"Libertarians Flex Their Muscle in the GOP": Wash Post

From a story in today's Wash Post titled, "Libertarians Flex Their Muscle in the GOP":

Libertarianism once again appears to be on the rise, particularly among the young. But its alliance with the Republican establishment is fraying, as demonstrated by the increasingly personal war of words between two leading potential 2016 presidential contenders....

The "once again" is appreciated, though any honest appraisal of partisan politics would acknowledge that libertarianism has been the next big thing for going on 45 years, when the future editor of Wired magazine, Louis Rossetto and his college pal Stan Lehr published "The New Right Credo: Libertarianism" in the January 10, 1971 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

Yet despite any unequivocal victories at the ballot box, as Matt Welch and I argued at length in our book The Declaration of Independents, America has only gotten more and more libertarian in many ways over the course of our lifetimes. Due to ad hoc political coalitions (such as the one that deregulated airline ticket pricing and interstate trucking in the late 1970s), technological innovation (thank you, interwebz), and a general leveling of authority (welcome to "the end of power"), most of us are more free to live our lives however we see fit than ever before.

Which isn't to say that most of the hard work of freedom isn't still ahead of us, especially when it comes to politics. The 21st century has in many ways been a bust and not just economically (though that can't undercounted). We've got a state that can tell us we must buy health insurance, where we've phoned from and to whom, and whom we can marry. Our foreign policy - it doesn't really even rise to qualify as a policy, to be fair - is godawful and destructive and too many of us can't wrap our minds around a future in which we will go broke paying for entitlements that are neither cost-effective nor necessary for most people. Yes, lots ahead for us. 

From that Wash Post story, which provides a nice summary of the past half-century of libertarian movement growth and evolution to a point where characters such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is being attacked by Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) for a "dangerous" libertarian streak:

Yet even Paul draws some skepticism from libertarian purists. They are leery, for instance, of his recent overtures to the Christian right, a constituency he cannot afford to alienate if he hopes to win his party’s presidential nomination.

For now, however, libertarian activists seem to believe that their best shot at advancing their ideas is in changing the Republican Party from the inside.

“Where else are you going to go?” asks Brian Doherty, senior editor at Reason. “Given the shape of the culture and the ideology of American politics, the Republican Party is at least willing to pay lip service to libertarian values. It is the existing space that a libertarian can move into and sort of fit in.”

Read the whole story.

And here's looking forward to future stories about libertarians flexing their muscles in the Democratic Party.

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  • Mike M.||

    And here's looking forward to future stories about libertarians flexing their muscles in the Democratic Party.

    Guffaw!

  • ||

    Shut the fuck up, KULTUR WAR moron.

  • Mike M.||

    Eat Drano, you fruitcake.

  • ||

    You first, KULTUR WAR moron. I want to watch you choke.

  • Rasilio||

    wouldn't eating fruitcake be worse?

    and what the hell just happened to the submit and preview buttons? Now they're big green blocks. Have the squirrels been smoking crack again?

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    What do you mean , again? Did they ever stop?

  • some guy||

    Don't laugh. When the Republicans come back into power it could happen. It's harder to get everyone to tow the lion when the party is losing.

  • Mike M.||

    When the Republicans come back into power it could happen.

    While I would love to see Rand Paul win the republican nomination and kick Hillary's teeth out of her head, I'm not sanguine about the prospects of that happening. America is degenerating into a country of low-information fools.

  • ||

    You mean like yourself, KULTUR WAR moron?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Epi, what did we tell you about the adults table? You're place is not at it.

  • ||

    Hahaha, that's rich.

    (Come on, none of us really belong at the adults table.)

  • Rasilio||

    believe it or not low information voters could easily be used to the advantage of a properly run libertarian campaign.

    They let you get away with campaigning on "health care reform that takes the money and control out of the hands of bureaucrats at the insurance company and government and puts it back in yours" without having to delve into the details that achieving such means an end to medicare.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Democrats want everyone to be required to be equally poor; we want everyone to have the opportunity to be fucking rich.

  • entropy||

    To me, that is what "libertarian populism" is.

    Libertarians who are politically savvy scoring points with easy rhetorical issues and framing their ideology in a way that might actually be popular and dupe the LIV's into banning the ATF and medicare because AMURICAH! SQUIRREL! KORPURASHUNS!

  • Render Unto Caesar||

    Tow the lion?

  • Drake||

    Carefully.

  • Render Unto Caesar||

    Nice.

  • ||

  • Render Unto Caesar||

    Awesome. I stand corrected. Guess you CAN tow the party lion.

  • ||

    America has only gotten more and more libertarian in many ways over the course of our lifetimes

    You keep. On. Saying. This. Yet we live in an ever more statist, collectivist country and world. Are you delusional? Do you have any evidence for this at all? Wishful thinking is almost as painfully pathetic as partisan groupthink delusion.

    I truly wish you were right; except all I see is more CONTROL, every day.

