Culture Bores

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I have a new theory: 9/11 did change the country, but it only changed it by about 1%.

The media's line is that Bush's reelection turned on the culture war. I don't know whether that's true, but it's plausible; conservative Christians turned out in Ohio to vote against gay marriage, and that may have made the difference between a national victory for Bush and a national victory for Kerry. To judge from what I've been reading and hearing since Kerry conceded, this has set some left-liberals into a panic about evangelicals in the fever swamps trying to take away our freedoms.

They should calm down. Neither Ohio nor any of the other states that banned gay marriage this week enjoyed legal gay marriage before; the electorate merely reiterated the preexisting order. I'm sorry to see it happen, but it's not a dramatic development.

Once they're calm, those Democrats should take a look in the mirror. I hate the Red America/Blue America cliche, the whole idea that the country can be painted in just two colors. But if I had to speak in terms of that map, I'd say the most successful culture warriors come from the blue states. The dominant species of liberal doesn't just want to maintain the old taboos; it wants to introduce some new ones. For many Americans, the Democrats are the party that hates their guns, cigarettes, and fatty foods (which is worse: to rename a french fry or to take it away?); that wants to impose speed limits on near-abandoned highways; that wants to tell local schools what they can or can't teach. There is no party of tolerance in Washington—just a party that wages its crusades in the name of Christ and a party that wages its crusades in the name of Four Out Of Five Experts Agree. I say fie on both.

Here's an idea for liberals looking for a political project: Team up with some hard-core conservatives and make a push for states' rights and local autonomy. If you have to get the government involved in everything under the sun, do it on a level where you'll have more of a popular consensus. Aim for a world where it won't matter what Washington has to say about who can marry who and whether they can smoke after sodomy. Then, in 2008, the presidential election can turn on something national—like, say, foreign policy.

Update: Down in the comments, I'm informed that some of the anti-marriage measures could prohibit not just gay matrimony and civil unions, which did not already exist where they are now banned, but private domestic partnerships, which did. So the news is worse than I thought.

NEXT: Glimmers of Hope

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  1. John Stewart had Chuck Schumer on last night and was arguing from a similar perspective (revenge against the media elites for bad TV). Schumer, sadly, was having none of it, arguing instead that they’d outflanked once again.

    Sigh.

  2. There is no party of tolerance in Washington — just a party that wages its crusades in the name of Christ and a party that wages its crusades in the name of Four Out Of Five Experts Agree. I say fie on both.

    Damn straight!

  3. David: Schumer is the ultimate intolerant Blue Stater, at least to those of us who remember his revolting performance in the Waco hearings.

  4. But Jesse, the heart of the problem is that neither side really even wants that except when it’s to gore the other side’s ox!

  5. “They should calm down. Neither Ohio nor any of the other states that banned gay marriage this week enjoyed legal gay marriage before; the electorate merely reiterated the preexisting order. I’m sorry to see it happen, but it’s not a dramatic development.”

    Incorrect. Ohio’s constitutional ammendment banned civil unions for folks of any sexual orientation, not just gay marriage. This is a significant change.

  6. Craig: I thought none of the states had civil union laws either. Was I wrong?

  7. Jesse, I’m with you totally on your main points. However, Neither Ohio nor any of the other states that banned gay marriage this week enjoyed legal gay marriage before; the electorate merely reiterated the preexisting order. is misleading.

    Here in Michigan the gay marriage ban (proposal 2) includes the language, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose. I’d say that exceeds the preexisting order. There are fundies here now preparing to take various organizations into court in attempt to force them to stop providing benefits to gay partners.

  8. They’re not just trying to block civil unions, but are going after private arrangements like employer-offered domestic partnership benefits?

  9. You’re right — the map shouldn’t just be Red/Blue:

    Tyrell Co, NC Results:
    Badnarik: 853 / 35%
    Bush: 850 / 35%
    Kerry: 727 / 30%

    😉

  10. Jesse,
    Yes they are. I don’t know how far they will get. Here’s the best I could find in a quick google search. It has been written about more extencively.

  11. Red State Gay People: your neighbors are bigots. They hate you. Come to our cities, fix up our rowhouses, and don’t put kids in our schools.

    We have better restaurants, anyway.

  12. Thanks, Warren. I’ve just updated the post.

  13. good stuff. perceptive. and right on the money

  14. Here’s an idea for liberals looking for a political project: Team up with some hard-core conservatives and make a push for states’ rights and local autonomy.
    Umm, sounds like a Libertarian Party. There must be better groups to start with other than the donkey.

  15. Blue state individualists: you’re neighbors are collectivists. They hate you. Come to the country, help out our restaurants.

    We have more land anyway.

    😉

  16. Jesse,
    You can put me down for more states’ rights.

  17. What I want to know is why Libertarians and their ilk can’t work to create some kind of organization to capitalize on the disaffection out there. It seems to me that there is already quite a bit of support for a Libertarian-Lite message: smaller government, lower taxes, protection of civil liberties, etc. The problem as I see it is that Libertarians can be as doctrinaire about their views as just about anybody else. While they have some good ideas, they continue to support wackier positions like abolishing the IRS or bringing all U.S. troops home from overseas. By modifying the message slightly, I think Libertarians could be quite successful. The average American gets tripped up over these more extreme positions and walks away thinking that we’re a bunch of nuts. I mean, can’t we just work on lowering taxes without abolishing the IRS? Can’t we work on limiting military adventurism overseas without recalling all of our troops? Maybe somebody out there needs to think of starting a third party that can split the difference between totalitarianism and total choice.

  18. “States’ Rights”

    is dat a code word for seggregation?

  19. aix42, Libertarians support liberal economic policies at the state level? Fascinating, I had not heard this.

    wellfellow, remind me again how many liberal campaigns have passed out fliers hanging the “individualist” label around the necks of their opponents.

    Seriously, if you are too much of an individualist to fit in with mainstream American culture, which community do you think you’ll get a warmer reception in, Salt Lake City or Boston?

  20. Chinaman – I would vote for the party you describe.

  21. Joe, I’m only teasing, relax.

    Also, I’ve lived in the Commonwealth’s City of Boston, I know just how they tolerate autonomy. It just takes a different form.

  22. Actually, before buying this argument we need to look at the questions. The poll I saw asked whether people voted because of foreign policy, the national economy, or moral issues. That leaves a hell of a lot of issues stuck behind door number three.

    For instance, I notice that nobody in the national media is mentioning gun control as an influential issue.

  23. Right on, Jesse.

    The Democrats, by switching their focus to cultural issues and identity politics, left themselves wide open to Karl Rove’s wedge issues. If abortion had been left an issue for the state legislatures instead of the federal courts, as it should have been, it wouldn’t even be a national wedge issues.

    IMO, for the party establishments these cultural issues are really just a form of branding. With both parties firmly under the control of the same corporate establishment, they have to differentiate themselves by saying “We’re the corporate party for God and fambly valyas,” or “We’re the corporate party of sensitivity and inclusivity.”

    I really don’t think Bush and Rove even want Roe overturned all that much, because it would no longer play as a pseudo-populist wedge issue in Kansas. And the DLC is grateful for Roe because it diverts debate from fundamental issues of political and economic power.

    All this stuff just goes to prove how wrong progressives/liberals were, over the past century, in trying to (as Croly put it) “promote Jeffersonian ends with Hamiltonian means.” Once you have a federal government that’s not bound by the delegation of powers in Article I Section 8, it can be used to promote the ends of whatever party is in power. What happens when the Hamiltonians come back into power? Of course, that’s assuming that the Progressives and New Dealers *weren’t* Hamiltonian, which is a load of crap.

  24. Larry, neither candidate ran on, or against, gun control. Both worked to downplay any suggestion that there was any difference between them on gun control.

    The only people who where voting on gun control were liberals who just knew, despite what Bush said, that he really in his heart was going to gut existing gun control, and conservatives who just knew, despite what Kerry did and did not say, that he was really, in his heart, opposed to the ownership of guns. Both groups of people are committed partisans who would have turned out anyway, whose votes don’t explain why the election went as it did.

  25. joe/wellfellow,

    My friend who moved to Argentina cited being demonized for smoking as a reason for abandoning the US. So yeah, intolerance does come from all quarters.

  26. gaius,

    Not sure exactly what you mean by your vague “responbility to their society,” but while it’s true that libertarianisms reject being legally responsible for the wellbeing of others, they do believe in being legally responsible for respecting others’ rights. Additionally, libertarians believe that taking interest in the wellbeing of others is perfectly okay; that is, it’s a personal choice that should be left to the individual.

  27. Jesse: “I thought none of the states had civil union laws either. Was I wrong?”

    Yes and no. Ohio has no civil union law per se, but some public universities and cities presently offer “domestic partner” benefits to their unmarried employees, which is now illegal by most interpretations of the ammendment.

  28. Chinaman: “… The problem as I see it is that Libertarians can be as doctrinaire about their views as just about anybody else. … ”
    =========
    Well duh! Libertarians are by definition more doctrinaire than the DemoReps. We/they actually have more-or-less consistent things we believe in. Winning elections would be nice, but at what cost? If the cost is to become a LibDemoRep, there is little point to libertarianism.

  29. gaius,

    Until you can be specific about something/anything regarding what this supposed responsibility to “society” amounts to, your diatribe comes off sounding like holier-than-thou hot air. In fact, if I read you right, you may even be saying you don’t know what it amounts to! Funny, then, how it’s so important to western civiliation! Well, maybe western civ is based on a certain quotient of holier-than-thou hot air… 1/2 🙂

  30. fyodor, if you believe that taking an interest in others’ well being is something to do or not do, depending on your feelings, then you do not believe in responsibility to other people.

    If I pick up my daughter from daycare every day, I am taking responsibility for her. If I were to do it, or not, depending on how I felt, I would not be responsible.

    Responsibility is about following through whether you want to or not.

  31. depending on your feelings

    No, joe, not depending on your feelings, depending on whatever criteria you damn well choose on your damn well own. You’ve repeatedly brought up this “feelings” thing in response to people who have never originally said anything about feelings. What’s your deal?

    My only point was that responsibility for others’ well-being (as opposed to responbility to respecting others’ rights) is a personal choice and no one else’s business.

    That said, you cleverly bring up one of the gray areas in such a formulation, children. Raising children does imply a certain taking on of responsibility toward their well being, because they’re minors and not fully responsible for themselves. It’s different. If that’s what gaius was talking about, he could say so, I would say, “Oh, that, well sure, that’s different…” But it doesn’t seem like that’s what he’s talking about. Is it, gaius?

  32. I believe here-in lies the proper role of social pressure, cultural influence, personal faith or whatever. Does one’s own feelings of responsibility need to be mandated by law?

  33. To clarify joe, since I believe in respecting others’ rights, that includes respecting contracts one makes with others, which means taking responsibility for promises one has made to others. Raising children is one such promise. To raise a child is to make a promise that one will take interest in that child’s well being. I believe in honoring that promise, very much so. The State’s role in enforcing that promise is a gray area because of the gray area of children being separate human beings.

    Part of my purpose in responding to gaius is to get him to be more specific. My belief is that if he ever is, he might be forced to acknowledge that libertarians are not the nihilists he’s claiming them to be. And this is important to me because it’s a common fallacy, that because liboids don’t want to force others to be nice to each other that they don’t believe in being nice to each other, or in other basic values such as responsibility. But it’s nonsense.

  34. “While they have some good ideas, they continue to support wackier positions like abolishing the IRS or bringing all U.S. troops home from overseas. By modifying the message slightly, I think Libertarians could be quite successful.”

    I’ve made that point repeatedly. But whenever it’s made, you invariably run into one or more LP devotees bemoaning how doing so would make the party no better than the alternatives, when that’s far from the case. And so the LP stays perpetually irrelevant, struggling to outgain the friggin’ Constitution Party in much of the country, and not even taking 1% of the vote in mountain states with strong libertarian streaks.

    This is really a subject that Reason should devote some attention to. Especially since a majority of their writers decided not to vote for Badnarik, and some of those who did were far from enthusiastic about their votes.

  35. depending on whatever criteria you damn well choose on your damn well own

    agreed, mr fyodor — but we can’t suppose that peopel are rational. we aren’t. we’re animals driven by emotion.

    law — society, really — is the way in which people a) acknowledge they aren’t always right, or sensible, or on their best behavior; and b) submit to a code that they can reference even in the heat of battle to tell them that they’re doing wrong.

    ex.: libertarian A has neighbor B. A gets in a fight with B over the lot line. barbarian tribe C shows up at B’s house, ready to pillage.

    A, being a good man but emotional and libertarian, is really pissed off and doesn’t feel obligated to help — and so doesn’t and B is killed. if A had been social, or obligated under law, he’d have helped B survive.

    what of it?, says A. a week later, C shows up at A’s place, and there’s no one there to help him.

    there’s a humility in being social that is good for people, imo. it forces concession. it puts one in a subordinate state that extinguishes hubris. if i may speculate, one of the reasons that many libertarian representatives (as noted above) are so uncompromisingly doctrinal is because they do not believe in subordination and its attendant compromises. it’s a good philosophy for messianic loners (among many other good people).

    you may even be saying you don’t know what it amounts to!

    lol — all i’m saying, mr fyodor, is that *i* don’t decide what that obligation is — traditionally, that’s the role of law and/or elders. and that’s inclusive of child-raising.

    but that such a definition exists and that is it important… well, i refer you to my example.

    My only point was that responsibility for others’ well-being (as opposed to responbility to respecting others’ rights) is a personal choice and no one else’s business.

    respectfully, sir, i wonder if you fully appreciate what an antisocial, antitraditional view that is. it is a claim that no law nor elder can make you compromise, that you need no help and want none, that others’ intrinsic importance is for you to decide.

    i would also note that there is no universally accepted set of “rights”. a devout libertarian must concede that rights are relativistic — up to each to decide on his own. if others have a different conception of what your/their rights are, how do you convince them otherwise?

    individualism entails a lot of fighting.

  36. if he ever is

    sorry, mr fyodor — i’m at work and get called away sometimes. frustrating, but necessary. 🙂

    he might be forced to acknowledge that libertarians are not the nihilists he’s claiming them to be. And this is important to me because it’s a common fallacy, that because liboids don’t want to force others to be nice to each other that they don’t believe in being nice to each other, or in other basic values such as responsibility. But it’s nonsense.

    mr fyodor, i would say you are assuming a set of universal human rights that is commonly acknowledged — including things like contract law and (i suspect) property rights.

    what of those who feel constrained by such oppression? is not their freedom to decide their ethics for themselves being compromised against their will? and who is to say that they can be so forced?

  37. unsurprisingly, perhaps, this has been argued here before, where (sadly) i end up (for the purposes of this discussion alone) on jonah goldberg’s end of things.

  38. fyodor, I would be no less irresponsible if I failed to pick up my daughter “depending on whatever criteria (I) damn well choose on your damn well own.”

    That grammar sucks, btw.

    Feelings. Opinions. Principles. Choose whatever term you’d like, and stop being so damn pissy.

  39. Chinaman: “… The problem as I see it is that Libertarians can be as doctrinaire about their views as just about anybody else. … ”

    Craig, you responded, “Well duh! Libertarians are by definition more doctrinaire than the DemoReps. We/they actually have more-or-less consistent things we believe in. Winning elections would be nice, but at what cost? If the cost is to become a LibDemoRep, there is little point to libertarianism.”

    At what cost? Well, if losing the election means that we get to live in a welfare/police state and winning it means that we get to live in a place that’s a bit better, I opt for the latter. I have no compunction about making small compromises in my ideology if it means that I hang on to at least SOME of my freedoms . . . for even a little while longer. I would submit that elections are crucially important here, since the people who ARE winning them continue to make the situation worse rather than better. Anything we can do to turn back the tide — or stave off the inevitable — should be welcomed. The head in the hole theory just doesn’t work for me.

    ***************************

  40. Joe,

    I’ll be as pissy as I damn well want! 🙂 My reason for being that way was that you accused me of something I never said, and it’s a repeat offense. Would probably make you pissy too, as I believe it has when you’ve felt treated that way by others.

    Anyway, you didn’t address any of my substantial points. What’s your deal? 🙂

    gaius,

    Your A’s, B’s and C’s have me confused, but I think you’re talking about whether someone should help someone else being threatened by another. To answer, I think there should certainly be precious few instances in which someone is ever required by law to help someone else, and that’s all libertarianism is basically about (as it applies to this issue). As far as my personal opinion about the example goes, I think a good and noble person would help out, sure. And I think the more people are good and noble, the better we all are. Does that fit into your idea of “social responsibility?” Maybe I really do believe in “social responsibility” in a certain respect? But I don’t think I (or you!) would have the right to require someone else to behave in a good and noble way. It’s up to them. So maybe now I don’t believe in “social responsibility?” Heh, that’s up to you. But now at least we’ve addressed something specific and real. And as I’ve expressed to Joe, I also believe that people should keep their commitments, which is something that can be enforced by law under particular circumstances but not under others. Anyway, whether all this changes your sweeping generalization about libertarians (probably won’t), I think these positions make perfect sense and I’ll defend them.

    Also, I don’t agree law should be telling people when they’re being “sensible” or not, only when they’re messing with others in an unacceptable way.

  41. fyodor, your points are substantive, but I’d hardly call them substantial. 😉

    If a problem, because of its size or nature, cannot be solved without a universal public sector program, you are being disingenuous if you say you want to solve the problem, but you don’t want there to be a public sector program to solve it.

    You said you weren’t against other people being responsible for Social Security, but the contributions should be optional. Well, if it’s not social, it’s not security. Is that that best way to maximize returns on the dollars invested? Probably not. But that’s not the point of the program. The point is to cover everybody.

  42. “like abolishing the IRS or bringing all U.S. troops home from overseas”

    It’s all a matter of phrasing:

    “The IRS is only a group of individuals doing the job they’ve been ordered to do. We don’t want to abolish them, but we do want to work towards a simpler tax plan that doesn’t include so many traps that force the IRS to enforce the code.”

    “The Arts are a tremendous asset, but we have found that the arts are threatened by government officials who work to silence critics and prevent freedom of expression where they disagree with the outcome. We therefore encourage you to support your local artist directly”

    “We are in favor of the freedom to do research, but the past has taught us that certain constituencies will use the power of federal government to prevent certain types of research. The only way of preventing this type of abuse is to disengage the government from these decisions.”

    Libertarians need to learn the art obfuscation.

  43. I don’t agree law should be telling people when they’re being “sensible” or not, only when they’re messing with others in an unacceptable way.

    ah, i tend to agree, mr fyodor — but when ARE you “messing with others in an unacceptable way”? part of the point of having law is to codify that condition and involve a third party — because people have a funny way of not realizing when they are, even if they mean well.

    submitting to law and society is an admission that the individual, either himself or in a crowd, is fallible and sometimes really destructive despite his best intentions.

  44. fyodor, your points are substantive, but I’d hardly call them substantial. 😉

    So damn funny I forgot to laugh! (Just trying to be pissy…)

    As to your subPAR points, aside from whether you’re right that a particular problem “cannot be solved without a universal public sector program,” there’s the question of whether the problem can be solved per se, whether trying to solve it that way causes more problems and is immoral for that reason, and (first and foremost) whether it’s right to make others contribute to solving it. And at root, there’s the question of whether it’s even a problem that requires “solution” in light of the fact that the world is inherently imperfect. Plus, does the concept of “social responsibility” only apply to these types of problems?

    You said you weren’t against other people being responsible for Social Security, but the contributions should be optional.

    Are you sure I said that? I don’t remember saying that and I’m not inclined to look for it. I would say that the pure libertarian position is that no one should be compelled to contribute to such a system, and if that means social security doesn’t exist, so be it. I guess Goldwater said contributions should be optional; I agree that that would gut the system and defeat its purpose, which is inherently cumpolsury. Personally, I’m okay with a minimal compulsory social net, though I don’t think it should be age based. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

    Damn, I should do some work…

  45. joe: ‘states’ rights and local autonomy’

    That is all, not liberal economic policy (!).

  46. Seriously, if you are too much of an individualist to fit in with mainstream American culture, which community do you think you’ll get a warmer reception in, Salt Lake City or Boston?

    Comment by: joe at November 4, 2004 12:55 PM

    Alaska – only individualist state in US. too bad legalization of MJ sale and cultivation did not pass, surprised no one mentioned it at Reason. Inthink it got over 40% of the vote.

  47. that wants to impose speed limits on near-abandoned highways;

    Uh, Jesse? Is there a party outside the LP that opposes speed limits? I realize that on H&R you’re preaching to the choir, but I’d be a lot more sanguine about sending this link to non-libertarians to build libertarian sympathy if there weren’t little gems of “Oh-god-this-is-some-libertarian loon”-ery scattered thither and yon.

  48. Although I voted for Bush and wanted him to win, I really hope that Kerry would carry Arkansas or North Carolina, since I figured that if a southern state went for Kerry, that would help to kill off the “red state/blue state” theme in the media. Instead, however, New Hampshire and New Mexico, the only states in 2000 among the lower 48 not to border at least one other state of the same color, switched sides, ensuring that the idea of a great divide will be run into the ground even more over the next four years. Probably the only thing that can kill it off now is if one side or the other has a landslide in 2008.

  49. Oops – Maine, of course, borders only New Hampshire, and so Maine in 2000 was a third state that fit the criterion of not bordering any state of the same color. But, unlike N.H. and N.M., it was at least in the vicinity of a number of same-colored states.

  50. “Is there a party outside the LP that opposes speed limits?”

    I can think of at least of a few German parties, only one of them even remotely libertarian. Then you have to take into account Italy and all the third-world countries where speeding on highways may technically be illegal, but all but the most egregious offenses go unpunished.

    I’d be the first to say that the LP has a lot of loony, but abolishing speed limits on rural stretches of highway isn’t one of them.

  51. Jesse: I’ve actually seen some lefties lately arriving at your suggested political program even without any prompting from the likes of us. Take a look at:

    http://www.juancole.com/2004_11_01_juancole_archive.html#109958311857266842

    And:

    http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/tburke1/perma110304a.html

    They’re starting to wake up to the fact that centralized control often means that people they really don’t like get to run their lives, and that decentralization might thus be a good thing for them. This is a real opportunity, I think, to build a new “Leave Us Alone Coalition”.

  52. Nicholas Weininger,
    What if Bush declared California a sanctuary for lefties who just want to be left alone?

    How much of a stretch could that be? It’s a blue state, right?

    Righties could peacefully coexist within, as they already do. They would just have to seal their lips, which they, pretty much already do.

    We have “Free Enterprise Zones,” don’t we? Why couldn’t California be a “Tolerance Zone”?

    It is already in the capable purview of the First Lady of Cali-FOR-ni-a as the wardeness, as it were, eh?

    If there were such a state–a free state–would lefties there finally put an end to the War on Drugs? I wouldn’t bet heavily that they would.

    Come to think of it, this would be the perfect way to let the air out of the Cal-i-FOR-nia real estate market: as lefties begin to seek refuge in the remaining 49 from other lefties there.

  53. Chinaman in not wanting to be part of a Liberarian party that has actual principles states: “….. The head in the hole theory just doesn’t work for me.”

    I understand and even sympathize with you. I suggest you join the DemoReps and work from within to sway them in your direction. Good luck.

  54. “Chinaman in not wanting to be part of a Liberarian party that has actual principles”

    No – like me, he doesn’t want to be part of a party whose principles involve abolishing taxes instead of slashing them, and ending all of our foreign alliances instead of just eliminating unnecessary entanglements. You get the idea…or perhaps you don’t.

    “I suggest you join the DemoReps and work from within to sway them in your direction. Good luck.”

    I suggest you get used to doing without the support of the vast majority of people with libertarian political leanings. Who knows, maybe in 2008, your fruitbat-de-jour will get enough votes to fill up six football stadiums instead of five.

  55. not wanting to be part of a Libertarian party that has actual principles

    Yeah, whatever. Everyone has actual principles. And most of us learn — at around the age of, oh, five or six maybe — that the world doesn’t revolve around us, and isn’t going to give in to our every demand just because we say so. So most of us learn to compromise, and in so doing achieve some of what we want.

    Libertarians are dramatically outnumbered by statists. It is simply moronic to refuse to compromise or negotiate with them, and that is why the oh-so-pure Libertarian Party is composed almost entirely of cranks and wackos. The rational majority of libertarians aren’t welcome in the party; we’re ideologically impure.

  56. Dan,

    Oh, more of your false choice fallacy.

  57. Dan,

    Let me blunt, the “rational majority” (let me suggest that this is a dishonest and self-serving term that is easily manipulated and of little real value beyond your insult-based mode of reasoning) of libertarians aren’t welcome in the Republican party, except to vote for Republicans that is. Furthermore, anyone with a glimmer of intelligence should be able to discern that several decades of alliance with the Republicans has led to very little domestically regarding libertarian matters of concern – be this in the field of health care (more socialized than ever), drug laws (more socialized than ever), personal liberty, etc. Republicans have co-opted almost all the things we despised about Democrats, and made them doubly or triply worse. Now libertarians really have only themselves to blame for their participation in these developments – either through unwise alliances or ineptness.

    That you advocate staying the course only illustrates your intellectual bankruptcy.

  58. DaveInBigD: You’d be surprised by the back-and-forth over speed limits in Montana. But what I meant — I should have phrased this more carefully — was the nationally imposed 55 mph limit that the Dems rammed through and the Republicans repealed, not all speed limits.

  59. Eh, bored now. The national election turned out about as well as it could have for libertarians; I could pretend to care that you think otherwise, but what would be the point? You’ve offered a lot of “arguments” that amounted to “THE DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ARE THE SAME LA LA LA” and you’ve failed to convince me. So I think I’ll just continue supporting the Republicans, secure in the knowledge that the tiny amount of influence that that earns me gives me some small ability to steer things in a better direction. And perhaps I’ll spare an occasional moment to shake my head at the poor fools like you, who spend their days sneering and ranting at those of us who actually, occasionally, accomplish something worthwhile.

    So go on. Support Badnarik, or Zippy the Pinhead, or whatever fruitcake the Party nominates next time around. Whatever makes you happy. I’ll be over in the Republican Party with the rest of the grown-ups.

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