indians from blackness.

    How does welfare encourage single motherhood? Isn't it poverty itself that does that?

    Welfare benefits are more generous for single mothers than they are for two-parent households. This was even more dramatically the case 50 years ago, when these social pathologies first began to take hold. Women in 1967 often faced straightforward economic calculations where getting married would cost them benefit money.

  • Tony||

    Also, I was given a huge government handout in the form of public education, and it didn't somehow make me lose an appreciation for being educated. Without it, indeed, I'd be mopping bathroom floors somewhere.

    The counterargument to your claims about the Great Society is that from 1963 when Johnson took office to 1970, poverty declined by half across the board including blacks--the largest decline in such a short period in the century. Then Nixon started dismantling the program.

  • Calidissident||

    Your numbers and timing are off. Johnson didn't instantly enact all the Great Society programs. It wasn't until 64 that the ball even got rolling (he assumed office very late in 1963), and it took at least a couple years to fully implement programs and changes, and then it would take time after that to see results. The poverty rate in 63 was 19.5%. In 1970 it was 12.6%, with over two-thirds of that decrease coming in the first three years. It fell to a historical low of 11.1% in 1973 and was 11.2% in 1974 when Nixon left office, so I'm not sure how you're going to blame Nixon for it. Not to mention it's laughable to suggest he dismantled the Great Society. Social spending, whether in terms of real dollars, per capita, or % of GDP was never as high under LBJ as it is today

  • Contrarian P||

    "Also, I was given a huge government handout in the form of public education, and it didn't somehow make me lose an appreciation for being educated."

    That was not a handout. The reason government subsidizes education is because a more educated society is a wealthier society and therefore ends up paying more in taxes. If you were mopping bathroom floors somewhere you would be making a pittance and therefore would likely be a net parasite on the government. If you are educated and command a high salary, you are a net host. You will pay the government back many times over during your working lifetime for your "free" education. Seriously, reading what you type about free stuff from the government makes me wonder how you haven't bankrupted yet on all that free money from Citibank and Discover.

  • Tony||

    And as I said, I prefer money be spent on education and job opportunities to giving people a check, when possible. Poverty is hard to escape, and it's not made easier to escape by taking more money from poor people. A permanent underclass is a huge drain on society even if we don't give them a dime in transfer payments. The goal is to provide opportunity for upward mobility. My goal is not to create a parasite class, and if that's what a safety net is doing then it's not working properly. But you're not offering a reform to the safety net but the destruction of it, something that should be considered radical and draconian.

  • Contrarian P||

    You called government support of your education a handout. It isn't, which was the whole point. The words you use to describe things are important. If you'd like to debate whether or not government provision of education is the best way to create an educated and economically productive populace, that's another argument entirely.

    Unfortunately, this is your pattern: posit an argument, then, when it is shown to be false, jump to an entirely different argument, usually accompanied by an ad hominem. In this case you stated that I was proposing something in my post that I did not, in fact, propose. In other words, you lied about what I said.

    By the way, your goals are irrelevant. It's the results of your policies that matter. I have no doubt that you are a very nice person who wants the best for people. Sadly, the policies you advocate produce bad outcomes.

  • KPres||

    "And as I said, I prefer money be spent on education and job opportunities to giving people a check, when possible."

    Of course you do, you're an elitist piece of shit. I'd rather give them the check and let them decide for themselves. But then again, I respect people and their autonomy.

  • Sidd Finch||

    The children of poor and wealthy parents tend to end up poor and wealthy, respectively.

    The children of short and tall parents tend to end up short and tall, respectively.

  • Tony||

    The children of short and tall parents tend to end up short and tall, respectively.

    Have scientists isolated the poor gene yet?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Have scientists isolated the short gene yet?

  • Fluffy||

    But if I make a middle class income or a top-tier income, I still want to be richer.

    Right, but the set of things you would be willing to do to accomplish that is limited.

    You could work a second and third job instead of posting here, but you don't. Because you've achieved a certain minimum level that's acceptable to you ("Meh, good enough!") and while you'd be happy to make more money, if it means giving up something you like (trolling on the internet) you're not going to do it.