  • some guy||

    It could be that this is the last gasp of the political old guard. They are grasping to control all the new things that they don't understand. As they die off things could change rather quickly.

  • ||

    I admit that many of the current worst politicians are quite old, but that just seems to me to be because the slimeballs got to the top and stayed there. When they get replaced, I would imagine a new crop of slimeballs will slither into their places.

  • Raston Bot||

    The defense submits to evidence Exhibit A: Cory Booker

  • wareagle||

    the expansion of libertarianism is directly tied to individual hobby horses. People love freedom for things they support or enjoy, and have an almost equal love of regulating or banning those things they hate.

    It seems foreign to get that there is a difference between saying that I believe something, and I believe something and want govt to force everyone else to believe it, too.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I truly wish you were right; except all I see is more CONTROL, every day.

    Well, you need to stop watching Get Smart daily, then.

  • ||

    (puts cone of silence around HM)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    *likes

  • Cytotoxic||

    If you can't see that yes we are a great deal freer than the days of the draft, price controls on everything and purposefully cartelized companies then you're every bit as stupid as you appear to be. Which is pretty stupid.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Dude, "the days of the draft" haven't ended. Men living in America are still required to register with Selective Service", whose webpage has a helpful section entitled "What happens in a draft?"

  • SugarFree||

    He never has to worry about it, so he doesn't give a shit. The only thing worse than a chickenhawk is a Canadian chickenhawk.

  • Pro Libertate||

    In a way, whether we're freer to gay marry or whatever isn't all that relevant, because the government is less and less restricted and more and more arbitrary in its use of power.

    Look at how flagrantly illegal acts by this administration go by almost completely without protest, except by a few libertarians or, on occasion, Republicans trying to score points from their minority position. If that keeps happening, then whatever civil liberties we have don't exist as fundamental rights that not only are protected by the Constitution but arguably transcend it, they exist at the whim of the government.

    The real fight should and must be to limit government power. That's the real protection. And that's why we're losing.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    The real fight should and must be to limit government power.

    Just try it.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    As opposed to the days of having SWAT teams bust down your door, stop and frisk laws, having the government monitoring all your electronic communications and not being able to ride a bicycle without being outfitted like a quarterback?

    And don't even think about lighting that cigarette!

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    as Matt Welch and I argued at length in our book

    You wrote a book?!??! Why am I just hearing about this now?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And here's looking forward to future stories about libertarians flexing their muscles in the Democratic Party.

    Ah, the Great Locofoco Hype.

    Since the Fourth Party System, and definitely since the rise of the Fifth Party System, the Democratic Party has stood in opposition of liberty. To speak of a "libertarian Democrat" is a paradox; a contradiction in terms that is only useful in discussion of the mystical and gnostic. Like a Penrose triangle, such an object is only an optical illusion; the brain's confabulation to make sense of conflicting sensory data; thus it is "real" only within the domain of the mind, with no aspect of physical manifestation.

  • squarooticus||

    From living in such a lefty place (Massachusetts), I find that libertarians are particularly reviled by liberals because liberals view libertarians as an actual threat: we believe in freedom of association and privacy, but unlike the liberals also believe in economic freedom and property rights.

    Liberals don't take conservatives seriously because they know conservatives will increasingly struggle to compete nationally as SoCons are marginalized and people become more tolerant of alternative lifestyles, but they do take libertarians seriously because we don't have that SoCon baggage at which to direct hate. So they vilify libertarians with straw men of big corporashun kapitalizm, as if that's what libertarians advocate. Talking to liberals who pay attention to libertarianism, I can almost feel their teeth grinding. It's quite satisfying.

  • Drake||

    I kind of agree but it goes deeper. The liberals feel threatened by libertarians because they detect the absolute lack of hypocrisy. Nothing makes them more panicked and angry than pointing out that I still believe in the civil liberties they traded away for economic control.

  • squarooticus||

    I don't get any feeling at all that any of the liberals I know recognize the cognitive dissonance in believing in civil liberties on principle but empowering government to stomp all over them.

  • Drake||

    I know some hard-core liberals who are positively embarrassed and ashamed of Obama's civil liberties record.

  • squarooticus||

    In fact, I more often get the feeling that liberals are thinking, "How can anyone who believes in gay rights/ending corporate welfare/sustainable farming/etc. be so dumb? CORPORASHUNS! REGULASHUN! CITIZENS UNITUDD! GUNZ!"

  • Damned Fool||

    I live in New Jersey and I get pretty much the same feeling. Part of what scares them is also the fact that we tend to be pretty well-educated (whether formally or self-educated) in things like history, econ, and law, more so than the average liberal or conservative. This means that we can actually argue back and challenge the "reality-based community." They wish to present themselves as having a monopoly on intellectual power and they can't.

    There's a good article on the subject here.

  • Mike M.||

    The day that a self-proclaimed libertarian has any influence whatsoever in the democratic party, I'll give away everything I own.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    demonstrated by the increasingly personal war of words between two leading potential 2016 presidential contenders....

