How Libertarian is the UK Independence Party?

Ukip.orgUkip.orgThe UK Independence Party (UKIP), which is on course to either win or come a close second in the British segment of this week's elections to the European Parliament, describes itself as a "libertarian, non-racist party seeking Britain's withdrawal from the European Union." How apt is that description?

The third part—seeking withdrawal from the European Union—is undeniably true. The second part—non-racist—has prompted raised eyebrows in some quarters. But having met many of the party's officials, activists, and candidates over the years (including this wonderfully straight-talking chap), I'm prepared to give UKIP the benefit of the doubt. But does UKIP deserve the label "libertarian"? Here, I'm with Rational Optimist Matt Ridley:

As the Ukip campaign ploughs steadily farther off the rails into the anti-immigrant bushes, in search presumably of former British National Party voters, it becomes ever easier for small-government, classical liberals—like me—to resist its allure. Nigel Farage once advocated flat taxes, drug decriminalisation and spending cuts. Now his party has dropped the flat tax, opposes zero-hours contracts, is hostile to gay marriage and talks about subsidising farmers and growing the defence budget.

To be clear, there are some libertarians involved in UKIP, and more supporting it from the sidelines. The party's antipathy toward the political elite certainly has a libertarian flavor to it, as do a few of its individual policies. But UKIP has always been an uncomfortable alliance of libertarianism and populist nationalism. And in recent years, it is very much the populist nationalism that has come to the fore. Now, as Dr Matthew Goodwin, co-author of Revolt on the Right, puts it:

UKIP are winning over the "Left Behind" groups in British society... These are voters who hold a very different set of values to the professional, middle-class majority: they are far more nationalist, Eurosceptic, fiercely opposed to immigration and feel like they have no voice in politics. They look out at a country they neither recognize nor want to be a part of.

In this context, it is hard to see a UKIP electoral victory striking much of a blow for individual freedom. It may represent a kick in the face for an out-of-touch political class, but—alas—it isn’t libertarians doing the kicking.

UKIP may once have been a libertarian political force. But for me, that label has been out-of-date since at least 2010, when the party ran its UK general election campaign on a virulently anti-immigration platform. Since then, the party has been beating an ever-more reactionary path. Libertarians still cheering its rising fortunes should perhaps be careful what they wish for.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No true Scotsman would be part of the UKIP.

  • Paul.||

    Yeah yeah, and no true Scotsman would ever wear a kilt.

  • ||

    Scottish Fest this weekend in Orange County.

    Will do kilt checks for free.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I'm sure you've tossed a few cabers in your day.

  • ||

    That's a scandalous accusation.

  • Brett L||

    See, this is the article I kept asking Feeney to write. It would be sad to see anyone styling themselves libertarians seeking BNP voters by trying to sound more like the BNP.

    Speaking of racists, does reason hire any dudes who aren't Irish?

  • WTF||

    Speaking of racists, does reason hire any dudes who aren't Irish?

    If by "Irish" you mean "drunk", then no.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Mick isn't a race. It's a way of life.

  • grrizzly||

    "See, this is the article I kept asking Feeney to write."

    Yep. I actually learnt something about the UKIP other than it's anti-immigrant, anti-immigrant, and--did I forget--anti-immigrant.

  • Paul.||

    Pakis are taking your jerbs.

  • Paul.||

    Which, ironically, a very polite, soft-spoken professional man named Nanjeet... or something will be taking mine in July. And I'm still pro-immigration. Funny that.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It would be sad to see anyone styling themselves libertarians seeking BNP voters by trying to sound more like the BNP.


    If this is what were happening, I would agree. I don't see any evidence of this, just baseless aspersions which are frankly unbelievable: the BNP electorate is tiny and in any case opposed to what UKIP is doing.

  • Brett L||

    I'm trying to encourage when they move in a the direction of things I want, rather than send the signal that no article would ever be acceptable. Others are free to take different tacks.

  • angus||

    UKIP want to stop immigration policy being biased in favour of white people.

    Not the same as the BNP

  • Jerry on the sea||

    Libertarians ... should perhaps be careful what they wish for.

    More Cameron and Miliband?!!

  • Dweebston||

    I am a competent, industrious employee who does not compulsively steal staplers.

  • Drake||

    Nothing better than a good Libertarian purity article.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I also get tired of purer-than-thou, but farm subsidies and MOAR DEFENSE are valid issues.