    Many, many people do just enough to reach a minimum established in their mind, and then plateau. The chief difference (and main danger) of the welfare state is that the people caught up in it have set their minimum way, way too low. And once the payment streams for the various flavors of assistance are under way, making a dramatic effort at jumping off that plateau is extremely risky, and has extremely high effective marginal tax rates.

    I'm not counting on starvation as a motivator as much as I am counting on the fact that people in the workforce have vastly greater opportunities to imagine different minimums and then reach them with straightforward effort that doesn't require the kind of paradigm shift moving from welfare to the workforce requires.

  • Tony||

    Fluffy I actually like that argument, and I hasten to add I agree with the more complex goals of the Great Society, which explicitly weren't about handing people money but promoting education and work so people could better themselves. That's a much better way to handle poverty than mailed checks.

    Still, a safety net that meets basic needs is a moral necessity regardless of the incentives it produces. Starving people are motivated by starvation and nothing else. Not a lot of time or means to improve your station.

    We can both agree that encouraging education and work is the best way. But this still requires government spending money on people. Nobody can argue that we'd be a more productive society without universal education, and it's been pretty well established that lack of opportunity tracks with lack of quality education which tracks with poverty).

    But above I say "regardless of incentives" purposefully--I really do reject the work ethic mentality as an artifact of a specific religious tradition. Sure we have to be productive, but if you don't want to work, I don't think that should be considered a crime punishable by poverty. Because by work we usually mean "make money for someone else." Maybe we're robbing ourselves of many opportunities by forcing people into office factories all day instead of letting them pursue non-profit-related interest.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Sure we have to be productive, but if you don't want to work, I don't think that should be considered a crime punishable by poverty.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYj7T9eEQ4U

  • Fluffy||

    Sure we have to be productive, but if you don't want to work, I don't think that should be considered a crime punishable by poverty.

    It has to be, if we aren't going to live in an incredibly immoral society.

    And I don't mean "immoral" in the Protestant work ethic sense, where work is a moral good in and of itself.

    I mean that good and services don't come from nowhere. You are directly stating that you believe that someone who deliberately refuses to contribute to the process of producing those goods and services has not just an equal, but a superior, claim to those goods and services than the people who do contribute.

    That's insanely unjust to me. A society set up that way can maybe be made to function, if it gets the Rawlsian incentive sets just right, but it would be profoundly unjust in its basic conception. I would put my foot through the bottom of the bucket of that system in any way I could, and would be completely justified in doing so.

  • Tony||

    You'd have to subsidize basic needs for everyone, not just the nonworking. Everyone would have access to the same food, education, healthcare programs, etc., and if you want more money to supplement these and buy luxuries, you can trade labor for it. We already have this system, partially, and Social Security has not turned us into a more unjust society, in my opinion, but a far more moral one.

    My only addition to the general safety net consensus is not to require work or to promote the view that work as usually defined is virtue. Maybe sitting at home writing the next great American novel is virtue, and maybe a poor person is the one with it in him.

  • Tony||

    Which is to say let people define productivity for themselves--which can only be accomplished if basic needs are not a concern. Surely we can do better than defining it, for almost everyone, as making some rich guy even richer.

  • KPres||

    Nobody is any more prone to state dependency than anybody else, but some groups receive it in a greater proportion than others.

    Just like firing into a crowd is worse than firing into a dispersed area doesn't mean people in the crowd are more prone to harm by bullets.

  • Calidissident||

    "The drug war was nominally started by Nixon. Doesn't that make Republicans entirely 100% responsible for it by this board's logic?"

    How? This board doesn't excuse Obama for shit started by Bush or for Republicans supporting programs started by Democrats

  • Tony||

    That doesn't absolve 60s and post-60s era Republicans of their racism either.

    Everyone was racist for a while, then some people started being progressive, and over time the racists and progressives switched parties from time to time. The last ones holding the racist hot potato were Republicans, and they still haven't quite figured out how to let it go in 2013. That's the more relevant fact than anything having to do with Lincoln or FDR, who are nearly universally considered two of the best presidents despite both of them being racists by 21st century standards.