    If it is true that Christie really is a "leading contender" the Republican party is too pathetic and useless to survive.

  • wareagle||

    why? A credible argument can be made that Christie is the perpetuation the current GOP nominee model: a fairly moderate legislator who swings rightward to try and capture votes of folks who don't much like him, then tries to go back to the middle for the general. See: Romney, McCain, both Bushes, Dole.

    The last nominee to run as unabashedly conservative was Reagan. Only difference between Chris and Mitt is religion and a hundred pounds.

  • anon||

    Yes.

    Sorry, that's the only valid response I can come up with.

  • ||

    The comments are wonderful - really smart, well-informed and thoughtful.

    Just kidding.

  • NoVAHockey||

    I'm registered over there w/ the same handle. it's pointless.

  • Raston Bot||

    And the article leads w/ the pork rankings. Do those rankings include SS and Medicare?

  • wareagle||

    doubtful and likely doesn't include military bases or other federal properties, either. One of the left's favorite talking points is red states as welfare states as if that money is going solely to white trash and baby mamas.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    They are leery, for instance, of his recent overtures to the Christian right, a constituency he cannot afford to alienate if he hopes to win his party’s presidential nomination.

    A little part of me wants to believe Rand will somehow conjure up a coalition in the Republican Party sufficient to get him into the White House, only to tear off his disguise and ruthlessly impose a libertarian dictatorship upon the land. You know, abolish the Dept of Ed and DHS, drive the TSA gropers from the airports with a length of knotted (HEMP!) rope, garotte Eric Holder on live television, tear up the charter of the Federal Reserve Bank, and assorted other such minor libertarian housekeeping chores.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What's deeply ironic is all of this executive tyranny being exercised by Obama--ignoring court orders, legislating without authorization, waging war without congressional approval, and so on--could be used by a not-entirely-principled libertarian president to unilaterally gut Leviathan. This would be even easier because of Congress' long and absolutely unconstitutional practice of improperly delegating its powers to administrative agencies.

  • anon||

    only to tear off his disguise and ruthlessly impose a libertarian dictatorship upon the land.

    I laughed pretty hard.

  • Render Unto Caesar||

    Agreed.

    His statements on civil liberties issues, i.e. war on drugs, gay marriage, are worrisome to me.

  • eyeroller||

    the Republican Party is at least willing to pay lip service to libertarian values

    The long tradition of false Republican lip service is a reason to get out of that party, not into it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    From living in such a lefty place (Massachusetts), I find that libertarians are particularly reviled by liberals because liberals view libertarians as an actual threat: we believe in freedom of association and privacy, but unlike the liberals also believe in economic freedom and property rights.

    Some of the lefties I know seem to be dimly aware of libertarianism (me) as a sort of Jiminy Cricket chirping about the things they claim to have believed in, once upon a time. Before they got bamboozled by a lot of vapid flowery rhetoric emitted by an empty suit.

    A nagging conscience is a slow form of torture.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Statism is so central to the Democrats right now that I don't see how a libertarian could possibly live in that environment.

    The GOP is as statist in power, but less so in theory. It has a lot of voters who are libertarian. The problem is, that's not who controls the party, and its statists can be just as bad as the leftist variety.

  • Damned Fool||

    A nagging conscience is a slow form of torture.

    I'm stealing this quote.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    This would be even easier because of Congress' long and absolutely unconstitutional practice of improperly delegating its powers to administrative agencies.

    Exactly. As President, after droning Janet Napolitano and shipping the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency in its entirety in boxcars to Area 51, I will sit in the Oval Office with my muddy feet on Woodrow Wilson's desk and strike through vast sections of the Federal Register with my official Office of the President's BULLSHIT stamp.

  • anon||

    I'm voting P Brooks.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I Back Brooks!

  • anon||

    Only thing I'd change is that I'd probably shit on Wilson's desk, then burn it. Or maybe burn it then shit on it, then burn it again.

  • Pro Libertate||

    EO# 13699: By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to address the significant effects of Federal facilities on the wetlands of the District of Columbia and on Anthropogenic Global Warming, I hereby order as follows:

    Section 1: As of the Effective Date of this Executive Order, no federal building shall be allowed to use electricity of any kind, regardless of source.

    Section 2: Any violation of Section 1 will result in the immediate termination of any Federal employees involved, or suspected of being involved, in such violation, and may also result in criminal and/or civil prosecution.

    PRESIDENT LIBERTATE

    THE WHITE HOUSE,

    January 23, 2017.

  • anon||

    Any violation of Section 1 will result in the immediate termination by firing squad of any Federal employees involved, or suspected of being involved, in such violation,

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, President Libertate does respect due process. So there would be a trial, first.

  • anon||

    Psh, they signed up for it by being willing to become a federal employee; aka enemy agent. Fuck them.

  • Brandybuck||

    No mention of the Republican Liberty Caucus in the article? WTF?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Here's the deal--they want to make it look like the GOP is imploding with all of this internecine fighting. To mention the RLC would be to acknowledge that this is nothing new.

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