  • Drake||

    I'm not on board with subsidizing farmers either. Unlike the U.S., it can be argued that the UK has cut their military too deeply and some growth may be appropriate.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I know, right? They say theyre libertarian, shouldn't that be good enough. And, hey, a few deviations from libertarian principles are forgivable especially when they are in the 'right' direction, amirite?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    But what does the LP party platform say about circumcision? Surely, such a magisterial document can shed light on the issue. Please, please tell us that Your Boliness has some answer for us all on the Party-approved position.

  • Jordan||

    Since there is no libertarian position on deep dish pizza, there can be no libertarian position on anything.

  • TANSTaaFL||

    Give us Chicago Deep Dish or Give us Death!

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Your Boliness

    I lol'd

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Wow, you really are getting worse at this every time.

    Libertarians have to have some common guiding principles. How those play out on some issues will cause honest divergence (does the NAP mean circumcision is wrong? Is intellectual property protected under the right to property?). But there will have to be some borders where people have gone from honest application of principles to something not libertarian, or else it is an empty phrase.

    You are admittedly not interested in the kind of consistent application of principles of being a libertarian, so of course you do not articles by people who are doing just that. Why you beat yourself up by coming back here and whining about people doing that is beyond me.

    Your pet issue here, immigration, does not even pretend to be a consistent libertarian position. Your argument is that we have to restrict liberty in this one area to save it in others, a utilitarian argument. It's a reasonable one, but others really want to try to live by things like the NAP in a non-utilitarian way.

  • KPres||

    Honestly, as an American, I really just don't care that much about immigration in the UK. I do, however, care about the expansionary nature of the EU, since that's a phenomenon that has global implications. I probably don't know as much about the UKIP as I should (it might help if I could stand to read anything by Freeney), but it sure seems like they're the only people who are sticking it to the EU at the moment, so my leanings are going to be sympathetic.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If someone wants to argue that the UKIP is less statist than the alternatives, sure, but I do not get that is what this debate is about.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Here's what gets me the most about this.

    John and Immaculate Trouser are, to their credit, quite open and honest that they are not libertarians and hold positions closer to conservatives. That's all well and good, we libertarians agree with conservatives on a lot of things.

    But then they come here to Reason's discussion board, knowing that Reason is a magazine by and for libertarians, libertarians that try hard to apply libertarianism consistently to a wide number of issues, and they complain, complain, complain about libertarians doing that. It's bizarre. It's like showing up to a NFL game and complaining that they don't award a single like they do in the CFL.

  • KPres||

    I don't even think I'd go that far. It's more about the local v. global nature of the threat. I see the EU as a major threat to liberty that has large global influence and wants more. Whatever the UKIP platform is, they seem to have struck a populist nerve against that. So whether it's their nativist or democratic rhetoric, I just don't care, because they'll never have much influence outside of the UK.

  • ||

    But there will have to be some borders where people have gone from honest application of principles to something not libertarian

    Borders?! You monster...

    Thankfully we have the catechism of the Libertarian church to tell us who the heretics are.

  • ||

    "Speaking of racists, does reason hire any dudes who aren't Irish?"

    Who aren't White?

  • Brett L||

    Wait, wait, wait. When did the Irish become white? Next you'll be telling me Pollacks and Italians are white now, too.

  • Lord Humungus||

    Do try to keep up.

  • TANSTaaFL||

    Pollacks and Italians are white now, too

    If that's true, then this group is easier to get into than Arizona State

  • John||

    Maybe it is a bad idea to tell the native working classes to go fuck themselves because of immigration? If Libertarians won't speak to their needs someone else eventually will. And that someone is likely to be fairly nasty.

    If the parties like the UK Independence party start out as grass roots small government movements and end up being co-opted by populists demagogues and outright fascists, Libertarians have only themselves to blame.

    It is just like the Tea party in this country. The various hipster douche bags at Reason who continually hope the movement fails and sit around smelling their Prog colleague's farts telling them how awful these bumpkins in the Tea Party are, are not going like what comes next if the Tea Party fails. You are seeing what comes next in the UK Independence Party and the various far right parties in Europe. If the political class won't listen its middle class and lower middle class voters, someone else will.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    By that logic, libertarians should back confiscatory tax rates, because if they don't speak to the resentful lower classes, someone else will.

  • John||

    No. By that logic Libertarians should not tell a huge portion of otherwise receptive voters to go fuck themselves while they are playing no true Scotsman on immigration and engaging in the culture war.

    Even taking your half-witted example, if there was real support to end the drug war among voters who otherwise wanted confiscatory taxes, Libertarians would be stupid not to give some on taxes if doing so meant real progress ending the greater evil of the drug war.

  • Robert||

    Such is politics. It's relatively easy to hold together when everyone's concerns are serviced equally, i.e. not at all.

  • sarcasmic||

    The various hipster douche bags at Reason

    Tell us how you REALLY feel...

  • Jordan||

    HURR DURR COSMOTARIANZ

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Except this isn't UKIP being taken over by populists. It is sour grapes from one wing of the libertarian movement ("cosmotarians", if you will) who like being able to laugh at the working classes with their prog friends and don't like having to agree that the "yokeltarians" are right about anything or even libertarian. God, they might have to say something nice about Thatcher or Ron Paul. Lord knows I have my problems with the "yokeltarian" Rothbardian strain, but let's be honest: it is by any measure the largest strain of libertarianism and it is pure snobbery which causes the "cosmo" strain to denounce them as not even being libertarian, as well as the other ways that "cosmos" tend to join the left in attacking "yokels".

  • John||

    It might not be. That is why I said "if". My point is not whether this article is an accurate portrayal of the UK Independence Party. My point is that even if it is, people like Clougherty have only themselves to blame. You spend your time and efforts actively loathing a group of people and then act shocked when some other movement treats them like human beings and wins their support.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Or maybe they just want to be consistent, sheesh

  • Cytotoxic||

    Do you get around typing 'yokeltarian' and 'cosmotarian'? Is out of your system? Good. Now we can come back to reality.

    The article makes it clear that UKIP is less and less libertarian and actively promotes anti-libertarian stances such as farm subsidy and anti-immigration hysteria.

  • John||

    Yes it does. It also makes it clear that it didn't start out like that. It started out as a legitimate small government movement and is, if the article is to be believed, being co-opted by fascists. If that is true, whose fault is that? Maybe the general disdain many Libertarians hold actual working class people has something to do with that by ceding the field to the fascists?

  • Cytotoxic||

    If that is true, whose fault is that? Maybe the general disdain many Libertarians hold actual working class people has something to do with that by ceding the field to the fascists?

    Oooh I can't wait for you to back this up with some evidence! Lets hold our breathe for John!

  • John||

    My evidence is you. Did you not say

    Absolutely. These people tend to be ignorant and prone to dangerous populists. They really should not have a meaningful voice in politics.?

    Don't Libertarians routinely call anyone who objects to open boarders racists? Even when they are doing so out of legitimate economic interests?

    Anyone who is against open borders or in any way doesn't tow the Prog cultural lion is called a racist and told to go fuck themselves by Libertarians. If you don't like it that such people end up supporting fascists because they are the only people who don't tell t hem to go fuck themselves, well too fucking bad. If you can tell them to fuck themselves, they can tell you the same thing and according to the article are in the UK at least.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Don't Libertarians routinely call anyone who objects to open boarders racists?"

    I think you mean open borders. But I would not call them racists necessarily, xenophobic perhaps.

    "Even when they are doing so out of legitimate economic interests?"

    Er, do you know what we call people who try to restrict fundamental freedoms in the name of their economic interests in other areas (like taxation, minimum wage, etc)? Not nice names, I can tell you that.

  • John||

    yes Bo,

    You think anyone who objects to open borders is a racist. Thank you for proving my point, but it wasn't necessary.

    You can think whatever you like. But you can't really complain when the people won't give you a hearing on other issues after you call them racists and xenophobes and make it clear that you don't give a shit if open borders means they personally are going to be worse off.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think I wrote I would not call them racist. Indeed I did. You are not even trying at this point.

  • Jordan||

    Maybe the general disdain many Libertarians hold actual working class people

    [Citation needed]

  • John||

    The article above. Cytoxic's statements on this thread. About a million other Reason threads where various Reason staffers and board members talk about the evil yokels in the Tea party movement.

  • Jordan||

    The article above.

    Which says nothing disparaging about working class people.

    About a million other Reason threads where various Reason staffers and board members talk about the evil yokels in the Tea party movement.

    [Citation needed]

    So, you've got one libertarian so far.

  • John||

    Which says nothing disparaging about working class people.

    Did you miss this?

    UKIP are winning over the "Left Behind" groups in British society... These are voters who hold a very different set of values to the professional, middle-class majority

    That is nothing but pure smug and condescension. It is typical bullshit and why I loath people like this author.

    About a million other Reason threads where various Reason staffers and board members talk about the evil yokels in the Tea party movement.

    You can run a search just as well as I can. You know as well as I do the endless number of "but the SOCONS have Co-opted the Tea Party" posts.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You made the claim, Jordan asked for evidence, and you ask him to run the search for it. Nice.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That is nothing but pure smug and condescension. It is typical bullshit and why I loath people like this author.

    It's also, you know, true, whether you like it or not. Your straight-shot to anger indicates a mental short-circuit on your part. Think this out.

  • John||

    It's also, you know, true, whether you like it or not. Your straight-shot to anger indicates a mental short-circuit on your part. Think this out.

    No it is not. There is no way the professional classes are that loathsome. Just because the author is doesn't mean the rest of them are.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    John, I have heard you rail against the professional elites in similar fashion on several occasions.

  • Paul.||

    Yes it does. It also makes it clear that it didn't start out like that. It started out as a legitimate small government movement and is, if the article is to be believed, being co-opted by fascists.

    The more I read your posts, the less I feel I understand them.

    You want libertarians to stand up and support the grass roots movement before it becomes co-opted by 'fascists'. You say (in this thread and previous threads) that lost jobs due to an influx of cheap immigrant labor are a valid concern for the political class to address.

    But then you admit that the UKIP has been co-opted by fascists. Can you enumerate the fascist parts that libertarians disagree with, and the non-fascist parts that libertarians disagree with?

  • John||

    It is not hard Paul. Libertarians refuse to work with groups like the UK IP and the Tea Party because those groups often don't support open borders and are culturally conservative. This leaves the field open to fascists. Maybe if Libertarians got involved in these groups and were less assholes about culture and open borders, the fascists would have less sway?

  • Cytotoxic||

    But libertarians DID and CONTINUE TO work with the TP and UKIP so this is bullshit. Reason's admittedly eye-rolling hipsters are not representative of libertarians except in your head.

  • John||

    Reason's admittedly eye-rolling hipsters are not representative of libertarians except in your head.

    That is a fair point. And I take that back. I was speaking more about Reason and media class Libertarians in general.

  • KPres||

    I wouldn't mind a few more articles from Reason trashing the annoying hipster douche-bags. That's different than appeasing working class racists. Let equal opportunity hate win you some allies from both sides without having to compromise or suck up to slimy culture warriors :)

  • Robert||

    Might it not simply be that libertarians stayed active in or supporters of the UKIP, but became outnumbered when the UKIP grew in popularity?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The article makes it clear that UKIP is less and less libertarian and actively promotes anti-libertarian stances such as farm subsidy and anti-immigration hysteria.


    It does nothing of the kind. It quotes Matt Ridley's claims of such, and as far as I have been able to dig up from the 5 seconds I spent googling:

    1) One guy running as a UKIP candidate supported farm subsidies one time. This guy was not Farage, and it is not an official party position. You might as well say the LP supports child molestation based on that one nut who ran for the LP Presidential ticket.

    2) Whatever the merits or demerits of UKIP, it's clearly not what this article is devoted to since it would have made a factual presentation of such with links. Instead, its purpose is to tell us that the Wrong People (non "professional middle class") like UKIP, and that the Right People (Matt Ridley) have written articles critical of it. If that's all you need to know, fine but I'll have a bit more information, thanks.

  • SlV||

    The fucking US Libertarian Party has run POTUS candidates twice now on a major platform plank of implementing a national consumption tax. The Reason Foundation wants universal GPS tracking of all vehicles to "tax by the mile" in addition to the existing fuel tax and wants to convert existing roads already payed for with fuel taxes into crony-capitalist "private-public partnership" toll roads.

  • Robert||

    It happened to Fidesz in Hungary, according to what I've read here.

  • Cytotoxic||

    OF COURSE this is out fault. Just like everything is the fault of libertarians! We're both powerless and to blame for everything by everyone!

  • John||

    Libertarians are right about 90% of the things they say and history shows it to be such. Yet, they still manage to be consistent political losers. Leftists in contrast are wrong about 99% of the things they say, history has proven them so to the turn of tens of millions of dead and untold poverty, and they seem to win everywhere they go.

    At some point Libertarians need to own up to some responsibility for being such political losers despite being right.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, if only we would jettison our principles like the Republicans and the Tories.

  • Cytotoxic||

    We won the gay marriage file. We also helped end the draft and ant-gay legislation. We're ending the War on Drugs bit by bit.

    But you're right we should totally take our cues from conservatives. Hey, they might have accomplished dick all in their half-century ongoing train wreck of a movement, but 'their' party has won elections and that's what counts right?

  • John||

    You didn't win shit on those issues. Liberals and Progs won gay marriage. You just jumped in at the end and kicked a few SOCONs for good measure.,

    And gee, maybe you would have more influence over Conservatives, who are otherwise disposed to agree with you on a lot of issues, if you were not such insufferable assholes who spend so much time with noses firmly up some Prog's ass on issues of culture and fashion. Just a thought.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Nope that was us, at least initially. Libertarians were way ahead on gay marriage and pot freedom and Friedman was a huge intellectual driving force to end the draft. You'd know this stuff, but you'd rather pretend you are winning this argument.

    Conservatives would like to help libertarians on some issues but they're too busy going apeshit over gay marriage and SHAMNESTY. In Canada, they are firmly in lockstep with Harper who is about as pro-freedom as Obama. Conservatives are so much more numerous than libertarians and yet they have less to show for it. It's because the typical con is about as stupid as the left makes them out to be. It's taken years but I've come to see it is absolutely true.

  • John||

    Nope that was us, at least initially.

    Yes, you supported the issue and went no where like you do on everything and then the progs decided it was useful in the culture war and made it happen.

    It wasn't you.

  • John||

    And if anyone is "ending the drug war", it isn't Libertarians. How many libertarians are actually involved in the prison reform movement?

    Hint not many and you absolutely hate the people who are.

  • kbolino||

    John, I'm trying to give your posts a charitable read here, but all I'm taking away is that we are simultaneously too ineffective to accomplish anything and so powerful that our condescension destroys entire political movements.

    You can't have it both ways. Either we're supposed to "work with" other people, in which case we deserve some credit for the joint accomplishments, or else we're not supposed to "work with" other people, in which case we don't deserve any blame for their failings.

  • Robert||

    Actually libertarians jumped on board the sae sex marriage train only recently. There's a canard around that the LP, specifically, supported it long ago. It did not, and in fact voted down support of same sex marriage decisively as a platform plank in the late 1990s. Libertarians generally were interested in the issue in the 1990s, but most were not "pro".

  • Paul.||

    We're ending the War on Drugs bit by bit.

    Tiny bit by very, very tiny bit. And, we've compromised and allowed byzantine, progressive therapeutic state health and safety and tax regulatory structures to be created with that tiny bit of legalization- which John above said we'd never be willing to do.

  • Robert||

    Who is this "we" who's doing the compromising? Radical libertarians are just a small voice among many POV. The result of anything 2 or more people disagree on is a compromise unless all but the holders of one POV are killed or otherwise neutralized.

  • Calidissident||

    How the fuck does a conservative have the nerve to lecture libertarians about taking responsibility for their failures? You guys actually have numbers, are the largest self-identified block of American voters, have far more media representation than libertarians, have control of one of the two established parties, control the government about half the time, and continually fail to accomplish almost anything of note while helping the progressives (not merely failing to stop them) ruin the country. And you have the nerve to come here and lecture libertarians on failing to stop leftists?

  • ||

    At some point Libertarians need to own up to some responsibility for being such political losers despite being right.

    I would rather be a miserable misanthrope instead.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The second part—non-racist—has prompted raised eyebrows in some quarters. But having met many of the party's officials, activists, and candidates over the years (including this wonderfully straight-talking chap), I'm prepared to give UKIP the benefit of the doubt.


    This is just you being a dick. They're not provably racist, and the only people who say they are are the type of left-wing and establishment twits who call libertarians racist over in the US.

    UKIP are winning over the "Left Behind" groups in British society... These are voters who hold a very different set of values to the professional, middle-class majority


    Well you should have just opened by letting us know that we're dealing with the scum of the Earth. I mean, if they're not "professional middle class", ah, I mean, "libertarian", then fuck them, right?

  • John||

    Well you should have just opened by letting us know that we're dealing with the scum of the Earth. I mean, if they're not "professional middle class", ah, I mean, "libertarian", then fuck them, right?

    And worse still, those fucking scumbags won't support people like Clougherty. Jesus, he is willing to let them exist. It is not like he wants to kill them or anything. He just thinks their scum. Why the hell can't they get with the program and vote for the people he tells them to?

  • Drake||

    I guess we'll have to support the other growing Libertarian party in Europe.

    I forget, what's that one called?

  • John||

    You take what you can get. The reason why leftists always win and Libertarians always lose, is leftists are relentless and are always willing to co-opt another movement and do whatever is necessary to move the needle even a little bit. Libertarians on the other hand spend most of their efforts demanding ideological purity and turning down achievable gains because it would require associated with the unclean.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The problems with conservatives isn't just that they are unclean, it's that they ineffective failures.

  • John||

    They may be failures but not when they are compared to Libertarians.

  • Jordan||

    other growing Libertarian party in Europe

    There would have to be one in the first place for there to be another one.

  • Drake||

    Dammit, I keep forgetting - impure!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Well, the Liberal Party used to be a pretty solid classical liberal party in the UK (better than UKIP IMO), but it merged with the Social Democrats and became a shithole of a party which is arguably even worse than the Tories and Labour, if that's possible.

    Gee, who could have seen that one coming?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Why the hell did they even do that?

  • Winston||

    The SD (more "right-wing" Labour) and Liberal Alliance was doing better electorally than the Liberals had been since 1945? And merged was better than a clunky alliance? It has worked well electorally but they have sacrificed classical liberalism.

  • Winston||

    There's been some debate over what happened to the UK Liberal Party. It seems that a combination of WWI, the split between Asquith and Lloyd George and universal suffrage caused Labour to make major gains. Asquith and Lloyd George reunited in 1923 and the Liberals became a significant third party. Then Asquith supported the 1924 Labour government which proved to be disastrous and lost them a lot of support. Then there was the decision to join the National Government in 1931 which caused another split and loss of support. Then after WWII there was another big collapse of support.

  • Jordan||

    Well you should have just opened by letting us know that we're dealing with the scum of the Earth. I mean, if they're not "professional middle class", ah, I mean, "libertarian", then fuck them, right?

    Wow, that is some serious butthurt. What on Earth makes you think that Reason was speaking approvingly of any portion of the British electorate? They were stating a fact. Relax. The dreaded cosmotarians aren't coming to get you.

  • John||

    No one thinks the cosmotarians are coming to get them. They are just morons and worthy of scorn.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Did you read the excerpt? What possible merit was there in quoting it if not to say that non "professional middle class" voters are worthless scum, especially when Feeney follows up the excerpt by saying "In this context, it is hard to see a UKIP electoral victory striking much of a blow for individual freedom."

    It is just as bad as when leftists do it.

  • Jordan||

    Gee, I can't imagine why somebody would not view anti-immigration nationalists (from the damn excerpt) as being friends of liberty. They must just hate plumbers.

  • John||

    Gee I can't imagine why a group of people won't support someone or an ideology that calls them racist.

    Jordan you are a smart guy but you are a great example of why Libertarians fail so badly. You can't seem to grasp that just because you are right about something doesn't mean everyone is going to support you. Some people might get harmed by your policy even if it is the right thing to do overall. Moreover, building a political coalition may require compromise and giving up on some issues to achieve success on others. So yes, if you want to do something about socialism, you may have to give up on open borders because the people who will help you with that don't support open borders.

    In contrast, if you really want open borders, you may have to live with socialism because the people want open borders tend to be socialists.

    Libertarians won't accept that reality and keep thinking that people will support their policies if they just keep telling them how wrong they are.

  • Lord Humungus||

    ^ this.

    Incremental steps, people.

  • entropy_factor||

    agreed, I smh when we get into purity tests. There is no 100% candidate, ever. If we truly believe in individuals over groups, then we have to accept that not all individuals are going to agree 100% of the time.

    That's why I like Rand Paul- he bridges the gap and knows how to play the conservative side just enough so he might get votes. That's a step in the right direction if you ask me.

  • PapayaSF||

    In contrast, if you really want open borders, you may have to live with socialism because the people want open borders tend to be socialists.

    And because the immigrants may well be more open to socialism despite the fact that it helped make their homelands so miserable that they left. See my comment below.

  • John||

    They may well be. Politics is about compromise and choices. Libertarians don't get that.

  • Calidissident||

    What makes you think these people, even if we discounted immigration, are libertarians?

  • Calidissident||

    Or even libertarian-leaning?

  • PapayaSF||

    By "these people," you mean the UKIP? Opposing the EU, for one thing. They are the source of lots of anti-libertarian laws and regulations (e.g. regulating acceptable curves for bananas).

  • Calidissident||

    No, I meant the base of voters this entire conversation is about. The ones described in the excerpt in the article.

    I would agree that the EU is a net loss for liberty in many regards, but I think a party has to offer a lot more than opposition that to qualify as "libertarian-leaning."

  • Robert||

    Why does the base of voters for libertarians have to be radically libertarian, or even much more libertarian than the avg. voter?

  • Calidissident||

    All he says is that this group isn't libertarian. It's not like he says that "professional middle class" people are libertarian. One only need to look at Britain's situation to see that's not the case.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Well you should have just opened by letting us know that we're dealing with the scum of the Earth. I mean, if they're not "professional middle class", ah, I mean, "libertarian", then fuck them, right?

    Absolutely. These people tend to be ignorant and prone to dangerous populists. They really should not have a meaningful voice in politics.

  • John||

    These people tend to be ignorant and prone to dangerous populists.

    Of course they are. The way to win a group's support is to tell them how ignorant they are and how they need to stay away from the fascists and listen to you because you know what is good for them. Oh and by the way, it is their duty to get fucked in the name of open borders.

    And yet, you are surprised fascists get these people to listen to them. Someone here is ignorant, but I don't think it is the votes.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Nope it's the voters. It is not our fault they are too stupid to support our positions John. Marginalizing them is necessary to keep them from becoming dangerous. There is a need for The Elite. The Elite are the people who think because the rest of society doesn't. Our problems is that The Elite have done an increasingly terrible job for nearly a century.

    Oh and by the way, it is their duty to get fucked in the name of open borders.

    This is what I'm talking John. You're a steadfast economic illiterate. Reasoning and evidence have failed, so now you have to be marginalized and left behind. That is the place of Joe Schmuck.

  • John||

    This is what I'm talking John. You're a steadfast economic illiterate. Reasoning and evidence have failed, so now you have to be marginalized and left behind. That is the place of Joe Schmuck.

  • John||

    Fuck the squirrels.

    You are a hateful idiot. If don't understand that open borders produces winners and losers regardless of what its overall effect is, you are an economic moron and unworthy of even discussing economics with. I have forgotten more about the subject that you have ever known. You are a fucking moron who learned a few buzz words and think it passes for knowledge.

    You cant expect the people who lose from open borders to support them out of principle. You can, if you are fucking retard but not if you are sentient.

  • Cytotoxic||

    open borders produces winners and losers regardless of what its overall effect is

    Oh so this is why they call you Red Tony.

    You are a fucking moron who learned a few buzz words and think it passes for knowledge.

    No John I understand economics and I parsed and comprehended the data. This makes for...one of us.

  • John||

    open borders produces winners and losers regardless of what its overall effect is

    If you don't understand that any economic policy helps some and hurts others, you are either too stupid or too mendacious to worry about.

    And yes, thank you for again proving my rule that any time someone yells "Red Tony" at me it is because I have won the argument and they don't like it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This is too funny. Whatever you want to tell yourself John. Tell us how 'La Raza' is going to wreck America. I have work to do.

  • John||

    Cytoxic,

    Are you so fucking dense that you don't understand immigration restrictions are nothing but protectionism? The point of protectionism is to "protect". The people who are protected by such restrictions are not going to vote to get rid of them because you tell them its the right thing to do. They are not going to act against their own interests just because some politician who will gain from it tells them they should support the freedom out of principle.

    Why can't you understand that? If you want these people's support, you are going to have to bend on open borders. If open borders are that important to you, then go work with the Progs and live with socialism. What is not available is getting both open boarders and ending socialism.

  • angus||

    The problem with socialism is that sooner or later it runs out of other peoples money. The good thing about socialism is that it can attract other people.

  • grrizzly||

    "There is a need for The Elite. The Elite are the people who think because the rest of society doesn't. Our problems is that The Elite have done an increasingly terrible job for nearly a century."

    That was illuminating, cyto. A true TOP MEN lover is among us.

  • ||

    There is a need for The Elite. The Elite are the people who think because the rest of society doesn't. Our problems is that The Elite have done an increasingly terrible job for nearly a century.

    Babby's first Nietzsche. God you're a cunt.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Fuck off, Cyto. People say the exact same thing about Hispanics, and guess what? More is happening in the way of libertarian politics in Latin America than in possibly any other region of the world. I am tired of hearing how people who don't vote in X manner are scum and deserve to be hated purely because they are Not Like Us.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I find this comment mystifying. If they aren't voting for dangerous populists then they aren't falling into the category I set up. Perhaps I should have restricted my earlier point to Anglo-European societies.

  • 110 Lean||

    Speaking of Libertarians, I saw a guy on the Nicollet Mall about an hour ago with a Libertarian shirt, signs and literature. Anyone from here doing that?

  • Lord Humungus||

    Did you give him the Libertarian Purity test?

  • Drake||

    The one involving digital insertion?

  • Lord Humungus||

    It smells like Warty. You're in the club!

  • ||

    Did anyone see this fake advert for the Conservatives in the 2005 election? Better executed than any of the ads in that cycle.

  • Idle Hands||

    That was awesome.

  • ||

    and growing the defense budget.

    Well that is libertarian.

    A nation that pays for all its own idiotic murder adventures in foreign lands rather then having the US pay for it is libertarian right?

    Note: HAHA firefox corrected quote's spelling of "defense".

  • PapayaSF||

    In the UK, the conflict between the libertarian principle of open borders and all other libertarian principles is even more stark. It's a smaller place, and so a little immigration has a greater social effect. It's more socialized, so it has a greater economic effect. Their immigration is much more Muslim, so they get "Sharia patrols" in the cities, "grooming gangs" preying on teen girls, murders of soldiers, and so on.

    So of course lots of people there are upset about immigration. It's changing their country for the worse (overall), so why shouldn't they be?

    One of the indications of ideological blindness is to refuse to acknowledge the real-world effects of your principles, and immigration is perhaps the biggest blind spot for libertarians. We all know how (e.g.) Californians moving elsewhere tend to "Californicate" their new states by voting for the same policies that caused them to leave California in the first place. Well, the same thing can happen with Muslims moving to the UK. And who thinks the UK will be better off if it's more like Pakistan (other than many Pakistanis)? If the UKIP can restrict Muslim immigration, it's a victory for libertarianism, because the more Muslims there are in the UK, the more anti-libertarian it will be. That's not "racism" or "xenophobia," it's just reality.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    +1

  • kbolino||

    It seems to me like the real conflict here is between freedom and democracy.

    People should not be able to vote away the liberty of their fellows.

    That is the real problem, and curtailing certain freedoms along the way in order to slow the inevitable march to socialist hell is just papering over it.

  • Drake||

    Unfortunately the English Bill of Rights is even more of a dead letter than the American one.

  • PapayaSF||

    That's true to a great extent, but papering over it is still better than not doing anything.

  • Winston||

    So can we all agree to blame this on Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith and Lloyd George?

    Also those guys came to power thanks to anti-immigration sentiment by the way.

  • Winston||

    Party came to power thanks to opposition to Chinese goldminers in South Africa that is. There was also some backlash to some plans for protectionism advocated by Liberal Unionist Joseph (father of Neville) Chamberlain who was a "progressive" Liberal.

  • Winston||

    Eh *Partly* came to power

  • angus||

    Its about money. Under any state with reasonable social support (the entire Western world). Immigration is either a burden or a boon depending on who you are and how much capital you possess.

    Who wins - If you are a governmental employee, your job has become more rewarding as the bureaucracy expands. If you are asset rich it is a boon, because even though taxes will increase your assets are in more demand.

    Who middles - If you asset poor and are of a beneficial class, it is largely irrelevant. If you are middle class, the balance between your assets and increased tax liability is neutral.

    Who loses - If you are asset poor, but not of a beneficial class your taxes and costs will increase.

  • angus||

    Under any merged capitalist-socialist system immigration is marginally anti-libertarian if you are asset poor and marginally pro-libertarian if you are asset rich.

  • DRM||

    If the three deviations from libertarianism of a candidate for governor of Kentucky in the US are that he favors a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear program, thinks we should increase military spending, and wants to outlaw publication of the Koran, then there is no reason for libertarians to not vote for him, because the governor of Kentucky cannot do any of those things.

    Similarly, a UKIP MEP cannot increase UK defence spending, cannot reduce immigration to the UK, and certainly cannot increase UK farm subsidies. So why care about any possible UKIP positions on those in the slightest?

  • angus||

    The European parliament has partial control of EU CAP spending - euro farm subsidies.

  • NL_||

    There's the virulent strain of euroskepticism that might be typified by FN in France - nationalist, anti-globalization, anti-EU, anti-foreign.

    You have the socialist critique of the EU, common in most left-wing and ex-Communist parties, that the EU is a neoliberal tool to undermine protectionist rules and circumvent economic regulations.

    Then there's the academic, quasi-libertarian strain of euroskepticism typified by AfD in Germany - academics and professionals who don't see the point to subsidizing other governments but appreciate the interconnectedness that the EU brings. "Can we keep the open borders and capital freedom parts of the EU but cut out the subsidies and bailouts?"

    Judging by the fact that AfD failed to garner any seats in Germany (and maybe knocked out the FDP for the first time since the war), and that UKIP and other European euroskeptic parties tend to use more nationalist rhetoric than libertarian rhetoric, I fear it may be the case that the nationalist case is the more popular one. It doesn't require bifurcating EU policies to explain their effect. It just boils down to "fewer foreigners" and so is easy to transmit.

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