  • PRX||

    welfare absolves the Democrat Party being the party of human slavery.

  • Killazontherun||

    And Carter in '76. Years after CRA past. The most back asswards counties of my state in terms of economic development and disposition, ruled by pig farmers, are still havens for the Democratic Party.

  • ||

    It is a shame that this is considered a bigger mistake than him saying vile pro-drug war bullshit. People seem to think that is him playing smart politics, but at this point anyone on the wrong side of the drug war gets a pretty all-encompassing stinkeye from me.

  • JW||

    all-encompassing stinkeye

    The Dirty Sanchez's bawdy cousin.

  • ||

    Why is Paul even giving these liberal morons the time of day? What practical purpose could it possibly serve? It's like sucking up to the neocons. They will never support him, ever. If he is looking to expand beyond the GOP mainstream, which at this point doesn't really make any sense, he needs to go after independents -- you know, the people who actually decide elections.

  • Calidissident||

    While I think Rand's intent wasn't offensive, he could have phrased it better, and the question did come off as condescending, although I don't think race had anything to do with that (I think Paul would have said the same thing in a discussion about racial politics in front of an audience of mostly young white people). I think most people know Lincoln was a Republican and that blacks used to vote Republican. The narrative of why it switched, however, is where the real historical ignorance comes in to play. Listening to most Democrats, you'd think blacks supported Republicans until they joined the Southern Democrats in opposing the Civil Rights Acts, and then all Southern Democrats instantly switched parties and blacks started voting Democrat. That's not how it happened. Blacks first started voting Democrat for FDR in 1936. However, it wasn't until 1964 that you started seeing the 90% Democrat black vote. The vast majority of Republicans supported the 1964 CRA and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Goldwater, the Republican candidate in 64, opposed the CRA not out of racial bigotry (he had supported earlier civil rights legislation and had helped integration in Arizona), but because of his opposition (and belief in the unconstitutionality of) to the antidiscrimination section of the law. However, his opponents smeared him as a racist and blacks voted something like 94% for LBJ and it's been similar totals ever since.

  • Calidissident||

    As far as the South switching, that was something that was starting to happen before the 60s (Eisenhower had some success there) and was accelerated by the civil rights era, but the vast majority of Southern Democrat politicians remained Democrats until the day they died (out of all the ones in Congress in 64, only two ever changed parties). The Southern Switch was largely a generational process. It wasn't until 84 that the South was solidly Republican in the presidential election and it wasn't until the 90s that the majority of Southern Congressional seats were Republican. Even a few years ago, states like Mississippi and Alabama had Democratic-controlled legislatures. There were many factors (economic, social, and foreign policy related) besides race for why this happened. This isn't to say that Republicans never engaged in any shameful racial politics, but the importance of that in why white Southerners changed parties, and why blacks changed parties, is largely overstated.

  • PRX||

    Rick Perry was a democrat until the 90's.

  • Fluffy||

    If speaking the obvious is so offensive, then I guess if he would have gotten up and talked about lynching, that would have been offensive too? Isn't is condescending to talk about something they all know to be true?

    John makes an awesome point here, probably the only really relevant point in the thread.

    If Paul had stood up there and recited the most obvious, most trite, most hackneyed historical talking points imaginable - and talked about Columbus, and Rosa Parks, and Bull Connor - no one would have said he was being condescending.

    Because baby-talk Forrest Gump history is perfectly fine and dandy, as long as it sticks to respectable leftist talking points.

    It's only "condescension" when you remind a leftist of a fact they would prefer didn't exist.

  • Tony||

    If Rand Paul would have said "did you know Columbus discovered America?" I'm pretty sure it would be seen as condescending.

  • Fluffy||

    If he had included, "...and then he began a horrible genocide because he was a big mean white Catholic", absolutely not.

    Never in a million years.

    It actually would have been condescending, but no one on the left would have dared to say so. It would have been unthinkable as someone publicly disparaging a moment of silence for the Newtown victims. Because no matter how trite or lame something is, if it's on the Approved List of things it would be "insensitive" to complain about, it's totally safe.

