Kos for Concern

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Over at Cato Unboard, Markos "Daily Kos" Moulitsas publishes his longest essay yet on the idea of "Libertarian Democrats." The innovation I see in this version of Moulitsas' thesis is the idea that Silicon Valley/the Bay Area is a libertarian utopia.

My libertarian tendencies have always found a welcome home in the Silicon Valley culture (and in all of the nation's great technology centers). It is a place where hard work and good ideas trump pedigree, money, the color of one's skin, nationality, sex, or any of the artificial barriers to entry in most of the rest of the world. It is a techno-utopia that, while oft-criticized for a streak of self-important narcissism, still today produces the greatest innovations in technology in the world. Where else could such a motley collection of school dropouts, nerds, brown people (mostly Indian), and non-Native English speakers (mostly Chinese), not just rise to the top of their game, but dominate it? This is free market activity seemingly at its best, and it works precisely because these individuals are able to take risks and be judged by the results of their work, rather than be judged by who they are, where they've been, or who they know.

But there are other reasons why this outpost of libertarianism works. The government has put in an infrastructure to support the region including, among many other things, roads, the Internet, government research grants, and the most important ingredient of all: education, from the lowliest kindergarten to the highest post-doc program. Such spending, while requiring a government bureaucracy that makes a traditional libertarian shudder, actually provides the tools that individuals need to succeed in today's world. If our goal is to promote and champion individual liberty and the free market, we need government to help provide those tools to all Americans, not just a privileged few. This isn't a question of equality, it's one of opportunity. Some people will take advantage of those opportunities, and others will not. That will be up to each individual. But without opportunity, there is no freedom.

Jesse Walker's original counterblaste to Kos is here. Anyone want to tackle the new material?

NEXT: Rodin Out of Town

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  1. the schools suck, the roads and bridges are crumbling, broadband still isn’t available in quite a few communities, traffic is horrible, and public transportation is next to useless.

    as a bay area resident who deeply loves the place, i have no idea what kos is on about.

  2. the questions you’ll want to ask are:

    1. what net gains/losses did libertarians really get out of their coalition with republicans?
    2. what possible gains could realistically be accomplished in a libertarians coalition with democrats?
    3. what future losses of liberty could be avoided by simply discontinuing the the coalition with republicans?

    though i’m sure the discussion will be more akin to “what? that’s not libertarian”. which entirely misses the point. tuning out, or voting 3rd party is a valid option, but politics is about what is possible. so at this point, which coalition presents greater opportunities?

  3. I was thinking:
    a)Roads – one of the very few areas the government actually should be in charge of;
    b)Internet – the government made the internet?!?
    c)Research Grants – I doubt these have much to do with the success of Silicon Valley. I have no numbers to back this up, but it is probably a small fraction of what companies spend on themselves;
    d)Education – I bet the schools are not as good there (or anywhere) as Kos seems to think. Most of the successful people went to private school or were self-motivated enough to teach themselves what they needed to know with minimal assistance from college profs or high school union thugs.

  4. What “coalition with republicans”?
    Did you guys form a coalition without me?
    That hurts.

  5. As a silicon valley resident all I have to say is ‘meh’. The job market is great, I’ll give him that.

    It’s also an elitists wet dream. Overregulation and rampant NIMBYism has led to a housing market that forbids entry. A 600 square foot apartment will run you 400K (if you’re lucky). Food service workers often have to live 3 or 4 families to a house. In short, the economy is great, for those at the top.

  6. libertarian democrat:

    1) Certainly no net gains.
    2) “Realistically”? No gains. I try not to be that realistic and plan to work with democrats in the future in some way towards some very narrow gains, but that’s just my being hopeful.
    3) No real losses could be avoided. Outside of the handful of democrats obsessed about libertarians (whether they think of them as a threat or opportunity), Democrats with a clue realize they can better spend their effort worrying about voting blocks that will actually matter in an election, like “left-handed Klingon-speaking supermarket workers of Irish descent”.

  7. I wouldn’t think that most of the Indians and the Chinese (especially the non-native speakers) received their education (the most important ingredient, don’t you know) from the American government. Sure, there’s the odd graduate degree from Stanford or Cal, but you only get that after you have proven your worth at IIT or Tsinghua.

  8. If Kos is a libertarian in any meaningful sense, I quit.

  9. First, no, I didn’t RTFA, I only read the excerpt in the H&R blog post. I don’t have much trouble with what Kos says– yes, I cringe at the turn towards the needs of government beyond that of real basic infrastructure, but any reasonable libertarian would only quibble with details.

    What I have a problem with is not what Kos said (in the excerpt) but what he didn’t say. And when you’re talking about California, that’s like ignoring the elephant in the living room. California has become a complete pitri dish of top-down governmental social experimentation and bad economic ‘planning’ that not only meets, but surpasses the kind of crap that one only used to see in the northeast. They have a crapped up power and utility infrastructure which, after putting in Stalinesque controls, they actually told the press it was ‘deregulation’ and no one in California, nor the press even blinked, let alone questioned it.

    It’s the home of Hollywood, where the monied elite have never met a social program or government regulation they didn’t like. San Francisco is a city of fantastically arcane ‘progressive’ legislation.

    I guess I’m not reallly sure I buy Silicone Valley as a libertarian utopia, other than the fact that it built itself initially on libertarian ideals. California is about as libertarian 1980’s Romania.

  10. Kos is so stupid and suffers from such a complete lack of self-awareness that he doesn’t even realize, as Bret points out, that he is lauding as some idealized community, a place that is so elitist that the average American would no hope of ever living there. That is pretty much the face of the nutroots campaign; it is about re-making the world so that benefits rich, educated white people and their fellow minority travelers more so than it already does.

  11. Reading that essay, it just strikes me that Kos wants to claim the word “libertarianism”, divested of the ideas and people currently associated with them.

    I guess “liberal” and “progressive” both lost their luster.

  12. Fine. Kos can have “libertarian”. If he gives back “liberal” first.

  13. Is he really sympathetic to libertarianism, or is he just trying to get back at us for using the term ‘classical liberal’?

  14. But there are other reasons why this outpost of libertarianism works. The government has put in an infrastructure to support the region including, among many other things, roads, the Internet, government research grants, and the most important ingredient of all: education, from the lowliest kindergarten to the highest post-doc program.

    Might not “the Internet” have done just as well without government “infrastructure”?

    I have almost nothing to thank the government for in this department. …and I suspect there are others like me, especially in Silicon Valley. …If he looked hard enough, he might find some examples among “school dropouts, nerds, brown people (mostly Indian), and non-Native English speakers (mostly Chinese)”.

    Such spending, while requiring a government bureaucracy that makes a traditional libertarian shudder, actually provides the tools that individuals need to succeed in today’s world.

    I know a lot of people who have managed to overcome all the stupid things they learned in college and become successful in an entrepreneurial environment anyway. …but I suspect they would have done just as well or even better without the government’s involvement in their education.

    I worked my way through a prep school by taking odd jobs on farms, working in a saw mill, working in the summers, etc, and at my school, I was by no means unusual for that. I understand those opportunities are still available to most anyone who wants them. (If you smoke or drink, etc., they’ll probably kick you out, so, no, it’s not available to everyone.)

    By the way, of all the factors that make higher education unaffordable for some, is there anything anyone’s done to make that situation worse then what the government’s done purportedly to make higher education affordable?

  15. a lib dem,

    The alliance that lead to fusionism has more or less already collapsed – even those who identify themselves as small government conservatives are starting to jump ship on the Repubs – so points 1 and 3 are pretty much moot at this point. So the question that remains is #2, what can Dems do for libertarians?

    The most common arugment in libertarian circles is that Dems can provide gridlock and prevent some bad policy simply by making it more difficult for either party to enact its agenda. This approach rejects forming a coalition with either party and is where I stand right now.

    The Democratic party has consistently fallen short of even its own principles on the issues where libertarians agree with liberals. For all the preening about how curbing corporate power is just as important as limiting the state, the Democrats can’t even conjure the courage to fillibuster a bill essentially permitting torture. How tyranical does the government have to get before Dems get their priorities straight?

    Time and time again, Democrats have rolled over on civil liberties issues, substituted identity politics for principled defenses of civil rights, and advocated paternalism over personal choice on just about everything but abortion. And don’t even get me started on Democrats’ enthusiastic embrace of the war on drugs.

    Republicans used to talk a lot about small government until they got the levers of power – why should we expect more of the Dems with civil liberties with their current record?

  16. This is just wearying. Every government failure is a justification for more government, because the problem “must” be solved. And now, every private success is now a justification for more government too, because hey, you have to give government must be partially responsible: they built the roads.

    It’s the same thought-pattern as “Intelligent Design” and elicits from me the same question: what facts could possibly disprove your position? A hypothesis that isn’t falsifiable is just a superstition.

  17. His whole schtick is mostly rhetorical.

    Kos wants to claim the word “libertarianism”, divested of the ideas and people currently associated with them.

    As far as I read it, that’s exactly what he’s saying.

    It’s about “liberty” & “libertarianism” being useful buzzwords for Kosocrats to appropriate for their own “we’re more *moral* ones” campaign.

    …notwithstanding what the words mean in actual practice.

    He refers to this quote below as razor sharp insight that shows why ‘anti-government’ libertarianism is somehow mistaken =

    “A cabal of major corporate industry is, in fact, more powerful than the government of the most powerful nation on earth?and government is the only thing that can stop them from recklessly exploiting the people and destroying their freedom”

    This is where I respectfully tell him to please eat deez nuts.

    Whatever awful influence ‘corporations’ have on individuals, it’s only THROUGH government collusion. Handing out taxbreaks, protecting them from competition, granting exemptions from liability, bailing them out from bankruptsy, etc. He’s got the whole thing backward. It’s the combination of the corrupting influence of government power and corporate anti-competitiveness that creates whatever problems he percieves, not predations of free market capitalists run amok. I really dont understand what it is that these “progressives” really think ‘teh corporshuns’ do that makes their lives miserable. What did Time Warner ever do to you? Procter& Gamble? Cisco? They’re a bigger problem than the tireless Children Protecting-Earmark Machine in congress? Give me a break.

    What he means is that “people shouldnt have the freedom to choose things bad for them, like McDonalds, or uncool, like Starbucks, or be allowed to listen to fascistic tripe like Rush Limbaugh, etc.”; No, we need government to PROTECT us from them.

    To protect us from our choices.

    Rather than have to read another boring screed like this, I’d be interested in his response to a series of check-boxes on specific issues, or scenarios.

    Like,
    to what degree should states be free to make policy for themselves (e.g. abortion? medical dope? drinking age? ban public smoking?)
    where do you draw the limits of gun control?
    What forms of privatization of education do you endorse?
    How would you inject competition into healthcare industry? How will you reform medicare?
    What is your position on US agricultural subsidies?
    etc.
    I think if he had to give brief, clear answers on actual issues, his Libertarian pose would fall apart immediately.

    Maybe he should test himself. Ever seen the “Political Compass”? Its actually pretty handy. It does measure whether your opinions fall authoritarian/statist-Left/Right. http://www.politicalcompass.org/

  18. Evan,

    You just don’t get it. People are never responsible for themselves in KOS world. In the same way that someone who steals only does so because the system made them do it, someone who is successful is only successful because the benevolent government allowed them to be so. The whole line of reasoning is pretty frightening when you think about it.

  19. Most importantly education? I don’t know the exact makeup of the silicon valley workforce but I have to imagine that it is much like that for engineering and science, that is, half foreign and mostly Chinese and Indian. Kos himself points out all the brown, i.e., Indian and non-native speakers, i.e. Chinese. I’m willing to bet that the locally educated folks aren’t doing much more than manning the Walmart.

  20. I would like to hear the ruminations of Kos once George W. Bush leaves office, because without him he’s nothing.

  21. I would like to hear the ruminations of Kos once George W. Bush leaves office, because without him he’s nothing.

    I dunno, a Republican might well win the election in 2008. If not, he’ll certainly stop calling himself “libertarian” after the real ones start laying into the Democratic president for not actually doing anything to stop torture.

  22. I think it’s OK to say that libertarians tend to side with Democrats on social issues and Republicans on fiscal issues. There’s no need to be married to the Republican Party, especially since the GOP has disregarded the one plank, i.e., fiscal responsibility, that used to draw in the libertarians. We are left with a fiscally irresponsible party that also wants to shove God down our throats. The Democrats haven’t disregarded the plank they have in common with libertarians, i.e., social tolerance, and it even seems that they grasp the importance of fiscal responsibility. We all have to ask ourselves, do we have a better chance of finding a fiscally prudent Democrat or a secular Republican? I believe that the Democratic party has much more room for reform in this area than the moralizers in the GOP.

  23. “I would like to hear the ruminations of Kos once George W. Bush leaves office, because without him he’s nothing.”

    I thought that about Limbaugh after Clinton left office, but he is still around. KOS and Limbaugh are very similar in that they both have a shtick that appeals to a certain demographic by confirming all of their worst suspicions. A change in the Whitehouse won’t change that appeal. Kos isn’t funny like Limbaugh but insufferable earnestness and smugness sells well with his audience. I am sure KOS will be bojangling his way to much undeserved attention for a long time in the future.

  24. The Democrats haven’t disregarded the plank they have in common with libertarians, i.e., social tolerance

    erm, not to speak for all, but I’d characterize ‘social tolerance’ slightly differently from a libertarian point of view.

    Libertarian “tolerance” is a byproduct of people having rights; i.e. you can do what you want on your property, do what you want with your body, say what you think no matter how vile or unpopular = go ahead, it’s your perogative.

    I think the “social tolerance” Democrats have in mind is much more “politically correct, mandated uprightness”. Hate Crime! Hate Crime!

    If you look at the bill of rights, I dont think they’ve demonstrated any more fealty to the principles in there than the GOP.

    I dont think Democrats are less likely to pursue ridiculous, privacy violating legislation if they think voters will believe it makes “children safe”

    I think Dems are less likely to ever reform Medicare or Social Security.

    In short, I dont see what they have to offer at all. Show me a democrat that believes in FEWER laws, and you might start to convince me.

  25. Gilmore,
    I’m interested in practical soluations. The question of whether Democrats believe the same thing I do for the same exact reason is a giant waste of time. Am I going to vote for the guy who believes in intolerance because the Democrat isn’t enough like me? I also think you’re wrong about the philosophy, but that’s a separate issue.

  26. I love so many people start posts with “I didn’t read the article but” and then proceed to talk about how Kos is full of it.

    “b)Internet – the government made the internet?!?
    c)Research Grants – I doubt these have much to do with the success of Silicon Valley. I have no numbers to back this up, but it is probably a small fraction of what companies spend on themselves;”

    Yes the government made the Internet. The fact that you are don’t know this means you are probably pretty young. The Internet originally started as ARPAnet – Advanced Research Project Network.

    Pure research is always a net gain on society. For example the initial code used by Google got it’s start as a National Science Foundation grant. The fact that you don’t know how science works shows means perhaps you should spend more time understanding such things.

  27. The Internet originally started as ARPAnet – Advanced Research Project Network.

    …and it didn’t amount to shit until private industry got involved. Seriously, how many people had internet access prior to say, 1994?

  28. Let’s review some proposed policies by various Democrats since they’ve been out of power. Campaign finance, Kelo, compulsory public service for young adults, the “fairness doctrine”, legislation against video games, smoking and food bans, etc.

    That’s the major problem, as someone here or elsewhere (I forget) once aptly put it: tyranny from the pulpit of God, or tyranny from the pulpit of “four out of five experts agree.”

    Both parties seem to agree that we simply can’t be trusted with the amount of freedom we currently have (much less the amount of freedom many of us would like), so why exactly should I have any reason to even think about throwing my lot in with the Democratic power structure just because the Republican power structure has gone so badly off the rails?

    I think the best solutions to the problem are apathy and ignorance. If you don’t know and don’t care, there’s a decent chance that, whatever is taken from you, you won’t feel or recognize the effects of it for quite a long time.

  29. “I love so many people start posts with “I didn’t read the article but” and then proceed to talk about how Kos is full of it.”

    Ann Coulter has a great new article about a re-alliance between Republicans and libertarians. What do you think of it?

  30. The government did start the Internet. Much the same way that the Spanish monarchy started the United States of America.

  31. In close elections, I simply vote against whichever major party candidate that will likely restrict more of my freedoms.

    Most of the time, I vote Republican. Because they are in principle better? Not really. Rather, I just find it far more likely that a Democrat will find a way to control what I eat/smoke/drink than a Republican will find a way to control who I screw.

    Expanding on that, Democrats refuse to let me plan my own retirement, education, or health care (well, unless I am willing and able to pay double). This is almost unpardonable.

  32. Gilmore,
    I’m interested in practical soluations. The question of whether Democrats believe the same thing I do for the same exact reason is a giant waste of time. Am I going to vote for the guy who believes in intolerance because the Democrat isn’t enough like me? I also think you’re wrong about the philosophy, but that’s a separate issue.

    Hey, I’m interested in practical solutions too mon frere. Which is partly why i’d vote GOP faster than for people who dont have the balls to reform the teacher’s unions, which “harms more children” than all the threats of porno and predators and religious proselytizing combined.

    “Believes in intolerance”? aren’t you generalizing a bit? If you mean, ‘against affirmative action’ or something… i dont know what you mean.

    i dont care about playing lessers of ideological evils, i’m more interested in policy makers who will shrink government enough to where we we will need fewer of these buffons, and buffons with fewer powers.

    JG

  33. ARPANET was one of several components that merged to form the internet and was mainly significant for using packet switching. The first international packet switched network, IPSS, was actually a collaboration between Western Union, Tymnet, and the British post office. IPSS was actually much closer to the TCP/IP-based internet of today, in that it was available to the public via dial-up through commercial services while ARPANET access was restricted to non-commercial use. The “internet” was created by the connection of various networks using TCP/IP, which included ARPANET, NSFNet, IPSS.

    What made the internet become so powerful was not any specific technology or program, but the broad adoption of TCP/IP that allowed communication among previously unjoined networks. This combined with the rise of the PC allowed it to achieve its current cultural and commercial significance.

    The internet is actually a great example of spontanteous order where infrastructure, technologies, organizations, and standards from all kinds of sources were combined over the course of years without an grand guiding authority to form something immensely useful.

  34. The Internet originally started as ARPAnet – Advanced Research Project Network.

    …and it didn’t amount to shit until private industry got involved. Seriously, how many people had internet access prior to say, 1994?

    That’s like saying goverment built roads didn’t amount to shit until people started driving on roads. The government (including universities) still built the damn thing. I’m no fan of big government spending and boondoggles, but let’s face it, the government made something useful with the internet.

    Even a blind squirrel finds a nut…

  35. “I wouldn’t think that most of the Indians and the Chinese (especially the non-native speakers) received their education (the most important ingredient, don’t you know) from the American government.”

    No, I think they received their education from the Indian or Chinese government.

    Re: the internet. Vint Cerf on Al Gore: “I’d like to clear up one little item – about the Vice President … He really does deserve some credit for his early recognition of the importance of the Internet and the technology that makes it work. He was certainly among the first if not the first in Congress to realize how powerful the information revolution would be and both as Senator and Vice President he has been enormously helpful in supporting legislation and programs to help further develop the Internet – for example the Next Generation Internet program. I get to see a lot of this stuff because I am a member of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and we regularly review the R&D programs of the US Government and many have relevance to the evolving Internet.”

    http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue5_10/wiggins/#w5

    Also, wasn’t Tim Berners-Lee at the CERN Institute in Switzerland when he came up with the web? Isn’t that a government-funded entity?

  36. “The internet is actually a great example of spontanteous order where infrastructure, technologies, organizations, and standards from all kinds of sources were combined over the course of years without an grand guiding authority to form something immensely useful.”

    You are correct here, but have missed an important part of Brian D’s point.

    Many of the technological advances underpinning the development of the internet were funded directly by government. Some of that funding went to private businesses, as is wise government policy, but the basic science was mostly done by the government or its proxies (as in the government sanctioned monopoly that was AT&T, or government grants to Universities).

    The combination of public and private innovation is always the most successful. Private industry likes to take credit for much of the innovation, but having grown up with a father who worked for a government research lab, I can tell you that it is easy to underestimate the amount of technology transfer that moves from the government to private industry. And it is important to note that this is part of policy. If research is government funded, it has to move out into the world of private industry, and it is available to anyone who wants to use it. Private innovations have a tendency to remain propietary, stifling innovation (see Autocad, for a good example). Private industry has an interest in monopoly control of technological innovations. Government has an interest in wide distribution of technological innovations. Which one do you think is the most effective at engendering “spontanteous order?”

  37. My take on the Kos/Cato article is on my website, http://www.wirkman.net/ . . . and perhaps I target, too much, his obsession with corporations.

    I’m one of those libertarians who hates the GOP, and has many Democratic friends, and yet does not belong to the hopeless Libertarian Party. You might think, then, that the idea of voting Democratic would sound good to me.

    It does . . . until the proponents start listing the reasons. Then I balk.

    I remain independent at heart, and cannot convince myself that the party that gave us Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Social Security, the VietNam War, and cooked up the 1974 Budget Act will somehow bring us more freedom. When Democrats repudiate Wilsonianism and imperialism in general; when they talk about unbuilding the disgrace of Social Security; oppose the War on Drugs; and when they repeal the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 . . . THEN I’ll reconsider.

  38. But there are other reasons why this outpost of libertarianism works. The government has put in an infrastructure to support the region including, among many other things, roads, the Internet, government research grants, and the most important ingredient of all: education, from the lowliest kindergarten to the highest post-doc program.

    Uh, the government “provides” those same things in most of the country, yet Silicon Valley it ain’t.

  39. Nue: R&D in the US is about 40/60 public-private, roughly in line with their overall fractions of the GDP. However, any major technological advance requires elements from so many fields that it is all but impossible that ALL of those advances would come from either the 40 or the forty. In the case of the internet, it is probably closer to 20-80, but of course some level of government-funded research has had an impact. For the billions we send to NSF DOE, DOD et al, it darned well better.

    That being said, the government funding is not necessary. We’d still have a modified internet and something approximating Tang without Uncle Sam. If it wasn’t Arapnet, it would have been something similar somewhere else just a few months later.

  40. “Government has an interest in wide distribution of technological innovations.”

    sometimes.

    unless that innovation runs counter to their interests.

    much like companies.

    but the government has guns. lots of them, in fact. it’s a problem i’m told they’re working on, but progress is slow.

  41. My old saw is that you can’t go left by turning right. In the same vein, you’ll never reach a libertarian society by voting D or R. You can temporarily move people in that direction. In GA several years ago, a US Senate election was forced into a runoff because enough people voted Libertarian that no one received 50% of the vote. The R (Paul Coverdell) won the runoff and he was mildly receptive to libertarians. However, he died in office and his replacement showed no similar interest. By voting D, you may get a bone thrown your way, but it will eventually be overwhelmed by all the sh!t that follows.

    Besides that, don’t forget that D’s have their god too. While the R’s worship a wierd vaguely Christian god, the D’s worship government. They have a blind faith in government that might just as well be a religion.

    We are often told about the great stuff government does without really thinking about what would happen without it. If government did no R&D, do we really believe that private industry would simply fail to pick up the slack. We’ll never really know, but I’d suspect that someone would do it regardless. As it stands now, it just gives private corporations a good reason not to invest in R&D.

    Finally, my take on Kos is no different than my take on Limbaugh (or Carville or O’Reilly or any number of celebrity pundits). For the most part they are clever without really being smart. They are brilliant tacticians who can win an argument. But if you look at how their individual arguments add up, it’s pretty much incoherent. Bush is pretty much the perfect President for our age. His whole strategy can be boiled down into two words – trust me. It takes more than 30 seconds to convince people why that’s a bad idea and by that time their attention has drifted to something else.

  42. Yes the government made the Internet. The fact that you are don’t know this means you are probably pretty young. The Internet originally started as ARPAnet – Advanced Research Project Network.

    So once again, it all comes down to the ‘but for’ argument. Oh, Brian D., please, tell us something that even a lightweight techhead doesn’t know.

    Using the idea of technological manifest destiny to expand the information superhighway doesn’t prove that it wouldn’t have happened without the governmental nudges for expansion.

    They way I see it, the fact that government controls the ‘seed’ money just gives them inroads for later regulation.

  43. I love so many people start posts with “I didn’t read the article but” and then proceed to talk about how Kos is full of it.

    Who cares? The excerpt stands on its own. And speaking for myself, I only commented on the excerpt. He attempts to co-opt libertarianism and use Silicone Valley, California(!) as his theme.

    Do you really think that if I read the whole Kos essay that I’m going to come out of it, staggering, realizing that Kos is really correct about libertarianism?

  44. A liberal Democrat could never convince me to vote Democrat, but a socially conservative Republican could. I voted for Obama to send a message to the Illinois Republican party: keep religious nutbag carpetbaggers like Alan Keyes out of my state.
    The converse applies as well. I am considering helping campaign for Judy Baar Topinka to rid our great state of Gov. Blagojevich.

  45. …and it didn’t amount to shit until private industry got involved. Seriously, how many people had internet access prior to say, 1994?

    i remember compuserve and AOL dial-up in the 80’s…perhaps that is the government sponsored internet he is talking about? 🙂

  46. If it wasn’t Arapnet, it would have been something similar somewhere else just a few months later.

    If it wern’t for government protected Ma Bell we would have had it 20 years earlier, not a few months later.

  47. A cabal of major corporate industry is, in fact, more powerful than the government of the most powerful nation on earth?and government is the only thing that can stop them from recklessly exploiting the people and destroying their freedom.

    Right. Because it’s corporations that are passing laws restricting freedom. Campaign Finance Reform, Patriot Act, War on Drugs, gun control, smoking bans, eminent domain, online gambling, immigration reform, and on and on and on.

    And government is going to “stop” corporations? With tax abatements? With contracts?

    How do you start a corporation? By incorporating under government regulations. Corporations are government’s creations. Government’s natural instinct is to favor them, not rein them in.

  48. Libertarians could be one of the interest groups controlling a defined sphere of issues within the Democratic party.

    Not exactly a Freidmanite revolution, but it’s better than being the “where else are you going to go” butt boys of the Republicans.

  49. The question is, are you willing to settle for nothing short of a completely libertarian society, or are you willing to be politically mature and recognize that it is necessary to compromise with people with different ideologies? If the latter, would you rather compromise with Democrats, with Republicans, or opt for neither and remain on the sidelines?

    On the internet being funded by private means; I always thought there was a chicken-and-egg problem with that. Without end-users the internet can’t be very profitable, and without an infrastructure there can’t be any end-users. I could be wrong about that, though. AOL was doing okay before the web came along.

  50. The problem with libertarians turning to the Democrats is that the Democrats don’t pay even lip service to limited government. Of course, they do act all huffy and surprised when the GOP uses all that ever-expanding power towards its own ends.

    The civil liberties issue doesn’t play in practice much better over in Democrat land either. Once in power, Democrats can be worse than Republicans, because they want to show that they are tough on crime, foreign policy, etc. I’d say that the Clinton administration arguably has a worse civil liberties record than Old Man Bush’s administration, for instance. Not all Clinton’s fault, of course, but my point is that things definitely didn’t get better.

    I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. If the Democrats want to grab the displaced small-government Republicans, then they are going to have to change their tune on limited government. And continue to do so while in power. Otherwise, the best you can hope for is apathy, not a mass move from one useless party to the other.

  51. Libertarians could be one of the interest groups controlling a defined sphere of issues within the Democratic party.

    Sure. The Democrats are tired of not having a defined constituency for ferret-owners.

    Seriously, as patronizing as that remark is, on what insignificant “defined sphere of issues” would the Democrats be willing to listen to a tiny group of people who utterly disagree with the rest of the party on many issues and are (in Democratic eyes) off-putttingly hard-line on all the others?

    I don’t think libertarians could change the Democratic party as a captive voting bloc any more than they can the Republican party as the same. They’d just end up getting more worked up over Democratic failings due to the illusion of input into the process.

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