Attention DC Reasonoids: Gillespie vs. Goldberg, Tues., 7/18


If you're going to be in or around DC on Tuesday, come and watch Reason Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie debate National Review Online Editor at Large Jonah Goldberg on one of our favorite subjects; the fractured love affair between libertarians and conservatives.

What is the state of the friendship between conservatives and libertarians after 9/11? While they can agree that they're both against the left, are they both against the state? These are the questions we'll try to answer at AFF's 10th Anniversary Roundtable on Tuesday, July 18.

Join Jonah Goldberg of National Review and Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine in a reprise of the legendary AFF debate on the relationship between conservatives and libertarians. The event will take place at the Heritage Foundation Fund for American Studies, 1706 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, near Dupont Circle.

The event will take place at The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE. The nearest Metro stop is the Red Line's Union Station stop.

Drinks at 6:30; Roundtable begins at 7:00.

Roundtables are free for members, $5 for non-members.

Audio of the last Gillespie appearence at AFF, on a similar subject, is here.

NEXT: You're Not Liberated Until You DO AS WE SAY!

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  1. Why would anybody think conservatives are against the state?

  2. Is this near a Metrorail station?

  3. While they can agree that they’re both against the left

    We can?? Lets see, in my lifetime (1975-????) the right(neo-conservatives) have done more to erode civil liberties AND increase national debt and spending than any Liberal Lefty ever has. Hell even FDR couldn’t spend this much!! Maybe this is the crux of the split???

  4. There’s nothing to debate. See generally: gay marriage, No Child Left Behind, prescription drug benefit, warrantless wiretapping, Terri Schiavo, flag burning, Gonzales v. Raich, “Intelligent Design,” and did I mention gay marriage?

    The debate that needs to be held now is whether libertarians should revisit the desirability of gridlock for the sake of gridlock.

  5. Adam W.

    Dupont Circle stop, get out on the north exit.

    Its three maybe four blocks North then a block or two East.

  6. Kip,
    Not only Gonzales, but the War on (Some) Drugs in its entirety.

  7. Thanks Dakota.

  8. I don’t know if libertarianism ever had anything intrinsically to do with conservatism. The essence of conservatism is that its believers feel we have reached the peak of our society, and are trying to act as a vanguard against the future, which threatens dissolution, immorality and chaos. I’ve never agree with this perspective – I think that the future, in all likelihood, will be better than the past _unless_ we retreat. So in essence, I’m a progressive.

    Conservatives have only ever embraced “smaller” government during the times that they were out of power. In an attempt to wind back the clock, or halt the natural evoluation of society, conservatives have always, when they had the chance, been perfectly happy to use the federal stick and carrot.

  9. I used to consider myself to be a conservative.
    Then a libertarian-leaning Republican.

    But the Republican party, as it exists today, bears no resemblance to the Republican party of even eight or ten years ago.

    They have continued to devolve into a bunch of puritanical mercantilists, leaving behind the ideals of the likes of Barry Goldwater and Ron Paul.

    As such, I’ve turned my back on the Republicans. The only issue where they and I still agree is on the gun issue, and even there, I get the distinct feeling that this is only as a result of the lobbying efforts the NRA puts forth on behalf of its members.

  10. mediageek, are you my long-lost twin?

  11. Anyone planning to attend ought to bring an oxygen tank. Its gonna get very smug in there.

  12. Reagan in Reason-1975:

    If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals. If we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

  13. When did Jonah join the Washington Generals?

  14. The only difference between the conservatives and liberals is the list of things that they want to take away from you.

    Conservatives want to ban gay marriage, abortion, prescription drugs that might encourage premarital sex, the right to die with dignity, the teaching of evolution and many other personal freedoms under the banner of Christian morality.

    Liberals want to take away your guns, tax your income and pass laws that ensure you live your live and manage your property for the good of society.

  15. Folks, Just wanted to clear something up. The event will NOT take place at the Fund for American Studies. It will take place at the Heritage Foundation (214 Massachusetts Ave, NE). Nearest metro is Union Station on the Red Line.

  16. How did Jonah end up tapped for this gig? He’s not a libertarian, but he’s much friendlier to it than many of his National Review compadres. I fear this will be a snoozeful – because amicable – debate.

  17. Reagan was such a good liar.

  18. Location verified:

    Hi Stephen,

    The AFF 10th Anniversary Roundtable will be at Heritage on Tuesday, July 18. Sorry for the confusion!



  19. I’ll buy that “just say no” Reagan was a libertarian the day he crawls of out his grave and comes over to smoke a bowl.

  20. Nick,
    I know I’m getting in here late but I hope you read this plea.
    Please oh please, come loaded like Neo in The Matrix for this thing. You did fine in the AFF in the link. But you could have been much more ruthless. After getting bitch-slapped for half a century by these conservative Neanderfucks, they expect flowers and a Hallmark will make everything all right.

    I guess Jonah Goldberg is the biggest sweet-talker of the current crop of fusion fucks. He needs to have his smarmy ass chewed up and spit out. Do your homework Nick, this is his stomping grounds. But that just means you should know every bullshit card in his grubby hand, and be able to trump it before he even plays it. Hand him his ass Nick, the little fascist needs to be sent home crying to mama.

  21. Nick, please get somebody to tape it and put it up on the Web. Even just the highlights. Or even just the audio.

  22. I see the link when it comes to the issue of social engineering. Some conservatives and some libertarians at one time were commonly wary of political efforts to just sweep away naturally evolved and spontaneously developed traditions, such as capitalism, for idealistic and utopian schemes of the state – where a few wise men could map out what society, or the invididual, needed and everything would be made new and better. The Left has a history of embracing any of these new schemes as they come down the block – Bolshevism, Naziism, Maoism, Behaviorism (Chomsky being the exception on this one), and now in some of the extreme forms of environmentalism (to be distinguished from the ordinary environmentalism that just wants a better environment without having to actually remake society).

    Conservatives though seem to be either abandoning this vision, as there seems to be a growing sympathy for social engineering – in Iraq at the point of a gun – or in calls for a reinstatement of the draft, or any of a number of other top-downish types of schemes and in general statist leanings to trust politicians in power more than ordinary people or the spontaneous order method of problem solving.

  23. “Conservatives want to ban gay marriage, abortion…”

    Well…state by state, they might. But nation-wide, Liberals want to MANDATE both, as well as repeal the death penalty.

    When was the last time conservatives gave a shit about small government? I dunno. When was the last time Libertarians gave a shit about decentralised governance?

    Do states get to disagree about whether to extend marital privileges to odd couples? About extending state protections to the fetus? About taking lives in retribution? ANY significant moral question? Or, do states merely serve to collect local taxes, and set speed limits?

    Sorry if I interrupeted your Blue State chat room.

  24. “just say no” Reagan was a libertarian the day he crawls of out his grave and comes over to smoke a bowl.

    Sure, Reagan wasn’t a real libertarian but he was a damn sight more so than Bush. Under Reagan, there were actual cuts in some areas of federal spending. And also, the Federal Registry, the book of all federal regulations and regulatory activity actually shrank by an appreciable amount!

  25. Andrew?
    WTF? Federalism is part and parcel to a libertarian construction of constitutional based government. I defy you to find a single instance of a libertarian calling for any of those things. Of course that is a no true Scotsman challenge, sine anyone calling for those things is not by definition a libertarian.

  26. Liberals want to mandate abortions and gay marriage? Who knew?

    I thought they wanted individuals to decide for themselves whether or not to perform and experience those things.

  27. Shelby says, “How did Jonah end up tapped for this gig? He’s not a libertarian, but he’s much friendlier to it than many of his National Review compadres.”

    If by “friendly” you mean he’s always up for a vicorous round of libertarian bear-baiting, and when slapped with language as sharp as his own, he starts crying, “jeez, whaddya wanna go do that for … this is all just in fun,” then sure.

    I’m with Warren here. Hand Jonah his head on a plate, Nick. If it helps, just imagine that you’re taking Lenny Bruce apart for not being funny. No mercy.

  28. I don’t think there’s ever been a blog like the corner, where a good proportion of the posts involve the posters congratulating themselves and their fellow bloggers as brilliant, witty, etc. Or where the few “disagreements” are so minor and so quickly either resolved or ignored that they have the appearance of being staged just to give the posters something to do as a change up from snarking and scoffing and trying to look indepedent of the President by chiding him for not setting immigrants on fire.

  29. plunge,
    You forgot the part about not allowing any “undesirables” to join the club.

  30. Plunge,
    I don’t know what you’re talking about. I for one know for a fact that I am at least moderately moronic and your wild overgeneralization is so obviously based on nothing but your own prejudice as to demonstrate your own lack of brilliance, character, or even wit.

    And btw, more than a few of us would opt for open borders, legalizing all drugs, legalizing gay marriage, getting the frack out of Iraq, ending the Patriot Act, allowing research on embryos, calling for the administration to get their hands off our civil liberties, ending agricultural subsidies for corporate farms, ending corporate welfare in general, and on and on. Bush is noone too excited about any of that. There have been more than a few vociferous dust-ups over a few of these on this blog as well. If you’ll actually drop your blinkers for a second and scroll around you might discover that.

  31. Nick,
    If he calls your mother libertarian lickspittle or your sister a Hayekian harpy you can always try to pull off a Zidane.

    Then offer a half-hearted apology while the authorities bust him for hate speech.

  32. plop, using a lot of verbose words can’t make up for your lack of a point.

    If you spend any time reading the Corner, you’ll know that what I say is perfectly true. The amount of smug self-congratulation over there rival San Fransisco.

    If you’re talking about interesting contrarian thinking, then sorry, you were thinking the Reason end of the political spectrum.

  33. Drinks? Did somebody say drinks?

    Where do I RSVP?

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