  • Tony||

    Sounds like you're the one being overly sensitive. Rand Paul would have been off the hook indeed if he had acknowledged a little complexity when it comes to historical matters, whether talking about Columbus's role in genocide or the fact that party labels don't translate to policy positions over century timespans.

  • ||

    Unlike progressives, who are just as full of hatred and control as they were a century ago.

  • Fluffy||

    I am in favor of about 100 times more individual liberty than any libertarian, because I understand that liberty does not simply mean freedom from government or taxation, which is about as narrow a definition imaginable.

    Just about any other definition boils down to, "I am not free unless I can enslave you and make you my servant."

    So fuck off, slaver.

  • Tony||

    The only thing preventing slavery is big government. It was pretty popular in more "economically free" times.

    I just think meaningful freedom means the ability to live and prosper. Taking a hatchet to government has nothing to do with promoting that kind of freedom. Once government is torn down to a minimal state, the only really free people will be the ones who happened to be very wealthy beforehand.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I don't think the government needs to be particularly big to stop marauding bands of slavers.

  • KPres||

    Yeah, the US military, behemoth that it is, represents about 5% of gdp, yet we need to spend 40% or else the slave traders will take over.

  • Calidissident||

    Who do you think enforced slavery? How exactly would slave owners have kept their slaves in line, when they were outnumbered (and in some states and many parts in other states, slaves outnumbered free whites by a significant margin) by them? And how would they be able to catch runaways without the Fugitive Slave Act? And as Sidd said, I'm not sure why the federal government needs to consume a quarter of the economy (and over 40% including the state and local governments) just to enforce anti-slavery laws

  • Contrarian P||

    "I just think meaningful freedom means the ability to live and prosper."

    Kind of hard to prosper when the government at all levels (local, state, and federal) takes half of your revenue, isn't it? It's another example of your complete lack of logical consistency. You support the freedom to prosper, unless of course prospering means making an income higher than you think is good, in which case your prosperity must be stunted through taxation. It's also tough to prosper when you have a Federal Reserve that's willing to devalue your savings through inflating the money supply. I don't hear you complaining about that either, oddly. Your positions seem to change with the wind. You say you support freedom, but the "freedom" you support means the ability to follow your ideas. That's the basis for the whole highly paid slave argument: you're still a slave, no matter how nice your living quarters.

  • Tony||

    Hard to prosper without an education, law and order, infrastructure, or many of the other things taxes pay for. There's no free lunch. Sorry if someone told you there was.

  • ||

    Few of the people here are actually in favor of no government at all, but go ahead and burn that strawman to the ground. Not to mention the silly assumption that without federal policies none of those things would exist. Yet another strawman. You sure like the feel of straw on your fists, don't you?

  • Tony||

    If we're all just different brands of socialists then you don't get to the assert moral authority of your system on government-is-bad grounds. You have to, oh the horror, defend your system based on real-world outcomes for people.

  • Contrarian P||

    I suppose, then, that the abject real world failure of the policies you favor keeps you up nights.

  • KPres||

    "If we're all just different brands of socialists then you don't get to the assert moral authority of your system on government-is-bad grounds."

    Why not? Government is bad...but tempting. As in, "if I can get 51% to agree with me, I can do anything I want regardless of the rights of others!" It's good, then, to remind people of the costs.

  • KPres||

    "Hard to prosper without an education, law and order, infrastructure, or many of the other things taxes pay for."

    Except that you don't need taxes to pay for much of those services, as they can be provided better by the private sector.

  • owen||

    everyone are intered in jerseys can feel free to
    http://mallsjersey.blogspot.com/ to us or go to our shop
    http://modernjerseys.org/ to know about jerseys details.
    1,nfl nike jerseys 1=22$,5=21$
    2,nhl jerseys 1=33.79$,5=32.9$
    3,mlb jerseys 1=17.3$/pcs,5=16.5$
    4,nba jerseys 1=19$,5=18.5$
    5,ncaa jerseys 1=17.3$,5=16.5$
    6,soccer jerseys 21$/pcs
    and other items price here.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

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

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement